February 26, 2015
Last night’s ANC5A meeting covered a number of important topics starting with the Verizon outage last November that impacted over 8000 DC residents (2500 of which reside in district 5A), the District’s new marijuana laws, and recent developments regarding bi-lingual schools in district 5A.
Commissioner Washington introduced Mr. Mario Acosta-Velez, Verizon Director, Government Affairs, to lead a discussion on a major outage last November that left nearly 2500 ANC5A residents out of service. Mr. Acosta-Velez informed the gathering that his primary function is in consumer affairs and wants his customers to have a “positive Verizon experience”. He offered to attend ANC meetings in %A as well as other parts of Ward 5 to achieve that end.
Mr. Acosta-Velez advised Commissioner Washington that the comments she received from engineers stating that repairs were not always forthcoming because they were “waiting for FIOS (Verizon’s fiber optic network)” are “unacceptable and should be reported to him” in the future. He expressed that residents still on copper wiring deserved reliable service. He also briefly discussed that Verizon is entering phase3 of its FIOS rollout that is central office (CO) based as opposed to ward based.
The Verizon discussion was followed by the PSA 405 community engagement where Chairperson Ronnie Edwards introduced Lieutenant Michelle Ridlehoover and Officer Lucas. There was a significant amount of time devoted to follow-up on various incidents in the district and the emphasis on Park Place and The Cloisters apartment complexes. Lt. Ridlehoover provided updates on a major arrest involving a burglary ring in the area as well as addressing the concerns from a couple of audience members of the lack of visibility of a police presence in The Cloisters.
The Lieutenant tried to explain the “difficulty” patrolling private property but would do what she could to improve the patrol presence and provided several numbers she could be reached at. She went on to clarify her role as the community liaison in order to ensure that the officers under her watch are providing the level of service and communication the department expects.
Finally, the officers took on the challenge of sorting through some of the intricacies of the District’s new marijuana laws, which went into effect at midnight. Lt. Ridlehoover and Officer Lucas emphasized that although the MPDC has jurisdiction over all parts of the city, they allow the other agencies in the city to control how their areas are policed – specifically the numerous federal agencies in the Nation’s Capital. A handout was provided outlining more details on the quantity allowed for personal use, acceptable locations for consumption, federal laws and enforcement, etc.
The last part of the meeting involved an exchange between councilman representative Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative and the ANC commissioners regarding the apparent approval of two bilingual schools within blocks of each other. There will be more to come on this issue in future editions.