Photos of the Day: 901 Monroe Street Signs

ANC 5A07 commissioner Carolyn Steptoe has posted signs protesting the proposed 901 Monroe Street Development for the Colonel Brooks/ Island Jim’s into a mixed-use building including apartments and retail space.



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49 thoughts on “Photos of the Day: 901 Monroe Street Signs

  1. Well that is one embarrassing sign. Not sure that’s even legal to post by way of DC sign restrictions. What a mockery Ms. Steptoe makes of the ANC and everything ANC groups are meant to provide.

  2. I live in 5A07 approximately 600 feet from the proposed development. I support the plan. I want the “character” of the block to change. I’m tired of an overgrown bamboo courtyard for a never open Island Jims, a two foot wide sidewalk, decrepit house, a half block long parking lot with standing water, and an empty-at-night-so-I-don’t-walk-down-it 9th street. Please, please change that character.

  3. I am so tired of Ms. Steptoe spreading FALSE information about this project. This is NOT a 9 story development as she continues to falsely convey. As Josh said, this project is a positive change and will be nothing but good for the neighborhood and the block. Never before have I seen a developer work so hard to listen to a community and create a product that fits in with its surrounding environ. It is time for Ms. Steptoe and the unreasonable minority to stop running the show. Please get out and talk to your neighbors and send support letters to DC Zoning.

  4. Anyone have photos of her signs back in the days of her anti-historic designation days? They were bigger, as I recall, and just as vehement. Someone MUST have some photos. Interesting juxtaposition now that she’s the champion of historic preservation (though as Ms Noelle pointed out, that building dates back to the 70s).

  5. Darn. As annoying (*understatement*) as they may be, it appears the signs are legal:

    12 DCMR ยง 3107A SIGNS

    3107.1 General. The provisions of Section 3107 shall govern the erection, hanging, placing, painting, display, and maintenance of outdoor display signs and other forms of exterior advertising. Except as otherwise specifically provided, Section 3107 shall not apply to signs bearing non-commercial statements of fact, belief, or personal or political opinion posted on private property.

  6. @Jess The anti-historic signs as I remember them were much worse. I think you are correct that they were larger and the verbiage seemed to more divisive. My neighbors referred to them as her “Blood Signs”.

    I am not a fan of theses signs. However there are folks who do not have consistent access to the internet, some elderly for example, and this a way to get the word out to those folks in pre-internet/sneaker-net fashion. So from that perspective it kind of makes some sense.

    There is no bad press, and if nothing else they get your attention. :)

  7. yes, goph. they are legal. called freedom of speech!

    get a life, hobby, girlfriend, boyfriend, ANYTHING!

  8. Oh, Ms. Steptoe has email access. She bombards Ward 5 with messages every day (forgive typos, etc.).

    Ironically, Ms. Steptoe is one of the folks who have expressed concern that redevelopment of 901 Monroe will negatively affect her property value. Funny that it never occurred to her that having a house on your block with giant hand-scrawled signs suggesting the presence of mentally unstable neighbors might be a bigger drain on property values.

  9. Oh dear God, what lunacy! While I’m not next to Col Brooks, I’d love to see the whole metro station area revitalized. It is way under utilized and the extra people would help the struggling merchants on 12th St. Can’t Ms. Steptoe at least clean up her front yard, gutters and roof before the crazy-person signs go up? How can we get her house included in the Col Brooks redevelopment project?!?!

  10. The way to get more support for and usage of mass transit: Put a lot of housing and cool stuff to do right next to it. Fewer cars on the road=Better for the neighborhood, bikers, the environment, and other drivers. This apartment building needs to happen, and it needs to happen in a big way. (And by big, I mean tall.)

  11. I just received the ZC 10-28 Amended Setdown Report – final July 14 2011. Looks good for the PUD, but I have a lot of work to do, so if you want a copy, let me know.

  12. wardocinco said:

    Oh, Ms. Steptoe has email access. She bombards Ward 5 with messages every day (forgive typos, etc.).
    Read the lady’s email. Her concern is not whether Steptoe has email access its whether the elderly and sneaker set have access…whatever the latter means. Smile. One thing I will say about Steptoe is that she holds meetings and and makes herself available for all of you to come in and lodge your concerns. Sitting behind the computer saying all this stuff is, in my opinion, cowardly and tired. Participate or hush. Steptoe also does alot of good research and tends to be right on facts. Not saying I agree with everything she says, but some of you are just lying, ill-informed, or being salacious when you say these things about her. She works hard all the time. Anyway, I’m not impressed by any of what i am reading here. No substance, just mean attacks. Maybe you all are all brilliant, and correct. I’m just not seeing it; only that you all are mean. A few exceptions. I think the signs are fine. Maybe the problem is Steptoe intimidates you by her intelligence, hard work, and willingness to speak outside the cover of her computer screen – -and be held accountable and answerable to her positions. I cant stand weak, whiners…especially racist ones.

  13. I think we should do “We love Steptoe signs” in our yard. She gets attacked way too much, unfairly. And frankly, there is nobody in the Ward who works as hard as she does on behalf of the ward. We should have some appreciation for that.

  14. How the heck does a sign against historic preservations “seem more divisive.” Why dont you all stop talking in code. Who is being divisive, and in whose mind? Be honest. And dont project onto other people your sense of separation. I know if some of you could afford, you’d live in Ward 3. But you dont…okay. You just are not there. Dont blame Steptoe for your frustration. And dont try to impose on this neighborhood your racist predilictions. We actually try to get along her. And even when we disagree, we try to make it on substance.

  15. I am not afraid. I will see Ms. Steptoe at the hearing. Also, I wrote a letter of support to the OP. I have lived here longer than her (judging from the photo I’ve seen, she looks younger than me), and I want this neighborhood to improve before I die.

    Ms. Steptoe is attempting to keep Brookland in the backwater. Her actions are based on the paranoid fears of a few residents.

    And no doubt about it that the signs are ghetto. Not characteristic of a stable neighborhood, much less a stable resident. They are no different from the clutter on the streets caused by the ubiquitous “we pay to tow your car away” signs that I pull down daily in Brookland and beyond in my spare time.

    Racist smacist.

  16. Your being dismissive about the notion that your comments are racist does not make the possibility less so. My guess is that the disdain u feel about discussions of racism are similar to my disdain for racism itself. I was moved to my comments by the degree of irrational stereotypical animus in the comments. So give some thought to why u r so angry. Or don’t. I don’t know how the signs are ghetto. But I’m sure your mind can rationalize that too Not sure why it matters how old u r or how long u or steptoe have lived in brookland. U or she could be wrong or right on the issues without regard to the amount of time you’ve lived here. I attended a meeting w her one time. Her grandparents owned a home in brookland. He father and uncles were born here. And her uncle graduated from catholic in mid teens. Steptoe family is old brookland. Are u from dC? In short, don’t know ur motivation for ur position but I believe step cares about brookland. She has demonstrated that on many levels w/out regard to race, creed or color. Not saying those issues don’t need to be addressed to. They certainly find themselves into many unrelated issues. Her house is nice. And u can see she takes nice care of it. U would have to let me know where and how u live for me to consider ur comments about her in a fuller contest. Glad to hear u plan to participate. Sound like uve had many opportunities to do so. Over a long period of time. As your plans come to fruition…or when u get past the planning stage. Maybe you’ll be able to engage step in some meaningful, open dialog.

  17. Get the record straight folks. Commissioner Steptoe is not against the project. She wants limitations and protections. You can agree or disagree. The developers are being better w communications. But only after Commissioner Steptoe forced them to follow the rules and involve the community.

    • @ doc You are incorrect. Commissioner Steptoe IS against the project. She was against it from the get go along with a minority of other misguided and reactionary souls. The first meeting she held with developers at Guildford was a session where she basically harangued them. No dialogue, no discussion.

      Was she at the last meeting the developers held at Margot Hall? No. Did she surreptitiously and illegally try to get Colonel Brooks’ designated an historic landmark? Yes. This is the true character of Commissioner Steptoe. Where is the leadership? Where is the balance between opposing viewpoints? Commissioner Steptoe is anti-progress and seeks to keep Brookland a provincial, ghetto backwater in DC.

      • I agree with dukeofdc – I was at that meeting at Guilford last winter, and there was no discussion and no dialogue. For nearly 4 hours I sat through that meeting and tried to voice my support for 901 Monroe, only to be repeatedly told by Ms. Steptoe that I’d have my chance to speak “later” because she was only addressing “concerns” at that point. Unfortunately, those in the room that supported 901 Monroe (and there were quite a few) were never given the chance to take the microphone, while the same 5-6 people (or “200 footers” as she calls them) that oppose the project occupied the microphone in turn. It was not a fair process, and I found it very aggravating. Both sides have a right to be heard.

  18. I am not racist, and I am not angry (well, maybe a little upset). And I was born here 54 years ago, at the then new Providence Hospital. My family has been here since the 1920′s, and in DC since the 1840′s. None of that matters with respect to this proposed project. I just want to steer this discussion away from any”newcomer” bullshirt I hear often. This is the best thing proposed here in years, if not my lifetime.

    But, I stand by the comments that those signs are crazy ghetto.

    I do not have any plans. This is not my project. I am, however, glad Mr. Stegman and his group have plans to develop the area and I support it

    My house? I have the best one in Brookland, but I do not have to let you know a damn thing about it. There is no huge crazy signs dangling from it either.

  19. I don’t believe there are two people posting as John. And you can’t have the best house in brookland because the best houses are not occupied by anyone named john. I also don’t believe your stated history in dc or brookland. You are free to offer up confirming information. I’m holding you to your comments and I told u what they reflect to me. You don’t have to tell me where u live and I don’t think steptoes signs are crazy. They are on point and demonstrated in a manner to allow passerby to see. I think that’s the intent. My sense is that steptoe puts a lot of her own time. energy, reputation and money into issues she thinks are important to the community. People like you don’t put anything back in. You are takers. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I have no problem with her being creative and offsetting her costs. People like u call it crazy and I call it grassroots. If u get to hold onto ur money don’t begrudge her for trying to manage hers on public causes. In short, you are tired, mean and jealous. You need to change. Steptoe has done nothing to you or others like you who attack. You need to find a better, or at least, substantive way of disagreeing with her. By the way, excuse the typos. Smile.

    • To 5A07 blogmaster – Tyler Nelson — in spite of the contentious perspective of this discussion, I would suggest you remove the statement where John curses the other poster; should be zero tolerance.

      Commissioner Carolyn C. Steptoe

      • Commissioner Steptoe,
        Thank you for participating in this discussion as I feel its important. First off let me say that I don’t condone, approve, or agree with what John said. I feel he crossed the line. However I can’t just remove a comment because I disagree with the content of it. Much like you have free speech to post signs stating your point of view, John has the exact same rights to do that here. Just because of the language used I cannot in good faith remove his comment. I hope you understand. I may not agree with what he said, but I agree he has the right to say it.

        Additionally I want to give you an open invitation to communicate your perspective on the signs and why you think they are an important communication tool when dealing with neighborhood issues. You are free to post anything you would like in the comments here, or you could email me ( and I can submit a guest post for you. Let me know if you are interested in engaging the Brookland and 5A07 community in this medium.

        Thanks for your comments and concerns.

  20. @John. please refrain from personal attacks on other commenters

    @Bebe There are definitely multiple users posters with the name “John” on this thread. They are posting from different IP addresses and are using different email addresses. Also one of the Johns above is indeed a long time Brookland resident so wether you believe him or not doesn’t change that fact. I do think you are right on the intent of the signs and they are there for passerbys to see and for those who do not have internet access which is more than a lot of us what to believe. I personally don’t think the signs are “crazy”. That being said I’m not a fan of them.

    I would also like to add that I doubt any us would like to live in Ward 3 rather than Brookland. But anyway not really sure what that has to do with anything.

  21. @bebe:

    I do have to correct you that Ms. Steptoe “tends to be right on facts.” Several months ago, Ms. Steptoe circulated a flier to neighborhood residents that the development at 901 Monroe was to be 9 stories. This is pantently FALSE, and to circulate such inflammatory information was irresponsible on her part. Her actions with the historic designation weren’t exactly legal either. That said, I applaud her efforts to get the community involved on this project, however, she needs to realize that as an elected official she has a responsability to represent the voice of her constituents. To date, she has instead chosen to ignore the wishes of most Brooklanders and to convey only her own personal opinion and that of a small minority of residents. We’ve all written letters to the Commission, we’ve all been to the meetings, we’ve all done what we need to do to ensure our voice of support is heard too. Unfortunately, we’ve had to do it on our own because our elected official doesn’t wish to convey that there is support for this project.

  22. I continue to be saddened that some Brookland residents believe that the length of time a person has lived in our neighborhood should dictate whether or not one has a voice in our community. That’s a very problematic, very undemocratic idea. It’s also the same kind of divisive tactic that white racists used to try to keep DC’s neighborhoods segregated half a century ago. Do we really want to build on that sorry legacy?

    The future of Brookland should rest in the hands of those willing to roll up their sleeves and make a contribution to the greater good. Regardless of how long a person has lived here. We all know that there are plenty of newcomers AND oldtimers who volunteer at our schools, tend the gardens at our community plots, keep an eye out for crime, vote, and follow community development issues. Those are the folks who matter in this debate, not any random resident who can trace his/her family history in the neighborhood more than 20 years. Imagine if the United States government gave precedence to the concerns of those of us who can trace our family history to the American Revolution…what a mess we’d be in.

    I respect Ms. Steptoe’s committment to Brookland and appreciate her passion for our community, I just disagree with her tactics. These signs, in particular, do more harm than good for our community. So do closed-door ANC meetings and attempts to give historic designation to properties that don’t warrant it. Nevertheless, I very much want her to continue to be included in the debate. I hope that other, newer voices will be welcomed into that dialogue as well.

  23. When are the next elections? Seems like there needs to be a voice of the community vs voice of the crazed anti-development minority.

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  25. The signs in front of Commissioner Steptoe’s house are blatant eyesores which disrupt the beauty of Lawrence street. Several houses on the block have gone under major and minor renovations and the curb appeal has gone majorly up. However, she insists on keeping on signs which are a major eyesore in front of a house which is poorly maintained. It’s really such a shame.

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  27. While the sign is not sophisticated and not pretty, but so what. Not a big deal in the scope of things. The truth of the matter is that anyone who lives virtually on top of this development does not want this large scale development. Development, yes, but not on this scale. I venture to say any reasonable person with a family who is trying to live a peaceable life will not want this. We are all crucified by the people who live a number of blocks away for feeling this way. Try some compassion, why don’t you? Have you ever been over to 14th Street with that new development? It is positively gridlocked at times. This is what I will face on a daily basis when this is all said and done. I will no longer live in a neighborhood, but on a human thoroughfare.

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  29. Not only is her house poorly maintained, she has an unruly German Shepherd that barks viciously at me while I’m walking my dog.

  30. How many jobs will be created for DC residents during the construction process and after it’s completed!!!

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