Security Dominates Discussion at Ward 2 ANC Meeting

By Erin Chumrley, Howard University News Service

A rise in armed robberies was the main topic of discussion at the ward 2 ANC meeting that took place Monday, March 4th, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Georgetown Visitation School.

The meeting consisted of Administrative updates, which covered new police reports and a public safety report. The topic of discussion was the rise in armed auto robberies, a “Community Comment”, and general updates. According to police, the 2nd district has the highest percentage of auto-theft related arrests in the city, with 15 people arrested this year. The police urged Ward 2 citizens to keep their cars locked, and all valuables are not to be left inside. A surveillance video that captured an auto-theft was also shown to let the public see how real the threat is.

There were a lot of community updates during the Community Comment. Firstly, US Attorney Jack Klein told the audience about Community Impact Statements, or written statements that describe harm that impacts the community as a whole, which are filed by the US Attorney’s Office. Klein’s suggestion was in relation to the rise in thefts, as he urged the audience to file as much as possible.

Second, DC lawyer, politician, and 2E official council member Jack Evans, gave city-wide updates. His first comments on street repairs were of an irate tone. Evans, as well as most of the audience, agreed that the streets in Ward 2 were in dire need of repair.  “In the nation’s capital, it’s just uncalled for!” Evans exclaimed. Evans moved on to the rise in empty storefronts in Georgetown, noting that there were around 40 empty locations, and that bars and restaurants were relocating to other parts of the city. Evans also admitted that “Getting better retail is going to be a challenge.”

Evans also gave comments on the city’s finances. According to Evans, there are 3 billion dollars in the city’s reserve account, and despite a loss of $47 million to the state’s tax during the recent Government Shutdown, he said that “The city is doing well financially.” The last topics on Evans’ agenda were how the school system, consisting of 80-90 thousand children, is losing students enrollment-wise, the metro, and D.C.’s homeless situation. Regarding the metro, Evans is “fighting diligently for this to be open later. We are going to get this done.” Regarding the homeless issue, according to Evans, around 15 million dollars have been spent on Human Services, and “there hasn’t even been a dent made in this issue.”

Amar Kotb, a liason from the Mayor’s office, also spoke during the Community Comment. Kotb gave general updates on community construction, as well as the release of an informational app, called “mydpw”, which lets residents know about things like when the city plans on towing and booting cars. Kotb also urged everyone to “Stay warm and to avoid hypothermia, as it’s a growing concern within the city.” Kotb also urged everyone to call if they saw someone in need of shelter outside in freezing temperatures: “If you see someone at risk, please call the shelter hotline.” Kotb said.

John O’Brien, a representative from Washington Gas, was the last person to speak for the community comment by going over the protocol for the community’s months-long battle with gas leaks with the audience, and an update on how long it would be before Ward 2’s gas leak problem is fixed. “We are in the middle of a project called “Project Pipes”, O’Brien stated. Project Pipes, an initiative to replace all the ground pipes in the city, is in the second year of a three year plan. O‘Brien closed out with yet another audience request:

“We always want you to call if you smell gas.”

The rest of the ANC meeting consisted of telling the public about proposed resolutions for use agreements requested by upcoming events for: Jelleff Field, the 2019 Rose Park Farmers Market,  the 2019 Volta Park Easter Egg Hunt, the 2019 FRESHFARM Georgetown Farmstand Special Event Application for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon, and the the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s After-Hours Construction Permit Request to run water pumps.

All of the aforementioned proposals are to be discussed at the next 2E ANC Public Meeting on Monday, April 1, 2019, at 6:30 pm at  Georgetown Visitation School, located at 1524 35th St NW, Washington, DC.