As we reported yesterday, Organizing Neighborhood Equity, otherwise known as ONE DC, staged a protest last night in front of Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s home. The group, which organizes communities around housing and economic issues, was rallying to prevent changes to a land development agreement in Shaw, according to ONE DC’s executive director Dominic Moulden.
Specifically, the group says that it was promised that a new residential building at the corner of 7th and R Streets NW would have housing for people with incomes of $50,000 or less. Now, according to ONE DC, all the units will be for people with incomes of $60,000 and up.
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Last night, roughly 60 to 70 people total showed up for the protest, says Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a volunteer organizer and a board member with ONE DC (and a Howard University professor).
And how did Fenty react upon seeing the uninvited guests crowding his block? He was “civil,” says Gordon Nembhard. “He wanted to shake everyone’s hand, and thank everyone for coming. But, he did not want to have a meeting there,” she says.
According to ONE DC organizer Rosemary Ndubuizu, the mayor “wasn’t that friendly, but I guess I would expect that from a man who’s coming home to 60 people. He told me something like ‘don’t use the bull horn’ and I’m like ‘I’m addressing people.’ But, he was kind of rude actually.”
Ndubuizu says that when her group originally signed a community benefits agreement setting the building deal in motion, the developer needed $7.8 million in government funding. Since then—-financial crisis and all—-other funding sources have dried up. Now, the developers say they need $20 million in order to construct the building with the affordable units, according to Ndubuizu (or at least that’s what they said back in the Spring, the last time the developers were in contact with the nonprofit).
The protesters prepared a little on-the-street presentation for Fenty. He wasn’t having any of it, though he called his scheduler on the spot to set up a future meeting, which will take place tomorrow.
That was enough to satisfy the crowd, which dispersed soon after. “We were there for about an hour, a little over an hour,” says Gordon Nembhard.
Photo by bankbryan