Reader response to Andrew Giambrone’s reported feature about the decline of Columbia Heights revealed mixed feelings, but a lot of it could be summed up thusly: “Poor people ruin everything!” Let the record show: doug524 commented that “‘Affordable housing’ aka the ghetto is the root cause of the problem.” ProfChris had another thinly veiled screed laid out over about a thousand words in our comments section: “The white people have come in almost as a proxy for the old black professional and middle classes. … There’s also a crucible cooking the left-behind, the undereducated: the trash, violence, drug dealing, public drunkeness or high on the painkiller du jour, dysfunctional/anti-social behavior & culture, even renewed trick-turning in certain alleys or houses, are the symptoms…. the only practical alternative is to plan for more gentrification to push them away or out….” Take that, you poors!
Readers were also passionate about Robin Eberhardt’s piece detailing—and mocking—outrage over redevelopment of the bank plaza in Adams Morgan. Mike Tabor, who owns the farm that hosts the weekly farmers market there, took umbrage at our characterization of community members “event squatting” on the plaza. The market “started in 1973 when the open space was a dirt parking lot and the community was fighting a proposal to locate a gas station at the corner,” he wrote to CP. “The community stopped that from happening and a bank purchased the property.” He noted that the farmers market was officially designated through a D.C. Council act. Neighborhood activist Chris Otten criticized the piece for “rehashing … negative rhetoric and … inaccurate or misleading statements from [developer Monty Hoffman’s] salivating mind.” In particular, Otten and others protested the planned 2,500 square feet of new plaza included in a compromise plan, claiming that figure is inflated. It’s more like “600 square feet,” he said, but we couldn’t verify that figure. Otten also challenged our use of the word “alleged” before our mention of bank redlining. We don’t question that the horrendous historical practice happened in the neighborhood, but the site’s former bank denied it, and our research found no official finding of its guilt in particular. OK, what’s a “salivating mind”?
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