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Deputy Mayor Listens to Public Safety Concerns

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A met via Zoom on May 9. Commissioners Keya Chatterjee (6A01, vice chair), Mike Velasquez (6A02), Roberta Shapiro (6A03), Amber Gove (6A04, chair), Dave Wethington (6A05), Robb Dooling (6A06, secretary) and Steve Moilanen (6A07, treasurer) were in attendance.

Briefing by Deputy Mayor

Lindsey Appiah, the deputy mayor for public safety and justice, briefed the commission on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) FY25 budget. Unveiled in early April, the budget maintains current priorities and funds new projects with a focus on public safety, education and revitalizing the downtown corridor, Appiah stated. It includes major Capital One Arena renovations, the modernization of public housing units and the implementation of the Secure DC legislation. The budget also contains program cuts.

Commissioners were concerned about how the cuts and overall reallocation of funds would impact public safety. While “grateful” that Monumental Sports is remaining in DC, said Velasquez, the prioritization of funds in this budget cycle sends the wrong message to residents and local business owners. “I’m really concerned that one billionaire can complain about crime and get immediate attention from the mayor while repeated, serious concerns of hardworking and income-tax-paying residents’ requests for better policing along H Street get ignored,” he stated.

Several initiatives, including the Safe Commercial Corridor Hubs, are part of how the District plans to prioritize public safety in the next fiscal year, Appiah stated, pointing to hubs in Chinatown and Anacostia. Shapiro emphasized the “desperate need” for the hub’s resources along the H Street corridor. “H Street is about to go into a death spiral unless the city allocates [funding],” Shapiro said.

The maintenance of schools, Gove argued, is also crucial for public safety. She acknowledged the benefits from the modernization and construction of new schools but expressed concern about the District’s “sheer failure” to maintain the facilities. “We have many schools that have nonfunctional locks, which is absolutely unacceptable in the kind of environment that we’re in and the level of gun violence that we’re in,” Gove said.

Chatterjee asked how cuts to school staff will impact student safety and other key issues such as chronic absenteeism. “There needs to be a lot more planning, and it needs to be clear that our schools are a priority because our kids are a priority,” she said.

The commission took no vote on the mayor’s budget.

Other Matters

The commission voted to write the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in support of the lane reconfiguration of westbound C Street between 17th and 16th streets NE. It also recommended reducing the travel lanes of westbound North Carolina Avenue from two to one, from 16th to 14th streets NE, to reduce vehicular speed and improve pedestrian safety along the corridor.

The commission voted to:

  • protest the Class A retail liquor license application for Jumbo Liquors at 1122 H St. NE in the absence of a settlement agreement (SA);
  • protest the stipulated retailer’s Class C license application of Smokin’ Pig (1208 H St. NE) in the absence of an SA;
  • support the application of the owners of 430 10th NE to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements to construct a rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story with basement;
  • protest the Class A retail liquor license application of Noble Liquor and Tobacco at 1305 H St. NE on the grounds of peace, order and quiet;
  • support DDOT’s notice of intent (NOI) for the Vision Zero hardening program at the intersections of 13th Street, Constitution Avenue and Tennessee Avenue NE, and recommend changes to the proposed project to improve pedestrian safety.

The next meeting of ANC 6A is at 7 p.m. on June 13 via Zoom. Get details on committee meetings and how to join online at www.anc6a.org.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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