Tuesday, May 14, 2019


Public Safety Much Improved, At Our Penn Branch 7-Eleven

The public safety situation has much improved, at our Shops at Penn Branch, since the publication of my last article on the subject.
The CHARACTERS and panhandlers no longer gather in any number, noticeable enough to alarm, annoy or distract from keeping ourselves safe, going about our business, there. Penn Branch no longer operates in an environment that attracts criminal opportunists; so, let us assume that the prospects for intimidation, purse-snatchings, slightly more violent smash-n-grabs and straight-up ARMED ROBBERY ..are significantly less, than before.

Chronic vagrancy is not tolerated by the 7-Eleven stores in Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase, Georgetown or Spring Valley - I've been to those stores - and I can tell you it is not tolerated in Penn Branch, either. I have spoken with the owner of our 7-Eleven, and, believe me, ..she is working so hard to keep her store and storefront, a hospitable place to shop. Furthermore, she invites all of us Branchers to share our concerns with her, before we silently start passing by the Shops at Penn Branch, for other places, ..west of the Big Dirty and out of town.
Chronic loitering distracts us all from keeping ourselves and our families safe from potentially more violent crime. That's the big deal. That is why we cannot tolerate it.
Keep telling our Penn Branch store owners and cashiers to pay attention to what's going on outside their stores AND to call the police, when they see loiterers and panhandlers, gathering. E-mails, tweets and text messages - WRITTEN complaints - make the most impact...
But let's start out with a conversation.

Bent Out Of Shape About Little Archie's Missing Title? Don't Be...Here's Why!

There's a reason Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, newly born son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, won't properly be 'His Royal Highness', ..and it's got nothing to do with his mother being a commoner or a biracial African American woman.

And so long as he's 'Prince Archie' to you and your aunties, ..does it matter?

TownAndCountryMag.com breaks it all down for us, here.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Let There Be Loft: A Rant

by Mel Dyer

Just finished browsing DCLofts.com and found one--ONE--converted loft property in Southeast, on Capitol Hill (of course) called the Bryan School Lofts, ..which are all sold outThe Bryan School was done by award-winning Abdo Builders, and probably cost a vital organ AND a limb to own. Frankly, they are a little too polished for my tastes--scrubbed of all the rugged, Industrial Era charm that ought to be evident in converting an old school, garage, trolley car barn or factory into functional living space. These Abdo lofts look like the Sex In The City ladies hang out there.

They're sissy lofts, and I hate'm.

Lofts used to be the large, unattractive, slate gray ruins of an obsolete industrial era that no style-conscious yuppy would be caught dead in. In the 1950's, lofts were places, where a large, lower income, working class or struggling immigrant family could stake a claim in the steamy, jazz-scored urban experience...the Big City. They were open frontiers for the poor, but, ambitious. They were blank canvases upon which a large family could build a promising, new destiny, painted in bright, exotic, loud, un-American colors, ..beaded, piered, book-cased, crated and rice-papered off into whatever wondrous shapes their world-weary, colonized, disenfranchised minds could imagine...and all of that at an affordably low rate.

These struggling Mexican, Nigerian, German, Russian, Puerto Rican, Korean, Welsh, Irish, Chinese, Peruvian, Italian, Jamaican, Hungarian and (back, then) Afro-American families made virtual mansions out of these lofts, some of them were so huge. Coming to America's big cities with little more than the clothes on their backs, a big, ugly, renovated meat-packing plant or cannery was all many of them could afford.

Firetraps, some of them were called.

Now, those same families needn't even look at the word 'loft' in the classifieds, because they know, or will learn rather quickly, that these miracles of urban housing are priced out of their reach. Were my great-great grandmother, Rosana, and great grandfather, George - both Mexican American farm-workers, who could not speak English or read their own names in print - my great grandmother Eliza and their two boys, George and Edgar, to come to the Washington, D.C. of today from the old Republic of Tejas, they would be forced to live in the most inhospitably cramped, dilapidated, roach-infested, crime-ridden apartments the Distict has to offer, because all of the big, dreary, drafty lofts they were once able to afford have been gobbled up by greedy real estate developers with no vision or appreciation for the future of this country, beyond a respect for capitalism.

Because some rich, flamboyant bubbleheads have decided they want to play artiste in the big, gritty city, taking the only place they might be able to afford into vulgar, track-lighted, steam punk expressions of conspicuous consumption.

America can and should be so much more than consumption of the frivolous.

Anyway, I am looking for crappy, UGLY, sensibly priced lofts that no one in their right mind would want to call their home ..in River East. There's no reason that River East, with our ancient and abandoned, Industrial Era garages, factories and schools, should be short on loft-living opportunities, and there is no reason River East should not be the place, where the experimental, revolutionary shot was fired - the place, where working middle and lower income people took back the Loft! I am so sick of seeing irresponsible urban planners, greedy developers and corrupt politicians herding large populations of working people into immutably small and inhospitable places, and throw their hands up in apoplexy, at the crime, dysfunction and blight that results.

And I want mine, Capicostian. If you find any, please contact me [My media info at the bottom right of this blog.] and let me know.

My best to you and yours...and thanks, all.

[Originally published in 2010.]

ANC-7B Naylor Dupont's Website Is Still Under Construction

It's really small, not very informative ..and boring. Like Naylor Dupont...sometimes.

Have a look.

Friday, September 7, 2018

From Frustrated Facebook Ramblings About Fairfax Village, The Spectre Of Gentrification And Very Real Cultural Isolation

By Mel Dyer
While I don't spend as much time, there, as I used to, I can't give up hope that my home of over twenty years, FAIRFAX VILLAGE, will soon escape the pessimism that some of us have inflicted upon it, since the early 1970s, ..and return to its pastoral niceness, someday. While I have enjoyed friendships, with a wide variety of people from every corner of the planet, I don't think the Village needs cultural OR economic gentrification to make that happen.
Inflicted? Did I say...yes, ..I did. So, what am I talking about?
In the late 1960s, there used to be an Italian restaurant - a RISTORANTE, with a piazza and bistro tables, with candles on them, at night - literally, a mere couple of blocks, from my condo. Long before I moved here in 1995, lovers, old ones and young ones, used to amuse each other, over candlelight, in that piazza, ..right up the street. What happened? I don't care if the lovers are East Indian, Polish, Jamaican, Salvadoran or Cameroonian - I want that, back. I don't care, if it's not as fancy, as the original; I want that, back.

Show me a reason I shouldn't want it...that it's not possible. I want it to matter enough to my neighbors, here and in the surrounding communities, that we don't PEE on it, pollute it with vulgarity ..or fight and kill each other and bleed all over it - enough that we'd keep it decent for our families...especially, the elders, who got us, here. If we'd never had it, I might content myself with seeking such simple pleasures, elsewhere, ..but, we had it.
We had a standard, in Fairfax Village. I want that, back. I want that ..and optimism.

So-called 'big government' can't back up a truck, over here, and dump optimism into our community. It can create tax incentives for venture capitalists, established corporations, sole proprietors, small businesses and prospective homeowners to encourage investment. It can educate our young people to be the next generation of job creators in Fairfax Village. Beyond that, big government, liberal solutions offer very little. I think we need a mix of solutions from the right, left and between to solve the civic problems, here - that's another discussion, entirely.

What's broken in Fairfax Village is more, than social; it's ..cultural. When we Villagers draw a line, at our border, no matter what socioeconomic turmoil is unfolding in the world beyond it ..or what trouble is plaguing our individual, personal lives ..and declare there will be no danger, filth or dysfunction, within, ..we will have turned a corner. The optimism and determination - the revolution - for a better life for our collective, has to start inside the hearts and minds of each and every Villager. I can't give up hope that I will see that cultural transformation take place, here, someday, ..and hopefully sooner, than later.

Maybe, it's time for it. Maybe, the ambitions and aspirations of new villagers, especially immigrants, can infuse our old neighborhood with something it lost ..or never had, in the first place - the determination that, no matter where you come from, a good and better life will be had, here. That Fairfax Village will not fail...period.
No excuses.
In my lifetime, I'd like us to do better, than 'not fail'. I'd like to see us thrive. Again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Vagrants And Panhandlers Now Endangering Elders And Disabled At Penn Branch Shops!

by Mel Dyer
In case you haven't been paying attention, CHARACTERS and panhandlers are hanging around our Shops At Penn Branch, now.
As they gather in number - I saw TWO pretty obnoxious ones, out there, tonight - they will create an environment that attracts criminal opportunists. Soon, the word will get out that it's OPEN SEASON on Branchers, ..as we stop to dig in our pockets, open purses, etc. They will create opportunities for intimidation, purse-snatchings, slightly more violent smash-n-grabs and straight-up ARMED ROBBERY, ..and right in the parking lot!

It all starts with a few harmless regulars (characters, we used to call them) hanging out front and in the lot, hustling a little change, harassing passersby, ogling women, dancing [I've seen it!], prostituting themselves, dealing or consuming drugs and, most importantly, ..distracting Branchers from paying attention to their personal safety.
Popping into the Shops At Penn Branch for milk and OJ won't so easy, when our sisters, daughters and mothers are forced to sort through all the characters - harmless ones vs. armed robbers - just to get inside the store. And yes, I've actually seen them DANCING, outside the store...flipping around like mackerel, on the walkway!
I will not pay our Shops At Penn Branch to disregard the safety of our disabled persons [My sister is one.] ..elders, women and children. Neglecting public safety is disrespectful of our community, and we should not tolerate or support it, with our business.
Is vagrancy tolerated by the 7-Eleven stores in Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase, Georgetown or Spring Valley? I've been to those stores, ..and I can tell you it is not. Are we worth any less, in Penn Branch or, for that matter, the rest of Capicostia*?
What's the big deal? Where's the harm done, here? The loitering is distracting us all from keeping ourselves and our families safe from potentially more violent crime. That's where the real harm is done.
Let's tell our Shops At Penn Branch proprietors to pay attention to what's going on outside their stores. Let's tell them to call the police, when they see loiterers and panhandlers, gathering. E-mails, tweets and text messages - WRITTEN complaints - make the most impact. Let's start out with friendly, neighborly suggestions, as is the way in Penn Branch, ..and see how it goes.
*Capicostia is a blogosphere nickname for what used to be ANC-7B, a region East-of-River and lying between Historic Anacostia and Capitol Hill and the DC/Maryland state line.