ANC 2E: Shootings, Carjackings, DOJ Response; Schools Improve; Sacco Departs
By February 5, 2024 One Comment 420•
The February meeting of the Georgetown-Burleith-Hillandale Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E), held Jan. 29, was filled with solid news, much welcomed civility and met in person for the first time at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church on 29th Street. Still, some of the commissioners and almost all of the speakers attended remotely. Some of the items were very important to hear — too important, too long for an ANC meeting, it would seem.
The meeting opened with a crime report by the Metropolitan Police Department, reported in person by police officers who are assigned to and know Georgetown. Car hijackings are the most visible concern, not only because they are increasing and happening in daylight but because of the gut-wrenching reality last week involving the shooting of two drivers (Alberto Vasquez Jr. died at the scene) and eventually the mentally ill car jacker. Former D.C. election official and member of Holy Trinity’s parish council, Michael Gill was reported to be in critical condition after being shot in the head while waiting to pick up his wife at work (he has since died of his wounds).
Department of Justice Response
“Most of the carjackings are done by juveniles,” Wendy Pohlhaus, Director of Community Outreach, at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told the commissioners. In fact, of the almost 200 carjackings in the District last year, 75 percent were juveniles and only 12 met the mandatory minimum requirements for punishment for armed assault of 90-180 months in prison. “Not having mandatory minimums for juvenile punishment is a real problem,” according to the DC Attorney’s office.
It’s hard to get a prosecution at all, according to Pohlhaus, even though some 88 percent of adult suspects of violent assaults are charged. In a long and important report, the ANC was told that there were multiple reasons for not getting a prosecution, including that cases were dropped by victims, witnesses see things sometimes entirely differently, suspects have prior warrants for arrests and the like. “It’s very much up to the judge’s discretion,” she said.
A general report on Georgetown schools found that the new McArthur High School “is off to a very good start,” according to Commissioner Kishan Putta. “It’s on line for a large expansion to a four-year high school” with all the bells and whistles, he added. Hyde-Addison Elementary School is also fully enrolled with little of the absenteeism apparently that plagues other D.C. public schools. Hyde-Addison was named the number-2 best elementary school in the District, according to the Principal Calvin Hooks in his monthly report. “Parents are planning a gala find-raiser for the school for the first time in years,” Putta said.
Georgetown University is also fully back to pre-pandemic normal, including excitement for their sports teams and newly matriculated mascot, Jack the Bulldog. “We may bring him to an ANC meeting, student Commissioner Joe Massaua announced. “We’re getting ready for a big St. Patrick’s celebration in March,” Commissioner John DiPierri also announced.
The commission unanimously passed two resolutions approving the extension of a temporary license to serve liquor at the Hilltop Tap Room, a bar and restaurant located in the Healey Family Student Center, an on-campus bar, until the approval process is completed for a full Class C liquor license, used for businesses that plan to sell alcohol and allow drinking on premises.
Pot Shops Explained
The ANC also unanimously passed a resolution protesting (albeit a friendly protest) a legal medical marijuana license by Georgetown Supply. Commissioner Gwendolyn Lohse, chair of ANC 2E, was quoted by the Hoya as saying the protests function as a way for the ANC to work out an agreement and prevent possible issues with constituents before a business selling alcohol or marijuana gets its full license.
The District Council recently tightened regulations around marijuana gifting shop. Where they once could offer a “gift” of a small amount of marijuana to a client who purchased store merchandise such as a T-shirt, the new regs require that marijuana can no longer be gifted but must be sole for medical purposes by retailed licensed to do so.
Parking for Rose Park
Commissioners then approved the establishment of at least two alternative parking placers near the Rose Park Recreation Center.
Peter Sacco Promoted
Offering a special commendation, Commissioners bid farewell to Peter Sacco — executive director of ANC 2E and of ANC 2B as well as administrative coordinator for ANC 2D — who will be heading to the Office of the Mayor to continue his community work in a governmental role.