Friday, July 27, 2007

Dog Days Digest

Bye-Bye BRT?

The front page of this morning's Washington Post revealed that the Army has entered an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia to cap the number of jobs moving to Ft. Belvoir's isolated Engineering Proving Ground from Pentagon City and Crystal City at 8,500. Originally some 18,500 jobs were destined for the proving ground.

There's still another 3,500 jobs scheduled to move to Ft. Belvoir's main post under the Base Realignment and Closing Act (BRAC), but the jobs no longer bound for Belvoir will be shifted instead to a GSA property in Springfield, which has better proximity to major roads and has a Metro station as well.

What does this mean for us?

Make no mistake, the concept of transit corridors and BRT on Patrick and Henry Streets is still very much alive and must continue to be fought by residents. But it seems that one of the rationales for the City's drive for rapid transit on Route 1 has just been undercut.

Cop Down

Looks like Michael Lee Pope of the Alexandria Gazette may have caught the Alexandria cops telling a big one in his story about the recent murder at the Carpenter's Shelter, the third slaying in the Braddock Metro area in the last three months.
"Over the past few years, we’ve been putting increased resources into this area," said [Lt. Jamie] Bartlett, adding that the department has recently increased patrolling and lighting in the neighborhood. "And we’ve made progress."

After the April double murder, Deputy Police Chief Earl Cook came to a City Council meeting and said that the department would soon fill a community officer position that had been vacant since February 2006. Cook now says that filling the position is not a priority because the neighborhood has increased patrolling under the department’s new Strategic Response System. According to Cook, the new staffing system puts more officers on the streets during peak hours in Parker Gray, reducing the need to fill the community officer position that has now been vacant for 16 months.

"Hopefully, we are going to make some decisions about that soon," said Cook. "We are in the process of evaluating that position."

What's outrageous to the Growler is that at several past ICCA meetings we've been told that the position would eventually be filled. Only now in the press are we hearing that it isn't so.

As for increases in patrolling, have any of you readers seen a cop in the hood lately?

The Growler also notes that at the June ICCA meeting Officer Michael Sprague, our lone remaining community cop, mentioned that he had recently been detailed to the Sheriff's office for a week or so. That means the neighborhood was left without any community cop. This would not be the first time officers were pulled out of Parker-Gray for duties elsewhere: former community cop Officer Walter Green was taken away for months to work security for the Sheriff's Office during the Moussaoui trial.

Interestingly, just yesterday the Growler heard people in other parts of town are getting restive about Police Chief Dave Baker's so-called Strategic Response System and whether it really constitutes a substitute for community policing. Where are the beat cops, they are asking?

Welcome to our world ...


Yesterday's Gazette story about the bedbug outbreak at ARHA is both heartbreaking and infuriating.

As noted before, the Growler first alluded to the problem in a post covering the February ARHA board meeting. Did it really take five months to find an exterminator?

Comment as much as you like about the behavior of tenants up at Adkins and Bland, but there is no excuse on earth to treat the elderly poor like this.

Is this the compassion that the Mayor and City officials keep boasting about? And is it time now to reform or even abolish ARHA?