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I’m writing in response to “Dollar Diplomacy” (11/19). The story is somewhat interesting in itself, but reporter John Metcalfe stops right there and leaves it as a “Gee, how funny” kind of story. Really, though, it’s pretty sad—and a great example of why this city is still having major problems developing beyond Northwest. If a small store can barely survive because of customer crime, what does that say about the area’s business prospects? But Metcalfe never goes there, never draws any conclusions from the store owners’ plight.
The Washington City Paper really seems to be on the side of D.C.’s poorer residents, and I salute the editors’ and writers’ attempts to bring attention to parts of the city that are generally overlooked. The city’s redevelopment is ignoring a number of neighborhoods, changing the character of others, and driving housing prices through the roof. These are clearly problems for the city’s poor. But let’s not pretend that the city was doing OK before gentrification came in—it wasn’t. Crime, drugs, and major poverty were and still are huge problems, and closing our eyes to them isn’t helping anyone. Let’s work for change that benefits everyone, instead of trying to stick with what we have—which isn’t all that great, as Metcalfe’s article makes clear.