This is what happened….

I was unable to attend the news conference due to a scheduling conflict, but a resident and community member emailed me this synopsis of what happened:

On Thursday, September 17, 2009, at 12:15 p.m. a news conference was held in front of 2245 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, King Solomon Grand Lodge (KSGL). In attendance were Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, DCRA Director Linda Argo, as well as representatives from several print and electronic media outlets.

The purpose of the news conference was to announce the immediate closing of the King Solomon Grand Lodge for thirty days because of the increase in crime and the inordinate number of community complaints associated with its operations. In order to operate in the future, DCRA will require that KSGL submit a public hall application, follow the thirty days placarding rule and obtain community support for its business plan.

Chief Lanier personally expressed her concern that the peace and quiet of the community had been disrupted. The Chief agreed with me and others that Fifth District Commander Lamar Greene and his officers are doing a great job assisting the Woodridge Community with containing the disturbances at KSGL.

Director Argo personally assured that going forward KSGL will be required to follow all regulations that govern public hall establishments, to include the thirty days placarding requirement. Also, Director Argo stated that during the KSGL application process for a public hall license the community’s concerns will be heard.

Please note, if KSGL obtains a legal public hall license, it will have the ability to hold activities at the lodge seven days each week. As such the Woodridge Community will continue with its aggressive petition campaign to keep this establishment closed.

On behalf of the Woodridge Community we thank the Mayor and each Cabinet Executive who attended the conference for making a strong public statement of support for the community’s concerns.

James
Concern Citizens of the Woodridge Community

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4 thoughts on “This is what happened….

  1. This information is incorrect. I just contacted Helen Hare with the Executive Office of the Mayor at 202-727-1090. She states that the Mason Lodge is NOT being shut down. She says that the Lodge will NOT be able to have the parties at night. This is, in fact, what I heard when I attended the press conference today at 12:15pm in front of the Lodge. None of what has been posted was verbally spoken by the Mayor, Police Chief Lanier, DCRA, nor the Attorney General. So, when you pass by the Lodge this weekend or the next 30 days and see it still open but not having parties, don’t be alarmed.

  2. Woodie, i think you are misunderstanding what people mean when they say “shut down”. The parties they were having has been shut down (as in their public hall license as well as their ability to have liquor. If you read my earlier post, I state they would still be able to meet there and conduct lodge business, but they cannot operate it as a public hall. Although most people would like it to be shut down altogether, they know it isn’t completely closed. Now, they likelihood they will get a public hall license in the future? Doesn’t look good.

    So, with thi clarification, it was accurate.

  3. Here’s the text from WaPo on the Lodge’s press conference today at
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2009/09/fenty_takes_steps_against_maso.html.
    This article admits the confusion on what is being “shut down.”

    Fenty Takes Steps against Masonic Lodge in Northeast

    As expected, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) Thursday announced steps the city is taking to shut down activities at the Masonic lodge in Ward 5 that residents and city officials say are leading to violence and other disturbances in the Woodridge neighborhood.

    Fenty postponed his announcement to Thursday after a scheduling conflict Tuesday.
    The original news release said the city was shutting down the Northeast Washington lodge, but the news release about Thursday’s announcement stated the city was shutting down a “teen club” inside the lodge. The club is actually a weekend go-go for young people that is thrown on the weekends.

    Fenty was joined by Attorney General Peter J. Nickles, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and Linda Argo, director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

    The lodge, built in 1939, was renting its building to party promoters with the use of its public hall license. That license, which has been renewed on a month-to-month basis, was not renewed on Sept. 1. The community will have an opportunity to weigh in.

    Between January and August, the police received 115 calls for service at the lodge or within 1,000 feet of the building, said Lanier, later adding the calls were for everything from a shooting to public urination.

    Lanier, Nickles and Argo said any license renewal must include agreements to make the activities safer and without disruption to the neighborhood.

    Argo said residents’ complaints led to re-thinking the renewal.

    Lodge members cried foul, saying the incidents are exaggerated and complaining that they received no notice of Fenty’s announcement. They said they were trying to open the lodge to an activity that would keep teens off the street.

    Some residents, however, said they know firsthand that the problems are not exaggerated. “We’re not against the people [lodge members]. It’s the activities,” said Lorenzo Crandle, who lives near the lodge. “We can’t come out from Thursday to Sunday mornings.”

  4. Here’s the text from dcexaminer.com at

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/ap/dc_closes_masonic_lodge_after_violent_incidents-59646747.html

    DC closes Masonic lodge after violent incidents

    Associated Press
    09/17/09 2:15 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON — D.C. officials say a Masonic lodge will no longer be allowed to serve as a public hall following a series of violent incidents.

    Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said Thursday the Most Worshipful King Solomon Grand Lodge in northeast Washington hosted live music events, attracting large numbers of young people. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 12, police received more than 100 requests for service near the lodge.

    D.C. police say lodge owners failed to implement security measures. They also say calls to the lodge took officers away from responding to other incidents in the area.

    The city sent a notice to the lodge on Sept. 1, saying its public hall license expired on Aug. 31. Officials say as the lodge seeks a new license, residents and businesses will have a chance to express their opposition.

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