Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A, which serves the Shepherd Park, Brightwood, 16th Street Heights, Crestwood and Colonial Village neighborhoods, held its first public meeting of the new legislative session on Tuesday evening.
The agenda was full and the meeting was nearly three hours long.
New Faces on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A
The public had the opportunity to meet the two newly elected commissioners.
Carolyn C. Steptoe is a Legal Case Manager/Paralegal who represents Single Member District 4A05 in the Brightwood neighborhood.
Election of Officers
Since this is the beginning of the legislative term, the Commission was required to have an election of Officers.
Three commissioners were nominated for the position of Chair: Steve Whatley (SMD 4B03), Patience Singleton (SMD 4B04) and Stacey Lincoln (SMD 4B02). In the first round of voting (only the Commissioners vote), Commissioners Whatley and Singleton both received three votes while Commissioner Lincoln received two.
In the second round, Commission Singleton prevailed over Commissioner Whatley 5 to 3 (Mr. Whatley voted for Commissioner Singleton 😄).
All other positions were elected by acclamation:
- Vice-Chair – Candace Tiana Nelson
- Secretary -Pavan Khoobchandani
- Treasurer –Stephen Whatley
Metropolitan Police – Captain Franklin Porter
Captain Porter presented year-end crime statistics for ANC 4A. In general, crime was lower in 2020 compared to 2019.
- This data is from ANC 4A neighborhoods only
- 90% of stolen autos happen when people leave their cars running, which occurs frequently with food delivery drivers
Mayor’s Office – Yamileth Escobar
Yamileth Escobar is one of our new Ward 4 Liaisons for the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services. She highlighted the procedures and schedule for residents to schedule their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Currently, vaccine appointments are ONLY available for workers in healthcare settings. The schedule for additional groups is as follows:
- January 11th residents 65 years and older
- January 25th – essential workers (public safety, grocery store, etc.)
- February 1st – Residents with chronic medical conditions
If you are not a member of a currently eligible group, you can submit your contact information to be notified when the registry opens to additional populations at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc.
She also repeated Mayor Bowser’s request that DC residents NOT travel downtown today (January 6th) to counterprotest the President’s rally. Finally, she shared information about the city’s Christmas Tree Collection program, which you can find here.
Councilmember Janeese Lewis George and Staff
New Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George and most of her new staff stopped by the meeting to introduce themselves. CM George said, “The relationship between the ANC and the Council is integral to building a government that works for everyone. My team and I want to build a healthy relationship with you rooted in trust and communication.”
The relationship between the ANC and the Council is integral to building a government that works for everyone.
Her staff members who were present are:
- Chief of Staff Lenace Edwards
- Constituent Services Coordinator Tamira Benitez
- Constituent Services Coordinator Matthew Landrieu
- Communications Director Alexandros Taliadoros
State Board of Education Ward 4 Representative Frazier O’Leary
Mr. O’Leary mentioned several items in his report, including the continued problem with severe leaking in the roof at Whittier Elementary School. This roof was supposedly fix this past summer. The legally required elevator in the building is also still not operational.
The “Mrs. O’Leary’s Books for Friends” Drive collected and distributed over 15,000 books to local schools last year and they are ready to ramp up again. If you have quality books that can be used for our local school children, please reach out to him at the contact information listed below.
Finally, he tried to explain DC Public School’s latest bewildering misadventure. Just before the holidays, the school system purchased the former LAMB charter school on Military Road NW for $8 million. Though the emergency legislation that was used to complete this deal stated that the building was to be used to alleviate school overcrowding in Wards 3 and 4, signs began to appear that indicated that the building would be earmarked for an expansion of the preschool program at Lafayette Elementary School (located on the other side of Rock Creek Park). This idea developed without input from anyone in this community. Brightwood Elementary School, which sits directly across the street and also has an over-enrolled preschool program, was not even notified.
There was a meeting on Monday with DCPS and some members of the Brightwood community. Three options were presented:
- The LAMB building would become a city-wide early education center with no preference for any students from any neighborhood and no rights to go to any other school after Pre-K;
- Use LAMB for an early education center with a preference for Lafayette and Brightwood in-boundary students but with no rights to go to any other school after Pre-K; or
- Move Brightwood’s PK3 and PK4 programs to the LAMB building so that Brightwood could get out of the trailers on its campus.
Mr. O’Leary was not able to verify that these are the only available options. He expressed hope that the school system would begin to provide clarity and transparency in its decision making process quickly.
Fort Stevens Recreation Center Stormwater Project
If you have ever been to Fort Stevens Recreation Center and walked down the sidewalk adjacent to the building, you may have noticed the severe soil erosion that is visible around the trees. While the tennis and basketball courts are great places to play, the imperious surfaces cause major drainage problems on the site.
Erica Carlsson from the DC Department of Energy and Environment Watershed Protection Division joined the call to share information about the proposed project to fix this issue.
The project will retrofit the site with stormwater management practices to capture and manage the stormwater coming from the upstream impervious surfaces (e.g., tennis courts, basketball courts, playground, etc.) and stabilize the soils around the trees and nearby hillside.
There will be a meeting to discuss this project with the public on January 13th at 6:30 pm. The link to the WebEx meeting is here. For questions or more information please contact Cecilia Lane at 202-535-1961. See the flyer for more details.
Potential Relocation of Shepherd Park Library
Mark Pattison, secretary of the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library group, came to the meeting to present opposition to the DC Library’s recent master plan, which proposes closing the library and building a new one in the Brightwood Park/Manor Park area.
The Shepherd Park Library is a beloved institution in this community. Mr. Pattison and all subsequent speakers shared stories about how important it has been for educating generations of neighborhood children. The neighborhood fought together for five years to convince the city to open a library at that location and celebrated when it opened in 1990. Despite having a relatively low population in its catchment area, the Shepherd Park Library ranks above the system average in five key criteria in library usage including visits, materials checked out, media room and computer usage and library program participation. In addition, the building ranks 5th out of 25 neighborhood libraries in meeting room usage.
For its part, the library system’s master plan claims that relocating the library south of the existing site would address the service gap identified in Brightwood Park/Manor Park area and serve more Ward 4 residents. No immediate site for a new library has been identified. Replacing this facility as well as two others across the city is estimated to cost around $60-70 million.
From the testimony heard at this meeting, it is clear that the community will fight hard to keep the Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library around for years to come.
About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4A represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, Brightwood, 16th Street Heights, and Crestwood. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.
The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”
These are the members of ANC 4A:
|Single Member District||Commissioner||Neighborhood|
|4A01||Phyllis Caudle Green||Colonial Village||[email protected]|
|4A02||Stacey Lincoln||Shepherd Park||[email protected]|
|4A03||Stephen A. Whatley||Shepherd Park/Walter Reed/Brightwood||[email protected]|
|4A04||Patience Singleton||Brightwood||[email protected]|
|4A05||Carolyn C. Steptoe||Brightwood||[email protected]|
|4A06||Candace Tiana Nelson||Brightwood/16th Street Heights||[email protected]|
|4A07||Marlene Moss||Brightwood/16th Street Heights||[email protected]|
|4A08||Pavan Khoobchandani||Crestwood||[email protected]|
Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services Ward 4 Liaisons
Yamileth Escobar – [email protected] | (202) 603-7182