March 9, 2017, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened at 7:37 PM. Commissioners Bender, McHugh, Quinn and Wallace were present.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Jeremiah Lowery, representing the DC Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated the organizations are supporting a Carbon Fee & Rebate program for DC which would tax polluters and distribute those taxes to residents via a rebate program. The organizations are seeking input from residents and are submitting copies of their proposed bill to ANC’s for comments and suggestions.
Ian Maggard, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations announced Mayor Bowser will deliver the State of the District Address on March 30 at 6:00 pm at UDC.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street (TMS) announced that TMS is seeking input from area residents on design and programming improvements for the triangle park at Fessenden and Wisconsin Ave. An online survey can be found at www.tenleytownmainstreet.org and TMS will host a Community Design Charrette on April 4, at 6:30 pm.
Peter Halprin proposed placing a Community Arts and Science Center at the Chesapeake House that could support local artists and the arts and sciences programs at Wilson HS. Commissioner Bender stated that while he thought the idea had promise, a number of other ideas had been floated, and, because Chesapeake House is owned by the National Park Service, the ANC would ultimately need to work with NPS to find the best option for the community that NPS would permit.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt. Hill from the 2nd District provided an update on crime trends in the area. He stated that none of robberies that occurred this month have had closures. The robberies all were committed by 2-4 Latino males and there were other robberies with similar description reported throughout The District. Commissioners asked questions about: traffic enforcement; cars stopping in crosswalks at Wisconsin and Albemarle; enforcement of the new stop sign at Van Ness and 46th; a recent assault with a knife; and enforcement of unleashed dogs at Livingston Park. Lt. Hill reminded the audience that if you witness a crime or see something suspicious call 911. For any other questions, email email@example.com.
Presentation regarding Persistent Surveillance System used by Baltimore police and possible adoption by MPD
Andrew Dinsmore, a resident who, with his family, was a recent victim of an armed robbery, gave a presentation on the Persistent Surveillance System used in Baltimore. He explained that the system captures low resolution aerial footage from a 5-mile radius that allows the police to track movement of suspects. Baltimore police are then able to obtain detailed video footage from specific cameras on the ground to identify suspects in crimes. Lt. Hill stated that MPD evaluates various technologies and systems for use in DC. MPD has CCTVs on fixed poles, license plate readers throughout the city and a shot spotter system that identifies gun shots. Hill noted the restricted air space in the city might limit the use of such a system. Commissioners expressed concerns regarding privacy and wondered if a system like this was deployed if it would ever cover our neighborhood given its relative safety. Nonetheless, some Commissioners believed it would be interesting to follow Baltimore’s continued experience with the system.
Panel discussion regarding possible reform of Youth Rehabilitation Act
Commissioner Bender explained that the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA) permits judges to treat convicted criminals aged 15-22 more leniently then they normally would. The Washington Post studied the YRA and their analysis found a high degree of recidivism in people who were sentenced under it. Commissioner Bender noted that the Post had essentially to reverse-engineer its data from limited public records, making the data provocative but far from comprehensive. Some have urged that the YRA be amended to exempt violent crimes from its purview.
Courtney Stewart with the National Reentry Network argued that the Washington Post article relied on anecdotal evidence. He noted that many families in Wards 5, 7 and 8 have been decimated because of the so-called school to prison pipeline. Nonethless, he expressed openness to reforming the YRA specifically with regard to violent offenders
Eduardo Ferrer with DC Lawyers for Youth stated that those who complete all requirements of the program and have their convictions set aside have a 3% recidivism rate; those who don’t complete all of the requirements have a 20% recidivism rate, which is still lower than other populations. He stated that judges provide reduced sentences in less than half the cases. During discussion with the Commissioners, however, he conceded that he is not certain about these numbers. Mr. Ferrer argued for a public health approach to crime, noting that the Council passed the NEAR Act, a public health approach to violent crimes but it has not been fully funded. Mr. Ferrer also stated that the YRA includes provision for social services to youth offenders subject to it, but in point of fact very few services have been provided.
Denise Krepp, an ANC Commissioner in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, stated that her district was the one featured in the Washington Post. The only limitation to the YRA currently is murder; rape, armed robbery, maiming and many other violent crimes are YRA eligible. She told attendees about accompanying a woman from her district who had been violently raped to a sentencing hearing in which the perpetrator of her rape had been accorded leniency previously under the YRA. She argued that the Justice Department does not keep track of the prosecutions under the YRA and the victims’ rights need to be respected so they can have closure.
Everyone agreed that DC and The Department of Justice need to collect and share data on the YRA to be able to objectively evaluate the program. Commissioners wondered why severe violent crimes such as first degree sexual assault and aggravated assault cannot be excluded from the YRA while perhaps keeping some “lesser” violent crimes that encompass behavior such as fist fights potentially eligible for relief under the YRA; they noted that the US Attorney do not feel beholden to the citizens of DC; and stated that it is important to intervene while people are still young to keep people out of the adult criminal justice system.
Discussion of and possible vote on of grant request for uniforms and equipment repair for Wilson HS band
Commissioner Bender stated that at the last meeting, Brian Cohen, Wilson HS PTSO Vice President presented a grant request for $2245 to support the Wilson HS Marching Band to purchase uniforms ($1878) and to repair and purchase instruments ($367). Cohen informed the Commission that he wanted to amend the grant to eliminate the $367 for instrument purchases and repairs since the District Government sometimes provides those services to the school. The Commission generally hears a request one month and deliberates and votes on it the following month. Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to support the grant request as amended. The motion was approved 4-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding DDOT Notice of Intent to permit limited parking on the north side 4100 Yuma Street, NW
Commissioner McHugh stated that an NOI was received last month regarding changes to parking on the 4100 block of Yuma St. The notice was unclear and confusing so the Commission sent a letter to DDOT asking for clarification about which side of the street the changes to the parking regulations would apply to. DDOT clarified that the changes would apply to the north side of the 4100 block of Yuma Street. McHugh noted that the updated NOI remained unclear regarding which part of the block it would apply to (it should be applied to the part of the block that is east of the residences) and the hours of the limited parking. Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to direct Commissioner Wallace to write another letter to DDOT asking for further clarification. The motion was approved 4-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on DDOT Notice of Intent to replace traffic signal at 46th and Van Ness with 4-way stop sign
DDOT representative Wasim Raja explained DDOT received a request from residents to have the signal removed at the intersection of 46th and Van Ness Streets as the intersection has low traffic and pedestrian volumes. For the first 30-days, the light will be flashing red. For the next 60-days, the lights will be darkened and stop signs will be put up. During the 90-day period, DDOT will collect traffic and safety data.
Some attendees thought removing the traffic signal will increase speed at the intersection. Others countered that the count-down timer for the pedestrian signal encourages cars to speed. Commissioner Quinn suggested DDOT add bulbouts to the intersection. Commissioner Bender offered an amendment to the draft resolution asking DDOT to provide the Commission with the safety data collected from the intersection during the 90-day transition period and its recommendations, and to afford the Commission an attempt to opine on same before proceeding to implement its recommendations. Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Wallace seconded a motion to support the resolution as amended. The motion was approved 4-0-0.
- Approval of February 2017 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the February 2017 meeting minutes. The motion was approved 4-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $425.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support and $1878 Wilson PTSO for grant. The expenditures were approved 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:49 PM.