Last night’s ANC2E meeting had a higher attendance than was usual, due to a visit by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “We’ve had a standing invitation for months,” said Commissioner Ron Lewis, and it happened that last night’s meeting fit Gray’s schedule. By the start of the meeting, all of the seats in seats were filled, a sizable group of people stood in the back.
Mayor Gray took the podium to a loud round of applause after being introduced by Councilmember Jack Evans. The Mayor thanked Evans, and quickly remarked on the “Taxation Without Representation” sticker on the laptop of Commissioner Jake Sticka. Gray went on to reiterate his stance on Georgetown’s 2010 Campus Plan. “I support the community,” he said, followed by applause from the attendees.
Mayor Gray then described his four priorities in detail—fiscal stability, commitment to education, safety, and turning around unemployment in the District.
For the city’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year, Gray stated his desire to build a budget with “structural integrity.” “We won’t spend any more money then we take in,” he said.
As for education, Gray described how he supported universal pre-K services and made Washington, D.C. the only city in the country with them available. He wishes to extend the program to infants and toddlers. “If I could get a fetus into a program, I would,” he said.
Gray wishes to hire 300 new police officers this year to both replace an estimated 180 officers who will leave, and add an additional 120 officers to the force. He added that homicides were down 17% in the District, and were on track to be at a 42-year low.
Last month, Gray started a new jobs program called “One City One Hire,” which aims to get jobs for 10,000 District residents by the end of the fiscal year. Gray said that the District’s unemployment rate was at 11%, with about 35,000 unemployed residents in the city. There are thousands of job vacancies, though—a mismatch which Gray attributed to underachievement in education and limited skill sets of applicants.
Gray then went on to describe, “without being disparaging,” his issues with the federal government’s involvement in District affairs. Gray said that with 14 years of balanced budgets, D.C. should not have to answer to the federal government about their budget. In April, Gray was arrested at a Budget Protest for civil disobedience.
Gray then invited people to come to the Full Democracy and Freedom Rally, taking place on October 15 in Freedom Plaza, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
“I absolutely believe that change will come if people get involved.”
Sticka asked Mayor Gray if he would be interested in hosting a town hall for college students. Gray responded that he tries “to be extremely inclusive.”
Gray then went on to discuss issues related to Georgetown. About Vice President for External Affairs Linda Greenan and other University representatives, he said that “they represent Georgetown University, but they really are good people.” He quickly corrected himself: “And they are good people.”
The Mayor left to a standing ovation, and, after a five minute break, the meeting room was noticeably emptier. Here’s a rundown of what went on:
Hide your kids, hide your bike
Hours earlier, meeting began with Lt. John Hedgecock of PSA 206 giving a Public Safety and Police Report. Hedgecock warned that that residential burglaries have risen 88%. “We need your help,” he said, and asked residents to report anything unusual they might see in their neighborhoods. Hedgecock also said that bike thieves were stealing bicycles and replacing them with other bicycles. Later, Jack Evans shared that two of his own bikes were stolen from his car last week.
Bus Service changes
District Department of Transportation spokesperson John Lyle was present at the meeting to discuss changes to bus routes. The Circulator will be removing three stops in Georgetown so that stops will be spaced in quarter-mile intervals. Later, DDOT representatives and the board discussed the possibility of shutting down the last hour of the G2 and D2 Metrobus schedules.
Taste of Georgetown
John Wiebenson, Deputy Executive Director of Operations at Georgetown Business Improvement District, along with another representative, talked about Taste of Georgetown, a food festival that will take place on Saturday, October 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wisconsin Avenue South of M. Street. Restaurants from around Georgetown will participate, and Washington City Paper will host a pavilion for wine, spirits and beer. Last year, the festival raised over $38,000 for the Georgetown Ministry Center’s services for the homeless.
Cold (curb) cuts
Two requests for curb cuts were points for debate at the meeting. One was for a widening of a curb cut on the 3000 block of R St. The other was for an emergency application for a critically ill person who has recently had to use a wheelchair.
By the end of the meeting at 10:06 p.m., there were only seven people left in the room.
photo: Max Blodgett