City Paper contributor John Muller chronicled some of the reaction last week when the news service Bisnow cancelled its upcoming “Future of Southeast D.C.” event in the face of significant backlash—including from Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White and others who objected to a panel of white guys and the $79 ticket price.
Since then, residents east of the river and beyond have been wrangling with one another on social media about whether the opposition was short-sighted and self-defeating, or instead a legitimate step toward ensuring that any future development is inclusive and valuable to residents who live there.
“I think there is a sentiment of hostility towards outside developers because they typically lack inclusiveness—as demonstrated by trying to charge $79 tickets for people to get into their networking meeting,” hood_pog wrote on reddit. “Outside development and money coming into 7 and 8 is going to be important for the future, but we also need them to work with the city and local businesses to ensure that the people who actually live in these neighborhoods are benefiting.”
ExcellentTentsFingers wrote on our website, “Ward 8 has these issues in part because its leaders are incapable of working with others, or even among themselves. Between predictable threats against ‘dirty Asians’ and an attitude that they can manage just fine on their own, they will still find a way to blame someone else.”
Senator_Felch was more pragmatic. “I’ve lived here long enough that I get the tensions, but it’s not like anyone else is stepping up to develop 7 and 8. What’s the plan? … If you chase developers away, others aren’t coming that are going to match what the people are hoping for. They would have already come by now if they were out there.”
And finally, Gumburcules used doughnuts to make the argument that something is better than nothing. “While probably not a majority, there is a sizable anti-development contingent that ranges from outright hostile, to the delusional (‘we don’t need white developers’ dollars, we can build our own development’), to the development equivalent of Bernie-or-busters, as evidenced by the folks who want to boycott the non-chain doughnut shop going into the old Shrimp Boat because it’s a counter service joint and not a sit-down restaurant.”