Meeting Minutes – February 2015

Notes from Green Neighbors Meeting (2/23/2015)

Attendants:  DC, Annette, Rob, Lindsay, Basav, David, Khalel (new attendee), and Fisseba (new attendee)

Introductions (sign up sheet)

  1. Khalel Thompson –the Ward 4 Liaison from the Mayor’s office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) joined us for the first 20 minutes. Found out about the group through a listserv.
  2. New attendee: Fisseba– found out about it through a brochure, just got MBA in sustainable management, very interested in this subject.

Facilitator next time = David.

Brochure – DC showed the new design for what used to be our handy tips brochure.  Nice design, colors. Comments:

  1. Visually busy, but substantive. Used all content from previous handy hints…
  2. Need to have copyright/sources for images
  3. Print to ensure prints out okay.

ActionItem – comments close of business Thursday, 2/26, 2015 via email.

Decision – should make this an annual review.

Pepco/Excelon – 20 minute discussion.

  • Basav – gave background on our involvement, and who we joined with (Power DC Coalition; DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN)
  • Decision on merger has been pushed back from April to early May.
  • Basav submitted our letter of concern to the Public Service Commission.
  • Lisa and Basav – attended a small demonstration / street theater event (30-40 people) outside of the Public Service Commission meeting, where there was evident voice against the meeting. Has helped shifted the debate from done deal to controversial, problematic.
  • Next steps –put pressure on the mayor’s office and on the council- mostly Power DC and DC SUN’s efforts; ours is ANCs..
  • Last time we talked about the ANCs, and bringing up the issue. Three ANCs in Ward 4 have come out with resolutions.  One has not (B).  Ward 1 does not have resolutions.  1 A-C overlap with us (C less so).  Lindsay is working with 1B, but hasn’t really heard anything.  Because of something else, the presentation of this issue was cut from 30 to 4 minutes.  Pepco had 2 minutes, Rob Robinson of Power DC Coalition had 2 minutes.  Lindsay brought up that Green Neighbors would like to have a voice.  So said would bring it up and this next or following meeting.
  • Action items:
  1. Lindsay will follow up with Ward 1B.
  2. Rob will also follow up with 4B; knows a lot of people.
  3. Missing 1A – D.C. is in that area, will follow up.
  • Ward 4 special election – Lisa had the idea of going to candidate forums to raise the issue of the merger, to get candidates on the record on it. Came up independently: us and DC Coalition.
  • Questions was raised about getting support from the coalition to attend the Ward 4 meetings? Yes, we as a group, will focus on ANC.  We can resource our statement/use as handout
  • In terms of raising local awareness and involvement, no opportunity at moment to have booth, sign petition because no farmer’s market. But will have opportunity at solar event in March to share the material, put petition up (and at one business, which Basav will follow up on.).
  • Public outreach. Fisseba will go around and talk to some people.

Noted that there was a poll by sponsored by Power DC; but very open poll.  44% of voters against, only 6% for the merger, 41% had never heard about, rest no position.

Solar Energy Event – Thursday, March 12th that we will run at 6:30 pm at Petworth Library.

Anya Schoolman will cover solar opportunities in DC and the Pepco/Excelon. (this event is separate from our meeting, which is later on the third Monday).  Goal is to spread some education about the solar opportunities here in DC to those who would like to know more.

Outreach:

  1. Fisseba – facebook.com – people would rather use this for research/event announcements. Lindsay – It would also be good for us look into event brite. Action Item:Lindsay – will set up that information on FB page – set up an Eventbrite also.  Our facebook page – Lindsay says that ours is a group, so we automatically invite people when we set up an event (versus a page.).  Rob – which site do we drive people?  Website, FB, and our page.  Provide all links when announcing emailing.
  2. Listserves – send announcement twice more, last one a couple days before (Monday or Tuesday). Action Items; Each of us forward to our respective listserves. Lindsay has already put on PrinceofPetworth; FreeinDC – Rob will forward it to that blogger.
  3. Flyers – Suggest that we put the info in a pdf, and put on the website so we can use that as a source to create fliers to distribute. Lindsay – already on there (Action Item: will doublecheck).  One is b&w, one is color.One of us will coordinate with Fisseba to distribute flyers physically, since no printer.Do have a budget for printing. Action Items:
    1. Basav – will put up in Safeway, coffeehouse, Yes, Annie’s, bookstore…
    2. Lisa has gotten things listed in the Washington Post. Lindsay will try to post in the post.
  4. Literature to have present – Green Neighbor’s testimony, GN brochure, and a sign-up sheet. Plus DC Sun and Power DC Materials.
  5. Other Action Items:
    1. Fisseba – will go to Solar Solutions and mention to them our event, emphasizing can’t present materials at the table, as would constitute a commercial solicitation.
    2. Setup volunteers – Fisseba, Dave, Basav. DC.
    3. either Catherine or Basav will serve as Anya’s point of contact, and give the introduction.
    4. Lindsay will man the table.
    5. DC will bring nametags and brochures.

Walter Reed Zoning Issue – presented by Rob

  1. Background info. National Historic site.  West site being handed over to State Department to be used for embassies.  Will stay in federal hands, no control over.
  2. Eight other different zones, however. Hard to object to the plan in each, but overall most green space is going.   Most parking lots turning into buildings.
  3. Our concern is especially the southern three blocks of the site. Initial proposal had left significant green space.  Now the actual zoning proposal shows green space, but in detail, it is not very green.
  4. Feel that it is important to express concern on the lack of open and green space, and that the latest plan doesn’t support the historical aspect, re: the Lincoln sniper tree is the only portion protected.
  5. Would like there to be testimony from Green Neighbors…, Very excited about this development, don’t want to upend the main goals and plans, but it would be nice to ensure green space and green affordable housing.

Decision:All people present voted to draft a short testimony of one paragraph.  Suggestions on wording were presented,  including that 1) pleased to see many of the current initiatives in the development of the property; 2) are concerned about the loss of green space in the implementation plan from the earlier plan; especially concerning the affordable residential aspects of the property.  Agreed to list positives of green space, such as stormwater flood prevention, urban heat island affect, and quality of life issues.Action Items:

  1. Rob will draft the statement and send tonight.
  2. Comments from group – due end of tomorrow night…
  3. Lindsay will take point on it in terms of submitting via email, as both Rob and Dave often represent other groups as well.

Dave suggested that at some point perhaps we could discuss our policy as a group in promoting affordable housing, as it is tied to green initiatives.  Several people agreed there is a connection, but time was running out, so discussion tabled.

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