Debate Heats Up on Single Beer Ban

An 8th Ward Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting got off to a fiery start when a resolution to support the single beer ban was proposed.

ANC commissioner, Tijwanna Phillips was not pleased when her resolution to support the single beer ban was shot down by a 3-2 vote. Phillips vowed to remind constituents during the upcoming re-election season of which commissioners voted against her proposal.

Her main opponent, Commissioner Mitchell G. Hawkins III, opposed the resolution because he said that it would force residents to buy six-packs rather than a single beer, when they may not be able to afford an entire six-pack.

Phillips argued that the sale of single beers lead to public urination and littering in the neighborhood and recounted times when she and her daughter picked up empty beer bottles and brown paper bags along the sidewalk.

After the vote, Phillips was not quick to let the issue die, making side comments and pointing her finger at Hawkins, to the ire of ANC 8B chair, David Brewer, who was visibly agitated by her actions. City Council Members have recently proposed a ban on single-container sales of beer in Wards 7 and 8. The law would ban the sale of individual containers of beer but would still allow six packs and cases to be sold.

In certain areas of Ward 4 it is already against the law to sell single containers of beer. Ward 4 community leaders have reportedly said the ban has caused a substantial reduction in nuisance crimes.

Total crime in ANC 8b is down 16 percent compared to this time last year, Metropolitan Police Department Seventh District Commander Joel R. Maupin said during the meeting.

Gun crimes in this section of Ward 8 are down substantially compared to this time last year but violent crimes in general are up by six percent, according to Maupin’s presentation.

He advised attendees to be on the lookout during trips to the gas station because other wards have been noticing a spike in thefts at gas stations. He told attendees to pick stations that are well-lit, remove keys and lock doors while pumping gas, and not to leave purses or other valuables in the car when going inside to pay for gas. After 33-year-old Banita Jacks was found in her Southeast D.C. home with the decomposing bodies of her four daughters, ages 5 to 16, child abuse and neglect has been a hot topic throughout the metro area.

Christopher Gross and Terrance Harris, of the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, Inc., made a presentation about spotting the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect.

According to Harris, since February 8 there have been 307 calls to authorities reporting suspected child abuse and neglect in the District. 76 of these calls came from Ward 8, with most from after-school program workers and elementary school faculty alerting authorities that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect.

“These numbers are scary. These are our folks,” Brewer said after Gross and Harris’ presentation.

Commissioner Ahmad Braxton-Jones said that child abuse and neglect is a “really sensitive issue” in the community and that it can be hard to reach out to parents who may resent someone who questions their parenting skills. “I challenge everyone to do more,” Braxton-Jones said. He inquired of Gross and Harris how the ANC could help and if the ANC could possibly help to set up parenting classes for at risk parents.

With all of the new developments around Ward 8, traffic patterns are changing and Gabriela Vega, of the D.C. Department of Transportation, attended the ANC 8B meeting to respond to questions and concerns about what DDoT can do to make Ward 8 safer for pedestrians and drivers.

The new Giant on Alabama Ave. SE has created a “really bad situation,” according to Vega. She said that she needs to get official requests from the community in order to start the process of finding the best traffic solution for that location. Commissioner Jacque Patterson said that something must be done about the traffic around the new grocery store because residents walking to and from the Giant are in danger.

The next ANC 8B meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Seventh District Police Station in the Community Room. The station is located at 2455 Alabama Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20020.