Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for March 2022 on Tuesday evening, March 1. Due to the restrictions on public meetings caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held as a virtual conference. Commission chair Michael Eichler (6E01) called the meeting to order. Alex Lopez (6E02, secretary) called the roll with Frank Wiggins (6E03, treasurer), Rachelle Nigro (6E04, vice chair), Patrick Parlej (6E05) and Denise Blackson (6E06) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Lieut. Donigian of the First District reported four robberies during the previous month, including an attempted robbery at Busboys and Poets. One arrest had been made that may deter further robberies. The district was on alert to deal with the State of the Union address and the Trucker Convoy that was coming to DC. Parlej said that during a safety walkthrough of the neighborhood, Councilman Charles Allen told him that First District was getting 12 new officers. Eichler asked if something could be done about parked police cars blocking bicycle lanes. Donigian said that word had gone out for the police to respect bike lanes.
Capt. Small of the Third Police District said that there had been five violent crimes during the past month, three of them robberies. This was a decline in incidents compared to the same month last year. There were 18 stolen autos reported, with 13 of them being crimes of opportunity where a car was left running on the street.
Nigro brought up the homicide in front of Dunbar High School. The response was that there were good leads but it was still under investigation. It seems the participants in the incident knew each other. Nigro asked if neighbors in the area were asked to provide footage from their Ring cameras. Small said that evidence collection is done by homicide detectives, and he could not comment on who was asked for information. Lopez asked about gunshots heard at Seventh and S streets the previous Sunday, which resulted in damage to a car. The captain said that the incident, now being investigated, appears to be a case of two passing cars shooting at each other. Eichler asked about the deployment of police in front of schools to address traffic issues. Small said that setting up those police details were the responsibility of the Special Operations Division.
Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)
A licensee, dLena, 476 K St. NW, was requesting support of a substantial license change, along with a stipulated license that would increase the number of seats in public space from 35 to 80. The restaurant currently seats 80 in public space due to a temporary pandemic program. The change would allow dLena to continue with 80 seats after the temporary program ends. ABC chair Alexander Padro said the committee supported both the substantial change and the stipulated license. Parlej moved to support the request. The motion passed 6 to 0.
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)
TAC chair Alex Lopez asked the commission to support a resolution for the District Department of Transportation to place speed bumps on the 400 block of Warner Street. He said that neighbors had brought up the issue and that Warner Street would be eligible for speed bumps since it is designated a local street. The motion passed unanimously.
Resolution on Public Safety
Parlej asked the ANC to pass a resolution calling for an increase in funds for public safety. He said that the sense of the community was that public safety was deteriorating. Eichler noted that studies had concluded that increased police presence did reduce crime. Nigro approved of the resolution’s support for more police foot patrols. Lopez complained that the cost of one policeman could solve the issues of three homeless people, and that he was not sure that more police would always be effective. Nonetheless, Lopez thought that the resolution was even-handed. The resolution passed 6 to 0.
Lopez said that he was proud to introduce his resolution on a lost African American cemetery in his single member district. The Harmoneon cemetery was on the block in Shaw bounded by what is now Florida Avenue and S, Fifth and Sixth streets NW. From 1829 to 1859, it was one of the few places in the District where blacks could be buried. It also buried the indigent. The cemetery had to move when District law prohibited cemeteries in the central city. After relocation to Northeast DC, it was known as the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, where many notable Washingtonians were buried. The resolution recognized the cemetery and asked the mayor to place a commemorative work where it was once located. The resolution also asked to place commemorative signage on S Street as part of the S Street revitalization project.
Alexander Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets (SMS), said that his organization supported the resolution. He also mentioned that SMS had just completed a six-month effort to document the existence of the cemetery. Eichler asked about the most appropriate form of commemoration. Padro answered that a marker embedded in the sidewalk would be best. Gretchen Wharton, SMS board chair, who had lived on the same block as the cemetery and in the neighborhood her whole life, also expressed support for the resolution. The resolution passed unanimously.
Wards 2 and 6 ANC Redistricting
The commission received presentations from the Ward 2 and Ward 6 ANC redistricting taskforces. The Ward 2 ANC Redistricting Taskforce was introduced by Gretchen Wharton and Ankit Jain, representing Shaw and Mount Vernon respectively. They introduced three proposed configurations for the new Shaw ANC in Ward 2, to be called ANC 2G, and pointed out the preferred alternative to be approved by the taskforce. Then Ward 6 Taskforce Chair Ivan Frishberg outlined the work in that ward. He noted the problem of drawing a single member district for an area like Sursum Corda, which had a low population in the 2020 Census but is seeing development that will lead to a huge increase in residents. Frishberg also noted it looks as if his ward will have a joint ANC at the Navy Yard, made up of single member district commissioners from both Ward 6 and Ward 8.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.