A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Occupy the OPC: PEPCO’s recent rate increase incited two days of protest at an Office of the People’s Counsel hearing. In the words of a member of the East of the River email list, “PEPCO’S RATE INCREASE CAN GO TAKE A HIKE!!!!” By the second day of the hearing, this OPC chronicler was one of last the protestors standing, as “OurDC protestors, PEPCO customers/citizens, and City Council candidates ha[d] all vacated the premises.” Not to be outdone by the “nerdy bevy of energy wonks” accompanying the PEPCO execs, this protestor came prepared with “custom-made protest wear (beautifully-crafted beaded and jeweled necklaces bearing the slogans, “CEASE THE INCREASE” and “JUST SAY NO TO PEPCO” made by [a] resident designer).” The protest swag was well received: “More than a few of the attendees had a trained eye for fine jewelry and a well-placed message as we received many compliments, comments, and commentaries.” They were even the subjects of an impromptu photo shoot for the OPC’s annual report. In conclusion, the protestor added, “Boy, just the thought of a PEPCO rate increase energizes me!!!!”

The More You Know…: Responding to a Washington Post article, The Advoc8te at Congress Heights on the Rise sets the record straight on Barry Farm—where it is, how old it is, and what it’s named after. As reported by WaPo, Mayor Gray gave a speech at a local ribbon cutting ceremony claiming that “the development is located in Anacostia’s historic Barry Farm neighborhood, named for a public housing project erected in 1954.” The Advoc8te begs to differ. “Can someone please explain to me how one neighborhood (Barry Farm) can be inside of another neighborhood (Anacostia)? While you are at it can you explain how something can be ‘historic’ but named after a HOUSING PROJECT built in 1954? Perhaps Barry Farm got it’s [sic] ‘historic’ status (which it doesn’t officially have but still) from something a little farther back in DC’s timeline? Just a guess.” Good points all around. The Advoc8te also noted that Ward 8 is not just composed of Southeast, but also includes a part of Southwest. However, the Advoc8te did compliment the District’s fine media outlets’ perceived efforts “to understand and report correctly the geography of East of the River.” Up until this article, The Advoc8te writes, “I have seen more neighborhood names being used in articles (still work to do in with the headlines) and basic geography actually made sense.” Aw, shucks.

Emily Post’s Guide to Neighborhood Email Lists: Two members of the Takoma Park email list quabbled over the most courteous way to reference outside articles—to post a link or print an excerpt, that is the question? Here’s how the argument started: one subscriber posted an article about exploding “smart meters” installed by PEPCO. Another admonished him for including a long excerpt, writing “a brief summary with a link will serve the same purpose, probably more efficiently.” But the whistle-blower insisted that other subscribers are quite opposed to links—and have told him so. This is not a new debate. “Last year I posted about the history of neighbors inc and got chastened by the person who moderates with you that the post was too long” the subscriber explains. “Then you and or somebody else argued it was appropriate.” At the end of the day, this is about exploding meters—and the apparent fire hazard. “The idea that all community concerns are created equal and that this is just one more comparable to safeway selling alcohol or a pawn shop opening up is something that I am not convinced about.”

Let Them Eat (Giant) Cake: In a post somewhat misleadingly titled, “Giant cakes – reduced selection?” one member of the Chevy Chase email list bemoans the decrease in the Giant grocery store website’s selection of branded birthday cakes. Where to find a Dora the Explorer cake? Another email list member suggests going to a different Giant location. She writes, “Although our neighborhood Giant Food at Western Avenue/Friendship Heights has certainly improved in many respects, I would have to discourage the purchase of special order bakery items from that store. They do not have an in-house bakery.” She advises her fellow Giant shopper to take extra measures once she’s found the Giant in-house bakery. “Be sure to ask for a copy of the order, and get the name of the people you talk to.”