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I am responding to “The Stoop at 1701 Euclid” (12/3).
The Euclid neighborhood has become the Southeast of Northwest, but it’s preposterous to blame the Bennetts for single-handedly making a ghetto out of the area. From the Ritz to the crack house, aka the Bennetts’ corner, the street is beset with trash, littered with children of all ages running around without adult supervision, cars both parked and driving by with music blaring so loudly it’s distorted, drugs changing hands at every turn, and deafening noise—not to mention hordes of people terrorizing neighbors and people just trying to pass through to other streets. And the perpetrators want to know why the neighborhood wants them out. This has little to do with the Bennetts and lots to do with the riffraff on the streets.
The noise is ridiculous. There are no conversations on this block. It’s nothing but a shouting match back and forth across the streets at all hours of the night. You don’t know whether people are fighting or merely telling a story. There are groups anywhere from a couple people scattered here and there to 20 to 30 people moving back and forth between the Ritz and the Bennetts’ corner.
No one in the Ritz must own a phone, because people will scream names from the street until the person comes to the window—and then they will actually hold a conversation by shouting at each other. People will drive up in their cars, honking horns and yelling people’s names at all hours of the night. Music blares from the windows almost every weekend in the summer, if not nightly. You will see babies in car seats resting on hoods of cars while the parents play craps on the street at 11 o’clock at night. Kids and adults alike will finish a soda and throw the empty can onto the ground; they finish a bag of chips, and on the ground it goes. Some days it actually looks as if someone had brought trash bags out and dumped the entire contents on the street.
There are fights almost nightly, some of them deadly. When the cops come, the people scatter down the street to the Bennetts’ area or hop into cars with Maryland or Virginia tags. Some of these people don’t even live in the neighborhood; they commute in to cause trouble.
This is how these people live, and they do not see anything wrong with it. Well, the neighborhood, thank goodness, does. We want you out, and we don’t care how, just as long as you go. You live in a great area of the city, and this is how you treat it and the people living here.
I feel bad that the Bennetts are being treated so harshly, but they are not innocent bystanders. One Bennett stated that she sits out on the stoop with friends and family until 4 a.m. listening to oldies on the radio. That’s just the problem. No one wants to hear you or your music at 4 a.m.
Groups of people will come periodically to the Ritz and plant flowers, paint, clean up trash, and lay new mulch. While one of these groups was there, I was walking past the Bennetts, and a man on the stoop was screaming down the street, “That’s right, bitches, clean up my shit!” A neighborhood is built on mutual respect, and this area lacks it big time.
The city needs to leave the Bennetts alone, and the Bennetts need to start being a positive influence in the neighborhood. The cops need to put a no-loitering law into effect or impose a curfew for the block. If you don’t allow these people a safe place to do their business, they won’t come here. Then this neighborhood can clean up its image and people will feel safe to walk their streets again—and believe me, the Bennetts will be part of that positive transition.