Monday, January 21, 2013

Jimmy Tarlau's Ward 1 Report for December 2012

Update on Development Project on 3200 Block of Rhode Island Avenue – Last month the Mayor and Council voted to move ahead with working with 
Streetsense and the Neighborhood Design Company (their partner) in developing the 3200 Block of Rhode Island Avenue (former funeral home, Bass Parking Lot and Thrifty Car Rental lot).   The Mayor and Council spent some time preparing a Land Disposition Agreement that contains the conditions the City wants in the sale agreement of the City-owned properties (e.g. sale price, environmental quality of project, parking, time lines, etc.).  The City Attorney and City Manager are now preparing to negotiate with the developers over the agreement and hopefully early next month an agreement will be hammered out and the project can move ahead.  The developer’s time line as stated at the Council meeting was to have the project completed in 2015. 

Meanwhile we have heard that there are a few different people interested in developing the 3300 Block of Rhode Island Avenue (Singer Building, Pawn Shop, ‘Circle Cafe’ Building) and the County Redevelopment Authority has put out an RFP (request for proposal) for the former Northeast Plumbing Supply building on 38th and Rhode Island Avenue.  It is a good sign that developers are now interested in investing in this area.

Mount Rainier-Gateway 5K Run Set for Saturday April 27th Our area now has a number of recreational runners.  There is even a Brentwood-Mount Rainier Facebook Group.  The Youth and Recreational Committee has decided to sponsor a 5K run which will run on a Saturday morning in late April. There will also be a 1 Mile walk/run for those who are not up for a 5K run.  We hope to attract runners from around the area to our City and try and make this an annual event.  We need some volunteers (for registration, handing out water on the route, and making sure people don’t get lost) so please e-mail if you’d like to volunteer or participate in the run. 

Double Poles – An Increasing Eyesore in Our City – While  I appreciate the upgrading that PEPCO is doing in our City, I am  getting increasingly aggravated over the fact that when PEPCO puts in a new light pole (sometimes to have the wires go higher than some of our trees) they don’t remove the old pole.  So now instead of having one pole in a limited sidewalk area we have two poles.  PEPCO says that Verizon and Comcast have to link their wires to the new poles before the old poles can be removed.  I have started contacting the utilities, the regulatory authorities and our state representatives about this problem.  If you see a double pole in your area that you’d like to have removed, send me an email with the address and the pole number and I’ll add it to my list of poles which I am compiling for PEPCO, Verizon, and Comcast. 
I am also trying to get Verizon and Comcast to clean up all the loose wires they have lying on the ground.  The wires are supposed to be tied up neatly after they wire a house for cable/telephone service.  If you know of a place where there are loose wires, let me know about this. 

Community Services Task Force – How we can help our neighbors in need?  That is the main purpose of a Task Force set up by the Mayor and Council.  There are times in the past when I and others have wanted to have a vehicle in our City to assist our neighbors who are in need because of damage from a storm, fire or flood.  There are people who have asked me how to obtain assistance. I have not in the past known the answers to these questions, though I know there are organizations who offer assistance.   This task force will help to identify organizations that have resources and programs for people in need and will work with the City staff in communicating to the residents how to obtain this help and how residents can assist their neighbors in time of need.  The Task Force will make recommendations to the Council by September 2013.  We’re looking for residents to be members of this task force.  If you’re interested please let me know.

Union Market in Northeast DC  http://unionmarketdc.comAnother great quality of life improvement for living in our area.  The totally renovated market is at 1309 5th Street NE across from Gallaudet University and a ten-minute drive from downtown Mount Rainier.  I have become a regular customer.  They are now open Wed-Fri 11 to 8 and Sat & Sun  8 to 8.  Here is a list of some of the vendors:

All Things Olive
Almaala Farms
Buffalo & Bergen
Curbside Cupcakes
DC Empanadas
Harvey’s Market
Lyon Bakery
Oh! Pickles
Peregrine Espresso
Rappahannock Oysters Co.
Red Apron Butchery
Righteous Cheese
Salt & Sundry
Trickling Springs Creamery

City Reviewing Emergency Preparedness Plan – The Council has appointed a Committee to review the City’s Emergency Operations Plan.  This plan directs city staff in case of an emergency created by a natural event (hurricane, snow storm, flood, earthquake) or human-created event (hostage situation, terrorist incident).  What are the evacuation plans? How do we communicate with residents without internet?  What staff is needed to be available?  Where should they be placed?  If you would like to help with this review, the next meeting is set for Monday February 4th at 6 PM at the Mount Rainier Police Department.

MR Home Tour Scheduled for Sunday May 5th:  We’ve rescheduled the home tour for May 5th.  It will be from 1 to 5 PM.  We have a number of homes scheduled for the tour but are always looking for more. If you’re willing to let your neighbors see what you’ve done in your home, let me know.  If you’re just willing to help out and make the Home Tour a success, we could use some more volunteers.

Save the Dates:
March  16, 2013 – Electronic Recycling, Public Works Garage 3715 Wells Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 9am-1pm contact Ruth Sandy {confirm that this is her name (throughout)} at;

Saturday, May 18, 2013 Annual Mount Rainier Day Festival Rhode Island Avenue– parade begins at 11:00 am; Vendor booths, performances/entertainment, basketball tournament and kids play corner commence at 12Noon. Contact; county/state/local officials should be invited {This needs to be edited}

Saturday June 15, 2013 Electronic Recycling, Public Works Garage 3715 Wells Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 9am-1pm contact Ruth Sany

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - National Night Out, 6-9 pm Location TBD contact Chief Michael Scott at; county/state/local officials should be invited{ditto throughout}

Saturday September 21, 2013 - Electronic Recycling, Public Works Garage 3715 Wells Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 9am-1pm contact Ruth Sandy at

Saturday, December 7, 2013 – Annual Craft Fair – Joe’s Movement Emporium 10 am – 6pm contact; county/state/local officials should be invited

Saturday, December 21, 2013 - Electronic Recycling, Public Works Garage 3715 Wells Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 9am-1pm contact Ruth Sandy at

Lawrence Guyot - Lawrence Guyot, a Mount Rainier resident and civil rights leader, passed away last month.  I’m pasting in the obituary from the New York Times because he was someone we should all know about:

Lawrence Guyot, Civil Rights Activist Who Bore the Fight’s Scars, Dies at 73


Lawrence Guyot, who in the early 1960s endured savage beatings as a young civil rights worker in Mississippi fighting laws and practices that kept blacks from registering to vote, died Thursday at his home in Mount Rainier, Md. He was 73.

His daughter, Julie Guyot-Diangone, confirmed his death, which she said came after Mr. Guyot had suffered several heart attacks, lost a kidney and became diabetic.

Mr. Guyot (GHEE-ott) was repeatedly challenged, jailed and beaten as he helped lead fellow members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and student volunteers from around the nation in organizing Mississippi blacks to vote. In many of the state’s counties, no blacks were registered.
“He further pressed the campaign for greater black participation in politics by serving as chairman of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, formed to supplant the all-white state Democratic Party. It lost its challenge to the established Mississippi party at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, but its efforts are seen as paving the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A famous moment in the civil rights movement occurred after Fannie Lou Hamer and two other civil rights workers were arrested for entering an area of a bus station reserved for whites in Winona, Miss., in June 1963. Mr. Guyot went to Winona to bail them out of jail. When he asked questions about their rough treatment, nine police officers beat him with the butts of guns, made him strip naked and threatened to burn his genitals. The abuse went on for four hours until a doctor advised the officers to stop.

Mr. Guyot was taken to a cell and beaten some more. The cell door was left open to the outside, with a knife lying just beyond. The guards’ apparent idea was to entice him to try to escape, but he saw two men lurking outside and stayed in his cell. “I didn’t fall for that one,” he is quoted as saying in “My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South” (1977), by Howell Raines.

Mr. Guyot was released after Medgar Evers, another civil rights activist, was assassinated in Jackson, Miss., on June 12. Mr. Guyot thought that the authorities feared the effects of another assassination of a civil rights worker when national attention was focused on Mississippi.

Later in 1963, Mr. Guyot was imprisoned at the infamous Mississippi penitentiary Parchman Farm. He was beaten, and went on a 17-day hunger strike. He lost 100 pounds. “It was a question of defiance,” he said in an interview with NPR in 2011. “We were not going to let them have complete control over us.”

In a recent interview with The Afro-American Newspapers, Timothy Jenkins, an educator who worked with Mr. Guyot in the 1960s said: “He is significant because he knew there is a price more ultimate than death. It is disgrace.”
“Lawrence Thomas Guyot Jr. was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. His father was a contractor. Mr. Guyot attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., a historically black college that had some white faculty members and welcomed white students. He graduated with a degree in chemistry and biology in 1963.

While in college, he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and traveled around the state conducting civil rights workshops and doing other organizing. He and his colleagues concentrated on voter registration, not desegregation. When he took someone to the courthouse to register, he was often followed by two cars of whites.

Mr. Guyot was haunted by a 1964 conversation he had with Michael Schwerner, the civil rights worker who would be murdered that year along with his fellow workers Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. As Mr. Schwerner was preparing to drive to Mississippi from a training session in Ohio, he asked Mr. Guyot if it was safe to go. Mr. Guyot said yes, and always felt responsible for what happened later.

I told him to go because I thought there was so much publicity that nothing could happen,” Mr. Guyot said in an interview with The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. “I was absolutely wrong.”

In 1968, while in Chicago as a delegate to the Democratic convention, Mr. Guyot went to a doctor after falling ill. The doctor told him that he had heart trouble and was overweight, and that if he went back to the civil rights struggle in Mississippi he had perhaps two months to live. Instead he went to Rutgers School of Law and, after graduating in 1971, moved to Washington, where he did legal work for city agencies and was an informal adviser to Mayor Marion Barry, a fellow native Mississippian.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Guyot is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Monica Klein; his son, Lawrence III; and four grandchildren.

Mr. Guyot favored same-sex marriage when it was illegal everywhere in the United States, noting that he had married a white woman when that was illegal in some states. He often gave inspirational speeches on the meaning of the civil rights movement.

There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he said in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.

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