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Council Member Graham Introduces Bill to “Control Rats in Restaurant Areas”, Council Candidate Nadeau Questions its Timing and Effectiveness

by Prince Of Petworth January 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm 15 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user [email protected]

From CM Graham:

“I introduced the Rat Prevention Control Act of 2014 and a super majority of my colleagues—nine plus myself–joined as co-sponsors of the legislation.

This bill results from what I heard from residents and business owners at the Ward 1 Rat Summit on November 9, 2013, an event I co-hosted with the Department of Health. Renowned experts in this field were present and provided information.

The bill requires new food establishments to submit a detailed rat prevention plan with their business license application. This plan will include details on how the business will handle food storage and debris removal.

Rat populations thrive on discarded food. We can set traps and take all manner of steps to kill rats. But the experts agree that, most important, we must reduce the food supply.

While many businesses in our neighborhoods have made a responsible effort to reduce this food supply for rats, some businesses have been irresponsible in their lack of efforts to remove debris and dispose of trash properly. The Department of Health’s Rodent and Vector Control is to be commended for its excellent work, but it is time to establish a greater degree of cooperation and collaboration between business owners and District agencies.

What I have proposed today is a solid step in attacking this public nuisance.”

From Ward 1 Council candidate Brianne Nadeau:

“After leading a community initiative on sustainability for the past several years, Ward 1 Council candidate Brianne Nadeau has called into question both the timing and effectiveness of legislation introduced today by Councilmember Jim Graham intended to address the rat problem in the ward.

“I’ve been working with both residents and business owners since my time on the ANC and now as the founder of Sustainable U to identify collaborative ways of addressing the rat problem facing the ward,” said Nadeau. “If after 15 years, Graham is finally going to step up to address this problem, we’d like him to join in the community effort and support business leaders who are looking for resources that help create long-term solutions such as overall waste reduction and compacting. And we must also be offering solutions for residential waste.”

Business leaders are concerned that Graham’s legislation adds a burden, without addressing the issue.

“This legislation adds an extra burden to the process of opening a new business that is largely unnecessary, because it duplicates processes already in place through the Department of Health to address rats,” said Sheldon Scott, manager of ESL Management group, which operates Marvin, the Brixton, et al. “This bill does nothing to support cooperative efforts on behalf of public and private entities to effectively address these issues.”

  • Ward One Resident

    Look, now we’ve got TWO people Grahamstanding…

  • DC rodent control has always been very responsive and pro-active in my experience. (And my experience is 25+ rats at a time having Spring Break parties in my alley and trying to take over every yard on my block to dig colonies.)

    Yet another burden impeding small businesses from opening is ridiculous and ineffective. Guess what – restaurants don’t actually want rats on their property! They know what to do and WANT to do it.

    We have rats because there is so much food garbage tossed all over the sidewalks. If anything, consider passing an extra tax on 7-11 & other carry-out junk food places that generate garbage. Also, how about an intensive anti-littering campaign in the schools? That Crying Indian changed a lot of behavior in his day.

  • Here’s an idea for rat control: throw Graham, the biggest rat of them all, out of office.

    • Thought

      Jim Graham served his purpose for our ward. It is now time for him to go.

    • Anonymous

      A lot of people would love for that to happen, but you and I both know that until he voluntarily steps down, Graham is Ward 1 Council Member for Life.

      • anon

        or, just throwing this out there, everyone who feels this way could VOTE and maybe he wouldn’t be?

        • Anonymous

          Thank you, really.

        • Anonymous

          Believe me, I would if I still lived in Ward 1.

  • anon

    the “process in place” mostly governs indoor space and provides little teeth (no pun intended) to managing exterior space, aside from requiring dumpsters to be closed and hauled periodically A more forward looking approach would include requiring sealed and compacting dumpsters, promoting kitchen composting and site compost removal, and incuding indoor trash storage in waste management planning, including sealed sheds

    Then again, the city is responsible for much of this problem too. Alleys are typically in atrocious condition which leads to pooling and poor drainage which further attracts rats when coupled with spillage and run-off from adjoining restuarants that often cluster in close proximity. It’s also foolish to hit new businesses with this requirement and give existing businesses a pass. The new businesses’ added cost and effort would likely be for naught if surrounded by minimally compliant grandfathered neighboring businesses.

  • Anonymous

    This is red tape at its finest. And it’s not going to work.

    If “some [EXISTING] businesses have been irresponsible in their lack of efforts to remove debris and dispose of trash properly,” then what good is this going to do if the law only applies to NEW businesses? We’ll still be stuck with the same old problems.

  • Anonymous

    Well, we finally have our answer to the “What does the rat say?” question.

  • andy2

    Can they start by containing the rat in the bow tie?

  • Thought

    So only new restaurants need to submit a plan?
    What about the rat colony superpower that is in the food tent market on 14th between Otis and Parkwood? No sooner did Adams Morgan get rid of this market than Jim Graham ushered them over to 14th (without consulting the neighborhood). Apparently he felt that we wouldn’t have the same concerns? The Maryland based operators (based on their license plates) certainly have no concern.
    What about the Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church located at 1363 Otis Street NW? The church rents their basement out to Panam grocery store to warehouse their groceries. You have never seen more rats coming and going. This isn’t a food establishment, but shouldn’t the church also have to submit a rat abatement plan?
    When our neighbors have at least 20 non-family members living in a 3 bedroom row house and Jim Graham – despite numerous complaints – not wanting to offend certain constituent groups (that can’t vote anyhow) – doesn’t investigate, do they have to submit a rat abatement plan? They generate at least 10 large bags of garbage a week, never using a proper trash can.
    Jim Graham, you are no longer effective. It is time for you to go.

  • Merryweather Prankster

    Looks like another job for CAT PATROL.

  • But I Turned Down that Bribe!

    The ethically challenged Jim Graham is an embarrassment and needs to go.


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