Welcome to DCJACK.ORG

This site will be about the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods, featuring the ethnic and economic diversity that makes our neighborhood dynamic, colorful, and fascinating. Let's not lose that!

worker bee
About our two neighborhoods:

A bogus crime emergency (2006)
And another bogus crime wave (2008)
Another bogus crime wave (2011)
Yet another bogus crime wave (2012)
A police crackdown on a mythical robbery wave
Police Districts and PSAs
Drug dealing in Mt. Pleasant and Col. Heights
Demographic data
Robbery rates
What to do about rats
DC North, on rats in Ward One
Our water supply, and the Potomac River
The shotgun stalker
Neighborhood demographics
Comparing robbery rates (September 2008)
Is there a violent-crime wave in Adams Morgan?
Can you have a beer on your front porch?
Thefts from auto, a plague in both neighborhoods
Homicides are down; can the police claim credit?
"Carry no cash" -- suicidally stupid advice?
A noisy confrontation
Does MPD photo enforcement really save lives?
Do inner-city speed cameras save lives?
About Mount Pleasant:

My ANC newsletters, 2002 to present
Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
Night life in Mount Pleasant
Robberies in Mount Pleasant
Burglaries in Mount Pleasant
Parking in Mount Pleasant
About "public space"
Neighborhood demographics
DC Fiesta in Mount Pleasant, 2006
A Historic Preservation blunder
Historic Preservation complaints
Historic Preservation vs. Rosemount windows
A battle over trash, but really about culture
Klingle Road, a hotly contentious issue
Tiger mosquitoes, our summertime plague
A loading zone request turns ugly
Treating violence as a public health problem
The Mount Pleasant business strip has become predominantly Latino, with a multitude of mercados, ristorantes, beauty shops, and other services. A number of "Anglo", African-American, and Asian businesses are mixed in, creating a marvelously exotic mix. As one charmed resident said, who needs to go to Central America, when we have this bit of El Salvador right here? Practice your Spanish!

There are some residents who would prefer a more "civilized" Mount Pleasant Street. ("Mount Unpleasant Street", they call it.) Some residents want our neighborhood to be merely an eastern extension of Cleveland Park, sort of a residential suburb of that high-income Ward Three area.

It's true, some of the men hanging about on the street can be unpleasant, and we will continue to work on solutions to that problem. But let's not make Mount Pleasant Street into a boring imitation of Connecticut Avenue.
Mount Pleasant Street
More about Mount Pleasant

Jack, in 2007
This is Jack, looking not too bad for the far side of 60. Emily and I moved to the District, and Mount Pleasant, in 1974, at a time when it was considered foolhardy to choose to live in Mount Pleasant. Drug dealing was flagrant, and crime rampant. One vivid memory from those days was of a young man's body at the entrance to an alley a block from home, executed in cold blood by his drug-dealing buddies, his blood pooling crimson on the pavement. More recently there was the Latino rioting of 1991, when the whole neighborhood was cordoned off by police. Most frightening was the Mount Pleasant Shotgun Stalker, gunning down residents on the street and in alleys, at random, in 1993.

But not for one moment through all those difficult years did we ever regret choosing this neighborhood for our lifetime home.

DC North, a monthly magazine for "north DC", wrote up this about me; I blush in embarrassment!

While Mount Pleasant is well along the "gentrification" path, the 14th Street corridor of Columbia Heights is just struggling back to life, after decades of neglect following the terrible riots of April, 1968. The stretch between Euclid Street and Spring Road remains grimy, but the future is close at hand, with major new developments under way between Irving Street and Park Road.

This photo shows the 7-11 at the corner of Columbia Road and 14th Street. This is the "old" 14th Street, a charmless spot, troubled by bands of teenagers who consider being disruptive great entertainment. Profound changes are coming, but what will the "new" 14th Street be like?
Corner Columbia and 14th
More about Columbia Heights
The two neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights are coupled by numerous cross streets -- Columbia Road, Harvard, Irving, Park Road, Monroe, and Newton -- connecting the two neighborhoods. Pedestrians cross at those streets, and at Lamont, and Spring Road, as well. We share the same problems of gentrification, escalating property values, displacement of low-income people, troublesome youth gangs, crime, traffic, and divisions of ethnicity, language, race, and class. Mount Pleasant residents now routinely go to Columbia Heights, if only to reach the Metro station. A significant number of Columbia Heights residents send their children to Mount Pleasant's Bancroft Elementary. We all agree, I think, on goals, namely improving our neighborhoods without turning them into enclaves affordable only to the prosperous.

Laura Wright Laura Wright

This page last revised April 5, 2014