Dear PoP – “Had it with the election”

Photo by PoPville flickr user DCBritannia

“Dear PoP,

This morning I hit my breaking point with the elections. I was walking my dogs, came around the corner or my street, and witnessed a man stealing my neighbor’s election sign from their yard. I stopped him and asked him “did you take that?” to which he replied “is that your yard?” I repeated the question and he had the gall to say “I asked you a question too.” I told him that was my neighbor’s house and he was stealing their sign. He then proceeded ask if I knew what gentrification was all while he tore up the sign. I flat out told him that was stealing, theft, and weak, and had to go inside because my dogs were freaking out and I was livid.

My freakin’ high school elections weren’t this petty and childish! Little does the man know that his actions have made my mind up for whom to vote.”

On a side note the woman accused of removing campaign signs from Capital City Diner has released her defense this morning. Full press release after the jump.

The Committee to Elect Kathy Henderson for the Ward 5 City Council seat strongly denounces the false information unscrupulously disseminated to the public by Matt Ashburn. Mr. Ashburn, an embattled owner of the Capital City Diner falsely claimed that Ward 5 City Council candidate Kathy Henderson removed his campaign signs and replaced them without his permission. Kathy Henderson strongly denounces the false claim, which she believes was fabricated to sabotage her effort to unseat incumbent Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

The facts in this matter indicate that Kathy Henderson visited the Capital City Diner on September 5, 2010 at approximately 4:00 p.m. to distribute flyers advertising an open house at 1643 L Street, NE. Ms. Henderson engaged in a conversation with Mr. Ashburn regarding a variety of issues including his need for financial assistance to keep his business afloat. Mr. Ashburn hoped Mayor Fenty would visit his business to boost sales.

During the approximately thirty-minute conversation Ms. Henderson asked Mr. Ashburn what assistance Councilmember Thomas had provided and why he displayed his campaign posters? Mr. Ashburn replied, “…I felt sorry for him and did not want to say no”. As the conversation concluded Mr. Ashburn asked Ms. Henderson to remove the signs and replace them with Mayor Fenty’s signs. Mr. Ashburn also asked Ms. Henderson to post her campaign signs in front of the Diner; Ms. Henderson did not post her signs at the Diner because she did not have them with her at the time.

At some point after Ms. Henderson left the Diner Matt Ashburn contacted Councilmember Thomas and together they devised a scheme to accuse Ms. Henderson of removing the signs without permission. The two then knowingly filed a false police report with the Fifth District Police headquarters. Ms. Henderson believes Mr. Thomas and Mr. Ashburn knowingly fabricated the incident and filed a false police report to undermine her candidacy for the Ward 5 City Council seat. “I don’t know what Mr. Ashburn may have been paid or offered in exchange for participating in this deceitful scheme. I look forward to a thorough investigation of this matter, which will prove that I did nothing wrong”. Ms. Henderson remains optimistic and looks forward to sharing her vision for moving Ward 5 forward with all of the voters of her ward.

81 Comment

  • I too have had it… If one more Gray, Brown, Orange, or any other color volunteer walks up onto my porch to try and convince me how to vote, thats it – I’m Done.

    I finally fell to the non-sense of putting big ugly signs in my yard hoping this would dissuade these devoted electioneers from bothering me on what now seems to be every night.

    My mind is made up and my decision has only been reinforced by this article.

    FENTY is the man!

    • Wahhh, Democracy is hard. I’m sorry if a volunteer disturbed you 3 times in the last week….I hope you will live to tell the tale. It sounds harrowing. People around the world and in this country fought and currently fight for the right to vote and to hold elections. I suggest you do some reading on the women’s suffrage movement and the freedom summer in the south. What a whiner.

    • I got so sick of the Fenty brigade interrupting my kid’s Saturday afternoon nap, I told them I was voting for Gray. They put that in their computer, and haven’t been back.

      Doorbell/dog bark/ crying baby – repeat every friggin’ weekend!

  • Vincent Gray and Vincent Orange for life!

  • Anyone else think that maybe the photos have been reversed and actually she was replacing Fenty signs with Thomas’s signs?

  • I decided to vote early so if someone asks me to vote for so and so I could honestly say I already have and then tell them that it isn’t their business who I voted for.

  • But, do you know what gentrification is?

  • The OP is an idiot for letting some other idiot’s support of a third idiot influence their vote for a fourth idiot.

  • “My freakin’ high school elections weren’t this petty and childish! Little does the man know that his actions have made my mind up for whom to vote.”

    Yet you allowed his actions, as opposed to the issues, determine your vote…yet he’s the one acting childish…

  • I think the gentrificators around here sincerely and severely underestimate or don’t really understand how angry and bitter a lot of folks are over gentrification.

    Now, I’m not saying those folks are justified. Often they are not. But the reality is that they are angry. Really angry.

    Everyone needs to act accordingly to try to simmer things down a bit.

    • whos cares they won’t live here in 10 years anyway.

    • Are you seriously trying to put the genie back in the bottle?
      Gentrification =$$$=tax dollars=the way to pay for services for all .
      I personally do not want to go back to the time when the pizza delivery man would not come to my house in Columbia Heights. I like that there is diversity
      now–that means all people.

      • i couldn’t agree more. i am happy to be taxed higher than the people in VA or MD, i am happy to subsidize the school system (even though i have no kids) and i do hope that the school system gets better. i am more than happy to ensure public housing … but for Gery now to come out to complain about Gentrification. give me a break.
        I am no huge fan of Fenty, but ultimately he is addressing some of the changes, painful changes that need to be made. he is not always great at doing so but having read Grey’s agenda he would be way less competent.
        to me all this comes down to an election about fear of change (oddly enough a lot of those fearful of change were wearing t-shirts with the word change on it during the last presidential election) and fear of losing privileges.

        • Whoa, there. Gray hasn’t complained about gentrification. All he’s suggested is that Fenty’s policies have failed to do anything substantial for a lot of people who are out of work.

          • Whoa, there. Read the examiner endorsement. Gray suggested that Dog Parks and Social Welfare Spending was zero sum. Its not. Also, a lot of people are out of work because they dropped out of ninth grade. There is nothing Fenty, Gray, or Jesus can do about the lack of job opportunities for people who couldn’t finish high school. Gray’s jobs arguments are a canard, he’s talking about give-aways, and his voters know it. Great.

      • Yeah, I just hope it doesn’t price folks making under $40,000 a year out of a home. Which for me is an efficiency apartment on the fringes of Adams Morgan.

        • There are a number of programs in DC that effectively subsidize home ownership for people in that income bracket. You should consider taking advantage of them before your income starts to go up (if you’re still new in your career, that is).

        • You need a better job if you want to stay in DC. You should work on your employer to pay you a better wage, rather than asking for the city to subsidize your employer not paying you. Isn’t your time and effort worth investing in?

          Also, there are very few people who can afford a house on 1 salary anywhere in the country. It’s been that way since women started entering the work force en masse with college degrees. Houses are effectively priced based on a two income household, because most folks who buy a house will put both incomes into the pot.

          • 40K is the salary of a family of FOUR in most parts of the country, in DC it’s a joke. There’s no reason why ONE person shouldn’t be able to afford a home.

            FWIW, “effectively priced based on a two income household” should be a single family or multi-bedroom dwelling. There’s a reason there are other choices.

          • +1 Seriously- affording a modest home one 1 salary should not be unheard of. I have friends who’ve done it in other cities. 2 parents + kids are a minority of households in the US these days, anyway. Plus I think this guy was just talking about an efficiency.

    • me



  • I don’t think anyone who lives in DC is under any false impression that a lot of folks are angry and stupid.

    And that’s just the gentrifiers.

      • How so? I don’t see long-timers writing blog posts about how the city will clearly fall into an abyss if Fenty wins. I don’t see the elderly couple across the street threatening to move away if Fenty is reelected. I don’t see the disabled man on the corner whining about how the schools will suddenly become crack dens if Rhee remains the school poobah.

        The people who are plotzing the most about this little referendum aren’t angry hordes of black folks, it’s jittery bands of caffeinated white folks.

        Maybe you all should cut out some of the lattes until after Vince Gray wins.

        • A better educated electorate would change those responses and it might help you with your racism.

          You see I was raised by scared racist white people, and you sound just like em.

          Bless your heart.

          • I’m not sure how any further education of the electorate would help Fenty. The arguments I’ve heard for Fenty are almost purely based on emotional responses regarding “progress,” “moving forward,” and other empty platitudes which are helpfully uniformed with any facts. This is mostly because the facts don’t help Fenty much with regard to issues such as, ironically enough, education and little items like political corruption.

            I’ll give you that the anti-Fenty bloc is highly motivated by the emotional as well, particularly since Fenty has acted like a horse’s ass for 3 years, but no more so than Fenty supporters who say baseless things like “he’s saved the schools” when he demonstrability has not.

            While there is a lot of hysteria on the Fenty side of this election about what will happen when he loses (doom, destruction, end of days), I’d like you to enumerate for me what people on the Gray side are saying about how a Fenty win will wreck the city…

            People HATE Fenty, to be sure, but there is little hand-wringing on the Gray supporter side about how the city will be [email protected] if Fenty wins. I’ve heard several Fenty supporters lament that they “might have to leave” if the Prince of Greyness wins, but I’ve yet to hear one Gray supporter tell me their bags are packed.

            They’ll certainly tell you that Fenty favors one population over another, that Fenty doesn’t listen, that Fenty hasn’t hired enough blacks for his cabinet – and one can debate the relative merits of those complaints – but the hysteria about the future, such that it is, is almost all on the Fenty side.

          • The hysteria, and I agree it is partly hysteria, is largely based on having lived in the city under Barry. I know a lot of folks like to idealize that time as when the city was “affordable for the middle class”, but that was largely an illusion and was always an untenable, temporary economic situation brought on by the senseless random violence associated with crack and Barry taking every dime and putting it into failed services and non-investments. People who prospered during that time in DC largely did so on the backs of dead teenagers.

            No one accuses Gray of being Barry, but Gray hasn’t come out and said he actually stands for anything other than Anti-Fenty. While we all think Fenty is a jacka$$, we know that he’s doing the hard work cleaning up 30+ years of economic mismanagement in the schools. The ONLY reason the schools were so bad was Barry and the Council. Gray has conspicuously avoided anything that sounds like continuing the progress started by Williams.

            Barry never thought that people would abandon the city and that he could get away with poor economic management. We all found out differently when congress took over. It won’t happen again overnight under Gray, but if you look down the line in 10 years, if you don’t continue the reforms and attracting business (gentrification) then the same thing happens again and you’ve lost another generation of kids to poor schools and lack of opportunities. The anti-gentrification argument really screws poor kids because eventually the city backtracks on progress and the money dries up as folks decide to disinvest in the city again.

            And the problem isn’t with Gray, it’s the combination of Gray as mayor and Kwame as council chair being such a clusterf- of a combination economically.

  • See life is much easier when you don’t vote.

  • Still taking the advertising money from the candidates though…

    • Prince Of Petworth

      As I far as I know the person who wrote that letter to me is not accepting any advertising money…

      • GiantSquid

        Nope, no money from ads here.

        I’m the OP. A few things:

        I’m well aware of gentrification. I realize that the area I live in has been affected by it (although I didn’t make the “safe” cut on the Tea Party map a few weeks ago.) And frankly, if gentrification means I can walk home at night without being offered drugs, getting shot, and generally feeling safe in my neighborhood, I’m all for it. I realize that it is a sensitive/hot button issue but this guy was avoiding my accusation that he had stolen my neighbor’s sign, making up an excuse for his shameful behavior. I don’t care what your political ideals are, stealing is stealing.

        Second, I realized, once I had cooled off, that my statement about influencing my vote was stupid because I’m registered independent and cannot vote in the primaries. Therefore, I won’t get a say in who becomes DC’s mayor since from what I’ve gathered, it’s decided in the primary.

        That is all.

  • To all friends, customers, and members of the Capital City Diner community:

    In the last week, after she got caught removing campaign signs from in front of the diner, Kathy Henderson has spread all sorts of rumors about our diner and me.

    I haven’t publicly responded to Ms. Henderson’s defamatory statements, as I don’t want to lend any amount of credence to her meritless claims.

    I’d rather make great food, serving pancakes and eggs and burgers and fries.

    I’d rather direct your attention to last week’s publicity of our Bladensburg Rd community and Capital City Diner in particular. I hope that you saw us featured on the front page of the Washington Post.

    I’d rather see you at the diner this week because we have some great specials.

    Tonight’s our $8.95 steak dinner night: a 10oz NY Strip steak cut fresh this morning, which is complete with salad, baked potato, and $1 off the beer of your choice.

    Tomorrow night is our PBR burger night, with $2.50 PBR bottles with the purchase of a fresh-made 1/3-lb angus hamburger.

    I hope that you’ll join us and your other neighbors here at the Capital City Diner, where we strive always to give you a good meal at an affordable price.

    As always, thanks to everyone for your overwhelming support, and we are proud to be a part of this neighborhood.

    Matt Ashburn
    Capital City Diner

  • PoP for Mayor! It’s time for a change! The old Gs have got to go….

  • I am tired of Fenty Kool Aid drinkers claiming Armageddon if Gray wins and I am as tired of Gray people who do the same. (Note: What is up with the non DC residents in DC election business, this is all we get in DC, Mayor & City council MD/ VA mind your own business. If you want to help out lean on your members in Congress to help get DC get representation )

    If the years of momentum in this city can be derailed by this election shame on us, the citizens. I feel I am in the minority but I happen to think both candidates are decent, hard working men who care about the city. Fenty more brash, Gray maybe more thoughtful. Smart people I trust who know, have worked with and for both candidates swear by them. The city is pretty divided though I do not feel it is as divided as others. My question is, Would you like to see whomever is elected speak to the city’s division? If so what should our next mayor say? Can the Mayor do anything to bring the city together?

    • +1000 DC should be proud to have produced both and to have both willing to work to serve as mayor. the condescension towards grey voters is disturbing.

  • I wish someone would gentrify my hood, gentrify my house value up, gentrify more places to eat and chill out, gentrify a more frequently running 52,53,54 line, gentrify a CVS nearby, and maybe gentrify an organic market, and gentrify a farmers market, and gentrify the dross off the streets, and gentrify a Lowes cause i’m sick of driving to MD every other day.

    Vive l’embourgeoisement!

    • Amen. I’ve lived in this city 20 plus years. I’m all for gentrification. I can now actual grocery shop in my own city and get fresh produce, a very novel thought when I first moved here. I can walk to barracks row and have a nice meal at a sit down restaurant. My garbage is actually picked up on a schedule! Etc, etc, etc…

      Just as an FYI to all the folks bitching about oldtimers being priced out: In DC property taxes have yearly caps, lots of the old black folks on my block are in zero danger of ever being “forced” out of their homes.

      • and the safeguards for the renting class are what?

        • “safeguards” for renters?

          life doesn’t come with “safeguards.” Renting is by definition transient.

        • Let me introduce you to DC rent control.

          No one ‘deserves’ to live anywhere in America. You live where you can afford. It’s not communist Russia.

      • I don’t think anyone is arguing against increased property value and seeing a return on investment. Gentrification is a larger issue involving deeper issues. Alot of people on this blog (and else where around DC) are oversimplifying it. Please, read up on the topic. By making over simplified comments relating to property value or crime we are missing out on a change to have a real conversation about community.

        • “Read up about it”??? I’ve lived, I don’t need to read up about. Sometimes, things are simple…

          And as for renters, DC has rent control for folks that have been here a long time and reside in older buildings. But, honestly, renters can always move…

        • Let’s educate you, K.

          Here in DC, the “renting class” includes people who can drop $5000/month on temporary housing. The “owning class” includes people who have $1000/month mortgages. If anyone’s over-simplifying an issue, it’s you.

          Rent control in DC is tied to inflation. Your rent won’t rise faster than your salary, on average over the long term. This city is very safe for the “renting class”.

        • Ironic that you lecture someone on simplifying an issue after throwing out an absurd comment like “safeguards for the renting class” and then go on to preach about the community. Who makes investments in the community? Owners. Who saves for a downpayment and takes on risk? Owners. Who has more more incentive to build community? Owners. Who can cut and run whenever they want? Renters. Do renters take on risk? Yes, being told that they have to find somewhere else to live. How do you avoid that risk? Own.

  • I’ve never understood why people bash gentrification so much and complain about people being forced out of their homes – people who have owned homes in these neighborhoods see their property values go way up as a result – shouldn’t they be happy? And if they rent, there is rent control and as a renter I am accustomed to getting priced out of places and having to move after awhile if the place is not rent-controlled – since the landlord actually owns the property they can dictate the price, that’s just the way things are.

  • I saw Fenty in a smart car once and he waved at me after I recognized him. He seems like an alright guy.

    I haven’t really paid much attention to the election but he’ll be getting my vote 🙂

  • So to jump off the gentrification line of comments here and focus on the second half of this post … I just read “below the jump” on this re: the Capital City Diner thing. That is the least convincing press release/self-defense I’ve ever read. It reads like a defiant 6th grader’s excuse for cheating — and not a particularly bright 6th grader, at that. (Albeit one who likes to use big words like “embattled.”)

    Had I a vote in that race, I couldn’t vote for anybody who thought that was convincing or even prudent to put before the public.

  • I get a little dizzy from all the talk of gentrifiers vs. long-time residents b/c in a lot of ways people could see me as being a part of both groups. I’m an African-American male in my mid-20’a who grew up here, but moved away for college and work only to return a few years ago. I bought a foreclosed home in NE and have been slowly working on it.

    I have also seen tremendous improvement in my neighborhood just off of H Street. When I was a kid, it wasn’t exactly a great part of town. Neither were a lot of places that have changed drastically (U Street, Columbia Heights, Logan Circle, etc).

    Many people say Anthony Williams set the tone for the vibrant DC we experience today. Well I have witnessed first-hand as the Fenty administration has continued that momentum.

    I am so proud to live in DC and excited about the improvements that are underway in our schools, business and retail options, and transit (can’t wait to see the streetcars… my grandmother tells stories about when streetcars were the primary form of transportation for lots of folks in the city back in the day).

    I am definitely voting for Fenty. I don’t think he has done anything to disqualify him from being able to serve another 4 years. I think Gray is a nice and capable guy, but I think he is from a different era. You can see it in his demeanor and approach. He is telling people what they want to hear, but the reality is that he can’t deliver that. No one can.

    • I am with you. In a line up I would be pegged as a “gentrifier”, but I have lived here for 20+ years. My kid just entered DC public high school after 9 years of DC public elementary and middle school. Under Williams and Fenty I have seen things get steadily better and I don’t want to slow the momentum. I feel like Gray is from a different time. Mostly I feel like changing leadership after only 4 years stops us dead in our tracks for a year while they reorganize, repopulate the government, get their people up to speed, reset priorities, etc.

      Go Fenty!

      • I would love the corruption, unfairness, mass firings, shady deals, arrogance and all the other b.s. from the Fenty administration to stop dead in their tracks for a year, and forever!

    • how much did Fenty pay you to post on the blogs?

    • I have basically a mirror story. I lived south of adam’s morgan as a kid, moved away for school and work, then moved back and bought an abandoned property that I’ve sunk every spare dime I have into.

      I’ve never heard the term ‘gentrification’ from any of my neighbors. It seems to come exclusively from young people who can’t afford to move back into their parents neighborhood.

  • Lots of moaning today about the elections. Aren’t we trying to get a right to vote for “real” sentaors and representatives? We should be thankful we have such a lively and free democratic system. Yay democracy and all of the silliness than can accompany it. This is what it’s all about. No sarcasm intended.

  • Ugh, I was just thinking about this today. Lately, it seems like every dbag trying to run over peds in a crosswalk is sporting a Fenty sticker in the window. It may not be logical, but I’m tempted to vote Gray only because of my growing hatred of Fenty supporters.

    • Why do Grey supporters speak only in the negative? What I see most frequently are vague accusations with little factual back up that seem designed to plant doubt. (Fenty supporters run over people in crosswalks, pay people to comment on blogs, cronies, etc.)

      What I *still* haven’t heard is what Grey’s plans are for the future of DC. It’s so easy to throw out unsupported accusations. A challenge to Grey “One City” supporters: Tell me why to vote *FOR* Grey.

  • Anon 5:57, was that a jab at me? I wish I was paid to comment on blogs. Just giving my two cents b/c it’s really been frustrating watching this election play out. Saddest part is that people don’t even realize they’re being played.

  • I don’t follow or pay the slightest amount of attention to local DC politics, or vote in local elections. None of the candidates on the ballot reflect my views, and they all pretty much seem to be either mediocre hacks (Fenty) or corrupt scumbags (Marion Barry, this Jim Graham character who seems to run things and have his signs/pictures everywhere like a two-bit Saddam Hussein).

    For my life, it’s best not to even follow that stuff, and just one less thing to worry about.

    • But there clearly is a difference in candidates and it does effect the character of the city. It’s not overnight, but the only reason the city fell as far as it did was Marion Barry’s politics, and the main reason it’s come back is Congress enforced fiscal discipline on the city.

      Otherwise we’d just be Baltimore –still waiting for our miracle.

  • on behalf of Baltimore, ouch.

  • Another classic example of the idiots taking over society. Have you seen the movie, IDIOCRACY? I actually felt somewhat relieved when Fenty was elected. Now I feel like it is just going to go back to stupid people breeding again. And yes, gentrification is 1. CAPITOLSIM 2. NOT ABOUT RACISM – and 2. GOOD FOR SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.

    The last time I checked, we live in capitalist America – not China, or Cuba, not Vietnam, and certainly not North Korea – all of which proved that Communism fails… so stop trying to go there. F-ing Commies.

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