"Stray dogs, stray cats and of course stray men" are among the problems facing Northeast neighborhoods, Rhuedine Davis told fellow Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners last week at a business meeting to outline the area's problems.
Davis, ANC commissioner from district 7A-2, which includes Paradise Manor and Mayfair Mansions, two low income housing complexes, chaired the meeting with a wit that broke the monotony and went straight to the problems at hand.
Attending the meeting at the Elder Michaux Recreation Center in the middle of the Mayfair apartment complex were three of the five ANC members from Ward 7-A. The commissioners represent about 14,000 people in the area.
At issue was the lack of doors to the entrance of 15 duplex buildings that make up the Paradise Manor apartments in the 3600 block of Hayes and Jay streets NE. There are about 672 units and more than 1,500 residents in the complex. Mayfair Mansions is adjacent to Paradise Manor.
"When it rains, water comes in. Dogs and cats are coming in . People in the area wanted me to get behind environmental services about that," said Davis.
Shirley Poole, ANC commissioner from district 7A-6, said she had been unable to get the city to round up the area dogs and cats because there is only one dogs catcher available to work the city. Therefore he's rarely available, she said.
In addition to the sanitation problems caused by the animals, Davis said the missing doors contributed to security problems in the area.
Davis added the "people break into gas stations (along Eastern Avenue NE) to steal oil," and there have been numerous auto thefts.
In a recent community meeting attended by about 100 people, according to the group's ANC records of March 22, Hurace Parker, a spokesman from the 6th District police station that covers the area, said 32 people had been apprehended for auto theft in February alone.
Davis, along with Major L. Anderson, the ANC commissioner from district 7A-5, and Poole d said more police protection, better transportation, youth employment an housing, were problems they were formulating strategies to attack over the next several months.
Getting action an maintenance problems at Paradise Manor, however, was foremost on the list, they said, although Anderson conceded that the problem of buildings not having doors was not confined to Paradise Manor but existed in areas throughout Ward 7 and the city.
In a telephone interview later in the week, Mildred Speed, resident manager for Paradise Manor, said the doors were removed on management's orders because vandals - mostly local children - kept breaking them.
"I've been here and seen what's going on down the line," said Speed, who said she has worked at the complex over 10 years."Kids were swinging on the doors, breaking the glass. It was a fortune putting up doors."
In 1975, Walker and Dunlop realtors took over the management of the complex, which was built in 1967 by the Gospel Spreading Church under the direction of the late Elder Solomon Lightfoot Michaux.
Attending the ANC commissioners business meeting were five social science and law students from Howard University. The students received a bird's-eye view of grassroots government as part of a joint project between Howard and Georgetown universities to study the legal needs of ANC government. Stephanie P. Honeywood, director of the group, said the purpose of the project is to determine how the schools can become more effective in offering community groups legal services.
Participants in last week's session were: Bola Osinuga, Rosemary McDowell, William J. Fisher, Gladys Tart and Honeywood.