Anyone else get the call?

Last week, I got a call from someone (I was half asleep when I answered the phone) looking for volunteers for a candidate running for the Ward 7 seat. “Who?” I asked, though it didn’t matter because I forgot his name as soon as I went back to my nap. I am not sure how I, an Independent in Ward 5, got on someone’s potential volunteers list for a candidate in Ward 7. Anyone else outside of Ward 7 get a random call from someone looking for unpaid campaign workers?

Evil Evil Gentrification

In today’s New York Times the case where the cash strapped city of New London wants to steal the property from homeowners so they can build yuppie complexs has been placed on the Supreme Court’s docket. The city fathers (and mothers) have some wacked out idea of “public use.” Which is the part of the law that allows local governments to kick people out of their homes. Usually it is to build a road, make a big park, like Central Park in NYC, or even to build a factory that would employ thousands. Not a hotel, conference center and private 80 homes.

How gentrification can be just plain EVIL

Friday morning while trying to convince myself that getting up and going to work early is a good thing, I heard over NPR a newstory that riled up passions in my conservative heart. Property rights.
The story is about what’s going on in New London, CT where the city wants to redevelop a section of town to make way yuppie condos. Fine. Problem, they are threatening to use ’eminent domain’ as a way of taking land away from the few homeowners in that area. Eminent domain should only be used to build roads for polluting cars or waterways or big public utility projects, not privately owned condos. Yuppies and the working class are equal in the eyes of G-d, and should be equal in the eyes of the State, but alas no. Apparently because you can suck more money out of yuppies via taxes, yuppies are better people and thus the State chooses to kick out working/middle class homeowners, depriving them of their property. The State is dangerous.
Eminent Domain Watch, a blog, has a wonderful amount of information on this case along with other incidents of local and state governments encroaching on individual property rights.
The New London case is the best example of gentrification evil style. Gentrification done naturally invovles individual property owners selling to either other property owners or corporation when they so chose. They are not forced to sell (ok this can be argued on whaddya mean by ‘force’). Provided they can keep up with real estate taxes and local ordinances, individuals can choose NOT to sell. The residents in the New London area do not have that choice. And that is plain wrong. So wrong.
Should the Supreme Court decide in favor of the City of New London real property rights will be undermined for all US citizens. In DC I could only imagine the worst. My beloved Anthony Williams is already the bitch of the developers ’round here. I know the city likes sucking money from higher incomes and crack fuel housing prices, but if they were given this tool….

DC-> Hell -> Handbasket

Lo, there was great wailing and nashing of teeth,
and the dead rose and rallied the people to the polls.
Across the great river,
in the east,
the people rejoiced.
In the west they shook their heads and cried.
–MM 1:1-3

Our favorite crackhead won the Democratic Primary for Ward 8. So this morning I’ve been going though the 5 stages of grief. 1st denial. Well that’s over. Followed by anger, still here. Bargaining…. give Ward 8 a supermarket, maybe that would help. Depression, still here, too. Lastly, acceptance, Ward 8 was angry, and in that anger they elected a (former) crackhead who drove the city into the ground. Okay, bring it on.
Oh and Harold Brazil was unseated, as well as Kevin Chavous in Ward 7. Harold had to go anyways. Sam Brooks, a challenger had a pretty good showing considering he is a)white and b) young. Let’s hope Mr. Brown and Mr. Grey (hey anyone notice the color names of the winners?) do a good job on the Council. Although the elections were primaries, they were as if they were the general election as this city is like 90% Democrat. This kinda leaves out Independents like me. Oh, well.
I hope that the city will survive having Mr. Barry on the Council, and continue to thrive despite him. I hope that DC’s goal of representation in Congress is not derailled by his presence on the Council.
G-d I need a drink.

Jim Berry fighting against more Section 8 housing
Jim Berry fighting against more Section 8 housing
From: “JBerry”
To: “‘Jeannette.Johnson
Subject: North Capitol Townhomes Limited Partnership Affordable Housing Pr oduction Project
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 20:12:31 -0400

Ms. Johnson,

Thank you for establishing contact with me concerning the above-referenced subject. There is a glitch in ANC 5C’s telephone service with Verizon that we are in the process of correcting. That is, the telephone mail box for ANC 5C is shared between 12 commissioners and due to a progressive increase in the volume of calls that we have been receiving from members of the
general public over the last six months, we plan to significantly expand its capacity in the immediate future. Nevertheless, for your information and future reference, I can be reached daily, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at (202) *******and at (202) ******** during the evening hours.

As you may know, I volunteer my time and talents to my neighbors via my service to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C and, because we don’t have an office manager at the time, there is a predictable delay in my receipt of calls transmitted to our office number.

I appreciate your advising me of Ms. Matthias’ availability next week, but my written request of the DHCD was to meet with its Director, Mr. Stanley Jackson. Hence, I am at a loss to understand why a meeting with Ms. Matthias is being offered as a preliminary step towards the attainment of this goal.

It appears that the DHCD intends to move with dispatch to facilitate the release of Community Block Grant Funds in order that an out of town developer can implement the proposed North Capitol Townhomes Project and, frankly, I fear that it may succeed with this unfortunate and
unacceptable plan while I am engaged in and, possibly, being distracted by offers and arrangements to meet with surrogates of Mr. Jackson’s.

As I have previously indicated, DHCD’s existing plans to continue a subsidized housing program for the next 30 years in my neighborhood, that has not yielded a single homeowner as a result of its implementation over the past 21, strikes me as an abomination that I/we who are also
heavily invested in this community, must resist by all possible means. Indeed, I have shared this position with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s representative, with Ward Five Council Member Vincent B. Orange and other members of the D.C. City Council, and I plan to elaborate on this position in a meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development that I plan to have in the immediate future.

It is my hope that reason will ultimately prevail in this unfortunate situation and that the DHCD will abandon its current plan, in favor of one that promotes and facilitates homeownership (especially, for those participants in the Bates Street Limited Townhomes Project of
longstanding). Indeed, if the DHCD and the local government is serious about and
committed to the goal of helping those who live in subsidized housing to evolve
into homeowners, now is the ideal time to implement such a program which, I believe, would represent a “win-win” situation for all of the stakeholders involved.


James D. Berry, Jr.
Chairperson, ANC 5C