Greater Greater Washington

Budget


Must social services and quality of life conflict?

A DC official says that "white liberals" don't care about social services, while black folks "aren't as passionate" about services like recreation centers. Is that right? More importantly, does it matter? Can't we have both?


Photo by stu_spivack on Flickr.

Former DC resident Matt Bevilacqua talks about DC's black-white divide in a post for Next City. It's leading up to an in-depth Forefront story on DC gentrification that could either penetrate difficult subjects or rehash old, cliché tropes. We'll see!

That story includes a quotation by a "black city official who has worked on economic development policy":

On a national political level, we've always been and always will be Democratic," [the city official] told me. "But when you go down into the local landscape or subscribe to the policy of all politics are local, that liberalism has a divide. White liberals in D.C. don't give a shit about social services because they're not of that element. White liberals in D.C. are more about quality-of-life issues as it relates to the lifestyle they want to have.
It is bike lanes. It is dog parks. It is about state-of-the-art swimming facilities. It is about recreation centers. Capital Bikeshare. Car2Go. Streetcars. It's about a way of life. Black folks want this stuff, they're just not as passionate about it."

"Liberals" may not be the right word here, as it's not just liberals who want quality of life services. It's true, though, that a lot of newer white residents do want bike lanes, dog parks, swimming facilities, and rec centers. There's no reason black folks shouldn't want these too, since black folks own dogs, play sports, and have children who could benefit from pools just like folks of any other color.

But even if this official is right that black folks care about them less and white folks care more, why must these conflict? The city has not cut social services to fund dog parks; it cut both in bad times and is increasing both in good times. It does benefit certain politicians or columnists to play groups off each other, but they're not inherently at opposition.

Look at the debate on the 2011 budget, when DC faced a gap thanks to the recession and Mayor Gray proposed a small tax increase amid many cuts (cuts to things both black and white people like). Who opposed it? We had Jack Evans (white), Mary Cheh (white), and Muriel Bowser (black). The main crusader against the idea was Chairman Kwame Brown (black). Supporters included white members like Jim Graham, Phil Mendelson, and Tommy Wells, and black members like Michael Brown and Marion Barry as well as Mayor Gray.

On issues like growth, Michael Brown (black) and Phil Mendelson (white) have more in common in their voting, as do Tommy Wells (white) and Kenyan McDuffie (black). (And all are liberals, at least on national left-right issues.)

Elissa Silverman, a white liberal running for DC Council, has been one of the strongest advocates for social services in the entire city. Anita Bonds, the black interim councilmember, put out a press release about yesterday's budget which first praised its lack of tax and fee increases and the proposed bond tax cut.

We can group officials in different ways. There are black and white folks. There are also liberals and conservatives, and more urban-minded members and more suburban-minded ones. One of these divisions is easy to divine by looking at people; the others require paying attention to officials' actions.

Many voters do vote on the basis of race, but it does the city a disservice when people lump all white folks and black folks to be the same. It's not just white liberals and black liberals, but there's also white conservatives and black conservatives, or white supporters and opponents of a growing city and black supporters and opponents. We can't ignore race, but we can avoid looking only at it and ignoring every other more substantive difference between various groups of residents.

And we can absolutely have a budget that supports both social services and quality of life. Moreover, we have a mayor who won mainly with votes from black folks (and myself) who just proposed a budget that puts strong emphasis on quality of life while also growing social services.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Great article! Just one small correction - states pay part of the costs for Medicaid. They don't pay for Medicare.

by LS on Mar 29, 2013 12:23 pm • linkreport

One city, baby!

20% of residents are 80% of the budget?

by charlie on Mar 29, 2013 12:32 pm • linkreport

I agree with you in principle, David. The only thing I would add is that the black/white divided is less about actual funding but how those services are delivered.

Most people, regardless of race, want recreation centers, good schools and other amenities. What seems to concern some is the apparent speed and order at which things like bike lanes and dog parks are being created when compared to the delivery of human support services.

While we spend hundreds of millions of local and federal dollars for social services each year, we don't seem to move the needle for those in need of housing, health care, or living wage jobs to move from public assistance to independence.

Conversely, because they cost less to implement (relatively), they have a more obvious visual impact, the creation of recreation centers and BikeShare is perceived to happen faster and at the expense of social services and only because "new white residents" want them.

I can solve this not just by throwing money at the human support problems but by focusing on delivering results. Obviously, it's complicated but it can be done.

by Randall M. on Mar 29, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

it's always been about race though. DC blacks are like Detroit and New Orleans blacks...they resent gentrification because it takes away their (perceived) power

but they utterly failed to lead when they had the vast majority in those cities.

DC is at a crossroads...does it want to be the 21st century city its become, or does it want to revert to the crime and desolation of the 80s and go the way of Detroit and New Orleans?

by Jack Jackson on Mar 29, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

What seems to concern some is the apparent speed and order at which things like bike lanes and dog parks are being created when compared to the delivery of human support services.

Bike lanes and dog parks are very easy and simple to create and can be done so in a short time, relative to the operations needed to deliver human support services.

by Tina on Mar 29, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

Yes. Great Article. But it also speaks to another issue...our need to highlight silliness.

This guy sounds like the poster child for those who got caught up in the class/race divide encouraged through the Fenty years. If his point is only that white people don't care about social services as much (because they're less likely to use them) and blacks (who need them more) are less likely to see quality of life issues as most pressing, then sure, he could somehow make an argument. But to muck it up and assign a "white/black" liberal label in this case is rather ridiculous.

It's a total misunderstanding of why things are the way in which they are.

BTW, Matt's article is a bit misleading maybe unintentionally. Or maybe I can't think of the most appropriate work at this moment. He attempts to make a connection between what he might sense as Fenty's supposed "elite" education and white folk's preference for his more appealing candidacy. The problem here is that both White and Black folk overwhelmingly supported him in his reelection. Yet, he paints Gray as the understandable black candidate even though Gray graduated from G'town. Of course mucking up Fenty's education background could be an innocent thing but is telling that it does paint a certain picture of Fenty vs.Gay, potentially explaining the black/white preference.

by HogWash on Mar 29, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

Randall: This makes an enormous amount of sense and really clarifies some aspects for me. Thank you.

by David Alpert on Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

I can't vouch for the validity of the other observations, but in my experience, pools are definitely not a black-white issue. Every time I've been to a DC pool, there are as many or more black folks as white.

by Gavin on Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

Wow that is just sad that people are still rolling out the "white folks want" vs "black folks want". Granted it may just have been very loose wording by the official but it's still incredibly unhelpful. The idea that you can even separate quality of life and social services into two distinct piles is sloppy and short-sighted. Where does transit fall, where do good schools fall, where access to healthy food and recreation fall, if not all somewhere in the middle?

by Alan B. on Mar 29, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

@Tina: Unfortunately, I think many people don't draw that conclusion.

@Jack Johnson: Sure, the perceived loss of influence may be a concern for some. However, when speaking to people about things like bike infrastructure, some don't don't see how adding them positively impacts their lives, especially when then have high crime, poor schools and fewer employment options. If schools close but are replaced by better ones (which is happening but not explained concurrently) people are likely to be a bit more receptive.

by Randall M. on Mar 29, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

Mayor Gray went to GWU, not G-town.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 29, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

However, when speaking to people about things like bike infrastructure, some don't don't see how adding them positively impacts their lives, especially when then have high crime, poor schools and fewer employment options.

Of course, if I were to rank those issues in the order of how hard it is to solve them (easiest to hardest), it might look like:

1. Installing bike lanes

(big gap)

2. Solving high crime
3. Fewer employment options
4. Poor schools

If solving the problems of poor schools were as easy as installing a few bike lanes, then we likely wouldn't have nearly as many poor schools!

by Alex B. on Mar 29, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

Well, if the anonymous city official is trying to explain how some of his or her constituents view their city, fair enough. People have all sorts of views informed by a billion different things.

However, if that's his/her own perspective, I'm embarrassed to have him/her working for the city. How toxic and wrong-headed, and well below the standard of reality and public service I'd expect from someone who works on city policy.

by worthing on Mar 29, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

@ Alex B. Word.

That said, we should try to get the low hanging fruit.

Crime: There seems to be a more than tangential relationship between police on neighborhood foot patrol and lower crime. More of that, please.
http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20121125/NEWS01/311250020/Foot-patrols-reduce-crime-strengthen-ties-between-police-residents

Employment: If I see another grant for job training... Instead of teaching typing or how to use a computer, a public/private partnership between colleges and businesses to teach real skills that employers need. Yes, some people need the basics but some just need specific knowledge and opportunity. It may take a while but it can bear fruit.

Schools: Related to employment and crime, some of the best school in the city are the ones that have active parental participation. Money and the facilities are important but not as important as a demanding parent. This is a hard one.

by Randall M. on Mar 29, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

Most middle-class DC residents I know support social services. DC pays a massive part of its budget towards those services. The problem is the absolutists who think that "quality of life" is some optional thing that can be put on hold until regionl poverty has been eradicated.

by oboe on Mar 29, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

I think it's also an issue about how different people vocalize their concerns. I'm concerned about crime, but if I don't limit my concerns to my general stomping grounds and keep it pretty specific, I'm likely opening myself to some people interpreting my concerns as racially motivated.

I don't have kids so am I going to weight too much on schools? Not really my place, I mean I will share my opinions but why would I advocate for my solution over what actual parents think?

I think other things are not nearly as cut and dry. Unemployment is a very important social service and it's pretty damn popular across the spectrum.

Just because I passively support other social services (by voting for example) rather than actively rallying for them doesn't mean I don't value them, even if I'm unlikely to ever rely on say emergency housing support or food stamps.

by Alan B. on Mar 29, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Wow. Bit of racism all around. Lots of finger pointing and "calling out" and beating on chests about how you are right and most who disagree or have a different perspective are wrong. This is partly why in my opinion this movement -- at least the part represented here -- will not any time soon reach its potential of influencing politicians and/or key policy directions in this community. There is so much time spent on pushing people apart, categorizing them as friend or enemy, pure on "our priority policy" or not. This is not how coalitions are BUILT and SUSTAINED. And, in fact, in politics and policy there are NO PERMANENT friends and you are unwise if you make/keep permanent enemies. Time to wise up with a better strategy of community engagement and building. Please!

by Tom M on Mar 29, 2013 2:22 pm • linkreport

People are beating their chests in this thread? Did I miss something? It seemed like a rather civil discussion.

by Alan B. on Mar 29, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

Most middle-class DC residents I know support social services. DC pays a massive part of its budget towards those services. The problem is the absolutists who think that "quality of life" is some optional thing that can be put on hold until regionl poverty has been eradicated.

Yup.

This is partly why in my opinion this movement -- at least the part represented here -- will not any time soon reach its potential of influencing politicians and/or key policy directions in this community. There is so much time spent on pushing people apart, categorizing them as friend or enemy, pure on "our priority policy" or not.

Interesting. So the city official who articulated a stark, depressing and divisive view of the city gets off scott free, while those who are reacting to those statements are "pushing people apart, categorizing them as friend or enemy." Quite an odd perspective you have there.

by dcd on Mar 29, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

@Tom, did you mistakenly post to the wrong board?

by HogWash on Mar 29, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

@Tim, Thanks!

by HogWash on Mar 29, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

You can trot out all the facts you want, but its perception that trumps. All the major intown blogs have resident racists. Critiquing the values of gentrifiers has been a round for decades. People in thick of neighborhood change often ignore the latter even if they are uneasy with some changes--we went through that in my old neighborhood in Atlanta. Significantly, the complaining came from pastors outside the area.

Many of the areas of conflict are around things where race is visible as in the needless discussions about parking and churches and whose tenure in the community trumps what (i.e., newcomers who own, people who often live outside the area whose institutions tuck out decades that scared away people like the gentrifiers).

There's often a political agenda 9with a big "p") behind a lot of this. The individuals and interets who've easily held onto power in the past are finding that the power is slipping away. Undiscussed here are African American gentrifiers (who pioneered LeDroit and now E of the River areas).

Also undiscussed is the regionalization of social problems. Poverty is increasingly present outside DC--gentrification is a push but you also have lower cost housing as pulls. You also have aging housing stocks, increasing numbers of significant health issues (e.g., PG County's HIV cases continue to climb). Yet, the perception is that poverty is a city problem which may explain why suburban congregations from places with poverty, marginally housed people, etc. in their own backyards, still come into DC to be do gooders when they should be dealing with increasing subsurbanization of poverty. DC and the 'burbs that absorbed large numbers of poor immigrants (mostly in NoVA) have shouldered most of the burden in recent decades, but the problems are more clearly regional in nature and that should be something that refocuses the debates about services.

by Rich on Mar 29, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

@ Tom and HogWash -- See jack johnson's whole post here above. Randall above says social spending is wasted -- but doesn't cite any statistic, fact, or program outcomes/budgets. HogWash - you simply say a guy you disagree is silly. I don't think he is silly. He states a point of view that a good number of people in the city agree with. I don't agree with them in that view. Calling them and their views silly is driving people apart not together. I read the "anonymous black official" -- and i think it is an interesting exercise to check your reaction if that read "anonymous official" and/or "anonymous white official" -- as stating the view many hold but not necessarily agreeing in that view. You in my opinion jump to the view without knowing the context of the interview or what was edited in/out by the writer/editor that it DOES express the view of the official. Either of us might be wrong. Your view however, ensures you disagree with him/her/them and can lable them as "silly". Nice play if you want to make debate points. If you want to build a coaliton, it is precisely that inclination that marginalizes your capacity to do so.

by Tom M on Mar 29, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

As a "white liberal" I find that comment to be in bad taste and inaccurate. I care very much for social support services for those less fortunate and disadvantaged. Likewise, I care very much about parks, city services, and public works as well. Whomever made this comment should stop thinking of color and start thinking about something more productive.

by Matt on Mar 29, 2013 3:11 pm • linkreport

Tom I think you are reading into some comments here. Besides the obvious troll (Jack Jackson - is that even a real name?) no one is trying to denigrate other commentators.

Thats said, I have a lot of troubling take any official seriously if they say things like "White liberals in D.C. don't give a shit about social services because they're not of that element. "

Commentators here were rightly, I think, lambasting that kind of flippant and divisive expression.

by Alan B. on Mar 29, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

@ Alan B. -- Lambasting an anonymous official about a statement that may or may not be a statement of that officials beliefs? Oh, so all this talk is just talk. It don't mean s*@t except commentators can feel good that they've found someone to disagree with (maybe). Again, finding disagreements in this world and picking fights with anonymous is easy enough. But how is it useful? for who? in what circumstances?

by Tom M on Mar 29, 2013 3:20 pm • linkreport

I don't see how this is picking a fight as we don't know if this person actually exists nor is anyone talking to them directly. I don't really think this blog is about arguing anyway as much as figuring out how other people think. I'm also unclear what position you are advocating - as the original blog post conclusion that both quality of life and social services are important considerations - is pretty hard to sensibly disagree with.

by Alan B. on Mar 29, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

I have a lot of troubling take any official seriously if they say things like "White liberals in D.C. don't give a shit about social services because they're not of that element. "

I'm curious, so which is it? Is the offical's statement a legitimate "point of view that a good number of people in the city agree with"? Or is it it unfair for anyone to even comment on because "who knows if that's even his REAL opinion" and "it's borderline racist to identify him as black"?

My take on it is that, whether this is "truly" the official's belief or not, it's a quite popular one in the city, and that it should be addressed.

I do agree with you, though, that "black official" was somewhat gratuitous. I'm sure there are dozens of non-black DC residents who probably agree with him.

by oboe on Mar 29, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

Again, finding disagreements in this world and picking fights with anonymous is easy enough. But how is it useful? for who? in what circumstances?

No one's picking fights. And if you're going to shut down open dialogue about issues like race, class, and policy on the comments section of a urbanist public policy blog, what hope do we have for dialogue in the larger society?

by oboe on Mar 29, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

@Tom, understood. But I didn't see anything in the officials comments that would leave me to believe that he see's "working together" as a possibility. I agree that we don't know the context. I also know that talking about any group who may or may not "give a shiznet" isn't particularly encouraging. As I mentioned, he had a point to make about those perceived as using more/less of certain services. But he totally mucks it up by applying a "liberal" label to white folk and failing to label blacks w/the same. IMO, he's isolating what he perceives as white liberalism...and...lumping black folk together as something else.

The "perception" that white folk care about bike lanes and blacks care about social service is indeed true as that was essentially what the last election tried to convince their respective sides about. He goes beyond that though and suggest that white folk "don't give a shiznet." I'm always one for decrying CONTEXT CONTEXT but there is no context I can think of where this suggestion makes any sense at all and in that vein, it's silly.

Do I understand how people can think that the gov't is going to take their guns? Certainly! Is it silly to think so. Certainly. People thinking Obama was born in Kenya really feel that way...and it's silly. I get that it might be too harsh a term for others to use though.

by HogWash on Mar 29, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

My take on it is that, whether this is "truly" the official's belief or not, it's a quite popular one in the city, and that it should be addressed.

Yes. But it's hard to adequately address personal feelings like that. Like, what exactly do you do to adequately address those who think Obama was born in Kenya? Somethings have to be chalked up as lost causes.

by HogWash on Mar 29, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

"The problem is the absolutists who think that "quality of life" is some optional thing that can be put on hold until regionl poverty has been eradicated."

I though we agreed to stop bashing on the FPI, Oboe.

by charlie on Mar 29, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

So set up a anon strawman and take joy in knocking him down. Accomplishing what? Mr. F was among the least capable politicians I have ever met. I think that had as .much or more to do with his loss as any purported alignment on issues. IMHO.

by tom m. on Mar 29, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

I would say that Randall M is exactly on point. It is largely a matter of perception and of where, how and when these services are being delivered. When you throw racism and xenophobia into the mix, it generates lots of conflict.

But on the other hand, the wealth, education, resources and amenities gap in this city falls largely along racial lines. This is just a fact and a political reality that must be acknowledged. Data also concludes that some demographics use certain infrastructure and services more than others. For instance, this blog has written numerous articles on the racial discrepancies in bicycling.

I think what this city lacks is a strong leader (or group of leaders) who can bring people of different backgrounds together for a common cause. It's certainly possible that delivery of social services can be balanced with delivery of other amenities, but the District of Columbia government has proven itself pretty inept at delivering either of them. So something needs to change not only in the political rhetoric but also behind the scenes.

by Scoot on Mar 29, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

@ Scoot: I can rally around the "something needs to change" as "the DC goverment has proven itself pretty inept at delivering either of them." THAT is the precise definition of a "value proposition" that can bring voters together and get change in motion. What it will mean, in my opinion, is backing some individuals and groups who don't always and on everything agree with you or me. But where we're in agreement on 90% and a central part of that 90% is a REFORM AGENDA. Because the city is so locked down in one party control, it will have to happen in the primary elections not the general. I'm afraid that the endorsement of Silverman is not encouraging in this regard. I'm no expecting her to finish any hire than maybe fourth in the upcoming At-Large race. Yet GGW is "all in". Maybe there isn't an alternative. But if there isn't an alternative, it is shame on us for not finding one.

by Tom M on Mar 29, 2013 5:28 pm • linkreport

We tried having a city with crappy infrastructure and never adding anything that middle income or higher income residents would want.

Turns out no one wanted to live here.

by Hillman on Mar 29, 2013 5:41 pm • linkreport

For instance, this blog has written numerous articles on the racial discrepancies in bicycling.

Really? I can only remember one such post on that topic from a couple of years ago and I read this blog most days...whadd-i-miss?

by Tina on Mar 29, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

ok I just searched the site and there are some (articles on the racial discrepancies in bicycling), two a year? The most recent from bike to work day 2012. For a 6 day a week blog that doesn't seem like "numerous", more like "occasional". And iirc there is always lots of pushback on the pre-conceived notion that biking is a white thing. I don't think I've seen any convincing data to support it.

by Tina on Mar 29, 2013 6:14 pm • linkreport

For what it's worth, Howard Gillette Jr. wrote a book on this verysame topic in 2006, with a much deeper period of analysis than the last couple years.

- http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14255.html

cf. Kwame Brown's father's quote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/pondering-meaning-of-changing-dc-demographics/2011/03/30/AF02nCHD_story.html

but there are many more examples.

It's really about income, not race. Poorer people care about different things than people with more money. Although my understanding is that the poor care a lot more about recreation centers than the unpoor, who are more likely to be members of private gyms, have facilities in their multiunit buildings, etc.

by Richard Layman on Mar 29, 2013 6:24 pm • linkreport

...state-of-the-art swimming facilities.

This black official shows a deep disrespect to the hard work and considerable accomplishment over 30 years (and more) that the (largely black) professionals in DC's aquatics program has performed and achieved. The aquatics program in DC has gained international stature for promoting swimming among black youth.

This is a program that should be lauded by anyone but especially by a black official who claims to know what black people in DC care about -- this program makes its obvious that aquatics are valued in this city by the African American population it serves and especially by the African American professionals who run it so successfully.

He obviously doesn't have a kid on a DC Parks & Rec swim team and has never bothered to go observe a practice or attended meet.

I challenge you, anonymous black official, to go to Takoma Aquatic center 5:30-7:30pm any Tuesday or Thursday evening during swim season. Your notion that only white people care about state of the art swimming pools (which btw has the whiff of a racists' stereotype to it) will be tested.

Better yet, on the 3rd weekend of next Feb go to any pool thats hosting the Black History Month Invitational Swim Meet. See who's competing, see who's running the meet. You will be enlightened.

Read what USA Swimming wrote about DC's program on the 25th anniversary of the BHM Invitational (USA Swimming is the organizing body for the US Olympic Committee in swimming).

http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=3162&mid=8712

BTW -there are plenty of learn to swim classes for adults at convenient times if absence of that skill is informing your misconception about who values aquatics in DC. And, if you have a kid, get him/her into a learn to swim class. Its a potentially life saving skill.

by Tina on Mar 29, 2013 7:14 pm • linkreport

For the record, I work for the District government. I've been involved in trying to make the District a better place for every resident and visitor for 13 years. I've attended meetings and talked to people, in person, about their concerns and hopes for the future. While there are a few people who feel that race is the overriding factor in decision making, in my experience it is not. What they want are results. They want schools that work; they want trash picked up; they want to get from point A to point B. The woman that bikes from Fairfax Village to downtown had just as much of a right to want to get their safely as the man who drives from Spring Valley.

The District will spend $4.07 billion in Human Support Services. Billion. Twenty Percent of the entire District budget. 25 Percent. Still, we have hundreds of families in shelters or temporary housing, HIV/AIDS cases are at nigh epidemic proportions. We need to do better.

If the District doesn't do a good job at solving the complex social issues, it is not alone. That said, I think we've made progress in certain areas but we still have miles to go in others.

Like in most organizations, we have workers who want to effect positive change and others who don't care. As a resident and taxpayer, I am frustrated when the District fails. We have to do a better job or educating or rooting out those who inhibit the delivery of these critical services or the billions that we spend of human services will be indeed wasted.

by Randall M. on Mar 29, 2013 7:46 pm • linkreport

Randall:

Interesting post.

But I thought the entire DC budget was right at $10 billion.

Wouldn't that make $4.07 billion about 40% of the budget?

I've lived here 20 years.

I've seen the same failed policies implemented that entire time.

We use our social services resources very foolishly.

Like demanding that the Mitch Snyder homeless center be located on some of the world's most expensive real estate. In a decrepit terrible condition.

Instead of using that property as a revenue stream, and using the hundreds of millions that property would create in tax revenue to create far better homeless centers.

Nope.

Instead we demand that the homeless be 'kept visible' in a prominent political downtown location.

Ditto for our insistence on decrepit aging public housing complexes in very expensive neighborhoods.

by Hillman on Mar 31, 2013 8:32 am • linkreport

"The problem is the absolutists who think that "quality of life" is some optional thing that can be put on hold until regionl poverty has been eradicated."

Oboe - not quite sure what this means.

Could you elaborate?

by Hillman on Mar 31, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

Here's a good example of the genre:

A fancy dog park in a rich neighborhood just seems wasteful at a time when the city is having to freeze hiring for police officers and cut services to the poor. It appears to be somewhat of a Big Deal to Dupont residents, with people upset with the poor communication between DPR and the community regarding delays in construction. DPR is terrible with communication, I've had faster responses from the DC DMV and the Office of Tax and Revenue. And nothing compares to DCRA's less than 10-minute answers via Twitter. However, complaining about how your fancy expensive dog park is delayed makes you look a bit foolish when you have homeless people on the street just a few blocks away.
(http://whyihatedc.blogspot.com/2009/08/reader-submitted-fancy-dog-park-on-s.html)

If it's illegitimate to complain about things like construction delays for parks (or pools that are closed for months at a time, or alleys that are crumbling into disrepair) until such time as we don't "have homeless people on the street just a few blocks away", then it'll never be legitimate to complain about such things.

by oboe on Mar 31, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

Enough with the delusional bs spread by white D.C. leaders / residents old / new. D.C. African-Americans were never against "quality-of-life" improvements regarding public education, amenities such as recreation centers, pools, / so on. How one goes about doing something / the outcome always reveals accuracy about actual motives / beneficiaries. What D.C. African-Americans were against is whole-scale local white-controlled / bank-rolled political financial / economic terrorism deliberately launched to effectively force them out of long-time jobs, owned homes, affordable multi-family apt. units, small business commercial, retail / office space, / large-scale exodus out of the District of Columbia.

by D.A. Daniels on Mar 31, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

This is an excellent post. It is an issue that needs to be tackled seriously and properly.

by Donna J. Evans on Apr 1, 2013 9:18 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or

Support Us

How can our region be greater?

DC Maryland Virginia Arlington Alexandria Montgomery Prince George's Fairfax Charles Prince William Loudoun Howard Anne Arundel Frederick Tysons Corner Baltimore Falls Church Fairfax City
CC BY-NC