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Monday, July 18, 2011

NYT: DC's Changes Reflected in H Street

The New York Times has a piece looking at H Street as a reflection of racial and socio-economic changes in the District.

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UPDATE
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There were some once some comments following this post that could potentially have been misread to suggest that Bachir Diop and Pamela Johnson were the owners of of Buka restaurant (formerly at 1413 H Street). So to very clear, they weren't the owners, just the landlords. Glad we cleared that up.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The article and specifically the part about the church restructuring and chicken wings at 7 Eleven, brings up a very good point as to why black people on H St are not exactly for the racial change. The racial divide is not all about not wanting to see people with a different skin tone on your street. It's about havign a say. People who rode out the rough times would like to enjoy the good times to but not just sit passively by as they happen.

Anonymous said...

@anon 1:39

This article had several interesting quotes. Some of the most interesting had to do with how some black residents see change happening.

The reverend's quotes were the most interesting, specifically that she felt like she was being told to "sit down and shut up" after a local council vote told her congregation they couldn't raze existing building to put in a parking lot. I don't understand how this equates to being told to 'shut up'-- it was a vote, and they didn't get what they wanted.

Participating in community decisions, especially in times of change, is not always about getting what you want. Not getting what you want might make you unhappy, but this doesn't equal disenfranchisement as a lot of people in gentrifying neighborhoods would have people believe.

PT said...

It's unfortunate that the piece includes more of the same story Ms. Johnson has been pitching for several months now. We can have a real conversation about race and change, but she needs to pay her damn taxes. If the property has really gone up triple in assessed value, she's lucky and by most accounts got rich thanks to the city and everyone else who invested around here. Does anyone know what property she actually owns? I'm not aware of her running a business around here and I don't recognize her to live here either. My property's assessed value has gone up a great deal the past couple years. I appealled, but I paid my taxes. I'm happy for some of my tax dollars to go to support small businesses on H Street, but I'm not thrilled to hear some of the tax deadbeats might be the beneficiaries. Especially, if they're vacant property owners and/or spew ugly racial allegations.

Anonymous said...

Real DC 2 said:

Why doesn't Pamela Johnson mow the grass or paint her property? Why did Pam not rent to a restaurant
or bar the last five years? Why bail out anybody? Lehman Brothers, B of A or Pam? Who ever said
that no one has to take a chance and fail in life?

Anonymous said...

Sterling Tucker has it right--most of the racial resentment among the black community is really about loss of political power, influence and free handouts.

Nevermind that the status quo was utterly dysfunctional and inequitable; the only thing that bothers people like Pam Johnson is the fact that she has to ante up anything rather than just collecting unearned subsidies from taxpayers. I don't see Dangerously Delicious Pies asking for a handout from the city.

After a few more years of tax evasion and corresponding abatement, she can sell her property for 1000% profit, and bump up two or three tax brackets in personal wealth. Then she'll need to up the volume on her racial injustice invective to inoculate her against the charge of bougie uppityness from "her people", whose interests she selflessly had at heart all along.

Anonymous said...

Ok this story is getting repetitive. We get it! This is how capitalism works but as for banning chicken wings who the hell came up with that? Really people? banning chicken wings? lol

Davy Crockett's Hat said...

@ inked - If only there was a comment thread about the whole chicken-wing thing that we could go back and reference...

Rayful Edmond said...

I wish they would only sell boneless chicken wings. Not because my dog chokes on the bones, but because they are so much tastier. Mmmmmmm...

inked said...

davy,
will this one work?

ro said...

I had chicken wings last night. delicious

Anonymous said...

How dare these small businesses whine and complain about increased taxes. Just say no to subsidies, abatement and other handouts!

except:

The D.C. Council has given a multimillion-dollar subsidy to a developer of the gentrifying H Street corridor. Without dissent, the council approved an emergency measure that grants a tax abatement to Steuart Investment Co., owner of the lot at the corner of Third and H Streets Northeast. The tax break is designed to help the Chevy Chase developer build a high-rise building with shopping, restaurants and apartments or condos. Under the law, Steuart's property taxes will be frozen at what it paid in fiscal 2010 for 10 years. The company then will pay a portion of taxes above the fiscal 2010 level through fiscal 2030. The breaks are capped at $5 million -- 7 percent of the project's expected costs.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/dc-gives-h-street-developer-5-million-tax-break#ixzz1SUbbhuIN

Davy Crockett's Hat said...

@ inked - Swoon!

Dave B said...

Pamela Johnson is smrt

"We see this as the city’s way of gentrifying these corridors.”

Did you guys have a meeting to figure that out? Damn the city for wanting citizens who pay income tax

"But race and class issues often overlap, and as the city’s demographics shift — the white population jumped by 31 percent in the past decade, while the black population declined by 11 percent — many less affluent blacks say they are feeling left out of the city’s improving fortunes."

The white people brought money with them into the city. Its not like the city gave it to them

Also, I started going to Salon on H when it changed its name from Hair Rage International. Pamela Johnson should open a store called Stuff White People like.

Anonymous said...

I love chicken wings! And I always make sure to discard the bones directly on the street east of 8th street.....I live west of there in the nice-"Hill" part of the corridor.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:40: WTF are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was excited to learn about Buka too, but I've never seen it open. A west african restaurant like Bukom in Adams Morgan could do very well on H.

Chris said...

I'd read some decent reviews of Buka once upon a time, and tried to go there several times after; but it's just never, ever, ever open. So I gave up.

Anonymous said...

@anonJul 19, 2011 7:40:00 AM

I appreciate your consideration. Please keep up the effort and encourage others as well.

Anonymous said...

The article frequently interchanged race for income level. I realize that there is a strong correlation between the two, but they are not interchangeable.

Also, the quote from EHN was odd. Could you imagine if the two races were revered?

“This is a cosmopolitan, artsy town,” said Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s nonvoting congresswoman. “Black people laid down a culture that lives here. The flavor of the city is not going to change with whites moving in.”

Imagine if instead a white politician said:

“This is a cosmopolitan, artsy town,” said (white congressman). “White people laid down a culture that lives here. The flavor of the city is not going to change with blacks moving in.”

Anonymous said...

I meant, "imagine if the two races were reversed"

za said...

you can't just reverse the words without reversing history too.

Anonymous said...

Real DC 2 said:

But you can reverse 1413 h street northeast from looking like a dump, Pam and Diop. Paint your ratty building....it's a disgrace. Paint is on sale at Home Depot...