ANC Round Up: Good PR Edition

DC Triathlon by Arjubx.

Once more unto the triathabreach!

Last night the ANC met for its first session for the futuristically sounding year 2011. And pretty much right at the top of the agenda was a resumption of the dispute over triathlons in Georgetown.

For those of you who missed it last month, the ANC demanded to know how much the for-profit enterprise that runs the DC Triathlon (and the Nations Triathlon) donates to charity. In particular they wanted to know roughly what percentage of the event’s revenues went to charity. The owner of the company, Charles Brodsky, refused to answer the question, so the ANC told him to come back when he could.

Skip to last night. Representatives of the triathlon, Molly Quinn and Jill Hansen (Brodsky wasn’t there), talked up the merits of the organization that benefits from the charity (which they also run) called Achieve Kids Tri. As part of the presentation, Quinn asked a little girl named Eliza Bowling to come up and give a speech about her experiences with Achieve and how it helped her fight her own childhood obesity.

It was a move of brilliant audience misdirection. Why? Because Bowling had the crowd in her hand talking about how she has already run several triathlons and dropped her BMI significantly. She was great and GM congratulates her on her achievements and her skillful public speaking. But it was almost completely irrelevant. Nobody doubted the merit of the recipient of the charity. That wasn’t the question. The question was whether that recipient was getting enough of the money flowing through the event to justify turning over a public good to a private enterprise.

The misdirection worked only to a point though. Quinn disclosed that the event donated $22,000 last year to Achieve and that they hoped to donate $60,000 this year. Nonetheless, they stopped short of answering the question of what percentage that number represents of the gross event’s revenue. This left the commissioners to do their own back of the envelope¬†calculations. They started to conclude that the percentage was too low when they instead decided that the increase from $22,000 to $60,000 was enough.

Ultimately, the ANC approved the event. However, this had as much to do with the limited impact it had on the community as on the size of the charitable donations. Either way, it represents a red flag to all subsequent event organizers who hope to shut down Georgetown streets: be ready to open your books. (The Marine Corp. Marathon also was considered last night, but given its stellar reputation and obviously non-profit characteristic, it faced little trouble getting a more significant street closure approved.)

Capital Bikeshare

And like last month, Capital Bikeshare was back on the agenda last night. This time it was for the ANC to officially endorse several possible station locations to DDOT for the agency to consider. Due to the work of Georgetowner and friend of GM, Ken Archer, three locations were identified and vetted by their respective stakeholders: the Jackson School (across from Montrose Park), the library, and at Hyde-Addison Elementary. Biker and lower East Villager Tom Birch added the sidewalk on M just west of the bridge to the list too.

Now that a list of preferred stations has been approved by the ANC it’s up to DDOT to listen or not. They received federal funding for 20 addition stations to be installed this spring, so we’ll know soon enough. Archer pointed out the the Georgetown stations have pretty good usage statistics, so that should help out case.

ABC Issues

A couple ABC issued came up. Given the length of last night’s meeting (and its effect on GM’s bed time) it’s probably best to deal with them in bullets:

  • Malmaison: This dessert restaurant by the same family behind Cafe Bonaparte and Cafe Napoleon finally got their voluntary agreement signed. The only hang up seemed to be on the use of off-duty cops to keep the customers safe and quiet. Since the city will soon stop subsidizing this expense, what the bar does afterwards is undecided. The owners’ pristine reputation helped smooth over that worry though.
  • Brush and Blush: This private rental space, which groups hire out to hold special painting events, got the go ahead.
  • Saloun: The ANC was objecting to this bar’s failure to live up to their voluntary agreement. Apparently there wasn’t enough “there” there, so the ANC is removing its objection but hopes the bar will get the message.
  • Come to Eat: This unlikely located restaurant (it’s directly across from Hyde) got the go ahead. No details were revealed other than that it will be small and close at midnight every night.
  • Smith Point: Another objection. The ANC is in the middle of a dispute process with Smith Point. The dispute mostly surrounds the summer garden. It appears that the ANC (and CAG) are going to have to accept some sort of an outdoor space for the bar, but they’re hoping to put enough restrictions in place to make the garden be used as restaurant space, not bar space.

Hurt Home

As discussed here last week, Argos submitted their plans for the Hurt Home to the Old Georgetown Board. Nothing really new came out at the meeting and the plans were approved. The only discussion pertained to the alleyway issue, which isn’t really of concern to the OGB (DDOT will have its own review later on).

In Conclusion…

GM has one bone to pick with the ANC: despite the fact that the agendas have been relatively short recently, the meetings have been getting steadily longer every month. GM’s not sure what the problem is, but it’s really getting out of hand. Maybe they need one of those green light-red light things that Congress uses?

Anyway, here’s a few more bullets for your reading enjoyment:

  • Lieutenant¬†Hedgecock reported that crime in Georgetown (and Burleith) was down 6% in 2010 but violent crime was up (GM will have his own statistical analysis of crime in 2010 soon). He also seemed to wax nostalgic about Cool Disco Dan when discussing the graffiti tagging problem around town.
  • GM hoped it wasn’t really coming (despite announcing it) but Calvin Klein Underwear is getting closer to gracing M St. All Saints is moving forward too.
  • Once again the student commissioner gets stuck with the thankless secretary job. Seems like age discrimination to GM!
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3 Comments

Filed under ANC

3 responses to “ANC Round Up: Good PR Edition

  1. Anonymous

    I’m still peeved about their opposition to the Car Barn location. What was the reasoning behind that again? Besides the convenience to the bridge, there’s a freaking gas station right there. If cars can go back and forth through that area, why can’t bikes? There’s plenty of space. Such a travesty.

  2. GM

    The proposal was to put a station on the north side of the Car Barn on the sidewalk along Prospect. DDOT never proposed putting one at the bottom of the hill.

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for the clarification!

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