What you said about what we tried to fix last week
Last week’s issue carried the ambitious title “How to Fix Everything,” and our readers quickly chimed in with a few more ideas for building a better District. From reader Jeff G.: “Force Senators and members of the House who rent or own homes in the D.C. region to do so within 100 yards of the avenue named for the state they represent. It’s not my idea originally, but if we could find a way for this to happen I think it might improve Congress members’ understanding of the District. Obviously it’s not a practical idea, but if we had members of Congress living on Alabama Avenue in Anacostia or South Dakota Avenue in Fort Lincoln (rather than Arlington, Kalorama, or the Ritz), it might draw their attention to local issues.”
And the group Dupont Underground, a nonprofit hoping to convert the abandoned trolley station below Dupont Circle into a cultural center, pitched its own idea on our Facebook page: a green-canopied Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market relocated to Connecticut Avenue NW between Q Street and the circle. Swanky!
Other readers pushed back against some of our proposed fixes. Responding to two of our shorter, less serious ideas, Emily wrote, “It’s not the D.C. government’s job to mandate that the 9:30 club accept smartphone tickets, or to allow D.C. residents to cut in line at a bar. I’m not saying these things wouldn’t be good, but is that REALLY the role of government? The government does not exist to take every inconvenience out of your life. Come on.”
Several commenters gagged at Lydia DePillis’ argument for D.C. to take over local parks currently operated by the National Park Service. “NPS has training,” wrote Carson. D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation “ignores the maintenance of parks. NPS has taste and knows design and scale. DPR knows nothing, by comparison.”
Reader Chris pointed out that D.C. park retrocessionists may have some unlikely allies. “The argument that lands are better managed by the governments closest to those who live near and make use of those lands is an idea that’s been prominent in the West, basically since there was a West,” Chris wrote. “However, many Americans have argued that those lands belong to ‘the American people’ and so Utahns, Nevadans, Idahoans, etc. don’t have any exclusive privilege to manage or use those lands. To be less PC about it, East Coast environmentalists worry that, if Utah managed the public lands, they’d just sell ’em off to corporations to plunder at will. It’s a pretty powerful sentiment, and one that drives several conservation advocacy agendas. So, although much as Lydia and other D.C.-ers may not want to hear this, extreme states’ rightists, like Sen. Mike Lee of Utah or Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho are arguing for the same policies in their own states. They would be likely allies in such a fight. However, they would probably expect D.C.’s support in return for their own agendas, and that means betraying some liberal groups that ordinarily applaud D.C.’s environmental accomplishments.”
Commenter Dave wrote that Michael Schaffer’s idea to give every state a concession stand on the National Mall was “brilliant,” but took issue with the item’s thumbs-down characterization of Utah’s culinary prowess. “Utah actually has perfect food for it: pastrami burgers, milkshakes, Jell-O, and such. Mormons don’t drink alcohol or coffee, but they make up for it with fat and sugar.”
Department of Corrections
Due to a reporting error, last week’s Loose Lips column misidentified the group that goes by the acronym ROOT; it stands for Reaching Out to Others Together, not Reaching Out to Provide Enlightenment. Due to a reporting error, a review of the gallery show “Ladyparts” misidentified the name of a work by Rachelle Beaudoin; the piece is called “Upskirt Defense System,” not “Upskirt Defense Systems.” And due to a reporting error, a City Lights pick of a concert at Fort Reno incorrectly referred to a band on the bill, The Accidentals, as an a cappella group. There is an a cappella group by that name, but The Accidentals that performed at Fort Reno play punk rock.