Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Made The City Paper...For What It's Worth

After a lot of e-mails and agitating, me neighbors and I have gotten some media coverage about this "it's just an apartment although it will only house male ex-offenders from we don't know where" madness.

I'm not crazy about this article, but at least the word is getting out.

Peaceoholics at War

I luv the very patriotic stance the Peacoholics take-

"The founder fathers of our country are ex-offenders..."

I also like how Marion Barry, of all people, says we are "selfish" for opposing this group home.

And the assertion that the people working on the building won't get hired by anyone else (*cue the violins) matters little. The disadvantaged youth were only there for the initial phase--now that have a work force that includes many Latinos. One of the Peacoholics tried to egg my neighbor on, asking her didn't it bother her that the apartments being built by a developer across the street mainly employed Latinos. The makeup of the current construction crew on the Peacoholic's building is no different than the one across the street.

And who cares who is working on the building across the street anyway? These so-called 'addicts to peace' are antagonistic and divisive.

Since it is The City Paper, they did zero in on drama and make it seem political. To me as a homeowner, it is not about politics--it is about my home. And people in the area, homeowners and renters alike are not in favor of this. Renters have said they are leaving because they cannot live near such a facility.

And it brushes past the fact that according the DC law (which the government selectively enforces, of course), this facility is not legal.

At least this blogger gets it-

Latest Peacoholics Drama

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Properly Valued

There is so much I could say, but in short, I left a meeting last Friday with community leaders, the Peacoholics and officials from DCHD and DCRA absolutely disgusted.

If the scenario where a building that once belonged to an associate of Marion Barry's is purchased at a steep discount with government funds by a non-profit group with ties to the mayor with the aim to make it a facility for ex-offender youth within a few feet of a home for battered women and children and down the street from a homeless shelter is not cronyism and extremely poor government planning, then I don't know what is.

DCRA continues to insist that is is simply and apartment building and that the use of it is incidental.

DCHD implies that opposing the facility or taking any legal action is tantamount to hurting the disadvantaged children of DC since such things would inhibit their ability to implement programs.

While they attempted a new charm offensive during the meeting ('You could be on an advisory board for the new facility.'), supporters of the Peacoholics followed us for over an hour once the meeting was over.

We fear for our safety, our neighborhood and our investment in that neighborhood.

There is so much wrong with the entire scenario, but here is one thing that struck me: the continued implications and outright accusations that we are wrong for wanting to protect our own interests.

One of my neighbors spoke at length about how she has worked hard and now feels that she is being penalized. Had she messed up, the government might be more willing to help her. I feel her. We are not rich folks preying on a poor neighborhood as some would like to think and we are not disadvantaged youth either. Being neither, we matter little.

I thought about that the next day when I read this is in Kim McLarin's book review of a novel by a African American author-

"[the author's] central focus seems to be the tension between racial solidarity and naked individualism, between loyalty to race and family and loyalty strictly to one's self."

My neighbors and I have been branded disloyal and even told we are "thinking white" because we oppose a group home for ex-offenders and because we have dared to utter the words "property value." (Although many of the renters on our street also feel the same way.)

Everyone in this scenario from the Peacoholics to DCRA to DCHD has gone for theirs and is protecting their own interests and we intend to do the same. I think with the exception of one homeowner present, everyone sitting at the table was African American. There is nothing disloyal about protesting an injustice, even if it brings you into conflict with people who look just like you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Peace, No Progress: Now the NIMBY is me)

"No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it."

-Albert Einstein

I've written about how my neighbors and I oppose the Peaceaholics' plan to put
a group home for ex-offenders (which they and their friends in city government insist is merely an "apartment") next door to us and a shelter for battered women and their children.

Last night I rushed from teaching a class to get to a neighborhood council meeting where this topic was on the agenda. As I expected, I heard shouting as I got closer to the meeting. Then I heard someone yell that the meeting was adjourned.

What I didn't expect was that simply because I walked into the room and spoke to people who are not in favor of the project, a Peaceaholics supporter would zero in on me. She approached in the name of dialogue, but could barely contain herself. I heard about how I was one of those people who make a lot of money that prey on the community. I noted that I did not make a lot of money (my neighbors and I heard some of the same rhetoric--with the race card thrown in to boot--when we attempted to meet with the Peaceaholics before) and that if we both lived there, we were neighbors.

When others intervened, she calmed down but it didn't last. She did, however, take a moment out to calmly and wholeheartedly agree with one of our white male neighbors when he asserted that we are concerned for our safety. But then she ramped up again and repeatedly yelled in my face that I was not relevant because I didn't grow up in the neighborhood. I walked away and out of the building.

What I didn't expect was to find out the next day that the same woman who got in my face actually pushed one of my neighbors. The two were not talking at the time; she approached after my neighbor had stopped talking to her and went to speak to someone else.

What I didn't expect was to hear was that members of the Peaceaholics, including the top brass, followed another one of my neighbors to her car to intimidate and frighten her.

You can read other accounts of the meeting here:

Washington City Paper-
Chaos in Congress Heights Over Peaceaholics Group Home

Congress Heights on the Rise blog-
OK, This is Going to Hurt but Somebody Had to Say It

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Christ Rock to Remake Kurosawa movie (Or, a blog post in which I refer to a previous blog post-twice)

I just read that Chris Rock is remaking/adapting a movie by Japanese legend Akira Kurosawa and of course that made me think of his Death at a Funeral remake, but the article also reminded me that some of his other movies, like I Think I Love My Wife, were remakes too.

The Kurosawa remake is a surprise though...I may not like all of his movies, but it is a smart move, business-wise. Most American audiences have not seen the originals and you get a proven plot and structure to play around with, without having to start from scratch.

How a Discussion about the "Death at a Funeral" remake reminded me that we still have a ways to go...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

How NOT to be Popular

"You won't be very popular if you're sending viruses," my new and rather upset co-worker admonished me the other day, sounding like a 1950s etiquette pamphlet on how to win friends and influence people.

She had used her company-issued computer to send me a file to edit via the company-run intranet. I edited that file on my company-issued computer and sent it back.

And somehow a virus wormed its way into the file. I guess someone had to take the blame.

As a contractor, the only thing I usually bring to work is my virus-free self (and maybe my lunch) how was this my fault?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Puppy Luv / Friend This

A guy who asked me out once, but couldn't be bothered to follow through suggested that I friend his dog on Facebook.

Maybe the dog will buy me dinner....