Minutes – Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

ANC 4B – March 26, 2012 Regular Public Meeting – Adopted April 23, 2012

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM, Sara Green, Chair (and ANC 4B01) presiding.  It was held at the MPD’s 4th District Community Room, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW. Also present were Commissioners. 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Fred Grant, 4B04 Douglas Smith, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B07 Judi Jones, 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson, and 4B09 Douglass Sloan.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions

1)         The agenda was adopted in a 6-0 show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Wheeler, seconded by Commissioner Grant.

 

2)         Commissioner Green announced that the office of Treasurer was vacant and must be filled immediately by election.  She nominated Commissioner Grant for Treasurer.  There were no other nominations.  Commissioner Grant was elected by show-of-hands vote, 5 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.  Commissioner Jones abstained.

 

3)         Commissioner Green noted that, due to the vacancy in the office of Treasurer, the DC Auditor  required that the Commission again adopt the ANC Security Fund resolution.  She moved that the resolution be adopted.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wheeler.  The motion was adopted by show-of-hands vote, 6 yes, 0 no.

 

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, 2012 through December 31, 2012.  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."

 

4)         Following a presentation from Mr. Joe Membrino regarding the proposed lease and development of Building 18 on the former Walter Reed campus at the corner of Butternut and Georgia Avenues NW, Commissioner Wheeler moved that the Commission adopt a resolution recommending that the Attorney General and the Inspector General take specific actions.  Commissioner Speaks seconded the motion.

 

Commissioner Sloan moved to amend the motion to shorten the resolution by deleting everything following the first “Whereas” clause up to the second paragraph on page three of the proposed resolution.  Commissioner Grant seconded the motion.  The motion failed on a show-of-hands vote, three yes, four no.

 

Commissioner Wheeler’s main motion was then adopted by show-of-hands vote, five yes, two no.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B, on November 28, 2011, resolved to:

 

WHEREAS Building 18 is a parcel of land on the southeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Butternut Street, NW, that is part of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Walter Reed) but is separated from the main Walter Reed campus by Georgia Avenue.

 

WHEREAS the District of Columbia (City) has an immediate need of Building 18 for redevelopment as a Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) facility.

 

WHEREAS in 2005 Walter Reed was ordered to be closed under a federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) statute that made Building 18 excess Federal property.

 

WHEREAS after Walter Reed became subject to BRAC the City entered into negotiations with the Department of the Army (Army) and the Keenan Development Corporation, a South Carolina entity (Keenan), through which: (1) the Army would lease Building 18 to Keenan, (2) Keenan would then convey its interest to the City for an undetermined sum; and (3) the City would contract to make Keenan the exclusive developer of Building 18 for an FEMS facility.

 

WHEREAS the City entered into the negotiations even though, prior to the BRAC decision, Keenan had not acquired a property interest in (i.e., a right to) Building 18. Also, after the BRAC decision, (1) the Army was authorized to convey Building 18 directly to the City at no cost; and (2) the Army was barred from conveying any interest in Building 18 to Keenan;

 

WHEREAS the arrangement that could have resulted from the negotiations among the Army, Keenan and the City could have cost the City millions of dollars more than had the City negotiated directly with the Army for Building 18;

 

WHEREAS the City had been advised of the foregoing by citizen members of the Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) which was established to plan for the re-use of Walter Reed after the BRAC decision to close it.

 

WHEREAS, notwithstanding that information, the City Administration requested the City Council to declare an emergency and enact emergency legislation to make Keenan the sole source developer of Building 18.

 

WHEREAS in July 2011 the City Council declared an emergency and enacted emergency legislation. In doing so, the Council stated that “a private third-party developer holds the development rights … to Building 18, through an enhanced use lease executed with the Army”. The City subsequently enacted permanent legislation that took effect in December 2011;

 

WHEREAS on February 24, 2012, Attorney General Nathan responded in a letter to inquiries from Councilmember Bowser about the City’s negotiations with the Army and Keenan that requested the City to inform her of  the legal basis for the City Administration’s request for the legislation. The Attorney General stated his belief that “Keenan no longer has a legal claim to the Building 18 site”;

 

WHEREAS in that same letter to Councilmember Bowser, Attorney General Nathan nonetheless wrote, “we had been preparing a memo which would have demonstrated clearly that the earlier negotiations by the Deputy Mayor were perfectly lawful and proper”;

 

WHEREAS in the week of March 5, 2012 an Army spokesperson confirmed that Army regulations do not allow enhanced use leases for properties declared excess or surplus;

 

WHEREAS this essentially reiterates the Army spokesperson’s statement last fall that a provision in a 2004 lease between the Army and Keenan for another Walter Reed property, Building 40, which is proposed to be transferred to the State Department,  provided that Keenan could request the Army’s permission  to “amend its business plan”.  The purpose of such an amendment would be to include Building 18 in the 2004 lease.  But this amendment had not been implemented prior to the 2005 BRAC decision, and the Army’s authority to do so expired at that time.

 

WHEREAS the Building 40 lease includes an easement that could encumber the City’s use of Main Drive on the Walter Reed campus;

 

WHEREAS the Building 40 lease has provisions for its termination and disposition of leasehold interests in the event of a BRAC decision that the Army has not yet implemented;

 

WHEREAS the City is now vulnerable to a suit by Keenan because of (a) the DC Council’s legislative record of the emergency declaration and emergency and and permanent legislation creating a sole source contracting authority based on Keen’s purported interest in Building 18, and (b) Attorney General Nathan’s February 24, 2012 statement that the City’s post-2005 negotiations with Keenan and the Army were “perfectly lawful and proper”;

 

WHEREAS the record in this matter, cited in the previous paragraph, creates a false impression that Keenan has a legal interest in Walter Reed property, and this could:  (a) delay transfer of the property, and (b) add cost to its redevelopment, including the joint development of infrastructure by the State Department and the City;

 

WHEREAS federal law authorizes the Army to make interim transfers of BRAC property if (a) it is the public interest and will not interfere with the ultimate disposition of the property to the City as the Army plans to do, and (b) such an interim transfer will enable the timely redevelopment of Building 18;

 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that, in order to protect the City against unnecessary expense or delay in implementing its Re-use Plan, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B requests:

a)   the City Administration and Council of the District of Columbia to cooperate to repeal the sole source legislation  for Building 18 and revise the administrative and legislative record accordingly;  and

b)   the Attorney General to request the Army to confirm in writing that Keenan has no interest in Building 18 and that has or immediately intends to implement the provisions of the Building 40 lease relating to BRAC.

c)    The City Administration in consultation with citizen members of the LRA to enter into negotiations with the Army for an interim transfer of Building 18 to the City.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Attorney General Irving Nathan, DC Council Chair Kwame Brown, and Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins are requested to report to the ANC 4B regarding the actions taken by the Office of the Attorney General, the City Council, and the Department of Planning and Economic Development respectively, in regard to the above requests (a), (b) and (c) of this Resolution.   

 

5)         Commissioner Green noted that Commissioners had discussed activating two standing committees of the Commission.  Commissioner Jefferson had requested that veterans’ issues be addressed and she (Commissioner Green) wanted to address issues related to improving upper Georgia Avenue.  These issues can be addressed by subcommittees of standing committees.  Commissioner Green therefore proposed that the Standing Committee on Social Services/Health and the Standing Committee on Economic Development/Land Use be activated.  She also noted that the Chairs of these Committees had to be Commissioners. 

 

Commissioner Jefferson nominated Commissioner Green to chair the Economic Development/Land Use Committee.  There were no other nominations.  Commissioner Green was elected Chair by unanimous show-of-hands vote, 5 yes, 0 no.

 

Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Jefferson to chair the Social Services/Health Committee.  There were no other nominations.  Commissioner Jefferson was elected Chair by unanimous show-of-hands vote, 5 yes, 0 no.

 

Commissioner Green asked if other Commissioners were interested in chairing other standing committees.  Commissioner Wheeler expressed interest in the Public Works/Infrastructure Committee. 

 

Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Wheeler to chair the Public Works/Infrastructure Committee.  There were no other nominations.  Commissioner Wheeler was elected Chair by unanimous show-of-hands vote, 5 yes, 0 no.

 

6)         Ms. Jania Otey, Director of the Kids & Culture Camp, presented her grant application for $2,000.  The funds would be used to provide scholarships to children of residents of ANC 4B or of people who work in ANC 4B.  Following discussion, Commissioner Green moved that ANC 4B approve a grant of $1,000.00.  The motion failed for lack of a second.

 

Commissioner Grant moved that ANC 4B approve a grant of $2,000.00.  Commissioner Sloan seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted unanimously by show-of-hands vote, 5 yes, 0 no.

 

Commissioner Green moved that the grant funds just approved be allotted to qualified applicants who had not previously participated in the Kids & Culture Camp.  Commissioner Jefferson seconded the motion.  She expressed concern that the camp was very popular and there might be a very large number of repeat applications for scholarships.  She wanted to ensure that grant funds would enable those who had not previously been able to attend the camp to do so.

 

After extended discussion, Commissioner Green withdrew her motion.  Ms. Otey assured the Commission that she would allocate scholarships with Commissioners’ expressed concerns in mind.

 

Community Concerns

 

1)         Ms. Rebecca Mills, resident of ANC 4B04, urged support for a petition for an initiative measure to go on the ballot which would prohibit corporate contributions to candidates’ campaign committees, exploratory committees, legal defense committees, constituent services funds, etc.  This petition is only to put the measure on the ballot for the November election.

 

2)         Keith Holman, the Ward 4 liaison for Mayor Vincent Gray, announced that the Mayor would be holding a Ward 4 budget town hall on Monday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 pm.  Chairman Green observed that this was the same day as the Commission meeting.   

 

3)         Commissioner Stephen Whatley, ANC 4A03, announced that the Mayor was forming a tax-reform task force, headed by former Mayor Anthony Williams.  He did not have a lot of details yet, but was concerned that the task force include citizens who actually pay taxes as well as economic experts.  He wanted everyone to be aware that this was developing.  Commissioner Whatley also announced that the Mayor had appointed someone to investigate and review sole-source contracts and thanked ANC 4B for their support of ANC 4A in urging such a review.l

 

4)         Commissioner Grant announced that the American Association of Retired Persons is having a document shredding event for senior citizens in the parking lot of the Takoma Recreation Center on May 8th from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Commissioner Grant asked people to contact him if they know of senior citizens who need transportation to the event.

 

5)         Commissioner Green announced that there is a vacancy for the Commissioner for ANC 4B04.  She said information was available at the back of the room.  Any resident of ANC 4B04 could file a petition to be a candidate to fill this vacancy.

 

Presentations and Reports

 

1)         Councilmember Kwame Brown, Chairman of the D.C. Council, gave a presentation on budget issues, ethics legislation, and other issues.  He answered questions from the public and from Commissioners.

 

2)         Ms. Anita Shelton, Co-Chair of the Ethics Issues Task Force of the D.C. State Democratic Committee, and Dan Wedderburn, member of the Task Force and DCDSC, gave a presentation on ethics issues and ethics legislation in the District of Columbia.  They addressed specific issues related to campaign financing.  They answered questions from the public and from Commissioners.

 

3)         Commissioner Wheeler, Acting Treasurer, gave the Treasurer’s report:

 

ANC 4B Treasurer’s Report – March 26, 2012

 

As of February 29, 2012 the Industrial Bank checking account balance was:  $12,988.23.

 

Balance – 1/31/12                                                        $14,770.88

 

Income – 2/1/12-2/29/12                          $1.10 (interest)    

 

Expenditures – 2/1/12-2/29/12                $1,783.75

 

Ending balance – 2/29/12                                            $12,988.23

 

The following checks were cashed last month:

Date Cashed

 Name

Check #

Amount

Purpose

Meeting Approval Date

2/2/12

Jamal’s Takoma LLC

4680

$600.00

Office rent

2012 budget

11/28/11

2/15/12

James H. Irwin

4688

$461.70

Staff wages

2012 budget

11/28/11

2/21/12

ANC Security Fund

4679

$25.00

2012 ANC Security Fund fee

1/23/12

2/22/12

Verizon

4687

$39.99

Internet connection

2012 budget

11/28/11

2/22/12

Verizon

4686

$118.93

Landline telephone

2012 budget

11/28/11

2/23/12

Konica Minolta

4685

$76.43

Printer/Copier costs

2012 budget

11/28/11

2/27/12

James H. Irwin

4690

$461.70

Staff wages

2012 budget

11/28/11

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.