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It is clear “Who Fought J.R.’s?” (The District Line, 9/8): neighbors who would be affected by their request. ANC Chair Fernandez represents neither of the ANC Districts most affected by J.R.’s’ request. Fernandez has made irresponsible statements that the opposition to J.R.’s is antigay when he in fact knows that many of those objecting to the request are gay.
It is certainly appropriate for ANC Commissioner Kyle Pitsor to testify before the Public Space Committee as an ANC Commissioner. Fernandez’s comment that Pitsor let down his residents is a cheap shot and inaccurate. By failing to honor Pitsor’s request to delay voting on the issue, Fernandez denied those of us living in Pitsor’s ANC our right to representation by our commissioner on an issue of major concern.
I am not sure why Fernandez thinks any ANC commissioner should keep silent after the ANC votes on any issue. ANC commissioners have the same rights and obligations as any other representative of the public trust. I can see the day when Congress members shut up after an issue has been voted on. Might be nice though.
Most residents who oppose J.R.’s would quickly remove their objections if J.R.’s were to change its license to a restaurant license like other neighborhood establishments. J.R.’s opposes this, of course, as it would require that they meet a minimum percentage requirement for food rather than something like $3 hot dogs. There is no more reason to believe they would honor the limit on the number of persons allowed outside than they honor the limits inside (not that this makes them any different from most other bars). Granting their request would only benefit J.R.’s, as it would make their license more valuable it they were to sell it as has been rumored they wish to do.
They have been a poor neighbor since moving in. They totally misrepresented what they were and described a menu that had everyone believing they would be another Annie’s. They were slow to respond to complaints about noise. When muggers were working Church Street between 17th and 18th, they did not warn their customers even when a neighbor saw the muggers and went in and asked them to make an announcement. They even objected to the Neighborhood Watch standing across the street from them, being more concerned that it might scare customers away than that the presence of the group might protect their customers.
Most of us welcome the variety of business on 17th street and appreciate how they make the neighborhood more alive. Balancing the interest of residents and business is not always easy, but when there are differences the interest of residents should come before the interest of profit.
Dupont Circle, via the Internet