Dear PoP – DC Council and Nats Tickets, Really?

IMG_7578, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

A reader gets very upset with this Washington Post story about Fenty withholding Nats tickets from the DC Council. The article says:

“Several D.C. Council members said they and some of their constituents were kept away from yesterday’s home opener at Nationals Park because Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) was withholding 19 tickets to their suite at the stadium.”

His email to Council Member Bowser follows:

“I just saw a news article expressing the Council’s collective outrage at Fenty’s hoarding the Council’s Nationals tickets. Seriously? Is this really an issue? Has the Council really wasted time on this discussion? I find the absolutely disgusting and hope the news article was exaggerating. Given the budget and crime crises the City is facing how on earth can this even be an issue? How can there be time to discuss this? And frankly given the recent layoffs, talk of a street light tax and the huge budget shortfall, why isn’t the City or the Council auctioning these tickets off to the highest bidder.  Continues after the jump.

This story is just one more in a long line of stories showing the corruption, abuse and extravagance of the DC government and I believe it need to be addressed. How dare the Council and the Mayor take jobs away from City employees and raise taxes on the rest of us and then waste even one second of OUR time, yes, your time is our time, paid by the taxes of the residents of this city, debating what is an absurd, unnecessary, excessive and potentially dangerous perk. If indeed the tickets are for personal use, please explain why. Ms. Bowser, your salary surely eclipses that of most of your constituents; if they can and do afford tickets, why can’t you and your fellow members do the same? If they are to be handed out to constituents, is this by way of a transparent, competitive and open process or is it just another form of cronyism, patronage and a “donor benefit?” Seems to me, this might just constitute a conflict of interest. Didn’t the City fund much of the new stadium? Could that support really have been bought from the Council for a mere 19 seats? I hope not!

As my Council member, I would like to know your specific involvement in this debate. How much of OUR time did you and your fellow members spend on this? What specifically is the process by which these tickets will be shared with the residents of the City. If not, can we count on our Council members (save for Mr. Barry as he’s convinced his only responsibility is to spend tax money, not pay it) to claim the actual value of these tickets as part of their compensation package? Will documentation be made public to assure the taxpayers of the City that that did in fact occur?

I await your prompt and complete response to my queries.”

I will post any response given. But what do you guys think – is this getting blown out of proportion?

35 Comment

  • I think the email to Bowser is right on the money – particularly loved the sentence about the disgraceful Marion Barry! I plan to write to her myself! Thanks for sharing this.

  • I do not think is getting blown out of proportion…I sent an email to Bowser on MARCH 27th about blatant drug dealing in my alleyway and I have yet to get a response from her or Todd.

  • Public representatives get the privileges they earn. If they are doing a fine job and bringing people better lives, nobody cares if they go to baseball games – in fact, going to games looks like participation in the life of the city. If their city is suffering, however, squabbling over perks look at best like taking their eye off the ball, and at worst like fiddling while Rome burns.

    Is it fair? No, not really – I mean, why is Fenty hoarding the tickets, anyway – he’s not a king, and he owns neither the team or the stadium. Is it the reality of the profession these reps have chosen? Damn right. Get back to work, Muriel.

  • I see your points-but what is up with Fenty these days? Mystery trips-ticket hoarding…H mmmmm

  • not surprised by any of it. not surprised at Fenty’s shenanigans. Not surprised at councilmembers’ behavior. not surprised at the lack of response from elected officials. Not surprised by anything. And people wonder why voter turnout is so low. What’s the point?

  • Fenty is smart and better than the alternative… which is either nothing, or a Barry-esque clown. Fenty 2010. At least he has smart members of his administration at key positions. And enjoys the support of Obama and actually shows up at every civic meeting in the city at one point or other (something no other mayor has ever done)

  • this message makes some great points.

  • Bowser responded yesterday afternoon, you can find her responses in brackets…

    If they are to be handed out to constituents, is this by way of a transparent, competitive and open process or is it just another form of cronyism, patronage and a “donor benefit.”[I have a volunteer that assists me with distributing tickets. We will add any resident to a list for tickets as they become available. Many people contacts us about tickets. I am open to the idea of a lottery or auction as your wife suggested, but I will not dedicate staff time to distributing tickets]

    Seems to me, this might just constitute a conflict of interest. Didn’t the City fund much of the new stadium? [Yes, the City provided a large subsidy to the stadium. I was not on the Council at that time. If I were, I would have voted against it]

    As my Council member, I would like to know your specific involvement in this debate [I have not been involved in the debate over the distribution of tickets].

    What specifically is the process by which these tickets will be shared with the residents of the City [As I shared with your wife, with very few exceptions, all tickets received by my office are distributed to residents. I have attended a handful of events myself].

    If not, can we count on our Council members (save for Mr. Barry as he’s convinced his only responsibility is to spend tax money, not pay it) to claim the actual value of these tickets as part of their compensation package? [Members file a financial disclosure every year, gifts over a certain value must be noted, though I believe that these tickets were treated differently because they were provided to the City not an individual. I will clarify this; I will comply with all reporting requirements.]

    Will documentation be made public to assure the taxpayers of the City that that did in fact occur? [This form is available to the public].

  • And just for fun, here’s my email back to her. No response yet. I’d encourage everyone to write their council member about this. They should be ashamed that even one moment of their time was spent on this absurd issue. They should be embarrassed in light of all this city’s problems to be bickering over their entitlement to perks. Being a member of the DC Council is a PART TIME job for which they get paid $125,583 per year. That is a hell of a part time job. I think the salary alone, given what these folks accomplish, or more fairly fail to accomplish is all the perks they deserve.

    Anyway, my response…

    As I acknowledged in my original email I am willing to accept that some of this related to journalistic exaggeration… this makes good, juicy news, right? That said, the facts are the facts and multiple council members are engaging in a discussion of a topic that is as you put it petty and childish, but worse still, excessive luxury at a time too many people are suffering. I would think that you and your colleagues would be embarrassed to own up to this perk given the economic crisis where in families cannot afford to buy food or pay their rent, let alone go to a baseball game. Indeed, I would love to see Gray approach the economy, crime or education with the same fervor as he has approached these tickets.

    What concerns me the most is the way in which these tickets are distributed and how the can potentially be used. First, I think in light of the fact that the City Council approved funding for the project that the acceptance of these tickets is a serious ethics violation. Would it be OK for the BZA to accept free cupcakes from a bakery seeking a special exception to a zoning law? Would you find it acceptable for a police officer to accept free beer from a liquor store that has had problems with selling to minors? Can a building inspector accept free sneakers from a running store building a new shop? I think the answer to all three is, or should be, no. I don’t see how this differs from what the Council and indeed the Mayor have done. You’ll remember the trouble Senator Reid ran into a couple of years back after accepting free tickets to a boxing match, especially in light of his role in a boxing bill. I believe the same is true here. The City Council did and will likely in the future have a professional role in issues related to the stadium and as such, accepting free tickets is clearly a conflict of interest.

    Second, there does not seem to be much transparency related to the distribution of the tickets. I searched your website this morning and found no reference to them. How would I, as one of your constituents, even know you have access to these tickets in order to place a request? Perhaps you are handling them properly, but would you be willing to vouch for each of your fellow Council members? Have you or they ever given a ticket to a donor? How about a personal friend? A family member? This gets into some really murky territory, doesn’t it? There is clearly room here for the tickets to be misused and abused for the personal or professional gain of a Council member or his/her staff.

    Third, I believe that there are important issues related to the taxation of these tickets that may or may not be sufficiently addressed. I appreciate your willingness to look into this and get back to me. If these tickets are being used for personal use, they can and should be taxed as income, ESPECIALLY if the tickets are given to the City and then the City gives them to a Council member. In such a case it would certainly be an element of your overall compensation package. You’ll of course remember Sen. Daschle’s problems related to not having paid taxes on the chauffeur service provided to him by his job. While I admit I’d take a chauffeur over Nats tickets, it is a perk and should be taxed.

    All this is to say, is it worth it? Is it worth it at all? I say auction off the tickets to the highest bidder on EBay. If there’s not interest, let’s give it to the DC public schools, they can use the tickets as an incentive program. I would strongly advocate getting rid of the tickets all together, they should never have been included in the Council’s agreement with the stadium in the first place and they will only create trouble for you in the long run.

    Besides, who has time for baseball, the nation and the city are facing the most significant crisis in most of our lifetimes. And here in DC, it’s not just the economy, we seem unable to curb corruption, the schools are continuing to decline, crime is rising… and the economy is tanking. I don’t know how there’s even time to discuss baseball, let alone attend a game.

    I trust my wife and I are not the only outraged residents. I would like to ask that you encourage your fellow Council members to apologize to the residents of the City for the time, energy and money wasted on this nonsense. I urge you and your fellow members to shame the Mayor into doing the same. And then I urge all of you to get to working and fix the problems that plague this City whose welfare and well being you’ve been entrusted with.

  • I think its odd that the councilmembers AND Fenty can’t seem to see what obviously negative PR this is for all involved in this non-issue. It’s ridiculous…they are acting like children and don’t seem to have any idea how this is playing to their constituents…and something is up with Fenty – not sure if its power going to his head or something else, but he’s acting odd lately…

  • I think its odd that the councilmembers AND Fenty can’t seem to see what obviously negative PR this is for all involved in this non-issue. It’s ridiculous…they are acting like children and don’t seem to have any idea how this is playing to their constituents…and something is up with Fenty – not sure if its power going to his head or something else, but he’s acting odd lately…

  • That people vote for these crooks seems to be a disincentive for them to do the right thing. The council has some real do-nothings on it, and the mayor’s office is as corrupt as any in the country.

  • I’m not saying that this whole this isn’t childish and embarassing and reflects poorly on everyone involved, but it seems to me like Fenty is the real dick here. Wouldn’t you be pissed if someone kept your tickets? Why does he need to do that? I’m sensing a tremendous sense of entitlement coming from his camp these days. If unchecked, over time that sense of entitlement from a public official can turn for the worse. See Barry, Marion.

  • It is no different in Africa. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe had a b’day party with an 187lb cake while half of his country depends on food aid to survive. If DC were in Africa, I am sure it would be no different. As it stands now, many of these black run cities are artificially held up due to them being here in America. Otherwise, the mentality is the same. Heck, I would even be willing to argue that the PEOPLE are the same. Same bloodline. They ARE all AFRICAN-american if you think about it.

    There is no coincidence that Detroit, ATL, Baltimore, New Orleans, Birmingham, and DC are all poorly run cities. There is no coinciddence that each one of the mayors are either under investigation for corruption or just got out of jail.
    Detroit-Kilpatrick just got out of jail.
    Atlanta-Franklin’s daughter moved a drug dealer bf of hers into the mayor’s residence. He later fled from the law and she sent him money while on the lam.
    Baltimore-Sheila Dixon.
    New Orleans-Nagin.
    Birmingham-Larry Langford is under investigation for taking bribes. The bribes you might ask? Clothes from “high end” (Gus Mayer) stores in return for bond work.
    Fenty-Summer jobs program. OTR. Mystery trips.

    Now when you add in the crime, poor schools, poverty, poor roads, poor services, you begin to see that these cities are no different from their African run counterparts.

    Some people can’t see the truth. Others see it but are unwilling to speak it out of fear of being castigated or labelled a racist. A small minority of people are willing to speak the truth even if it goes against their own self-interest.

  • I think their all wrong, Fenty and the Council. They shouldn’t have accepted the tickets in the first place, at all. Fenty shouldn’t have them, the Council shouldn’t have them. This shouldn’t even be an issue in my opinion.

  • Take a few days to follow what the council actually does and you’ll be sadder still. The Local section of the WashPost online has the DC Wire, which gives some of the highlights. The online calendar of the DC Council itself seems curiously blank, though their schedule may indeed be blank. But in general, over the last few months they’ve discussed subpoenas for Fenty cronies, the fire truck donation, gay marriage, nominee appointments, fights with Peter Nickles, scandal in OCTO etc., and other stuff like that. In short, those core issues of budgets and crime you hope for have not come up. Its just not that kind of Council, really. They have their own priorities.

  • I must first say that you all are a sad bunch. I as a fourth generation Washingtonian have seen the highs and lows of this city and in speaking with the elders of my family in which I do on a constant basis they agree. As it relates to the stadium in particular our city council and Mayor Should have tickets to the games of our local sports teams. It is clear that you folks are just another bunch of non realistic NIMBY folks who fail to realize that items such as these are beneficial when trying to court a company to move to our city or for a development to come. You know I hear you call talk about the issues of this city but not one of you all talked about how to get the folks to this city.

    Then you all attack the council for lack of doing work, well I must say that I am in the Wilson Building on a constant basis, and actually considering that the Council is in the final stages of the Budget Process that for the majority of the last 45 days there was a hearing every day if not two or three which is rather much of a local legislative body. During this process they touched on all of the items you all mentioned.

    You know you talk about how the council can talk about this and that, but one of the major problems in this city and for a better part in this country is the lack of community. You all complain about the problems, but the council can not fix the fact that the majority of our young men (under the age of 30) have no formal education pass the grades 7/8. That we have one of the highest AIDS rates in the world, or that our teen pregnancy rate is through roof.

    I challenge each of you to spend the same about of time that you all do writing emails to the council and complaining about the stuff in the post, times and city paper working in some of our most troubled areas in Wards 5,7 and 8 where the majority of the residents couldn’t tell you the last time they read the post, times or city paper. You know the places where they don’t deliver the examiner to your door and the express is only if you get to the Metro Station early enough to catch the homeless person they are paying. I ask where were you same folks when the Jos Williams and his buddies from AFL-CIO were pushing to have a bunch of Union Members who live in MD/VA/PA/WV and the likes build a stadium for our city and return the majority of our taxpayer’s funds to their states at they also did with the convention center, a good part of our schools and our the soon to be convention center hotel.

    You see you folks have time to call and complain about community meetings and who shows up, but how many of you spend that same amount time trying to help folks and encourage and teach the ones in the neighborhoods where the citizens are scared to show up for a community meeting because they are scared to leave their homes after 5pm. Real talk, you say the media’s coverage is sad as it relates to this story, well so are your debates and soap box soliloquies. If you really care about the real issues in this city get up off your but and help tackle some of the issues instead of waiting for an ANC, Councilmember, Mayor, or President to do it for you.

  • Bowtie, if we are to do the Councils and Gov’t job for them, then please reduce our taxes. I cannot afford to work full time and save the city’s destitute, especially when the city government has literally spoiled such people with generations of welfare. You exhibit the most common trait of DC government employees: blame the middle and upper class citizens! Which is why many will leave, and you can have your city full of indigents and such.

  • I see your points Bowtie B, but most of the problems in wards 5,7, and 8 have to do with lack of parenting and hopelessness. There is an element of self responsiblity that is missing from some people our communities. People have to want to do better for themselves. The people who write on this blog are not responsible for the little jerks who throw trash in my lawn every day or the ones that use alleys as public restrooms. Of course we can all lend a hand to our neighbors and undoubtedly the neighborhoods would benefit.

    But this is a separate problem from holding our elected officials accountable. The bottom line is that our elected officials do have a responsibility to handle our money and resources appropriately and we as citizens have every right to complain when they dont.

  • I’m inclined to agree in part with Bowtie. The first part. Going to local sports games is part of the Mayor’s and Council Members’ jobs, and is not a perk. To attract investment in the city and as a way to connect with their constituents. I don’t think they should have to pay for those tickets since it’s not like they can just buy their own seats in the Upper Deck and hang out with their buddies drinking beer and eating peanuts – it’s going to be work for them. If they never showed up at a game, I’d think they didn’t care about the city in which they lived. (I grew up in Pittsburgh – if the Mayor and Council Members skipped Steelers’ games, they’d have one term, at best.)

    I do think they should have kept this little squabble under wraps, but I am also curious about why Fenty is holding onto the tickets (if this is indeed the case). But the complaint that they should be fighting crime and poverty instead of enjoying the lighter things that the city has to offer strikes me as ridiculous as the people who are complaining about Obama having an NCAA bracket and going on the Tonight Show when the economy sucks. These peoples’ jobs as public servants encompass a variety of things, including making public appearances at more than just another press conference.

  • Bowtie-

    I think the fact that you are a 4th generation Washingtonian unfortunately says a lot. Your way of thinking is why we are in the mess we are in now. Our leaders have NEVER been held accountable for their actions, a perfect example is our cocaine using, tax avoiding former mayor and current Council member Marion Barry.

    There is a lot an ordinary citizen here in DC can do and I think this blog has proven to have a lot of civic minded and involved readers. POP’s first ever city cleanup day is just a week or so away and many of us attend ANC and other community meetings. Citizens can participate in tutoring programs, we can pick up litter along the street, we can and should certainly work hard and pay our taxes.

    Ordinary citizens however CANNOT fix the school system, fight AIDS in the community, reduce crime, etc. As Pennywise suggests, we pay taxes to hire teachers, equip police and indeed run a government that is supposed to develop and implement policies to address these issues. We as residents are supposed to make informed decisions when we vote, rather than decisions based on race, political parties, or whether someone is, or is related to a a civil rights activist.

    Without a doubt the BEST thing a resident of this city can do is hold accountable our elected and appointed officials and city workers. When we see crimes we should call the police. When the police don’t show up we should call the district commander or other senior official. If we don’t get the response we want, call our council member or the mayor. Same goes for education, AIDS reduction, trash pickup, street lights, etc. None of us are caped crusader, able to physically take on the thugs in this city. None of us can slip a condom onto someone before they have unprotected sex. It’s not that we don’t want to help make the City a better place, but again, as Pennywise suggests, some of us work full time jobs and pay a good portion of our income to the City and the Federal Government so that our ANC, Council members, Mayor and President can focus their full time efforts on making the city and the country a better place.

    So tell me Bowtie, what do you and the elders of your family do to improve the issues you raised? How are you helping to reduce AIDS? Crime? Improve education? And I’m not talking about just in your family… what are you doing to help all the kids in the City?

  • Maybe the Mayor and the Council should give all their tickets to folks in Ward 5,6,7 and other places where people are afraid to leave after dark. I hear the luxury boxes have good security.

    Also, when they get to the ballpark, someone should give them a newspaper. Or, maybe they could sell their ticket and buy a yearly subscription to the Washington Post. Then, they too could join us in our disbelief that our childish city council and mayor are fighting over who gets to sit in a luxury box.

    While I am aware that governments try to bribe businesses to relocate to their communities all the time through posh seats to baseball games and other in-kind gifts. Sadly, it may even be acceptable to shower rich folks with lots of additional gifts. That is still bribery and corruption and our government should have no part in it. Business decisions should not be based on which government gave the business owner the best seat in the house.

  • Bowtie,
    It’s always an excuse from people like you. They don’t get the Examiner b/c they don’t get it delivered or get to the metro early enough. They don’t read the Post. Well, that is THEIR fault! Not mine. I am so fuc$ing tired of being told to foster a community for kids I had no part in bringing to this world. Again, that is their fault. Not mine.

    And one more thing. What does being a 4th generation Washingtonian have to do with anything? Were you and your ilk the ones voting for Barry and doing the rioting during your 4 generations in this town? If so, this city won’t improve until the 4th & 5th generation Washingtonians take their dysfunctional housholds to PG CTY.

    BTW, I only hear a lot of black people refer to him/herself as a x generation Washingtonian. What is that about?

  • Well, I’ll throw my cap in the ring and say that I’m a 7th-generation white Washingtonian. What that has to do with the price of tea in China is beyond me, although it can be frustrating to meet transplants (especially of the whiny New York/New Jersey variety) who come here for college, and then think that they “discovered” the District.

  • Nate, I can’t often agree with you, but you couldn’t be more right here.

    This highlights why government, not individual citizens need to fix these problems; their simply too big and too all encompassing for individuals to make a significant difference. The kids in my neighborhood don’t care about school, about getting AIDS, about improving their lives. They deal drugs, do drugs, throw their trash all over the place. Why do they do this? Because mom and dad, if their even around, do it too. If it were one kid, sure a community could come together and help, but these dysfunctional families exist in overwhelming numbers here in DC. My wife and I work hard to provide for ourselves and take care of our family. We donate to charities, we volunteer here in the City, we are involved, but seriously, what is expected of us Bowtie?

    Moreover, your post talks about bringing new business into the city, increasing tax revenue, etc. and then you bash all of us for wanting a better community. Businesses don’t want to come to neighborhoods where their windows get bashed in (Julia’s in CH and Moroni’s in Petworth, for example) regardless of how nice the luxury box is or how hospitable the Mayor may be. I didn’t get a night out at the ballpark with Bowser or Fenty even though my wife and I bought an vacant house here in Petworth, giving the city much needed property tax revenue, income tax revenue, etc.

    Most of us aren’t 4th generation Washingtonians. No, we are the future of Washington, a future that doesn’t accept laziness from public officials, complacency from city workers, or nonsense from 4th generation Washingtonians!

  • Almost Lunch Time, excuse me, and others whose families have been here and aren’t carpet-baggers like you, but we are not all lazy, we didn’t all riot in ’68, we didn’t all vote for Marion Barry (or Marion Barry Junior – Fenty). I’m glad you like the District, but if you don’t love it, why not move someplace else. Ahhhhh, you probably work for the government, which would explain why you think that only THE GOVERNMENT can cure the problems which plague the District. Government has been the cause of most of the troubles: warehouse poor folks in low-income dumps, which breeds violence; give more money to single mothers for every child they produce; tax the middle-class out of the city, where they can’t afford to live anymore. My ancestors have contributed a hell of a lot to the benefit of our city, so kindly watch your insults to those of us who didn’t move here 10 years ago.

  • JohnnyReb,
    More has been done by the people that moved here than the representative “Washingtonians” I see. For the Washingtonians that didn’t riot and loot the stores, you sure as hell did not do anything to stop it. All of you Washingtonians may not have voted for Barry, but he didn’t win 4 terms without the votes of alot of you.

    Quite frankly, all of the crime/violence/poor neighborhoods are primarily Washingtonian problems. Not many of us that moved here 10 years ago live in Far SE. Not many of us send our kids to the schools full of Washingtonian kids. So you Washingtonians need to clean your own dirty laundry before asking us to help.

    I was walking up 14th a while back. Right near Parkwood, Taylor, Shepherd. I noticed the Hispanics have a fully functioning neighborhood with grocery stores, salons, pool halls, restaurants. Then I go to anyother part of DC full of Washingtonians and I don’t see any respective business corridors that are owned and supported by Washingtonians. Why is that if you guys have contributed in your words, “a lot to the benefit of our city.”

  • Johnny-

    I never suggested that all multi-generational Washingtonians were lazy, or that they all rioted, voted fro Barry, etc., but I do take issue with any Washingtonian, multi-generational or otherwise, who fails to hold themselves or others accountable for the state of affairs here in the District. Indeed, I believe very strongly that much of DC’s problems today are the consequence of years and years of poorly focused efforts and lack of responsibility and accountability.

    I don’t agree with any of the government policies you suggested, but that doesn’t mean that government is not ultimately the only authority actually able or sanctioned to solve our problems. As I stated above, I believe we need to hold our government accountable and force them to comply with their commitments. They have been elected to protect and improve this City and they are failing, just as government has failed this city for generations. We cannot simply get rid of government, it is exists and will exist. The riots proved we cannot simply bypass government to get what we want, or think we want.

    What I am advocating getting government to address what needs to be addressed. Getting the Mayor and the City Council to STOP bickering over baseball tickets and to get to work fixing our schools and ridding the City of crime.

    Now, please allow me to take issue with two specific statements. First, I do love this City and have made it my home. I don’t know where I indicated that I liked it but didn’t love it. Does complacency=love in your book? Does apathy=love? Not in mine. I’ve invested my savings and my heart into this City. I pay my taxes and I contribute. Am I less of a citizen than you and your family? Am I entitled to less of an opinion as to the way the City functions? Unfortunately your “carpetbagger” comment seems to indicate that this is indeed your belief. All I can say is get over it; seven generations ago your family were outsiders in this City too. Just because some of us have less time here, doesn’t make our ideas or feelings less important or less valuable. Moreover, DC is struggling now and indeed has been for generations. Is it possible that new blood and new ideas might serve to invigorate things?

    Honestly, I apologize for offending you. As I stated, I love the City and many who have come before me have done great things – I trust your claim that your family has done good by the City. That said, I found Bowtie’s comments to be counterproductive and offensive to those who are not multi-generational Washingtonians. You clearly share this us against them mentality, a point of view which I believe has done more harm than good in this City. I am advocating that we collectively put an end to apathy, complacency and laziness in this City; that we do our part and that we demand government do its part too.

    I asked Bowtie, and will ask you the same, if government is broken, what do you suggest? Without government, how do you suggest we decrease crime, increase education, etc? What specifically are you doing to those ends?

  • Nate & Almost Lunch Time; okay, my family lived in the white sections, so yes, we did nothing to save the black sections from destroying themselves. Sorry! As for being outsiders 7 generations ago, no, sorry, we were Prince Georgians whose land was forced to become part of the District. I don’t have an “us versus them” mentality; you are the ones saying that old-time Washingtonians don’t care about the city, and let it fall to hell. Fine, you love the District, as you blathered on for far too many paragraphs – you needn’t strive so hard to prove yourself to a stranger on the internet, but I love the District too. It’s in my blood.

  • Johnny- Tell me, please, what are the alternatives to government?

  • Also, for what it’s worth Johnny, the us against them mentality is overwhelming in your writings. You talk about living in the white section of DC and doing nothing for the black section. You speak of being a Prince Georgian forced to become part of the District. And you called me a carpet bagger. Care to explain how these comments are not “us against them?”

  • ALT, I bet you are a hoot at parties. What’s with the 4th-degree? Why are you trying to prove that you’re a better Washingtonian than am I? Fine, you win the internets! You’re the blue-eyed savior we’ve been a-waitin’ for! You winnnnnnnnnnnn.
    For your obsessing on what you have deemed my “us versus them” comments, it seems that the lady doth protest too much. Could it be that YOU don’t really feel home here in our fair city? Maybe you do – I just get annoyed with the 1st-generation who move here and think that they’re going to make DC even more-wonderfuller, if only we could clean up the streets, and get those mean people to stop calling me stupid cracker, etc. Well, not bloody likely.

  • “if only we could clean up the streets, and get those mean people to stop calling me stupid cracker, etc.”

    Sounds like a worthy goal to me.

  • Having been called a cracker, I was thinking the same thing.

    Johnny- I think you’ve proved my point. You and Bowtie have lambasted DCs newcomers as out of touch with reality, not concerned for the City, etc. The reality is that both of you have shown the apathy and complacency that is the root of so many of this City’s problems. I have asked what you and Bowtie suggest to be the solution to our problems, if not government, if not the Council, if not the Mayor, then what? If we’re all wrong, then what is the right answer? I am willing to admit everything I’ve suggested might not work and that some of it isn’t even reasonable, but my desire is to propel the city into a forward direction. I think that DC’s current situation is undeniably bad. Our school system is bad, crime is bad, corruption is bad, the AIDS situation here is bad, all by very commonly accepted metrics. You and Bowtie have suggested that if we don’t like it, we should just leave and that it is just part of what DC is. That is utter nonsense. Moreover, it is the root of the problem. Boys will be boys, right? It’s OK to litter because everyone else does. It’s OK to sleep around and get lots of women pregnant and then not support a single child because everyone else does. It’s OK to buy/sell/do drugs cause everyone else does. It’s OK to rip off the city/not pay taxes/cut in line/steal/call someone a cracker, cause everyone else does.

    How is this not EXACTLY the problem of this city. Complacency, apathy, entitlement, and hatred (whites against blacks, multi-generational Washingtonians against carpetbaggers and apparently Prince Georgians against Washingtonians – that’s a new one for me).

    Ugg, I am sorry it has devolved into this, but it has made substantiated the whole argument. DC needs a change, a change away from apathy and complacency.

  • ALT, you need to re-read what I wrote: it was my Prince George’s ancestors who were swallowed up by the District, in, like, you know, the 1790s. I couldn’t care less. If anything (see Nate’s comments above), Washingtonians want to ship some of its residents (read: black) to PG.
    And trust me, it’s more of a black against white in DC than vice-versa.

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