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Police HQ swap for DCU stadium?: A potential DC United stadium deal could have DC give Akridge its aging police HQ on Indiana Avenue, in exchange for Akridge's Buzzard Point land and Akridge building a new police HQ on city land. (WBJ)

Post wants "cheap" HQ, handouts: Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth wants to find a "cheap" place for their new headquarters, near the Capitol and courthouses. It could be DC or Virginia, and she hopes governments woo the paper with money. (City Paper)

The housing action is in cities: Single-family house prices will not rise much over 10 years, predicts housing index cofounder Robert Shiller. Most growth is in multifamily housing, since more people want to rent and live in walkable places. (Yahoo)

Single unemployed people don't buy homes: Other possible reasons fewer people are buying houses: young Americans are getting married later and are more likely to be unemployed. (UrbanTurf)

McAuliffe backs ethics panel: Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, has called for an independent state ethics panel. The FBI is looking at gifts given to Governor Bob McDonnell. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee, received gifts from the same donor and opposes an ethics panel or a gift ban. (Post)

Metro morsels: The Verizon Center will pay to keep Metro open late for the NHL playoffs. (Post) ... Please don't open Metro emergency doors; one rider did and it stretched a short delay into a very long one. (WAMU) ... The Red Line was severely delayed this morning due to a cracked rail near Rhode Island Ave. (Post)

Bike bits: The long-awaited M Street NW cycle tracks are coming this August. (WTOP) ... CaBi is coming to Montgomery County by late summer. (Post) ... Watch DC install a CaBi station at Wisconsin and O in Georgetown. (Patch)

Development dollops: 9 developers submitted proposals for Walter Reed, and DC narrowed the list to 5, while Hill East received only 1 proposal. (City Paper) ... The Wonder Bread factory in Shaw is almost done with renovations. (Elevation DC)

Forethought for Foxx: Former transportation secretaries give Anthony Foxx some advice, like listening to good people in the bureaucracy. ... Is there any way President Obama can make a difference on transportation? (Streetsblog)

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Nick Casey is a Project Manager at the Center for American Progress. He and his wife live in Takoma DC. Nick is originally from the west side of Cleveland and attended Denison University. His posts do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer.  

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Can we be clear about Virgnia -- it isn't that we need a gift ban. Virgnia law is very clear -- disclose everything -- which is why both McDonnell and Cooch are in big trouble. What we need is an independent counsel, not more laws.

Case-Schiller also had on update on DC and it confirmed his thesis -- prices have been stagnat for two months.

by charlie on May 1, 2013 9:01 am • linkreport

Have we all been hypnotized by Metro into believing their lame excuses for delays?

Please don't open Metro emergency doors

What should you do when the crackling, incomprehensible intercom says something that sounds like "evacuate"? My girlfriend was in the car where they opened the doors. She said the intercom and speakers, as with so many Metro cars, barely worked. They stood there in the dark for over 20 minutes, with the typical semi-comprehensible Metro announcements. First " **static** be **static** momentarily ", which we can all translate as Metro's favorite lie. Then " ***static** hold **static** control ***static***". Five minutes later **static** something brakes **static** apologize **static** delay." Then a Metro employee came through the car from one end to the other, saying nothing, and not responding to anyone's questions. A couple more minutes of silence. Then "**static** evacuate **static** train **static** something safety." At that point, a buzz went up through the car. "Did he say 'evacuate'?," someone asked. That's when a knot of passengers by a door began to discuss whether they should open it and evacuate. Why? Because Metro told them to evacuate. After another minute or two with no more announcements and no sign of any Metro personnel, they began to open the door. And just after they opened it, someone from Metro finally came in from the front of the car and began giving instructions to offload that way.

If Metro is unable and unwilling to communicate with passengers during its frequent lengthy breakdowns, or is going to make unclear announcements with words like "emergency" and "evacuate," it can't blame passengers for following the instructions they do have. And it shouldn't -- because sooner or later, the emergency is going to be a real, life-threatening one and if passengers are punished for taking the initiative now, they're not going to take the initiative when they need to do so to save lives.

by Bitter Brew on May 1, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

I dunno, maybe I am being overlysensitive but I definitely read into a bit of snark with "Post wants "cheap" HQ, handouts"

Of course they do. Every business does. It is up to the folks in charge to determine whether the overall payoff is worth it.

Lastly shall I say, that I have always found it curious that GGW pulls no punches in the wanting limitless "handouts" for public or "affordable" housing, but when it comes to attracting or keeping large employers with even larger tax bases in town, "handouts" are all of a sudden a enormous waste of taxpayer money.

by housing on May 1, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

housing, seems like a bluff though. This isn't some tech firm that needs to be wooed. The Washington Post can't exactly relocate to Topeka -- they are kind of tied to the area anyway. I'd also guess the vast bulk of their staff are involved in the actual printing (which according to my web sleuthing is in Springfield) and distribution side of things, so it's not like those people will even be moving.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

"Please don't open Metro emergency doors; one rider did and it stretched a short delay into a very long one".

So Metro gets a free pass here for being completely dysfunctional and not having proper measures to communicate to its riders?

by Tyler on May 1, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

charlie, actually we do need a ban on gifts (limited by dollar and family). It's corrupting even if you disclose it. The goal is often to influence and elected officials need to be removed from that.

by David C on May 1, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

@Housing

I am not hugely for affordable housing subsidies, not in the least. These are not even remotely similar comparisons here.

One is a place for people to live. The other is simple corporate welfare, not creating one job. Simply moving jobs across the river, and just enriching a big corporation, at the expense of local government. As simple as:

VA Revenues go up by 10x (payroll taxes etc) - 2x (subsidy) while DC revenues go down by 10X. The region as a whole is poorer by 2x, and Washington Post is richer by 2x. The idea of states in the same area competing with each other for jobs is simply destructive.

by Kyle-w on May 1, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

@DavidC; no, again, [deleted for violating the comment policy], but influencing elected officials is protected. That isn't the problem.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Old words but still true. What you need is to make sure it being disclosed, which is the problem in these two cases. How do you investigate (and area where Virginia is weak) and how to do penalize (which I don't think is covered under Virginia law)

Cooch's case seems to me something that should be fined heavily. What McDonnel did is far far worse.

by charlie on May 1, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

Metro to Passengers: Please don't open emergency doors.

Passengers to Metro: Please don't screw up every day.

Passengers win.

Seriously though, is there a running count of how many days it's been since Metro operated a complete weekday or services with zero major breakdowns (i.e. no disabled trains or single tracking)? I'd guess there hasn't been a day of marginally acceptable service in years.

by Adam L on May 1, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

the WaPo asking for handouts is particularly rich, given their deficit scold editorial line.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

Lets give the Post the congressional parking lots adjacent to the Capitol. A new HQ there would be a great use of the land and would give the press ideal access.

by MW on May 1, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

Adam L., I ahve no idea, and I don't think Metro would make those numbers publiclly known.

What I do know is that for the third morning in a row, there have been significant delays on my commute. First it was something on the Red line on monday. Yesterday, it was the Green line--which metro did a poor job of communicating to folks as the entered Green Line stations--then today a cracked rail on the red line which I was fortunate enough to miss, only to get caught on a train with malfunctioning doors, forcing the train to be offloaded. Makes my green line trip this morning where we kept stopping in tunnels for several minutes at a time without any communication from the drive seem like nothing.

I try to give metro the benefit of the doubt, but three times in three days, they've botched basic communications.

by Birdie on May 1, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

@MW

Perhaps someone can reach out to Mica and see if he can include the fact that Congress is using some of the most valuable land in the world for surface parking.

I don't think its a stretch to say the block of parking right at Capital South Metro station would go for as much as the Georgetown Heating Plant went for. Those lots by Union station are bigger and may be worth even more.

by Kyle-w on May 1, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

I don't know if you realize it, but influencing elected officials is protected.

Lobbying is protected. Trading votes for gifts is not.

by David C on May 1, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@Kyle

While I'm not a fan of corporate subsidies, there's a reasonable comparison to be made between corporate subsidies and housing subsidies. WaPo really can't afford downtown DC rents and they are being gentrified out of their longtime rental space just like many residents can't afford rising housing rents. While corporate subsidies add few (if any) net jobs to the metro region, housing subsidies add few (if any) net residents to the metro region.

The argument for housing subsidies is that there is a benefit to having a mix of people that includes folks like artists, etc. who couldn't otherwise afford to live here. There's also a fairness argument that the longtime renters who have helped DC become what it is today shouldn't get priced out of the area where they've established so many ties.

Similarly, there's an argument for having a mix of employers for increased diversification and reduced dependence on a single industry -- government. Futhermore, a longtime tenant like the WaPo has helped make the city what it is today just like longtime residents. Institutions add to a city's fabric just like residents.

While they're not identical, corporate subsidies and housing subsidies are in the same ballpark. I'd agree there's less of a case for corporate subsidies but I think drawing the parallel is an interesting way of re-thinking the case for housing subsidies. Once you get on the slippery slope of subsidies, everyone wants one.

by Falls Church on May 1, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

Lobbying is protected. Trading votes for gifts is not.

Or, more accurately, free speech is protected and lobbying is a form of free speech. Gifts are not speech.

by Falls Church on May 1, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

I think it's protected by the "right to petition" but that may be part of free speech.

by David C on May 1, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

"While corporate subsidies add few (if any) net jobs to the metro region, housing subsidies add few (if any) net residents to the metro region."

Housing subsidies benefit people living in hardship, who need a place to live. They are not so much about changing where the poor live.

If private employers are suffering too much financial hardship in a given jurisdiction, the logical approach is to simply cut their taxes. For all employers. If they are not, then bidding for them with special benefits, does not make sense (except for the beggar thy neighbor reasons).

The same could be said about helping the poor. Except in many cases its not possible to assist them with tax cuts aimed specifically at the poor - as the are too poor to pay local income taxes, or there are constraints on localities ability to have progressive tax codes.

I would strongly agree that in the case of elderly homeowners being forced out by rising assessments, a tax break (applied to the entire class) is a much more logical approach to enabling them to stay in a jurisdiction than a subsidy is.

"Similarly, there's an argument for having a mix of employers for increased diversification and reduced dependence on a single industry -- government."

Im not sure it makes much difference to the employment possibilities for DC residents if WaPo is in NoMa or in Crystal City. And DC has LOTS of non-govt jobs, that are connected to govt - Im not sure that WaPo is diversification in the same way that a tech firm would be.

"Futhermore, a longtime tenant like the WaPo has helped make the city what it is today just like longtime residents. Institutions add to a city's fabric just like residents."

Do you mean as a paper, or as a local tenant downtown? As a newspaper they will be essentially the same in their relationship to DC whether they are in NoMa or in Crystal C. As a local tenant downtown? have they made that big an impact? Maybe worth something (bars where tough old reporters hang out probably DO add to urban flavor) but not a lot, I don't think.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Not sure where to share this so just posting it here.
_____________________

Around a year ago I signed up for the Metro alerts for my P6 and 80 bus lines. I would maybe receive one every other week or so telling of a delay, accident, protest, something. But for the past (about) three months I have received them everyday for the P6 line. And EVERYDAY it's the exact same one:

90, 92, P6: Due to traffic congestion on the 11th St Bridge, buses are experiencing up to 20 minute delays.

Everyday. While I live in NE and it doesn't affect me directly, I still am curious and shocked to see this EVERYDAY. Didn't that whole mess get redesigned recently? What's going-on with that 11th Street Bridge?

Thanks for any info!

by Shipsa01 on May 1, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

Doesnt Washington Post own their building? They aren't being priced out. They are trying to make a profit with one hand and asking for a subsidy with the other. For the price they could get for prime real esate I'm sure they could easily relocate to NE or SE somewhere.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

11th St bridge has been under construction since like forever hasn't it? I don't live down there but I'm pretty sure construction is the likely cause of congestion.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

For some reason I thought it had finished, but maybe you're right and it's only in the midst of construction. I should go check out JDLand's page; I'm sure she has up-to-date info.

Thanks!

by Shipsa01 on May 1, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

You're right, Alan - only one phase was completed, but there's a lot more to go. Looks like I'll be getting these alerts until 2015! From JDLand:

This Anacostia River crossing is made up of two spans, and is undergoing a four-year reconstruction. The up-river spans, which opened by early 2012, carry "freeway" traffic in both directions and add new ramps to and from DC-295, while the down-river span that opened partially in May, 2012 has two-way "local" traffic to and from downtown Anacostia. Light-rail can also be accommodated on the local span. A second phase with additional movements is expected to be completed by late 2015. See the project web site for information on the reconfiguration plans on the east side of the river.

by Shipsa01 on May 1, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

@Falls Church -- Similarly, there's an argument for having a mix of employers for increased diversification and reduced dependence on a single industry -- government.

People say things like this on GGW comments all the time, but it always feels to me like the federal government actually increases the diversity of the kinds of jobs available. Places like DOT, HUD, Interior, etc. employ people with all kinds of areas of expertise, because they have to. By contrast, private non-retail employers downtown are pretty heavily focused around law/lobbying and journalism/media.

That's why it bugs me when I see GGW commenters cheerleading for things like kicking the FBI out of the District and getting more private office employers. I think the federal presence actually makes it a lot more likely for people who aren't lawyers or lobbyist/advocates or reporters to be able to work in the region's core, and that's something that's important for the future as the more suburbia-oriented birth cohorts increasingly age out of the workforce.

by iaom on May 1, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

The scheme to tie building a public safety campus along with with providing land for the DC United stadium sounds incredibly complex, but also brilliant. It brings value to all sides, and should insulate the project from a lot of political attacks. If Akridge gets some properties out of the deal with better development prospects, no one can really object very strenuously, given that the city would get needed, expensive facilities without having to budget for them.

This news comes just as a few commentators are sounding off about giving away land for the stadium, which could be used to build more housing. Aside from a dleusional belief in the feasibility of building a lot of housing on the site of a former power plant (and the article doesn't even touch on what PEPCO is demanding for its property), those criticisms miss the mark. There isn't housing go up there now. The team's plans do include building some apartments, as well as a pub and possibly a theater, offering some streetlife in an area that is way off the beaten path. It will also touch off a fair amount of ancillary development that will complement what's already happening on the other side of South Capitol. So, the stadium project would bring more housing, and certainly more quickly than would happen without it.

Even if some land gets turned over to a sports team, the city will reap benefits on multiple fronts, including more development around the stadium, along with the income coming from whatever Akridge does with the properties it will get in the deal. Throw in the prospect of the developer footing the bill for constructing the new public safety campus, and this becomes one of the best, creative ideas in a long time. instead of being a way to get a stadium built for a sports team, it becomes a way to get a shiny new public safety campus built, with the stadium being a bonus.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 1, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

Housing subsidies benefit people living in hardship, who need a place to live. They are not so much about changing where the poor live.

There are different kinds of housing subsidies. I wasn't referring to Section 8 which targets people living in hardship. I'm talking about affordable housing for people who have the money to pay their old rental rates but can't afford the new rates. That's the kind of subsidy the Mayor is referring to with his plan for $100M toward affordable housing. These are subsidies for the working class, not the poor.

As a local tenant downtown? have they made that big an impact?

I meant as a local tenant and I think they've made a significant impact. Washington is a news town and the WaPo is as big a part of that as any other news institution. There's something cool about being physically close to big, important institutions and that's part of the fabric/character.

Im not sure it makes much difference to the employment possibilities for DC residents if WaPo is in NoMa or in Crystal City.

It makes more of a difference to the city's tax base but at the margin, it also makes a difference to residents.

Maybe worth something (bars where tough old reporters hang out probably DO add to urban flavor) but not a lot, I don't think.

I think it adds just as much as bars where congressional staffers hang out and I don't think anyone would dispute that having Congress in the city is a big part of DC's culture/character.

Doesnt Washington Post own their building? They aren't being priced out.

Ok, fair enough. That refutes my entire argument about the WaPo in particular (although I'm sure WaPo's property tax assessments have gone up a ton). However, I'll stand by my argument that there is a parallel between corporate subsidies and working class housing subsidies in general and they share many of the same drawbacks.

by Falls Church on May 1, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

Sorry, Falls Church, it's just not the same to me. One is a company looking to cash out on prime real estate and at the same time asking for a bribe to stay in the city. The other are people who are facing very tumultous changes to their lives. There is no reason the paper can't just build a new campus in SE somewhere. The reporting is not going to change, I'd bet most reporters don't even go into HQ these days given the state of telecommunications and the shortness of the news cycle. The whole thing is backwards, DC doesn't need WashPo, WashPo is the one that needs DC.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

"There are different kinds of housing subsidies. I wasn't referring to Section 8 which targets people living in hardship. I'm talking about affordable housing for people who have the money to pay their old rental rates but can't afford the new rates. That's the kind of subsidy the Mayor is referring to with his plan for $100M toward affordable housing. These are subsidies for the working class, not the poor."

well I saw you as saying corp subsidies in general, vs housing subsidies in general. Workforce housing is something different - though many of those (as in FFX) are specifically aimed at local govt workers, for example. Id say its only a portion of all housing subsidies aimed specifically at workforce (excluding local govt).

They are more similar to corp subsidies, but still different. Its reasonably arguable that working class long time renters in DC are NOT particularly benefiting from changes in the city (and therefore housing subsidies achieve buy in for positive change, as well as making thing more of a win-win for all) I think its hard to argue that most long time businesses are not. In particular I think its hard to argue that WaPo has not benefited, as a business, from the changes to DC and the metro area - the growth has contributed to their revenues, much more than its impacted their office space opportunity cost. Their problem is not office space cost - its the collapse of their business model. The analogy would be a housing subsidy targeted at people with one particular skill set thats no longer in demand.

Im not sure the point about congress. I dont think the jurisdiction should bid for congress either. I dont know that locating congress in crystal city would lessen its impact on MOST areas of DC. Also, I would note there is only one congress. There are several media organizations, many of which are located in DC and have no intention of leaving. NPR just built a new HQ in NoMa - did they get a special deal from DC?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 12:35 pm • linkreport

That's why it bugs me when I see GGW commenters cheerleading for things like kicking the FBI out of the District and getting more private office employers. I think the federal presence actually makes it a lot more likely for people who aren't lawyers or lobbyist/advocates or reporters to be able to work in the region's core, and that's something that's important for the future as the more suburbia-oriented birth cohorts increasingly age out of the workforce.

Problem is you can't tax the federal government, and most government employees (particularly those who aren't white collar) are not going to live in the city, so you can't tax their income. So keeping the FBI building in the middle of the city is a subsidy to the suburbs paid for by DC residents. Replace it with a private employer and you can tax the private business, and have a greater share of employees to tax as well.

by oboe on May 1, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church,

I'm talking about affordable housing for people who have the money to pay their old rental rates but can't afford the new rates. That's the kind of subsidy the Mayor is referring to with his plan for $100M toward affordable housing.

Is it? I'm not sure I saw this anywhere.

by oboe on May 1, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

oboe: Problem is you can't tax the federal government, and most government employees (particularly those who aren't white collar) are not going to live in the city, so you can't tax their income.

Aren't we supposed to be planning for a future where more and more people want to live in the city? Isn't that one of the things this blog is about? So why ruin that possibility for decades to come by locating things where it's really hard for people who live in the city to get to?

And I don't care about not being able to tax the federal government. Being the location of the government is what a capital city is for.

by iaom on May 1, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

I mean, seriously, this blog is all about celebrating rising generations of people wanting to live in the city, and yet some of you act like "government employees live in the suburbs" is some eternal truism that we should rely on for our distant future planning.

by iaom on May 1, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

So, if the mayor's Office can pull off this swap to give Akridge new properties to develop, giving DC United the land to build a stadium, and getting a fully paid-for new headquarters for Police, Fire and EMS -- they will deserve lots of proaise...

...And linking it the story that is getting all the comments...maybe the city can also give the old Police HQ bldg on Indiana to the Washington Post in a sweetheart deal, for their new digs -- near the city's Judiciary Square campus, all the courts, and the Congress...?

Win, win, win and win.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 1, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

1. the fbi was never going to stay on Penn ave anyway. they are not being kicked out.

2. the idea is not to reduce the amount of office space and employment in DC. Its based on their being real demand for office space anywhere the FBI might reasonably be put

3. If the govt sticks to their announced plans, and puts the FBI close to a metro station, near the beltway, it will still be accessible for DC residents.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

One is a company looking to cash out on prime real estate and at the same time asking for a bribe to stay in the city. The other are people who are facing very tumultous changes to their lives. There is no reason the paper can't just build a new campus in SE somewhere.

Couldn't the folks getting gentrified out of say, Eckington/Shaw/H St/Trinidad, also move to SE/EOTR somewhere?

The fact that WaPo owns their offices does change the equation. However, if they were renters getting priced out, would they be any more deserving of a subsidy?

The whole thing is backwards, DC doesn't need WashPo, WashPo is the one that needs DC.

I'd say the same is true of the folks receiving the planned $100M in affordable housing subsidies. They need/want DC a lot more than DC needs them.

I don't want to be cold-hearted about people who's rents have gone up. But, their situation is not so much more deserving than institutions' who's rents have gone up (and I think we can agree that the institutions are not deserving at all).

by Falls Church on May 1, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

iaom, another problem is that the FBI doesn't want to be in the city anymore. They want to be someplace where they can build a fortress with a big setback to keep terrorists who have shown zero interest in blowing up FBI buildings (Arlington Road excluded) from blowing up the FBI building. That isn't really suitable for the city, so the FBI isn't really suitable for the city.

by David C on May 1, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

iaom, the blog has discussed at length about transit-friendly locations. There were specific safety requirements that made any new construction somewhat incompatible with urban development. Some people will just have to learn to reverse commute.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

"Couldn't the folks getting gentrified out of say, Eckington/Shaw/H St/Trinidad, also move to SE/EOTR somewhere?"

Not to near SE, which WaPo can probably afford.

"However, if they were renters getting priced out, would they be any more deserving of a subsidy?"

if there is a general problem with employers being forced out by rising commercial rents, that needs to be addressed. In fact GGW has looked at the impact of the height limit on commercial rents, etc. I suppose we could have affordable office buildings set aside for certain businesses. I am not sure that would be feasible. However subsidies targeted to specific companies are NOT like housing subsidies. Do we have specific individuals making a public case for personal subsidies? I dont think so - I think all such subsidies are rendered to a class of people, on objective grounds.

"I don't want to be cold-hearted about people who's rents have gone up. But, their situation is not so much more deserving than institutions' who's rents have gone up (and I think we can agree that the institutions are not deserving at all)."

IE, you dont like workforce housing programs. Got that. I dont think this discussion of the WaPo is a logical place to make the case for that - its not at all the same thing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

It's all about adapatability. A large newspaper corporation is in a much better place to adjust than a person working at minimum wage (to do jobs that we all benefit from every day) to find a favorable solution.

Below is an excerpt in the City Paper:
"Now that the printing presses are not in the building, we don't have any constraints," Weymouth said. "We'd like a building that's a little bit lighter, a little more air."

Post executives haven't ruled out renovating their current building, but Weymouth indicated that she's eager to get out of there, or at least to undergo a substantial renovation. "It's depressing and it's old and it's time," she said.

Now really do you not see the difference in the two issues? The paper is fishing for money, it's not facing eviction.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

I was using the FBI thing as an example of the general contempt people on here have for the federal government being in the city, revolving around the three ideas that (1) it doesn't pay taxes, (2) federal employees will always and forever be suburbanites, and (3) the federal government is some kind of monolithic "industry" that reduces diversity of job types when in actuality it is an employer of people with a hugely diverse set of skills. The third one was actually my main point (which is why it was the first paragraph in my first post), the anti-FBI cheerleading was just an aside.

by iaom on May 1, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

Actually that ties in well with another thought of mine that DC needs to drastically diffuse it's business districts. Downtown is too constrained, we need to look at developing new commercial districts in NE and SE (Anacostia, Rhode Island Ave, Minnssota Ave, Fort Totten etc.). It looks like hopefully Walter Reed and Reservation 13 are including commercial aspects, really all large redevelopment plans should be required to do so.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

"I'd say the same is true of the folks receiving the planned $100M in affordable housing subsidies. They need/want DC a lot more than DC needs them.

Exactly,

DC has/does/will continue to spend untold millions every year subsidizing the rents of those who can afford to live elsewhere, but would rather not. A subsidy generally so high as to cocmpletely cancel out anytaxable benefits the city might realize with their continued presence.

I spent my young to middle adult years moving around to new locations in which I could afford. Silly me should have just gone downtown and applied for a housing subsidy so I could live in whatever DC neighborhood I desired.

The Post employs ~900 people in their headquarters building, and booked ~4 billion in revenue last year. I am not saying the District should sell the farm, but there is a lot of taxable revenue, both corporate and employee to be lost to the District Treasury if they were to move into MD or VA.

DC needs taxpaying corporate organizations a lot more than an entire subset of people who could make the adult decision to simply live where they can afford. But since they don't, and the District enables them, we need taxable corporate funds to pay for all of it.

by housing on May 1, 2013 1:12 pm • linkreport

I can't think of any other "anti-government" screeds. Can you give an example? GGW is pretty generally pro locating government facilities centrally/near transit.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

This needs to be repeated,

The FBI is moving not because DC doesn't want them. It's because their site requirements are too onerous to work in most places in the city. It's the FBI that is the uncompromising one here.

I'll repeat,

The only reason the FBI is moving is because they decided that what they need in an HQ couldn't really fit into the city. Not without tremendous opportunity costs to the city.

by drumz on May 1, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

I was using the FBI thing as an example of the general contempt people on here have for the federal government being in the city, revolving around... the federal government is some kind of monolithic "industry" that reduces diversity of job types when in actuality it is an employer of people with a hugely diverse set of skills.

I don't know what you're talking about. I don't think any such contempt exists here.

by David C on May 1, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

"DC needs taxpaying corporate organizations a lot more than an entire subset of people who could make the adult decision to simply live where they can afford."

AFAICT the number of poor and working class residents in DC is declining, despite affordable housing programs, and Mayor Greys commitment will not change that. Is it really so important to have the number of people with incomes under 60% of AMI decrease even faster? Will doing so really decrease the resistance to desirable change, or will it increase it?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

I'm not a lawyer but isn't tax imposed on profits not revenue. Not to say that tax base isn't an important consideration, but the idea that jurisdictions should be undercutting eachother to bring or keep businesses in the area can quickly become dangerous and mutually defeating. Anyway according to Wikipedia, The Washington Post Company is incorporated in Delaware so it sounds like we are discussing a non-issue.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

Oh my name is Kathy, Im a Weymouth
This used to be my hood, down on L Street
I fell on hard times, it happens, ya know?
Now Da Man he wants to turn my place into a condo.
All them fancy white lobbyists, drinking lattes
I just need a beer and to read a press release
they won't give me a handup to get to NoMa
So arlington it will be - me and yo ma.
Its like a new apartheid, no broadsheets in DC
Where im going there aint no GoGo, for me
but them rich folks will still come out to buy
the open air market for elitist editorials,
is still sky high

by Gentrification Rap on May 1, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

@Alan,

It is all well and good for you to take your moral highground and say jurisdictions shouldn't compete with each other for business. But alas, the simple fact of the truth is, and that they do and DC has been on the losing end for quite some time, while FFX and Montgomery County laugh all the way to the bank. And then with the majority of GGW in agreement, we float 30 million dollar incentive packages to coupon companies who have never shown a taxable profit, employ fewer DC residents than the Post all while losing half a billion a year.

Safety nets cost money. They aren't woven out of magic. Just like other targeted corporate subsidies (Target in Columbia Heights), whatever they would offer WaPo would probably be offset by the standard gains to the District treasury in a year or less.

Also, the "delaware loophole" only reduces, not eliminates the taxable exposure for a corporation in a given state.

by housing on May 1, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

Well as a resident of the district I do feel somewhat entitled to weigh in on our policy. Do you disagree? You are also clearly biased so I'm not going to waste much more time on this. There is nothing wrong with the city making an informed decision, but it sets a dangerous precedent for the city to jump everytime a company threatens to leave, especially when it's not a terribly realistic threat at the moment.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

Im not so sure that it pays ffx
to give $ to corps, out of my tax
but if the money comes from the commonwealth
well that does not impact my health
and makes the gov look good, thats politics
for when he runs in two zero one six
many corps would come here anyway
and the lower taxes may have a say
if dc wants to cut its corp tax rate
that may help them, against my state
but giving a coupon to living social
bad idea as it was, does not at all
mean every other giveaway makes sense
or will payback, in a year or less

by Fairfax Rap on May 1, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport

housing: There is no monolithic "GGW believes," but here are the articles that were on GGW about the LivingSocial deal:

Will LivingSocial help build a tech hub in DC?

LivingSocial tax deal needs stronger hiring requirements to grow a tech hub in DC

Both, by Ken, were skeptical of the tax break.

It's worth remembering that since DC can't tax out of state income (unlike every state), there's no value to attracting "knowledge economy" jobs per se. Their value is in attracting residents. If there were no jobs in DC then fewer people would live in DC. But having offices at a Metro station outside DC and condos in DC is the revenue maximizing approach.

At the moment the city is bursting at the seams and housing prices are shooting up, so that doesn't seem to be a big problem.

(DC does need jobs for its unemployed residents, but that is a different yet important issue.)

by David Alpert on May 1, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

@Alan,

Sure, weigh in all you like. But as I am also a resident of the District, I can also weigh in that every state in the nation plays this game, and has for awhile and it is frustrating as a District taxpayer to have watched billions in taxable income and untold thousands of jobs over the past 10-15 years be lost to the burb's because DC didn't want to play the game.

@David Alpert,

The city "was" bursting at the seams. All gains the past 4 years were recession gains from other parts of the country where people had no other option.

The Districts 1200 new residents a month from 2010 and 2011 (up from 200 residents a month in 2008) has already fallen to 900 new residents a month, and continues to fall. The "gains" DC made the past 4 years are the same "gains" Wall Street made from 2001-2007, unsustainable and now lost for ever.

Ignoring the Districts corporate needs is foolhardy and incredibly shortsighted.

by housing on May 1, 2013 2:53 pm • linkreport

"One is a company looking to cash out on prime real estate and at the same time asking for a bribe to stay in the city. The other are people who are facing very tumultous changes to their lives. "

Not necessarily.

A huge chunk of our housing budget goes to second and now third generation people in public housing.

There is no change in their lives if it's just another ten years of living with someone else paying the bills, subsidizing your children, etc.

by Hillman on May 1, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

"All gains the past 4 years were recession gains from other parts of the country where people had no other option."

the other option was to live in the suburbs of DC and commute, which in the past is what they would have done. While the stronger parts of NoVa have done well the last few years, its been slightly less true in MoCo and the weaker parts of NoVa, and not at all true in PG. In fact today there are even reverse commuters from DC.

And Im still not sure I get why recovery in the rest of the country would weaken DC. Are the folks who've moved to DC unemployed? Presumably as new jobs are created they will mostly be filled by the currently unemployed.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 2:59 pm • linkreport

"A huge chunk of our housing budget goes to second and now third generation people in public housing"

Falls church above, who made the corp subsidy housing subsidy parallel, explicitly said he was talking about workforce type housing, not section 8 for the poorest.

Are we going to compare WaPo subsidies to EVERY single housing program? Are people so craving a place to discuss housing subsidies that they have to use a post about the WaPo to do it?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 1, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

@iaom:

And I don't care about not being able to tax the federal government. Being the location of the government is what a capital city is for.

As a native District resident who cares about its longterm fiscal solvency, I *do* care about the opportunity costs involved in having a massive, over-secured Federal campus in the heart of walkable downtown which will displace housing and taxable private sector commerce for at least another half-century.

Fighting to keep the FBI building downtown is as silly and counterproductive as fighting to get the Redskins to open a training facility in Reservation 13.

by oboe on May 1, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

Pretty sure Section 8 a federal program anyway? That would make it not even apples and oranges, maybe like apples and turnips.

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

I don't like jurisdictional competition for companies, either, but it's a fact of life. And I think that DC needs to do everything reasonable to keep WaPo jobs in the city. Perhaps not all of the employees live in DC, but it certainly benefits the city to have those jobs here -- many of them the kind of "creative class" jobs that Richard Florida talks about. Washington's economic growth engine can't survive on barista and trendy retail jobs alone.

by Ron on May 1, 2013 3:16 pm • linkreport

Well we do have the gov't here in DC, the three branches of government aren't moving anywhere any time soon. But there are plenty of government facilities that exist outside of DC (and all over the country) for various reasons.

There are good and bad reasons why this happens but the FBI (or the CDC in Atlanta, or the FAA in Leesburg) isn't a foundational part of our democracy so there is probably room to balance between what's best for the city and what the larger requirements of being the capital are.

by drumz on May 1, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

Eh isn't Florida the one that thinks you decide where you want to live first and then find a job that available in that location? ;)

by Alan B. on May 1, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

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