I was very interested to read the write-up on Denis James’ concerns with my good friend Neal Keller (Show & Tell, 2/25). I now live outside the mainland, but I still fondly remember my days living and working in Adams Morgan. However, inane priorities such as the ones in the article were what made my decision to leave much easier.
James’ obsession with enforcing obscure city ordinances is mind-boggling. Instead of dealing with the pressing crime problem, he’s preoccupied by the fact that there’s a guy out there promoting a business! Not only that, he’s providing local color without a permit! Keller must be stopped.
As long as James wields power without any real aim or logic, Adams Morgan will be all the poorer. I can only think that he gets a great sense of self-satisfaction from his position. As a former resident, I can honestly say that he never dealt with real problems that affected me or my neighbors.
The pretense of preserving property values is easily dismissed. Values there were skyrocketing when I left, and they haven’t stopped as far as I know. Besides, crime will undermine the market much quicker than a harmless—and beloved—neighborhood character. A simple test should confirm that Keller is no louder than any other normal street noise that reaches James’ house.
The main problem is that James aggravates the business-neighborhood conflict. Remove him, and relations will improve. I guarantee it. Then everyone can start with a clean slate.
For now, my suggestion for the opposition is to start combing D.C. law for equally obscure and outdated codes to enforce. There’s gold somewhere in there.
My suggestion for the neighborhood groups is to ponder this: Is a guy with a sparkly tie and some balloons really the biggest threat to your quality of life?