ANC 4B Minutes

June 28, 2007 - As adopted on July 26, 2007, With Amendments

 

The meeting began at about 7:15 p.m. at the Lamond Recreation Center, 20 Tuckerman Street, NE, Chair Blondine Hughes (also ANC 4B05) presiding. 

 

Also present were Commissioners Sara Green (ANC 4B01), Faith Wheeler (ANC 4B02), Frederick Grant (4B04), Gloria Palmer (4B06), Judi Jones (4B07) and Yvonne Jefferson (4B08).  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Votes

 

1.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, as moved by Commissioner Grant, the agenda was adopted, with one change.  The Nile Market item was moved up so that Owner Retta Makonnen could speak before the minutes item on the agenda.

 

2.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, as moved by Commissioner Grant, the minutes for the May 24, 2007 public meeting were adopted.

 

3.  In unanimous show-of-hands vote, as moved by Commissioner Jones, the Treasurer's June 2007 report was adopted.  The written report shows a checking account balance of $42,583.35, which includes the Commission's $6,633.90 allotment from the D.C. government, deposited on May 29, 2007. Commissioners Jones and Wheeler asked which quarter the deposited allotment refers to.

 

Expenditures for the month total $1,179.39, including $600 for rent, $110 for copy machine maintenance, $236.15 for Verizon, and $233.24 for copy machine finance charges. The savings account total is $42,145.40.

 

In response to questions from Commissioner Jones, Treasurer Palmer explained that the Quarterly Report for First Quarter of 2007 had been submitted without all of the required documents.  Treasurer Palmer said she is working to provide these documents to the D.C. Auditor's office.  She also said she is working on the report for the Second Quarter of 2007 and hopes to have that report ready in July.

 

Commissioners Jones, and Wheeler asked that the following information be added to the record:

 

   a)  Treasurer Palmer will call Lynard Barnum, of the D.C. Auditor's Office, to ask about the status of Quarterly Report for the First Quarter of 2007 and what is needed to complete it.

 

   b)  The Commission has not yet approved the Quarterly Report for the First Quarter of 2007 and needs to vote on it. Commissioner Wheeler said there were discussions and reference to the January 2007 minutes which shows approval of the 4th Quarter of 2006.

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Adopted Minutes - June 28, 2007 - Page Two

 

   c)  Treasurer Palmer should provide more clarity in reports to the Commission.  For example, references on documents and reports should be identified as "2007, 1st Quarter" or "2007, 2nd Quarter," etc., so that the Commission understands which quarter is being discussed.

 

4.  In a unanimous roll-call vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Jones' motion to oppose the Potomac Electric Power Company's (PEPCO) request for a rate increase. The rate increase request is currently before the D.C. Public Service Commission (DCPSC).

 

The adopted resolution is as follows:

 

"WHEREAS, the Potomac Electric Power Company (“PEPCO”) has asked the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (“DCPSC”) for authority to increase distribution service rates in the District of Columbia by $50.5 million, which represents an overall increase for District residential consumers of more than 44 percent; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO’s request will increase the minimum distribution service charge for residential consumers from $0.47 per month to $4.11 per month, an increase of 774%; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO asked the DCPSC to increase the residential consumer reconnection fee from $35 to $100; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO asked the DCPSC to adopt a new ratemaking scheme called the Bill Stabilization Adjustment (“BSA”) that PEPCO claims will stabilize bills; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO asked the DCPSC to provide full recovery of the $94 million needed to construct a new substation in Northeast D.C.; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO asked the DCPSC for authority to impose a surcharge to collect money if PEPCO’s pension and other post-employment benefit program expenses change; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO asked the Commission for many other things that will cause rates for District consumers to be increased without having fully demonstrated the need for an increase at this time; and

 

WHEREAS, PEPCO agreed to forgo rate increases from 1999 through 2006; and

 

WHEREAS, the Office of the People’s Counsel (“OPC”) has asked the DCPSC should reduce PEPCO’s current distribution service rates by $31 million; and

 

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Adopted Minutes - June 28, 2007, Page Three

 

 

WHEREAS, OPC has indicated that PEPCO’s BSA will not guarantee quality service for District consumers and will not provide District consumers with stable bills; and

 

WHEREAS, OPC has indicated that PEPCO’s BSA will shift a significant amount of the risk of PEPCO’s operations from its shareholders to District consumers; and

WHEREAS, OPC has proposed that PEPCO should charge a flat customer/demand charge not based on amount of energy consumed, but based on PEPCO’s true costs to provide distribution service; and

 

WHEREAS, OPC opposes PEPCO’s request to require District consumers to pay for the entire cost to construct the Northeast substation because PEPCO’s request fails to acknowledge that the substation will generate revenue for PEPCO and thus offset the construction cost; and

 

WHEREAS, OPC has asked the DCPSC to reject PEPCO’s request for a $31 million annual allowance for federal income taxes because PEPCO has not paid that full amount of taxes collected from its D.C. customers to the IRS, but has included it in a consolidated tax return that reduces the overall federal income taxes paid; and

 

WHEREAS, OPC has asked the DCPSC to reject PEPCO request for a $7.8 million annual allowance for D.C. income taxes because PEPCO has not paid that full amount of taxes collected from its D.C. customers to the DC Treasurer, but has included it in a consolidated tax return that reduces the overall D.C. income taxes paid; and

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this organization strongly supports OPC’s response to PEPCO’s rate increase request, which is the first such request in 12 years and the first since the District’s retail electric market was restructured and PEPCO sold its electric generating plants; and

 

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization requests the DCPSC reject PEPCO’s proposed rate increase request; and

 

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that Blondine C. Hughes, Chair, is hereby granted authority to represent the interests of this organization and its constituents/members before the DCPSC on matters pertaining to this Resolution or any matters related thereto."

 

Commission Green said she was uneasy about adopting a resolution without a presentation from PEPCO. Commissioner Green said she invited representatives from both PEPCO and OPC to speak. OPC Attorney Laurence Jones agreed to come, but a PEPCO representative asked to come in July, Commissioner Green said.  The deadline for comments to the DCPSC is August 3, Commissioner Green noted.

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Adopted Minutes - June 28, 2007 - Page Four

 

 

Mr. Jones told the Commission that OPC staff have spent a great deal of time analyzing the PEPCO rate increase request and are opposing it because they believe it is unfair to PEPCO's customers and D.C. taxpayers.  PEPCO has not proved it needs the increase, he said.  He provided details about the issues noted in the resolution and answered questions.

 

5.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, as moved by Commissioner Hughes, the Commission agreed to grant the Takoma, D.C. Neighborhood Association $750 to cover some of PSA 401's costs for its National Night Out celebration, to be held on August 7, 2007 at the Takoma Education Center on Piney Branch Road, NW.  The grant amount was reduced from $2,750, a figure that was to also cover costs for the PSA 402 National Night Out celebration.

 

6.  In a 2-5 roll-call vote, the Commission rejected Commissioner Wheeler's motion to grant $1,000 to the Takoma Theatre Conservancy to cover part of the costs of a professional feasibility study, appraisal of the property at 4th and Butternut Streets, NW, and the development of a business plan.

 

Commissioners Green and Wheeler voted "yes" to the motion.  Commissioners Grant, Hughes, Palmer, Jones and Jefferson voted "no."

 

Commissioner Wheeler said that, as per the Commission's earlier request, she has a written okay from D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer that the Commission can award the grant.

 

Commissioner Jones said she has additional concerns and wants to hear from Takoma Theatre Owner Milton McGinty before voting on the grant.  Commissioner Jones said that she wants to be sure that Mr. McGinty's property rights are not affected by the grant.

 

Commissioner Green explained that Mr. McGinty had been invited to appear several times, most recently in a letter signed by Chair Hughes, but has repeatedly declined.  It is not fair to penalize a nonprofit community organization because a private property owner refuses to come to an ANC meeting, Commissioner Green said.

 

Takoma Theatre Conservancy President Loretta Neumann and Board Member Caroliva Herron spoke.  They said that they want to pay a fair price for the building but cannot do so without an appraisal. 

 

 

 

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Adopted Minutes - June 28, 2007 - Page Five

 

Presentations, Discussions and Reports

 

1.  Nile Market Owner Retta Makonnen appeared, and offered to answer questions about his 7815 Georgia Avenue, NW establishment and its request to renew its alcoholic beverage license.  There were no objections to the renewal.

 

2.  MPD Officer Heather Straker noted that the number of stolen cars is still high, but the number of robberies is decreasing.  A new security camera has been installed at 6th & Riggs, she added.

 

In response to Resident Alpha McPhearson's concerns about crime around the Takoma Metro Station, Officer Straker noted that there is an additional MPD officer assigned to the area around the station from noon to 9:30 p.m.

 

Commissioner Wheeler, also in response to concerns, noted that Safe Takoma, a new group with support from the D.C. government, is working on crime issues around the station.  Also, there is a new security camera at 4th & Cedar Streets, NW, near the station, she said.

 

Commissioner Jones asked Officer Straker if she could ask MPD Chief Kathy Lanier to come to a PSA 402 public meeting.

 

Commissioner Hughes said she would like Commander Burton to come to ANC 4B's next public meeting.

 

3.  D.C. Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services 4th Battalion Chief T. Gherhardt responded to a recent letter from Chair Hughes about fire drills and equipment at schools, libraries and recreation centers. 

 

He said that equipment and alarms at Coolidge High School and Whittier Elementary School will be inspected in July.  Takoma Park Elementary was inspected on June 5, and LaSalle Elementary was inspected on March 13.  The Takoma Park Library was inspected on June 11.

 

Schools conduct ten fire drills per year and fire department officials check school fire drill records.

 

Chief Gherhardt also said that the fire hydrant inspection program for our area should be completed by July 10.

 

5.  El Tamarindo Restaurant Owner Jose Reyes appeared and offered to answer

 

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Adopted Minutes - June 28, 2007 - Page Six

 

 

questions about his establishment, located at 7331 Georgia Avenue, NW, and his request to renew the restaurant's alcoholic beverage license. There were no objections to the renewal.

 

6. Mr. Jason Gordon, of the Silver Sands Restaurant, 7303 Georgia Avenue, NW, spoke about his request to amend the existing voluntary agreement that covers the restaurant's alcoholic beverage license.  Mr. Gordon is asking for additional hours and permission to bring a disc jockey to the restaurant.  He said the disc jockey would only appear at private parties and that no Sunday hours were being requested.

 

Residents Alpha McPhearson and Andre Carley, the vice president of Concerned Neighbors, Inc., spoke.  They said they opposed any changes to the agreement.

 

Commissioner Jones said she understands that residents are opposed to the changes, but said she did not want to vote on the issue at this meeting. 

 

7.  Commissioners Jefferson and Grant distributed "Club" Anti-Car-Theft devices to ANC 4B residents who attended the meeting.   The devices were paid for by an ANC 4B grant.

 

Community Concerns

 

1.  Walter Reed Hospital Garrison Commander Girabaldi announced that he is leaving for another assignment and will be replaced by Col. Bruce E. Haselder. He reported on the recent shooting at the hospital's Georgia Avenue entrance, noting that the shooting is an "isolated incident" and an investigation of the private security guard who is responsible is underway.  The community can ask for a copy of the report, he added.

 

Several residents, including Mr. Alpha McPhearson, who lives across the street from the hospital, questioned the need to hire armed, private guards. The guards are necessary since there are not enough soldiers available and the guards need to be armed, the Commander answered.

 

The base will close in 2011, the Commander also said.

 

2.  A resident noted that seniors may benefit from reverse mortgages.

 

3.  Mr. Martin, a resident, asked for help in improving the service at the 6200 N. Capitol Street, NE branch of the U.S. Postal Service.  Commissioner Jones noted that the conditions have improved somewhat and she is working on the problem with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's office.

 

                                                                    --- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary