Housing Complex

Marion Barry Calls For Gentrification Commission

Mr. Barry holds court. (Lydia DePillis)

It was a conversation that promised to be interesting, with this headline: DOES GENTRIFICATION MEAN ERADICATION? The office of Councilmember Marion Barry convened a panel of Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and community members last night to chew over the question, and at his behest, a group of interested citizens will continue to chew it over and maybe even come up with some recommendations.

Without quoting soundbites from the many speeches—which ranged from the platitudinous to the pointed and impassioned—let me break out the major takeaways.

  1. Given that white people aren't really moving into Ward 8 to any measurable degree, the discussion didn't dwell on race. Though that was an undercurrent, the fear of gentrification—helpfully defined on the meeting's agenda in terms of displacement—centered more around the potential for investment to price older residents out.
  2. Also given that wealth isn't exactly flowing east of the river yet, displacement doesn't seem to be an imminent threat. But H Street Main Street director Anwar Saleem, along with several longtime H Street business owners, were there to remind the crowd that the new people can come before you realize it, and you may not be able to expect help from elected officials (they're none too happy with a new retail incentive program that excludes barbershops, hair salons, phone stores, and liquor stores*).
  3. The most raw split is between those who see poverty as something that's almost impossible to escape and in need of substantial government investment, and those who focus instead on the need for residents to bootstrap their way up. ANC Commissioner Ab Jordan, frequently referencing the deterministic Markov chain, excoriated fellow commissioner Darrell Gaston—a younger guy who's after Barry's seat—for calling black people lazy after Gaston argued that gentrification could be a good thing and that the government makes it too easy for Ward 8 residents to live off public assistance (Clarification, 12:56 p.m. – Gaston did not call black people lazy; that was Jordan's interpretation).
  4. Of course, people spend their time fighting about the causes of inequality and who to blame for it, but mostly agree that the answer is more and better education for all ages.

Barry himself, naturally, stole the show. Without referencing his proposal to actually outlaw new apartment buildings in the ward, he admonished the crowd that those areas with the most renters were most vulnerable to gentrification, and advocated preparing more residents for homeownership. Before leaving, he called upon the room to stay involved—because goodness knows the gentrifiers are.

"We have a lot of gentrifiers who are blogging, who are tweetering," he said. "Those who are gentrifiers want to justify what they do. And some of what they do is not right."

—-

* Corrected from an earlier version; nail salons are not excluded from the grant program.

Comments

  1. #1

    I agree with Barry. Ward 8 needs more gentrification. Also cupcakes.

  2. #2

    This article is a good example why readers have a huge problem with the Washington Post. I have been gravely misquoted and its writer Lydia DePillis should listen to her tape recorder and write a retraction or correction. . It is not a good feeling when a writer put untruthful words in print to shape public opinion. Everyone who was in that room knows that nothing close to the words she printed came out of my mouth. I am disappointed in her deliberate attempt to wrongly use me to shape public opinion.

  3. #3

    Don't worry, we're not coming any time soon. Of course once that street car comes...ARMAGEDDON.

  4. #4

    Lydia,

    You are mistaken, the Retail Incentive Grant (up $85,000 per person) DOES NOT ban NAIL SALONS, they can apply. It DOES exclude Barbershops, Beauty Salons, national chains, liquor stores, bars, restaurants and clubs (which have already received grants from DC gov't between 2008 - 2010) during the construction on H St.

    The DC government is giving away up to $85,000 to anyone who wants to open a retail business on H St NE. I, as a barber, who has been on H St for decades was also excluded from receiving gov't construction relief during the 4 year long construction debacle.

    Gentrification for us on H St has been a living HELL and the COUNCIL is to blame due to its targeted exclusion of our businesses--long-established ones--from government assistance provided to others, including folk who aren't in business---as is it the case with the Retail Incentive Grant on H St, that bans many H St established businesses from applying.

    Lydia, Here's the NOFA so you can correct your inaccurate statement about the Nail Salons.

    http://dmped.dc.gov/DC/DMPED/Opportunities/Grant+Opportunities/H+Street+NE+Retail+Priority+Area+Project+Grant/H+Street+NE+Retail+Priority+Area+Project+Grant+NOFA

  5. #5

    Keep the poor as poor as possible and Barry can continue to pollute DC with his politics.

  6. #6

    Anwar Saleem should be encouraged to understand the difference between the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper.

    Also, I think everyone needs hugs.

  7. #7

    @H Street Barber - Thanks very much for the correction. I've fixed the post.

    @Anwar Saleem - I didn't quote you at all, in fact (though your comment gets my publication wrong). And I don't think I misreprented the gist of your comments, either. You encouraged residents and businesses of Ward 8, where gentrification and displacement seem improbable at the moment, to learn from the experience of H Street, which changed fairly quickly--it's an apt comparison, since Anacostia will be getting a streetcar line as well. And have you not been down to the Council numerous times to request relief for longtime businesses, and not gotten as much as you'd like?

    If you think I mischaracterized what you said, please feel free to clarify. Otherwise, I don't think a correction or retraction is necessary.

  8. #8

    Also, I understand that poverty is a problem, and that it's really hard for some people to get out of it. But wouldn't it be easier to get yourself out of poverty in a place with a much lower cost of living, and a much more abundant supply of the low-end jobs for which the poor are qualified?

    DC is an expensive place to live, and it's more and more becoming a place with a specialized, highly-skilled, highly-educated workforce. If you're 30-something years old and you don't have a job, or the sorts of skills or background that employers around here are looking for, why should people pay you to stick around?

  9. #9

    Lydia,

    Thank you for your prompt attention and reply!

  10. #10

    Barber:

    So you'd prefer the neighborhood like it was ten years ago?

    And if so should we limit you to the assessed value of your property from ten years ago when you go to sell it at a massive profit?

    I'll admit I'm not well versed on what the city did for existing businesses on H, but didn't they do things like limit real estate tax increases, etc.?

  11. #11

    @ H Street Barber - Isn't the idea of the Retail Incentive Grants to draw new retail to all the long-time vacant storefonts on H Street? It is a shame you don't see that improving the mix of retail (to complement our existing, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues) is an opportunity to bring new customers. Instead of complaining about not getting a handout, how about figuring out a way to make your business succeed?

  12. #12

    Lydia,

    This is what you wrote: But H Street Main Street director Anwar Saleem, along with several longtime H Street business owners, were there to remind the crowd that the new people can come before you realize it, and you may not be able to expect help from elected officials (they're none too happy with a new retail incentive program that excludes barbershops, hair salons, phone stores, and liquor stores*).

    You gave the readers a perception that I was not happy with this. As mentioned at the meeting, I have been working with elected officials. That is how we came up with the proposed
    "Streetscape Taxation Property Relief Act of 2011" introduced by Councilman Harry Thomas

    I was asked to sit on the panel to provide another prospective outside of Ward 8.

    I did not mention anything about the retail incentive. We support the incentive with modifications and believe it will be worked out. I understand the bill better than most and believe it to be one of the most innovative tools to help develop a balanced commercial corridor. I believe HSMS is thinking much more in the future than most. That is why we are progressing a lot quicker than most communities. I am not saying that we are perfect, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned.
    My goals in this form were to push the benefits of the trolley and better transportation to effectively move people throughout the ward and city.

    1. To encourage the development of legislation to protect the businesses during construction for example "Streetscape Taxation Property Relief Act of 2011" introduced by Councilman Harry Thomas.

    2. To promote and develop incentives and programs for entrepreneurship,

    3. To value education and the willingness to take the blame for repeatedly elect officials who are not getting the job done.

    4. To learn to respect and work with everyone whose aim and goal is developing great communities for all.
    Collectively, this is needed to minimize the effects of gentrification. It's about education, economics and working together.

  13. #13

    we're here, we're white, we don't want any more bears!

  14. #14

    Let me get this straight. Ward 8 residents whine about lack of services, and finally after many years, the city decides to build some of those services, and then residents complain about gentrification? Is this what I'm hearing? Help me understand.

  15. #15

    Gentrification (noun): the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

    While that may not be the best term to use ward 8 could use some decent shops and businesses other than the liquor stores found at your nearest corner. It is sad that ward 8 residents have to venture into Maryland, if they can, or across town to be able to go see a movie, book a hotel for friends or guests or have a nice dinning experience. (No snub to IHOP or Big Chair Grill) Ward 8 has been the snail in the race of ward advancement. Ward 8 needs a councilmember that will look to keep the long time residents, while exposing them to the potential prosperity the ward could have.

  16. #16

    @ Hillman,

    What are you talking about? My comment was in reference to the Retail Incentive Grant--up to $85K per applicant--that excludes Barbershops and Beauty Salons from applying for grant fund for H St NE.

    The problem have I with the council (I'm a resident) and its approval of such programs is that there has NOT been ONE council sponsored legislation, policy or program that addresses our needs or, at least INCLUDE and NOT EXCLUDE, the long-establish businesses. I'm all for growth and redevelopment, but I have a problem with the government sponsoring separate and unequal policies that explicitly favors one sector of the business community over the other.

    @ NE DC,

    Sounds as if you have a problem with me speaking-out against a bias, gov't sponsored (with my tax dollars) Grant Program that only favors, or in your words, provides a HAND-OUT to the eligible applicants, which I bet you have already submitted your application.

    And, of course, you don't consider this retail grant program as a subsidizing hand-out because there are no income restrictions, therefore the wealthy business owner--who don't assistance-- can apply.

    All businesses on H St pay taxes, which I have been paying for decades; and, it's my tax dollars that the Retail Incentive Program is utilizing, while banning me from participating.

  17. #17

    correction, Who "doesn't need..."

  18. #18

    @ H St Barber,

    The program is an INCENTIVE to lure new businesses, not to prop up existing businesses. Even if they did away with the exclusion of barber shops, etc., your business wouldn't be eligible. So why does this bother you so much? Wouldn't you like to see the program succeed in bringing new businesses to the vacant storefronts?

  19. #19

    Hey Lydia: As I told you in a previous email about 3 weeks ago, we colored/black/negro landlords are sick and tired of the theiving welfare queens on cheating Section 8 aka HCVP and abusing the Legal Aid 'filthy' lawyers to come after us for tenant's negligence at our tax dollars expense.
    Bring in the whites and thier bikes or the mid-clas blacks and their BMW's I am cool with that. Forget what the poverty pimps have to say I been a black landlord for 26 years in Ward 8 and enough crying,cheating,lying and dying including the fake churches and entitlement seekers who pimp our people. Who allows all those St Eve Homeland Security construction workers of Hispanic descent to work while black descent cannot ascend...seems like gentrifaction is already in play and blacks are on layaway.

  20. #20

    Anwar, H St Barber, others,

    Regardless of the incentive programs, a successful business model is one that provides a product which clients/customers want. If the clients needs change over time, then the offered product must reflect the new demand in order to stay profitable. The gentrification on H Street provides an excellent opportunity to highlight successful business skills and meet the demands of the neighborhood clients. It's a shame that owners are so stuck in their ways they can't change with the times to meet the needs of their clients. George's at 10th and H is an excellent opportunity - people no longer wear two-toned wing tip shoes regardless of socioeconomic levels. Keep the products that the clients want, and all businesss would thrive through the gentrification period.

  21. #21

    H St Barber -

    You totally misunderstand the program. Don't you think bringing more people to H Street to shop could actually benefit you if operate an existing business?

    Not to mention, the retail incentive grant program's restricitons are on grants to NEW barbershops. Don't you think it might actually help existing barbershops (that's you) if no new barbershops opened? You could have a barbershop monopoly!

    You state "there has NOT been ONE council sponsored legislation, policy or program that addresses our needs or, at least INCLUDE and NOT EXCLUDE, the long-establish businesses." That is simply NOT true. There is a H Street Streetscape Relief Fund that you can apply to as an existing business. CM Wells sponsored it and it is run out of DC/OTR - $723,000 for existing small businesees. It even cites Mason's Barbershop as a beneficiary in the press release.

  22. #22

    Barber:

    I asked because you said "Gentrification for us on H St has been a living HELL"

    And have you never been eligible for any programs dealing with H Street? I understand there have been programs literally for decades. Everything from facade improvements to low cost loans for equipment to marketing help. Administered through H St CDC and a variety of other groups.

    Have you never been eligible for ANY of these programs?

    And do you not benefit from new businesses coming to H? Or do you think that the hundred plus boarded up storefronts on H Street were a benefit to your business model?

    And how much was your business hurt during the reconstruction? I assume that most people just walk to the barber, so they wouldn't need street parking that was eaten up by the construction. Am I wrong about that?

    Would you mind telling us percentage-wise how much your actual gross receipts were down during construction? I assume that's part of the "HELL" that you describe.

    I ask in all seriousness. I'm not a business owner on H. I haven't experienced what you experienced.

    I'm just confused by your bitterness over the changes taking place. Do they not benefit you, even if you don't get anything for free directly?

    I can sortof see your point about the unfairness of the city offering assistance for only some sorts of businesses. But in some ways wouldn't you be happy? Wouldn't you feel worse if the city gave assistance to a new barber shop, which would be direct competition for you?

    But if I'm not mistaken, previous programs included help for any type of business.... facade improvements, marketing, low cost loans, etc.

    Am I mistaken?

  23. #23

    tweeting and blogging is dangerous.

  24. #24

    New to Trinidad,

    Are your serious? Just because you aren't interested in or have a use for my services, therefore, I'm not providing a product/service clients want?

    H St, NE businesses don't revolve around ONLY your needs, wants and desires! Due to this city's diversity we don't all have to cater to a homogeneous population.

    For your information, I had and still HAVE a viable business on H St., NE. And, my business outlook will continue to be viable, if and only if, the gov't ceases its negative and discriminatory policies against the long-established businesses on H St NE.

  25. #25

    H St Barber --

    Providing incentives for NEW businesses to open on H St. is neither "negative" nor "discriminatory" toward pre-existing businesses.

  26. #26

    My name is Julia Christian; I am the executive director of CHAMPS, the local chamber of commerce for the greater Capitol Hill area. We work closely with the 3 BIDs and 2 Main Streets within our territory including H Street Main Street. I read this article recapping the Ward 8 Gentrification panel that took place last night and as someone who has spent a considerable amount of time working to find ways to unite local businesses particularly along H Street, NE I feel the need to comment.

    By way of background, I'm a Capitol Hill native - grew up at 8th and A, SE and have moved all around the neighborhood over the years and am now at 15th and C, NE. My family started the Voice of the Hill newspaper over 10 years ago and in 2002, we opened the H Street Playhouse at 1365 H and lived behind it at 1311 Linden Court.

    Anwar and I have a very strong partnership and we believe that our work together is a symbol for what can happen when you shed preconceived notions of race and class and come together to make things happen. I'm not sure if you saw Jaffe's write up on us last week, but if not here's a link to it: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/09/h-street-resurrection-celebrated-festival

    While I cannot speak to what was said or not said at last night's meeting, I can offer some facts that are not currently being included anywhere in this overall discussion and hence is allowing for misperceptions to be perpetuated.

    First, the issue of relief for businesses: About a year ago, Councilmember Wells introduced legislation that would provide a toolkit for providing relief to CURRENT H Street NE businesses who had suffered economic hardship as a result of the ongoing construction. That program was intentionally introduced as a grant program and was not specifically tied to any one use (ie taxes) to ensure that it would be of maximum effectiveness to the broadest cross section of businesses as possible. We recognized that some businesses may use the funds to offset the cost of tax payments while others might use it for capital improvements to help increase their bottom line. Somewhere along the way, that program was turned into a citywide program and was stripped of millions of dollars with it being finally funded, in the end, at $723K. It was Mayor Gray who ultimately moved to change the scope of the proposed program from a grant program to a non-interest loan program.

    Second, because the streetscape relief funding was not rolled out in a timely fashion, Councilmember Wells' office reached out to the Office of Tax and Revenue and was able to successfully remove all non-vacant/blighted properties from the tax sale long enough for the relief money to become available to them.

    Third, the H Street Retail Incentive grant program was worked on for nearly a year and went through public hearings and public Council votes. While the legislation does in fact include wording for excluding certain types of service businesses (salons, liquor stores, phone stores, restaurants and bars). Much of This language was included in the original TIF legislation and has not been changed. The legislation is specifically meant to be a tool to even the playing field between retail and ABC license businesses as a means for encouraging healthy development of retail businesses that provide the type of business mix needed for a vital and thriving commercial corridor. I'm sure you remember the conversations about a moratorium for Barracks Row in the hopes that a move like that would increase the likelihood of retail on that strip. This is the kind of program that if it were in existence 5 years ago, we may never have ended up at that discussion.

    Fourth, with regard to grants being given out to bars and restaurants -- I'm not sure what exactly that means as I am unaware of that happening. Are there specific examples?

    There has been considerable effort to initiate programs and opportunities that reach all businesses along H Street, old and new and across all industries. The work that's being done should be something that in total becomes a model for the rest of the city.

    Again, I cannot speak to what was said regarding Ward 8 and cannot speak to what Councilmember Barry says or believes. But I can speak to the fact that H Street Main Street and CHAMPS are on the ground everyday trying our best to build bridges despite the fact that there are forces with personal interests at stake who are pushing some agenda to create division.

    If what we all want in the end is healthy economic development that does not result in the loss of longtime businesses and residents, then we should all start listening to one another and working together to find ways to do this. I can say for a fact that Mr. Saleem's goals and objectives are ones that I fully support and it's important to ensure that the inaccuracies that create needless division and tension be resolved. I'm not saying everything's perfect. But I am saying that the these conversations continue to center on only a part of the story.

    My goal here is simply to ensure that we are all working from the same set of accurate variables so that together, we can move forward with everyone benefiting to the maximum possible extent - old, new, black, white - everyone.

    JULIA ROBEY CHRISTIAN

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    **************************************

    CHAMPS | Capitol Hill's Chamber of Commerce

    Promote. Educate. Advocate. Connect.

    PO Box 25486 | Washington, DC 20003

    Tel. 202.547.7788 | Fax 202.904.2898

    http://www.capitolhill.org

    Explore the Neighborhood!

    http://www.whatthehill.org

    http://www.twitter.com/capitolhilldc

    http://www.facebook.com/dc.capitolhill

  27. #27

    Hillman,

    First, you misquoted me; what I wrote is listed above and, to refresh your memory, here's what I said:

    "Gentrification for us on H St has been a living HELL and the COUNCIL is to blame due to its targeted exclusion of our businesses--long-established ones--from government assistance provided to others..." I did not blaming the new businesses, but the gov't's actions which have excluded the long-established ones.

    Regarding your other comments, you raise some interesting points that I will answer below:

    In reference to programs the H ST CDC and H St Main St., offered years ago, you are absolutely correct, there have been several programs, which I chose not to apply for, because there wasn't a need.

    Herein lies the difference between the programs of yesteryear and the ones introduced within the last six years--- EXCLUSIVITY! As I stated earlier, during the last four - six years, which was at the onset of gentrification on H St., the council and CM Wells used taxpayers' dollars to mitigate the losses of and provided star-up capital for a small, targeted group of H St's businesses, which are the new gentrifiers.

    These new businesses benefited from an exclusive influx of gov't subsidies at time when the economy was in a recession and H St, NE was undergoing a four year-long, massive construction project for the streetcars.

    I didn't have a problem with the gov't providing financial assistance to mitigate losses for the new businesses during the construction, but I did and still DO have a problem with the gov't repeatedly--year after year--denying us, long established ones, with the same opportunity and NO construction relief.

    In reference to me and others benefiting for the new businesses and streetscape, that's a no brainier and not my complaint. What you called my "bitterness" stems not from new the businesses on H St, but from the gov't's exclusionary policies that are akin to what I experienced as a child growing up in the 50s.

    In reference to my customers just "walking" to my barbershop on H St during the construction, I guess you aren't from DC and didn't visit H St during the construction. Access to my building was impeded and the street in front of my building was under construction for over a year. As I stated earlier, I've been on H St for a very long time, and my customers come from everywhere---DC, MD , VA and out of town.

    Please don’t assume I have bitterness towards anyone, especially entrepreneurs because I know from experience how hard it is to maintain a business, family and sanity when you are self-employed.

    Also, I think you or maybe another commenter mentioned the Streetscape Survival Fund that suppose to be available to assist small businesses negatively impacted by construction projects in DC and how this program has helped the long-established businesses. This is incorrect and it has been over a year since businesses from every Ward testified before the council, including me, demanding that the funds be released, and as of today, the program is still NOT available.

    Funds for the Retail Incentive Grant Program are available, on the street and the application process will wrap-up in less than 60 days, but the Streetscape Survival Loan Program, which helps to alleviate losses caused by the government, is taking years.

    The botomline is, we are only seeking fairness and equitable representation and consideration from our government officials and council.

  28. #28

    "In reference to my customers just "walking" to my barbershop on H St during the construction, I guess you aren't from DC and didn't visit H St during the construction. Access to my building was impeded and the street in front of my building was under construction for over a year."

    I've been here 20 years. At what point do us 'newcomers' get to comment without constantly being reminded we weren't born here?

    Yes, I visited H St during construction. Yes, it was a mess.

    But was access to your building actually shut down? So that literally people couldn't get in the front door?

    And while it wasn't perfect, was there not street parking available on adjacent residential streets?

    I'm not saying it wasn't difficult.

    I'm saying that for a year it sucked. And for the next twenty years (assuming you will be around that long) you will have much more foot traffic on your block. That has a tremendous impact on your bottom line, in a positive way.

    And it has tremendous impact on the value of your building when you sell one day. Or give it to your kids. In any event, the streetscape upgrade greatly improved your property value and the value of your business.

    Why do DC taxpayers owe you anything for that massive infusion of tax dollars that - while temporarily highly inconvenient - ends up benefitting you greatly?

  29. #29

    "but from the gov't's exclusionary policies that are akin to what I experienced as a child growing up in the 50s."

    What exactly does that mean?

  30. #30

    @ H St barber:

    Wow. Your comments and attitude have convinced me of one thing. I will never spend a dime of my hard-earned money at a barbershop on H Street.

    A conspiracy by the Council and so-called gentrifiers to to exclude you...really, seriously? Man, that is some crazy talk. The city is investing heavily in many ways to support this area for the long term and part of that is fostering new retail that would help bring customers to your door. It is unfortunate all you can do is complain that someone got a check and you didn't or that your customers had to park around the corner to visit your shop.

  31. #31

    It means I lived through segragation before you were even born so give me some damn money, you owe me. Also, keep your cracker ass out of my black neighborhood. No that's not racist. I'm BLACK god damn it, it's the white people that are all racists!! Can't you see!!!!

  32. #32

    @ Hillman, 10th NE and Doopacalypse,

    Sounds as if you guys are the beneficiaries of the grant programs I'm speaking about.

    Trying to play the race and "looking for a hand-out" cards will not mask the truth that the new, gentrifying businesses (your businesses), via Councilman Wells, have received numerous entitlements sponsored by DC taxpayers.

    And, the Retail Grant Program for H St NE, which the H St established businesses were not informed of, is now public information so others ALL can apply, and it will be scrutinized by the public.

  33. #33

    @ Julia with CHAMPS,

    If you are on the ground-floor everyday trying to help all of H St, NE businesses, please explain the following:

    1) Where were you when H St NE established businesses spent countless hours and almost two years testifying before the council about the devastation 4 years of on-going construction was having on their businesses?

    2) Where were you when H St NE established businesses were requesting equitable construction relief, as was earmarked by CM Wells to mitigate losses for only the bars, resturants and clubs due to the construction?

    3) Where were you when H St NE businesses were testifying before the council, over and over again, about their properties being listed in DC's tax sale in 2008, 2009 and 2010 due to their businesses not receiving any form of construction relief? I testified a few times and watched every hearing and I don't recall seeing you.

    4) Where are your efforts to help get the Streetscape Survival Fund loan up and running? This is the only construction relief support H St established businesses have been offered, but, the program is still "not available" after two years of promises.

    5) Where were you to inform H St's established businesses about the new Retail Grant and the meeting that was held to inform prospective applicants about the application process? If your goal is to "move forward with everyone benefiting to the maximum possible extent - old, new, black, white - everyone", how come you didn't tell "everyone" on H St NE about the Retail Grant program?

    I was at the meeting and "all" of H St's established businesses were infuriated and outraged because no one told them about the grant or meeting. I was told by a business owner who read about it and then passed the info on to all of H St businesses.

    5)And, finally, how come of H St NE established businesses don't know you?

    In reference to your comment that,"there are forces with personal interests at stake who are pushing some agenda to create division", please explain?

    If you believe that business owners don't have the right to voice their grievances with elected officials and about government policies, and you honestly can't comprehend their losses, pain and suffering due their businesses/livelihood being negatively impacted by four years of construction, and you consider their pleas for equity as being "divisive", maybe that's why H St established businesses don't know you.

  34. #34

    @H St Barber Apparently you don't know what the race card is. Well, let me explain it to you. It's when you drag to randomly drag segration into a discussion that's it's got nothing to do with to gain sympathy in a argument your are badly losing. You played the race card I'm just mocking you for it.

    No one feels sorry for you. If you own rather than lease your property value is skyrocketing. Either way foot traffic in the neighborhood is increasing and you should be able to take advantage of your improved location which will be further improved by more businesses opening up around you specifically ones that arn't allowed to directly compete with you. You could hardly ask for a better law. Well that's not true apparently you can... I don't fault you for it. It never hurts to ask for free money I guess. Shit you just might get it. All I'm saying is that your arguments seem pretty pathetic to me.

    I will grant you that white people don't seem to get their hair cut as often as black people do though. I know blacks guys who are in the barber shop like every three days getting shaped up while I might get a haircut once a month. Maybe you could complain about that. I don't know though, dreads are pretty popular in DC too and those guys must get a haircut like never. It might be a draw.

    Anyway, you need to come up with something else to cry about cus your current set of complaints is just laughable.

  35. #35

    "Sounds as if you guys are the beneficiaries of the grant programs I'm speaking about.

    Trying to play the race and "looking for a hand-out" cards will not mask the truth that the new, gentrifying businesses (your businesses), via Councilman Wells, have received numerous entitlements sponsored by DC taxpayers. "

    Not quite sure what your point is.

    I am not a business owner on H. I've never received a grant.

    You, on the other hand, have been eligible for numerous grants and taxpayer programs over the decades.

    And your business has and will benefit tremendously from them.

    From the 60s riots on there have been DC tax dollars flowing into helping your business corridor. I shudder to think how much has been poured into this corridor over the decades, with everything from the Autozone buildout and the hideous DC govt buildings built there to the massive police infrastructure that had to be assigned to H Street because of the astonishing crime there.

    You've had an enormous hand-out from DC taxpayers for decades now.

    As for playing the race card, I'm not the one coyly suggesting that any new programs on H Street are "from the gov't's exclusionary policies that are akin to what I experienced as a child growing up in the 50s."

  36. #36

    I just skimmed through all these comments so the answer to my question may already be posted. It sounds to me like the city is giving out money to new businesses to move to H Street. The long-time businesses are/have been going under because of the construction. (True that. My daughter and I tried to get to a thrift store on H Street a couple of months ago by bus, what a nightmare!) My question is, are the business owners who are accessing this new money white folks who are recent immigrants to DC? Are the long-time business owners who couldn't survive the construction African-American long-time and/or natives of the District? I understand something like 32 businesses have gone under since construction began. How many of them were owned by African-American long-time and/or natives of the District? Just wondering.

  37. #37

    H St Barber:

    I'm a taxpayer, homeowner, and a resident of the H Street neighborhood. Not a business owner. Never received a grant.

    Stop your whining and your pathetic race baiting, put on your big-boy pants, and start cutting some hair if you want your business to survive. The tax paying citizens of DC have provided you a huge opportunity on silver platter by investing in H Street. It's too bad all you can do is complain that you deserve more.

  38. #38

    Good Morning, even though hosting the meeting on Gentrification was my idea and I asked Ms. Brenda Richardson to partner with me to make this happen, Ms. Richardson nor myself never received credit nor was we even mentioned in the article but I'm fine with it. It's not about me, as long as the meeting got the attention that it has, is more important.

    We will be holding a core group meeting in the next couple of weeks to address what was discussed and then bring this back to the public in a few months on an even larger scale. This time I will be inviting the Governors of Maryland and Virginia to attend because the entire DMV will be affected by Gentrification in Ward 8 and Ward 7.

  39. #39

    Julia assisted with writing and lobbying for both the Streetscape relief and the retail incentive grant. She and Anwar worked on these together. She works on behalf of CHAMPS members on H and around the Hill. Is your business a member? Not that it matters since non-CHAMPS members should be beneficiaries of the Streetscape relief.

    And please please please point to the legislation that funded the bars, these so called grants that were directed to the bars and restaurants? I don't recall any of them receiving any government funding.
    I'm sure they would really like to know about these grants they have been missing out on.

  40. #40

    As an African American who owns a small, local, real estate business on 14th Street in Col hgts, I attended the Ward 8 Genetrification meeting because we have experienced first hand a total restructuring of our community within the last 10 years with more than 10 small, minority owned businesses going out of business due to the massive construction, traffic congestion, noise, frequent loss of power, due to the construcrtion of the DC/USA shopping center, i.e. Target, Best Buy, Marshalls, etc., and several other chain stores such as Chipole and Starbucks. While often referred to as racial, gentrification is basically an ECONOMIC PHENOMENA which, by default, fuels white domination of a previously, lower income, minoirty community. Thus, well-captitalized, upscale, stores, restaurants, etc. move into a previously economically depressed area, while simultanenously, developers who are building upscale, high priced housing begin to monopolize the housing market. For example, The average sales price of a house today in Columbia Heights is $600,000 which now ECONOMICALLY eliminates most all African American and minority purchasrs (required income would be $150,000 to
    $200,000 per year). A two BR rental apartment is $2,000 to
    $3,000/mo. Lease space in the DC/USA Shopping center comes with a $70/SF price tag and while there was supposed to be 15,000 SF ( at $40/SF) of the total 500,000 SF in the Center set aside for small, local, disadvantaged businesses, to date, without access to capital, NOT ONE small, local business has been able to afford the prohibitively high cost of build out. Many of the previously-existing small, businesses were unable to survive the onslaught of construction, and never received the funds set aside by the the NCRC to off-set the adverse impacts. Therefore, the community has now become predominately gentrified by the national chain stores and the "new-comers" who can afford the higher home prices which just happen to be white. Therefore,
    unless some safeguards (affordable housing programs) are put into place, likewise will go Ward 8 given the fact that William C Smith and other developers are already building housing that is "unaffordable" to the majority of the African American in the community coupled with the fact that approx 70% of Ward 8 residents live in rental houing which surely will start to "fly off the shelf" as prices start to escalate in anticipation of the coming Homeland Security Complex with 22,000 employees at St E. The OWNERS of these units will want to capitalize off the coming buying frenzy. Without access to capital to fortify their existing businesses or to be able to transition into businesses to cater to their "new neighbors," the existing small businesses are particularly vulnerable.

    Columbia Heights is the "Postr Child" of Gentrification (after what happened years ago to the African American community in Georgetown of course). Therefore, given the lessons learned in Columbia Heights, Gentrification, if properly managed, COULD be a good thing rather than replicating its "stigma" of "urban removal" of the
    lower and moderate income African American communities.

  41. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #41

    @Jay Lee

    You need to learn oral and written grammar when trying to make the declaration of self-promotion.

    "nor was we" -- wrong

    "nor were we" -- right and the King's English

  42. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #42

    @Jay Lee 2.0

    O'Malley and McDonnell have states to run. If you are lucky you will get some representative from their inter-govt office to come over -- and that is highly unlikely.

    This meeting although relatively tame was another example of people just rambling for the sake of rambling. Nothing of much consequence was said. I know people in Ward 8 think many of their ideas or both revolutionary and original, but, in fact, they are neither.

    People need to get out more and/or learn more about what is really going on.

    While it is positive these "meetings" are happening they just take up space and time. I guess that is OK, because can feel they are involved and are able to take some sort of credit down the line.

  43. #43

    Dear Ward 8,

    Please, please read the comments posted and you will get a gist of gentrification's impact in DC and a sampling of the mindset of the gentrifiers!

    Most of the comments aren't about Anacostia or the Gentrification Summit, but about H St NE, Ward 6 and Ward 1, of which all have undergone rapid and expansive gentrificaition.

    Read it and you'll get a taste of what's heading your way.

  44. #44

    Welcome gentrification to many neighborhoods that's been turned into ghettos and barrios. People need to take pride in their communities and stop living like animals and destroying them. You don't have to be rich and educated to take pride in where you live. The Democratic Party has brained washed blacks an other minorities that's it's the government's responsiblity to take care of poor lazy ass individuals.

  45. #45

    Word to Marion Barry. You're not fooling anyone other than Ward 8. Pay your taxes and shut the F up.

  46. #46

    Anwar, the Wash City Paper published this story... um not the WaPo. Just look at the address bar next time...

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