Author Archives: kevin.oconnor@dupontcircleanc.net

NEWS: Proposed Resolution Supporting the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014 (B20-760)

Whereas, the Council of the District of Columbia is currently considering passage of the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014 (B20-760), legislation that would permanently repeal the Prostitution Free Zone Act of 2005, which allows the Metropolitan Police Department to permanently declare public space as a “Prostitution Free Zone;”

Whereas, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B has previously voiced its opposition to Prostitution Free Zones in February 2012;

Whereas, Prostitution Free Zones do not reduce prostitution and further marginalize sex workers, low income people of color, transgender people, lesbians and gays, and the homeless;

Whereas, both the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General have acknowledged that the implementation of Prostitution Free Zones is likely unconstitutional;

Therefore, be it resolved that, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B supports the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014 (B20-760) and encourages the Council of the District of Columbia to support the proposed legislation.

My Resignation

Friends,

I write to you today to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of Single-Member District 2B02. I am relocating to Petworth, where I have recently purchased a home. While I am very excited to be a homeowner and to remain here in the District, I am also sad that I have to leave the community I have called home for over 10 years now.

As Commissioner, I have been fortunate enough to play a role in a number of important changes and developments across Dupont Circle. Before I resign, I want to take this opportunity to thank you, my community and supporters, and reflect upon some of the things that we have accomplished together.

I must give thanks to the dedicated public servants in District government for their tireless efforts to assist me and my fellow Commissioners as we work to make neighborhood services operate smoothly and to keep Dupont Circle a destination for locals and tourists alike. My Single-Member District has benefited the diligent efforts of folks like Matthew Marcou at the District Department of Transportation, as well as Ruth Werner, and Sherri Kimbel; two of the truly outstanding staff members of Councilmember Jack Evans.

I would also like to voice my appreciation to those at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration (ABRA), with whom I have worked very closely in my capacity as ABRA Committee Chair with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). I am grateful for the assistance of Fred Moosally, Martha Jenkins, Bill Hager, LaVerne Fletcher, and Sarah Fashbaugh for their continued assistance in helping the ANC on alcohol policy matters ranging from small questions about the particulars of a Settlement Agreement to briefings on moratoria.

My appreciation also extends to the outstanding community groups I have worked with throughout my term, including Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, and Dupont Festival. Each makes vital contributions to our neighborhood and its unique character.

I am extremely appreciative to have had the opportunity to work with a number of talented Commissioners during the past three and half years. During my first term, I was able to serve with the support of long-time community leaders such as Bob and Susan Meehan, Victor Wexler, and Phil Carney. The guidance of Ramon Estrada on ABRA matters has proven to be invaluable; Jack Jacobson’s dedicated work ethic and focus is something I have strived to emulate during my two terms; and, I owe my initial interest in running for this position to the mentorship of Mike Silverstein and Mike Feldstein.

To my current colleagues, I could not be more proud to work with you. I know that under the leadership of my friend Will Stephens this Commission has and will continue to set the standard for the rest of the District. I could not possibly be more optimistic about the range of talents and experience my newer colleagues Leo Dwyer, Stephanie Maltz, Kishan Putta, Abigail Nichols, and Noah Smith bring to Dupont Circle. I am excited to watch them excel and regret that I will not have the opportunity to continue to work with them on the vast array of projects we have undertaken.

Over the past three and a half years, we have worked together to improve our neighborhood and make it a better place to live. I am proud to have helped bring more bicycle parking and bikeshare stations to my neighborhood; established model standards for businesses and residents to follow with regard to both public space and Settlement Agreement negotiation; led the discussions allowing for increasing restaurant licenses both on P Street and 17th Street; helped establish new rules and guidelines to improve the governance of our ANC; and supported progressive zoning and historic preservation guidelines to support the future growth of the District.

Finally, I would like to show my appreciation to my 2B02 constituents that I have tried my best to serve over the course of my terms. To the folks at The August apartment building where I have lived these past 10 years: thank you for your continued support and encouragement. To the folks I have worked with on different projects ranging from liquor matters, to zoning, and transportation (Karyn Siobhan Robinson, Peg Shaw, Alan Rueckgauer, Jonathan Padget, Rudi Riet, and far too many more) thank you for your passion and commitment to making our neighborhood a better place.

At the conclusion of our May 14th meeting, I will formally tender my resignation. With my absence on the Commission, I will be nominating our outstanding public policy intern and ANC2B02 resident Daniel Warwick to serve as liaison to the ANC until my replacement is elected. I encourage you to reach out to him and introduce yourself; I know that he will serve our community well.

Thank you for your time and for allowing me to serve. Know that I will always remain an active advocate for the well-being of my community District-wide, and that I look forward to working alongside you to help make the District of Columbia a better place for all of its residents.

All the best,

Kevin O’Connor

NEWS: Minutes from the April 16, 2014 ABRA Policy Committee Meeting

Committee Members In Attendance:

Commissioner Kevin O’Connor (2B02)

Commissioner Noah Smith (2B09)

Commissioner Abigail Nichols (2B05)

Commissioner Stephanie Maltz (2B03)

Soft Closings

Business Comments:

  • Soft closings are designed to address concentration issues when bars let out – if they don’t all let out at the same time, there may be less incidents on the streets at night.
  • The concept has been endorsed by Councilmembers in the past and by groups such as MADD, as it allows for a period for people to sober up after drinking.
  • Other cities, such as Boston, have recently decided to extend hours to address this issue
  • Businesses would have little incentive to stay open later with out support
  • Feedback from MPD may be helpful

Committee Comments:

  • Unsure how the concept would impact public safety and noise.
  • In the past, the ANC has granted soft closings to establishments as test cases. There has not been enough evidence to support a conclusion for or against.
  • There concern that businesses may not be motivated to stay open the extra time if granted.
  • The committee, overall, looked favorably at exploring more soft closings in the neighborhood.

Action items:

  • The ANC will work with Skip Coburn to identify businesses on a block that may be interested in trying soft closings to help determine if there is an impact.
  • If businesses are interested, the ANC will suggest to ABRA to try a limited test of soft closings on a particular block for a period of 3 months to determine the impact on the neighborhood. Businesses would be placarded but would not incur any fees from the proposed experiment.

 

Follow-up: ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014

Alternative language was presented by the public, which would alter existing law and place the onus and responsibilities of hiring of promoters on the establishment.

The Public and the committee were skeptical about why responsibilities should be split between promoters and establishments.

The Committee believes that advocating for a business-support position within ABRA would help address many of the technical questions posed about promoters.

It was decided that the ANC would take no action on the ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014.

Noise Task Force Update

ABRA is set to release results of the Noise Task Force on April 28. As such, discussion was tabled.

Protest Updates

Bistro Bistro (2B01): Renewal granted after refilling application. The ANC contests whether it was properly notified.

Midtown (2B05): Hearing date April 23

Dirty Martini (2B05): Protest Hearing held April 10

Rose Bar (2B05): Mediation May 2

Public Bar (2B06): Substantial change application withdrawn after new Settlement Agreement filed.

18th St Lounge (2B06): Roll Call April 21

Bar Code (2B05): Protest date postponed

Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08): New Settlement Agreement signed.

Other Business

Heritage India (1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) seeks changes to Settlement Agreement. They wish to change provisions related to their entertainment endorsement. The Committee agreed to make changes in exchange for including information on a Security Plan in the Settlement Agreement. To be added to the May 2014 agenda.

Local 16 (1602 U St NW) seeks changes to its Settlement Agreement regarding how noise provisions are restricted/enforced. The Committee agreed to delegate negotiations to Commissioner Will Stephens and study the request.

April 2014 ABRA Policy Committee Agenda

Agenda for the April 16, 2014 Meeting of the ABRA Policy Committee

  • Discussion about including “Soft Closings” in Policies and Procedures Manual
  • Thoughts on Progress of Noise Task Force
  • Follow-up on Councilmember Graham’s “ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014″
  • Protest Updates
    • Bistro Bistro (2B01)
    • Midtown (2B05)
    • Dirty Martini (2B05)
    • Rose Bar (2B05)
    • Public Bar (2B06)
    • 18th St Lounge (2B06)
    • Bar Code (2B05)
    • Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08)

NEWS: Minutes from the March 19, 2014 ABRA Policy Committee

Committee Members In Attendance:

Commissioner Kevin O’Connor (2B02)

Commissioner Noah Smith (2B09)

Discussion on March 10th Public Safety Meeting 

The meeting, over all, was successful. Several follow-up items were identified.

1)   Work with business to lobby ABRA/Council to institute a liaison to businesses. The ANC will work to promote this position and help over come the “us versus them” mentality that can arise between neighbors, the ANC, and business owners.

2)   Work with Police around the timing and outreach of the Club Action Team (CAT). Try to promote use of the CAT on Sundays.

3)   The ANC should move to show more support for soft closings. This will help alleviate the noise issues that arise from all bars releasing patrons at the same time

Based on initial conversations, the ANC believes the ABRA/DCRA/MPD Noise Task Force has helped successfully mitigate noise south of Dupont Circle

ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014

The Committee was not clear as to what, in particular, the proposed legislation would adequately address. It is unclear what the objective would be.

Additionally, the Committee was concerned about the narrow scope of the proposed legislation, which wouldn’t apply to many categories of promoting that may or may not be bad actors.

The legislation focuses more on registration and less on distinguishing good versus bad behavior.

The Committee does not believe that the legislation will address “morphing.”

The Committee recommends establishing a voluntary registration process for promoters, where promoters may voluntarily take the initiative to register with ABRA. This may make a promoter more attractive to businesses hiring, which would offer an incentive to register. There should also be training offered to promoters, which should have specific components that have been developed by ABRA, business owners, promoters, and community input.

Protest Updates

Midtown (2B05): April 2014 protest date, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Dirty Martini (2B05): April 2014 protest, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Rose Bar (2B05): Protested as of 2/18/2014, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Public Bar (2B06): Settlement Agreement agreed upon by all parties

18th St Lounge (2B06): Protest re-instated at March 2014 Meeting

Bar Code (2B05): still negotiating over use of public space – April 2014 protests date

Bar Charley (2B08): Settlement Agreement signed by all parties.

Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08): Awaiting update