12 Jan 2021


Hill Buzz

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? I was working on a belated Hill Buzz last week (that will never see the light of day) when the riot took place at the Capitol and I turned my attention to sharing as much information as I could on social media (Instagram and Twitter). I don’t know about you, but my mood has been up and down since then. But life has a funny way of continuing, and so, let’s take a look at some of the things that also managed to happen while our entire sense of security came crashing down around us here on the Hill:

The Peace Memorial on January 11, 2021. The memorial, a depiction of Grief whispering and crying into History’s ear, who writes on a tablet, “They died that their country might live,” has been turned into a fallen officer memorial. Photo by María Helena Carey

I was going to share all these fun “New Year” type posts, but I scrapped that idea because, 12 years days into 2021 has reinforced in me the belief that nothing will get better until it gets worse. This Out/In list from the Washington Post is missing an item:

Out: Saying unhelpful and mendacious things like, “This is not America,” or “This is not who we are!” This is who we are. Let’s stop lying to ourselves.

In: Recognizing our systemic problems as a nation and addressing them consistently and constantly.

This dovetails nicely with an opinion also at The Washington Post, from Demceber 31. In an essay that should make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, Michael Gerson outlines the danger in talented and ambitious figures such as Sen. Josh Hawley. Eerily concise, clear-eyed and prescient.

I have talked about what happened at the Capitol with family, friends and many strangers over the course of the week, and I feel angry and powerless. I’m sharing this piece former neighbor and former WCP’s Gear Prudence, Brian McEntee, wrote over at Slate about the illusion that was shattered on Wednesday: That the Capitol Police were supposed to be gruff, rude and armed heavily at all times because they were ready to strike a threat down at any moment. They weren’t. It was all a lie.

Charles Allen sent a strongly-worded letter to now-former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. Sund, along with both House and Senate Sergeant-At-Arms stepped down on Thursday, as NPR reports. The officers who did their job, did so in the face of lack of appropriate support from their superiors and their own, as it turns out. They did so while several in their ranks put political ideology over their oath to protect and serve the Capitol of the United States. It’s as important to bring accolades to the heroes of the day, especially to our own Metropolitan Police Department, as it is to condemn the officers who were taking selfies, cheering the insurrection or standing by and doing nothing while so many of their brothers and sisters did their job even if it cost them their lives. At least two USCP officers have been suspended and as many as 17 more are under investigation after Wednesday. CNN

If you would like to remember Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the line of duty, and Officer Howard Liebengood, who committed suicide this past Saturday after being on duty on Wednesday, you can visit the Peace Memorial at 1st Street NW at the foot of the Capitol. See photo above.

I ran this poll on December 23, the day after a car nearly destroyed the Joy of Motion studio space on H Street. More than half of you have had a bad traffic-related experience along H Street NE. This needs to change.

Let’s move now from the insurrection and talk about the fact that H Street NE is dangerous and, despite repeated calls to action from citizens and ANCs, little has happened to change the traffic flow. Greater Greater Washington catalogs the last three accidents along the strip and provides background on cars hitting buildings, a far more common occurrence than people think it is. Gordon Chaffin’s Street Justice also takes a look at the needs for H Street to change and proposes a new street design. They both introduce the work of transportation activist and friend of the blog Mark Sussman, who since the last crash back on December 22 took place, has been working tirelessly to get businesses to support a safer H Street. You can read below for the text of the letter, or if that doesn’t display, follow this link.

Although ANC 6C has been trying to have DDOT take a serious look at the western end of H Street– ANC 6C is responsible for that stretch of H Street NE up until 8th Street NE– these pleas have gone unanswered. However, in a happier turn of events, Charles Allen took a walk with DDOT Director Jeff Marootian and some of ANC 6A this past Friday, January 8, to outline several changes to make the street safer. (Twitter)

Mark Eckenwiler, an ANC 6C commissioner, shared this letter from February of 2020 in a related Twitter thread, addressing some of the worst intersections along the H Street corridor. That letter has yet to be answered by DDOT.

A fun change of pace from Washington City Paper: A double profile on the two first-generation Americans who run Cameo at The Roost and Yellow in Navy Yard.

Congratulations to NoMa BID on their new president and CEO, Maura Brophy! WFMZ via PR Newswire

Sneaking in way under the radar, this story from the Washington Blade about how the city has insufficient funds to help with added staff at the D.C. Office of Human Rights, part of a provision in the bill that that would help strengthen the prosecution of hate crimes.

In closing, a story from the New York Times and syndicated to the Hartford Courant about DC. (That made my head spin too). A heartrending account of how the pandemic is taking its toll on children in Wards 7 and 8 (or, if you’re pedantic, “the 7th and 8th Wards), it will leave you hurting. Take that hurt and support mutual-aid organizations like Serve Your City. It’ll do your heart and our community good.

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