Neighborhood Danger Zones
Dear Occupied DC:
Barricading streets, cordoning off neighborhoods, checking
identities, and denying free travel and free access to forbidden zones,
is a very effective tactic — if you’re an alien occupying force. It
is not an effective crime-fighting measure. It isn’t a crime-fighting
measure at all; it is a measure that is used to attempt to pacify a
hostile native population. That is how Mayor Adrian Fenty, Metropolitan
Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, and Interim Attorney General Peter
Nickles see Washington, DC.
They are wrong. The police department is not an alien occupying
force, no matter how much the city’s administration wants it to behave
like one. We, the people who live in Washington, are not a hostile
native population, no matter how much the administration perceives us as
one. We are all Americans, and we have the rights of Americans,
including the right to move about and travel freely, without having to
identify ourselves to the authorities, having to inform the authorities
of what we are doing, or having to seek those authorities’ permission
to drive down public streets. We are all Washingtonians, and we are all
in this together. (At least, most of us are Washingtonians; MPD Chief
Lanier lives in Maryland, and has a rented address of convenience in DC
to fulfill her occupational residency requirement. Interim AG Nickles
lives in Virginia, and will only be dragged kicking and screaming into
renting an address of convenience if he is forced to by being appointed
the permanent Attorney General.)
What were Mayor Fenty, MPD Chief Lanier, and AG Nickles thinking when
they decided to establish the so-called Neighborhood Safety Zones? There
are two schools of thought on this. One school believes that they weren’t
thinking. This group knows that Fenty does not value deliberation and
careful consideration, that he confuses acting impulsively with being
decisive. This group believes that Fenty, Lanier, and Nickles followed
the primitive logic that Megan McCardle outlined (http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/06/all_hail_comrade_fenty.php):
“1. Something must be done. 2. This is something. 3. Therefore, this
must be done,” and that they created the Forbidden Zones tactic
without considering its implications and likely results.
The second school of thought is more cynical, so I belong to it. We
think that Fenty, Lanier, and Nickles know very well what they are
doing, and that they believe it will be good public relations for them
to identify and carve out quarantined neighborhoods. Fenty thinks, this
school of thought says, that he can divide and conquer this city. He
believes that his supporters don’t know, don’t like, and don’t
identify with the residents of Trinidad, DC, and similar neighborhoods.
Fenty thinks his supporters fear the people who live in Trinidad and
other Forbidden Zone neighborhoods, that they don’t see themselves as
ever having to travel anywhere near those neighborhoods, and therefore
as not ever being even inconvenienced by the police blockades. Fenty’s
supporters, in this cynical view, don’t see us all as being
Washingtonians who are in this situation together; they do see
themselves as an alien occupying force, and they see the Washingtonians
who live in neighborhoods like Trinidad as a hostile native population
that must be pacified or, better yet, cleared out. Therefore, Fenty,
Lanier, and Nickles believe that large-scale denials of the civil
liberties of some Washingtonians will make the administration more
popular and more successful with other Washingtonians, their core
The remaining question is how the barricading, the quarantining, will
be carried out. Will it be a full-scale effort to seal off these
neighborhoods effectively? If so, it will require massive resources and
massive intrusions on our civil liberties, because that is what an
occupation demands. Or will only one or two streets into a neighborhood
be cordoned off at any time, exposing the whole initiative as being
merely symbolic, nothing more than a publicity stunt that was never
intended as a serious pacification measure?
All materials about the so-called “Neighborhood Safety Zones” —
including the final revised version of the MPD Special Order
establishing the Initiative and the MPD Lesson Plan given to police
officers manning the barricades — are available at http://www.dcwatch.com/police/nsz.htm.
Tolu Tolu, Tolu2Books.com
Three young men were shot at the mouth of Holbrook Street and Florida
Avenue, NE, on Saturday, May 31, around 4:00 a.m. Their bodies were left
uncovered and in plain view until at least 10:00 a.m. I have never seen
this situation before.
The Engine 10 Firehouse had secretly closed the week before. I
question whether that had anything to do both with their not being saved
and with their bodies’ being left exposed for at least four hours.
Politics and Prose has long been a great resource in DC, one
especially attuned to progressive politics, and presenting a variety of
viewpoints. I’ve been going there for the nineteen years I’ve lived
here for books, records and its virtually nightly array of speakers.
Alas, it has just done something deplorable. Carla Cohen, the co-owner,
has invited and then abruptly disinvited an important speaker. Saree
Makdisi is a UCLA professor whose Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday
Occupation describes a fundamental aspect of the current situation
between Israel and Palestine. It is endorsed by Bishop Desmond Tutu,
Howard Zinn (who I believe has himself spoken at Politics and Prose),
and a number of others. This hardly seems responsible as policy. It is
especially sad from a place that has otherwise been willing entertain a
long list of speakers who bring new viewpoints and perhaps controversy
within the context of meaningful debate. Why are they suddenly afraid?
Why this sudden intolerance from a place which has worked hard to
develop a reputation for seriousness and even enlightenment? At the very
least, the bookstore owes us an explanation.
[Today’s Washington Post has articles about this event by
both Saree Makdisi (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/06/AR2008060603068.html)
and Carla Cohen (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/06/AR2008060603068.html).]
— Gary Imhoff
Obviously we live in very different parts of the city. Where I live
the firework spectaculars begin about now (as soon as they go on sale)
and go on almost nightly until the supply is exhausted (around
mid-July). I am not talking about sprinklers or fire snakes (which I
would be totally unaware of) but cherry bombs, Roman candles, fire
crackers, and other so-called banned fireworks. I have witnessed from my
bedroom windows some very good theatrical displays that rival the Mall’s
Fourth of July presentations in both height and sound, if not
brilliance. Sleep is often impossible until at least midnight and the
worry is always there that one will land on my roof and start a fire. I
have often had to clean off spent fire crackers from my balcony and back
yard the next day after such a show.
I call 911 to report the problem with such illegal activity but
nothing seems to get done. I am told that it is too difficult to enforce
the rules because some fireworks are legal. OK, if that is the case,
then make them all illegal if that will make enforcement easier and
obtaining them harder. At this point I personally don’t care if the
persons setting them off or being a willing audience gets their hand
blown off or sets their own house on fire. Just leave me alone in peace.
If it were just on the Fourth I wouldn’t care and could easily ignore
it; if it didn’t put my property in jeopardy I wouldn’t worry; if
the people having the money to buy fireworks don’t depend on public
assistance for everything else then I’d still care, just not as much
(does the government also give out fireworks stamps when they give out
But until the law is changed to make all fireworks illegal and/or the
current laws are properly and strongly enforced, then I will have to
continue to clog up the 911 lines making calls whenever I see (or hear)
the law being broken (I do make an exception on the Fourth, however, and
don’t call then).
In further response to Jonetta Rose Barras’ anti-dogist remarks [themail,
June 1], let me say that dog parks do not really take away from park
usage by humans. They are very well defined areas of parks and are very
densely used. They don’t take away from kids’ playgrounds or walking
trails or anything.
They are an asset to the park since the dog park is usually in full
use when the rest of it might be empty. More people in the park means
more security. Especially at dusk, this can be invaluable. For example,
when the remains of Chandra Levy were found the police, essentially,
regarded the dog people who frequented the area as nuisances, whereas
they could have been regarded as potential information assets.
Dog parks are a win-win situation and provide low cost benefits for
all park users.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Mt. Pleasant Library Community Design Meeting,
Martha Saccocio, email@example.com
Please join your neighbors, staff from the DC Public Library, and the
architecture firm of CORE Group, PC, at a community meeting to discuss
the renovation of the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library. At this
meeting, the architects will present preliminary design concepts being
explored. The meeting will be held Tuesday, June 10, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
at the Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street, NW (at Lamont Street).
For more information, please visit the library’s web site at http://www.dclibrary.org
or contact Martha Saccocio at 727-1188 or Martha.Saccocio@dc.gov.
DC Public Library Events, June 10-11
George Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, June 10, 2:00 p.m., Chevy Chase Library. The Times of Harvey
Milk. This film documents the rise and assassination of America’s
first well-known gay elected official.
Wednesday, June 11, 1:00 p.m., Capitol View Library. Wednesday
Afternoon Book Club. Discuss the book, The Appeal by John
Wednesday, June 11, 1:00 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park
Library. Shepherd Park Afternoon Book Club. Young adults, adults.
Discuss the book, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls.
Wednesday, June 11, 7:30 p.m., Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Interim Library.
Knitting circle. All ages.
Saturday, June 14, 1-2:30 p.m. Family series: Urban Gardening: Small
Trees and Large Shrubs for Urban Gardens. Join Kathy Jentz, editor and
publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, as she explores the
possibilities of what small trees and large shrubs you can plant in
small urban lots. Tailored to the District of Columbia region and what
grows best here, the choices will cover natives, edibles, and
ornamentals — from full sun to full shade. For every place there is a
tree that is a perfect fit. Even if you only have a few pots to plant
in, a tree can be part of your urban life.
Kathy Jentz publishes Washington Gardener Magazine, its
monthly Enewsletter, blog, and web site (http://www.washingtongardener.com).
In addition she is the local garden columnist for the Washington
Examiner newspaper and writes about gardening for Washington
Woman magazine. A regular on the garden spots on WAMU Metro
Connections and NBC4@4, she currently serves as president of the Silver
Spring Garden Club. Ages 12 to adults. RSVP@historydc.org
Investigating Where We Live: The River Has Two
Sides, June 14
Jazmine Zick, email@example.com
Saturday, June 14, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Investigating Where We Live
Traveling Exhibition Opening Reception. Held at the United Planning
Organization (UPO) Shaw Community Service Center, 1726 Seventh Street,
NW. Come celebrate the opening of the traveling version of the
exhibition Investigating Where We Live: The River Has Two Sides. The
exhibition showcases student photographs of the Anacostia, Congress
Heights, and Navy Yard neighborhoods taken during the 2007 session of
IWWL. Free. Registration not required. At the National Building Museum,
401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
CreateAThon Marathon to Donate Free
Josh Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you work for or know of a DC-area 501(c)3 nonprofit that urgently
needs communications assistance, but can’t afford to pay for it?
CreateAThon, a twenty-four-hour marathon of design occurring this
September, can help your group. Your assistance could be help with web
development, graphic design for posters, brochures or other printed
items, or strategic communications consultation. To learn more, or apply
for free services, download an application at www.basisbranding.com/createthon.
Applications are due before noon, Wednesday, July 9. CreateAThon is
hosted by Basis, (formerly Mediastudio), a brand consultancy that has
over thirteen years of nonprofit experience. We look forward this year
to helping more nonprofits to realize their communications goals.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Original Hopkins Washington Maps from 1887 on
Sale This Month!
Paul Williams, OldHouseHistory@aol.com
We’ve placed our remaining eighteen original, Washington, DC,
Hopkins maps from 1887 on sale this week in our eBay store; they are now
35 percent off. They won’t last, so if your interested in an original,
color Hopkins, get yours today! I’ve not seen these on eBay in fifteen
If you missed your original map, our full sized, high quality prints
are also on sale this month only for 15 percent off! The map of the
Howard Theater area and a map of southeast Capitol Hill are on auction
this week , starting at only $22! http://tinyurl.com/4949jn.
I’d be happy to E-mail photographs of any map, or help you find the
map that might cover your individual house or area of DC interest!
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