First, the obvious: “These days Kazebee couldn’t really complain about Shiloh’s waste mismanagement if he wanted to.” You forgot to identify the picture of Ray Milefsky standing in front of a trash pile behind Shiloh’s day-care center. I bet the neighbors can’t wait ’til they’re running a coffee bar too! But you are right: Compared with the alleys around here, the one I look at has always been immaculate—but then, that’s the main entrance for the good reverend and his flock. The drug dealers, junkies, and prostitutes always make sure to conclude their business by Sunday morning.

“‘If it’s a problem of white gentrification, I’d like to see low-income parishioners live there,’ [says Ray Rhinehart].” They left years ago for the same reason most people left this neighborhood: to get away from the crime. It ain’t about race, no matter how much “activists” would like to inject it into this. The reality is that there are only two types down here: predators and victims. If you doubt this, look at a map. Remember the O Street Market shooting, Leo Gonzales, Little Man James, the local from the 1600 block of 7th who shot the cop at the Ibex, and just recently the gentleman who allegedly assisted Abe Lincoln in his crime spree—he’s from the 700 block of P Street. Did I mention the cabdrivers being stabbed over in the 400 and 500 blocks of O, or the drug sales over on 5th Street? And those are just the perps, not the victims—like the British tourist who was murdered in the alley across from Shiloh, the women murdered at the boarding house on 8th, the dead bodies turning up in the alley (the 1500 block of 8th). And didn’t the mayor himself declare the 1500 block of 7th one of the open-air drug markets he was determined to shut down?!

The article makes it sound like a bunch of whiny white people suffering culture shock. The abandoned and neglected properties down here couldn’t possibly be a contributor, could they?! Ironically, I’ve seen more outrage expressed by blacks about bad service at Denny’s than any of the activity that’s commonplace down here. Then again, maybe that’s what “defining deviancy down” means. What was missing, as usual in these types of articles, whether by the Washington Post, the Washington Times, or the Washington City Paper, is that the good reverend and his flock really don’t live here—and, have no intention of moving here. There is always the inference that people like me are displacing someone. Who? As for being rich: My salary as a retired E6 is a matter of public record; I’d trade it for the good reverend’s pay any day.

“‘We made the decision to pretty much get out of the real estate business,’ [the Rev.] Smith says.” I guess the negotiations to buy Mark’s Electric didn’t go well? The church did evict tenants several years ago rather than bring its properties up to code. You can’t blame the gentrifighters for that—at least the church didn’t sell property to any white people. Which brings me to Smith’s other quote: “‘We don’t want to sell to outside speculators who could clear the African-Americans out of here.’” Excuse me, but what African-Americans? According to Shiloh, those buildings are vacant, ain’t no one s’posed to be livin’ there. Perhaps a Freudian slip, a tacit admission that the church’s business interests are served somehow by these vacant, uninhabited buildings? Anyway, what African-Americans were living there were evicted by Shiloh, not me and my white gentrifighter cabal y’all keep referring to. One final point on the good reverend’s quote: Racial covenants are illegal.

The real salient fact in the story is contained near the end: “In 1998, the church scored [interesting choice of words] a $340,000 grant from D.C.’s Department of Housing and Community Development to pay for part of the makeover of a pink-brick house at 1533 9th Street…” This house is directly across from the $13.5 million church building. These projects are always in the future, to be paid for by someone else (preferably taxpayers) for the PR benefit (and probably lucrative management jobs) of the church. The last scheme the church had was to locate a halfway house in the 800 block of Q Street—just needed the guvmint to fund it! Can you say, “race-baiting poverty pimps”?! Y’all have a nice day.

Shaw