Back to Sandra Seegarss home page Back to July 1999 One Page at a Time
|Vol. 5, No. 3
Editor: Sandra "SS" Seegars
1107 Savannah Street, SE
Washington, DC 20032
CITY COUNCIL V. MAYOR
The mayor, being the executive branch, has the duty to see that every agency functions properly, and that every resident is provided with adequate public services.
If your trash is not picked up, call the mayor's office; if your neighborhood is infested with rodents, call the mayor's office; if there is a lack of jobs and job training, call the mayor's office, etc. - 202-727-2890.
The mayor appoints board and commission members, chiefs and directors. The mayor may introduce legislation via the chairperson of the Council.
The Council, being the legislative branch, has the duty of writing laws to improve the quality of life for the residents and visitors.
Councilmembers oversee committees that are made up of various related agencies to form the committee. For instance, Judiciary, chaired by Harold Brazil, consists of the Metropolitan Police Dept., Fire Dept., Office of Emergency Preparedness, National Guard, Board of Parole, Judicial Nomination Commission, Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, Office of Corporation Counsel, Public Defender Service, Law Revision Commission, Pretrial Services Agency, Board of Appeals and Review, District of Columbia Courts, Department of Corrections, Office of Criminal Justice Plans and Analysis, Criminal Justice
Supervisory Board, Juvenile Justice Advisory Commission and Child Support Guidelines Commission.
The duties included in chairing a committee consist of approving the budget the agencies submit to them, holding public hearings and roundtables to question agency heads on their expenditures or proposed expenditures, hold hearings to get testimony from the public, and keep track of the agencies activities and expenditures during the fiscal year.
The Council can reorganize agencies, report any wrong doings to the appropriate authorities, and recommend various actions to be taken by the mayor.
The Mayor and the Council monitor each other. If something goes awry in any agency, the mayor and the councilmember who oversees that agency are held responsible.
The District government has proven to be, for the most part, a reactionary entity that usually tries to fix a situation after it happens, as if there is no foresight into problem areas.
A GREATER GREATER SOUTHEAST COMMUNITY HOSPITAL?
The citizens east of the river and in the Oxon Hill area of Maryland waited patiently to hear the fate of the Greater Southeast Community Hospital (GSCH), the only full service hospital east of the river.
The hospital was purchased by Doctors Community Healthcare Corp. (DCHC), the same corporation that owns Hadley Memorial Hospital.
GSCH had been in debt for $70 million and had been forced into Bankruptcy Court by its creditors. The District government had loaned them $8.5 8.5 million. However, GSCH said it was not an $8.5 million loan, instead, it was only $3.1 million in grant funds with a matching loan of $3.1 million; and $2.3 million in Medicaid advances owed to the hospital by the District government.
DCHC was the only buyer. They purchased the hospital for approximately $21 million, with the agreement of the creditors.
There were times when DCHC backed away from the deal because it appeared that GSCH had not fully disclosed all of their debts.
Some of the residents formed a coalition, to become an intervener in the court proceedings. The purpose was to be included in the decision-making processes, once the hospital was sold.
Only a few Ward 8 residents were active with the coalition. They were Sandra "S.S." Seegars, Don Matthews, Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, Michael Johnson, Sam Foster and Linda Whiting. Marc Weiss and Howard Croft were the essential organizers; Weiss from west of the river and Croft from east of the river.
The coalition held a few rallies and demonstrations. There was always a coalition representative in Court during the proceedings.
CASTING A VOTE IN WARD 8
Concha Johnson, former Ward 8 resident, moved to Ward 3 about 6 years ago. She has a successful business, Senior Citizens Counseling and Delivery Service, located on Good Hope RD., in Ward 8.
When Johnson moved she failed to change her address with the Board of Elections. She has been voting in Ward 8 since she moved to Ward 3.
Initially, when Seegars objected to her voting in Ward 8 she said she was going to change her voting location. She said she owned property in Ward 8, and plans to move back to Ward 8 one day. Merely, owning property is no reason to vote in another jurisdiction. However, she continued to vote in Ward 8 without changing her address.
She was seen voting in three minor Ward 8 elections by some of the Ward 8 members and Democratic State Committee members. In September when the members confronted her for voting in the Ward 8 Dems election, she voted anyway.
When Seegars confronted her the second time, she said, "I will always vote in Ward 8 because my heart is in Ward 8."
Seegars and Johnson discussed the homestead exemption. When Seegars checked the homestead exemption status, there was an exemption on both properties. The homestead exemption is allowed when a property owner occupies the property in which he or she is buying/owns.
The Department of Tax and Revenue is investigating the homestead exemption status. The Board of Elections removed Johnson's name from the voter roll because they did not get a response from an inquiry mailed to her.
Seegars said, "People should want to vote where they live and not try to regulate areas where they don't live. An illegal vote can cause an entire election to be held over. No one should, intentionally, want that to happen."
DEM WARD 8 DEMS
The Ward 8 Democrats held their convention on Saturday September 18, at Savoy Elementary School, in which the election was held for all six offices.
The current officers had been in place from 1997 to 1999. Mary Parham Wolfe, president, was very active. She raised most of the money for the Dems, and acted as treasurer and corresponding secretary. There was a small group who made it known that they did not care for Wolfe's style of leadership.
Linda Moody, First Vice President, worked closely with Wolfe to make sure the organization functioned well.
Ron Dennis, Second Vice President, had an extremely busy schedule because he worked for Councilmember Sandy Allen, but he managed to attend most of the monthly meetings, to perform any task left undone.
Theresa Gibson, Recording Secretary, attended most meetings in the beginning, but seemed to have lost interest towards the end of her term, and stopped attending meetings. She did not run for re-election.
Hedy Jones, Corresponding Secretary, dropped out early in her term. Wolfe performed Jones' duties. Jones did not run again.
Patricia Smith, Treasurer, was only there for show. She did not perform as treasurer because the books were not completely straight when she took office, she did not want them until they were straight. Meanwhile, Wolfe performed as treasurer, and fundraiser. Smith did not run again.
Wolfe and Moody had an extremely organized convention. The apathetic Democrats in the ward did not have a quorum until 45 minutes after the convention was as suppose to have started.
Wolfe provided free Tee shirts, a continental breakfast, lunch, and an attractive sequential notebook, with all the literature on the election and convention.
Half of the officers went unchallenged, and of course, they won. The unchallenged candidates were Linda Moody, First Vice President, Connie Mobley, Recording Secretary, and Ron Dennis, Corresponding Secretary.
Philip Pannell challenged Wolfe. Pannell won. Margaret Quick ran as a write in, against Darryl Ross. Ross won. Trent Tucker defeated Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Elwyn Smith, for Treasurer. WELCOME NEW OFFICERS
WOW! WHAT A BALL!
Joyce Scott organized her second Ward 8 Dems' annual Red and White Ball. It was held at the Panorama Room.
About 500 persons attended, adorned in red and white. The tickets sold for $25.00 each. The affair raised well over $10,000.
Most of the movers and shakers in the ward attended. Dr. Abdusalam Omer, Mayor's Chief of Staff, Mary Cuthbert and Wanda Lockridge celebrated their birthdays with three huge cakes.
The best part of all was Scott's expressing her conviction of no smoking and no alcoholic beverages.
Scott said, "The drinkers and smokers should be able to go four hours without drinking and smoking, after all, if the Dems are trying to get the youths involved the adults need to set a good examples."
There were approximately 25 Ward 8 youths in attendance. The girls wore beautiful dresses and the boys wore black suits, white shirts and ties.
TAXI! TAKE ME TO THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN
In Seegars' first two weeks as a DC Taxicab Commissioner, three DC cab drivers were attacked and robbed, in three separate incidents. Larry Barnes, 73, was stabbed to death during the robbery on Pleasant St. in SE. The other two happened in another ward.
Before being sworn in Seegars had met with Winston Robinson, Commander of the Seventh District Police Department, to discuss the police department giving special attention to cab drivers when they are seen going into an area that's known to be troublesome.
Robinson agreed with the recommendation. Later, when the recommendation was discussed with Charles Ramsey, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, he too said it was a good idea.
At a press conference, Seegars announced the recommendation. In a couple of days, the police officers began to give special attention to cab drivers.
George Crawford, Interim Chairman of the DC Taxicab Commission, recommendation was to have safety glass installed in the cabs. However, Seegars did not mention that because in a meeting with cab drivers, they had objected to it, and said that it should be on a voluntary basis.
Crawford also recommended an electronic tracking system that the drivers could use to signal distress. In speaking with some of the drivers, they said the robbers would probably kill them, immediately, before they had a chance to signal.
Seegars was on the committee to plan a town hall meeting between the mayor and the DC cab drivers.
The meeting was held on November 22, at Ballou High School. About 500 drivers showed up. The mayor listened, attentively, and announced, publicly, to the drivers that the taxicab industry was a mess.
After the meeting, the drivers will have to wait to see what the mayor will do to improve the industry.
Shortly after the meeting one of the mayor's staffers asked Seegars about being the chairperson of the DC Taxicab Commission. They are trying to get a variety of candidates to choose from, whereas, the present interim chairperson is in the running.
At that time, Seegars declined the invitation because she was exploring the possibility of running for Ward 8 City Council.
Seegars has a list of problem areas that she plans to deal with as a commissioner. One of the first problems is the refresher course at UDC, whereas, she believes the class is not serving the drivers well. In conversations with the dean and director of Continuing Education at UDC, they agreed to look into the possibility of revising the class to better serve the drivers.
Some of her other plans to improve the industry are to stop the unfair treatment to legal DC cab drivers, stop drivers from failing to haul to east of the river, have zone five removed from Ward 8 or have a fifth zone added to other quadrants of the city, and better insurance coverage.
Before accepting the position of commissioner Seegars was warned by one of the cab drivers that two of the commissioners were stone set against change. After the first executive meeting, Seegars found that to be 200% true. For some of the present commissioners it is as if they do not want change, meanwhile, the drivers suffer, which means the riding public suffers.
The DCTC holds its regular full commission meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, at 9:00 AM, at 2041 MLK, Jr., Ave., SE. The telephone number there is 202-645- 6005, 6018 or 6020.
TIPS TO RIDERS
(1) ALWAYS ASK FOR A LEGIBLE RECEIPT THAT IS COMPLETE WITH DRIVERS NAME, ID NUMBER, POINT OF PICK UP, AND DESTINATION, FARE AND SIGNATURE.
(2) IF A DRIVER REFUSES TO CARRY YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO, WRITE DOWN HIS CAB NUMBER, NAME OF CAB COMPANY, AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU CAN OBTAIN. FILE IT IN A COMPLAINT TO DCTC, 2041 MLK, JR. AVE, SE, SECOND FLOOR, WASH., DC 20020.
(3) IF AN EMPTY CAB STOPS FOR YOU, DO NOT STAND ON THE OUTSIDE AND TELL THE DRIVER WHERE YOU WANT TO GO, GET INTO THE CAB FIRST.
A relatively new program in the District, called Tax Increment Financing (TIF), has gotten off to a slow start. The politics of the city is slowing the process. However, the money must be dispensed by 2002, according to Councilmember Charlene Jarvis, chairperson of Economic Development.
TIF is an economic incentive to developers that could amount to $300 million. Although TIF is new in the District it is not new nationwide.
For the developers who receive TIF, the District government sells bonds that is backed by the developers future taxes, with the bond money going to help pay the construction costs.
TIF is not a loan; there is nothing to be paid back. The taxes of the developers are used to pay back the principle and interest on the bond.
So far, three groups with projects in the downtown and SW areas have applied for the financing.
Jack Evans', Ward 2 Councilmember, ward includes downtown and SW. Additionally, whose hose campaigns were largely financed by big businesses, tried to pass legislation to approve one of the downtown projects.
Lamont Mitchell, Special Assistant to the Mayor for East of the River Revitalization, says he thinks the money should be used for the areas that would not be developed without the TIF incentive.
Seegars testified at a hearing before Evans and Jarvis, expressing her concern about the TIF money being used for the Camp Simms project. They both said that project could be considered for TIF, and that the developer must apply for it.
Kevin Williams, developer for Camp Simms, said the TIF money would take too long for his project. He said he plans to have his project up and running before 2002. However, he said the TIF would not be ruled out.
Vera Abbott, Ward 8's mayoral appointment to the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board, is trying to inform the Ward 8 residents about the practices of that board.
They held the first meeting in Ward 8 in September, at the Washington Highland Library.
There are at least 15 classes of liquor licenses. Ward 8 has mostly Class A whereas, the retailer may sell alcoholic beverages to consumers for use off premises, and Class B whereas, the retailer may sell beer and light wines only to consumers for use off premises.
Classes CR and DR can sell alcoholic beverages, but shall sell food. CT, DT, CN and DN may offer food and alcoholic beverages. CH and DH must offer sleeping accommodation, have at least one dining room and may serve alcoholic beverages. CX and DX dubs, theaters, Washington Convention Center, marine vessels, and dub/dining cars on a railroad may serve alcoholic beverages. F and G temporary or one day license to serve spirits, beer and wine, as long as food is also served.
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A STAR
Elaine Carter, Stanton Dwelling Resident Council President, provided the majority of the cast for several public service announcement films about drugs.
Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Councilmember, appeared in a scene in a community center computer room.
Seegars and Carter appeared in a scene together, that took place in a neighborhood that a drug transaction was seen taking place. The two of them and other concerned neighbors chased the drug dealers out of the neighborhood.
Carter also appeared in a scene that used her house to represent a good neighborhood, compared to a bad neighborhood, with abandoned buildings, people selling and using drugs, and prostitution.
FIFTY SEVEN YEARS IN BARRY FARMS
Mrs. Laura Goldsmith is still full of FIRE at 92. She has a tongue sharper than a razor. She sometimes has a little trouble climbing stairs, but no trouble with her thought processing.
Mrs. Goldsmith was borne March 4, 1907. The Pisces has lived in the Barry Farms Public Housing for 57 years.
She has reared 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls, who have begotten 23 children, who have begotten 40 children.
Most of the time, in the summer, when the weather is nice you can go by her corner house and see her sitting in the front yard, JUST CHILLIN'.
The inside of her home is very well kept. Last year when the painters came to paint her house, they were not doing it to her satisfaction, THINK SHE DIDN'T RAISE SOME HELL.
She has priceless pictures of herself with former mayors and presidents. There are several pictures of her, JUST HANGING OUT.
Every Council member, and most candidates in Ward 8 have been to her home. She gives advice, and she has opinions about everything. She is an encyclopedia of knowledge.
She was the president of the Barry Farm Resident Council for years. She made sure all of her residents were treated fair and equal.
This is one sister every sister needs to meet.
STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
In the last general election in 1998, the Green Party had enough votes (at least 7,500) to get ballot status. Ballot status is when the party's name is printed on the ballot, and they must have a primary election. Before, they were placed directly on the general election ballot. About a year later, in September, the DC Statehood and DC Green Party merged. They are now the DC Statehood Green Party.
The two parties have a lot in common. They both not only speak of the voice of the people, as the Democrats do, they, realistically, listen to and hear the voice of the people. They will fight to the end for the rights of the people, and the fairness of the little people.
Many uninformed persons think the only thing the Statehood Party wants is to become a state, and the only thing the Green Party is concerned about is trees and plants.
Cora Masters Barry sat still in the Council Chamber as she waited for the vote on the $4.7 million for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (STLC) she proposed for Ward 8.
The center is the first of Mayor Anthony Williams' sole source contracts. The type of contracts he said there would be none of once he became mayor.
The mayor's wife is a board member on the STLC Board.
Masters was not able to raise the millions of dollars she had intended to raise. She was able to raise only $400,000. Regardless of where the money came from she said the STLC would be fumed over to the city once it was completed. She said her Wish List Foundation would continue to raise money to run the programs the center would offer.
Councilmembers Carol Schwartz and Kathy Patterson were the only two who voted against the money being spent on the STLC. They had, exceptionally, strong arguments. They both were against the way the process was not being followed properly.
Council members David Catania and Kevin Chavous objected to the sole source contractual aspect of it, but they voted yes anyway.
Schwartz said the $4.7 million should come out of the $15 I 5 million budgeted for the mayor's Youth Initiative Act.
Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Council member, said the $15 million is money that would not be, immediately, available, whereas the $4.7 million is ready cash.
During the public hearings, Seegars was the only activist from Ward 8 to testify for the STLC. She said, "Although a basketball court would be more in tune with Ward 8 residents, the proposal on the table is a tennis court, therefore, Ward 8 should have it. It would be the beginning of a positive project in the ward, and hopefully, it will the magnet to attract other positive projects."
As the ground-breaking ceremony took place, November 7, in the 600 block of Mississippi Ave., SE, next to Hart Junior High School, Masters sat like a proud mother who had just given birth to her first healthy baby.
Ken Johnson, ANC, Mississippi Ave. resident and coach of a youth tennis team, was not invited to be on the STLC board. Barbara Bailey, Mississippi Ave. resident, was concerned about the direction of the lighting for the courts. She said she did not want them shinning directly into her windows.
Hart Jr. High School and Ballou High School bands where on hand to perform.
In attendance for the ceremony were Anthony Williams, Mayor, Diane Williams, mayor's wife, Marion Barry, former Mayor, David Dinkins, former mayor of New York, Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Council member, Dorothy Heights, Chairperson of Emeritus National Council of Negro Women, Robert Newman, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, Honorable Eugene Hamilton, Chief Judge of the Superior Court, the majority of her financial supporters, legal advisers, architects, and only a handful of residents.
Masters awarded some of her supporters for doing such a good job in providing her with, in most cases, free services.
PARTNERS IN MINISTRY
In the last few months Hadley Memorial Hospital (HMH), the unforgotten hospital, has been reaching out to the community, trying to dispel the awful rumor that it caters to only white people and that they don't accept Medicaid.
They held an open house that netted over a hundred community members, who were greeted at the door by Seegars.
Reverend Arthur Stroud, Chaplain of HMH and an African American, invited the "Who's Who" of the east of the river clergy to discuss a partnership of HMH and the faith community.
Stroud emphasized the importance of dialogue between health care and the faith community.
One of HMH member pastors said, "It is true that churches, most often, do not fulfill our social responsibility to our congregation. This does not sit well with God, our creator. It is past time for us to stand up, stand out and be counted as leaders of God's people, seven days a week, in spiritual, religious, social and family health concerns."
Ana Raley, Administrator and CEO of the hospital, agrees with the outreach initiative. Raley has always supported Ward 8 and has committed to a personal mission of providing health care to all in need. One of HMH contributions to a community with an abundance of females is free mammograms.
PARTNERS IN MINISTRY
GOD FIRST, SECOND, LAST AND ALWAYS
Joyce Scott, community activist, prison proponent, and founder of Citizens for a progressive Ward 8, formed a non-denominational ministry called the United Women in Christ Fellowship.
She has taken her ministry to many troubled spots in Ward 8 and to many troubled persons in the Southeast area. In September, the ministry held a prayer breakfast, sponsored by Concerned Democrats of Ward 8, with the proceeds going to Children of Mine, where Hannah Hawkins is executive director.
The breakfast was well attended. The message delivered was "Spiritual Power Equals Political Deliverance 2000." Council member Sandy Allen attended, but left just before the message was delivered.
Scott's message was to put GOD first in anything you do, always.
HOPE (VI) YOU LEAVE SO WE CAN REBUILD
In September, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the HOPE Vl grant of $29,972,431 to the District to improve the conditions of public housing, and the minds and life styles of its residents.
Anthony Williams, Mayor, David Gilmore, Court appointed housing receiver, Winston Robinson, Seventh District Commander, Julius Nimmons, UDC president, Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of HUD, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congresswoman, were in attendance.
The awards ceremony was held in the recreation center on the property of Frederick Douglas Dwelling.
Douglass and Stanton Dwellings will benefit from the money. New houses and apartments will replace the public houses that are there now. The residents of Douglass moved out over a year ago. The residents in Stanton Dwelling will be moved out within the next year or so. The new housing will be for mixed income residents.
Rosalind Wheeler Styles, Capitol City Training and Employment Center and 1. Toni Thomas, Toni Thomas Association, Inc., are the development team and self-efficiency managers, who will assist the residents with training, jobs and education. The whole goal is to make conditions better for the residents, the community and the city.
In October, Styles held a two-day festive celebration for the resident of both public housing properties. The first day the celebration included seminars to discuss the layout of the new development, selecting styles of homes, and storytelling. The second day included a parade, music, games and food.
Gladys Shoatz has already established a computer room at the Frederick Douglass Recreation Center that is located in the parkland area of the boarded up complex, in which they recently had a massive clean up in that area.
Although the housing development has been vacant for over a year, she gets students from the surrounding areas.
EGOS OR PRISONS
The battle over whether a prison should be built in Ward 8 or not, ended earlier this year with a win for the "NO" prison group.
Later in the year, Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, the leader of the "NO" prison group, held a meeting that confused both sides of the prison fight. He had a new group participating in this meeting, held at Bethlehem Baptist Church, that is advocating an alternative to prisons, and believe that no one should be incarcerated.
Kinlow asked Joyce Scott, "PRO" prison leader, to join the panel and speak. Scott maintained her position, which is, keep them home, especially the females.
At this meeting, Kinlow gave the appearance that there was a possibility that he is now saying yes to a prison. Not necessarily in Ward 8, but yes, never the less.
Neither, Kinlow, Scott, or an, one else, has formed a coalition to fight for the men, women or youths that's already incarcerated. When Lorton was being closed, no one stepped forward to stop it. With the poor conditions and mistreatment of inmates at DC Jail, no one has formed a coalition to stop it.
In October, a court-appointed monitor reported that jail officers videotaped inmates being abused and treated cruelly. She wants the Corporation Counsel to do something about it, or she will go to the US Attorney or the Justice Department.
Although, CCA has filed an appeal, the fight over a new prison has come to past, it seems possible that the fight really was not about the prisoners, past, present or future, but more about egos.
IT'S A HOLD UP
In September, Cornell Corrections Inc. (CCI) won the contract from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) to build a prison in Pennsylvania to house approximately 1,200 prisoners from DC. The construction was stopped, abruptly, because the Attorney General said there was no authorization for the operation of a private prison in the state of Pennsylvania.
As of this edition, the FBOP said the building of the prison is still at a stand still. CCI is waiting on legislation that will permit the continuation of the construction of the privately run prison.
MITCHELL AND REDEVELOPMENT IN WARD 8
Meetings after meetings, and conversations about redevelopment in Ward 8 have been going on for years, meanwhile the only grocery store dosed, McDonald's closed, Rite Aid moved to an obscured location, several small businesses were destroyed in fires and never reopened, and the meetings and conversations continue.
The main development has been more housing, mostly townhouses. Lamont Mitchell, Special Assistant to the Mayor for the Revitalization of East of the River, said Ward 8 has more new houses than any other ward.
Many poor and low-income residents have been forced out to make way for the more affluent persons.
Consultants and quasi government agencies continue to collect money for studies and surveys. The District government continues to send various agencies to Ward 8 to quiz the residents as to what is needed in the ward.
It has been an extremely slow process to get upstanding developers to open their businesses in Ward 8. Kevin Williams, Camp Simms' developer, has not been able to sign on an anchor store. However, Mitchell is optimistic that a grocer will be signing on soon.
Mitchell is proud to take credit that Cora Masters Barry's Wish List Foundation's Southeast Tennis and Learning Center broke ground in early November. Mitchell said the money for the center was solely due to the present administration. He said more would be coming to Ward 8, and east of the river.
Mitchell also said the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is money that should be used for projects in areas like Ward 8. He said it takes a little more incentives to get businesses to open in Ward 8, but he is working hard to get it done.
The worrying about the millennium bug or the Y2K glitch may be unwarranted, but all government agencies, District and federal, are preparing for it, just in case. Most problems that will occur are in computer hardware and software, microprocessors or embedded microchips.
Embedded chips can be found in water, sewer, power and equipment used on a daily basis in the home, such as heating, air conditioning, security systems and consumer electronic product and appliances.
The District is working to assure uninterrupted services. They compiled an inventory of equipment and software at the individual agency level, correcting and installing solutions to all equipment and software, performing various tests on the system, and testing contingency plans for all critical business processes.
SIX TO TWO
Police Chief Charles Ramsey is not liked by many community residents, and now with his new 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM "power shift" plan, many officers are turning against him.
Initially, Ramsey gave strict orders that some officers would be switched to the power shift, however, the police officer's union representative stepped in, and put a boomerang in that notion. Ramsey backed off, but not down.
The "power shift" still went into effect, but on a more lenient basis. Ramsey did it on a voluntary and rotational basis.
Ramsey is trying to cover the period of time when most of the violent crimes occur. He said that during the weekend, evening and night hours are when the citizens need protection the most.
One Page visited and toured Boys Town, located on Sargent Rd., NE. The facility houses 25 to 30 troubled youths, males and females. The two small buildings are sitting on about 10 acres of land.
There are long term and short term living arrangements. Some of the residents are placed in foster homes. There are vacation periods for the long- term residents. This year they went to Myrtle Beach for their vacation.
Boys Town wants to build a facility in Ward 8 to house approximately 16 youths, from age 10 to 18. They want to build on the east campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital, in the area where the garden is, next to the trailers for the homeless men. They plan to include a community room, and a fence for security.
One draw back is the acquisition of the land. St. Elizabeth needs permission from the Office of Property Management to sell the land. However, to sell the land Office of Property Management has to declare the land a surplus.
THE WASHINGTON INFORMER NEWSPAPER. DOES IT?
Many newspaper readers are trying to figure out why the Informer has lost its flare. Some of their former readers say for a community newspaper they cover more national and Prince George County news than Ward 8 or city news.
Most readers would like to relate to the articles they read, be it good or bad. To open the paper and read about a neighbor who was rescued from a fire, or a child who has been missing for a week, but is found safe and unharmed, is relative.
The Informer's reporters and photographers show up at events, interview participants, but the story never makes print.
Evidently, the paper is doing all right; they still have an office, a complete staff and issue papers on a weekly basis.
OFF TO THE RACES
S.S. has formed an exploratory committee to explore the possibility of running for the Ward 8 City Council seat that will be up for election in 2000.
The term of a Council member is four years. In the fourth year of the term, the voters get a chance to elect someone else, or they can elect the same person.
There are some people whom actually think no one should run against Sandy Allen, the present Council member. Apathy has taken a hold of most of the Ward 8 residents, but it would be highly ludicrous if there were only one person in a race.
S.S. believes the voters need choices on Election Day and that the seat is a four-year term, not a career position.
SENIORS, LET'S GET WELL
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Senior Wellness Center took place in October, at Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., and Savannah St., SE.
The center will be a preventive health care facility, with, exercise/fitness, weight control, psycho social counseling, drug education, alcohol abuse prevention, stress management, relaxation techniques, communication skills, peer support training, accessing community resources, sexuality, and simple ways to cook to ensure good diets.
Many health and fitness demonstrations were set up, blood glucose and pressure screening, medical equipment and supplies were offered, lite weights and weight training instructions, magnetic products and dietary supplements, hearing aid awareness, and more.
The program consisted of speeches from seniors and supporters, the Office on Aging, Ward 8 Council member, and remarks from the mayor.
Everything was going along smoothly until they did not include Concha Johnson, director of Senior Citizen Counseling and Delivery Service, on the program. E. Veronica Pace, executive director of the DC Office on Aging, made a great speech about Johnson, as if she was deceased or not there, but she did not call her to the stage. Johnson began gathering the seniors from her facility onto the bus to leave. Pace called out to Johnson, but Johnson ignored her. She continued until she got all of the seniors onto the bus and they left. Pace stood on the stage with egg on her face.
A couple of years ago there had been a disagreement between Johnson and the Office on Aging as to who was going to move into the center.
Courtney Williams, Office on Aging Special Events Coordinator, said there is room there for both groups, it's just a matter of them working things out together.
OUR GREAT CENTENARIANS
Courtney Williams, Office on Aging Special Events Coordinator, had its thirteenth annual salute to the District's centenarians (100 years old or older) in October, at J. W. Marriott. There were 22 honorees.
The oldest was Tero Coleman, borne Feb. 11, 1888. She is 111 (and a half). Hopefully, with God's care she will be there next year.
Mayor Williams presented them all with a medallion, and had a picture taken, separately, with each one of them.
In October, the community held a rededication to the wall on Mississippi Ave., SE. Some of the previous artwork had started to peel. The wall all was stripped, primed and repainted.
The wall was changed into a mural after Bill Crosby was killed on 10th Pl., SE., in 1995.
Before the mural, the wall had vulgar, derogatory words on it. Joyce Scott, community activist, had had enough. She got the community together, with paint and brushes and began to paint over the obscenity.
Ward 8 open-air market has become a regular event on Saturdays at the Old Congress Heights School, 3100 MLK, Jr., Ave. SE. DC Statehood Green Party, all Ward 8 ANC's, East of the River CDC, Community Harvest, and Congress Heights Civic Association are responsible for the market.
7D CHRISTMAS FUND RAISING
The Seventh District Police Dept. sold lunches and had pig roasts to raise money for their 30th Annual Children's Christmas party. It will be held on December 10, 1999, at the Panorama Room, 1600 Morris Rd., SE, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Children from the nearby schools will be bused to the party. They will get a stocking with candy and fruit, a gift and a hot meal.
Seegars, the only civilian on the planning committee, is responsible for public relations. Thus far, People Magazine is considering doing the Christmas party, with Chief Ramsey as the focus person, because they cover people not events. Jet Magazine asked Seegars to cover the event for them.
Other magazines are published two or three months ahead of time, therefore, the party is too late for them.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Anchorwoman Susan Kidd, News Channel 4, has confirmed their attendance.
Officer Taggart-Wilson, MPD Community Relations, has a line in to the Wizards' mascot. She should be confirming that at the Wizard's December 4th game.
JOHENNING BAPTIST CENTER
Johenning Baptist Center, located at 4025 Ninth St., SE, held its 40th anniversary celebration in October, with singing, praising the LORD and a good old time.
Wesley Garrett, pastor, director, computer instructor, singer and mentor, held an open house following the anniversary ceremony, to give everyone a chance to look around and to become a part of the growing ministry.
The center ministries include bread for the city, truth group, childcare ministry, senior adult ministry, youth and children programs, Christian Women/Men lob Corp, adult education with job partnership, and computer skills.
The summer activities include camp, vacation bible school, and backyard bible clubs.
The center provides Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas gifts and Christmas baskets. They need donations of non-perishable items and turkeys. They also need volunteers to help pack the baskets.
Call Rev. Garrett 202-561-5200
WILL SELF-DEFENSE WORK IN EVERY CASE?
After several rapes and sexual assaults occurring earlier this year and the latter part of last year, Seegars teamed up with the DC Rape Crisis Center (RCC) and the DC Self Defense Karate Assoc and held a series of self defense classes in different locations, in Ward 8.
With all of the training, it is still possible to be sexually assaulted or raped. Nothing is fool proof. In many cases, it is someone you know and/or trust; or, you may be caught off guard, or in an awkward situation or position.
The RCC classes and literature refers to cases where the person is walking down the street, getting in or out of a car, jogging, followed into the house, etc., and the victim is always dressed.
The last class brought up 'what if ' cases. What if you are in the shower and your uncle comes into the bathroom and attacks you?
What if you are in the doctor's office, undressed and the doctor attacks you?
What if you are seeking psychological help and the psychologist attacks you?
What if you are the only one who shows up for Bible study with the pastor and he attacks you?
The initial reaction to an attack, rape or sexual assault, is disbelief, disorientation or shock. When it is one of the "what if" situations it is devastating because you have put your guard down, way down, and the person takes advantage of the moment.
Date rape or date sexual assault is similar, but usually if it is a date, somewhere in the corner of your mind sex has come up. The male may be ready before the female, and decides he is going to force himself on the female. Then it is not a loving event; it turns into a crime, which is an act of violence and cruelty.
Then you get into the legal side of it, and unless you are half dead, the police and/or the US Attorney think the case is not winnable, hence, you are screwed again.
AT-LARGE COUNCIL MEMBER HAROLD BRAZIL
Honorable Harold Brazil continues to send weekly newsletter to voters to inform them of some of the things he is doing.
His newsletters include these following topics: Y2K as it relates to seniors, domestic violence, breakfast honoring top principals, structuring fire and EMS operation, violence against women, Sex Offender Registry Legislation, reviewing sentencing reports, juvenile curfew, child safety, Anacostia River cleanup, the Sentencing Commission, MPD Power Shift (6:00 PM to 2:00 AM), resolution memorializing Harry Thomas Sr., pretrial release bill, youth centers and programs, lead poisoning, hazardous waste collection, criminal justice strategic planning, legislation to allow federal law enforcement officers to make arrests for non-federal offenses, halfway house escapes, lobby Congress to return victims' money to DC, national night out, and ABC violation busts.
He held a chicken and rib fest in Georgetown for his executive committee members. Over 100 members attended.
Brazil set up a conference call that enjoined approximately 20 executive committee members.
He welcomes everyone to join him in all his endeavors, and wants anyone to call him to invite him to community affairs 202-724-8174.
Call him if you want to stay in tune with his activities - 202-724-8174.
Call him if you are interested in his judiciary hearings - 202-724-8174.
REDSKINS AND STOP
Former Redskins players, Art Monk, Charles Mann and Tim Johnson, presented their plan of renovating the old Anacostia Museum to the Ward 8 community. Over 200 Ward 8 residents met at Birney Elementary School to hear the plan.
The trio formed an organization called the Good Samaritan Foundation. Their program, Student Training Opportunity Program (STOP), will prepare youths for leadership in the community and the workplace.
After a slide presentation overview of the program, the Ward 8 residents asked many questions pertaining to the program. The plan was accepted 100% by the residents.
Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen, asked every one to write letters of endorsement to the mayor.
For those who want to write to the mayor, his address is Honorable Mayor Anthony Williams, 441 4th St., NW, 11 floor, Washington, DC 20001.
Sample letter, after the addressee's name and address:
I, your name. a resident of your address. ward or section of town am in full support of the Good Samaritan Foundation's plan to renovate the old Anacostia Museum, located in Ward 8, on Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE, to implement a Student Training Opportunity Program (STOP).
The program is a much-needed addition to this community that will assist our youths in job training and employment.
I am asking your office to give any assistance the foundation may need to get this program executed.
KSI AND PHINIS JONES
KSI Services of Vienna is appealing the decision of the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment that denied a $ 17 million housing complex planned for Good Hope Rd.
Part of the complex would be in Ward 8, and the other part would be in Ward 6.
At one of the meetings with the community, Phinis Jones was recommended to KSI to be a consultant. The community members were in such an uproar that KSI dropped that idea like a hot potato.
WARD 8 CHAPTER SCHOOL
The Southeast Academy of Scholastic Excellence Public Charter School, the only charter school In Ward 8, located in the closed Safeway building, opened its doors to the students on September 24.
The students attended school at Rehoboth Baptist Church, for the first couple of weeks until the school was completed.
They also have trailers set up in the parking lot of the dosed McDonald's, which is across the street from the school, on Milwaukee Pl., SE.
Pastor R. Vincent Palmer, pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church, is the founder of the school, and a board member.
Initially, Safeway, Inc. did not want another grocery store to open there. Following a meeting announcing the proposal of the charter school to the community, Safeway gave Seegars 6 months to try to find a grocer who would move into the building. In her search, no stores wanted to open there. Some of the reasons were crime, building too small, they have a store in the area already, and the announcement of the development of Camp Simms.
The stores contacted were Giant, Super Fresh, Magruder's, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Murray's, Tiger Market and Sav-A-Lot.
Meanwhile, Kwane Nkrumah International Public Charter School, located at North Dakota and Kansas avenues NW, opened on September 16, but had to close a couple of weeks later because the school board denied their application.
The school board said the school officials failed to turn over correct financial documents.
National Children Center Covets Covenant House Space
The Covenant House Washington (CHW) is still occupying 3400 MLK, Jr., Ave., SE. The National Children Center (NCC) is still the proprietor and rent collector. The rent is still doubled at $22,000 a month. That averages $30 per square foot.
Community members, that included, Seegars, Rosalind Wheeler Styles, Capitol City Training and Employment Center, Connie Mobley, Councilmember Allen's staffer, JePhunneh Lawrence, attorney, Winifred Freeman, ANC 8C Chairperson, and Joyce Scott, founder of Citizens for a Progressive Ward 8, formed Friends of Covenant House to assist CHW in attempting to get the rent reduced to its former amount of 511,000.
The Friends had planned to attend a NCC board meeting, unannounced, to present the community's view of CHW and its importance in the community, in hopes to get the rent reduced. However, a week before that date a meeting had been scheduled between the mayor and NCC, without NCC's attorney.
The mayor waited 45 minutes after the appointment time for NCC, but NCC did not show. Thereupon, the Friends canceled their meeting. If they did not respect the mayor enough to attend the planned meeting, the 'Friends' did not stand a chance.
One page called NCC for an interview, and a previously promised tour of the facility, at the request of the attorney for NCC. Instead of a tour or interview, One Page was put off, with no further contact from NCC.
SCHOOL'S NOT IN
The Old Congress Heights School has not been sold. Liberty Temple AME Zion Church still occupies the building.
East if the River Community Development Corporation (ERCDC) held meetings to discuss workable plans for the building, to be used by the community.
Petitions are being circulated to get support for the proposal for a ground lease, to renovate the school to be used as a multi-purpose community center.
THEY WON'T SHOW ME THE MONEY
Cardell Shelton, Ward 8 resident, has been complaining for years about the banks not giving loans to African Americans.
His latest refusal for a line of credit is First Union Bank. Cardell is doing a flyer campaign accusing the bank of racism. He put flyers out that said First Union Banks are legal "Crooks!"
The request for a small line of credit started in July. Since the flyers were circulated, Cardell received calls from the bank, but no credit, yet. He also requested a copy of their Community Reinvestment Act.
Shelton asked them to produce documents to show how many loans they have made to small African American owned businesses or any community organization.
Don Matthews is still formulating his group of young marines. Many say they will help, until it's time to work. Matthews needs more participation from adults.
Matthews has a son who is in an already established group. During the summer, he went to summer camp in North Carolina where he and the other young African Americans' rooms were vandalized. No one was hurt.
In the last edition, it was reported that the Congress Heights Subway Station would open in September 1999. However, Metro's spokesperson had given the wrong information. They were confusing Congress Heights with the Columbia Heights. Such a mistake is understandable from people who are not familiar with the east of the river. The Congress Heights Station will open in 2001.
THE COVENANT HOUSE WASHINGTON WILL HOLD THEIR FIFTH ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT VIGIL ON TUESDAY DECEMBER STARTING IN SHEPHERD PARK, MALCOLM X AND MLK JR., AVENUES AT 4:45 PM
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