Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Crumbling no longer


Photo by r_bowley on Flickr.
Walmart site was "land banked": An influential lobbyist had a financial interest in the city-owned New Jersey Ave site now slated for a Walmart. He helped "land bank" the property for 21 years and collected tax-free rent. (Washington Times)

See National Cathedral's damage: An infographic shows the delicate process of repairing the damage the National Cathedral sustained in the earthquake. (Post)

Metrobus steps up tracking: Metro has installed cameras in every bus and has begun keeping better records of driver behaviors. This and increasingly congested roads have led to an increase in reported incidents from crashes to fender benders. (Examiner)

DC's GU campus posture unfair: A Post editorial slams DC's treatment of Georgetown University over the campus plan, where the Office of Planning recommended requiring enough housing for all students on campus or shrinking the enrollment. (Post)

DC has deadliest week this year: With 9 people killed last week in DC, it was the deadliest week of the year. The total for the year, 96 homicides, is still on pace to end below last year's total of 132. (Homicide Watch)

Middle schools inequitable across the river?: Kwame Brown says middle schools east of the river have too little enrollment and recent modernizations have been kinder to Ward 3 schools. Schools in the region have been working on reforms. (Examiner)

NPS working with pedicabs: NPS officials give vague but promising comments about "moving past Tourmobile" including accommodating pedicabs. Norton says the Mall shouldn't be "all cars." (TheWashCycle)

And...: Multiple agencies are discussing the future of Occupy DC and related groups downtown. (DC Wire) ... The Golden Triangle wants higher-end retailers. (Capital Business) ... Weigh in on the proposed Herndon Parkway cycletrack. (FABB)

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John Muller is an associate librarian, journalist and historian. He has written two books, Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC, Mark Twain in Washington, DC, and also writes at Death and Life of Old Anacostia

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Appropos of GU, doesn't blatant government interference in the administration of a university violate the first amendment? I've always thought the city's trying to dictate where students live oversteps the mark.

by Steve S. on Oct 24, 2011 9:45 am • linkreport

Steve,

Below is the text of the first amendment. Which part do you think is potentially violated?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

by Falls Church on Oct 24, 2011 10:47 am • linkreport

It would have been nice if the WaPo has pointed out that it's not only Georgetown that is getting this treatment from the city. All universities get bullied by the city. A city, by the way, that has an abysmal school system to start with.

Clearly, Washingtonians do not care for education.

I am sure people will protest against that notion, but the facts speak for themselves.

by Jasper on Oct 24, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport

Clearly, Washingtonians do not care for education.

Uh, no.

Look, I'll take the Universities' side on this one, but that kind of rhetoric won't help their cause.

by Alex B. on Oct 24, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

I am troubled by the inconsistencies. I am confused as to how or why the DC Office of Planning has suggested one course of action to the Zoning Commission as it relates to Georgetown and a different one as it concerns American.

by Andrew on Oct 24, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

Steve,

If you want the legal opinion on the subject, you can look at the court ruling from the last go-round, President & Directors of Georgetown Coll. v. District of Columbia Bd. of Zoning Adjustment, 837 A.2d 58 (D.C.2003)

In short, "In that case, we (the court) vacated the BZA's order and remanded the case for further proceedings after concluding that a condition imposed by the Board that froze the University's full-time student enrollment was not supported by substantial evidence and that certain conditions, to which the University did not consent, were arbitrary and capricious."

Basically, it's a due process claim, not a first amendment one.

by Dizzy on Oct 24, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

The DC Government's dictate that Georgetown students live on campus does NOT violate the first amendment.

It may, however, violate the District's own Human Rights Act, which includes housing as one of the rights that shall not be abridged due to matriculation.

The District MAY reject a University request to build a dorm for reasons of zoning or planning or whatever. However, if a student wants to live off-campus, the DC government cannot stop him or her, without being in contravention of its own law.

by Mike S. on Oct 24, 2011 11:10 am • linkreport

On the New Jersey Ave deal:
Guess we've got another face for the 1% of DC.
Ugh. These sorts of corruption and 'old boy' deals are what make me grind my teeth at night.

by Margaret on Oct 24, 2011 11:10 am • linkreport

@Jasper, Clearly, Washingtonians do not care for education.

I do not think there is one shred of information out there supporting your notion that DC doesn't care about education.

by HogWash on Oct 24, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

JASPER: Washington DC area residents care a great deal...a very great deal about education. What we likely don't care for are silly secondary issues that are unrelated to actual 'education' that get discussed online here.

by Pelham1861 on Oct 24, 2011 11:51 am • linkreport

@ Hogwash:I do not think there is one shred of information out there supporting your notion that DC doesn't care about education.

DC has the second worst public school system in the nation and bullies its private universities consistently. It does a terrible job in the school system it runs itself and frustrates the schools that run themselves.

What other facts do you need?

It's not like this region for some reason can't do education well. Surrounding counties have the best school systems in the nation, the largest state universities of two states, and many other well performing systems.

Not so in DC. That can only be a result of the behavior of Washingtonians. Who must not care. Otherwise they'd not bully universities and have a good public school system.

by Jasper on Oct 24, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

@Jasper,

You can't simply compare DC schools and surrounding school districts as if everything except for their performace in equal.

Comparing wealthy suburbs to the overwhelmingly poor inner city population that makes up the DCPS base, who also consider education a "four letter word" is pointless.

If you simply replaced the student body of say...Ballou highschool with bused in kids from McLean VA, Ballou highschool would exhibit the same high performing stats that any FFX Co school had.

DC school performance is mostly a demographics thing, which is why the same school district can simultaneously have award winning competitive highschools in NW, and highschools with a 30% graduation rate in SE

The whole thing with making DCPS teachers the highest paid teachers in the nation was kinda pointess, but it makes taxpayers feel good. You could make every teacher in Ballou a Nobel prize winning, multi-PhD educational expert who makes a million dollars a year, and it wouldn't do anything for the schools educational stats.

by freely on Oct 24, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

@Jasper, using that sort of logic, why not just take the rationale further?

I just think your extrapolation a bit too "loaded." It's like saying that Fenty didn't care about EOTR area residents since there are far fewer bike lanes and dog parks than those WOTR. In this case, both are also true.

Loaded and illogical.

by HogWash on Oct 24, 2011 12:20 pm • linkreport

Im pretty sure DC isnt talking about banning students from living off campus. Just sanctioning GW if they dont provide dorm rooms for all students. Its perfectly possible that even if GW did so, some students would choose to live off campus anyway.

As for the bullying, this is obviously driven by housing and planning concerns. There are LOTS of college towns with town vs gown issues. It may not be the right thing to do(wouldnt it be lovely if folks on GGW, who know so much about RE, housing and zoning, could actually discuss the housing and RE issues involved?) but connecting it to the problems of the DC schools seems like a stretch to me.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 24, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

@Freely, I sorta agree with you but one of the things many Rhee supporters bought into was the notion that DCPS schools EOTR were merely victims of underperforming, lazy, unionized teachers. They summarily dimissed concerns about poverty/family background. Just like now, then there was ample evidence suggesting that EOTR teachers were "newer" teachers while those WOTR were more veteran. I think it's important to mention that rather significant distinction.

I wonder are there numbers showing how new teachers EOTR (esp. TFA) fared with those WOTR. Better, marginal, worse?

by HogWash on Oct 24, 2011 12:29 pm • linkreport

I half agree with freely that demographics matter a great deal. But so do teachers.

by David C on Oct 24, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

@ Hogwash:It's like saying that Fenty didn't care about EOTR area residents since there are far fewer bike lanes and dog parks than those WOTR.

Statistics from EOTR CaBi stations show that bikes are not used. Unless Fenty is standing there preventing people from biking, that shows he took smart decisions to bring biking to people who cared first.

BTW, dragging Fenty in is silly. I am talking about all Washingtonians. Not individual politicians.

It's not the mayor who is bullying the universities. They're just weakly condoning it. It is well-off rich university neighbors who are harassing the universities. One could make the loaded statement that it is those people who also don't care about DCPS because their children go to private schools anyway. But that might be a bit too strong.

All I am looking at is the abysmal performance of DCPS and the bullying of universities. These are not normal town-gown tensions.

by Jasper on Oct 24, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper; I am failure sure I saw Fenty beat up an old women who was trying to use a bikestation EOTR. Well, it sure looked like Fenty.

by charlie on Oct 24, 2011 1:13 pm • linkreport

@Jasper, Fenty was only used as a good example of how policy decisions can be mischaracterized. In that case, while he was credited for bringing Cabi to WOTR n'hoods, he was also criticized for "not caring" about those EOTR. That's the revelant comparison. Having a piss poor school system does not mean that Washington does not care about education.

Also, I wouldn't go so far and suggest that people EOTR simply don't "care" about biking. Like the DCPS debate, there is a host of other factors to consider.

by HogWash on Oct 24, 2011 1:13 pm • linkreport

"the bullying of universities. These are not normal town-gown tensions."

Other than the issue of GU not having enough dorms, and thus students living off campus, what other "university bullying" issues are there? How are debates about off campus housing not a normal town gown issue?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 24, 2011 1:36 pm • linkreport

the overwhelmingly poor inner city population that makes up the DCPS base, who also consider education a "four letter word" is pointless.

While I'm mostly in disagreement with Jasper on this issue, I do agree with Freely's above statement which corroborates what Jasper said about DC residents (at least many of them) not caring about education.

I think the reason for DCPS's abysmal performance has more to do with bad management/teachers than demographics. There are plenty of cities with demographics similar to DC's but DCPS seems worse than many of those cities. Boston's median household income is $52K and DC's is $59K yet I would guess that DCPS is worse than Boston's school system.

by Falls Church on Oct 24, 2011 1:46 pm • linkreport

"Other than the issue of GU not having enough dorms, and thus students living off campus, what other "university bullying" issues are there? How are debates about off campus housing not a normal town gown issue?"

GU does have enough dorms to house all of the students who want to live on campus - its on campus housing rate is about 80%. It is entirely normal for a minority of students to choose to live off campus. Whether the neighbors like it or not, the DC Human Rights Act protects their right to do so.

by Phil on Oct 24, 2011 1:53 pm • linkreport

LOL. A few months ago, I suggested here that Georgetown could free up some room on its campus by moving its business and other graduate programs to the stretch of vacant land between the Law School and Gonzaga. Now I know who owns that land!

I still think it's a good idea -- much better than a Wal-Mart. The city would (continue to) lose out on tax revenue, but putting a major GU campus there, frequented by education-minded professionals, would increase the value of all the land around it.

As an aside, the land is currently used as dedicated parking for Federal GPO employees. Wouldn't that use be tax-free anyway?

by Novanglus on Oct 24, 2011 2:00 pm • linkreport

"GU does have enough dorms to house all of the students who want to live on campus "

My understanding is that DC wants them to build enough dorms to house all students, period. What would happen if those dorms did not fill, I do not know (perhaps GU would lower housing fees to the point where those dorms would seem more attractive? Or perhaps the U would make on campuse living mandatory, which is legal, Im sure) Anyway, whether thats wise or not, its NOT a govt ban on renting to students.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 24, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

@Novanglus

The Wal-Mart on NJ Ave will be part of a large mixed-use development, with lots of housing and office space being put on top of it. I'm sure that the developers are eying GU as a potential tenant.

by andrew on Oct 24, 2011 2:42 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity:what other "university bullying" issues are there?

Just look back in the GGW archive under virtually every post regarding universities. GW has issues. AU has issues. All ANCs with universities are trying to gerrymander students out of their representation.

@ Falls Church:I think the reason for DCPS's abysmal performance has more to do with bad management/teachers than demographics.

And what happened when DC got a mayor and school councilor that shook things up? Were they appreciated? Nup, they got voted out of office. For that specific reason. Conclusion: DC does not care about education. DC is unwilling to support anything that improves education, whether in DCPS or in private universities.

And while Fenty and Rhee may have acted somewhat bluntly, the reaction of the voters was exactly in line with what they've done for decades. Oppose significant chance to a failing school system and oppose universities.

It is a rough conclusion, but the facts speak for themselves. Voters can't even blame an inconsistent political landscape for the mess, because DC has a one-party political system.

Saying you care, but voting you don't is not caring.

by Jasper on Oct 24, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

"Boston's median household income is $52K and DC's is $59K yet I would guess that DCPS is worse than Boston's school system."

I can't speak for Boston's school system, but I would venture a guess that the schools in the more affluent sections of each city outperform those in poorer neighborhoods. Using median income as a benchmark when comparing city-wide institutions is more than a bit misleading: the AMI EOTR in DC is many times less what it is WOTR, and most of the affluent residents WOTR take their children out of the public school system and place them into private schools.

I'm certain the same trends occur in Boston, but the income distribution in Boston isn't as segregated as it is in DC.

by Ben on Oct 24, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

My understanding is that DC wants them to build enough dorms to house all students, period. What would happen if those dorms did not fill, I do not know (perhaps GU would lower housing fees to the point where those dorms would seem more attractive? Or perhaps the U would make on campuse living mandatory, which is legal, Im sure) Anyway, whether thats wise or not, its NOT a govt ban on renting to students.

The point isn't whether the University could legally do these things - it could. The point is that it does not believe doing so to be in either its best interests or in the best interests of its students. A segment of wealthy and politically-connected neighbors are attempting to coerce the University into doing this. THAT is not a usual occurrence in town-gown relations, primarily because most jurisdictions do not have ANCs or a City Council with state government powers or a state of affairs in which City Councilmembers are dictating policy within their wards to executive agencies.

by Dizzy on Oct 24, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

Just look back in the GGW archive under virtually every post regarding universities. GW has issues. AU has issues. All ANCs with universities are trying to gerrymander students out of their representation.

Whenever this comes up, I need to point out that ANC5B and ANC6C both love Gallaudet, and treat its students as members of the community. Although I suppose there are a number of fairly unique circumstances here, it's worth noting that there is an exception to the miserable town-gown relationships elsewhere in the city.

Good news rarely makes the papers, but Gallaudet have been great partners for the development of our neighborhood, and the new H St businesses have welcomed their students with open arms. Most H St bartenders have learned how to take simple drink orders in ASL, and Gallaudet's presence at the H St Festival was very large this year.

We'd also do well to mimic Michael Bloomberg's example, and lure "satellite" campuses from well-regarded universities around the world to our city. We've got a few, but there are far more out in Arl/Alx.

(And, please oh, please can we get an accredited graduate school with in-state tuition rates in the district? If there's one thing that's going to drive me away from DC, that's going to be it. I love DC, but goshdarnit, we need to stop acting like a 3rd-world country.)

by andrew on Oct 24, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

"The point isn't whether the University could legally do these things - it could. The point is that it does not believe doing so to be in either its best interests or in the best interests of its students. A segment of wealthy and politically-connected neighbors are attempting to coerce the University into doing this. "

I didnt say it was wise or just. I just question whether its A evidence of hostility to education or B. A violation of the human rights law

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 24, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

I didnt say it was wise or just. I just question whether its A evidence of hostility to education or B. A violation of the human rights law

On A: I rather doubt you'll get anybody to admit that they're 'hostile to education;' that would be like 'hating freedom' or being 'hostile to opportunity.' But what the actions suggest is, if not a hostility, then at least a relatively low value placed on the actual business of education - not education in the abstract, but the real thing with all of its attendant externalities. Certainly lower than the value placed on maintaining the surrounding areas as low density, uniformly high-income and single-family residential areas, with a couple of commercial corridors mixed in.

On B: There is, rightly, a pretty high standard that the state must meet in order to be able to compel action. Not conditional stipulations (if you want to do X, you must do Y) but actual coercion (you must do X, or else we will alter the existing, previously accepted status quo through punitive measure Y). The state must have a valid and compelling reason for such compellence. Limiting how many members of a protected class live in a particular area cannot be a compelling reason. The District could not argue for a proposition based on the rationale that it would reduce an area's student population any more than it could argue for a proposition based on a desire to reduce an area's black or Hindu or disabled population. All would be in violation of the DC Human Rights Act.

by Dizzy on Oct 24, 2011 10:47 pm • linkreport

I'll note that after a day of denial, *nobody* has come up with any proof that DC actually does care about education. All I've heard is denial and anger, which are the first two steps of acceptance. Dizzy +1 for being eloquent.

But let me rephrase. DC's "care" for education is comparable with "supporting our troops" by sticking a magnet on the back of your car and thinking that actually helps troops, or wearing a flag pin to show your support for America. All you've done is support the (foreign) producer of the magnet and pin.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 9:39 am • linkreport

@Jasper,

No one responded because your initial comment seemed to be made in a fit of pique, and no evidence for the claim was given. While you're right that FCPS and MCPS do much, much better at educating kids, they've achieved this by taking advantage of a de facto and de jure segregation based in America's racist housing policies of the past, and the legacy thereof.

If DC wants to get serious about "education", they should just replicate the successes of the suburbs: institute an "enrollment tax" of, say, $5000 per year per student. Anyone child who can come up with the scratch gets to attend DCPS. Problem solved.

As multiple people pointed out upthread, DCPS is a troubled school system because its population is overwhelmingly poor, and its incredibly easy for anyone with the tiniest motivation and means to go elsewhere. You might just as well compare Barry Farms and a cul-de-sac in McLean and offer it as an example of how DC doesn't care about housing as much as Virginia does.

It's a century of racist and anti-poor policies, and they're still coasting on the momentum.

by oboe on Oct 25, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

@ oboe:It's a century of racist and anti-poor policies

A century of racist and anti-poor policies is the reason that Washingtonians in rich white neighborhoods oppose universities full of rich white children?

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 10:16 am • linkreport

@Jasper,

Sorry, you claimed that "DC is anti-education". If what you meant to say was that "Georgetown residents are anti-kegger", that's different.

These are the same town-and-gown issues that recur in every university town in America.

by oboe on Oct 25, 2011 10:36 am • linkreport

@Oboe, tell the truth and shame the devil!

@Jasper, I'll answer.

It's wholly inaccurate to say that those who voted Fenty/Rhee "out" of DC don't care about education. While we may have different ideas on what sort of approach is needed, it stands to reason that no one (class, race, gender, ideology) votes "for" a politician who makes them feel excluded or marginalized. Your attacks on nonFenty voters is the greatest example of that...which also happens to be the same message proRhee/Fenty supporters delivered and resulted in a rather significant loss.

The same tired message is especially ridiculous and offensive since many of us were responsible for Fenty winning in every single Ward back in 06. This is the same Fenty who campaigned before us with the message that "education" would make or break him. Well, unfortunately he did and I fervently believe that had he managed Michelle Rhee to even the most minimal degrees, things would be much different now.

But let's stop blaming voters (and our noncommittment to education) for an environment created by a man who had nothing but the wind at his back and miserably floundered the opportunity before him.

How someone "votes" determines very little about their overall committments. Its akin to suggesting that you can't really care about the country and vote republican. Education was "an" issue for many voters but it wasn't "the" issue for everyone. It most certainly was not the case for me. Unfortunately, education became a wedge issue and IMO, largely perpetuated by Fenty/Rhee supporters who disabused themselves with the notion of logic.

by HogWash on Oct 25, 2011 11:56 am • linkreport

@ HogWash:It's wholly inaccurate to say that those who voted Fenty/Rhee "out" of DC don't care about education.

Ok, is the new guy doing better?

I should not have mentioned Fenty and Rhee. They are irrelevant in the decades of educational neglect in DC. It's not an issue of the last few years. DCPS has been a mess for decades. ANC opposition against universities has existed as long as the ANCs.

@ oboe:These are the same town-and-gown issues that recur in every university town in America.

No they are not, as has been discussed above by others. I don't need to repeat that.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 1:09 pm • linkreport

@ HogWash:Education was "an" issue for many voters but it wasn't "the" issue for everyone.

True. But anybody should care about an issue that takes up a quarter of the city's budget. I will acknowledge that that is a much smaller share of the budget than counties like Fairfax and MoCo spend on education. And therefore, it might be perceived as less important.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 1:15 pm • linkreport

@Jasper, Ok, is the new guy doing better?

Don't you mean new "gal?" :) I have no evidence to suggest that Gray is any less involved in what his chancellor is doing. I think how he manages her is the real test. As I said, Fenty was a poor manager which ultimately affected how Rhee did her job..whether good or bad. (I think she was empire building)

Fenty and Rhee are actually very relevant to any future debate about DCPS. We have to be able to evaluate what worked and what didn't. But I agree, DCPS like many urban (and not so) systems around the country, has had a very very bad track record.

But anybody should care about an issue that takes up a quarter of the city's budget.

Yes, we "should" care but when it comes to our vote, each person makes his/her own individual choices that will either be in/out of sync with someone else's priorities. Personally, I don't have nor plan on having any kids in DCPS but I am concerned about education - just not an advocate to any real extent.

by HogWash on Oct 25, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

"These are the same town-and-gown issues that recur in every university town in America."

So, the onesided post-op ed continues... What are the "issues" that residents have?

Trash. Yep, happens in every town-gown city
Noise. Yep, happens in every town-gown city
Off campus students destroy "neghborhood feel".. Yep, happens in every town-gown city

"Georgetown was here first"... oh posteditors... seriously??! GU may have been there 200 years ago, but the university and the surrounding neighborhoods have grown together. If the univ wasn't there, it wouldn't be missed by the neighbors,and if the neighbors weren't here, they wouldn't be missed by the students/school. nighborhoods have grown.

Growing pains are growing pains, and towngown relations are bad in many places. Look at how the Takoma Park/SS campus of MontCollege is hated by the surrounding residents of Takoma... for many of the same reasons (students smoking/littering off campus, the school buying up the old historic houses, traffic issues, destruction of this section of Takoma Park (one of it's historic areas.) So, is Montgomery county anti-education? Is College Park anti-education for wanting to keep UMD students from rioting every time they blow a maryland minute to duke?

by greent on Oct 25, 2011 2:16 pm • linkreport

The issues between GU and the community are exactly the same ones that affect other colleges around the country.

The difference in DC is the hyperlocal ANC system that lets a small group of residents harass and extort the university endlessly. Are there any other universities of GU's size located in cities that have 100% guaranteed housing for students? I really doubt it unless they are in New York City.

As for the "GU was there first" argument being invalid, it's definitely valid. You wouldn't move into a house next to the University of ANYTHING and expect it not to have college student problems. The same applies to GU.

by MLD on Oct 25, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

No, GU being first is not valid. It would be valid if GU is the same size now as it was then, and if nothing had devloped around GU during the last 200 years. That is not the case.

If GU didn't want these town-gown issues, they should have bought all of Burleith and Foxhall back before they developed into neighborhoods. GU did not. So GU should know they cannot grow in a completely dense RICH area of the existing neighborhoods without having neighbor problems.

The ANC is doing it's job: representing the residents. GU is doing it's job: attempting to maintain a good university.

But just because the battle of Georgetown rages on does not mean DC is anti-education.

by greent on Oct 25, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

@ HogWash:Yes, we "should" care but when it comes to our vote, each person makes his/her own individual choices that will either be in/out of sync with someone else's priorities.

Fine. I'll take that as you not caring. Which is a fine position. But just admit it.

Don't you mean new "gal?"

Well, the person you voted for was a guy. He picked the gal.

@ greent: Trash. Yep, happens in every town-gown city
Noise. Yep, happens in every town-gown city
Off campus students destroy "neghborhood feel".. Yep, happens in every town-gown city

Oh if only those were the real problems. Come back with examples of neighborhoods protesting university paid for bus systems (GU), neighborhoods demanding retail on the ground floor level of new buildings (GW), and neighborhoods complaining about the shadow of proposed new buildings (AU). And neighborhoods that openly try to gerrymander in such a way that the student vote gets diluted as much as possible, while this is against the law.

If the univ wasn't there, it wouldn't be missed by the neighbors,and if the neighbors weren't here, they wouldn't be missed by the students/school.

Not true both ways. Georgetown's prestige comes partially from the University. And without the neighborhood, Georgetown students could not live in a large city near nice nightlife. That is the tragic thing. Especially in the case of Georgetown, but also in the case of GW/Foggy Bottom, the neighborhood and university's histories are very intertwined.

Is College Park anti-education for wanting to keep UMD students from rioting every time they blow a maryland minute to duke?

No. But luckily there is another level of politics that can point out that PG County should be happy it has one of the two top universities in the state within its boundaries and that there are plenty other counties that would like a piece of that pie.

Also, when is the last time that Georgetown, GW or AU students rioted their neighborhoods because their sports team meant anything? Georgetown's best Hoyas team doesn't even play in Georgetown; it plays in the Verizon Center.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

@ greent:The ANC is doing it's job: representing the residents.

No it's not. It is purposely excluding its student residents.

But just because the battle of Georgetown rages on does not mean DC is anti-education.

That's not what I said. I bundled the issues at Georgetown, with those at other universities, notably GW and AU as well as the abysmal DCPS.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 4:26 pm • linkreport

I think the reason for DCPS's abysmal performance has more to do with bad management/teachers than demographics. There are plenty of cities with demographics similar to DC's but DCPS seems worse than many of those cities. Boston's median household income is $52K and DC's is $59K yet I would guess that DCPS is worse than Boston's school system.

You're free to think that, but you should at least give us an argument. Boston may have a similar median household income, but the demographics are quite different. A quarter of Boston's children are under the poverty line. A third of DC's children are. BPS operates in the context of a large and wealthy state, with the Massachusetts state school system behind it. DC is pretty much on its own. The rate of child homelessness is significantly higher in DC than in Boston. Which implies that the child poverty in DC is worse than that in Boston, in addition to being more prevalent. Of course, the problem of homelessness in Boston is Massachusetts' homeless problem; and the problem of the homeless in the DC/MD/VA metro area is, well, DC's problem.

I know those in the suburbs like to pretend that drawing a circle on a map and telling the poorest of the region's poor "this is where you're going to live" absolves them of any moral culpability when things go to Hell. But we're not obligated to join them in that pretty self-delusion.

by oboe on Oct 25, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

Not true both ways. Georgetown's prestige comes partially from the University.

Well, Georgetown is of course perfectly free to move to Dumfries. My guess is that the location serves Georgetown considerably more than the reverse.

by oboe on Oct 25, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

"On A: I rather doubt you'll get anybody to admit that they're 'hostile to education;' that would be like 'hating freedom' or being 'hostile to opportunity.' But what the actions suggest is, if not a hostility, then at least a relatively low value placed on the actual business of education - not education in the abstract, but the real thing with all of its attendant externalities. Certainly lower than the value placed on maintaining the surrounding areas as low density, uniformly high-income and single-family residential areas, with a couple of commercial corridors mixed in."

Try building a university with the density of Georgetown U in,say, Vienna Virginia, where they got all Nimbyish about a TOD project a few years ago. Look at NYC vs Columbia real estate battles, look at Cambridge vs Harvard. People uniformly are Nimbyish about big universities - that doesnt mean they are antieducation any more than folks who dont like a new office tower are anti jobs, or who dont want a power line are anti electricity. they just want it in someone ELSEs back yard.

"Limiting how many members of a protected class live in a particular area cannot be a compelling reason. The District could not argue for a proposition based on the rationale that it would reduce an area's student population any more than it could argue for a proposition based on a desire to reduce an area's black or Hindu or disabled population. All would be in violation of the DC Human Rights Act."

I am confused. How would GU building dorms REDUCE the number of students in that area? Seems to me it would leave the number of students the same (if they built the dorms in that area) but mean less rentals of group houses. It seems the motivation is a dislike of the number of group houses, not an issue with the number of students living in the area.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 25, 2011 4:55 pm • linkreport

@greent

No, GU being first is not valid. It would be valid if GU is the same size now as it was then, and if nothing had devloped around GU during the last 200 years. That is not the case.

I'm sorry, I don't understand the logic behind this. The claim being put forward by the neighbors is that the University is "ruining the neighborhood." The counterclaim is that the University predates the neighborhood and is one of the primary causes of its existence. If one moves to a home with the expectation of a certain reality and then that reality is radically altered, they may be rightly upset at the changes being inflicted upon them. But because the University was there first, no one moved to Georgetown without an understanding of the school's existence and its accompanying externalities.

Some complaints about those externalities are valid, but the arguments being put forward by the extremists are akin to moving into a townhouse surrounded by skyscrapers and then complaining about the accompanying foot traffic and lack of sunlight.

If GU didn't want these town-gown issues, they should have bought all of Burleith and Foxhall back before they developed into neighborhoods. GU did not.

What happened to the goal of mixed land use? Why should it be the case that the only way to reduce tensions between a university and its neighbors is for the university to annihilate the neighbors? Are we assuming that neighborhood residents will always and in every possible condition of things be opposed to having a university in their midst? If so, why are these properties so desirable?

What other kind of institution could one possibly apply this sort of logic to? "If the Salvation Army didn't want these charity/neighbor issues, they should have bought all of Foggy Bottom and West End before they developed into neighborhoods." "If Wilson High School didn't want these school/neighbor issues, they should have bought all of Tenleytown before it developed into a neighborhood." Does that make any sense?

So GU should know they cannot grow in a completely dense RICH area of the existing neighborhoods without having neighbor problems.

In this instance, the extremists aren't merely opposed to University growth - they are actively working to shrink the University's enrollment as a punitive measure if it does not remove students (undergraduates, graduates, and med students are frequently conflated, depending on when it serves the arguer's purposes) from the surrounding neighborhood.

Also, on what planet are Georgetown, Burleith, Foxhall, and Glover Park considered "completely dense." Moreover, the fact that they are "RICH" neighborhoods should have no bearing on the legal and ethical issues involved. That it does is testament to the naked self-interest of the small group that is spurring and bankrolling this intractable opposition.

The ANC is doing it's job: representing the residents. GU is doing it's job: attempting to maintain a good university.

Your characterization assumes several things.

First, it implies that students are not residents and their interests are not to be represented by the ANC. In reality, on-campus student residents comprise 31% of ANC2E, according to Topher Matthews. When one adds in students living off-campus, including both undergrads and graduates, that percentage likely exceeds 40%. Why are the interests of 40% of residents dismissed or ignored?

Second, it implies that strident, caustic, and completely inflexible opposition to just about any university proposal constitutes "representing the residents." I do not agree, and neither do many residents. The formal comments regarding the Campus Plan sent to the Zoning Commission, available on their website, include many testimonials from residents in support of the University's plans.

Third, there is an underlying assumption that the goals of a "good university" and that of "residents" are inevitably opposed. I do not believe in so Manichean a view of the relationship between the two. I grew up less than a mile as the crow flies from the 1,225-acre campus of one university (11,000+ enrollment), with the 450-acre campus of another college located 2 miles away in the other direction. I did not witness even a hundredth of the acrimony from residents toward those schools growing up that I've observed and experienced here in DC.

by Dizzy on Oct 25, 2011 4:59 pm • linkreport

"the neighborhood and university's histories are very intertwined."

YES! University growth requires the neighborhood to shrink - so they may be intertwined, but the larger the uni gets, the smaller the neighborhood gets. GWU's complete takeover of Foggy Bottom is a vivid example of how university growth will effectively kill the residential neighborhood. But, that is what happens. And I am not really upset by it - it is what happens in cities.

The ANC is there to represent residents. That is the job of the ANC. They are doing this as best they see fit. Don't like it? Move to Georgetown and get elected. Or, help them sue! Gerrymandering happens everywhere in the USA. It sucks, and it happens, and it's usually racial, religious or political party based. The only thing special about this jackmandering is that it is against college students. Let the GU students sue for their rights like everyone else has had to. Sucks it is this way, but a good life lesson for the future leaders to learn.

As to your "protesting a busline"... what?!? GU created a busline so their students can live off campus and get to school, or so people could spend money at their hospital/campus or because they couldn't create more parking. They did not create a busline simply for the goodwill of creating a busline.

Georgetown was a port city long before the catholics bought land. GU is a nice university, but Georgetown existed before it began there. A combination of RICH neighbors, the secluded access/gorgeous land, the lovely architecture and the University is why it is prestigeous TODAY. As you said: they are intertwined.

Trash is an issue, noise and property destruction are issues. That you choose to ignore them and only focus on the poor poor universities is funny - the issues the non-student residents have are not real, eh?

Yes, you attempt to bundle PRIVATE colleges with public schools, and then say DC doesn't care about education. Did you forget about all the private schools in DC? Do the folks at Sidwell not care about education?

Here's the thing: You are trying to bundle how residents think concerning education as a constantly expanding business including the actions of its adult customers with how residents think about education as a transfer of knowledge for their children. And I find that to be a pathetic comparison and a complete insult to DC residents.

by greent on Oct 25, 2011 5:25 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

Try building a university with the density of Georgetown U in,say, Vienna Virginia, where they got all Nimbyish about a TOD project a few years ago.

An inappropriate comparison - the University has already existed for over 200 years, it is not trying to build a dense new development in the middle of a previously unoccupied or low-impact usage area. Moreover, the primary objections to dense development that crop up in places like Vienna are that it will generate more traffic (see any tmtfairfax post for example), because opponents do not believe the people accompanying the new development will actually make use of transit enough to not have the development create a major impact on traffic. By contrast, GU has the most extensive transit promotion program of any entity in DC and no one can credibly claim that any provisions of the Campus Plan would worsen traffic conditions.

Look at NYC vs Columbia real estate battles, look at Cambridge vs Harvard. People uniformly are Nimbyish about big universities

It is not accidental that the two instances you cited both involve extremely wealthy neighborhoods. I cited above my own experiences growing up next to a big (NB: Georgetown is not a big university. UMCP or UVA or Virginia Tech are big, assuming you have other adjectives to use for much bigger schools like Cincinnati or UCF or Ohio State), university, which was very different indeed. That the very wealthy feel more entitled to get their way and have the ability to influence politicians to ensure they get their way is not surprising, but it is not an inherent attribute of all town-gown relations.

I didn't say DC was anti-education, so you'll have to talk to Jasper about that. I do think it's clear that it is given a lower priority than other interests; similarly, those opposed to new offices or power lines would indeed be demonstrating that they prioritize other things over job creation or optimized energy delivery (depending, of course, on the merits of the actual office/power line proposals).

I am confused. How would GU building dorms REDUCE the number of students in that area? Seems to me it would leave the number of students the same (if they built the dorms in that area) but mean less rentals of group houses. It seems the motivation is a dislike of the number of group houses, not an issue with the number of students living in the area.

It reduces the number of students that the extremists have to look at and interact with. The leaders of the opposition consider the campus (as they define it, rather than as city zoning defines it, I should add) to be a separate thing from the neighborhood. Their opposition is to students venturing beyond the front gates and stone walls of campus. Since the extremists rarely if ever venture onto the campus, they don't so much care what goes on within - they just don't want to see students near their homes.

by Dizzy on Oct 25, 2011 5:27 pm • linkreport

Dizzy: Georgetown was found in 1751. The univesity was founded in 1789. So, no, GU was not there first.

Secondly has GU not grown in size (land/buildings) in 200 years? Then GU has not been there in it's current form for 200 years anymore than the surrounding neighborhoods have.

I hope this crap gets worked out in the best interests of everyone.

But I will not let how a college and it's ANC deal with each other be some litmus for how DC feels about education.

by greent on Oct 25, 2011 5:38 pm • linkreport

@greent

Georgetown was found in 1751. The univesity was founded in 1789. So, no, GU was not there first.

Look at some maps from that time period. The residential areas that we're talking about today - West Georgetown, Burleith, Foxhall - did not exist in 1789. George Town, MD was almost entirely along the river.

Secondly has GU not grown in size (land/buildings) in 200 years? Then GU has not been there in it's current form for 200 years anymore than the surrounding neighborhoods have.

GU has shrunk considerably in size over the years in terms of land. The Jesuits used to own, among other things, the modern location of Georgetown Visitation; the Cloisters; and the areas north of campus where the French Embassy is located now.

That it has changed over the years is neither here nor there: nothing stays in its current form for more than a negligible amount of time. The point is that everyone who lives in Georgetown moved there willingly and all were aware of the University and its attendant externalities.

I hope this crap gets worked out in the best interests of everyone.

You and me both.

But I will not let how a college and it's ANC deal with each other be some litmus for how DC feels about education.

Neither would I. The criminal neglect and mismanagement of UDC, on the other hand, reveal quite a bit about the priorities of DC elites in my opinion.

by Dizzy on Oct 25, 2011 8:14 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity :People uniformly are Nimbyish about big universities - that doesnt mean they are antieducation any more than folks who dont like a new office tower are anti jobs, or who dont want a power line are anti electricity. they just want it in someone ELSEs back yard.

Yes, it means they are against that educational institution.
Yes, it means they are against those jobs.
Yes, it means they are against those power lines.

All these people are short-sighted and think they can have the convenience of living in a city without dealing with the infrastructural needs of a city.

You want no educational institutions in your back-yard? You want no office park in your back-yard? You want no power-lines in your back-yard? I know some awesome lots for you in central Wyoming. Good luck home-schooling your kids to the 1%, good luck keeping yourself alive without a job and good luck with that woods stove without electricity.

This is America. You are free to live where you want, with whatever amenities you want. It is what makes this country great. But you can't want the amenities of a big city without living next to them.

@ ?:If GU didn't want these town-gown issues, they should have bought all of Burleith and Foxhall back before they developed into neighborhoods. GU did not.

They tried. So did GW. They were stopped. By the ANCs.

@ ?:So GU should know they cannot grow in a completely dense RICH area of the existing neighborhoods without having neighbor problems.

They did not start of in a completely dense rich area. They started on the banks of the Potomac in Maryland. Check the Georgetown logo and read your best Latin.

@ greent:GWU's complete takeover of Foggy Bottom is a vivid example of how university growth will effectively kill the residential neighborhood.

GW did not take over Foggy Bottom in its entirety. Go there and you'll see. At least, if you have eyes. Otherwise, I would not know how you'd miss the two blocks covered by the State Dept. The three blocks covered by the World Bank and the IMF. The block covered by the Red Cross. Several blocks covered by the Old Naval Observatory. The FED. The Watergate hotel. The Kennedy Center. Dunno. Just mentioning some other small inhabitants of Foggy Bottom.

They did not create a busline simply for the goodwill of creating a busline.

You're entering the Twilight Zone here.

Georgetown was a port city long before the catholics bought land. GU is a nice university, but Georgetown existed before it began there. A combination of RICH neighbors, the secluded access/gorgeous land, the lovely architecture and the University is why it is prestigeous TODAY. As you said: they are intertwined.

Go read up on Georgetown history. It was the Waterfront that was the attractive property at the time. Uphill was the less desirable part of (George)town. That's why the Tudor's could buy their massive property there.

You are trying to bundle how residents think concerning education as a constantly expanding business including the actions of its adult customers with how residents think about education as a transfer of knowledge for their children.

Very correct.

And I find that to be a pathetic comparison and a complete insult to DC residents.

I find the treatment the universities get from the ANCs an insult to the universities. And I feel very bad for the kids that are in the DCPS. Some surely will come out doing well. But way too many will join the 1/3 of Washingtonians that are functionally illiterate. That's quite an embarrassment for the capital of the richest country in the world.

And finally, Dizzy +1. Didn't know GU had shrunk. I also don't know much about UDC, but its status is in line with my statement.

by Jasper on Oct 25, 2011 9:38 pm • linkreport

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