Photo courtesy of Greg Roberts
This evening’s storms have parts of Rhode Island Avenue closed in Bloomingdale due to heavy flooding. The flooding through Bloomingdale is substantial and several houses are reporting flood basements as a high-capacity rainstorm stalled out over the District this evening around 7pm. This photo, taken by friend of We Love DC Greg Roberts shows a swamped Rhode Island Avenue, with almost ten inches of water.
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie reported that there was sewage mixed with the rainwater, showing that perhaps DC Water might have work to do in the area this evening. Our thoughts are with all those suffering property damage and loss of living space tonight.
Photo by Franklin Garcia, used with permission
In the special election held to replace disgraced former council member Harry Thomas Jr., the field was wide and deep with suitors for the position. Five strong candidates and seven additional candidates spent the last three months wooing voters from Bloomingdale to North Michigan Park to Fort Lincoln and Trinidad in hopes of garnering the wide open council. In the end it was Stronghold’s Kenyan McDuffie that captured the most votes – by a large margin – and will become Ward 5’s new voice on the Council of the District of Columbia at the end of the month when the election is certified.
McDuffie, 36, had worked previously for the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety’s office after an unsuccessful 2010 bid. McDuffie’s biography also includes stints working for the Civil Rights Division at Department of Justice, as well as at the Prince George’s County Prosecutor’s office, and as a letter carrier with the US Postal Service.
The margin of victory was wide – enough for McDuffie to claim a mandate – capturing more than 44% of the vote. Turnout, while fairly low at 15%, was significantly better than many analysts had predicted. McDuffie’s final total of over 4,000 votes was double his nearest competitor – Fort Lincoln’s Delano Hunter. North Michigan Park’s Frank Wilds finished in 3rd place with 15% of the vote.
McDuffie’s victory broke out to outright wins in the western part of the ward – Bloomingdale and Eckington – as well as the central four precincts in Brookland and Michigan Park, and didn’t come in lower than 2nd in any of the precincts he didn’t take. McDuffie made the rounds of the news outlets today, including Kojo Nnamdi, Fox 5, Bruce DePuyt and others. The election results will be certified by May 30th, and McDuffie would like be sworn in just after the budget passes the council.
Capital City Diner Interior
courtesy of Kevin H.
Capital City Diner, closed this past winter, is now up for sale on Ebay, including all of the fixtures, kitchen equipment and various accoutrements. The diner is a Silk Road Diner, built by the Paterson Vehicle Company in 1947, and features five booths, sixteen stools, and could be reconfigured to seat more. The 40′ x 14′ diner also comes with contacts at a reputable diner-moving company (a problem you don’t want to have, believe me), and the bid is currently $20,000.
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
While others have taken on the Primary election financial data, I spent yesterday combing through the financials of those Ward 5 Council candidates who have declared their intent to run. I’ve compiled my initial data into a read-only spreadsheet that you can use to dissect the race, and I welcome corrections either in the comments or via email. Using the campaign filings with the Office of Campaign Finance, I have examined closely the filings of the 12 candidates who returned the forms to OCF. I’m surprised that there are at least eight who have taken out petitions who have yet to return file with the OCF, but there are provisions that would allow a candidate not to return forms right away.
There are four campaigns that have made efforts to fundraise in the first reporting period, representing approximately 20 days of fundraising time. Delano Hunter leads the pack with just over $20,000 across 119 donors, followed by Kenyan McDuffie with just under $17,000 across 76 donors. Frank Wilds made a $10,000 loan to his own campaign, but tracked no donations. Bloomingdale ANC Commissioner John Salatti was fourth with $7,600 or so. No other candidate raised more than $550.
Councilman Harry Thomas and BNCA President Caroline Petti
courtesy of tbridge
Harry Thomas Jr, seen above at Brookland ribbon cutting, tonight released a statement that he intends to resign his Ward 5 council seat in the morning, and plead guilty to two federal crimes related to $383,000 of city money that was misappropriated by a charity that Thomas operates. In his statement tonight, Thomas said, “Tomorrow morning I will plead guilty to committing two federal crimes. I am resigning my position as a member of the Council effective immediately. I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry.”
Thomas is expected in court at 11:15am tomorrow for a plea hearing in Federal Court to answer for the charges that were filed against him this morning. A plea deal has been rumored by several media outlets for the last few days, and may contain up to 3 years for Thomas in prison.
A special election would take place on the first Tuesday after 114 days from the certification of the vacancy of Thomas’ seat, which would likely place the election on May 8th or 15th. Candidates have already begun to appear, with at least six possibilities emerging as prospective candidates in the last few days, to include some of Thomas’ former challengers, including Delano Hunter and Kenyan McDuffie.
D Block, Alcatraz
courtesy of itjournalist
We only gave Harry Thomas Jr the #3 slot in 2011’s Worst of Scandals list, but it appears he will be the number one figure in DC politics for the next few weeks. WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson is reporting that Councilmember Thomas will resign as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas to prison for 2-3 years. In addition, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas failed to make his second scheduled $50,000 payment this week.
Thomas’ resignation would leave Ward 5 without a seat on the council (excepting At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who also lives in Ward 5) until a special election could be called. The District, according to law, must hold the election on the Tuesday after 114 days from the certified vacancy. Should Thomas’ vacancy be certified by Friday of this week, that election would take place on April 30th, but a May election date is more likely. Thomas faced three challengers in the 2010 primary, with none gathering more than 19%. No word yet on if any of his 2010 challengers would make a run for his seat.
Should Thomas resign, it would be nice to see the Council take efforts to, give the financial situation, amend the charter to add more flexibility to the special election options, including alignment to nearby primary and special elections, as well as provisions to allow for the Board of Elections to avoid days that could limit voters for religious reasons.
courtesy of ‘neuefrau’
Pop-up stores, pop-up art exhibits, pop-up restaurants–I need to resist making the cliche that DC is literally “poppin’.” Moreover, all of these places seem to be having pretty successful runs.
Mt. Pleasant Temporium, which Rebecca Gross reported on earlier, took in $31,000 in sales in less than a month. The temporium was open from February 18th to March 13th and saw more than 6,800 visitors and hosted 23 events with storytelling, crafting and live music. Not too shabby, huh? Garment District in Shaw also closed their doors this past weekend. Though word on the tweets is they still have some pieces for sale that you can snag at Shaw Main Streets’ Annual meeting tomorrow at 7 pm.
Fear not if you didn’t get the memo on these last pop-ups. The AdMo Pop-Up Shop is opening this Sunday, March 27th at 2421 18th St. NW. The store’s run coincides with the National Cherry Blossom Festival (as it’s an approved Cherry Blossom partner) and will close on April 10th. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 12 PM – 9 PM and Friday and Saturday, 11 AM – 10 PM. Similar to the Mt. Pleasant Temporium, the AdMo Pop-up Shop will offer arts, crafts, entertainment and workshops. No events other than the opening ribbon-cutting ceremony and the closing wine tasting have been posted on their site yet, but you can keep tabs on them here.
courtesy of ‘TomLeGro’
If you’ve ever been to Rustik in Bloomingdale, you’ve probably noticed that it has this big, gorgeous patio… with nothing but firewood on it. Rustik has a voluntary agreement with the Bloomingdale Civic Association allowing patio seating for reduced hours, but has not yet secured the public space permit required to actually seat people outside. The hearing with the Public Space Management Administration is on March 24, and neighbors are writing letters in support of Rustik’s petition to Juan Amaya at the Space Permit Office.
In Brookland, the 901 Monroe project is moving along through the hearing process. On March 14th, the Zoning Commission held a setdown hearing on the project. The commission seems generally in favor of the idea, but would like to consider setting down a version of the plan with zoning that would restrict its height further. The Commission has asked for a number of additional documents: shade studies on how the proposed development will affect the surrounding area, perspective drawings of how it will look from various points around the neighborhood (12th Street retail, the Metro station, etc.), as well as a copy of the Brookland Small Area Plan. The developers have until tomorrow to turn in this information and the Commission will consider the issue again at their March 28 meeting. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘mediaslave’
The Ward 5 lists were active this week, with several things going on to talk about.
Numerous discussions ensued across both the Eckington and Ward 5 lists after the Truxton Circle murder of Billy Mitchell, who was on his way home from the theater when he was shot at the corner of North Capitol and Florida NW while trying to help a woman involved in a conflict with a man, who in turn was the shooter.
In addition to the typical point-scoring and debates about gun control and concealed-carry, there were numerous calls for additional steps to make that specific area safer, including neighborhood watch groups, coordinated dog-walking groups, a surveillance camera, etc. There will be a vigil held for Mitchell at the site of the shooting at 6PM tonight, followed by an emergency public safety meeting with the Fifth District police and Ward 5 Council Member Harry Thomas at Wesley AME Zion Church at 1712 North Capitol Street. Continue reading
‘Shining on the Shrine’
courtesy of ‘Rolenz’
What Ward 5 residents are talking about this week…
The big news from Brookland this week was that the police arrested a suspect in a string of muggings on Newton Street. Everyone who walks home that way (including me) was most relieved to hear the news.
Several of the mailing lists around the ward were buzzing about the federal HomeSaver program launching this month, designed to help the unemployed stave off foreclosure. The pilot phase of the program launches today in Wards 5, 7, and 8 (not coincidentally, the wards with the highest unemployment), and will go citywide on April 12. Continue reading
‘From Brookland with Love’
courtesy of ‘mediaslave’
The big excitement this week (aside from all the posturing around the At-Large interim council appointment) was on the Brookland list, and started to spill over to the Ward 5 list. Two separate properties were identified by neighbors as “McMansions” (though I think that’s only a fair epithet for one of them- the other one is more “bad faux Victorian”), and a veritable tidal wave of accusations of zoning/permitting violations, damage to neighbors properties, etc. was poured out onto the list. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘mediaslave’
First in a series where we bring you the best from neighborhood mailing lists, ANC and civic association meetings, and other neighborhood news sources.*
In Brookland, the Patel family reopened the Newton Food Market on 12th Street on New Year’s Eve. The father, Raj Patel, was killed during an attempted robbery on December 20. If you’re in Brookland and you want a snack or a soda, I suggest you buy it there, instead of at the CVS across the street.
On the Ward 5 list, the discussion this week was about the planned public art installation on the new New York Avenue bridge. The sculpture, which will frame the vista from the crest of the bridge with abstract metal trees, was designed by Kent Bloomer, a Yale School of Architecture professor and a specialist in architectural sculpture. Bloomer has done a wide variety of architectural ornamentation around the country, including one at National Airport. The Ward 5 list discussion predictably centered around how much the project cost and why a DC artist couldn’t have been found. (Probably because architectural sculpture is a pretty specific discipline, and DC isn’t exactly crawling with practitioners.) Bloomer gave an informative interview to Next American City magazine a few years ago about building ornamentation in urban environments that’s worth a read, what with DC being so chockablock with it. Continue reading