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September 8, 2007

time for another neighborhood meeting

Today I played some rugby in the September sun, but it wasn't so fun. The temperature was above 90, and so was the humidity. Not fun weather for rugby. After about 20 minutes I felt like I was gonna die. My preferred temperature regime for playing is from like 50-60 degrees or so. I know - I was whining earlier about how fast this summer has gone, but just to let you know, I'm over that now, and am ready for cooler weather.

Anyway, I played a position called flyhalf for the first time today, which I guess our temporary coach thought I had played before. I had played positions on either side of flyhalf, but never flyhalf. It involves a lot more decision making than in other positions I prefer to play, and I don't think I get the ball out to the wing fast enough. Plus it was frikkin' hot and no fun cuz of the weather, and I'm not in shape. More practices will help.

On a different note, I've noticed that since I moved here in June, there is a near-constant presence of young men hanging out at the end of the block, at the corner of 5th and Q, usually outside 446 Q St., NW. A neighbor I spoke with this evening tells me this has not always been the case, and Q street was purportedly a quieter place. But that's what happens on the wavefront of gentrification - things change yearly or even seasonally. Sort of like after a cultural wildfire has passed with destruction, growth, and regrowth - this seems to be an ugly time for this part of the 'hood.

I've lived in other countries and cultures and consider myself pretty tolerant of a lot of things. I pass between straight and gay culture daily. I don't mind potsmoking either, but I can tell there's always something extra in those blunts. I've also tried not to feel threatened by a group of youth with seemingly no visible source of income, who don't work or go to school, who all wear the same color clothes. I've let the noisy evenings (often screaming across the street) and street parties that go on until 2am slide. Luckily, I don't have a car, but I would try to park elsewhere if I were you. Anything in their purview seems to be considered their posession, and they will sit and spit on it as they choose.

But when I have hear the word 'faggot' spoken in my direction when I walk home from work every day it starts to bother me. Usually I let that slide in most occasions too. But I don't want to go home and feel threatened every day. It's a bad feeling.

So I'm thinkin' it's time to tap into the neighborhood meetings again, just to see what's being done, or what I can do. Even though I've been a renter, I've gone to neighborhood meetings at my past two addresses. It helps to knock heads and get together and talk sometimes. I know that if a particular address gets enough police complaints or reports logged against it, some kind of warning or eviction notice can be made. I've seen the owner of this property out in his garden (which is very nice) but I'm guessing he's either asleep, passed out, or doesn't care by nightfall, when the crowd starts to gather and the problems begin. One neighbor claims to have seen drug dealings going down at that end of the street. I haven't seen a deal go down myself, but can smell pot all the time from that direction, which like I said doesn't bother me normally, but when it's accompanied by daily street parties, noise, garbage and threatening behavior, it's time for more things to change on the wavefront.

Posted by jimbo at September 8, 2007 7:37 PM


Hey, Jimbo. That's a bad scene, for sure. I've been called a faggot a couple times in public (just for walking down a street--in Uptown in Minneapolis of all places!), and it always just takes my breath away. It's like "Seriously? You actually feel a need to say that?" Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that's happening to you in your neighborhood, and I hope it stops. You kick ass, and people need to show respect, dammit.

Posted by: Sean at September 8, 2007 10:22 PM

Damn Jimbo - I'm sorry to hear that. Such bullsh#t. It was hard to be a fan yesterday - just standing there was too hot. You did well to actually play.

Posted by: Michele at September 9, 2007 10:40 AM

The worst part about living in the transitional area is the day-after-day displays of apathy. I grew weary of seeing people pee openly on the wall of the gas station across the street in DC or the pointless screeching at 2 in the morning. And don't get me going on the litter which one doesn't notice or appreciate until one goes to a clean place and then comes back.

This perfect lack of decorum and manners made city living difficult and the only way to get rid of these elements is direct action.

Bravo Jimbo - get those neighborhood queens together and get rid of the vagrants on your street. While one can't make them be responsible citizens, one does not have to deal with the effects of that next to one's home. Tell those fuckers to go laze about, litter and screech on someone else's street.

Posted by: Martini at September 9, 2007 12:41 PM

I hope you're not expecting to find support by going to one of your own neighborhood meetings which are run by Mr Thorpe.

MT's latest newsletter:

partially in response to this:

Lilian Gordon, the Treasurer for the ECCA lives on Q St and often defends the young men you're speaking about, and "may" defend them over anyone who looks different than them. But don't be prejudiced by me, please go and let folks know if you make any progress on this front. You might also check out LeroyThorpe.com before you go.

Posted by: el vigilanté at September 9, 2007 2:24 PM

I agree that its tough everyday. But that is the price for those of us who want to take back the capital in the name of civilization. Its not a race issue, but an issue of common respect. You must simply call 311 when you notice these things. It has worked for us over here in the 100 block of R st ne. I pick up trash on a daily basis and make sure people see me doing so. DC is a beautiful charming city of neighborhoods that has been ruled by terrorist thugs for too long.

Posted by: Jason at September 9, 2007 3:02 PM

Jimbo: Sorry to hear that kind of stuff happens, and happens too much these days. But it sounds like you've got a good plan. Get engaged and help make a difference. Don't let those losers get you down! And above all, be careful!

Posted by: Trey at September 9, 2007 4:48 PM

I live around the corner from you and I know exactly the bunch you are talking about. I recommend you call the police every single time you think they there is a possibility that they are doing something illegal, and make sure and take down the dispatcher number when you call so that they can be held accountable.

As for neighborhood meetings, here is a rundown of some of the regular meetings:

- There is a Police Service Area (PSA) meeting this Thursday, September 13, at 6:30PM at Gibson Plaza. Check out http://chappleanc.com/public for more info.

- Kevin Chapple's single member district meetings. Watch http://chappleanc.com/public for the notice of the time and date of the next one. Kevin is your ANC Commissioner, and is very good and effective. He replaced the homophobic and divisive Leroy Thorpe last year.

- ANC meetings. The incompetent and doddering Doris Brooks is the Chair but Leroy Thorpe, who is her "executive assistant" since being booted from office last year, is constantly whispering in her ear telling her what to say next. More people need to see the disgraceful way in which our ANC is run.

- East Central Civic Association (ECCA). Next meeting is tomorrow (Monday September 10) at 7:00PM at the Third Baptist Church (corner of 5th and Q). But Leroy Thorpe is the President of that organization, and if you voice your concerns in that forum you will need a thick skin because you will probably be called a racist who is "disrespecting our young people".

Posted by: Charles Walker at September 9, 2007 5:05 PM

That sucks, Jimbo. I remember seeing those guys. Just keep calling 311 -- though, good luck in getting a response. If it gets too bad, I'm sure Carl will let you stay with him.

btw, I see you bolded and italicized the word faggot for dramatic effect. Nice touch.

Posted by: durban bud at September 9, 2007 9:55 PM

Dangit. Their words aren't worth much, but I understand the day after day rudeness and disrespect does wear on ones soul. Tonight I will include you in my prayers. Pray for Jimbo, pray for his street and pray that the jerks find something more meaningful than hanging out and selling crack.

Posted by: Mari at September 9, 2007 10:20 PM

Thanks for the advice, y'all. I'm not afraid to use italics and bold when necessary, and will remember the number '311' for sketchiness.

Again, I haven't seen them dealing, but then again I wouldn't know what a crack deal would look like. It's the words and their inherent threats I have a problem with.

Posted by: jimbo at September 9, 2007 10:38 PM

Crack deal is a multi-layered process. The ones on my side of the hood, stash them and direct buyers to their location or do the handoff somewhere else. The goal is so when the police pull up and search them, they won't have it or a lot on them. Places where they stash their drugs are under trash (so that's why it is good to pick up trash), in alleys, in little crevaces. The white tee shirt-baggy blue jean crews have a system. Screw with it.

Posted by: Mari at September 10, 2007 8:22 AM

this is what worked for me:
some punks started uttering homophobic shit to me i declared war on them and called the cops within seconds of every instance and after several calls they were gone and never came back. that was before email too. you might try emailing your police district commander larry mccoy, larry.mccoy@dc.gov

Posted by: rr 446 at September 10, 2007 9:34 AM

It's already been said, but keep calling 311!! It does help...and gets the 'hood the attention from the police that we need...

Posted by: BC at September 10, 2007 9:46 AM

Sounds like a group of weak and very scared mother fuckers. Sad but true, keep call the police, just out of annoyance they will move on and out.

Posted by: Jocko at September 10, 2007 10:25 AM

Gesh Jimbo,

I haven't been following your site so much over the past few months so I didn't know you moved out of Westminster. Yeah, I'd have a problem with that language as well! When we had a bigger problem at 9th & T we always called 311 as well. FYI, guys on bikes that seem to just linger about the block are in most circumstances selling as well. You are are a true urban pioneer. You know how this will end though in the long run, they will move on elsewhere when you racket up the pressure on the police to do something.

Posted by: Dave M at September 10, 2007 2:00 PM

try MPD-3D on yahoogroups & your police Lt is ralph.neal@dc.gov

& your ANC Commissioner Kevin Chapple, his next SMD meeting would be a great place to raise issues & have them heard.

Posted by: Si Kailian at September 10, 2007 2:09 PM

Jimbo, when at all possible, call 911 instead of 311 - especially if you think you hear gunshots or see/smell drugs - and if you see them stash the drugs somewhere, tell the cops where it was hidden. Make sure that you get the ticket number for the call. You'll probably have to ask for it, but if you don't, there's a greater chance that the call will never get processed (we've all times when we've called 311/911 and when we call back to find out what happened to the call, they say they never had a call from you - if you have the ticket number, then we have traceablility back to the original call and can find out why they did or did not respond. The DC 311/911 system is broken and you have to stay on top of them everytime if you want anything done.

Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2007 2:34 PM

BAF, BAN, PAN & ...

Since the n-word has lost much of it's bite "between members of the tribe," bitch-ass-n, bitch-ass-faggot and punk-ass-n- and their variations have become the new ways for street kids to put strangers AND each other down. The terms are denigrating, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic and just stupid. They are used to offend where as the n-word is often used as a term of endearment among tribe members. Some of the kids who whip the terms off so easily can't string together a complete sentence.

As with barking dogs, you should never let these kids and young men see that their barks make you nervous becuase that energises them. Like hyenas, they only harrass when they outnumber you. When by themselves, they keep their mouths shut.

Posted by: el vigilanté at September 11, 2007 10:22 AM

Ah, I know the crew of which you speak- they love to harass those who walk by them. My straight but well-dressed friend gets a lot of crap from them- evidently dressing nicely makes you gay.

Not that this is a truly serious suggestion, but if you've thought about getting a dog in the past, go for it. I have walked my 2 dogs by myself (small white female)past those guys and when the dogs are with me, those guys are all "yes ma'am, let me get out of your way, I hope our craps game isn't disturbing you". Funny the effect of canines:)

Posted by: Suki at September 12, 2007 10:56 AM

I forget where I heard this idea, but I suggest answering them back with "That's 'Mr. Faggot' to you."

Posted by: Ruth W at September 14, 2007 9:18 AM

FWIW the owner of this property (according to the DC property tax database) is IDA M CARTER

Her address is:
HAMILTON OH45011-4916

Posted by: Ruth W at September 14, 2007 9:44 AM

I never read so much bull**** in my life until i stumbled accross this blog and some of the stuff that was written. If your are wondering, yes i do live around Q st, way before you and way after you're gone. Your whole little story is a bunch of lies, starting with the crack dealing goin on. As much as you and whoever else calls police, have you ever wondered why nobody ever gets arrested? I would think the police knows more than you being that you only been living around a couple months and them coming through for years without a problem. So if there was anything being sold around there they'll know. Street parties that dont end till 2am? Nobody even be out that late, cause everybody has JOBS. Despite what you and some of the other people that left a comment on here think. Yes we have jobs, yes we can complete full sentences, very well I might add, probably better than you. You dont want anybody hanging out in front of 446 q st? Well put the basketball courts back up at the playground. The only place where we could really go and just chill, people like you got it taken away from us.
Dont get me wrong, sometimes it might get a little loud. Only friday's and saturday nights, dont make it try to seem like its a everynight thing. Nobody even be outside during the week. The funny thing is, the more and more u call 311, 911, thats goin to bother you more than it will bother us. Cause you goin to think they not doing their jobs well in all actuality they are doin they jobs its just that we are not out there doin anything more than talking a little loud on the weekends. I bet this isnt your first time either complaining about the neighborhood you live in. What you move from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood doing the same stuff? Before you started calling the police did u ever try and have a conversation with the so called "Crack Dealers"? Because the same ones that be outside on Q st, can go around the corner and sit outside and have a nice conversation with anybody, no matter what the race is. Oh yea the white t-shirt baggy jeans crew? I guess you see 4 or more young men at the same time and automatically assume they a crew or a gang or something. Thats too too funny. Despite all the calls to police, all the things I read in here, i still find it humorous. When are you goin to have another meeting? Im from the neighborhood too, let the ones thats been in the community for 15 plus years join in. Let the ones that grew up in the neighborhood when it really was crack deals goin on join in.

Posted by: Malcolm at September 17, 2007 9:55 AM

Malcolm: I didn't take your basketball court away from you. There are really nice courts at Stead Field at 17th & P, and one on Rhode Island too (near the skateboard park)

And I usually don't try to start up a conversation with people who are calling me 'faggot' or who mention how I'm riding their bike - as if to imply they can't wait to steal it. That's not the best way to start a conversation. Someone who says that is not an approachable person to me.

So a person has to live 'X' years in a neighborhood, state or country to be allowed to have an opinion about something? That's bullshit. I live where I want to live, I pay taxes, I demand service from the city where my tax money goes.

Neighborhoods are organic things - they grow and change all the time. I'm sorry this current accepted level of crime and loitering isn't enjoyed by everyone on the block anymore, but that's just too bad.

Bullets flying over the schoolyard is acceptable to everyone on the block? It's OK if someone gets shot? I don't care what color or how long a person has lived in a neighborhood, I don't want to see another shooting again. No one needs to see that.

Posted by: jimbo at September 17, 2007 10:57 AM

Did i say it was ok for people to get shot at? Did I say it was ok for shooting to be goin on at a school? Who do u know that wants to get shot? I didnt say u "Jimbo" got the courts taking down. I said people like you, people that see a group of young men outside and dont like it so they call police. Thats how the courts got taking down. Now kids that go to Scott Montgomery school dont have a basketball court anymore. I guess u goin to tell them to go to 17th and P st too then huh. Words are words, as long as nobody ever put their hands on you or acted like they was goin to do something, why bother with them?

Posted by: Malcolm at September 17, 2007 4:33 PM

"...or acted like they was goin to do something, why bother with them"

But they did. I'd treat them like neighbors if they treated me the same way. When I first moved here in June I said hello to them on my way home. I nodded, and didn't pretend to be higher. And these neighborly actions were responded to by the word 'faggot'.

That's where I lost my tolerance for their bullshit. You see, when words like that start flyin' around, in a lot of cases actions follow. Words lead to actions, and I don't want to be acted upon.

Posted by: jimbo at September 17, 2007 4:45 PM

Those little baggies don't drop themselves and when you do get into the arrest data, when the cops do decide its worth the paperwork and court appearances, there is drug use and dealing occurring on the block.
On our comparatively tame block among the arrests over the years there has been a shooting where someone got hit, crackhead neighbors leaving their friend on the sidewalk for dead and capture of a sawed off shotgun. I have seen with my own eyes the buyers of the drugs stuff the bag in their socks or loudly complain when they got cheated. In winter that whole 'just hanging out' explanation wears thin.
I use 'crack' in general terms, as the police inform me that heroin is bigger.

Posted by: Mari at September 17, 2007 7:04 PM

Just stumbled upon this post, and I have to tell you a related but light-hearted story.

One night in DC, my ex-DC-now-Brooklynite friend and I were crossing a parking lot near Thomas Circle. Four total thugs are walking towards us. The plump one says "faggot" as he passes my friend's side.

My friend takes a drag on his cig, turns around, and loudly says "fatty."

All the plump thug's friends bust out laughing at him. We could hear them laughing and calling their pal "fatty" around the corner.

Thought that might lighten your day.

Posted by: Joel at September 20, 2007 9:09 AM

Malcolm claims he "can complete full sentences, very well I might add, probably better than you." Hmmm. From his same comment posting:

"Nobody even be out that late"
"Nobody even be outside"
"you goin to think they not doing their jobs"
"they are doin they jobs"
"the same ones that be outside"
"assume they a crew"

I understand there is a local patois, but please don't use it after climbing on a grammatical high horse.

I'm off to find a group of people who proactively spew "faggot" at me and try to respond with the Mr. Rogers neighborliness that Malcolm suggests. You know, just as he would if someone called him a bigoted name. Right?

Posted by: MrJay at September 20, 2007 9:31 AM

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