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Let me get this right: You run a 5,000-word piece (bordering on an editorial) on overpriced condos as the savior of D.C.’s budget woes—but don’t mention the displacement of current D.C. residents until 3,000 words into the article (“Suite Deal,” 1/10)? One word: Huh?
Why make the protagonists the childless yuppies moving back into town, instead of the people who already live in D.C.? Oh, wait: They’re Double Income No Kids (DINKs), so the D.C. government, and apparently your writer, loves them. If you’re going to editorialize in your articles, how about driving home the point that D.C. politicians who say they are “family-friendly” (and who always seem to be photographed with their families at election time) are full of it, when they support policies that lead to rich DINKs moving in.
The other thing you didn’t mention was that many of these new condos are built like crap. The Washington Post wrote last year about the West End Ritz Carlton’s extensive problems with rampant mold, and the New York Post wrote this month that a brand-new condo building up there, billed as the world’s most expensive, had “killer mold” so bad it drove the multi-millionaire residents out and wrecked their 17th-century paintings and antiques. (I’m envisioning another 5,000-word piece if that happens here.) Both these cases were because of shoddy, cost-cutting construction. They built better buildings 80 years ago.
One other point that always seems to get missed is that gentrification is not only about the rich driving out the poor. The working and middle classes also get squeezed, either by being directly driven out of their places or by skyrocketing rents in areas “served” by these soulless, fortress-like gated communities.
We’re facing the same thing in the West End/Foggy Bottom area, with affordable housing almost a thing of the past down here. In describing the case against gentrification, it might have been worth mentioning some actual D.C. neighborhoods instead of throwing in a few lines about someone making off-the-wall homophobic comments.