Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Angelica Castañon wins ANC 1A06 special election

If you live around the Civic Plaza, you have a new ANC rep: Angelica Castañon, who works in education policy and advocacy. There was a three way race with Castañon, Jordan Pearlstein and Charles Greene III after the previous commissioner for the area resigned.

The ANC meets monthly to talk about local issues, advise the city council on planning and development in the area, and also make changes or block alcohol license requests. If you're interested in going, and it's worth it to get a good sense of what's happening in your area, meetings are listed here. If you live in southern Columbia Heights (see map) you're represented by ANC1B, which is here -- however, their site is giving me a malware warning.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Trump ends temporary protected status for 200,000 Salvadorans; they may be forced to go home

There was big immigration news today that may affect our community: Trump has decided to end what's called temporary protected status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans out of the roughly 1 million in the country, which means they may be forced to return home. As you know, our area has many Salvadorans and other Central Americans.

They'll have until Sept. 2019 to either get a green card or leave the country. There are also roughly 190,000 children born to TPS parents, so families will have to decide to break up the family or take their American-born children back to El Salvador. The country has the highest murder rate in the world.

Ward 1 councilmember Brianne Nadeau put out a statement after the news broke, asking other council members to pass a bill she's written to start a legal defense fund for the immigrants, which is called the Access to Justice for Immigrants Act. Here's more from Councilmember Nadeau:

Nadeau Statement on Trump Decision to End Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans Living in the U.S.

***Versión en Español disponible abajo***

Washington – Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau released the following statement after the Trump administration announced that it would terminate Temporary Protected Status for approximately 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States, including many in the District of Columbia:

“Today’s decision by the Trump administration will tear apart families and uproot long-time members of our community. America and the District are stronger when we welcome immigrants and recognize that we have a responsibility to stand up for our neighbors who are vulnerable. As Councilmember, I authored the Access to Justice for Immigrants Act which will create a permanent legal fund to assist the District’s documented and undocumented immigrant residents. The Council should pass it. I also call on Congress to end the uncertainty for our Salvadoran residents and create a permanent fix that allows them to stay in the communities that they call home.”

“La decisión de hoy por la administración del Presidente Trump separará a las familias y destruirá muchas vidas de los miembros establecidos de nuestra comunidad. Los Estados Unidos y el Distrito son más fuertes cuando damos la bienvenida a los inmigrantes y reconocemos que tenemos la responsabilidad de defender a nuestros vecinos que son vulnerables. Como Concejal, yo escribí elAccess to Justice for Immigrants Act (Acceso a la Justicia para Inmigrantes) que creará  un fondo legal permanente para asistir a los residentes documentados e indocumentados del Distrito. El Concejo del Distrito debería aprobarlo. También le hago un llamado al Congreso que ponga fin a la incertidumbre para nuestros residentes Salvadoreños y crear una solución permanente que les permita quedarse en sus comunidades que llaman hogar.”

ANC 1A06 special election on Wednesday: vote for Jordan Pearlstein

If you live in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A06 (see map above) then there's a special election for you this Wednesday. The seat for that area is currently vacant after the previous commissioner resigned.

The special election for the seat is at the next ANC meeting, which will take place this Wednesday, January 10th and 7 pm at Tubman Elementary School, in the gym. The entrance for the meeting is on Kenyon.

There are three candidates: community development expert Jordan Pearlstein, corporate speaker and magician Charles Greene III and senior education policy analyst Angelica Castañon. From reading about them they all seem like they'd be good for the position, but I'm recommending that you vote for my friend Jordan.

You may have seen Ms. Pearlstein around, she's been very active with local nonprofits and co-founded Georgia Avenue Thrive, which does a lot of great work in the area, like the First Friday events. She's also an expert in community development, community building and fair housing (full disclosure, we worked together for a few years at USAID.)

The ANC, if you're not familiar, has three main areas of responsibility: advise the city council and other government offices about local concerns and issues; to deal with liquor licenses, where the ANC can effectively change or alter the provisions of liquor licenses, such as hours of operation and what establishments can do (for example, live music or outdoor seating); and they also have a budget to fund community projects. The ANC is often the first place to go if you have a question or issue with city services or development issues.

If you live and are registered to vote in ANC 1A06, I hope you can make it to the election and hear from Jordan and the other candidates. Read on for more from Jordan: her platform and more info about her.
I'm excited to represent the SMD and ANC1A. I've dedicated both my personal and professional life to building inclusive, connected, equitable, and vibrant communities. And I want to make sure you and the larger community have the information you need and the representation you deserve to be informed and engaged advocates on the issues you care most about. The values and vision we build our community on are important. 
It's also vital that your representative understands how to navigate government bureaucracy and build trusting relationships to get things done. After years of working with the federal government, with cities around the country, and with communities here in ANC1A, I'm ready to do that for you. Come out on Wednesday to learn more and vote! 
A little more about me: I've been involved in the ANC1A community for several years. I co-founded and serve as Vice President for Georgia Avenue Thrive, an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to building an inclusive, connected, and vibrant community. Georgia Avenue Thrive is also an implementing partner with District Bridges of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street, a national program, which is funded locally by DC's Department of Small and Local Business Development. 
I've consulted for District Bridges in support of its Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant Main Street and serve on the board of another ANC1A-based nonprofit, Words, Beats & Life. I'm a participant in and volunteer with NeighborUp, an inclusive network of DC residents and leaders who are committed to improving communities in ways that help our neighbors live and thrive, together. I am also the Democratic Party Precinct Captain for Precinct 39. And, finally, I have a full-time, day job at a nationwide nonprofit focused on cultivating inclusive and equitable communities, where I focus on community engagement and fair housing.
UPDATE: Angelica has asked me repeatedly on Twitter to add her job title and more about her job. She is a Senior Policy Analyst with the National Education Association. She does community organizing around education issues. As before, her site, as well as Charles Greene's, are linked above.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Awesome! Jewish-style deli coming to Alfie's space: wood-fired bagels, sandwiches etc. by Timber Pizza folks

This is great news: the folks from Timber Pizza Co. on Upshur are taking over the old Alfie's/Tchoup's/Mothership space at 3301 Georgia Avenue, turning it into a Jewish-inspired deli named Call Your Mother. They jokingly call it a "Jew-ish" deli as it's not super traditional, with bagels made in a wood-fired oven that are a cross between New York and the denser, smaller and sweeter Montreal-style bagels. They're calling them "New Montreal" bagels.

They'll have Jewish-inspired food like latke fries and seared Matzoh ball soup. Bagel sandwiches may include egg, smoked salmon or smoked whitefish, plus rye, wheat and challah and occasionally donuts, croissants and pastries, according to the Post.

Interestingly, they also plan to have a supper club four nights a week with various themed dinners, like Salvadoran, fried chicken, Peking duck and others. I guess to appeal to the dinner crowd.

They're aiming at April, but need to renovate the space. No word on liquor yet, I'm trying to find out more. Pretty pumped for this.

Images from Google Street View and HapstakDemetriou+

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Vietnamese restaurant, Bún DC, coming to 2905 Sherman Ave

This is neat: a reader sent me this photo of 2905 Sherman Avenue NW, where it looks like a new Vietnamese place is going in. The sign reads "BÚN DC Vietnamese 'Soc Trang' Homestyle Cuisine." Bún is a type of Vietnamese noodle bowl. Soc Trang is a coastal area so maybe that means more seafood dishes.

The reader who sent me the photo thinks it may be connected with Pho Viet, the tasty little spot on 14th Street near Otis. Here's what they had to say:
This house has been abandoned for at least three years and all of sudden in the last 2 months a lot of work has been done. I am not 100% sure, but I could’ve sworn I saw a couple people leave the house one evening with “Pho Viet” shirts. Now today this sign popped up on the house. I hope the pho viet crew are opening a new restaurant.
If that's true, it's a good sign. The Post, for example, says Pho Viet has the best pho in town. I can't find anything more about this spot, but will update as I hear more. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Walters Sports Bar on Georgia has closed permanently

Well, this stinks: Walters, the sports bar at 3622 Georgia Ave NW, has closed for good, according to PoP. The spot opened in 2015 as a joint venture between DC Reynolds and Looking Glass Lounge, which are on either side of it. At some point the Looking Glass folks sold their share to DC Reynolds.

The location has had some bad luck in the past, as it's previously been the Blue Banana, also a sports bar, and Park View Patio, a kind of odd spot with a big patio (part of which was later taken over by DC Reynolds.) The Walters folks cited the lack of a proper kitchen as part of the problem.

I thought it was definitely better than the previous two spots there, but there often wasn't much of a crowd. Park View Patio also had pop-ups during the day, like the Milk Cult coffee and breakfast taco pop-up, but Walters didn't do that. I also saw reviews about it having kind of a split personality between sports bar and dance club -- and people watching sports want to listen to sports, not dance music.

That leaves only Lou's City Bar on Irving and The Pitch up on Georgia as the only sports bar type spots in our area. Anybody have recommendations for other sports watching locales? The basement at Meridian Pint is also pretty good for that, as are the Airedale on 14th and Bravo Bar on Georgia.

Hopefully something else successful can come into the space. PoP posted Walters final note, which maybe jokingly suggested it could be a "neighborhood bakery, salami shop, tofu factory, hydroponic store, gluten free distillery, EDM dancehall, or any other idea you think Georgia Ave is desperately in need of."
"Walters Sports Bar closing 12/31. The team behind Walters would like to thank everyone over the last 2+ years for your support. While we would like to stick around for another Caps and Wizards playoffs run we can’t in good conscience be apart of a potential Eagles Super Bowl win (Kidding….maybe). With that said Walters will be closing 12/31 and we encourage everyone to visit Looking Glass and DC Reynolds for all your future sports watching needs. 
When we took over the space we new it would be an uphill battle with lack of a proper kitchen. With such a short term lease the cost to install a hood system wasn’t feasible and thus the food wouldn’t be equal to what can be found elsewhere in the neighborhood.

For anyone with a great idea for a neighborhood bakery, salami shop, tofu factory, hydroponic store, gluten free distillery, EDM dancehall, or any other idea you think Georgia Ave is desperately in need of please feel free to contact us and we can hook you up with the landlord."
What do you think might work there? Maybe a cookie and donut shop for the patrons of the History of Cannabis Museum next door? 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wow, Ancient Rivers in Mulebone/Eatonville space closes after three months

This must be some kind of record: Ancient Rivers, a Middle Eastern spot from Andy Shallal, has closed after about three months. They opened in September in the Mulebone/Eatonville space at 14th and V and I heard nothing about them since then.

I stopped by once soon after it switched concepts, not even knowing it had changed from Mulebone, because they used to do a sort of coworking space: you could sit in the dining area and have coffee or lunch and work with your laptop. It was pretty clever.

The food was pretty tasty, but they didn’t seem to have their stuff together: it didn’t seem like it was actually open, but it was, and throughout the day other folks came in with laptops and asked the same question: “uhh... are you open?”

That seems to have extended to the restaurant, as I never heard about it and kind of forgot it existed.

Kind of odd too, as it’s run by Andy Shallal of Busboys and Poets and the previous tenants of this space, Eatonville and Mulebone. You’d think he’d know what he’s doing. We’ll see if something else can go in and succeed — otherwise it’ll be the fourth place to close in this space.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Here's how to recycle your Christmas trees for free

If you put up a live tree for the holidays, the city has some recycling options for you. Here's the info from the city's Department of Public Works: you can drop off your tree at two of the city's trash transfer stations, and they'll also be picking them up on your regularly scheduled recycling days. Make sure to take off all ornaments and tinsel and don't bag the trees.

If you aren't served by the city's pickup (such as you're in a condo or apartment building) you'll need to either drop them off or contact your building management or the trash company.

The city also gives our free compost at the Fort Totten station: read on.

How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree in DC

DPW Provides Residents with 2 Convenient Options for Recycling Their Holiday Trees and Greenery

(WASHINGTON, DC) With the holiday season coming to a close over the next several weeks, thousands of DC residents will be looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of their holiday trees and greenery. The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) is pleased to provide District residents with two easy options for having their cut holiday trees and greenery recycled (no artificial trees).
“The District is committed to waste reduction year-round, including the holiday season,” said DPW Director Christopher Shorter. “These two options ensure residents can dispose of their holiday trees and greenery in an environmentally friendly and convenient way.”
The first option is for residents to bring their trees and greenery, free of charge, to either of the District’s transfer stations. The Fort Totten Transfer Station is located at 4900 John F. McCormack Drive, NE, and the Benning Road Transfer Station is located at 3200 Benning Road, NE.
The second option, also free of charge, is for residents to put their trees and greenery out where their trash and recycling is collected between January 13 and February 2. These items will be collected on residents’ regularly scheduled recycling days during this period. This collection service is only available to residents who are serviced by DPW. DPW collects trash and recyclables from single-family homes and apartment/condo buildings with three or fewer living units.
Regardless of which option residents choose, all ornaments and lights should be removed from the tree. Residents are also asked not to bag their trees or greenery. 
In fiscal year 2017, 327.25 tons of holiday trees were collected and composted by DPW in the District. As a reminder, DPW provides DC residents with up to five 32-gallon bags (bring your own bags) of free compost weekdays, 1 pm to 5 pm, and Saturdays 8 am to 3 pm, at the Fort Totten Transfer Station.
DPW provides essential city services in two distinct program areas: environmental services/solid waste management and parking enforcement. Both contribute to making District streets and public spaces clean, safe, attractive and accessible for all residents, businesses, commuters and visitors.