City Desk

Chatter: Paid in China

eb5What you said about what we said in our June 27 issue

In a rare moment of agreement, Washington City Paper readers have sounded in accord, and on a somewhat unlikely topic: a little-known federal visa program. In our June 27 cover story, Aaron Wiener reported on EB-5, which grants green cards to foreigners in exchange for their hefty investment in U.S. development projects, and the role it’s played in D.C. real estate. Turns out that, to a lot of readers, this exchange is kind of gross.

On Twitter, @ryanjweber summed up the unease: “So I guess you can kinda sorta buy a green card.” The cash-for-status exchange also rubbed @parkyhee the wrong way. “Want to be an American citizen? With enough money, you can be!”

The story caused some readers to pose additional questions. “Is this an artificial layer of development, or true demand-based construction?” @jbrindger asked. But mostly folks just wanted to declare their displeasure. “U.S. cities up for sale!” tweeted @DCbarragan. “An appalling fed. law. No regard for fairness, equality & sovereignty. Few win, millions lose.”

Up Against a Mall

Some applauded the decision of the National Park Service and other entities to restrict the use of the National Mall for large-scale events, detailed by Kriston Capps. “I’m a D.C. resident and am sick of the Mall’s dirt wasteland being an embarrassment to the District,” writes commenter RM. “A special events space should be built to handle these large festivals, not the National Mall. Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean people are entitled to destroy and deteriorate [the] public realm for everyone else. I have also been to many of these festivals and most of the time they are little more than a large flea market.”

One reader, though, saw something more troubling in the plot to protect the grass. “Now they restricted major events, soon will be the right to group and protest,” writes Lu me. “There will be no place to free speech in the Capital of the freest country in the world.”

Department of Corrections

Due to a reporting error, last week’s cover story gave the wrong amount of EB-5 funding in D.C.’s Marriott Marquis project. It was $5 million, not $25 million, as a document provided by city officials incorrectly indicated. And due to a reporting error, the arts feature on the National Mall originally stated that the Trust for the National Mall spent $16 million on turf restoration. Actually, the federal government spent $16 million, and the trust managed the project. Also, a recent arts feature on drummer and photographer Jason Hamacher contained numerous reporting errors. The story incorrectly reported that Hamacher traveled alone for several months after a tour with Good Clean Fun, when it was several weeks; a trip to Turkey wasn’t part of a tour with the (International) Noise Conspiracy tour, but between tours; he read a book by William Dalrymple two years before a phone call with Bill Nesper, not a few weeks; a run-in with a group of angry gentlemen at a mosque was on his second trip to Syria, not his first; he met with Syria’s Grand Mufti in 2007, not 2006; he photographed the Jewish headstones in 2008, not 2007; he formed his habit of walking around at night on tours with Battery, not Frodus; he was never signed to Dischord Records, but he spent a lot of time at the Dischord house. Hamacher is also not a “strict” vegetarian.

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