City Desk

Chatter: Apple Cider Libertarians

corccoverWhat you said about what we said last week

D.C.’s heritage produce and small-batch kombucha sector is booming, and the District government is starting to catch up: In last week’s Young & Hungry column, Jessica Sidman reported on a new battery of fees and regulations to which local farmers’ markets must now adhere. The first commenter on the story chose an appropriate handle. “This is so infuriating and Lame Duck Gray ain’t gonna do a thing about it,” wrote Grrrrrrr. “It reminds me of the bad old days in D.C. when it was a million times harder to open and run a business in D.C. than in the burbs.”

Also on the libertarian tip: “This is why D.C. can’t have nice things,” tweeted Heritage Foundation fundraiser Nathaniel Ward. “Whenever we get nice things like farmers’ markets, regulators step in.” And from U.S. Chamber of Commerce blogger Sean Hackbarth: “What’s the problem D.C. bureaucrats want to solve w/ all these new rules?”

Back in the comments, some readers pushed back. “In case you didn’t notice, DC isn’t a farm or rural area,” wrote Corky. “These foods are being trucked in, so they are not exactly fresh from the farm. If you are selling oysters, unpasteurized milk, and cheeses, there is a huge potential for food-borne illness.” Reader Coqui: “If there were no rules and some vendor caused a listeria or salmonella outbreak, everyone would be crying for more regulation. No one is ever happy in this town.”

On the Horn

A hostage crisis in the Horn of Africa has some collateral victims: the members of the Eritrean diaspora who must pay their relatives’ ransoms. They include thousands of Eritreans in the D.C. area, some of whose stories Ben Gittleson spotlighted in an article last week. Some readers shared their own encounters with the kidnappings. “This has happened to members of my family back in Eritrea, too. You never want to get one of those phone calls man,” tweeted Aron Yohannes.

As Michael Woldemariam, a Boston University international relations professor who studies the Horn of Africa, tweeted, Eritrean immigrants are also victims. The story, he wrote, “conveys important point: Diaspora has also been victim of trafficking. And not just in economic terms. Heavy emotional costs too.”

The OK Canal

The stretch of the C&O Canal winding through Georgetown has fallen into disuse and disrepair, a state some blame for the neighborhood’s economic dead zone below M Street NW. Last week’s Housing Complex column inspired some wistfulness in the comments. “I remember when there was more retail south of M (and the canal),” wrote Chris in Eckington. “There was Chelsea’s, a dance club on Thomas Jefferson Street that had previously been a Champagne bar, and then there was the old discount movie theater in the basement of one of the office buildings. And then there was the popular Music City Roadhouse on 30th Street.” And: “I once lived on the canal, in a house I shared with three other roommates,” wrote Jean. My memories are great—albeit the rats that ran from house to house...over beams that connected houses. Also the fun observing the evening canal boats passing by with visitors (tourists), or locals who wanted to enjoy the scene. It was a great place to live and I shall cherish those days to my last.”

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