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Regarding “Circling the Wagons: Logan Circle ANC Supports Affordable HousingAs Long as It’s Not in Its Back Yard” (1/17): congratulations. You have just libeled an entire neighborhood.
In case your writer hasn’t noticed, ANCs are this city’s most grass-roots institutions: popularly elected bodies representing the numerically smallest increments of the electorate. To suggest that ANC 2F is somehow the thrall of some shadowy, malignant superpower, which is the way your writer portrays the Logan Circle Community Association, is just plain ignorant.
The entire basis of your article is factually wrong.
Fact: LCCA is an open-membership organization that since its founding in the early 1970s has included a broad ethnic, social, and gender mix in its membership and board of advisers. Its members are people who have rejected the social and cultural values of the segregated suburbs and chosen to live in the diversity of the city. They tend to be socially conscious liberal Democrats, and indeed some of the older ones come out of the civil rights and anti-war movements.
Fact: Your vituperative statements to the contrary, LCCA has a long and proud tradition of advocating affordable housing in our own neighborhood. This goes back to the days of the Redevelopment Land Authority, and continues through our support of the MANNA housing project in the 1200 block of D Street, which we recently included on our Christmas House Tour. On the other hand, we certainly have strenuously opposed such irresponsible projects as the massive Luther Place development at Thomas Circlefor a variety of reasons a prime example, in our opinion, of how not to deal with the homeless problem. I suppose this is where you came up with your line about LCCA’s “well-established NIMBY credentials.”
Your statement that LCCA is trying to “keep low-income housing out of their neighborhood” is hilarious. Has your writer ever had a look around this neighborhood?
By pursuing a tentative offer of money from a developer to convert an abandoned building to multifamily housing, ANC 2F is “squelching” black people? Oh, please.
The obvious inspiration and main source for these rantings is Robert Ryan Riddle, the former ANC commissioner. Riddle chose not to run for re-election. I can only surmise that his anti-middle-class, pseudo-revolutionary agenda, or whatever it was, was so out of step with the Blagden Alley district he represented that he realized he faced certain defeat. Interesting that now, with no electoral constituency, he finds in Washington City Paper such a willing and uncritical mouthpiece.
To the larger point: I find it an interesting case of ideological schizophrenia that City Paper on the one hand seems to accept the notion that the District, as a matter of economic survival, needs to stanch its continuing hemorrhage of middle-class residents. Yet, when confronted with a hardy band of actual live middle-class holdouts volunteering their time and taking an active role in trying to make their neighborhood more livable, City Paper paints them as “a bunch of chummy white activists” cooking up nefarious plots.
I would like to point out that vilifying middle-class residents who you perceive as mostly white is becoming a trend for your paper. You have done so in various snickerings about Ward 3, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, and Capitol Hill. Now it seems that Logan Circle is to be your next victim. You used to just ignore us. I suppose this means now you think we have turned some kind of corner.
In recent months you have published several thoughtful articles, including cover stories by some of your best writers, about the need for a stable middle class to make this city work politically and economically. At the same time you seem to continue taking some weird adolescent delight in trashing the individuals you come across, such as the good people named in this article.
I believe that you need to do some honest soul-searching about what you really make of the phenomenon of the middle class in Washington and how you cover it. The D.C. government for years has sent signals that, except for our tax contributions, folks like us are unwelcome nuisances. That’s when they weren’t actively trying to drive us out. So if you too finally decide that we’re the bad guys here, or perhaps that we just don’t measure up to your standards of acceptable middle-class behavior, you’ll have to get in line. At least we’ll all know where we stand. But you really can’t have it both ways, not and retain any credibility in the communities you purport to cover.
N.B. I am a former president of the LCCA.
P.S. I regret that this has to be the subject of the first letter I have ever written you. Except for my complaints above, I believe City Paper generally has done a good job of covering D.C.