Monday, September 25, 2017

Here's how you can volunteer for Democrats in Virginia: phone bank in our area or canvass to get out the vote


 Here's some opportunities to get involved in local politics. You might say "Local? In Virginia?" but I'd argue it affects us.

In 2017, less than 50 days away, Virginia has elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and state house. All of these have ramifications for us in DC, as they have the power to redistrict the state's Congressional and state house districts. Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, with aggressive attempts to change vote totals or move the borders social current elected officials are out of their districts. That also affects policies in the state.

Right now, there are 4 Democrats and 7 Republicans in the Congress from Virginia, despite the total vote being split nearly 50-50 -- and that's an improvement on 2012 and 2014, when it was 3 and 8. Thanks to gerrymandering, in the state house there are 34 Democrats and 66 Republicans, despite the state going for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And as we have discovered, Republican members of Congress love to interfere in DC's affairs: they've previously tried (and sometimes succeeded) from trying to stop DC from spending money medical marijuana, decriminalized marijuana, women's health, LGBT issues, abortion services, and many other things DC taxpayers have voted for and want. And that's not to mention Congress dealing with issues that affect the country as a whole, like foreign policy, federal jobs, the environment and more.

To me, this volunteering also a way to affect change in an important place that's near us. DC is very Democratic, but just across the border it's much more competitive. You can be active in the city and also help out next door and have a big impact.

There are a number of events coming up that anyone can participate in: Check them out. Phone banking is a way to encourage voters to get out and vote, to make sure they know their polling places, and more, and canvassing does the same but in person. (I've done both a few times, they're actually kind of fun!)
  • 09/25 [Monday] – Women's National Democratic Club's Virginia Call to Action  
    • 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the WNDC (1526 New Hampshire Ave NW)
    • Many progressive groups including the Democratic National Committee will have booths where you can learn more about different ways to get involved in Virginia. There will also be phone banking & training!
    • Event Link HERE
  • 09/27 [Wednesday] – Phone Bank at the DNC
  • 09/28 [Thursday] – Phone Bank at the DNC hosted by DC for Progress
  • 09/30-10/01 [Saturday – Sunday] – Canvassing Weekend of Action!
There will be more events too after this!

Fall Fun Fest this Sunday at Old Soldiers Home: food trucks, music, antique cars, kids' games, bourbon tasting, beer and more


This sounds like an awesome event for adults and kids alike: the Friends of the Soldiers Home have their annual Fall Fun Fest this Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Soldiers Home (just east of Park View.) It runs from 9am-5pm with all kinds of events, vendors, crafts and performances, including a military drill team, antique cars, and more.

Personally I'm interested in the bourbon tasting and beer. There are also lots of kids events like games, a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch, moon bounce and others.

They're also looking for volunteers, so if you want to help out and meet some neighbors, go here!

If you haven't been, the Old Soldiers Home (technically the Armed Forces Retirement Home) is a really nice campus with lots of grass, rolling hills and trees. The Friends of the Soldiers Home hosts events for the public and also does a lot with the retirees at the home.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Department of Health cracks down on dogs on the patio at Midlands, Wonderland; doggie sit-in Sept. 23


This is lame. The city's Department of Health visited Wonderland and Midlands recently, telling both that dogs aren't allowed on their patios (or inside.) Washingtonian has the story, where apparently someone complained to DOH about the pooches.

Midlands posted on Facebook about it, as they have a dog in residence on the patio, Andy Pants, who has a doghouse, and folks sometimes bring their dogs to hang out while they hang out. Wonderland sometimes has customers bring pooches to their patio too. To me, I don't see the problem -- these are pretty big outdoor places and the dogs aren't inside or near the food prep areas. It's a nice thing to see too. Dogs are nice. There has been a law banning dogs for some time but it was rarely enforced. Washingtonian said DOH showed up after receiving a complaint.

But Midlands isn't taking this laying down or rolling over (get it) -- they posted a message asking people to contact their councilmembers and the relevant government officials, and Ward 1 Councilember Nadeau posted this recently on her Facebook page: "Lots of frustrated folks have been contacting my office about a recent city crackdown on dogs on restaurant patios. Working on it!"

Midlands has also organized a doggie sit-in and "PETition signing" on Saturday, Sept. 23 urging people to bring their dogs and sit on the patio in protest.

Here's the Facebook post from Midlands:
Dear Friends, Neighbors and Dog Parents,

We deeply regret having to make this statement, but Washington DC’s Dept. of Health just paid us a visit and told us we are NO LONGER ALLOWED TO HAVE DOGS on the property until further notice. This means all dogs including Andy Pants. We are very sorry for this awful change, but we have no control over it. Write your council member, we are.

Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau (bnadeau@dccouncil.us) since both Midlands and Wonderland are both in her district,

Health Committee Chair Vincent Gray (vgray@dccouncil.us) and his committee director egoulet@dccouncil.us 
Dept. of Health Director LaQuandra.Nesbitt@dc.gov (cc: doh@dc.gov).
Just put it all in the same email👍🏼
Midlands & Andy
Photo of Andy Pants by Midlands 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Multi-family, multi-block yard sale on Monroe Street this Saturday


This sounds awesome: a reader sent me the poster advertising the Junk and Jam multifamily yard sale on Monroe Street from 16th to Sherman, taking place this Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10am-2pm. There's a followup concert and community event at 4pm on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. Looks like fun!

There's also a spot to sign up if you want to sell some treasures. They're also raising money for Harriet Tubman Elementary School, so another good reason to come out!

Monday, September 18, 2017

DC Reynolds has been open for 2,000 consecutive days; pig roast Sept. 30 to celebrate


This is awesome: local bar and restaurant DC Reynolds has been open for 2,000 consecutive days, through snowstorms, hurricanes and more. And they're celebrating with a pig roast on Sept. 30, which sounds great.

The spot does their best to be open through thick and thin and be a good neighbor and help out during tough times: I remember seeing owner Jeremy Gifford out on Georgia Avenue one blizzardy morning using a snowblower to clear the entire block. He said he bought it that day to help out. They also offer a free dinner on Thanksgiving for anybody, as well as being open holidays in case local folks need a drink or aren't going home. A lot of the staff lives nearby. They offer good food and are open at lunchtime because neighborhood folks asked for it.

If you haven't been, they're famous for their buy one-get one free happy hour as well as really good food -- big fan of the pork belly sandwich.

Here's what they have to say about it. Tickets are $30 for all you can eat and a free first drink, or $35 day of. There will be Absolutely Vodka and Black Hog beer specials, plus BOGO starting an hour early.
In September we will pass our 2,000th consecutive day being open and we're having a pig roast. Though Snowstorms, Hurricanes, Holidays, and Government shutdowns, we have opened for lunch or dinner every day since March 2012. Grab a ticket and enjoy an extra hour of BOGO on us. We see you Cal Ripken and we're coming for you.
Here's more about Reynolds and other local spots focused on good food and being good neighbors.


DC Reynolds is at 3628 Georgia Avenue NW.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Halloween costume drive for Park Morton: drop off your costumes until Oct. 14


Here's a fun way to help out local kids: Georgia Avenue Thrive and the local Salvation Army chapter have organized a Halloween costume drive for the children at Park Morton, the public housing in Park View just east of Georgia.

You can drop off new or gently used costumes until Saturday, Oct. 14 at Yoga Heights, Walls of Books or at First Friday on October 6 at the old Murry's parking lot, Georgia and Morton.

Here's more from the First Friday organizers:
We are working on the next First Friday and are also doing a Halloween costume drive. Park Morton has 50+ kids and have a Halloween party scheduled at the Salvation Army at the end of October. Many of the kids do not have Halloween costumes so we offered our support soliciting donations of new/gently used Halloween costumes for kids aged 1 to 12. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Design your own Metro system with this DIY tool: pretty fun


This is fun: DCist writes about a tool developed by coder Shannon Turner that lets you create your own Metro system -- maybe you want to add some stations, make a new line, or completely redesign it.

It took a minute to get the hang of (you have to draw the lines first, then add stations on top) but I spent some time goofing around and having fun. I made a new line that runs across town through Columbia Heights, since it can be a pain to go east-west from our area using transit.

My dream line runs from Mt. Rainier in Maryland to Langdon Park (mainly so I can go to Public Option, an awesome brewery, and the cool shops on Rhode Island Ave NE) then to Ivy City, H Street, Union Station, a new Bloomingdale station, to Columbia Heights, then actual Adams Morgan (18th and Columbia) and then on to Dupont and Georgetown, ending in Rosslyn. I suppose you could send it into central Arlington and beyond but I don't know much about that area.

Of course, it's purely theoretical as I assume this would be pretty expensive and difficult, especially making new transfer stations at Union Station, Columbia Heights and Dupont -- but hey, we can dream, right?

I also added a few other little things, like an extension of the Yellow line across the river to National Harbor and an infill station at Potomac Yards. I thought about an extra DC United stadium station but couldn't think of a good way to get there.

Give it a shot, and let us know what you did. Maybe more stations in NE and Prince George's County?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sad news: Taqueria Distrito Federal has closed due to a rent hike; still open on Kennedy Street


This stinks. Taqueria Distrito Federal, the beloved taco spot at 3463 14th Street NW, has closed due to a rent hike according to PoP. Their Yelp page also shows them as closed.

TDF was one of the first taco spots in the area, if not the city, and was delicious and reasonably priced -- predating the taqueria explosion around the city and just being a great spot for tacos, Mexican food and more. A few years ago I called our area the taco-iest in the city.

The neighborhood has a ton of other taco spots now, like my fave Taqueria Habanero at 14th and Spring, Mezcalero next door to that, Taqueria del Barrio on Upshur, and more, but TDF was the original.

The other Taqueria Distrito Federal location at 805 Kennedy Street NW in Petworth is still open, so fans can hop on a bus or bike up there. That strip is really starting to heat up too, with a location of Anxo cider and more.

I understand that building owners want to maximize their profits, but this kind of thing always seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face -- raising rent so much a popular neighborhood institution has to close. I hope something cool comes in to replace it, and I hope the Kennedy Street location thrives.