Monday, January 31, 2011

Report from Delegation to Department of Transportation

A delegation of five Ward Four Thrives met today with the District Department of Transportation to discuss major traffic problems with the proposed Foulger Pratt development. DDOT agreed with W4T members that there are major concerns that the developers could likely not address.

It was also disclosed that it is common for developers to submit pieces of the Large Tract Review for early review, before being submitted as a whole to the Office of Planning. At this stage, the LTR could be rejected outright.

W4T meets with the Office of Planning Thursday.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

W4T member speaks out against Wal Mart

Ward 4 resident Michele Baskin speaks to why the community opposes Walmart's proposed Georgia Ave. NW/Missouri Ave. NW site

What are your traffic concerns?

Members of Ward 4 Thrives will be meeting with officials at DC's Department of Transportation on Monday. From attending multiple ANC meetings and listening to our neighbors, we think we have a pretty good idea of what everyone's concerns are about the impact of a Wal-Mart on the traffic for Georgia Ave, Missouri Ave, Peabody St, 9th St, and the other residential streets.

But just in case, we thought we'd ask! So leave a comment with your major traffic concerns and we will pass them on. Straight from your fingertips to the ears of DDOT.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Next W4T meeting!

When - Wednesday February 2nd, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Where - Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 13th and Van Buren NW
Why - We will be giving updates on the petition drive and upcoming meetings with DC Department of Transportation & the Office of Planning. We will discuss how to increase our message and visibility in the press. We will continue to discuss our outreach to neighbors as well as decide how we want to begin to distribute yard and window signs that are being given to us from the city-wide coalition. And we will do a lot more! So you should come!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Screening canceled tonight

"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices" Canceled

The documentary screening has been canceled tonight due to the inclement weather.

This will be rescheduled for a future date very soon.

Community Advocacy Day Thursday 1/27!

Community Advocacy Day January 27th

Ward 4 Thrives is participating in a day of Community Advocacy this Thursday January 27th from 9 am to 12 pm. We are joining our fellow city-wide coalition members to deliver a message to the Councilmembers and Mayor that we expect Wal-Mart and the city to Respect the residents of DC and the Choices of our communities.

Over 700 Ward 4 Residents have signed on to voice their opposition to a Wal-Mart in our ward. Let's deliver that message again, this time in person. Are you free Thursday morning? Then come join us!

When - Thursday January 27th 9 am to 12 noon (lunch is being generously provided by our local UFCW members)
Where - The Wilson Building downtown 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, meeting in the Lobby initially
Why - To tell the Councilmembers to make Wal-Mart Respect DC Residents and our Community choices
How - We will form teams by Ward to meet with Councilmembers. Each team will probably meet with 2 Councilmembers. You already know what you think, but additional materials from Ward 4 Thrives can be provided to you, just let us know.
Who - You! Your neighbors!

Email Michele or call (202)641-5546 if you are going to try and come so that we can have a head-count and know who to look out for.

Ward 4 Thrives is turning up the pressure. Help us keep it up!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Movie Night! Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

Join Ward 4 Thrives and other local groups opposed to the Wal-Martization of DC for a free screening of the documentary “Wal-Mart: The high Cost of Low Wages”.

Yes we know it’s cold outside, but it’s nice and warm inside the Emery Recreation Center! Come for the refreshments. Come for the movie. Come to listen to local workers impacted by Wal-Mart. Come to hear about next steps, future meetings, and what you can do.

When – Wednesday January 26th 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where – Emery Rec Center 5701 Georgia Ave NW (Georgia & Madison)

Bring your family, friends and neighbors!

Monday, January 24, 2011

ANC 4 B meeting with Michael Brown about Wal Mart

Wal Mart ANC 4B with at large comm Michael Brown

75 + people attended ANC 4B meeting to discuss Wal Mart. Michael Brown's quick poll of the room shows 2-3 people pro Wal Mart and 70 against.

ANC commissioners want to know if ANC 4 B will pass a motion to call for public hearings and Brown agrees to support the motion.

Brown confirms that Large Tract Review and the executive office have the final say on Foulger Pratt's development plan.

When asked if he would support the community in opposing Wal Mart-Now about 700 signatures strong- Brown insists on waiting for the official plan before stating a position.

Relevant points raised include the fact that Wal Mart funds groups opposed to DC Statehood, to which Brown had no response. It was also raised that something needs to go on the site.

And a closing point: if Brown claims Mayor Gray and the city council can't stop Wal Mart, what's the point of city council? Philly was referenced as having stopped Wal Mart from moving in.

Contact Brown:
202. 724 8105

Georgia Avenue Businesses get active against Wal Mart

Picked up by Richard Layman at Yes! on Georgia Avenue- check out blogpost. Many businesses are now meeting regularly and are active in preserving their livelihoods in the wake of the Wal Mart threat

Sunday, January 23, 2011

At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown is coming to Ward 4!

Monday January 24th is the ANC4B monthly meeting at 4th District MPD Community Room starting at 6:30. We need to pack this meeting! Why might you ask? Because Michael Brown seems to want to be a voice of reason about Wal-Mart on the council but won't go on record with an actual position.

Well we aren't going to let him just give some nice sound-bites. Let's make him actually state his position in front of the voters. With a running total of 617 (and growing!) Ward 4 residents opposed to this Wal-Mart development, we need to make sure that OUR voice is being heard by Councilmember Brown. Here is a list of questions that we should make sure get answered tomorrow night:
  1. Do you support community-led development?
  2. Will you support our community in asking Foulger-Pratt and Councilmember Bowser to consider other options?
  3. Will you support the Ward 4 community when we say we do not want Wal-Mart in our community?
  4. If you think Wal-Mart is just fine for our community, will you go on record saying you want to make Wal-Mart sign an enforceable Community Benefits Agreement?
Come to the meeting and listen to what Councilmember Brown has to say in response. Leave your own questions you want asked in the comments section.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

W4T is so over Michelle

For real, Michelle? Did you have to go and endorse Wal Mart in DC like that? For all of the good ideas out there for bringing more healthy food to our communities, W4T is disappointed you went for Wal Mart. And, not that husband and wife teams need to agree, but Barack hit the nail on the head during his presidential campaign for calling it out as anti-union and bad for workers, or, what did he say, "Unlike the manufacturers who are under enormous competitive pressure from global low-cost producers, Wal-Mart is making enormous profits and yet it has chosen to go with low wages and diminished benefits"

So, Michelle, we're so over you using DC for a national platform about some BS Wal Mart is dishing out on their way to destroying DC businesses and bring in more poverty wage jobs than we can stomach.

Citywide coalition launches website and canvassing

Our citywide coalition, the Living Wage Healthy Communities Coalition, has officially launched an aggressive canvassing effort as well as a broad online presence. Check out the website, on facebook, and on twitter @Respect_DC and #RespectDC.

Wards five, six, and seven are ramping up efforts to make Wal Mart respect DC. With meetings taking place almost every night, and new leaders and petition rolls filling out, Wal Mart will have more than just Ward Four's resistance to deal with!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Communication from Developer...

Hey! Wal Mart! 'Fess up! You're going to be bad for our neighborhood! Read the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan, and some Jane Jacobs, already!

Communication between Brightwoodian and Foulger Pratt and Wal Mart's propaga.... communications team. In a nutshell, Wal Mart thinks that, unlike their impact in other urban areas, they'll attract new business to Georgia Avenue. Somehow W4T thinks all the studies in the world won't convince them otherwise.

So sign the petition! Help us petition! And get involved!

Hi Dick,

Happy new year to you. I hope your holidays were wonderful.

A friend passed along this article from the Retail Traffic publication, "CMBS Lenders are coming back, as is their appetite for risk": (I also linked to it in a post on my blog yesterday).

If lenders are lending again, might that make a difference in the fate of Square 2986 (that's what we've been referring to the tract of land that we formerly referred to as "the old Curtis Chevrolet site")?

I've been reading through the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan for Upper Georgia Avenue (which, granted, was published in 2008) and paying particular attention to the section on Square 2986. It calls for a mixed-use development on that tract, in order to maximize revitalization for that stretch of Georgia Avenue. Needless to say, the current proposal doesn't reflect the Office of Planning's recommendations in the Great Streets Plan. But if commercial mortgage backed securities are indeed bouncing back, might that allow the plans for the development of Square 2986 to get back in sync with Great Streets?

Thanks for reading, and considering.


<> wrote:

Hi Rebecca, happy new year. I wanted to introduce myself and get back to you with answers to a few of your questions regarding Square 2986.

My name is Steve Restivo and I handle community affairs for Walmart ( As you know, we recently announced plans for 4 new stores in the city, including one at the former Curtis Chevrolet site.

I think it’s important to note that while the Land Use Map typically is helpful in determining appropriate uses and density in areas of the city, it is not intended to serve as a zoning map nor does it mandate a parcel-by-parcel specification on permitted development. It is one tool (of many) to guide appropriate uses for a property by taking into account adjacent land uses, existing uses and the overall context of a property.

Whats more, the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan has an Upper Georgia Avenue section, and places the Curtis site in “Zone 4, Missouri Avenue Sites from Rittenhouse Street to Madison Street”. The Plan suggests that developing the property could serve as the catalyst for development along Georgia Avenue. The Plan also calls for improved retail such as books and hardware and specifically states a “major chain grocery store would be a key tenant in the development of this site”.

I hope this is helpful and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions regarding Walmart or our plans in D.C.



Steven V. Restivo Director of Community Affairs


Hi Steve,

Thanks for writing. I am aware that the suggestions of the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan are precatory and not binding in any way. But from an urbanist and smart growth perspective, I am in agreement with its suggestions and I am hoping that they are taken into serious consideration when developing the parcel, the development of which is indeed very important for the economic growth of the Georgia Avenue Corridor.

You are probably aware that some of my immediate neighbors (I live .1 miles from the site, according to Google maps) moved to downzone the site to commercial-only, and you are also probably aware that the Office of Planning has denied that request.

That said, I strongly believe that a mixed-use development will be the best catalyst for growth for Brightwood and for all of Upper Northwest Washington. Although the current proposal for a single-use development is within bounds, it's the bare minimum of the site's potential. My neighbors and I will continue to pressure our elected officials to step up and demand that this site be developed in the way that will best benefit our neighborhood, and our entire city.

I am taking part in a committee convened by our Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner that will be charged with reviewing the Large Tract Review once it is submitted. Our committee chair, Richard Layman, has an op-ed in the Washington Business Journal which touches on these issues:

I hope you will understand our position on this. It's hugely important that the development of that parcel be done right.

Rebecca Mills

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King Day March for Peace

MLK Weekend brought not only our grand petitioning total up to 500 Ward 4 residents, but a city wide march to boot!

Email Mo Yain to help petition in Ward Four the next two weekends here:

And sign the online petition here!

Upcoming Meetings!

Hop right in!

Next meeting on Committee on Square 2986 is on Tuesday 1/18 at the Emery Rec Center, 6:30-8:00 pm.

ANC4B Regular Monthly Meeting, Mon Jan 24th at MPD 4th District Headquarters Community Meeting Room, 7-9pm.

Brightwood Community Association Meeting on Tues Jan 18 at St. John's United Baptist Church, 6343 13th St. NW, 7-9 pm. Wal-Mart is making a presentation to the group.

ANC4B04 Single Member District meeting Thurs Jan 20 at MPD 4th District Headquarters Community Meeting Room, 6:30 pm. Foulger-Pratt and Wal-Mart representatives will be present to answer questions.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ward Four Thrives Joins Living Wages, Healthy Communities Coalition

Ward Four Thrives is thrilled to be a part of the city-wide coalition - Living Wages Healthy Communities- resisting the WalMartization of our communities. W4T's position remains unchanged:

1. Wal Mart is not right for Ward Four
2. There are better alternatives for the space
3. Ward Four needs community-led development!

We support the self determination of the other wards and community groups represented in the coalition, and will support the mission of the group.

In light of the partnership, we'll be marching with the rest of the coalition on MLK Day on the MLK Peace Walk. Please join us behind the Living Wages Healthy Communities banner, and get involved with Ward Four Thrives!

Meet 9 AM on Monday January 17th at the Anacostia Metro Station near the "kiss and ride" exit. For more info contact Mike Wilson:!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thursday's Ward Four Thrives Meeting

Where: Takoma Library meeting room, 416 Cedar Street NW
When: Thursday, January 13, 6:30-8:00 pm

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ward Four Thrives Petition Drive Kicks Off

Last weekend dozens of Ward Four Thrives members petitioned outside of a Ward Four Safeway, gathering over 300 signatures against the development of a Wal Mart in the neighborhood. Many weekend shoppers stopped and shared their thoughts with petitioners, citing concern for a DC USA-like traffic disaster, the impact on other businesses, like Safeway, among other concerns.

Also of interest to shoppers and residents has large has been increased interest in the city's own Upper Georgia Avenue Master Plan, which a Wal Mart harshly contradicts. The plan calls for diverse development, specifically siting the Curtis-Chevrolet plan as the key to a successful development of the corridor:

The Curtis Chevrolet site, on the east side of the 5900 block of Georgia, has the greatest potential for new development, especially if adjacent parcels can be assembled or if property owners pursue joint development. The character of the Missouri Avenue area in the future depends on how the site is redeveloped.

Check out an interesting analysis of the report and decide for yourself if Wal Mart fits the bill on the Brightwoodian

And read the plan yourself here.

ANC 4B Gets in Gear

The ANC that is home to the Curtis-Chevrolet site has formed a committee to address development of the lot. The only somewhat awkwardly named Committee on Square 2986, after the lot designation's number given by the city, is made up of several subcommittees, including:

1. Large Tract Review (Richard Layman, Chair) - to examine the large tract review and any other engineering issues of the development

2. Alternatives to Wal-Mart (Taalib-Din Uqdah, Chair) - to develop and propose alternative uses for the site

3. Community Benefits Agreement (Beth Pointer, Chair) - to gather points for a Community Benefits Agreement

4. Outreach (Renee Bowser, Chair) - to ensure people are aware of the proposal and take the opportunity to participate

5. Business - to examine the impacts of a WalMart on area businesses and identify ways to mitigate those impacts (still seeking small business chair)

These are not closed committees and anyone is welcome to participate in them (especially residents of surrounding ANCs are invited to participate, since Square 2986 does indeed sit at the epicenter of all four of Ward 4's ANCs. It's located in 4B, but 4A is right across Georgia; 4D is just south of Missouri; and 4C is just southwest, across that hellish intersection of Georgia/Missouri/Colorado/etc.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

DC advises Gray in WAPO

Say no to Wal-Mart.

In November, Wal-Mart announced plans to open four stores in Washington by 2012. This is not what our city needs.

As an independent small-business owner, I am concerned about the District's "big box" approach to economic development. This strategy - plant national chains in gentrifying areas, some of which are still recovering from 1968's riots - is unsustainable and unwise. It's economic crack.

You should take the long view and strive to attract small businesses with tax incentives that level the playing field for those battling the big-box bullies. Small businesses give our neighborhoods - whether Mount Pleasant, Shaw or H Street - their unique character. (Remember when Chinatown had something more Chinese than Fuddruckers?)

Small businesses create more local jobs, pay more taxes, keep more money in the community and are far less likely to close down when things get tough. And, if they go bust, they don't leave an economic crater behind.

Learn from the mistakes of your predecessor. Instead of hopping a flight across the country to entice Fortune 500 companies, support independent local businesses by taking walks in our neighborhoods, dining at local restaurants and shopping at local shoe stores. It will be money well spent.

- Andy Shallal, owner, Busboys and Poets and Eatonville restaurant