Friday, September 26, 2008

Franklin Has Been Shut Down/Protests and Other Actions and.....The facts

As many of you know and others are about to find out, Franklin shelter closed this morning. The men were put out for the last time. The moving crew was there by 8 AM taking out the dining tables. The men were more or less made to go to the 801 East Shelter. I received word from a former Franklin resident who just moved to CCNV that CCNV has now opened up another section so as to accommodate the Franklin residents. (I will need to stay at 801 East for at least a night, due to my things having been moved there. I might need someone to drive me and my things from 801 East to CCNV if they have room for me.)

There is a rally on the steps of the Wilson Building (at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave.) at 3:30 PM today, September 26th.

There is a sleep-out in Franklin Park (13th and K streets, NW) beginning at 5:30 PM today. A few tents will be provided. (I'm sorry that I can't be there, as I must track down my belongings as they are moved to 801 East.)

The teach-in at Franklin Park is still going to happen at 2 PM this Sunday, the 28th. It has NOT been cancelled.

There was supposed to be a planning meeting on Monday, the 29th. I'm not sure if that is still happening. Come on Sunday and find out.


We need the DC Council to flex its muscle on October 1st. Fenty's time to sign or veto the bill will have expired on September 30th. We need the Council to MAKE him reopen Franklin and return its residents and put the furniture back. Then, MAKE him deliver the needed social services to the men, rather than hanging them out to dry. DC Council, show some strength. See below.....

The DC Government has projected a $131 million budget shortfall for the 2009 fist-cal year. They are clenching our money in their fists and making budget cuts so as to make ends meet. The poor are always the first to feel the impact of budget cuts and hard times.

The bill to keep Franklin open was passed by the Council on September 16th. The mayor has until Sept. 30th to sign or veto it. As of October 1st it goes into effect automatically, by default, if he fails to sign or veto it. If he does veto it, the Council will override his veto. It passed with a 12 to 1 vote. It requires the mayor to keep Franklin open as a 300-man shelter until he meets the various requirements which include housing 300 homeless men and proving that he has enough hypothermia shelter for the winter.

Clarence Carter and Dan Tangherlini testified on the 19th (the birthday of my deceased girlfriend) that they have no winter plan. DC law requires them to have a winter plan by Sept. 1st of each year. This makes closing Franklin unwise.

The mayor is misrepresenting the facts about shelter capacity to the general public. Until recently, there have been about 25 empty beds in the entire shelter system for single men per night. They all have been at the 801 East Shelter. (The Franklin closure might absorb them. Tonight will tell.) Nonetheless, there are hundreds of homeless who sleep in the streets for one reason or another. " The mayor who doesn't care" and his dishonest adsinistration tend to use the fact that there are vacancies in the system as a false indication that there are enough shelter beds. What they WON'T tell you is that there are hundreds who sleep outdoors so as to be near services that they use during the day. If the beds WERE full, there still wouldn't be sufficient shelter capacity for the winter. The Park and Rec buses that shuttle the men from 801 to downtown in the morning are slow and don't get people where they need to go in a timely manner.

It would be a good idea to have the men use 801 East so as to fill it to capacity. Then, the mayor couldn't use the lie about there being enough shelter space. All beds would be full and we'd STILL have unsheltered people.
While there is no law requiring DC Government to shelter people during warm weather (or during a thunderstorm or high winds), they MUST shelter people during a freeze when the temperature (including wind chill) is below 33 degrees F. The mayor wants to wait until an actual freeze to rush to create shelter space. That's crazy. When a freeze DOES occur, people will come out of the woodwork to find shelter (or die outside).

Franklin was due to close BY October 1st. Many thought that it would close ON October 1st. DC Government and the mayor got the notion to close it a few days early so as to avoid us occupying the building and demonstrating on the last day. What he DIDN'T anticipate was us organizing or increasing the size of a protest within a matter of hours. We got word around noon on the 25th that Franklin would close its doors on the 26th. Several people, myself included, sent mass e-mails and organized quickly. we held a rally that evening at 5 PM. (The rally had already been planned; but I believe that we more than doubled the number of participants due to increased the urgency of the situation.)How's that for starters, mayor? .....err, the mayor that doesn't care?

Eric Jonathan Sheptock 925 13th St., NW Washington, D.C. 20005-4005

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Franklin iIs Closing On Friday Morning (9/26)

It's official. Tonight is Franklin Shelter's last night.

(We need to change that. Let's protest/squat.)

The last of the men will be moved out of Franklin in the morning. Many will be taken to the 801 East Shelter (also known as the MLK, Jr. Shelter) on the grounds of St.Eelizabeth's Hospital, in spite of the fact that they don't want to go there due to it's location and brutal security guards (the latter reason having been mentioned at the June 12th ICH meeting).

The housing sweep that was supposed to take place this morning did not. It will take place at 801 East on Friday. Someone told me that it got moved due to a Catholic charities/Franklin employee lying to DHS and saying that there were people outside of Franklin protesting this morning. No one protested this morning. I would've been there if they had. (Let's have a few protesters go to 801 East in the morning, if possible. I'll be squatting at Franklin.)

The sentiment among the homeless (and the truth) is that this "housing effort" is nothing more than a glorified drug sting. The people who were least likely to succeed were placed in housing. Many have now been arrested for drug charges. They've gone from their new housing to jail. (During his campaign, Fenty said that he would begin to treat drug addiction like a mental illness, not a crime. He lied. Is compulsive lying a mental illness? If so, we have a crazy mayor.) Dan Tangherlini, Clarence Carter and others in DC Gov. have said that they didn't want the jails and ER's to serve as makeshift homeless shelters. Well, that's what's happening. I hope that the mayor doesn't get credit for housing those who've ended up in jail. They shouldn't count toward the 300 homeless men that he must house before closing Franklin per the new law (attached).

The men should be made aware that they have 7 days to pick up their belongings after the building closes. If their things are disposed of before that, they will have a lawsuit.

Forward this to all of your contacts who might want to get involved and help us to protest. I will be at the rally/protest this evening in front of Franklin (address in my signature) at 5 PM. I hope to see you there. We will also occupy the building tomorrow morning. Let's get some coverage of both events.

Eric Jonathan Sheptock 925 13th St., NW Washington, D.C. 20005-4005


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Franklin Staff Is Instagating VIOLENCE and/or Other Trouble

I am sorry to say that the Franklin situation has taken a turn for the worse in that 2 employees, James Rolle and Garland Caraway, have begun to perpetrate some bold-faced lies which are designed to create emnity between myself and the other Franklin residents and could lead to anyone who might believe them turning violent against me. I have published this post so as to let people know, just in case anything goes down. You can also help to correct their lies.

This morning as I was leaving Franklin Shelter, Franklin staffer and Catholic Charities employee James Rolle started in on me by saying,"You know that you're the reason that they're closing this place?" Sitting beside him was the 500 lb. employee named Garland Caraway.

(Garland was the one who tried to prevent Councilwoman Yvette Alexander from entering a government-owned building on 9/11 so as to see first-hand that the building is not nearly as decrepit as Mayor Fenty makes it out to be. He also told me that he reads my blog. Though I blog mainly for the supporters of the homeless and those who want to keep up with the Franklin situation, I like it when an enemy of mine reads my blog insomuch as it enables me to fly in their face with whatever I have to say to/about them. Ask Pat Handy.)

I told James that his statement was not true and the 3 of us began a lively 25-minute discussion as a certain security guard stood and looked on. I will expose some of the lies that they told and the corresponding truths below:

Lie -- I, Eric, am the reason that Franklin is being closed.
Truth -- Mayor Fenty says that he wants to close the building due to it being old, decrepit and unfit for human habitation, while he most likely has some developer waiting in the wings to buy the building and/or is catering to the surrounding businesses and the tourist industry.

Lie -- Fenty and not the first Committee to save Franklin is the reason that Franklin was not closed in 2006-7.
Truth -- The rallies, protests and other efforts of the first Committee to save Franklin paid off and Deputy Mayor Brenda Donald-Walker told us the building would not be closed well before Fenty became mayor. Her word would prove to be tenuous at best and the threat remained even after her October 2006 announcement that Franklin had been saved. No place was found for the Franklin residents to go to. Herb Miller eventually opted out of the 29-year lease that he had signed with Mayor Tony "the Rat" Williams, also known as "Out-of-Town Tony", and he was paid $500,000.

Lie -- It was not my e-mails that got anything around Franklin fixed. Nothing was ever fixed the day after I sent an e-mail. It was always the Franklin staff putting in work orders that got things fixed. Those things would've been fixed with or without my e-mails.
Truth -- On multiple occasions things at Franklin were fixed the day after I sent an e-mail. In some cases, I sent an e-mail early in the morning and what I e-mailed about was fixed by that evening. The one exception that stands out in my mind was the last time that the hot water went out. In that case, it took 2 and a half months to properly identify the source of the problem and fix it. 2 water heaters were added at my beckoning on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 6th) of this year, with the hot water having gone out on November 19th of last year. In other instances, I've e-mailed about broken windows, cold water, broken sink and shower spigots and had them fixed within 24 hours. How would Garland know that the repairs didn't occur within 24 hours of my e-mail, being that he was not with me when i sent the e-mails? Get real.

Lie -- Mayor Fenty changed his mind after stopping the March 31st, 2007 closure because we (the first Committee to Save Franklin Shelter) pissed him off and that is why he is closing it now. (Garland never specified how we pissed him off.)
Truth -- Fenty is bending to pressure from the business community. That's why he decided to close Franklin. He claims to want to move away from large shelters and then starts with what is far from the largest shelter in DC, while wanting to add 100 beds to a shelter that is already larger than Franklin (801 East).

Lie -- My e-mail work orders are the main reason for Franklin being closed.
Truth -- Placing a work order doesn't amount to a request to close a building. It takes a real idiot to think that it does. Everything that I e-mailed about has since been fixed; therefore, those formerly needed repairs no longer serve as reasons to close the building, if ever they did.

Stop trying to pit other Franklin residents against me by perpetrating these and other lies, James Rolle and Garland Caraway.

Other Franklin News

At 5 PM on Thursday, September 25th there will be a rally in front of Franklin Shelter (13th and K streets, NW). Come out and support the homeless and send a strong message to the mayor that mistreatment of the underprivileged will not be tolerated.

At 2 PM on Sunday, September 28th there will be a teach-in at Franklin Park (13th and K streets, NW). All concerned citizens and illegals are welcome to come out and learn about the issue of homelessness, the Franklin Shelter saga and how Mayor Fenty's decision will hurt and even kill the homeless.

Tuesday, September 30th marks the end of the 10 working days (2 weeks) that Fenty will have had to veto or sign the law that was passed on the 16th to prevent the closure of Franklin. No actions are planned for that day yet. We need to see what transpires and whether or not we have a victory to celebrate. Based on what happens that day, we will either have a reason to celebrate or a reason to protest. Let's hope that the Council holds Fenty accountable.


The sleep-out in Franklin Park that was scheduled to take place today has been cancelled. I hope that you've read this in time and didn't make a blank trip. I apologize if you did. I plan to check throughout the evening to see if anyone shows up.

As it turns out, the Franklin residents can't afford to sleep out, due to the fact that their beds will be dismantled. It wouldn't look right if only the supporters and no Franklin residents participated in the sleep-out. We could compensate by having those who've already lost their beds sleep out. However, they are difficult to gather and to establish quick, constitent communication with, due to be scattered.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Gov't Garbage and Dirty Politics

NOTE: Men are being put on the floor to sleep at the NY Ave. shelter, while the city is shutting down a much-needed shelter (Franklin Shelter). This makes absolutely no sense. Then again, what decisions of Mayor Fenty do?!

I'm at no shortage of bad things to say about Mayor Fenty and his administration. However, I promise to try to keep this post short, as that won't be easy.

I'll begin with Patricia "Pat" Handy. She is the least amiable, most obnoxious homeless outreach coordinator on the face of the Earth. She allowed her attitude to show through during our first encounter. She had come out to the hospital to assist a certain 88 year-old homeless woman in finding a nursing home temporarily and to begin casework around finding her a more permanent residence once healed completely. Pat handy exhibited very little tact in dealing with an elderly woman. She made no secret of her frustration, as this elderly woman had a hard time making up her mind, due to being picky as should be expected of an elderly woman. Others who were present, myself included, were able to deal with the situation much more delicately.

Another woman told me of Pat Handy having gotten an attitude with her over the phone. This other woman claimed to have asked a simple question, to which Pat Handy snapped,"I'm not the information dept.!" I told Pat about this incident. She denied it. Oddly enough, for all of her vices, Pat never struck me as a liar. I could be wrong on that one.

Then, on September 10th and 11th Pat Handy spent much time at Franklin School Shelter so as to facilitate the moving of men into other shelters, the streets and, in a few cases, housing. (At least 1/3 of those housed have rejected or lost it in less than 2 weeks. At least 20 of the men have given their keys back to DHS, due to some defficiency in the unit or not liking the violent, drug-ridden neighborhood.)I sent out e-mails the next day, so as to update people on the Franklin situation. I printed the truth about the situation.

When I saw Pat again and began to approach her with a concern of mine, she said,"Eric, I can't speak to you. You put my name out there." I told her that everything that I printed was true. To that she replied,"I'm not saying that you lied. I'm just saying that you put my name out there and I don't like that." I told her that she doesn't need to like me; but, she does need to serve me. Well, now I've gone from putting her name in an e-mail to putting her name in my blog, which is further-reaching. How's that for starters, Pat? Just to be clear, you are a pubic servant. Therefore, if you don't do your job well, I'm telling on you. If you don't like it, get out of public service.

While I used the truth against Pat Handy, there are those in DC Government who choose to use dishonesty to try to bring me down. Does it surprise you? I mean, it is the Fenty administration we're talking about here.

Of those in DC Gov. who want to assist their dictator, Adrian Fenty, in closing Franklin, at least a couple have told bold-faced lies about me and my stance on the issue. One man told me that I had actually told him that I wanted Franklin closed, due to it being an old, run-down building. I HAVE NEVER ASKED ANYONE TO CLOSE FRANKLIN. THAT IS WHERE I STAY. DON'T BE SO ASSENINE!!!!!

Then there are those who maintain that, if I report needed repairs, I am asking for the building to be closed. Clarence carter of DHS has gone so far as to exaggerate the number of e-mail work orders that I've sent and tried to use that false number as justification for closing Franklin. It takes a true idiot to assume that a work order amounts to a request for closure.

Besides, Ram Uppuluri of Councilman Tommy Wells' office has stated to me that DC Government has a new policy: So long as a government-owned building is occupied, it will be properly maintained. He has said that this policy was created as a result of the DC Village fiasco. (DC Village was a family shelter that was allowed to go into disrepair, because it was slated to be closed soon. It has since been closed, but not before people were allowed to live there in sub-human conditions.)

Fenty and his fallen angels are looking for any excuse to close Franklin. In so doing, they're using a double standard. If Fenty wants to keep a shelter (or other building) open, he sees to it that the building is maintained, at any cost. If he wants to close a building and give it to a developer, he uses something as small as a broken window as an excuse to close it. Deciding to close a building because it needs some maintenance is like deciding to decapitate one's self because his hair needs combing. Get real!!!!!

These are just a few of the many examples that I could give you of government garbage and dirty politics.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The council came through. Franklin Is saved (For Now).

On september 16th, the DC Council held its first legislative session in 2 months, having just returned from recess. I was quite pleased to see the interest that they have taken in the issue of homelessness. ((They postponed the beginning of their recess in July by 2 days in order to create emergency legislation around the transfer of the Gales School Bldg. to the Central Union Mission (C.U.M.).)) Then, as they returned, one of the items on their legslative agenda was the impending closure of the Franklin School Shelter. And so their recess began and ended with the creation of emergency legislation for 2 homeless shelters.

The day began with a large rally that was orchestrated by Empower DC, a non-profit that does grassroots organizing around the issues that affect everyday people. It highlighted issues related to homelessness, affordable housing, using public land for community needs rather than giving it to private developers who can make a profit off of it and labor unions. There were at least 200 people at the rally, which was held in front of the John A. Wilson Bldg. (City Hall).

Many of my friends and supporters of the homeless community demonstrated inside of the Council Chambers (which is not allowed) and got thrown out. Bless their souls. A reporter from the Washington Examiner newspaper asked me why only those who were not homeless were acting up and not the homeless themselves, being that the demonstration was for the homeless. I explained to him that I was reporting for Street Sense, a street newspaper about the poor and homeless of DC and couldn't afford to be thrown out. I failed to explain what is, no doubt, an even more important reason: I, being one of the primary homeless advocates fighting to keep Franklin open as a shelter, needed to be there as the Council decided on the issue. It wouldn't have looked right for me to be absent. As it turned out, many of them looked my way as they discussed the issue of Franklin.

The Council was quite well-informed on the issue of homelessness. They seemed to understand that anyone can become homeless. Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. told of an ANC commissioner who became homeless, along with his family. Councilpersons Carol Schwartz and Phil Mendelson realize that the homeless choose to be located Downtown. I even sensed a slight implication by them that it would be better to close the 801 East (MLK, Jr.) Shelter first, especially since the mayor claims to want to move away from large shelters and 801 east is larger than Franklin while also being in a location that is unpopular to the homeless.

Chairman Vincent Gray pointed out that he had sent a letter to the mayor 34 days prior to the session and that the mayor had not responded to that letter, which explained that the mayor had broken campaign promises and that it was unwise to close Franklin Shelter given the circumstances. (The article in the Washington Post on the following day pointed out that the mayor failed to respond to the Council actions with a press conference, which he normally does after a legislative session. The mayor is becoming even more secretive than usual as he deals with this possible shelter closure.)

The council voted 12 to 1 to keep Franklin open until the mayor meets a long list of demands. Among those demands are the following. He must:

1 -- house at least 300 men in Permanent supportive Housing
2 -- show that they are stable and will not lose their housing
3 -- show that they are receiving adequate social services related to their physical and mental health as well as drug treatment and employment services
4 -- provide paperwork that gives the names of all of those who've been housed and the locations of their housing
5 -- provide a report that shows the varying levels of shelter usage during different times of the year, the number of homeless people in the city and the current shelter capacity
6 -- submit in writing an updated report containing all of the above information and a renewed request for closure before closing the shelter.

The only abstention was by Phil Mendelson, but for a good reason that I fully agree with. We needed 9 votes to make the legislation veto-proof. We also needed this legislation passed immediately. Both needs were met, in spite of the lone abstention. I'm inclined to believe that it was planned that way. Great.

Mr. Mendelson voted against the bill due to the fact that he wanted stronger legislation that takes some power from the mayor and gives the Council and the ICH (Inter-agency Council on Homelessness) more oversight of the homeless shelters. He feels that the mayor is a dictator of sorts who rules by fiat (mandate). I agree. I also agree with him that we should get more out of this deal than to just keep a homeless shelter from closing. We should also address the extensive powers of the mayor that essentially make him a brat. Mr. Mendelson and Carol Schwartz emphasized that the Council is a branch of government that is separate from but equal to the mayor's administration. The Council asserted its power. Great. In essence, the entire Council was on our side. The single abstention openned the door for the Council to begin an agenda of Government reform. Way to go!!!!!

The council acted in unity as they made a concerted effort to put the brakes on the mayor. What was more surprising than the 12 to 1 victory was the fact that the entire Council chose to break ranks with the mayor. Many of those whom I spoke to never expected Muriel Bowser to break ranks with Mayor Fenty. She got in on a special election, due to her friendship with him. However, she doesn't owe him anything. She made that point on Tuesday. Good job.

As it turns out, the mayor has 10 days to veto the legislation. He won't win if he does use his veto power. Unfortunately, he can still have beds dismantled during that time. When the Council overrides his veto on the 26th, he'll have to have the beds that were disassembled reassembled. Sending the legislation to him is just a formality.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Last-ditch EffortsTo Save Franklin School Shelter

NOTE: I added more details and a couple of new items to this blog on 9/14, several days after posting it. If you think that you're seeing a new detail, you are and you're not crazy. Just thought you'd want to know.

First of all, I apologize for not posting more often, as I realize that many people want to keep up with the Franklin School Shelter situation as it unfolds. However, things have been quite hectic lately. Those of us who are working to keep Franklin School open as a shelter are putting in long hours (pro bono, of course) and I've been short on time.

While much has been going on since my last post, things have been especially hectic for the last couple of days. Check-in for the night usually goes from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. However, as I arrived at Franklin around 7 PM on September 10th, having gotten a bed reservation, I saw that people were still being checked-in. It would eventually go until 9:30 that night. The reason for the long check-in was that residents were being given exit interviews. The staff was asking questions, filling out the paperwork and having the clients to sign it.

There were not any statements on the form obligating anyone to do anything. Besides personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number etc., the questions were as follows:

Do you know that Franklin Shelter is closing on October 1st?
Do you know where you'll go?
Do you need assistance relocating? and
Exactly what type of assistance do you need?

Patricia "Pat" Handy, the outreach coordinator for DHS (the Dept. of Human Services)was present, as were many homeless advocates and community activists. Though I asked Pat Handy a number of questions, she was rather tight-lipped about everything. As she put it, she does what her bosses tell her to do.

On the following morning, 9/11, I noticed dozens of people sitting in the dining area of Franklin. At a glance, I figured at least a dozen of them to be DHS employees. I proceeded to enter the room, but was quickly escorted out by Catholic Charities employee Harry Martinez. I left and returned an hour later to find Pat Handy getting out of a UPO (United Planning Org.)van, the vans used to transport the homeless during hypothermia. As we spoke, she informed me that she had not been to bed since the previous day. She entered the building and I went to get breakfast. Later that evening I would learn that many of the people whom I'd seen were homeless people from other shelters who'd been brought to Franklin early that morning. They were signed up for housing and given keys, as were some Franklin residents. Rumor has it that the number of non-residents who were brought to Franklin Shelter that morning was eventually added to the number of actual residents who were housed, so as to make it look as if they ALL had come from Franklin. If this proves to be true, it is essentially dishonest.

I returned to Franklin shortly after 5 PM on 9/11. Once again there was a crowd of people in and around Franklin. Various DHS employees including Fred Swan and Pat Handy were there. Linda Kaufman of Pathways To Housing, an organization that specializes in housing the mentally ill, was there also. My fellow homeless advocates and community activists were outside with a reporter from the Washington Post. After greeting people, I proceeded to do an interview. His is at least the sixth article that has been done about the homeless of DC and the Franklin School Shelter by the Post in the past three months.

At about 6 PM, Councilwoman Yvette Alexander arrived with one of her staffers and with Drew Hubbard who works for Councilman Marion Barry. She was upset about the impending closure and how it is being executed. Even as she was inundated with comments and concerns, she proceeded to state some concerns of her own. Ms. Alexander struck me as being quite well informed on the issue of homelessness.

Councilwoman Alexander was upset that proper protocol requiring that the Council be notified at least 30 days in advance of a shelter closing was not followed. She made it clear that she also spoke for Marion Barry, the Ward 8 councilman, who was out of the country at the time. He'd been informed and had expressed his displeasure to his colleague. (Their wards are often conjunctively referred to as Ward 15 due to the fact that the 2 wards -- 7 and 8 -- share some of the same demographics including high poverty and illiteracy rates. They also work together on those issues.)

The councilwoman was also concerned that the social services that these men receive might be inadequate and that severely mentally ill and incompetent people might be left to fend for themselves in an apartment all by themselves. But the concern that stood out to me as the one that would create the most concern for DC residents was the fact that Franklin residents who've been waiting for a matter of months would be housed before people that have been waiting for housing through the DC Housing Authority for as many as 10 years. This is all because the mayor wants to give this building to some developer that he has waiting in the wings and to make a profit off of it. She was appalled by this. She was also concerned that a disproportionate number of the men were being moved into her ward. Ms. Alexander also stated her concerns to the Post reporter.

She wanted to take a tour of the building but was confronted by shelter staff/Catholic Charities employee Garland Caraway. They had words as she asserted her right as a councilmember to enter a government-owned building. In the end, he got his way. I WAS able to show her the brand new heating/air unit and the dining area. Then she was called into the office by Pat Handy who gave her a 30 minute diatribe about God-knows-what. I waited in the hall. When Ms. Alexander emerged from the office, she decided against the tour and just went home. She was visibly upset.

The Committee 2 Save Franklin (CSFS) met in the park with several supporters immediately thereafter and had a planning meeting. (They actually began while I tried to give the councilwoman a tour of the facility.) We made plans for the next several days which are below. However, one of our plans has been carried out at this point -- the plan to heckle Mayor Fenty during the dedication of the new Safeway grocery store at 5th and L streets, NW.

About a half dozen hecklers had arrived at the store by 12:15 PM on the 12th. The mayor arrived at 12:15 himself. We began to heckle him, but were quickly stopped by his security detail. So, we waited around and waylaid him afterward. We told him about how foolish it is to close a homeless shelter right before hypothermia. I mentioned his broken promises and apparent dishonesty to him. The mayor explained his desire to move away from large shelters. I, therefore, asked why he didn't close one of the larger shelters like CCNV, New York Ave or MLK first. He didn't answer me but continued to speak to one of my colleagues.

Having fought for Franklin since June of 2006 and being fed up with his dishonesty and dirty politics as well as his unwillingness to have a truly productive conversation, I began to curse the mayor out, in much the same way I was told that he cursed out Council Chairman Vincent Gray and Councilman Marion Barry. I also shot a whole flock of birds at him as I said,"Fuck you!!!!! Fuck the mayor!!!!! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on!!!!!" . The officer that was with him told me that I could be arrested if I were to continue, which I knew was a lie. I told him that I had not threatened the mayor and he couldn't arrest me.

The mayor called me over and began to give me a diatribe on respect. I asked him the rhetorical question:"Which is worse, cursing or lying?" He told me that I could say what I want about him so long as I don't curse him, asked me to agree to respect him and put his hand out so as to shake on it. I told him that, if he agreed to stop lying, then I would agree to stop cursing. With that we parted. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to confront him face-to-face about his dishonesty, broken campaign promises and all-around dirty politics. The fight goes on.....

If you e-mail me at, I can send you the letter that Chairman Vincent Gray sent to Mayor Fenty concerning his broken campaign promises and the lack of wisdom in closing Franklin School Shelter.

NOTE: They've stopped giving out soap at Franklin. A few of us have our own. You might want to give the men some soap.

On Sunday, there will be a rally to save Franklin Shelter which will be held in Franklin Park at 13th and K streets, NW at 2 PM.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16th, the Council reconvenes for its first legislative session since returning from recess. It will begin at 9 AM in the John A. Wilson Bldg. at 1350 Pennsylvania ave. This is what al of our efforts were for. The Council will vote on a bill that would keep Franklin open, in spite of the will of the mayor and be veto-proof.


In the meantime, call, e-mail, visit and fax the mayor. Inundate him with your concerns.

Fax black paper to him.

Publicize his broken promises.

Don't forget to read the mayor's e-mail to me in the previous post.

Join the fight in any which way you can.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Message From The Mayor

Read the following message from Mayor Fenty. Make what you will of it. I think that he is vague, uninformed and detached from the process. He thinks that "Mayor knows best". Nonetheless, he has stated some promises that we can hold him to.....

--- On Thu, 9/11/08, Executive Office of the Mayor (imailagent) wrote:

From: Executive Office of the Mayor (imailagent)
Subject: Email from the EOM (Intranet Quorum IMA00569336)
Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 10:26 AM

Thank you for your feedback regarding the closing of Franklin School Shelter. I understand your concern about the closure of the facility and its impact on clients as well as the surrounding community. The District Government is committed to reducing the need for large-scale emergency shelters, such as Franklin, by providing permanent housing with a continuum of care that includes outreach, social and mental health services. This approach is intended to address the root causes of homelessness and to give individuals and families the opportunity to achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

The entire Administration is equally concerned about the well-being of the District's homeless population and is continually developing methods and building capacity to address this issue. In an effort to facilitate a timely, structured and humane closure of the Franklin School Shelter, there will be a gradual reduction of the bed capacity going forward until October 1, 2008, the projected closing date. As the District reduces shelter capacity, we will grow our overall capacity of service to this population by placing over 500 of our chronically homeless neighbors into permanent supportive housing.

For more information on the District's ongoing services and initiatives to reduce homelessness, please visit the District Department of Human Services online at or the Department of Mental Health at

Thank you for writing.

Adrian M. Fenty,

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