Musing thought: DC Should stay out of Real Estate

Not even going to touch the corruption in the Tax Office, but I wonder if a public tarring and feathering, or stocks with rotten tomatoes provided to DC citizens for throwing would be too good….
Anyway, one of the other things brought up in the BACA meeting on Monday was government seizure of property (houses) that were unabated nuisances. Someone pointed out that when the DC government then takes ownership of a property that doesn’t improve matters. The theory is that the city takes over the property and some competent 3rd party, usually a socially acceptable non-profit, will take over and fix up the property (because they usually need work), sell it or grant it to some deserving family, the end.
But the theory doesn’t always work. Sometimes the city just holds on to the property for-like-ever letting it rot from the inside out as vagrants or stray cats use it, occasionally coming by to mow the lawns. Or it does get into a partnership with a nonprofit, and some of them actually get to work and fix up the properties so they are fit for human habitation. And then there are others who can’t get their act together and the house just sits, and rots from the inside out. Or they take their sweet molasses in winter time to fix up the property. Also there is perfectly innocent crap that just happens, like running out of money.
Just selling it off offers no promises either. Buyers could just sit on property like investors have done and continue to do.
So the next time someone comes up with the brilliant idea that the city or government should take ownership of property, know that it sounds great in theory but in years of practice, sucks.
Ye shall know them by their works, or lack thereof.

2 thoughts on “Musing thought: DC Should stay out of Real Estate”

  1. You are so right Mari. A great example of this is 902-904 T ST NW. The property has been vacant since the mid-80’s. We finally got the city to purchase it on 08/2005. Nothing has been done since then. Just excuses. I sent emails to my Councilmember Jim Graham on it yesterday — this was one of many over the past 2 years — copied some neighborhood organization leaders, ANC1b & CSNA. Then I get flamed for beign too aggressive on calling out these City employees to do their freak’n job. Well I’m not going to kiss anyone’s ass to do the job they are paid to do. I’m getting so tired of this stupid city and the corruption that is deeply embedded. Yesterday’s story about the embezzlement was just the icing on the cake. I actually spoke with Harriette Walters on the phone 2 months ago trying to get some property tax issues resolved on the inconsistencies on taxes within my own neighborhood. She was an idiot and didn’t seem to want to be bothered. Now it makes more sense in my mind that she was interested in her own personal gain then to actually deal with the people she is in office to serve.

  2. This is worse than the charter school fraud debacle. Is this the “culture” inherited by Fenty–the one which he promised to root out? He’s not doing a good job of it. It was a bnak teller who dropped the dime, not any Elliott Ness stuff by DC govt.

    GENTRIFICATION– come to Busboys & Poets on U street Sunday at 2pm for a panel discussion I’m moderating, with special guest ex-Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Const. reporter Nathan McCall (his new book “Them” is about gentrification). Should be lively!!!

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