Saying they were “shocked and saddened by the actions of local and federal police and paramilitary police operating in the District over the last two weeks,” at their June 9th meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B passed a set of resolutions calling for changes to the funding and use of police forces. Commissioner Corey Holman, who introduced the motion, said “there is a moral imperative as elected officials to respond to a crisis like this.”
The resolutions, addressed to DC Council Committees and the Office of the Mayor, passed by a vote of 5-1-2 after lengthy discussion and debate. Some commissioners objected to what they saw as a wholescale condemnation of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), stressing the positive efforts and engagement of officers. Two sections of the resolutions initially proposed, one calling for an annual reduction in the MPD budget by five percent per year and for the creation of a new safety and justice department, and another tying DC funding for Metro Transit Police to a requirement that they align operating procedures with MPD, were cut. Language was added to clarify that the resolution did not reflect ANC views of MPD engagement but rather the reallocation of resources to address inequity in the community.
The resolutions call for reductions in MPD budget, the restoration and expansion of funding for violence interrupter programs, and the end to contracts between DC Public Schools and DC MPD. The resolution also calls for the creation of a funded Community Safety and Justice Revision Commission to shrink the responsibilities of police and update operating procedures that would replace the reform commission created via emergency legislation passed by DC Council June 9.
By-Laws Changed to Allow COVID Grants
The commission voted to set aside $45,000 for COVID-19 related grants and elected Gerald Sroufe (6B02) chair of the granting task force, which will determine the granting process. The commission also voted on changes to the ANC by-laws to allow the commission to make grants during a public health emergency for the purpose of providing relief or assisting in the response to the crisis.
At their May 12th meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B voted to explore the legality of creating a one-time grant from its resources to support helping organizations in the community. The District Office of ANCs (OANC) previously sent a memo to commissioners saying that many restrictions to grant-making are temporarily lifted due to the COVID emergency and encouraged ANCs to help citizens through the emergency. While some ANCs have grants committees, ANC 6B by-laws and rules prohibited the organization from grant-making prior to the June 9th vote.
Eastern Market Metro Plaza on Schedule
Commissioner Steve Holtzman (6B05) reported that construction on parcel 1 of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Park is expected to be completed on schedule at the end of June. At that time, Holtzman said, the Department of General Services (DGS) is expected to open the green space to the public. The playground and splash pads will remain closed. Some elements of the playground have not yet been installed, as the parts were delayed due to COVID-related supply issues.
The Public Space Application for construction on the next portion of the park, the parcel where the Eastern Market Station is located, is expected to be heard in July. Holtzman said that in considering the whole project, DDOT has recommended removing the lay-by on Pennsylvania Avenue (in front of Trader Joes) to Eighth Street SE. DDOT was to meet in mid-June to discuss shifting the bike lockers located near the metro station entrance as well as a proposal to shift bus stops located in the area.
The ANC voted to support:
- The dedication of a triangle park in the area bounded by 15th Street, Potomac and Kentucky Avenues SE as Will Hill Park, at the request of neighbors and former ANC 6B commissioners. Hill was a former ANC 6B Commissioner (6B06) who died in 2015. Hill was a long-term activist for the Barney Circle neighborhood as well as for pedestrian activism, said former 6B09 commissioner Dan Ridge, who spoke in support of the motion. The park is located right around the corner from Hill’s home, and in a triangle adjacent to Dennis Dolinger Park. Dolinger, a former commissioner who was murdered in 1999, was close friends with Hill.
- A letter to the ReOpen DC Advisory Committee, the Deputy Mayor of Nightlife, Councilmember Charles Allen and DGS supporting the expansion of restaurants public space during Phase I and Phase II of reopening, focusing on areas on the west side of Barracks Row, the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between Second and Seventh Streets SE and the east side of the 200 and 300 blocks of Seventh Street SE. The letter requests that DGS close the 200 and 300 blocks of Seventh Street SE to traffic on weekends, and that both DDOT and private property owners not charge a fee for the expanded use of space by restaurants.
- A letter to the Board of Zoning to support text amendments that would allow for the conversion of alley tax lots recorded before 1958 to record lots, provided the lot is at least 450 square feet. Holman explained that in most cases, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) will only issue building permits for record lots, meaning that such a conversion will help facilitate the development of alley lots for housing stock.
- A Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for modifications to the main floor entry of William Penn House (515 East Capitol St. NE). Modifications include an accessibility lift and landing on the exterior of the home which will be finished to match the building exterior. The lift is part of further renovations to the main floor unit that will make it fully accessible.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, ANC 6B held the May meeting of the full commission on Tuesday, June 9th virtually via Webex with a quorum of eight commissioners. Appearing were Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02, Secretary), Brian Ready (6B03, Chair), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06, Treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07, Parliamentarian), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, Vice-Chair). Denise Krepp (6B10) was absent due to illness. ANC 6B09 is currently vacant.
The next meeting of ANC 6B is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14. In the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, DC Council passed emergency legislation March 17 making it possible for ANCs to meet virtually. For the most up-to-date information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting, visit anc6b.org.
ANC 6B has been working to update its website. You can visit the new site, learn about Commissioners and committees, and subscribe to the newsletter by visiting anc6b.org or connect with the commission via email at [email protected] or find @ANC6B on Twitter.