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Breakfast links: Motion like the tide


Photo by greghartmann on Flickr.
Anacostia fears tsunami: The wake of Lumen8­Anacostia and Cherry Blast have left questions and concerns in Anacostian minds. Could the neighbor­hood control a wave of gentrification if it comes to Anacostia's shore? (City Paper)

DDOT moves, but slowly: DDOT has now placed its order for 2 new streetcars. But councilmembers worry that it's been slow with hiring, streetcar purchases, and more. (WTOP, TBD)

Barry blames press: Asian and Pacific Islander residents criticized Marion Barry for his recent comments; Barry responded by blaming the media for blowing up the issue. He's also reached out to the Phillipine ambassador who called for an apology. (Post)

Back to work: Maryland needs 2 special sessions to for the budget and gambling legislation, though the Senate wants to deal with transportation instead. Perhaps it's time for the state to move to a full-time legislature? (Washington Times, FreeStater)

Costco not winning hearts: Costco tried to convince nearby residents that the large gas station it wants to build behind a new Wheaton store won't harm air quality and the neighborhood. Most were unconvinced, but liked the landscape architecture. (Patch)

Infant mortality improves: DC's infant mortality rate has improved markedly, moving from 23.1 deaths per 1,000 to only 8 deaths per 1,000. Home health visits and better healthcare outreach contributed to the improvement. (Post)

Hope from DC's renaissance: Detroit's current plight is much like DC's in the 1990s: loss of financial control, declining population, and rampant violence. Yet if DC could turn around, Detroit can, too. (MLive)

The snarl reaches Brazil: São Paulo's traffic is obscenely bad, largely from onerous parking minimums that often double the space a developer needs to build. (IBT)

And...: DC's major development projects continue to crawl forward. (WBJ) ... San Jose is plotting a major shift towards sustainable growth and transportation. (Sociecity) ... The Sierra Club endorses candidates for Falls Church City Council. (BlueVirginia)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin

Comments

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I'm absolutely sure Detroit could turn around -- if the federal goverment and another $150 billion a year in federal contractors moved there.

by charlie on Apr 27, 2012 9:08 am • linkreport

RE: Detroit

Not sure I agree with the Detroit-DC comparisons as the economies of each city are both quite different, with the former being dependent on a single industry and the other being dependent on government, which brings in a comparatively diverse array of industries.

The infrastructure is also remarkedly different, with Detroit currently lacking any strong high-capacity transit system (though they do have plenty of opportunity for BRT) and possessing a land use pattern that is difficult -- but certainly not impossible -- to convert into the type of urban neighborhoods that are currently surging in popularity. Though on the bright side: with so much vacant land they, sort of like Prince George's, have the opportunity to relatively easily build from scratch in whatever form they wish.

by Bossi on Apr 27, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

From the first piece:

"Any time the face of a neighborhood changes, the issues of top priority change," Wilson explains. "You gotta be careful what you ask for. Can you have it both ways? I don’t know."

So I'm confused. What are the issues of top priority in Anacostia now? And how are these in conflict with a general desire for improved retail, lower crime, etc.?

Marion Barry seems very concerned that there aren't lots of good restaurant options, for example. But would changing that only be acceptable if the new restaurants were run by long-time residents who look like him?

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 9:38 am • linkreport

"Any time the face of a neighborhood changes, the issues of top priority change," Wilson explains. "You gotta be careful what you ask for. Can you have it both ways? I don’t know."

This confused me too - doesn't everyone want lower crime, better services, improved retail and dining options, better schools, etc?

It seems like this comment is a smokescreen for the true feelings, "Yes, we want all of those things, but we don't then want the neighborhood to become attractive to people who haven't traditionally lived here, and have an influx of 'them' in 'our' neighborhoods, even though the very things that improve it for us attrach 'outsiders' as well. Oh, and property values, taxes and rents should stay the same."

In other words, wave a magic wand and make everything better for me and my neighbors, but no one else. And suspend the basic principles of economics while you're at it. It's public policy as performed in Fantasyland by the Fairy Godmother (yes, I have a 5 yo girl).

by dcd on Apr 27, 2012 9:54 am • linkreport

I agree with Charlie and Bossi - I don't see the Detroit/DC comparisons as apt. How about Detroit to Pittsburgh? They were a similar blue-collar city that lost tons of jobs, economy in the dump, etc, but is now starting to turn it around by being a technological hub.

by Shipsa01 on Apr 27, 2012 9:58 am • linkreport

The Detroit-DC comparison is sad and ludicrous. DC in 1990 (the first time I moved here, as it happens) had a basically decent housing stock (Detroit doesn't), it had strong, stable economic drivers (the federal govt, its contractors and and a growing number of non-govt related employers). it also still had a lot of wealth--Kalorama was as wealthy as it had been 100 years before and Ward 3, plus places like G'town were already unaffordable for many of us. Moreover, genetrification was happening--the slow expansion of Capitol Hill toward H Street and Eastward, the latter stages of Adams-Morgan's redevelopment, the early stages of 16th St Heights, U Street and Columbia Heights.

Detroit has none of that. Much of the city lacks charm--it contains a lot of Levittown type housing that has not aged well, as well as more interesting pre-WWII stuff. Large chunks of the city are abandoned--DC in the 90s never had that; substantial parts of the areas touched by the 68s riots had been redeveloped with subsidized housing of some sort. DC also has a tourism and convention economy that Detroit lacks, as well as a public transit system that has supported much redevelopment including redevelopment of inner ring 'burbs like Bethesda and Arlington. Detroit also has a far more poisoned racial environment than DC.

Detroit does have space and the metro area has a skilled workforce--whereas DC and its environs is filled with people who seem laughably unable to do much of anything that requires a toolbox.

Re: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh---Pittsy has held on to its old money and much of its housing stock. It's industrial base left, but it's held onto the R&D that was attached. It's a medical center in a way that Detroit will never be. Henry Ford Hospital and Detroit Hospital Center live in the shadows of greater centers in Cleveland and Chicago. As a cultural center, Detroit's museums also pale in comparison to those in Cleveland or Chicago.

Detroit can only regenerate itself on a Detroit model. It's not even like Cleveland, which looks more like a functioning city and less like Dresden circa 1945. It needs to find uses for its vast spaces. It needs to rebuild its economy. It has begun to draw create hipster types, because its insanely cheap and Midwesterners are much nicer people than DCers or New Yorkers. That isn't enough, though. Green industries or some other new technology is probably what's needed. Akron, another place that lost its core industry, has made a small comeback by focusing on polymers, through a multi-university consortium that also includes nearby Cleveland.That's the kind of thing that could bring some things back. The city also needs to figure out how to capitalize on the surprising amount of civic activism that remains.

by Rich on Apr 27, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

@Gray/DCD, what Wilson could be referring to is the lack of common thought in "how" we get there. I don't know of anyone who doesn't want safer streets and more retail. But let's take the streetcars as an example, me and my Anacostia-area neighbors have been raked over the coals for our lukewarm reception to streetcars. It's assumed that we should consider it a priority. We are the ones who live there and have been negatively characterized by those most in support of the idea.

There are others (mostly WOTR) who think otherwise and IMO, too often give the impression that "we know what's best for you." Hence, Wilson's "I think that type of entitlement bothers people. If you want to come in and be a part of it, okay. But don't come in thinking you’re going to make us better" reference.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 10:26 am • linkreport

I see some similarities in that DC and Detroit were/are predominantly Black cities that fell on hard times due in part to white flight, crime, drugs, etc., with a collapse of the industrial sector piled on top in Detroit's case.

And I mention the Black aspect because there are all sorts of political and socioeconomic dynamics that exist in some cities that simply don't exist in others. In this sense, Detroit can be compared to Philly, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, and a handful of other cities along with DC. When these cities gentrify, I think there's a different political element to it as well.

Detroit has a lot of pleasant and prosperous suburbs. So, while there are certainly some suburban areas with issues and the region's economy as a whole is stagnant, it's not as if the entire metropolitan area is a hellhole. Detroit is making some strides at getting jobs and people back into the core of the city, but the level to which it has dropped is probably unlike any other major city and will take a long time to reverse.

I think there are better comparisons for Detroit, than DC, but I don't think it's a bad comparison if you look things more from a government mismanagement perspective.

by Vik on Apr 27, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

If the residents of Anacostia want improved retail and better city amenities, there's nothing stopping them from creating that right now. They're in control, after all.

Plus, I've never demanded that immigrants first "become part of the community" and that their businesses have to be "there to serve us." Save some money, rent some vacant commercial space, and open a business. This is the way it works, people.

by JustMe on Apr 27, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

I see some similarities in that DC and Detroit were/are predominantly Black cities that fell on hard times due in part to white flight, crime, drugs, etc., with a collapse of the industrial sector piled on top in Detroit's case.

I think there's something to be said for comparing Detroit to DC EOTR, in particular, rather than all of DC. Specifically, both areas suffered from excessive highway construction and auto dependence in the absence of transit, and the natural result was that when you make it easy for people to drive out of the city, the first thing they're going to do when the get the chance is to drive out of the city. There aren't any local amenities in Anacostia, and it's fairly easy to drive elsewhere to get them (and little efficient public transit), so you might as well drive elsewhere to get them, and when you keep driving out there, you realize that you might as well just live out there, too.

by JustMe on Apr 27, 2012 10:34 am • linkreport

But let's take the streetcars as an example, me and my Anacostia-area neighbors have been raked over the coals for our lukewarm reception to streetcars.

I agree. I don't think the streetcar should go to Anacostia. I don't understand why DC is forcing it down the throats of people who don't want it when there are many other parts of the city dying for streetcars. Same thing with bikeshare.

On the other hand, my understanding is that folks EOTR would like more Cicrulator service, so why not give them that instead?

by Falls Church on Apr 27, 2012 10:49 am • linkreport

@HogWash: I can't help but notice that you truncated the quote from Wilson in a manner that onscures its true meaning. Here's the whole quote, including the part you left out:

I think that type of entitlement bothers people. If you want to come in and be a part of it, okay. But don't come in thinking you’re going to make us better because of your skin color.

The way you (mis)quoted it, Wilson might have been talking about different opinions with respect to public policy and urban revitalization. But the actual quote conveys a more fundamental message - we don't need white people coming in here and telling us what to do.

by dcd on Apr 27, 2012 10:50 am • linkreport

I also agree with Rich that there is a lot of civic pride and activism in metro Detroit. People have a lot of pride in Detroit, what it used to stand for and still does in ways, unlike metro DC. Even with the suburban vs. city animus that is also unique to Detroit and probably a few other places, when the city does get some momentum, I think the city could get half way to where it needs to be fairly quickly. There are many UM, MSU, etc. grads who love the city of Detroit, want to help it, commit to coming back at some point in the future, but are lured to the coasts and Chicago after graduating college.

With respect to housing, Detroit doesn't have the housing stock that the cities on the East Coast do, but it does have some beautiful homes that are unfortunately beyond repair.

I don't agree with the healthcare assessment, however. That does seem to be an area where Detroit can make big strides if they play their cards right. And there is a university consortium of sorts with Michigan, Michigan St., Wayne St., Oakland, etc. working together on some initiatives. Transit is huge, Detroit's transit is pathetic and you still can't take the train from Detroit to Toledo.

Detroit needs to continue to make good cars and make things. Manufacturing is becoming more favorable to do in the US, but they need to somehow be competitive w/ the lower-cost areas in the South when it comes to producing whatever value-added industries that this country decides to pursue. I think the movie production industry is a good one to have, as well.

by Vik on Apr 27, 2012 10:57 am • linkreport

I agree. I don't think the streetcar should go to Anacostia. I don't understand why DC is forcing it down the throats of people who don't want it when there are many other parts of the city dying for streetcars. Same thing with bikeshare.

I think infrastructure is fundamentally different, though. You don't get to pick and choose whether your neighborhood is connected to other neighborhoods. Just as you don't get (or shouldn't get) to choose whether or not there will be sidewalks in your neighborhood.

There's a parallel dynamic here to Metro & the (apochryphal) Georgetown Metro Rail stop. Gotta keep the undesirables out, you know. But there's no better way to undermine the long-term success of the city.

by oboe on Apr 27, 2012 11:51 am • linkreport

I tend to agree with Oboe, the caveat being you do want to define who does get to make the decisions (like the county vs. VDOT/State dynamic playing out in Va.). I don't think its up to individual neighborhoods since I don't run into difficulty getting around any particular neighborhood but its connecting neighborhoods and thats why its important to have a comprehensive transportation network across the city rather than one neighborhood being a bike lane neighborhood or whatever.

/waiting for someone to come out and talk about road opposition in light of what I just said. I think that comes down to the immense burden of proof a highway (rather than local streets for connectivity) needs to show. And because neighborhoods have vetoed roads before (along with transit lines as well) doesn't mean thats why it shouldn't have been built.

by Canaan on Apr 27, 2012 12:00 pm • linkreport

On the other hand, my understanding is that folks EOTR would like more Cicrulator service, so why not give them that instead?

Absolutely!!!! I rode for the first time from Anacostia and thought I could do it more often. DAlpert reasonably questioned what people will say years from now if Anacostia doesn't have the streetcar when the rest of the city does...will we then say we were left out. I still maintain that some will..but I don't think most of us would cry foul.

I can't help but notice that you truncated the quote from Wilson in a manner that onscures its true meaning. Here's the whole quote, including the part you left out

This is true and I did because not adding doesn't change the overall message. Out of that sense of entitlement Wilson refers to came the idea that "in order for your neighborhood to get better, you need to be able to attract more of us to it...hence...streetcars.

Please keep in mind that his comments were in response to the article on the Lumen8 event in which its author opined, "And projects like Lumin8 Anacostia are a sort of immersion therapy for the countless DMV residents -- myself included -- who would not otherwise venture eastward."

Quite naturally, no one wants to read anything suggesting that their n'hood's revitalization would be better advanced by the nonblack author "others" being courageous enough to venture eastward.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 12:08 pm • linkreport

I don't think its up to individual neighborhoods

Similarly, when you infer that people in individual n'hoods should be left out of the decision-making process (even wrt to streetcars), you will always get some level of resentment. This is in part, the whole "top priorities changes" idea Wilson raised.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 12:16 pm • linkreport

By the way, linking EOTR/Anacostia to the rest of the city (via streetcars) is a novel idea. It is not, however, neccessary as we have a network of buses and trains and bikes that serve the same purpose.

The Anacostia line of the streetcar is novel...not neccessary.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 12:20 pm • linkreport

Quite naturally, no one wants to read anything suggesting that their n'hood's revitalization would be better advanced by the nonblack author "others" being courageous enough to venture eastward.

Personally, I think it is part and parcel of neighborhood revitalization for people who would be reluctant to visit to decide to start visiting and start making it a habit.

If Anacostia's revitalization depended on merely the current residents without any changes in willingness to visit, shop, and move there on the part of other people, then it already would have happened.

by JustMe on Apr 27, 2012 12:21 pm • linkreport

The Anacostia line of the streetcar is novel...not neccessary.

In the same sense that any given Metro Rail station was "novel"--after all each was already served by a bus line. Your point begs the question whether there's any difference between a bus and a streetcar. Of course, we've hashed over that ground innumerable times (and will again).

(Sorry about butchering 'apocryphal'. Lot of real work today.)

by oboe on Apr 27, 2012 12:25 pm • linkreport

HogWash:

I'm still not really following this line of reasoning.

"Out of that sense of entitlement Wilson refers to came the idea that "in order for your neighborhood to get better, you need to be able to attract more of us to it...hence...streetcars."

Are you saying that EOTR residents are happy with the neighborhood they have after decades of not attracting anyone to it? Would they like to continue to run things exactly the way they've been, or would they like to see improvements? And if they would like improvements, why are only improvements that don't involve any "outsiders" worth getting?

I ask not to denigrate EOTR, but because I really do want to know. I don't understand how you can separate these issues in the way that EOTR residents seem to want to.

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 12:26 pm • linkreport

Its fine to not want the streetcar if you can argue on its merits (its expensive, won't work as well as some other option, etc.) but I don't think its reasonable to accept an argument of "we don't think it'll fit in this neighborhood and we weren't included in the first place". The neighborhood may not have been included sufficiently (though again that'd require evidence) but that still shouldn't be the deciding factor. Especially for something that isn't taking any private property (for Anacostia at least, and I could be wrong)

by Canaan on Apr 27, 2012 12:28 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

"in order for your neighborhood to get better, you need to be able to attract more of us to it...hence...streetcars."

Fact. If you want your neighborhood to improve, you need more middle class people to move in. Race doesn't play an issue in my mind, been reading articles talking about middle class blacks moving into Anacostia, and I think it is great. People who move in, have jobs, and care about the neighborhood are good for every neighborhood, no matter their skin color.

by Kyle W on Apr 27, 2012 12:37 pm • linkreport

@Kyle W -People who move in, have jobs, and care about the neighborhood are good for every neighborhood, no matter their skin color.

This is very pragmatic but apparently its an attitude not shared universally.

by Tina on Apr 27, 2012 12:48 pm • linkreport

If Anacostia's revitalization depended on merely the current residents without any changes in willingness to visit, shop, and move there on the part of other people, then it already would have happened.

Fortunately, no one has suggested such. Your statement was in response to me explaining why people might be put off by the notion that "things are changing now that we've ventured eastward." Whether it's a reasonable reaction or not..it's a reaction.

In the same sense that any given Metro Rail station was "novel"--after all each was already served by a bus line.

The streetcars were sold as a neccessity for Anacostia's revitalization. Since there is a current (and quite effective) transportation network there to serve the same area proposed for streetcars, it's reasonable to think that having them there is only novel..and not the neccessity they've been touted as.

Are you saying that EOTR residents are happy with the neighborhood they have after decades of not attracting anyone to it...why are only improvements that don't involve any "outsiders" worth getting?

Nope never said that at all. If you consider what Wilson said about priorities, I used the streetcar debate to demonstrate how what "other" people see as a priority could be in conflict with those who actually live in the n'hood. I've lived in that area for a decade and am not convinced that streetcars are what we need to attract people to our n'hood after decades of people not wanting to venture eastward.

Its fine to not want the streetcar if you can argue on its merits

That has already been argued.

but I don't think its reasonable to accept an argument of "we don't think it'll fit in this neighborhood and we weren't included in the first place".

That's odd because that sentiment was shared by many opposed to the nonexistent plans for the Res 13/Redskins practice facility.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 12:53 pm • linkreport

. Your statement was in response to me explaining why people might be put off by the notion that "things are changing now that we've ventured eastward."

No, the notion was "those of us WOTR should experience EOTR by immersion therapy." Which is a totally good idea.

But the underlying attitude criticizing these things seems to be "who do these outsiders think they are shopping and living here? Anacostia doesn't need them to get better!"

by JustMe on Apr 27, 2012 12:56 pm • linkreport

Then Hill East residents should argue the plan based on its merits rather than the process (assuming the process is carried through legitimately). Like I said earlier, even if the strategy gets good results that doesn't mean that its the way it should be done.

by Canaan on Apr 27, 2012 1:22 pm • linkreport

Hogwash:

Are you saying that EOTR residents are happy with the neighborhood they have after decades of not attracting anyone to it...why are only improvements that don't involve any "outsiders" worth getting?

Nope never said that at all. If you consider what Wilson said about priorities, I used the streetcar debate to demonstrate how what "other" people see as a priority could be in conflict with those who actually live in the n'hood. I've lived in that area for a decade and am not convinced that streetcars are what we need to attract people to our n'hood after decades of people not wanting to venture eastward.

Okay, so you brought up streetcars, which you seem to feel very strongly about. Are there any other priorities of EOTR residents other than "no streetcars"?

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 1:24 pm • linkreport

No, the notion was "those of us WOTR should experience EOTR by immersion therapy."

No, the notion is what the author suggested it was, "Anacostia is in the midst of a revival thanks to people like "him" deciding to travel eastward.

Okay, so you brought up streetcars, which you seem to feel very strongly about. Are there any other priorities of EOTR residents other than "no streetcars"?

Sure there is...lower crime, better retail/dining options, diverse economic background, better schools etc.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 2:29 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

Sure there is...lower crime, better retail/dining options, diverse economic background, better schools etc.

So back to my earlier questions. Do you think that non-EOTR residents would campaign against these priorities? If so, why?

If not, why wouldn't they be welcome to come help make these things happen?

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 2:34 pm • linkreport

Do you think that non-EOTR residents would campaign against these priorities? If so, why?

I very seriously doubt they would.

If not, why wouldn't they be welcome to come help make these things happen?

I don't get the sense that anyone (un)welcomed those interested in helping to make that happen.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 2:48 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

I don't get the sense that anyone (un)welcomed those interested in helping to make that happen.

The original quote was this:

"Any time the face of a neighborhood changes, the issues of top priority change," Wilson explains. "You gotta be careful what you ask for. Can you have it both ways? I don’t know."

You seem to be arguing that the priorities of EOTR residents are the same as those of non-EOTR residents. But that article made it sound like there are plenty of people who fear what would happen if "the face of the neighborhood changes."

You gave the example of streetcars, which to the best of my understanding have not been pushed by new EOTR residents. So how is that an argument for keeping new people out of EOTR?

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 3:02 pm • linkreport

the notion is what the author suggested it was, "Anacostia is in the midst of a revival thanks to people like "him" deciding to travel eastward.

How is that implied by this statement following statement:

"And projects like Lumin8 Anacostia are a sort of immersion therapy for the countless DMV residents -- myself included -- who would not otherwise venture eastward." ?

I think you're being a lot of hypersensitive to "those" people coming to "your" neighborhood.

But again, I repeat: if the revitalization of Anacostia did not depend on more people willing to visit the area, shop there, and move there, then Anacostia would have already been revitalized. Until more people are willing to shop, spend time in, and move to Anacostia, nothing's going to change, and that's a fact.

by JustMe on Apr 27, 2012 3:19 pm • linkreport

You seem to be arguing that the priorities of EOTR residents are the same as those of non-EOTR residents. But that article made it sound like there are plenty of people who fear what would happen if "the face of the neighborhood changes."

I don't know Wilson but it's likely that he also believes [some] of the priorities are the same. As for the article, that was Lydia's creation, written to convey her own message..which is usually anything negative about Anacostia residents.

Remember, this was a cut and paste interview of hers so I can't definitively answer "for" Wilson since I don't know him nor was I there. I don't know the context but am only assuming his intent based on my observations/experiences. I do agree that the article did make it seem as if there are plenty of people who fear what would happen if the "face of the n'hood" changes. But I also don't think a stretch of the truth as I'm sure there are those who have that fear. We've read similar stories about feelings towards gentrification for some time now.

The streetcar example wasn't used as an argument for why people should stay out of Anacostia. Keep in mind, Wilson (and me) are talking about Anacostia...not just EOTR.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 3:31 pm • linkreport

@HogWash: Since you seem to have backed off of actually disgreeing with me, I must confess that I'm confused as to what you've been arguing all along.

by Gray on Apr 27, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

I think you're being a lot of hypersensitive to "those" people coming to "your" neighborhood.

I disagree.

Until more people are willing to shop, spend time in, and move to Anacostia, nothing's going to change, and that's a fact.

Change is already happening and has been over the past several years. This is w/o streetcars and even if the Lumen event never happened. So I reject the notion that we need more people in order for it change.

While it's important for all n'hoods to have the ability to attract outsiders, a lot of the changes are happening from w/in. The city partnering w/those of us who do live there can help to do things that residents alone can't.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

Since you seem to have backed off of actually disgreeing with me, I must confess that I'm confused as to what you've been arguing all along

Where do you think the disagreement was? I'm likewise confused.

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2012 3:50 pm • linkreport

Speaking of Detroit, I just came across this:
http://www.elementelectronics.com

TV's assembled in the US, in Detroit. Who knew?!

And related to another hot GGW thread, apparently their products are available at Wal-mart....

by spookiness on Apr 27, 2012 6:47 pm • linkreport

"So I reject the notion that we need more people in order for it change. While ... a lot of the changes are happening from w/in."

Given that there are numerous articles about how many middle class blacks have moved in to the area, and a smaller percentage of whites as well, how are you measuring who is enacting these changes? At what point does one become an insider and not an outsider after moving in to the neighborhood? Six months? A year? Five? Are middle class blacks that move in considered outsiders? So is it simply based on the race of whom is moving in? Everything seems so abstract (and I think reverse racism is a phony concept/term as the power construct is typically not present).

by H Street Landlord on Apr 27, 2012 7:20 pm • linkreport

Change is already happening and has been over the past several years.
isn't some of the change intertwined with the fact that more middle class people than before (proportionally and historically) are choosing Anacostia and other River East/EOTR (I like 'East Bank') communities to live in b/c of the affordability and other positive attributes? Maybe this change started to become noticeable ~10 years ago and has now increased rate and at the same time accumulated to the point where the changes are noticeable? Aren't the "new" people "outsiders"? Weren't you an outsider when you moved there 10 years ago? Wasn't Congress Heights on the Rise an outsider?

by Tina on Apr 28, 2012 9:06 am • linkreport

@H-Street Landlord-i just read your comment. I guess you and I are asking the same question. For instance the man quoted in the article, Wilson, was he an outsider? Is he still?

...reverse racism is a phony concept/term Yes. But prejudice and resentment or even hatred of an individual b/c of his/her most superficial genetic and cultural heritage is real.

by Tina on Apr 28, 2012 9:16 am • linkreport

Prejudice and resentment or even hatred of an individual b/c of his/her most superficial genetic and cultural heritage is real.

Funny, I was going to write almost the exact same thing.

The fundamental problem with gentrification (from the perspective of poor residents who fear an influx of middle-class people) is that any improvement in the neighborhood is going to make it more attractive to newcomers. And in a region where (all else equal) proximity is value, that means the cost of housing will increase. Conversely, rising property values give existing property owners a huge incentive to sell. The folks who can afford to pay the higher prices are wealthier. That demographic change further pushes up prices. It's either a virtuous or vicious cycle depending on where you're standing.

What long-time residents are asking for (essentially that the neighborhood become crime-free with plentiful retail opportunities, and amenities but without "gentrification") is an impossibility. That's because populations are mobile. And rising property values make the existing population more mobile, not less.

Take as an example Barry Farm, which has the highest percentage of native DC residents at something like 85+%. (That's pretty high, but how many of those native residents have siblings who have since moved out of the city? Often it's the least successful of a set of siblings who stays behind, living with aging parents, as the siblings with options move on.) The fact that there's an 85% native rate in Barry Farm says more about the existing residents' poverty (including house equity) than anything else. Poor people are less mobile, so they stay in the neighborhood.

Better neighborhood means more options. More options means people move.

by oboe on Apr 28, 2012 11:06 am • linkreport

Aren't the tracks for the streetcar in Anacostia already laid? Isn't Anacostia going to get some streetcar service, even if it doesn't cross the 11th Street Bridge?

Gentrification will eventually hit Anacostia. The real estate is just too valuable to be left alone, especially with DHS eventually slated to come to St. Elizabeth's and with Poplar Point eventually going to be developed. With areas like Petworth, North Capitol Street, Brookland, Fort Totten, and Rhode Island Avenue starting to change, the developers have already maxed out most of the gentrification opportunities west of the Anacostia.

So gentrification will eventually hit the area along MLK Avenue and Good Hope Road. The real estate is too valuable and perhaps protections can be put in the protect lower-income residents and the transition can be smoother than it has been in other places, but it is really very much a question of when, not if, that area changes.

by Rain17 on Apr 28, 2012 5:57 pm • linkreport

I agree. I don't think the streetcar should go to Anacostia. I don't understand why DC is forcing it down the throats of people who don't want it when there are many other parts of the city dying for streetcars. Same thing with bikeshare.
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Easy. For, when the rest of the city has the system, they will scream "racism" and that's why they didn't get it. By putting it in Anacostia they will at least blunt the criticism that they started in wealthier areas first.

by Rain17 on Apr 28, 2012 6:04 pm • linkreport

HStreetAt what point does one become an insider and not an outsider after moving in to the neighborhood? Six months? A year? Five? Are middle class blacks that move in considered outsiders? So is it simply based on the race of whom is moving in?

I don't think there'll ever be an consensus answer on that. But I certainly don't think 6-mos is enough time to establish roots w/in a community.

@TinaWeren't you an outsider when you moved there 10 years ago? Wasn't Congress Heights on the Rise an outsider?

Sure, and we've both become vested in our communities. CHOTR also experienced her own version of being an "outsider." Believe me, she was not accepted w/open arms either and upon reflection, I'm sure she can understand why.

But prejudice and resentment or even hatred of an individual b/c of his/her most superficial genetic and cultural heritage is real.

I agree and we should stop acting as it isn't.

Aren't the tracks for the streetcar in Anacostia already laid? Isn't Anacostia going to get some streetcar service,

Yes to both.

Gentrification will eventually hit Anacostia.

It's already begun.

For, when the rest of the city has the system, they will scream "racism" and that's why they didn't get it.

This sounds like white people's guilt/fear.

by HogWash on Apr 30, 2012 12:21 pm • linkreport

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