Having been so recently vetted in your publication (“A Brief History of White People in Southeast,” 10/16/98), I feel compelled to respond to your item regarding Anacostia’s “gateway” (City Desk, 2/5). I’m very sorry that you have failed to even note: that my vacating 1220-1226 Good Hope Road and the adjacent properties is the predicate to the intended immediate demolition of these buildings; that such a demolition would virtually destroy the scale, nature, and facade line of the most defining block of “old” Anacostia; that the wholesale demolition of this key small-scale retail block has been opposed by several community groups (our ANC has been defunct for years); that the retention/rehabilitation of these buildings has been specifically recommended in the most recent study of “revitalization” of east of the river (the Department of Housing and Community Development contract).
By trivializing the issues at stake, your item once again shortchanges the real events slated for Anacostia’s “gateway.” As for Butch Hopkins and the Anacostia Economic Development Corp.: untrue characterization of my role in the matter. OK, Butch, if I’ve caused a two-year delay, what accounts for the other 20-plus years AEDC has received funding intended for Anacostia? Why, after two decades of broken promises and slippery funding, does Good Hope Road look like a bomb hit it? One glance at the Good Hope Road-Martin Luther King Avenue corridor tells you its unhappy fate hasn’t been sealed by one “territorial eccentric.”
By the way, when reporters use legal terms, they should do so accurately. There is no “court order” regarding the 8th of February. An agreement had been entered into between DHCD and myself premised on their initial position of time being “of the essence” and the immediate need for demolition of the block. There appears to be a window of opportunity for sounder ideas to prevail at DHCD. Stay tuned.