Housing Complex

An Imagined, Albeit Real, Conversation about Barack Hussein Obama Park


And he thinks health care is causing trouble!

This is what we talk about when we don't actually talk to each other.

Last Tuesday, Councilmember Jim Graham announced that he was proposing legislation to re-name a newly renovated oasis of park benches, young trees, and rubberized basketball surface in Columbia Heights.

At an official opening day celebration, a local group passed out ballots for new park names—Obama was the choice namesake. Another option "Jim Graham" wasn't.

But the councilmember still followed up with the bill.

Little did he know what that would bring–a conversation conducted on local listservs and blog and newspaper comment boards lasting until...?

But of course, you don't want to read that. So, let's just imagine it taking place in real time. These are all actual comments—Check the link proof!

Councilmember Jim Graham: The park is a jewel...That park should be renamed in honor of our president. [Washington Post]

Washingtonian: Jim Graham, please go away. This measure will not assure you any votes!!! [Washington Post commenter]

Washingtonian: Shouldn't Mr. Graham be working on more important issues like crime, the budget crisis, and oh, I dunno, METRO? [Washington Post commenter]

Robert J. Kabel  DC Republican Committee Chairman: As reported in a June 26th interview with WTOP’s Mark Plotkin, Graham has not ridden on a Metro Rail since the Fall of 2008. [ Letter from Kabel]

Graham: [The Park] has a great basketball court...Hopefully, the new president will use it." [Washington Post]

Washington Post: It may harder than Graham thinks to rename the park. According to the D.C. Code, "No public space in the District shall be named in honor of any living person..." [Washington Post]

Graham: Not so. [South Columbia Heights Listserv]

Washingtonian: Councilman Graham has either (a) lost his damn mind, (b) become a shameless opportunist, or (c) received pressure from some constituent(s) who suffer(s) from either (a) or (b). Oh, and here’s some more parenthesis ()))(()(( [Washington City Paper commenter]

Graham: For years, the Council has been naming "public spaces" after living persons.  [South Columbia Heights Listserv]

Washingtonian: This is Grahamstanding at its finest. [Washington City Paper commenter]

Graham: The Council in the last year "renamed" roadways to honor Kathy Hughes and Chuck Brown. One of my first acts as a Councilmember in 1999 was to successfully sponsor a bill naming the alley next to Ben's Chili Bowl "Ben Ali Way" to honor the restaurant's founders. All these folks are happily still with us!  [South Columbia Heights Listserv]

Washingtonian: This is what happens in a mostly black city when a very white, very gay man tries to suck up to black voters. [Washington Post commenter]

Robert J. Kabel, DC Republican Committee Chairman: If you feel the need to name a park in your Ward after a famous African American elected official, the DC Republican Committee suggests you consider DC’s native Edward Brooke who served in the US Senate from Massachusetts. [ Letter from Kabel]

Washingtonian : President Obama won't apprciate the inclusion of "Hussein" in naming any public facility after him. [Washington Post commenter]

Civic activist Gary Imhoff: This would be something of an insult to any president...the park is just a basketball court with a seating area, and its most prominent feature is a pair of restrooms. [Washington City Paper blog]

Washingtonian: It would be more fitting...to rename DC's Meridian Hill Park (a federal park) after President Obama. Can you imagine that amazing park with a huge statue of him overlooking the cascading fountains? [South Columbia Heights Listserv]

Washingtonian: It totally should be called "Jose Jiminez Memorial Park" to honor our very first Hispanic astronaut.  [Washington Post commenter]

Washington City Paper staffer Jason Cherkis: Why not name something after Hilda Mason? [Washington City Paper blog]

Washingtonian: I think whatever we end up naming it should have something to do with the neighborhood. [South Columbia Heights Listserv]

Washingtonian: Where I grew up in NYC, we just called the neighborhood park skater's park because that's where everyone roller skated. [Washington Post commenter]

Oh, and we haven't even touched on the fact that the park, which "opened" earlier this month, was closed to the public during parts of last week.

Image by Mike McCaffrey, Flickr Creative Commons