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DCRA Threatens DC Property Owners; Lawsuits

Based on the recent Council hearings, it has become clear that the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has exposed DC taxpayers and property owners to negligence and serious injury with a lack of accountability from the Mayor and Council.

A review of the October 24, 2017, City Council hearing shows numerous cases of fraud and injury perpetrated by this agency and the director, Melinda Bolling, who was chosen to lead this agency by Mayor Bowser.

This follows on in a series of hearings that the Council acts out before the taxpayers, but does little else to enforce the laws or address accountability.

 

DC MUGGY ANTI COLONIALIZATION UPDATE

The displacement we see now in the cities around the world is neo-colonization — not by Columbian-swords and fighting ships — but by bankers, speculation, and racism in planning.  Here in DC we are under full assault by ignorance, ad-hockery, and unreal estate costs.  If we don’t continue to push back, we will lose the city and our place in it forever.

‘Plymouth Rock landed on us!’ Malcolm X

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SOME IMPORTANT DATES THIS COMING TIME
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This is a good week to engage on critical socio-economic-cultural issues of our time in the District of Columbia, and beyond.


1. Thursday, Oct. 12 — COURT BATTLE AGAINST DISPLACEMENT
2. Saturday, Oct. 14 — FORUM: AFFORDABLE TO WHOM?
3. Sunday, Oct.15 — TOWNHALL: AFFORDABLE ARTISTS SPACE IN DC?
4. Tuesday, Oct. 17 — FUNDRAISER: SaveOurPlaza.com



1. THURSDAY MORNING COURT BATTLE: Fighting Displacement Around Union Market. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2017, 9:30AM, DC COURT OF APPEALS,
430 E Street NW, Courtroom 2, Judiciary Square Metro (redline). Be there in person to see and hear one of the top zoning/planning lawyers in the District, Aristotle Theresa, Esquire, as he presents the argument that the massive overdevelopment of unaffordable studio/one-bedrooms in the District is an absolute adverse impact to longstanding District residents and families. We stand with Union Market Neighbors who are tired of city planning officials putting luxury greed over neighborhood needs.   http://www.dc4reality.org/unionmarketneighbors
PLEASE RSVP: unionmarketneighbors@gmail.com || (240) 308-8872

2. AFFORDABLE TO WHOM?  Affordable Housing and the Comprehensive Plan. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1:30 to 3:30pm. BENNING LIBRARY
. http://tinyurl.com/affordable-to-whom-oct2017 The DC Grassroots Planning Coalition hosts this forum on the definition of ‘affordable housing’ in the District of Columbia.  We will explore what the DC Comprehensive Plan says about affordable housing and discuss why city planning officials cannot seem to systemically and consistently contend with this number one crisis in the District (for more than a decade now)! District residents from around the city will be in attendance, with experienced housing organizers to help facilitate the forum.  Be there and be ready to act for the benefit of your friends, family, and neighbors in your community. Event time and location: October 14, 2017, Starts 1:30pm, at the Benning Library. https://www.dclibrary.org/benning, 3935 Benning Road, NE, WDC 20019. Please RSVP: dc@grassrootsplanning.us || 202-234-9119 x100

3.
[[ location change ]] Artists Town Hall: Space is the Place. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2:00pm to 5:00pm. UPTOWN ART HOUSE. http://www.tinyurl.com/artists-townhall-oct2017  Gather with artists from around the District, including the ArtsxAction, NomuNomu, and 411Collective crews to discuss the number one issue facing artists in the city today, affordable longterm collective artist space.  Why is it disappearing?  How do we preserve and protect existing artists space?  Why is affordable artists space important to our community health and campaigns for justice?  We will explore these and other questions together as we build an action plan to win permanent affordable artists space in the District. Use Redline (Cleveland Park stop; 1 block south on the west side) Please RSVP: collective411dc@gmail.com, like the Facebook page >> http://www.tinyurl.com/artists-townhall-oct2017

4. SaveOurPlaza.com Fundraiser at Madams Organ.  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017, 6PM. http://tinyurl.com/sopa-mo-fundraiser-oct2017 The people of Adams Morgan DC fought racist redlining in the 1970’s and won.  Now bankers and developers want to sweep this victory under the rug (under a wall of luxury condo units) and crush the peoples plaza at 18th and Columbia Road, NW.  However, modern day Adams Morgan anti-displacement organizers are winning and are preparing for trial to protect the people’s victory and preserve the historic plaza at the center of their community. Be there to find out more and have a great time! Please RSVP: admo4rd@gmail.com || 202 670 2366

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MORE EVENTS (Calendars & Bulletin Boards)
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* EmpowerDC >> http://www.empowerdc.org
* ONE-DC >> http://www.onedconline.org
* DC for Democracy >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/2540176953/
* SURJ DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/652826544817571/
* Food Not Bombs DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/foodnotbombsdc/
* The Peace House >> https://www.facebook.com/thepeacehousedc/
* Washington Peace Center >> http://washingtonpeacecenter.net/calendar/
* Neighborhood Network >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeighborhoodSolidarityNetwork
* DC Organizing Posse >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/235632049818909/
* The Great Ward Eight >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/161579963922562
* DC for Reasonable Development >> https://www.facebook.com/dc4reality/

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THANK YOU!
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Chris Otten, Co-Facilitator DC4RD
ANC Commissioner 2008-2010;
Homeless services advocate;
Statehood activist;
Public property watchdog
202-810-2768

PS: Watch one of the  #JusticeForBarryFarms videos here >>
https://youtu.be/dX9CaTCcq-g

WDC vis-a-vis London

A recent Washington Post article highlights the Grenfell Tower fire, a building poorly constructed with questionable materials that was approved with little accountable municipal permitting review.

The Grenfell fire illustrated in searing fashion the perils of life in Britain’s public housing high-rises, where years of unheeded warnings, slashed costs and deregulation all added up to a tragedy unlike any Britain has seen in at least a century.

But the aftermath has shined a spotlight on a different problem with Britain’s strained-to-the-breaking-point housing system — a severe shortage of affordable options that has left people desperate for a roof over their heads.

The article captures London’s construction boom in a way that closely matches the problems in the District.  DCRA is DC’s permitting office which is under much scrutiny for similar oversight and permitting failures.  And DC has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis for more than a decade.

The article sheds light on DC’s major planning and permitting problems.  It’s a good read, if sad for all those families hurt or killed and displaced.

Police Harassment

Gendarme: Unconstitutional Displacement

DC’s Attorney General recently said, “Obeying the Constitution is Not Optional” after filing complaints against the “President.”

Perhaps Mr. Racine ought to be on the phone with Police Chief Newsham to discuss training on the rights of Americans to peacefully gather in public spaces when organizing against displacement.

On Monday, June 12, 2017, just a mere couple of weeks after the DC Zoning Commission rubberstamped the approval of a project that will destroy #BrooklandManor, the cops are acting as developer agents to harass and finish off the displacement of existing DC families and residents living in Ward 5.

Of course, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie favors this displacement, as he goes on and on writing letters consistently supporting these projects and the wholesale removal and police harassment of black families from DC.

MLK on War and Poverty

Disperse Poverty! Concentrate Wealth!

DE-CONCENTRATE POVERTY MEANS GETTING RID OF POOR PEOPLE WHILE THEY CONCENTRATE WEALTH IN NEW LUXURY HIGH-RISES

We must de-concentrate poverty.  It’s a refrain we are hearing alot from city officials lately, especially now as East of the River communities are facing the first big swells of the massive gentrification wave heading that way from the westside.

Those screaming for the dispersal of poor communities have usually been the developers, more recently the “smart” growthers, and now City officials are parroting it up on their John A. Wilson dais.

“The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty” — Dr. King, “Where do we go from Here: Chaos or Community”, 1967.

But, instead of seeking tools and policies like a guaranteed basic income, or robust job training programs, feeding programs, good quality schooling, and social uplift, the de-concentration of poverty advocated for by the DC’s developer-class and the City Council and Mayor is that of dispersal, i.e. getting rid of the poor by way of streetcar, condos, hotels, stadiums.

The New Communities program, following on from the Hope VI programs, in turn from Urban Renewal is referenced across many Housing and Urban Development documents as “dispersal projects” no matter what new euphemism they want to call them.

Due to the self-selection inherent in voluntary dispersal programs, and to the screening that these programs apply to applicants, participants are likely to be more motivated and possess more human capital than the families that do not participate. Program operatives choose the families they think will succeed, based on these families’ being organized enough to pass home inspections and other steps in the application process. Still, mobility programs typically have a low success rate, because fewer than half the applicants who are accepted are able to lease an apartment. The Reality of Deconcentration, By Edward G. Goetz

Simultaneously, while the city disperses the poor to heed the call to de-concentrate poverty, the DC Zoning Commission, Office of Planning, Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development, alongside Ward level Councilmembers push hard for new projects that have only 8% to 15% “affordable” units in them, and those are usually for singles, not families.

That is, city planners and officials are encouraging, even touting projects that concentrate wealth with 85% of the housing units being built for wealthy single new DC residents.

So, the developer-class wins again with each call from advocate-community and pronouncement by city officials saying we must de-concentrate poverty and rip up generational familial networks with innate powerful neighborhood connections that have grown in some ways to supersede abject poverty through mutual aid and reliance & trust.

The reality is, the development underway in the District is dispersing and displacing poor DC families (the census numbers don’t lie), but consistently concentrating wealthy singles and somehow that is considered good planning in DC.

It’s not, it’s unreasonable and unacceptable.  This purposely poor planning has resulted in DC’s #unRealEstateMarket


Deconcentrating poverty is a smokescreen. It camouflages forced relocation of low-income house-holds. What do we mean when we talk about  deconcentrating poverty? As it has been implemented to date, deconcentration has meant manipulating the spatial arrangement of federally subsidized low-income families to either disperse or dilute poverty. — The Smokescreen of Poverty Deconcentration, by Edward Goetz


 

In their own words . . . opinion by Chris Otten, co-facilitator, DC4RD

 

 

 

 

Office of Planning’s Zoning Rewrong Now Hurting Supporters

ANC 6B, particularly Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, has championed everything that the Office of Planning has thrown at them, including the DC Zoning Rewrite.

The 2016 approval of the ZRR allows commercial creep into residential areas of DC and weakens the rules making many zoning issues a “matter of right” meaning they don’t need any community feedback or administrative process for approval from the city (many zoning issues also went from the a stricter variance test to the easier special exception request).

Now the ANC is feeling the effects of their forthright push to support the Zoning Rewrite, that is they are fighting the commercial creep that is just starting under the new rules.  See the article below.

‘Party House’ Hearing Before Board of Zoning Takes Place Wednesday

TwilightZoning: Record RubberStamp!

Amazing!  The DC Zoning Commission has hit a new record in approving a Planned Unit Development in a mere 26 minutes (video)!

A twenty-six minute review of a 11-story behemoth in the middle of the historic Shaw neighborhood, despite the precedent setting victory at the highest Court in the District regarding the landmarked McMillan Park showing that the Commission must consider adverse impacts from any major project they are considering.

A record project approval in the face of the people calling out Zoning Commission attorneys for their disregard of fundamental planning impacts like displacement.

Doesn’t matter! The Zoning Commission goes hard and rubberstamps an 11-story Planned Unit Development in the middle of the historic Shaw neighborhood in record time.

Things may be looking up though — the Office of the Attorney General is seeking to hire a land use attorney!

Using Law for Good & Bad

While the corporate “journalists” attack the character of local activists when they use the law to demand accountability for developments in the District, slumlords can use the law (Bankruptcy) to avoid accountability and dodge their ethical duty to provide clean and humane residential units to District residents.

That is, when activists use the law to protect their communities they get attacked in the press. When slumlords use the law to cover-up their negligence and assault on poor people and families, the monied classes get a pass.

#tiltedpress
#lawforgood
#legalaction

Non Sui Juris: Who can you sue?

Non Sui Juris = can’t sue me!

While you can appeal administrative decisions by most agencies to the DC Court of Appeals, if you think an District agency and/or officials screwed you and your community over, or is about to, be prepared to know who you can sue when you are going to Superior Court or the Circuit Court in DC.


For more insight, see this case:
FOGGY BOTTOM v. DIST. COLUMBIA OFFICE OF PLANNING, 441 F. Supp.2d 84 (D.D.C. 2006).

From this case: As a preliminary matter, defendants assert that certain parties named in this suit are non sui juris, that is, that they lack the legal capacity to sue or be sued. Specifically, defendants argue, and the Court agrees, that agencies and departments of the District of Columbia government are not amenable to suit. See Community Housing Trust v. Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 257 F. Supp. 2d 208, 217 (D.D.C. 2003) (“The law is clear that `agencies and departments within the District of Columbia government are not suable as separate entities.'”) (quoting Does I through III v. District of Columbia, 238 F. Supp. 2d 212, 222 (D.D.C. 2002) (citations omitted)). The plaintiff’s claims against the District of Columbia Office of Planning, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, the District of Columbia Department of Health and the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs therefore will be dismissed from this case.

But what the Foggy Bottom community got right in their suit is the naming of the Mayor.  From the case:  The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Anthony Williams, sued in his official capacity, is a proper defendant, and the suit against Mayor Williams shall be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia. Arnold v. Moore, 980 F. Supp. 28, 36 (D.D.C. 1997) (“It is well settled that if the plaintiff is suing the defendants in their official capacities, the suit is to be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia.”). Thus, the Court may proceed to consider the merits of the claims against the District of Columbia itself (a named defendant) and the Mayor of the District of Columbia in his official capacity.


The naming of individuals carries to others under the Mayor too, like the DC Zoning Administrator.

The  acting  Zoning Administrator  for  the District  of  Columbia,   Olutoye    Bello,    sued   in    his    official    capacity,  is  a  proper defendant,  and  the  suit against  Bello  shall  be treated  as  a  suit against the  District  of  Columbia.  See  Kentucky  v.  Graham, 473  U.S.  159,  166 (1985); accord Arnold v. Moore, 980 F. Supp. 28, 36  (D.D.C. 1997)(“It   is   well   settled  that   if   the   plaintiff  is   suing   the  defendants   in   their  official   capacities, the suit is to be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia.”).  Thus,  this suit  may  proceed  against defendant Bello.   COMMUNITY HOUSING TRUST, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS, et al., Defendants. No. CIV.A. 01-02120 (HHK). April 16, 2003


For more on Non sui juris, see this case, and this case, and google it!

 

Wha-Mata with You! DC4RD Update

The Latest DC4RD Update

~~ UPDATE menu ~~

I) Citywide Planning Issues:
i) Defending the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map
ii) Martin Luther King Memorial Library Renovation & Friends Meeting (Ralph Nader)

II) Racism and Police Abuse in DC

III) Organize & Fight Back!


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I) Citywide Planning issues:
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i) DEFEND THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND FUTURE LAND USE MAP
http://tinyurl.com/20-year-dc-comp-plan

DC for Reasonable Development, a citywide network of groups and residents who care about planning in the District of Columbia, asks you to join us in defending the DC Comprehensive Plan. The developer-class working by and through DC “planners” want to dismantle our most progressive planning document in the city.

Be at the upcoming meetings to defend the development of an inclusive city that is building truly affordable housing >> http://planning.dc.gov/page/plandc-amending-dc-comprehensive-plan



ii) MARTIN LUTHER KING LIBRARY

Our central public library is being renovated, your voices needed, http://www.dclibrary.org/mlkfuture

Be at an upcoming meeting and get your ANC’s and civics involved to express your concerns, critique, and affirmation of all or parts of the renovation plans, here are the plans dated August 2016, http://www.slideshare.net/DCPublicLibrary/slide-show-for-website-8-2016

–> ALSO, join the Martin Luther King Memorial Library Friends at their Annual Meeting and Election on Wednesday October 26 at 6:30 pm in Room A-5 of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library.

Guest Speaker: Author and Consumer Activist Ralph Nader will speak about his new book Breaking Through Power. The MLK Library Friends will be selling books ($13.95 paperback) and Mr. Nader will be pleased to autograph copies.


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II) Racism and Police Abuse in DC
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The #Racist planning and unjust behavior seems to be at an all time high in the District in 2016.

* JUSTICE FOR TERRENCE STERLING
https://www.rt.com/usa/361509-terrence-sterling-protests-dc/

* BLACK CHURCHES GETTING PUSHED OUT
http://www.afro.com/gentrification-pushing-black-churches-out-of-d-c/

* METRO SHUTTING DOWN STOPS SERVING BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS
http://wjla.com/news/local/wmata-board-debates-budget-options
http://tinyurl.com/gw5h8sh


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III) Organize & Fight Back!
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As they say, don’t agonize, organize! Here’s some important upcoming meetings and other resources to review & share!

* EMPOWER DC Annual Meeting Tomorrow (Sat Oct 22)
http://empowerdc.org/event/empower-dc-2016-annual-meeting

* ONE DC 10th Anniversay Gathering (Nov. 18th)
http://www.onedc10thanniversary.org/

* SURJ (Two upcoming meetings in November)
https://www.facebook.com/surjdc/

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MORE EVENTS (Calendars & Bulletin Boards, Interwebs)
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* Washington Peace Center >> http://washingtonpeacecenter.net/calendar/
* Neighborhood Network >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeighborhoodSolidarityNetwork
* DC Organizing Posse >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/235632049818909/
* The Great Ward Eight >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/161579963922562
* EmpowerDC >> http://www.empowerdc.org
* ONE-DC >> http://www.onedconline.org
* DC for Democracy >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/2540176953/
* SURJ DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/652826544817571/
* Food Not Bombs DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/foodnotbombsdc/
* The Peace House >> https://www.facebook.com/thepeacehousedc/
* DC for Reasonable Development >> https://www.facebook.com/dc4reality/


video

Watch one of the #JusticeForBarryFarms videos here >> https://youtu.be/dX9CaTCcq-g