Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Credibility Gap

The Growler was perusing Alexandrianews.org's site yesterday and discovered that two of the three representatives of School Board District A -- which includes our neighborhood -- are proposing to cut funding for all International Baccalaureate activities in ACPS, including the fledgling program to be initiated at Jefferson-Houston.

According to Alexandrianews.org, last Friday night Alexandria school board members submitted their adds and deletes to the FY 2013 budget, which will be finalized at a School Board hearing on Thursday, February 23.  Both School Board chairman Sheryl Gorsuch and member Mimi Carter have proposed deleting or "pausing" IB activities across the board in ACPS.  It appears from the article that their delete was submitted to balance their recommended budget add which would restore intersession funding for schools like Mt. Vernon Community School. 

Both Ms. Gorsuch and Ms. Carter are from Del Ray so Mt. Vernon is their backyard school, so to speak.  Alexandrianews.org implies that they are allied with District C's Ronnie Campbell and Blanche Maness, who are also concerned about intersession cuts at schools such as Samuel Tucker in the West End.  However, it was only Ms. Gorsuch and Ms. Carter who suggested the IB cuts to balance reinstatement of intersession funding.   

Many in this neighborhood have remained mildly skeptical that a change in curriculum at Jefferson-Houston would really be the academic salvation of the troubled school, which has not achieved AYP under No Child Left Behind since Rebecca Perry was Superintendent. 

But having allocated a whopping $40 million for a new Jefferson-Houston building, why would these School Board officials even consider slashing the one curriculum-related change that has at least pulled a few parents from the neighborhood (especially the Del Ray wedge section of the district) into the school again?

The actions of Ms. Gorsuch and Ms. Carter raise questions once more about what is the purpose of the new Jefferson-Houston School.  If they supported capital funding for a new building but are comfortable with having no viable curriculum alternative or even a real path for improvement for the worst performing elementary school in Alexandria, is Jefferson-Houston really being rebuilt to accommodate a coming enrollment tsunami? 

The Growler wonders if, instead, it is being built as a warehouse to remove "difficult" kids from George Washington Middle School so that school performance can rise and Del Ray can reclaim the historic school as their backyard junior high school.  Readers may remember that Cora Kelly School in Arlandria is also slated to have a PK-8 regime implemented in the future, complete with a new building.  Once book-ended like this on the north and south ends, dandy Del Ray will ultimately have a large contingent of the low-income minority children removed from GW.  That also serves the interests of the District B "Northridge" parents who are zoned to send their children there as well. 

If this is the case, then it's understandable that Ms. Gorsuch and Ms. Carter don't care about curriculum improvements that require further investment and consume resources that would otherwise available for their own school. 

Food for thought ...

The School Board must still act to approve the budget adds and deletes on Thursday, so nothing is a done deal yet.  But this latest development illustrates how the demure masks of concern for all Alexandria children worn by School Board members are slipping.  It also raises the question once again about whether anything we are told by ACPS and its elected officials on the topic of Jefferson-Houston can be trusted.

Besides what we were told about the transformative powers of a new IB curriculum, we were also told that much of Jefferson-Houston's problems stemmed from leadership turnover.  The implication was that this trend would cease under new Superintendent Morton Sherman. 

Then, after five years as Jefferson-Houston principal Kim Graves was suddenly transferred to the ACPS central office last summer and in December 2011 surfaced over at Minnie Howard.   

This was followed by the abrupt departure this month of Stephen Wilkins, the "CEO" of Jefferson-Houston, who wore multiple hats in his brief career at ACPS and is now history.  One may assume his appointment and his unique position were part of an attempt to change (or appear to change) the governance of the school, which conceivably could be considered a remediation measure under No Child Left Behind.  All that this churning seems to have done, though, is to create more doors that revolve faster than ever before at the school.

The community is currently in the midst of discussions about the new Jefferson-Houston school design, which will be some 50% bigger in square footage than the old school.  The building will be designed to accommodate over 700 students and we've been assured it will definitely fill up even though enrollment is currently only at 433, with most of the recent increase due to the addition of middle school classes. 

And if there is no curriculum change, and no gimmick left to give prospective parents enough hope to want to give this school a try, will the new Jefferson-Houston's capacity ever be utilized?  

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never trusted Sherman's enrollment projections and often wonder to what extent JH is now a warehouse for wayward youth. When school board members are willing to trade off untested curriculum (IB) ya gotta ask. How much of this is scam?

Anonymous said...

The Growl has a good following and this is something worth pursuing. ACPS is a school division in turmoil. There is no other way to describe it. There is one initiative after another proposed, paid for, and then passed along for the next without anyone seeming to question just what is happening. IB, IAP, AVID, Titan Up, HOM, MindUp, are just a few initiatives which the school system has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on. For what? Not to mention the millions of dollars spent on consultants (think back the hiring of Mr. "Where's the Beef" Alan Hilburg, what did that contract result in other than massive spending by the school system on spin?) It is time for parents and tax paying citizens to hold the school board and the superintendent accountable for their actions of the past four years. The pay handed out to ACPS senior staff should reflect the current status of the schools. Right now the pay is what one would expect for someone on Wall Street and our schools are operating as though they were in the gutters of King St. Something is amiss. Get em Growl!

Anonymous said...

Pish Posh, why worry? According to Michael Lee Pope and the Alexandria Gazette:
"It’s the end of an era in Alexandria, where city leaders have now fully embraced the concept of “scattered site” public housing"
http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/feb/23/block-block-1940s-concentrated-public-housing-alex/

Anonymous said...

Just read Pope's article and he needs his Gaz-ass kicked. Scattered? Like the redesigned Patrick Street multifamily building? Bland's redesigned, MMiller-blessed, segregated multifamily building? Wonder who paid him for that advert? otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"Scattered? Like the redesigned Patrick Street multifamily building?

Its just another way to segregate/concentrate the school population. After all it was Miller who sold blacks on the 1999 school redistricting plan. Now he's selling ARHA's latest notion of scattered site housing. Pope is a Gaz-ass.

Anonymous said...

"he needs his Gaz-ass kicked."

Kindly said Pope is a noncritical thinker.

Anonymous said...

Love Pope's sentence "--essentially mixing market-rate units and public housing in the same block instead of concentrating poverty into tight blocks of crime and despair."

Have the police not said that neighborhood crime is up? And that's with Bland's public housing units empty. Pope forgets the residential community policing program began with Bland.

Have the police not said drugs are being traded on the streets between Adkins and the Village? At the last civic association meeting did the police Captain not say some of the west-end's drug activity ties back to Parker Gray? Pope needs to stop worshipping at Miller's feet. Why oh why does the school need to increase its physical size by 50% when elementary expansion is limited by AYP scores?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pope's math is a bit (a lot) fuzzy. They definitely did NOT move 50 percent of Bland units. We begged for at least 50%. We pleaded for at least 50%. But we got nowhere near 50%.

Anonymous said...

"Because of a city ordinance known as Resolution 830, all of the public-housing units that were once located here are being replaced — a one-for-one ratio city officials are legally bound to follow."

Classic passing of the buck. Resolution 830 is not LEGALLY BINDING. Its a city council resolution with no force of law.

"“They’re selling like hotcakes,” said Miller, beaming as he took in the view from one of the market-rate units third floor terrace. “Basically, we’re benefiting from bad decisions that were made in the 1940s and 1950s.” "

Actually we are benefiting from your long overdue retirement. I dont recall Mr. Miller being a big fan of Bland redevelopment - he was only when forced to do it by the Glebe Park situation.

Its just amazing what passes for competency in this city. No wonder the waterfront folks are suing - they probably trust City officials as much as we do.

Anonymous said...

"And if there is no curriculum change, and no gimmick left to give prospective parents enough hope to want to give this school a try, will the new Jefferson-Houston's capacity ever be utilized?"

What should be the main issue is the aforementioned phrase "give this school a try." We're talking about an open space eating structure (no doubt require even more property tax raises) that parents will be allowed to try or opt out of, and so many now do the latter.

Not one penny should go to renovation until there is no such opting out but instead, a strict adherance to geography is made mandatory in binding fashion. You want to spend money on what is supposed to result in so many wonderful improvements to local education rather than merely be found money for hand-picked architects, developers and consultants/opinion managers as well as a poorly placed dumping ground for city employees? Make it impossible for those with means to slip out of what they consider below the standards for their precious tots and make them have to fight for real improvements here. Otherwise, take your scheme and forget it.

Anonymous said...

"Otherwise, take your scheme and forget it."

Has anyone seriously looked at the enrollment numbers? The numbers show the school has not staying power. The renovation is externally driven, politicians I'm guessing. The PTA may selfishly claim a need, but would it not be more cost effective to disperse the children and sell the land? The cash flow would benefit all the schools.

The Growler said...

The Growler has downloaded the data from the Virginia Department of Education's site. These are the annual fall census numbers, and the Growler has also included a version of the numbers without middle school enrollment, showing the trend for the elementary school only.

Click here for the PDF:

http://tinyurl.com/7q5klh2

Anonymous said...

"The Growler has downloaded the data from the Virginia Department of Education's website."

What is the estimated cost of the JH school construction project? $39-44 million for a new structure? The approximate cost per enrolled pupil, 366 pupils all grades combined, is what? About $120,200 per child? How does city staff reconcile the costs when other schools are genuinely overcrowded? Why invent a middle school? GW Middle School was originally built over capacity so why not let JH middle schoolers attend GW and enjoy the benefit of better curriculum choices. Sherman and his ACPS cronies are building a segregated facility for social misfits then daring whitey to attend. We no longer have a neighborhood race problem but rather a socio cultural problem of the city's repeated making. Jim Crow, Bill Euille what's the difference? Euille and Krupicka should be buggy whipped for this boondoggle. If the children were properly dispersed and the land sold, the cash generated could be used to benefit all city children. The JH project as proposed is hard to cost-justfy.

Anonymous said...

Worth a read as well. It is shocking and troubling that this is allowed to occur within Alexandria. The voters need to speak with a change in school board and the City Council should take note as there may be a change in Council as well.
http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/02/the-uncivil-service/

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Same old same old.
"Alexandria government" is an oxymoron.

God bless you Growler, keep holding their feet to the fire. And the rest of their anatomy will burn in - well, you know....

Anonymous said...

"Sherman and his ACPS cronies are building a segregated facility for social misfits then daring whitey to attend. We no longer have a neighborhood race problem but rather a socio cultural problem of the city's repeated making. Jim Crow, Bill Euille what's the difference?"

You nailed it. Euille in his concern for the downtrodden wants to ensure there will be a place in his city for folks that cannot be assimilated elsewhere. And what better place than right in the so-called "historically black" neighborhood, Parker Gray.

Conveniently, this also keeps the JH kids away from the other schools and now everybody's happy.

Anonymous said...

I'm not super new to Alexandria, but not having been here when Macdonald was part of the council, I'm not as versed as many on this blog.

So tell me why having Macdonald as Mayor would be bad; http://oldtownalexandria.patch.com/articles/andrew-macdonald-considering-alexandria-mayoral-bid-waterfront

Anonymous said...

http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/03/superintendent-announces-executive-level-resignation/

Only a few to go.

Anonymous said...

"So tell me why having Macdonald as Mayor would be bad; http://oldtownalexandria.patch.com/articles/andrew-macdonald-considering-alexandria-mayoral-bid-waterfront"

When the Mayor, the Sheriff and Chief of Police all graduated from the same local high school, it's a small town. Add MacDonald and Walker, both home town boys, to the mix and the town becomes even smaller. All five are Dems, all five pander to the neighborhood's low income population in an effort to garner the vote. Macdonald's most recent opinion piece in The Times says it all. In truth Macdonald has never adequately explained his resignation as Vice Mayor. He allegedly was settling his mother's estate.

Anonymous said...

I found this video while looking up news articles relating to the murder of Lenny Harris. I was enraged to see this type of behavior (open containers, smoking marijuana out in public in front of a church) as something I live a block away from. This shows that public housing needs to be scattered. I wonder if ARHA is aware of this video and what their take on it is. The language is very offensive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgr_2zHuzds&feature=related

Anonymous said...

"All five are Dems, all five pander to the neighborhood's low income population in an effort to garner the vote."

Not sure the Chief and the Sheriff fit your profile but I get your point. And I agree Macdonald's opinion piece was pander. The city needs to ask why Alexandria's middle class blacks have chosen to leave the town behind. The census data doesn't lie.

Anonymous said...

"Not sure the Chief and the Sheriff fit your profile but I get your point."

FYI the sheriff's an elected Dem. This is a presidential election year. So of course they pander.

Anonymous said...

"The elected officials, city planners and developers who claim there are no other viable alternatives to such mega-development are actively orchestrating a socio-economic transformation. Indeed, with the exception of council members Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes, the majority of the members of council are behaving more like the aristocrats of the French Revolution rather than the residents they claim to represent.

If this autocratic trend continues, Alexandria will become more and more the home of the only very wealthy. We will all be poorer for it and far less green too."

Whats so sad in every one of these pandering articles is none of these folks ever say how they would thus plan to balance budgets and continue paying out everything this City has promised to anyone and everyone.

I am no fan of development either but I see only 2 options:

1. Cut spending - has any "leader" ever made a serious proposal to cut spending in this town?
2. Raise taxes - none of these "leaders" will actively say that but apparently that is there only alternative. They just don't want to be booted at the ballot box for suggesting it

Mr. Macdonald, if development is not the answer, what is? What will pay all these budgetary bills that will come due eventually?

Furthermore, what gives poorer residents the specific right to live in a specific part of the City on taxpayer's dime for perpetuity? Why is this such a "good" idea? What does perpetuity of the poor community in a city within one place accomplish for the "community"?

Mike said...

In think Mr. McDonald has behaved as a provocateur in his mischaracterization of the Waterfront debate – primarily, it appears, in order to resuscitate his political career. On top of this he seems opportunistic what with his convenient conversion from Democrat to Independent - the switch of course being announced at a meeting of the Alexandria City Republican Committee. For those of us in Parker Gray I’d argue that Mr. McDonald’s pandering to the folks that live within 300 feet of the waterfront, and here I am referring to the 200 or so rezoning petitioners, comes at our expense. One way or another there will be increased demand for city services which will require revenue to pay for it. Among the city services that are needed are flood remediation measures – we don’t need those in Parker Gray but those expensive townhomes down by the waterfront do. Absent increased revenue, which development of the waterfront would contribute to, it would seem likely that the city will raise property taxes to help meet the increased demand for services.

Worse was the opinion piece on preserving existing communities and opposing scattered site housing in the Alexandria Times in which he attempts to frame the problems in our neighborhood as being about the wealthy not liking lower-income folks around. I don’t know about the rest of Parker Gray but I’m solidly middle class, worked my way there, and what I don’t like is violent crime, drug dealing and public drunkenness in front of my home. If concentrated public housing contributes to that then it should be scattered – it’s in the interest of low, middle and upper income folks to do so. Mr. Macdonald’s all over the map in my book.

Anonymous said...

In case people have not read the opinion piece here is a link to it:

http://alextimes.com/2012/03/opinion-development-in-alexandria-a-tale-of-two-cities/

Some interesting pieces include:

"The replacement of public housing comes at a high price, however. It effectively destroys any chance to preserve an existing community"

"in order to attract wealthier residents, who are often unhappy living near even smaller pockets of lower-income housing"

"the majority of the members of council are behaving more like the aristocrats of the French Revolution rather than the residents they claim to represent."

"If this autocratic trend continues, Alexandria will become more and more the home of the only very wealthy."

Apparently he believes the Euille and Krupicka aren't doing enough to preserve the public housing status quo. Perhaps his doctor needs to increase his medication levels.

Anonymous said...

West sider makes some good points about good ole JHAA. Take the people at the School Board to task over all which is wrong, including their plans for JHAA.

http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/03/supply-before-demand/

Anonymous said...

Excellent Letter to the Editor:

http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/03/supply-before-demand/

Anonymous said...

"Furthermore, what gives poorer residents the specific right to live in a specific part of the City on taxpayer's dime for perpetuity? Why is this such a "good" idea? What does perpetuity of the poor community in a city within one place accomplish for the "community"?"

I think there are few things worse you could do to a person than rob them of their future, which is what we are doing by providing a means to live without expecting anything in return. It does (and has) destroys families and communities, plus it obviously creates resentment in those who have to pay for it. Very very bad policy for all involved. And, what's shocking, is that we KNOW it doesn't work, yet it's easier to keep paying and telling ourselves that it's compassionate than it is to wade into the messy business of actually doing something constructive about entrenched poverty.

Anonymous said...

""in order to attract wealthier residents, who are often unhappy living near even smaller pockets of lower-income housing""

I live across the street from Adkins and have little to no unhappiness (except on some summer nights, and even then its not unhappiness so much as perplexity).

Perhaps what Mr. Macdonald doesnt get is we are not "limousine" liberals; I trust he is a fairly wealthy man yet I dont see him living anywhere near a public housing or poor community. I would be shocked if he even sees poor people in his day to day lives.

So making himself spokesman for what the public housing residents or what townhome owners might "think" is absolutely absurd. We put our money where our mouth was, Andy, while you hide out in a nice lily-white, non gentrified community spouting your garbage about diversity. Kind of sounds no different than any of the other Chicken Littles on the council.

Anonymous said...

The Superintendent must go.
http://delray.patch.com/articles/independent-audit-calls-acps-dysfunctional
Just what else is occurring under his watch, or lack thereof?

Anonymous said...

Is Ms Bayess Sticking around because she is waiting until May 25 to be fully vested? I would bet on that as being the reason.

Anonymous said...

"If the children were properly dispersed and the land sold, the cash generated could be used to benefit all city children."
You need to do some homework. If a school is not put on the land, the land goes back to the city. You can bet huge condos will be put there without any community input.

Anonymous said...

"You need to do some homework. If a school is not put on the land, the land goes back to the city."

O cynical one. It's not me who needs to do my homework. The land includes a swimming pool and Buchanan Park. The old Jefferson School was once closed then later reopened as Jefferson Houston Elementary School. The school board is so utterly inept the Superintendent so utterly incompetent I say follow precedent and close Jefferson Houston School.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. MacDonald meets with the Repubs then writes his opinion pander. It suggests the Repubs like the Dems are locked in time.

Anonymous said...

"The school board is so utterly inept the Superintendent so utterly incompetent"

You got that right! Byess' resignation predates release of ACPS' internal audit so is she guilty of incompetence or the fall guy? What kind of leadership case does Democrat Arthur Peabody really think he can make as a District B school board member running for City Council? He's among the presiding a-holes.

Anonymous said...

In other news, ARHA's website has changed since I looked at it last. http://arha.us/ It now includes copies of the leases and regulations for various sites. One thing that caught my eye is that assaulting other public housing residents or ARHA representatives is grounds for eviction. Mugging a neighbor who lives across the street from the project is not.

Miguk said...

Not to get off topic but I moved to Parker Gray in April last year and am disappointed in the community spirit here. In the fall someone stole my halloween pumpkin twice, stole the Santa I had on my door a Christmas, and now stole the Easter bunny I had on my door. I just can't believe that someone has the nerve as well as lack of community spirit to steal something right off someone else's front door!

Anonymous said...

"I just can't believe that someone has the nerve as well as lack of community spirit to steal something right off someone else's front door!"

This is Parker Gray, expect the unexpected and believe anything can happen. Things have improved over time in many parts of the area but I would still be cautious about what you leave outside if you are exposed to the street.

Anonymous said...

Miguk - I'm so sorry to hear about the demoralizing repeated thefts from your home. Common experience for some around here, unfortunately. There are so many good things about our neighborhood but behavior like you're experiencing really does spoil the mojo.

I think its worth talking about all of us using a proactive approach on nuisance crime like that which helped NYPD clean up New York City. Not in any way suggesting that you (or anyone else who cares enough to read thuis blog)doesn't report nuisance crime or behavior, but I see it as the only way things are going to turn around in PG any time soon.

See something that shouldn't be happening, figure out who at City Hall or the Police Dept you can call. Trash on the street, people cursing abusively, drinking in public, repairing cars on public streets, children left unsupervised, people walking up on someone's property to mess with their darn pumpkin - whatever it might be - call the cops (non-emergency is 703 838-4444) or email someone at City Hall.

I know lots of you have been doing this for years. Don't give up. Its what good neighbors do.

Anonymous said...

The Parker-Gray neighborhood should speak out about how your tax dollars are being wasted within the school system. Not just plans for Jefferson Houston are costing us big bucks, so is this fiasco with ACPS accounting and procedure. Hold people accountable, starting with the Superintendent. Some great insight in to the reality that just the tip of the iceberg is showing at the moment.
http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/03/acps-staff-differ-over-definition-of-policies-and-procedures/
http://www.alexandrianews.org/2012/03/is-this-an-audit-i-see-before-me/

Miguk said...

Thank you for the update and input on the police number. It really isn't that something valuable, it's just the fact that trust is being violated. I am seeing more and more how PG is ignored. I live close to the parking lot for the Post Office on Henry and Pendleton and finally got sick of walking past all the trash that I went out yesterday and filled two garbage bags from what I picked up (people can't be bothered to carry it to the trash can in plain sight!). Doesn't the government have people for that? You don't see trash like that on King Street!

Miguk said...

I am retired military and the person in charge is always held responsible for everything that goes on in their unit. The person in charge of the school district can not and should not be allowed to avoid responsibility for anything untoward happening on their watch. That is Leadership 101.

Anonymous said...

"I live close to the parking lot for the Post Office on Henry and Pendleton and finally got sick of walking past all the trash that I went out yesterday and filled two garbage bags from what I picked up (people can't be bothered to carry it to the trash can in plain sight!). Doesn't the government have people for that? You don't see trash like that on King Street!"

Wait till the summer begins.

Anonymous said...

Hi Miguk - I pick up trash all the time, too, and so do my neighbors. (We live across from an ARHA property).

You give me an idea.

Why don't we start delivering the bags of trash we pick up to City Hall? We can leave it in front of the Mayor and City Council's offices (or perhaps in front of their homes?) with a protest note begging them to start doing their jobs by more regularly sending crews to clean AND enforcing the anti-litter laws. The amount of petty crime they tolerate is mind blowing sometimes.

Miguk said...

I don't know about delivering bags but I was just curious if they have crews for that sort of thing. I actually couldn't see the trash last summer because the grass was so tall from never being cut!
I did a lot of research before my transfer to DC last year and Alexandria (Old Town in particular) held such charming, delightful promise.....guess I should have done deeper research!

Anonymous said...

The Sheriff's Department was using non-violent prisoners to pick up trash in the City. Brilliant idea. I'd be willing to bet that an email to Sheriff Dana Lawhorne would have a decent chance of being directed to the employee who supervises the "Inmate Wor Detail".

The Growler said...

Miguk -- West Old Town Citizens Association is holding a "Coffee with the Cops" drop-by session at the Starbucks on N. Henry Street on Saturday, March 17 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. You can stop by for a chat with Officer Chris Stanton or Officer Matt Wilson (the resident officer at the Adkins project)and tell them your concerns.

Miguk said...

Frankly there should be no reason why there should be a need for others to pick up trash. Citizens should keep their hometown clean as a matter of civic pride (and then I woke up)!
Thank you for the meeting update. I have not seen it before. I will make it there thanks.

Anonymous said...

"You can stop by for a chat with Officer Chris Stanton or Officer Matt Wilson (the resident officer at the Adkins project)and tell them your concerns."

They were just out at Adkins this evening dealing with some major issue on Fayette that attracted a crowd. Seem like some good guys.

I know people have talked about trash before around Adkins to APD. ARHA has also put some trash cans conveniently on the entrance at Fayette where many of the residents mill about during the evening, so that has helped a little bit.

In the end, you can put garbage cans out (Fayette and Wythe have 3 on the corner alone) but you can't make people put the trash in the can.

Anonymous said...

"Frankly there should be no reason why there should be a need for others to pick up trash"

I think this question was asked directly or indirectly about 20 times during the Braddock East planning process. The fact that no one could or wanted to answer it says volumes.

Anonymous said...

Can we move this discussion beyond trash cans? The city generally has a dirty appearance King Street included. The question belongs to ARHA as landowner and T&ES. Let them give you a joint proposal. I am more interested in Donley calling Sherman to the table. The illustrious Ms. Morris was among those who received advanced notice of his intent. Kudos to Donley and otherwise send Ms. Morris down to pick up your trash.

Mike said...

I’ve been meaning to reply to Minguk’s initial post since I first saw it. It really is imperative that residents report nuisance crimes. The late James Wilson developed the “broken windows” theory to law breaking. As the Wall Street Journal recently noted the theory went like this - public order is a fragile thing, and if you don't fix the first broken window, soon all the windows will be broken. These crimes not only degrade the appearance of the neighborhood but also set the socio-economic conditions for more serious crimes.

Now let me link to that, albeit anecdotally, to what I've seen in Parker Gray. I spent all day yesterday at the courthouse testifying in a stabbing case that occurred across the street from my house in early February. I’m not saying that this violent crime is related to nuisance crimes but it is the second stabbing within a block of my house in less than a year. That’s not in the P-G neighborhood but within a single block of P-G.

Now, I can't speak for the rest of the neighborhood but there's a good bit of public intoxication, loitering (just last week i got into a confrontation with four idle young men who were either sitting on my neighbors porch or on the car in front of their house), littering and theft (we had our license plates stolen three months after we moved in in 2009) where i live.

I don’t think our district is being overrun with crime but I do think these nuisances create the conditions for it. Gotta call the police, whether it’s 911 or the non-emergency number, if you don’t it won’t get better. It’s a cliché but like most of 'em is derived from truth.

Miguk said...

While seemingly trite, litter is indicative of the pride (or lack thereof) people take in their city. Alexandria wouldn't even qualify as a district in Singapore, Seoul, or Tokyo yet these much larger cities are immaculate in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Well the 13th Dem has declared and from his profile in The Times Michael Hepburn will not get our vote. He is a West End 29 year old middle class black who has lived in Alexandria less than 2 years, serves on 9 boards and commissions, has no children but is a member of the Jefferson Houston PTA. Not Samuel Tucker's PTA but Jefferson Houston's PTA. More outsiders of a type trying to dominate neighborhood activities. What's his agenda? Affordable housing, of course, so ambles our way. No one who works and also serves on more than nine boards commissions serves any of the bodies well. So tired of Parker Gray carpetbaggers.

Anonymous said...

"So tired of Parker Gray carpetbaggers."

Felt that way about Melvin Miller and Connie Ring both former school board members, ARHA members. Ring's return to the Republican Central Committee is discouraging. Lookin' for new blood.