Against the sound of mariachi music, members of the pro-live entertainment group Hear Mount Pleasant rallied outside the Mt. Pleasant Library last night where members of the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance (MPNA) were meeting. The crowd, which lined the library steps and spilled out onto the sidewalk, waved signs saying “MPNA No Habla Por Nostras,” and “Dancing is Not a Crime.”
Hear Mount Pleasant and the MPNA are at odds over longstanding voluntary agreements that forbid live entertainment at three area restaurants (Don Jaime, Don Juan Restaurant and Carryout, and Haydee’s). Mayor Adrian Fenty and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham attended the meeting and told protesters they looked forward to bringing the two sides together to discuss the issue.
It was a busy day for Hear Mount Pleasant. In addition to the nighttime rally, they staged a sit-in yesterday morning at Don Juan’s trash area to prevent District Department of Transportation (DDOT) officials from carrying out an inspection there. “We were there for about two hours,” says Hear Mount Pleasant member Amber Gallup. Some people sat on top of the structure while others gathered around it, she says.
According to spokesperson Erik Linden, DDOT was conducting a “routine inspection” to determine whether Don Juan’s trash structure was on public space. But group members say the structure has been there for 20-plus years, and if the owner, Alberto Ferrufino, brought his trash indoors, he would risk a health-code violation. Ultimately, the sit-in appeared to be successful. “We left without levying any enforcement,” Linden says. “We will be coordinating any further enforcement with the community.”