Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zoning Commission Approves UDC Plan

The Zoning Commission has approved the UDC Campus Plan (case 11-02) and construction of a new LEED Platinum student center. This will be a major step forward for the University Campus and the Van Ness area.

Next up? American University.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Back, Woodley Park

In a stunning reversal, the City Council approved a late amendment to the Redistricting Bill bringing precinct 136 back to Ward 3. The area, generally east of Connecticut Avenue between Devonshire Place and Calvert Street had been in Ward 1.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More on the Cleveland Park Service Lane

The petition for the removal of the service lane in Cleveland Park is drawing attention from The City Paper and GreaterGreaterWashington (see comments).

What are your thoughts?

Monday, June 13, 2011

City Paper: Ft. Reno Schedule

The City Paper has provided the early schedule for the Ft. Reno concert series.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Service Lane in Cleveland Park

A petition was posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv recently in response to discussion regarding the "service lane" on the east side of Connecticut Avenue between Macomb and Newark Streets in Cleveland Park.

The lane was created during the early "automobile era" when planners assumed that the provision of auto facilities would create a business-friendly environment. Cleveland Park is home to an early example of the auto-centric strip mall.

Petition organizers suggest that restoring the broad sidewalk will enhance the pedestrian experience, provide more lively streetscape in the form of outdoor seating for restaurants and enable the many neighborhood visitors to enjoy the commercial strip without being crammed into a pedestrian facility that is at many times of the day inadequate for demand.

Opponents suggest the retail and service businesses along the strip would not be able to survive without the necessary parking, or in the alternative, that a reconfiguration would push more vehicles into the residential areas.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Municipal Bonds and Ward 3

A resident has shared a correspondence from Mary Cheh on the passage of a tax on Municipal Bonds. As the Councilmember notes, this retroactive action affects seniors living on fixed incomes and ward 3 residents disproportionately:

I’m sorry, I am reading your emails, but I’ve been inundated of late, as you might imagine. I was opposed to this tax but accepted it because (1) we are now the only jurisdiction to offer an exemption on out-of-state bonds and, contrary to the past, the District offers a wider array of its own tax-exempt bonds, and (2) it was linked to a promise that the extra revenues we anticipate in the balance of this year would be used to eliminate the retroactive effect, thereby grandfathering in bonds purchased before October 2011.

Regrettably, Councilmember Tommy Wells and others introduced an amendment that took away the promise to grandfather the tax exemption and instead use future revenues to pay for other programs. And, in an instance of rank politics, that group of Councilmembers secured their necessary seventh vote for the amendment from Councilmember Vincent Orange by promising him that he could use a half-a-million dollars of the expected revenues for the Lincoln Theater and Emancipation Day Festivities. I think that that action was unprincipled and unraveled an arrangement that was previously fair.

There is also an underlying issue of fairness here. In tax year 2008, there were 19,917 taxpayers that had reported some tax-exempt interest. Of those, 70% lived in Ward 3. There are many retired people--a great many of them in Ward 3--who rely on the interest of these bonds as part of their retirement plans. I have spoken to Chairman Brown and impressed upon him the urgency of having that amendment reconsidered, and he tells me he is attempting to do that for the second and final vote. So we'll see.

Given the state of the Council and Government leadership at this time, this hardly feels like a fair action to those who have saved, rather than those who are squandering city resources on pet projects or for private gain. Perhaps the Council and Executive Branch ought to ensure the financial house and safety systems on taxpayer monies are sound before burdening District Seniors with a retroactive tax.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Review of the AU Campus Plan

Here is one person's take on the American University Campus Plan.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Ward 3 Schools Vie for Baseball Title

Congratulations to Sidwell Friends for capturing the Congressional Bank DC Baseball classic after edging St. Albans, Maret and Wilson en route to victory.

Wilson High School should also be congratulated for taking its 19th DCIAA Baseball Trophy.