Minutes  - Adopted on February 22, 2010

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

January 25, 2010

 

The meeting started at about 7:10 p.m. at the MPD's 4th District Community Room, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW, Chair Douglass Sloan (also 4B09) presiding.

 

Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Monique MIchelle Smith, 4B04 James Sydnor, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B06 Idriys Abdullah, 4B07 Judi Jones, and 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions

1.  In a 6-2-0 show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Green, the agenda was adopted with several changes.  The parking issue was moved to follow the election of officers and a discussion and possible vote on the Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority was added.  Commissioner Abdullah noted his concern about the length of the meetings and opposed adding any items to the agenda.

 

2.  ANC 4A Chair Stephen Whatley conducted ANC 4B's election for officers.

 

Chair

Commissioner Abdullah nominated Commissioner Speaks, who declined.

Commissioner Sloan nominated Commissioner Jefferson. Commissioner Speaks nominated Commissioner Jones. 

 

Commissioner Jefferson was elected in a 5-3-0 roll-call vote.  Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Sydnor, Jefferson and Sloan voted for Commissioner Jefferson. Commissioners Speaks, Abdullah, and Jones voted for Commissioner Jones.

 

Vice Chair

Commissioner Speaks nominated Commissioner Wheeler.  Commissioner Jones nominated Commissioner Abdullah, who declined. 

 

Commissioner Wheeler was elected in an 8-0-1 roll-call vote.  Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Sydnor, Speaks, Abdullah, Jefferson and Sloan voted for Commissioner Wheeler.  Commissioner Jones abstained.

 

Secretary

Commissioner Wheeler nominated Commissioner Green. Commissioner Sydnor nominated Commissioner Jones. 

 

There was a tie roll-call vote with each candidate receiving four votes.  Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Jefferson and Sloan voted for Commissioner Green.  Commissioners Sydnor, Speaks, Abdullah, and Jones voted for Commissioner Jones.   Chair Whatley noted that no one would be elected unless someone changed his or her vote.

 

Treasurer

Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Sloan, who declined.  Commissioner Wheeler nominated Commissioner Abdullah, who also declined. No other candidates were nominated.

 

Chair Jefferson asked Commissioner Green, the current secretary, to continue in the position until a permanent secretary is elected, and asked Commissioner Sloan to serve as treasurer until a permanent treasurer is elected.

 

3.  In a 6-1-1 show-of-hands vote following a motion made by Commissioner Sloan, the Commission adopted a resolution opposing the city's newly enacted parking regulations.

 

The adopted resolution:

"Whereas the new parking regulations are estimated to yield the District an additional $7.6 million in revenue

 

Whereas 50 percent of all parking tickets written in 2008 were dismissed

 

Whereas these new parking regulations will negatively affect tourism, harm local businesses and adversely affect the quality of life of District residents.

 

Therefore, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B opposes the stipulation of the new parking regulations which extend the hours of parking enforcement until 10 p.m. on weeknights and of parking enforcement on Saturdays.  ANC 4B also asks the City Council to revisit the increase in parking fees in the District in FY 2011.

 

ANC 4B is an affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission in this matter in that parking meters in 5700-7800 blocks of Georgia Avenue have been affected by the extension of hours of enforcement on Saturdays until 6:30 p.m."

 

The vote followed a lengthy presentation and discussion.

 

John Townsend, of the American Automobile Association, said, among other things, that

* the increased parking fees are a hidden tax

* more parking tickets are written in D.C. than in Baltimore, a much larger city

* Baltimore may raise fees in its Inner Harbor area

* 70% of tickets go to non D.C. residents; half of the tickets are dismissed

*  74 percent of DC visitors drive

*  valets and other private vendors are taking a public commodity

                                                                                                               

Ward 4 D.C. City Council Member Bowser said, among other things, that

*  the city has a budget deficit and parking fees are a valid revenue source

*  higher fees and shorter hours give everyone more opportunity to park

*  many people are now parking downtown all day, particularly on Saturdays

*  it is fair to increase parking fees in premium areas and price competitively

*  there are concerns about the many coins needed for the meters

*  new evening hours should be rolled back for theater parking, etc.

*  new regulations to curb abuses by valets and others are being discussed

                                                                                                                

Commissioner Abdullah noted that the new regulations willl have a long-term impact, that new Saturday fees should be lifted, that they apply to Georgia Avenue, a street the city is trying to promote for new business, and that the fees and restrictions rob small businesses of customers. 

 

Commissioner Wheeler noted that the new rules also apply to 4th Street, with its struggling businesses.

 

Commissioner Sloan said he understands that cities need revenue, but the new evening and Saturday hours will have a negative impact on the city, and the Council and residents should work together to modify the new rules.

 

Chair Whatley said he presented the Council with a list of ways to cut the budget, but none of the ideas were adopted.

 

4.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Chair Jefferson, the Commission agreed to spend $25 to participate in the city's ANC Security Fund.

 

The adopted resolution:

"Resolved that this Commission approves the ANC's participation in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission Security Fund and authorizes the Treasurer to pay the $25 fee for the period January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.  The Chairperson and Secretary are authorized to execute the attached agreement.

 

It is understood that: (1) the check for participation in the ANC Security Fund should be made payable to 'ANC Security Fund,' (2) the ANC is not considered a participant in the Fund until the ANC has received the acceptance section of the agreement which has been signed by the District of Columbia Auditor, and (3) the agreement will not be accepted by the Auditor until all required documents have been received by the Office of the Auditor.  The required documents are the resolution, the agreement, the ANC check, statements of information for the Chairperson and the Treasurer, the Bank Survey, and a copy of the current bank signature card. "

 

5.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion made by Commissioner Green, the Commission agreed to support the passage of the Insurance For Dependents Act of 2009.

 

The adopted resolution:

"Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B supports the passage of the Insurance For Dependents Act of 2009, legislation that is now before the D.C. City Council.

 

When adopted, this legislation will require that insurance companies cover dependents up to age 25 as part of family health insurance plans.

 

This legislation provides D.C. residents with coverage and protection that is similar to or nearly identical to other states.  In Maryland, for example, insurance must be extended to unmarried dependents under the age of 25 if the policy holder requests it." 

 

The vote followed a discussion with Council Member Bowser and Chair Whatley.

 

Council Member Bowser said Chair Whatley brought the issue to the Council and originally asked that it address graduate school students under age 28.  Right now, most D.C. insurance companies cut off coverage to dependents at age 18, or age 21, if the dependent is still in school. Council Member Bowser said she hopes that the Council will adopt the bill by July. 

 

Chair Whatley thanked Council Member Bowser for being the first to support the idea.  

 

6.  In a 5-0-1 show-of-hands vote following a motion made by Commissioner Wheeler, the Commission adopted a resolution asking that a representative of ANC 4B, specifically 4B02 Commissioner Faith Wheeler, be appointed to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA), a group now considering how the medical center site should be used when it is abandoned by the Department of Defense.

 

A few minutes earlier, Commissioner Sydnor's motion to table the resolution failed in a 3-4-0 show-of-hands vote.

 

The adopted resolution:

"WHEREAS, ANC 4B is not represented on the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) which was established to look out for the city's interests in matters concerning the re-development of the Walter Reed campus;

 

WHEREAS, of the 5 voting citizen representatives, ANC 4A has 1 (who is also a Shepherd Park resident), 2 of the other representatives are also Shepherd Park residents, 1 lives in Brightwood, and 1 is a Takoma resident.   The two alternates are: another Shepherd Park resident and a Colonial Heights resident.

 

WHEREAS, 6 blocks of our Commission are directly across Georgia Avenue from the length of Walter Reed's frontage on the Avenue; 4 blocks are directly across Georgia Avenue from the part that the city will bid on;

 

WHEREAS, the east side of the Avenue (which is in our ANC 4B Commission) will be directly affected by whatever is decided and implemented on the west side of the Avenue;

 

WHEREAS, Building 18 of WRAMC is within ANC 4B on the east side of the Avenue;

 

WHEREAS, ANC Commissions may advise "with respect to all proposed matters of District government policy including, but not limited to, decisions regarding planning, streets, recreation, social services programs, education, health, safety, budget, and sanitation which affect that Commission area,

 

THEREFORE, this Commission respectfully requests that one Commissioner from ANC 4B be appointed to the LRA.  We further respectfully request that Commissioner Faith

 

Wheeler be named to this position as she represents Single Member District 4B02 which is across Georgia Avenue from the part of the Walter Reed campus that the city will bid on.  Also, WRAMC's Building 18 is in SMD 4B02."

 

The vote followed a discussion with Council Member Bowser.

 

Commissioner Wheeler pointed out that her single member district 4B02, is across the street from the hospital grounds, from Dahlia to Aspen Streets, NW, and that the hospital's Building 18 is within 4B02.   She noted that she had been a member of the Walter Reed Task Force, another key group looking at the redevelopment of the site. 

 

Her main concern with the LRA is that ANC 4B residents are inadequately represented on this panel. There are now two alternates and adding a third alternate should not be difficult, Commissioner Wheeler said.

 

Council Member Bowser said that the current LRA panel was reconstituted from its membership of about five years ago and that the process for filling slots was prescribed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions were not one of the groups HUD called for, and HUD may have to review any new members, Council Member Bowser said.

 

She also said that all LRA meetings are open to the public, and that there will also be a separate planning process for the site that is run by the D.C. Office of Planning.

 

Chair Jefferson said that Walter Reed is a very big project with a huge impact on the community and that ANC 4B should be represented.

 

7.  The minutes of the November 23, 2009 and December 7, 2009 public meetings were adopted without objection.

 

Community Concerns

1.  Andre Carley, the Vice President of Concerned Neighbors, Inc., said that the community is looking at the alcohol licenses and voluntary agreements with the Nile Market & Restaurant and the Silver Sands Restaurant. Both are on Georgia Avenue in ANC 4B01.  He said that ANC 4A has the voluntary agreement but Commissioners from both ANC 4A and 4B are working together.

 

2.  Wanda Oates, of ANC 4B05, said the City Auditor's Office has told ANCs it is okay to provide bottled water at meetings and she would like it provided. Chair Jefferson said it will be provided in February.

 

3.  ANC 4A Chair Stephen Whatley said that he has heard that a pawn shop will locate in the vacant real estate office at Fern and Georgia Avenue, NW.  There is a concern that a pawn shop will attract crime to the neighborhood, he said.

 

4.  Michael Sindram, of ANC 4B02, made several points, including statements about a grant awarded and a grant not awarded by the Commission, repeating statements made at several earlier ANC 4B meetings.

 

5.  Commissioner Wheeler said she is concerned to read that teachers may have been having sexual relationships with students.  Council Member Bowser said she has asked for a report on the allegations.

 

The meeting adjourned at about 9:30 p.m.

 

--- Submitted by Sara Green