Provocative Graffiti Goes up on Georgia Avenue

The great new blog from the Georgia Ave Community Development Task Force first noticed this disturbing trend last week. They noted 3 examples of this graffiti on the 2900 block, 3000 block (pictured above) and 3200 block. I was curious to see this for myself. Fortunately the 2900 block had been painted over, the 3000 block still had it and I didn’t see any on the 3200 block.

Though it does bring up a few questions – first – do you think this is an honest political statement or do you just think that this was done by a provocateur who’s just trying to rile people up?

Second – is it strange that this message would be written in blocks that haven’t really seen any gentrification?

Third, even if it is an honest sentiment, do you think a more severe punishment should be given to those who are caught placing graffiti on our streets in order to deter others?

Finally, also if this is an honest sentiment – do you think there are venues where those who feel this way can properly express their feelings instead of through graffiti like this?

191 Comment

  • When I was first living in CH around 2004, I saw street graffiti that things like ‘yuppies fuck off and die.’ Sounds like some dumb kids desperate for attention.

  • I have seen this sort of graffiti on U Street. It has a B with a pos/neg sign in the holes of the B, and talks about housing as a right. It’s a bit off-putting, IMO.

  • Notice the colors– Hard to see this as anything other than an attack on Christmas.

  • The ‘housing as a right’ bit sounds like it is linked to the protests going on over at 7th/Rhode Island Nw–Parcel 42, I think they call it.

  • Being unwilling to move is the only issue. I will never understand how somrone thinks they are owed a home or one in a certain area. What an offputting sense of entitlement.

    • Have you ever been forced to move against your will?

      Especially when your finances limited your choices in getting something as good?

      • Yes, when I was in college I had to move the “bad part of town” because it was all I could afford. If someone is getting free/subsidized housing, they do not own it and have not right to say where the free housing should be. If they own their house, they will get a fair market price for it.

      • yes, a few times. why?

      • No, but I want desperately to move back to the neighborhood I grew up in but a house on my parent’s block sold for over $2 million and an “average” house I’ve seen is in the $1 million range.

        I have a friend who bought a house in the early 1990s and none of her brothers or sisters did. They said nothing could compete with the $800 per month they paid in rent for their 4 bedroom Adams Morgan house. She complained about their dumb mistakes for as long as I knew her.

        You know how this story ended.

      • You make this sounds as if it’s the Trail of Tears. That’s being “forced to move against your will” and not getting to move to something as good.

      • Several times due to places I was renting being sold. It sucked, but if you don’t own the house, don’t go fantasizing that it’s “yours” somehow.

        • Agreed! It’s called rent for a reason!

        • Even people who own are sometimes forced out. Gentrified neighborhoods=higher property taxes=people who have lived in their homes for decades forced out.

          I am a gentrifier – I’m not playing holier than thou here – but this really is more complicated than people seem to know/acknowledge. (And no, I’m not sure why I expect informed opinions on the internets…)

          • anon,
            i agree that its complicated. when people who own their house outright have to move because of taxes, something is wrong with our laws.

            the notion of my grandmother HAVING to move because of that makes me sick.

          • Yes, that can be — and perhaps is in DC — a problem with gentrification. But the solution is better tax laws, not different housing policy.

          • “Gentrified neighborhoods=higher property taxes=people who have lived in their homes for decades forced out.”

            Actually the way it really works is: higher property values = huge home equity loans blown on stupid stuff = can’t afford mortgage any more = foreclosed upon.

            Do you know how much property taxes are? They are almost nothing compared to how much you can borrow against your house. If your house is worth 500K, your taxes are about $300 a month. So if your house went from $100K to $500K, you’re crying because someone now owes $200 extra a month? You’re crying over their nearly half-million dollar gain in value?

            What fool would have to move out of a half-million dollar house for $300 a month? Only a fool who is about to walk away with $400K in cash because they wanted to. Or because they cashed out with home equity loans and then had a huge mortgage where before they had none.

            Taxes don’t force people out of their houses. Taxes are less than 1% of the value your house has appreciated. What “forces” people out is irresponsible borrowing and spending against the value of their house. But you can hardly blame society for making someone rich and then their consequent inability to not spend their newfound cash.

          • As an aside, my elderly parents are now paying roughly $1000 per month in real estate taxes in another town. They have seen incredible increases in value except there are problems with it- Other houses that were flipped were remodeled with as much as $400k worth of improvements- McMansionization. Their house which isn’t even modest just can’t keep up with a 4 car garage and stainless steel kitchen. It’s so bad one of their neighbors put in a pool AND a tennis court. Not bad neighbors, but there is some stress involved in real estate taxes and it can mean a lot more than $200 more per month, think $700 more.

    • I agree, at least when it comes to my own life and circumstances. I live where I live because I can afford it, not because I want to upset or displace anyone. Isn’t it a GOOD thing to live within your means?

      Plus, in my experience most people are unable to stay in the neighborhoods where they grew up, regardless of gentrification. Property values usually rise over the course of several decades, and people get priced out even in predominately white neighborhoods. I will never, ever be able to afford to move back to the area where I grew up, but sooner or later most of us have to grow up and leave the nest to find work, and that’s fine by me.

      • I’m guessing that much of this board grew up in places like this. I grew up in a crappy hole. I could buy a house there relatively easily, it would be the most depressing thing ever for me.

  • It does “kill” one community but does lead to a new one being built. And it really is unstoppable.

  • Oh please, can we just not go here again? I’m tired of it. No one is gentrifying Anacostia – so move there.

    • Of course that would then be seen as gentrification by the people in Anacostia. All these fancey people from Pentworth with their money buying our houses. Oh and by the way, gentrification in Anacostia has begun.

      • My wife and I are considering moving to Anacostia, we surely aren’t the only dinks thinking of it. Guess we’ll buy a home from someone who wants to move. Pretty straightforward really.

    • DHS headquarters is moving there. Give Anacostia 15 years.

      • DHS isn’t moving to anacostia. you’re geography is a little off.
        nonetheless gentrification is already sweeping through anacostia and 15 years is a conservative estimate.

        • “your” geography even.

        • Isn’t St. Elizabeth’s considered Anacostia? I fully admit I don’t know the geography of that area as well. What would be the proper name for that area?

          • I’m getting a kick out of “Anonymous” arguing with “Anonymous” here. What can I say, it’s Monday morning.

    • are you bonkers? Anacostia is getting VERY gentrified. I know two interracial couples who bought houses there for $200k or so and flipped them.

    • Wait, do you mean “River East”? or “EoTR” ?? 😉

  • do u know what kills? gun play kills! lets get some freaking prospective.

  • I will address the third question with a question — what is the current punishment?

    When it’s spraypainted on houses or the like, I think there needs to be some sort of punishment. In these situations, an innocent person has to incur the cost or removing the graffiti.

    This happened to a neighbor of mine. About every other month, somebody will spraypaint something on their house (it’s on the corner of an intersection). This past week, somebody wrote “Cat Aids”….I don’t think that has a provocative message at all.

    • Are you talking about the house at the corner of 13th and Otis? The one that’s been boarded up for the entire 4 years I’ve lived up the street? And for much, much longer than that according to commenters here, but is really, truly for sale according to the owners? That place invites graffiti, and frankly, I can’t feel sorry for the owners having to incur the costs of removal. They’ve perpetuated an eyesore for way too long. I’m much more sympathetic to those who have to look at that place, tagged or not.

      If that’s not the place you mean, then I am completely amused by the fact that someone is tagging “Cat Aids” in multiple locations. Though I do feel sorry for owners of occupied buildings that get tagged frequently.

      • CATAIDS is being tagged in multiple locations. It’s all over the wall on Florida Ave outside of Cardozo High School.

    • borf served time.

  • What exactly does this all mean? Is this proof that there is black-on-white racism expressing itself overtly, on the local and world stage? Or is this just a waste of paint? Paint beats bullets, so paint it is.

  • the mere presence of whites here symbolizes gentrification. keep out is the message.

  • “Order a crane in the Moscow region” writes in Russian:

    “But I can not really understand how frequently do you update your blog.”

  • Are you serious right now? Of all of the issues our communities face, you’re this worked up over a little graffiti? Disturbing trend? Graffiti in an urban area? Perish the thought! Think of the children! And by children, we mean property values.

    Your third question is utterly ridiculous. Should graffiti that reminds people of the changing socioeconomic politics of an area get a MORE SEVERE punishment than your run of the mill gang tag or curse word? Really? And your fourth question can really be rephrased as “Why can’t people express their frustration with localized displacement without inconveniencing me or me having to see it?”

    A friend of mine recently described this blog as a self-satisfied chronicle of gentrification. I told him it was a bit harsh, but now I’m not so sure.

    • If you’re going to be filled with so much vitriol, it would be helpful if you stopped huffing and puffing long enough to properly read what PoP is saying.

    • This is way more than being inconvenienced or being confronted with someone else’s opinion. This is vandalism and illegal. It’s also an ugly mark on the neighborhood that affects everybody, whether you agree or not.

      Top it off with the fact that it’s most likely some “trustafarian” (love that, by the way. Can I use it?) that probably needs a shave and some closed-toe shoes, and it’s just juvenile and stupid.

    • Thank you K for speaking the truth. Don’t let the entitlement crowd in here get you down.

    • “A friend of mine recently described this blog as a self-satisfied chronicle of gentrification.”

      At least in the comment section, spot on description.

    • I’m not so sure either. But you could also think about this blog comment feature as partially enabling folks, who live in this community that are actually scared to death of the punk thugs, to help share our frustration and apply pressure to those who might be able to make a difference, like Fenty, Rhee, and Lanier. When we stop seeing kids shooting each other like every other day (and the associated crap like spray painting useless shit everywhere), maybe the blog topics will get back to the important stuff like sex, drugs, and rock and roll…

  • K, do me a favor, let me know your address so I can come by and spray paint your house a few times a week for the next year. Apparently, you don’t think there is anything wrong with that, and I’d like to get my “art” on. Thanks! By the way, it’s not a “little” graffiti. As soon as (at enormous time and expense) the enormous, ugly tags all over my neighborhood are painted over, they inevitably return a few days later.

    As Just a Thought said, POP was asking about more severe punishment for graffiti, generally, not due to any particular expression, so read what he writes before you attack him. And my answer is yes. Graffiti is very hard to catch, so there needs to be some powerful deterrent because minor deterrent combined with limited enforcement = no reason to ever stop. The punishment should fit the crime: 100 hours picking up trash and cleaning graffiti each time you are caught. Triple benefit of deterrence, fixing graffiti by others, and maybe instilling some sense of how much work it takes other people to clean up the mess you create.

    The problem goes beyond graffiti to a general sense that actions don’t have consequences if they only affect other people. That mentality only leads to bigger and worse criminal conduct down the line …

    • wow. I agree 100% and couldn’t have said it better!

      when K gives you his/her address, I’ll pick up some spray paint and come with you.

    • Exactly why Giuliano stepped up tickets for jaywalking – the idea that if you fight the small crimes, the bigger crimes will reduce too. And it worked.

      I wholeheartedly second the idea of 100 hours community service when caught.

  • More gentrification please. It creates additional square footage and makes neighborhoods safer.

  • Sorry, what did I misread?

    This is a post about a “disturbing trend” of anti-gentrification graffiti. It’s not even about graffiti as a general blight of urban existence, but specifically about graffiti that is meant to make upper-middle-class interlopers feel uncomfortable in their new neighborhoods.

    Anyone with a middle-school level reading comprehension can see the way in which the questions are framed to dismiss the content of the graffiti–first by questioning the sincerity of the statements (but not their validity) and then by questioning if there were a more “proper” way for people to express such “feelings”.

    Obviously the graffiti is the “more proper” way for this person (or persons) to express their “feelings” because it not only makes a statement but is–in itself–an action against gentrification. Graffiti makes an area uninviting to developers and yuppies in search of the next-hot-hood which keeping property values low and rent affordable–but without posing any real (physical) threat to anyone. But the way in which PoP worded the post and frames the question betrays his loyalties and answers the questions before they’ve even been asked.

    Of all the disturbing trends in DC (frozen yogurt, double decker bikes, segweys), three pieces of vaguely political graffiti on Georgia Avenue shouldn’t even make the top 100.

    So please, tell me: what didn’t I properly read?

    • Wow- “the disturbing trends in DC (frozen yogurt, double decker bikes, segweys)” – I have been concerned with the wrong things in the city! Here I thought the disturbing trends in DC were the increased crime every summer, high poverty areas and the endless supply of troubling politicans/candidates for a multitude of reasons.

    • My reading comprehension is pretty darn good, and you can choose to read POP’s question any way you want, but he simply did not say or suggest that political graffiti (assuming this could even be considered as such) should be punished MORE harshly than anything else.

      Man, were only frozen yogurt (oh how horrible, a desert that helps with our obesity epidemic), segways and bicycles (oh how horrible, forms of transportation that kill less people, help ease traffic congestion, and are good for the environment) were DC’s biggest problems, we’d be living in the best city on earth! What else do you hate about recent changes to DC… let me guess, more tax dollars to help rebuild our crumbling schools? Improved / enchanced green space? Farmer’s markets and healthier restaurants replacing fast food? Vacant eyesores being converted into attractive living space? People in the neighborhood who are less inclined to gun each other down over a gang feud?

      Like anything else, gentrification has its positive and negative side. But to bitch about things, like Segways, that are wholly beneficial to urban living (and no, I don’t own a segway, or use a double decker bike, or even like frozen yogurt), just shows that you are part of the anything-association-with-yuppies is bad crowd, no matter how beneficial that change might be to the environment, public health, or so on.

      There are millions of ways to express yourself without defacing someone else’s property. And guess what? Anti-gentrification graffiti is self-defeating, because it will only push people to be less sympathetic to people who they are potentially displacing. So it’s not only a fundementally selfish act, it is a stupid one as well. Pass out fliers. Preach from a soap box at a metro station. Pressure political leaders. Do whatever the hell you want — this isn’t North Korea — just so long as you don’t create more work and aggravation for people who just want to live their lives.

      • the stated concern wasn’t bicycles, but *double-decker* bicycles. regular bicycles are great. double-decker bicycles are an abomination to god, no matter what god you choose to believe in.

    • K, I cannot possibly understand where you’re coming from, what you’re trying to say, or what your point is. Your concepts are so circularly logical, so twisted, that it’s befuddling all of us.

      POP doesn’t BETRAY loyalties, being anti-graffiti and pro-gentrification is the correct and liberal and thoughtful way to be. The rightwingers look at the city and say “them black people live like animals and graffiti up every inch of bricks.” Not only didn’t I believe that, I moved into an integrated neighborhood (it was Latin, Vietnamese and black when I moved here, but 20 years later it’s just white and black).

      I am not an interloper. I have been called a yuppie and a newcomer, but I’ve worked in DC since 1985! I bought my house in DC over 10 years ago. I am a gentrifier and gentrification was what the DC residents begged for in the 1970s. Did you live in DC or the DC area in the 1970s? DC residents begged white people to move back and end white flight.

      When I was a very young kid there was a series of signs that were posted around Dupont Circle, maybe you’ve seen these before, they stopped a highway that was going to connect from 95 to 295 or so. They read “No White Man’s Roads Through Black Men’s Homes.” Because no white people wanted any part of black neighborhoods and tried massive highway building projects to destroy them. That’s what I grew up with- the intense need to integrate neighborhoods to fulfill MLK’s dream. This graffiti is ready for Arizona like “No Illegals!”

      • “The correct and liberal…way to be” followed immediately by a sentence casting all right leaning people as racists. Just pointing that out.

  • do you think this is an honest political statement or do you just think that this was done by a provocateur who’s just trying to rile people up?

    Door number 2

    • It was apparently spray-painted by “k” so he could go off on a rant about what PoP didn’t say, but actually meant in his coded-for-whities original post.

  • That’s what she said.

  • I’m amazed by the lack of sympathy and lack of depth of understanding expressed in the comments. Maybe the jibes about a sense of entitlement are being projected out of the backgrounds of the authors of the comments?

    For the record, I’m a white dude who was raised in a middle class background and who would move into one of those areas if it suited him.

    I don’t think it is morally wrong to move into such a neighborhood. It is legal. It is also the way our system works. Having written that I can appreciate it how nasty it is for the people who are forced by economics to leave.

    • I was forced by economic constraints to leave Adams Morgan and move to Petworth. If I could afford a detached house with a big lot west of Rock Creek, I’d move there in a heartbeat. But that fact, while disappointing, doesn’t kill me.

      Gentrification brings change. It may bring change which affects you in ways you don’t like. But it’s ridiculous to say it “kills”.

      This graffiti is merely a hyperbolic sound bite of nonsense.

      (Funny– we didn’t see this graffiti until recently, after Michelle Rhee took over the school system. Let’s credit her with increasing the vocabulary of local kid vandals, none of whom would have known what “gentrification” meant before 2007!)

    • It’s not that nasty.

      I have a group of distant relatives who live in a farm they inherited, pretty much living off grandma’s social security. None of them willing to fight for ANY job, doing at best seasonal retail work. But none of them want to admit that adults need to find gainful employment to be able to stay in “their” land.

      Some of us have heard these kinds of weird stories for years and frankly, when my whatever they are, third cousins, lose that farm I won’t shed a tear even if it’s their “family farm.” They work maybe 3 hours a day tilling the gardens at best and spend like 3 weekends making tomato sauce for the year.

      • Thank you, neener, I totally agree. This is not the ancien regime – no one has the *right* to keep something forever just because they were born into it. If you aren’t able or willing to work to keep it, well, that sucks, but you’re going to have to make sacrifices jut like everyone else.

  • I think the easier response to this graffiiti is to just add another word in yellow (completing the rastafarian color scheme)– “Gentrification Kills Blight”

      • +3. Anybody who thinks this way about gentrification after, say, the age of 30, will never get it. When you are young and oh-so idealistic, it is not uncommon to think this way. But if you are still griping about gentrification later in life, it probably means you made some really bad decisions when you were younger and are now resentful of the people who made good choices and played by the rules. Either that, or you know nothing (and I mean NOTHING) about economics.

        • +1.
          Paraphrasing Winston Churchill:
          If you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you get older, you have no brain.

          Doesn’t mean you have to be G.W. Bush fan or some baby seal clubber, but come on, peeps!

          • yeah, conservatives love that quote, despite the fact that it comes from a different country and a different time.

            i guess “conservative” means pro nationalized health care

            yeah, whatever.

        • economics, as developed, invented, and applied in the current system, are FUCKED. Unjust, inequitable, unfair, morally and ethically repugnant. Whether or not you play by “the rules” which are too, after all, just another human invention.

          This isn’t the only system, it isn’t the best system, it isn’t a good system. Perhaps the best way hasn’t even been invented yet. In the mean time, there are better ways to deal with property, taxes and housing than this in other places in the world.

          • Offer a single alternative and we can discuss it. It’s easier to break stuff than make stuff.

          • in what way is it unjust?

          • Yeah, but it’s our system. Change it from the inside. Don’t justify sh*tting all over it and those of us who choose to abide by its rules with your own moral imperative. It’s either arbitrary or it’s confused. You’re advocating for total confusion.

          • well said… give thanks.

  • On the corner of Sherman and Harvard-


    And next to it


  • I think it’s pretty clear who the killers have been in the communities opposed to gentrification in our city. And sadly they are not the gentrifiers.

  • i noted with great amusement that one of them – on Harvard – was cleaned up the same day it went up: “FENTY HATES POOR PEOPLE”. i have a photo if you’re interested, PoP.

    fwiw, most of these were on abandoned buildings. i don’t have any sympathy for people writing political statements on someone else’s home or business. vacant buildings and eyesores? meh. at the same time, don’t all the vacant storefronts on Georgia Ave suggest that “gentrification” isn’t responsible (or at least not solely responsible) for there not being enough affordable housing?

    • what’s the difference if the building actually has people or a business inside. Grafitti is still a blight on the neighborhood and sends SO many negative signals to locals and ‘outsiders’ alike.

      It’s like litter. If you leave it there, it will multiply until you have a rat-infested pile of rank garbage in your alley. Doesn’t matter if that pile is next to a vacant building or someone’s home. It affects everyone’s quality of life.

      • I’m not exactly in favor of graffiti on vacant buildings, but I also don’t care that much. Most of those buildings are already a blight. Hell, a good graffiti artist can improve upon a boarded up eyesore.

  • It would be great if instead of these cowards vandalizing private property to send a message, they try having an actual dialogue with the community. What does gentrification kill? Does it kill crime or increase crime? Does it kill the crappy appearance of abandoned houses or does it just make more? Maybe people are mad because gentrification decreases crime – thereby making it more difficult for people to commit crimes in our neighborhoods. If gentrification really does kill something, then I’d be happy to tell all my good neighbors who spend their Saturday mornings walking along the street picking up OTHER people’s trash to just stop and let the neighborhood continue in its state of decline.

    • A group of us neighbors got together and got a kid who grew up on our block, but was now a 25 year old rapist, father of 3, and drug dealer arrested. One of our neighbors made the comment that this “used to be a block where people stuck together” without realizing that they were “sticking together” for a rapist because they all hate women.

      So pretty much I dismiss every comment that comes out of the mouths of a person who grew up in DC and you should too- they were brainwashed by Marion Barry just as if they lived under Stalin.

      • are you sure they weren’t all “sticking together” against perceived oppression by The Man and the police because of their race and socioeconomic status?

        saying it was because they all “hate women” seems like a bit of a stretch. so everyone in your neighborhood is male? no women in sight? or maybe just self-loathing women who like rapists?

        • well I was joking about that. They were definitely sticking together because they perceived the anti-drug forces of the police to be “the man” I suppose. But I heard a woman complain that the baby mama of this creep “got herself pregnant and then lied about it” as if some woman would want to lie about this guy, unemployed and unemployable loser who lives in his childhood bedroom with Mom.

          The thing is that they were not happy when we cleared the block of the dealers. Why they wanted the dealers on the block is something completely mysterious to me. Did they buy and use drugs? As soon as the dealers left the crime dropped by like 75%. We were getting nightly car break-ins and now it’s much much less.

      • So pretty much I dismiss every comment that comes out of the mouths of a person who grew up in DC
        none of us are surprised by your bigotry neener.

  • Obviously it kills the people who had been renting for decades and all of a sudden their rent skyrockets.

    How can one expect them not to be angry or upset or mad?

    They made this place their home, just because they could never afford to buy a place, not then, not now, one cant expect them to not be upset when they are forced to move to some other area.

    Even if you were a homeowner, who say bought the home back in the 1950s, because of richer people moving in and paying higher rates for the property is bad for the poorer original residents-

    1. Their propety taxes in the next assessment will go up
    2. Because of richer people moving in, that will attract more expensive and exclusive businesses and drive away cheaper businesses such as diners or low cost grocery stroes etc – Just look at Mt. Pleasant Street how the mom and pop stores there are suffering because of DC USA.


    Now, I am not saying its bad for the city or the new residents or the economy. It is just bad for the people being affected by it.

    I am sure there are better avenues to display this rage, but Grafitti is form of American Expression, frowned upon, but a great medium of communication.

    But irregardless, grafitti or no grafitti.. theres nothing that can help those people..

    • Several of these contentions are simply inaccurate. Grocery shopping is generally MORE expensive in non-gentrified areas due to a lack of large grocery stores and farmer’s markets, and a lack of competition generally. Folks are stuck getting groceries from overpriced corner stores with no economy of scale and fewer options. It is much, much, much cheaper and easier to procure groceries in and around Columbia Heights than it was ten years ago.

      Second, if you own your property, your property taxes just can’t go up that much … there is an annual cap as to how much your assessment can rise. If you are a renter, that is a different story, but folks could have bought properties in the Georgia Ave. area for dirt cheap decades ago. To the extent they did, and want to cash out and pocket a lot of money, I seriously doubt those people are complaining about their suddenly enhanced wealth.

      In all events, increasing the cost of living does not “kill.” There is no doubt that gentrification SAVES lives by providing more local employment opportunities, money for new school, rec centers, healthier eating options, and increased police presence, and more law-abiding eyes on the street. You can hate on gentrification all you want, but it indisputably does not and never has “killed.”

      • But lack of gentrification, when drug dealers bring guns onto the streets, demonstrably kills.

        • Its pretty ignorant, imperialistic, and borderline stereotypical to make that statement. I’d be pretty concerned about someone like you leading a movement to populate DC but somehow I doubt you have that kind of political influence making blind statements like that.

          Just because higher income Caucasian people are moving into neighborhoods it doesn’t mean the neighborhoods are being saved from crime. DC has had a dramatic drop in crime even back when most middle class people were scared to live here. And acting like your class/race doesn’t commit crime is pure ignorance. I can mention several names of criminals of all incomes and races that would make you look as ignorant as your comment does.

          • Caucasian? People from the Caucus region of Eastern Europe are moving to DC?

          • Um, what planet do you live on? Do you want me to name names of people I know who shot at others?

            Google this address “17th and Euclid.”

            Imperialistic? What does that even MEAN in this regard? I’m acting like an emperor or creating an empire?

            It appears that YOU equate gentrification with white people moving into the neighborhood. I understand it to mean rich people. In DC that includes Buppies, asians, diplomats, etc. On my block that includes the Black political guy from Texas with a Country Music wife who is not at all part of DC’s culture.

          • What color is the sky in your world.

      • +1. Start with the eradication of “food deserts” in gentrified areas and reassess the notion that gentrification kills.

    • Irregardless isn’t a word, dipshit.

  • Gentrification only kills if you conceive of neighborhoods/communities as static entities. In that case, yes, gentrification “kills” what used to be. It’s like saying that dancing killed the town in Footloose. But if you conceive of neighborhoods/communities as organic, fluid things made up of whoever is there at the time, then gentrification “evolves.”

    If the vandals really wanted to blow my mind, someone they’d scrawl that on a wall.

    • This is a fact that escapes many in the anti-gentrification crowd. They usually cannot conceive of a point in time when a neighborhood was any different, even if that time was only 1-2 generations removed. I think the descendants of the Italian gentleman who first owned my home back in the 1920’s should return and make a fuss over all of the newcomers!

      Now, DC is an interesting case in that there is a single, pivotal event that actually did change the makeup of large swaths of the city virtually overnight (’68 riots). The communities that filled in what was abandoned obviously have a different view on things. But to state that these neighborhoods “belong” to a socioeconomic group that happens to be prevalent now is absurd.

      • Excellent comment. Neighborhoods, like individual lives, are in a constant state of flux. Nothing is static. If it’s not gentrification, some other kind of change will take place.

      • Mt Pleasant was up until AFTER World War II a strictly “Whites Only” community.

  • it’s pretty funny that some moron’s 2 word tag sparks such conversation.

  • I’m sure after all their hard work denouncing the “whitey-fication” of DC, they strolled down to the Starbucks on Georgia ave and wrapped their spray paint stained hands around a nice latte.

    • Then they raged against the froyo machine in Columbia Heights, eating a couple spoonfuls then refilling it before their cup was weighed in. YEEEAAAHHHHHHHHH

  • This tag was also on the pepco substation at the intersection of harvard and sherman. First it said “Gentrification Kills” then it got painted over, and not three days later, a new one was there, saying “you can’t erase the truth…Gentrification kills”. I’d put good money on some trustafarian being behind it.

  • Add me to the list of those who think this type of graffiti is a self-indulgent exercise by hypocritical folks from comfortable backgrounds playing the provocateur and living some kind of hipster Robin Hood fantasy. I recognize the anarchist A and general style of writing – there have been similar outbreaks of this graffiti going back awhile. I recall something near Irving and 13th Street, too. Basically, it’s a futile expression of stupidity. I like the idea of adding “blight” to the end of each of those tags!

  • The Gentrification/Population movement has just begun to hit Georgia Avenue recently. I’ve noticed that ever since the new CVS has popped up that the plans have been emerging for all sorts of construction on GA ave. This is not a new idea, its been promised for quite some time now, but costs to renters and homeowners were much more in-control back when GA avenue redevelopment was proposed, and we still had that crappy Safeway, now once the population in the neighborhood is changing, we’ll get a new Safeway I’m sure; that easily shows why people feel bitter. Now that the other prime opportunity areas around DC have been used up, business is looking to Georgia Avenue, and putting tax pressure on residents.

    I am a bit worried when I notice my mortgage company suddenly/mysteriously loses records of my payments and raises my escrow contribution dramatically, and when I hear similar stories from friends in my neighborhood that have the same problem, along with rising utility rates. Thank god I have a job/steady income, i hope I’m never unemployed, because the fall-off is quick and steep at this level. I always wondered how people could afford large homes in Potomac MD on salaries like mine, the answer is rich parents possibly, and a history of being able to save. This doesn’t not include most of the original inhabitants who moved to Petworth years ago, and they thought it would stay reasonable. Check-To-Check won’t cut it any more.

    People grow these fears on the basis of rising costs for homes they’ve owned for over 14+ years when the cost of living skyrockets because its pretty disappointing to plan out the rest of your life on a modest pension only to find out that when you’re 60 with health issues the city is now becoming too expensive for you to live out that plan… We all need to show some sensitivity to that.

    • I get what you’re saying, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a patch of land anywhere in this country that has not seen a dramatic increase in prices and cost of living in the past few decades. Who lives in a home in an expensive East Coast city and doesn’t see at least a moderate increase in value (and therefore expenses) over the course of a 30-year mortgage?

      It just seems to me that you can’t reasonably expect a home not to appreciate over time. Hell, that’s one of the major reasons why people buy houses in the first place. If my apartment doubled or tripled in price by the time I had to sell out, I’d be singing all the way to the bank.

      But then again, I’m just an evil gentrifier, right?

  • @rubber band:

    “yeah, conservatives love that quote, despite the fact that it comes from a different country and a different time.”

    for the record, I’m not a conservative. At any rate (regardless of country and time period of origin), it’s a statement of *general* truth about the human condition. As people get older, they natural get more conservative, less willing to take to the streets to overturn the status quo, because it’s that staus quo that protects and makes possible all that they’ve worked for their whole lives.

    Older people (again, generally) try to find more responsible, productive ways of engaging their government. It’s the young street punks who want to break windows and throw molotov cocktails at the police.

    • A.) political activism isnt confined to either the young or the liberal.
      B.) There are 2 different types of liberals (at least). The anti-authoritarian and the academic, dont confuse them.

      To see how wrong you are about point #1, see the tea party.

      • or the Taliban.

        • Talibifarians in DC! No doubt!

          Block by block control.

          I wonder where the caves filled with PCP and ammo are?

          Us gentrifornication squads should start mapping them out and taking the contraband to sell on the white market.

      • GENERALLY. Repeat: GENERALLY. Did you not see that word in there?

        to see how wrong you are in your response to me, see word #1 in this post.

        • your inclusion of the word GENERALLY does not make your argument sound.
          it just means you have a weak understanding of what you are talking about and basing it on a selective understanding of world events and history.

          maybe you’re generally cool with that.

        • No, I saw the word “generally”. You are also generally wrong about your generalizations.

          You’re just repeating memes about political identity that are either vastly over exaggerated or misunderstood. In a similar way that you would be wrong if you said “generally, wealthy people are more conservative (substitute Republican if you’d like) and the less wealthy are liberal”.

          Its just not correct. Wealth and age, even when considered together, are not accurate indicators of political ideology. Sure you can try and you’ll be correct sometimes, but it’ll be more luck than any sort of accurate analysis.

          • Fine. I never said I was making some deep analysis of the human species and their political leanings. It also was not presented as some absolute fact, which is how you and rubber band seem to be taking it. Hence, my lack of using phrases like “Always this” or “never that.”

            If I were to say that generally, traffic sucks in DC, would you be wasting all this time countering me that, well, it’s not so bad on this street and that street, or between the hours of 2 and 5am? Who cares. Traffic sucks. And as you get older, *generally* (or, if you prefer: as an exaggeration in order to make a point) you grow less likely to flip cars in a street riot. Is that so outrageous a statement?

            If you insist, then I’d like to see your list of examples of old people facing off riot police – again, not due to some profound political or societal upheaval, but strictly as a natural course of aging.

          • Wealth and age are, in fact, strong indicators of political ideology. They are causal factors in most every study I’ve seen. When I was getting my Ph.D. in political science, I recall learning that in my statistics seminars.

          • Generally, no matter what age one is, folks are not inclined to flip cars in a street riot. Since you are speaking of people who represent less than one one-hundredth of the population, I dont think you get to
            “liberally” throw around the word generally.

          • Dr.:
            Please provide some references for this. It doesnt take PhD level coursework (I have none under my belt) to read. I’ve read several times, and agree with the factual basis and rational of the argument, that wealth and age, even when taken together, are inconsistent indicators.

            One must also know educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Also, urban, suburban, exurban, or rural helps a great deal as well. In the absence of one ore more of these additional points, very little can be ascertained with impressive consistency. So, even if there’s a 75% chance you’d be right (its less than that), you’d be wrong 25% of the time, which isnt impressive.

    • This is all true. But I would take it even further. It’s not just about protecting what you’ve worked for (which is self-interested and just fine), but also, with age, I’ve come to understand that certain traditions and values endure because they tend to work. They aren’t just vestiges of an earlier time; they persist because they keep the wheels of society greased. Youth reflexively fight against tradition because they know SO-MUCH better (and sometimes they do), but sometimes, they fight the wrong traditions. Like gentrication, for example…’s like fighting the wind.

    • you should look into world politics and history a bit more. your “general” truths could use a bit more truth.

      • See my post above at 2:37.

        And I’d like to see your examples (that somehow cover all scenarios) of how as people age, they become naturally radicalized – not as a result of some societal upheaval, but just through the general course of getting older.

        One, two, three, GO!

        • i never said people naturally radicalize when they get older.
          you sound a bit lost.

          • I said they don’t.
            You seem bent on proving me wrong.
            I invited you to give examples to the contrary.

            Straight line of logic in my book.

          • The point is that no one ever made the strawman argument that you’re referencing. Stop trying to define the argument you’re attempting to refute just to make your case stronger.

  • Since the invention of the real property tax,

    nobody really owns real estate anymore.

    You hold title for a time that is fleeting.

  • I’m not writing this at putting anyone down, but being forced to move to a less nice place while you are in college is likely not a comparable experience to having called a place “home” all of your adult life, being at the end of your life, having a community where you live and then losing it all because you have to move.

    I don’t begrudge anyone living anywhere they can go.

    I just think it sucks that many of the comments here see things from such a self centered perspective.

    • You have problems with “a self-centered perspective?” How do you even survive? Even my sweet, optimistic, big-hearted, and diminutive wife knows that selflessness gets her nowhere. She’s been stabbed in the back too many times to NOT fight for her own best interests.

  • it’s just a shame we can’t find a way to empower the current residents with the increase in development and income to a neighborhood.

    • agreed. thats really the best of situations.

      • it’s offensive to have the attitude that “we” (not sure who “we” are, but I’ll assume the gentrifiers) can and should “empower” the “current residents” in the community.

        Nobody wants the great yuppie super heroes to swoop in and through their superiority of some sort solve a problem they created by “empowering” the very people they are driving away.

        Now, if the non-gentrifiers want to join together and act collectively to address the problem, that’s a different story, and if those folks reach out to the gentrifiers for a dialogue, that’s a different story. Frankly I’d like to see folks band together and kick some ass, figuratively and literally in a way that adds to the propaganda in the graffiti. But that’s up to them. Not “us.”

        • Maybe the commenter just meant “society as a whole”. Way to have a chip on your shoulder. Your whole rant screams that you’re sipping on a latte right now.

          BTW – I’m white and the only place I could afford to buy in the city that had the convenience to work that I wanted is in a rapidly gentrifying area. Can I still join the non-gentrifier club and work together and act collectively to address problems? Or am I excluded for some reason? Can you tell me the reason that excludes me?

          • People keep talking about “lattes”. What is a “latte”? I feel stupid but I don’t know what that is.

            As for your question, you’re not excluded, but you have to be invited to the party first. You don’t get to throw your solution to a problem you’re helping to create down somebody’s throat.

          • Look down at the table at the coffee shop you’re sitting in right now. That beverage in the cup you’re drinking out of is a latte. If its on ice (its a hot day) its an iced latte.

            How in the world did you ever order just a few moments ago?

          • okay, it’s a coffee drink. thanks. wow is right.

        • i mean the community as a whole. those who are already in the neighborhood, those who see commercial opportunity (an those who can realize it), and the city government — we [the dc community] can all benefit from economic growth.

        • oh good god, piss off.
          its all fine and good to have peoples tax money pay for subsidized housing, but you don’t want actually people to help out?

          what a

          • That’s right, “they” don’t deserve “our” help and “we” should stop allowing “our” tax money to pay for subsidized public housing and other social services that are abused by the “anti-man”. The failed policy started in 1960s under Johnson and it needs to stop. The entrenched “black on white” racism in this city is palpable and “they” need to get over it. Better blight than white! sucks. If the people of color really need another couple decades to get over their intense hatred of white folk living in their neighborhood, so be it, but in the meantime “we” are going to demand some decent schools, a nice supermarket, a safe bus stop. While the cops are at it, how about enforcing all of “their” child neglect crimes that lead to 14 year olds with pistols and rapists galore (150 last year? More than homicides!). Don’t get me started. And no, I am not from Iowa and have no plans to move their anytime soon.

        • agreed. If there’s a problem in what I do, explain it. I had someone complain that we have an active soccer league for the kids but not basketball and they grew up playing basketball. Now, I didn’t play soccer until junior high, so it’s a generational thing more than a white/black/latin thing, but at least someone telling me that we’re spending money to improve the soccer field while letting the basketball rims rust is a very clear and understandable race issue!

          Now, it’s not my responsibility to start a basketball team I don’t want to coach! But I can respect basketball vs soccer is a real issue for people who want to see neighborhood kids growing up doing something they themselves like.

    • The problem you will find Sara, as you become a manager and director is that the same personality flaws that disallowed these people from making money in the first place disallow them from capitalizing on changes to their neighborhood. Usuccessful people want to complain rather than build. There is no program that isn’t psychotherapy or some variant that will empower them. What you’re saying is, basically, that of the 12 cousins in a generation the doctor, lawyer, business owners and them that married up are out in suburban McMansions, the teachers, scientists and salesmen are in good suburban condos and the ones who drank, did drugs, never went to college and never bought a house, maybe “Dropping out” of society to take care of grandma’s house need to be empowered. Well, yes, but they won’t be empowered by you.

  • K @7:54 said – “Graffiti makes an area uninviting to developers and yuppies in search of the next-hot-hood which keeping property values low and rent affordable–but without posing any real (physical) threat to anyone.”

    Seriously? You really think that developers will stop investing in an area because of some graffiti? All it means is that they’ll have to put some more money in the budget for paint and powerwashing.
    To answer the 4 original questions:
    1) It’s an honest political statement by a provocateur who’s just trying to rile people up.
    2) No, it’s not strange to see this message on blocks that have not been gentrified. What better way to get attention.
    3) Absolutely. Punishments for graffiti should be increased.
    4) Absolutely. There are any number of ways to express your opinion that don’t involve defacing someone else’s property.

  • I don’t know that it kills so much as it weeds out the kind of clowns that spray paint on buildings!

  • There’s one at Sherman and, I think it’s Girard.

    From my perspective, my own parents learned this lesson the hard way. Just because you have rent control doesn’t mean you might not someday be forced to move. And you had better be ready or you become a burden on your kids or the system.

    Yeah, I can’t work up a lot of enthusiasm for the “higher taxes kill old people” argument when they can take that equity, move to Myrtle Beach, and live like kings. Rising property values are a fact of life and you have to plan for that, too.

  • Can’t we all just get along?

  • i really love the idea that someone posted of painting the word ‘blight’ in yellow at the end of this nonsense. i wonder how many people would actually stop and think about it…

  • Isn’t the question really: “Is gentrification an injustice”?

    If it’s not, then no one should really bother much about it it. If it is, then we need to decide if there’s anything that can be done. Then decide if any of those options are better or worse than the original injustice.

    I think the Anti-gentrification and Gentrifiers don’t see eye to eye on this point. Since there’s a group claiming an injustice, I think the responsibility is on them to define the injustice, explain why it is an injustice and then propose solutions that can be debated. Otherwise it’s just a lot of noise.

    • one can still bother about things even if they aren’t an injustice.

    • agreed. Explain to me what the problem is in REAL terms.

      When I bought my house it drove my hippy white neighbors crazy. They had been the wealthiest people on the block, ANC reps, and sort of ruled the roost. I came in there, put in a much fancier front yard, and suddenly they were nitpicking about how I shouldn’t do too much, overdo it, etc. Then 5 lawyers moved in and I looked like a hillbilly next to the new Mercedes, Volvos and BMWs.

      I suspect no owners are really being displaced, but a lot of people who felt pretty rich next to section 8 housing suddenly couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.

    • this is exactly how i feel when these situations come up. no one ever wants to get down to brass tacks or answer the real questions. it reminds me of the tent city debate, and in one interview they talked with a single mother of 6 kids living in subsidized housing. she complained about unsafe conditions and asked ‘why should i be pushed out? i grew up here’. i think the real questions should be why do you have 6 children and live off my dime? were you gainfully emplyed while having those children? if not, then why did you continue having children? why do you feel that you are entitled to live in a place that you can not afford, or have more children than you can pay for? why should i pay for you to live where you want to live and for your 6 children?

      • Yeah, she had 6 kids. Who made you God that you get decide whether that’s okay or not? And if you do get to play God and kick her off the dole, what happens to her six kids who didn’t ask to be born? They just have to be homeless under your plan. Too bad for them. That kind of system may satisfy your smug sense of moral superiority, but creating a class of homeless children is not really a system I think the majority of folks would like to have.

        • poor argument.
          its not playing god to want your tax money to not support people who have 6 kids.
          the government isn’t god. subsidies coming from our tax money is not promethean fire.

          not that we shouldnt help. but it is US that is helping not god. US, the people you criticize and call smug.

          • Agree with anon. I’m not having kids until I can support them. There comes a point where people need to take some responsibility for their situation.

        • People need to suffer the consequences of their actions. It’s that simple. If that woman knew for a fact that her children would be homeless someday, she wouldn’t have had them. But the safety net, as crappy as it is, allows people to make horrendous decisions. If I screw up at work, I’m out of a job. If you screw up in life, you also have to pay the consequences

          • and her six kids, they “pay the consequences” of someone else’s decision, by becoming homeless street kids, 6 year olds wandering around begging for food, under your plan. I mean, tax dollars can’t reward the parent by providing adequate foster care, and tax dollars can’t reward the mother by providing her housing with her kids, so I guess we just leave the kids to the street. Brilliant. But hey, it all works out because the welfare queen who shouldn’t have had kids learns her lesson.

          • anon, stop skirting the issue here. do you agree with this woman having 6 kids and fully, not expecting, demanding.. that the public pay for them and subsidize their lives? is it really none of my business that she wont use a condom or birth control, when ultimately i am the one that pays the consequences? no, i do not want children on the street you bleeding heart idiot. but if the government were to take her children away and put them in foster care (and while were at it, lets ease up on the adoption rules, eh? plenty of families out there that would love to have another child in their ranks, and could pay for it too!) and then cut off her support, what do you think she would do then? either start making some good decisions, or end up a statistic in the gutter.

          • ok, you miss the point, you focus on the Mom but what do you do about the kids? I don’t care about the Mom but Mom and Kids are totally different people.

            Same thing Christopher, stop talking about the Mom and frame your position for the kids. You are skirting the issue.

          • neener, i just stated my position on the kids.

        • Imagine growing up one of those six kids and every night of your young life growing up without a providing father at the end of the dinner table;

          growing up where every manner of subsistence comes in the form of a government hand out.

          What happens to those six children ?

          History repeats itself with more of the same broken families.

          Why ?

          Because government breaks up families, where you have mothers choosing a stable government hand out over the father of her children.

          It is a crime what government does, destroying families and any personal initiative of any of these family members with a life of dependency and misery repeated generation after generation with a collective false sense of entitlement from a life by government ration.

          • so youre saying that it is the governments fault that single mothers keep having babies and keep staying single? the government destroys families by giving out welfare checks? well i disagree with your line of thinking, but if it gets the self-entitled to stop reaching for handouts then preach on brother!

          • Just down the street I can point to a recently born Jackson, the fourth generation of Jacksons that has never worked to provide for themselves.

            There are some in our community who look the other way at this human destruction because it makes them feel good to support this government giving in perpetual dependency. Yes, it is a crime.

  • Been awhile since we had one of these gentrification throwdowns on POP. Hopefully we got it all out of system until the next post on graffiti, crime, invading yuppie establishments, etc. I guess we can thank the graffiti artist for one thing: driving traffic to POP, hence providing the advertising revenue he needs to keep feeding us with happier neighborhood news …

  • Wait – 200 comments, and no-one pointed out that there are clearly a lot of yuppies (people who read PoP) living close enough to these tagged spots?

    I live half a block from one and read this blog all the time…
    “…haven’t seen any gentrification” – well I’m doing my best.

  • I think some of the comment authors would have a richer lives and be better people if they worked at seeing a situation from a perspective other than how it effects them once in a while.

    Please do not get me wrong. I look out for number 1.

    If it was best for me to move into a neighborhood being gentrified, I would do it, without any misgivings.

    A number of the comments in this thread ( aside from being informative and interesting as usual ) reflect a mentality that is self-centered, petty and boarding on hateful.

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