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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."

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 17, 2009; 2:03 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , Crime and Public Safety , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  
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Wlll someone tell the Countess Fenty that shutting down any and all venues that happens to feature/allow go-go music on certain nights of the week will not solve the problem of teen or adult volience that sometimes occurs during or blocks away from the event.

The city has a clear pattern of discrimination in its treatment of club owners who try to earn a living by renting out their establishment to a go-go related venue.

First you take their license, then force costly security feature that most cannot afford to provide.

The next thing you know the club is shut down and opens back up as a club for white gay men.

Young and Old voters a like native Washingtonian are watching and cannot wait until elections The Countess and her Bow Tie wear butt boy will be voted out of office.

Posted by: blkisin | September 17, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Blkisin, I won't touch what you said, although you are too, too much. Keep telling the truth! However, your points about the disparate way in which go-go musicians are treated is true.

The other point in the article, that MPD received 115 service calls for that area between January and August, brings another thing to light. Perhaps that was an indication that police should have been patroling the area more effectively -- and All Hands On Deck isn't necessary for that either.

Which developer wants the land where the Masonic Lodge is? And who is crazy enough to make an entire Masonic lodge angry? Wow, every day when it seems things couldn't get any crazier, here we go again.

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 17, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Someone pull your calendar book out, because I actually agree with the Mayor here. Miracles do happen. I have had a family friend killed, though not in the District, it was at a venue JUST like this. A masonic lodge that rents it's venue out for teen parties. This was a graduating senior bound for college whose life and his friends life was cut short at the wrong end of stray bullets. These venues notoriously have poor security and do nearly nothing to manage underage drinking and worse.

There is a place for the lodge withing our community, just not the irresponsible partying that tend to go on in them.

That said, vote Fenty out in 2010.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 18, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Concernedabutdc, you are correct about the need for better security. However, since the mayor is so interested in youth, perhaps he could have directed the police chief to work by enhancing security and having her officers better enhance policing in the area. That would be a better way for him to work to address the needs and ills of the community. But shutting down a Masonic Lodge is not the answer. It's pretty certain that all of the crime does not occur simply because of go-go concerts.

As for the community having an opportunity, when will that happen during this administration?

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 18, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Being an outsider and looking in I have a few questions.

1) Who calls it a "go-go" concert anymore? Is your Mayor still living in the 60's, which seems to be where their ideas are coming from.

2) If they close the hall, is that going to eliminate the crime? I would think the crime will still be there but in different areas?

3) Why not offer a safe alternative for the youth to hang out at?

Posted by: outsider10 | September 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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