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Washington Post Columnist, Petula Dvorak, Shame on You

by Prince Of Petworth November 20, 2009 at 10:20 am 148 Comments

photo(3), originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in her column from this morning’s Washington Post titled: Columbia Heights still has far to go. She concludes the piece with this:

“On Thursday, as Oscar’s family was preparing his funeral arrangements and kids stayed away from the playground, the Prince of Petworth blog posted a reader’s complaints about the neighborhood. The reader, who has lived in Columbia Heights since 2002, was devastated by the lackluster service at the sleek new coffee bar half a block from the building where Oscar was killed.

“I ordered latté and it was a disaster. The latté smelled and [tasted] so bad I only had one sip and that was it,” he complained. He was also frustrated that there was never room to sit in the little shop.”

You know it’s a shame she decided to take the easy way out by taking an unrelated post out of context. Regular readers of this blog know that we regularly talk about serious issues, including crime, quality of life, schools etc. This site discusses 75-100 posts a week. Yes, some discuss coffee shops. They too are a part of our community. But it’s not like we didn’t and don’t discuss the horrible crime that exists in our communities. PoP readers, the same ones who complain or enjoy coffee shops, also donate countless hours volunteering at schools, libraries, mentoring programs, churches etc.

Her decision to include that quote is like me picking up the Post on the day after the Fort Hood massacre and quoting a piece from the sports page lamenting the state of the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, Fort Hood and the Cowboys are both in Texas but that doesn’t mean that the two items are related.

Columbia Heights does still have far to go and so does the Post’s coverage of this great and diverse neighborhood.

I’ll add a note written to the columnist by a reader who sums up the situation far better than I:

“Your column today would have been really good if it wasn’t for the intentional deception you added at the end to portray newcomers as shallow self-absorbed yuppies. PrinceofPetworth’s blog had a section dedicated to this murder where people listed all sorts of ways they are involved in trying to reduce crime, but your article referenced a separate issue about service at a coffee bar as if it was related to this event.

Never before have I lived in an area where newcomers and old timers alike are working together so hard to improve a community. Some of the same people who frequent coffee bars are working with groups like Mentoring Works, In the Streets, and DC Youth Power Network. In this area of Ward 1 black/white rich/poor are working together in a lot of creative ways to improve life for everyone living here, rather than move out to the suburbs where they can live in peaceful bliss. I really resent that you chose to lay insult to our diverse community rather than explore the positive ways people are working to improve the situation around here.

Cliff Valenti
Charman, ANC1A”

  • Brian

    If she wants to talk about comments, ever read washingtonpost.com?? Classy stuff. First article I picked. Seriously, when are journalists going to grow up. It’s like throwing this back in her face:


    “BULLETIN TO: Team Obama, Members of Congress



    Did this program target, and help incite, the Ft. Hood shooter?”

    • Matt

      I think the point the author was trying to make was the difference between public space/private space. You need $$$ to take advantage of all the great new happenings in CH. Also, those great new businesses want low taxes which means less available public funds/police/social services. (her empty playground?)

      That said, picking on the latte comment was a cheap shot.

      In my opinion, events like Columbia Heights Day are very important toward the [re]creation of a community in that neighborhood. CH’s newer residents should also understand there is a fine line between community-building and paternalism. You don’t know everything about the neighborhood in which you’ve lived for the past 3 years and “getting rid of crime,” as one poster put it, fails to account for social inequality, discrimination, and, yes, racism, still present in one of the most liberal cities in the world.

  • TonyS

    Wow, very deceptive. Petula has engaged in the worst kind of journalism… fudging a story to make it fit with the overall point she is making. Sure, she isnt out-right lying, but it is just as bad. Unfortunately, this happens all the time in the media. Shameful.

  • Hoodrat

    A cheap shot, to be sure. If I were going to give her the benefit of the doubt, which perhaps I should not, the most charitable reading would be that the Tynan post does illustrate the gap between the columbia heights yupsters and the public housing projects. Not because yupsters don’t care about dead nine-year olds. But because those trying to keep their kids out of the crossfire probably don’t care about shoddy customer service at shiny new expensive coffeeshops on the next block.

  • Agreed, that essay by Petula Dvorak was useless. It was as if she visited the neighborhood once or twice, browsed the Prince of Petworth for an hour or two, then threw something together that sounded good. Too bad it was shallow, judgmental, and in parts nonsensical. It was even worse than the infamous Monica Hesse piece on the hipsters of Columbia Heights “discovering” Target.

    I miss Marc Fisher – at least he knew how to write an in-depth, thought-provoking column on neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, but the Post ended his column, blog and weekly chats and kicked him upstairs to supervise other writers. IMHO, it was a mistake and a loss for DC.

  • Otis Gal

    Yeah Cliff! Yeah POP!!! Boo Petula!!!

  • Anonymous

    the post stopped being DC’s newspaper a long time ago.

  • Anonymous

    There are too many minorities at my water park.

  • K St.

    The Washington Post is a mess. The quality of its columnists’ work has been plummeting and it’s a damn shame. I guess too many editors and not enough columnists took those buy-outs they’ve been offering.

  • Anonymous

    its cool, you’ll just write a passive aggressive email to her anyways.

    she must be jealous of Dan Silverman since she has to go to work at the Washington Post every day instead of walking around the city smelling things.

    but that’s alright. it’s not like you’ll post this comment anyways, seeing as how you like to screen your comments against anything remotely critical of your “enterprise”. everyone knows you can’t take the heat. well, almost everyone.

  • oboe

    As a resident of lily-white Reston, I must say, “Shame! Columbia Heights residents!” for not being sufficiently single-minded in your focus on the plight of the inner-city poor. If *I* chose to live in the District, you can bet *I* wouldn’t be kvetching about lattes and such, but rather focusing, laser-like on social issues.


  • Chalk

    Clearly this article is condescending (tattoo girl? come on) and watered down with carelessly chosen quotes from a thin slice of this neighborhood. I become increasingly disillusioned with “journalists” who don’t take responsibility for thoroughly and thoughtfully delivering news and opinions. Her audience is too educated to take an article like this seriously.

  • Mal

    Yes, that Tynan post does not represent the “serious” side of PoP, and yes, there were over one hundred comments. Too bad she didn’t browse past the first page to see the other posts that also garnered a huge amount of comments, SUCH AS the three different posts on poor little Oscar Fuentes, where they brought in over 80 comments total.

    IMHO, I didn’t comment on the murder of Oscar Fuentes because I thought it wasn’t right to comment on such a tragedy. I commented on the Tynan thread because bad customer service is not a tragedy, and I felt no remorse for the letter-writer OR the coffee shop.

    PoP – Petula is probably frightenend that PoP is going to be the next (already is for me) go-to news source for locals. I love the abundance of knowledge your readers have and the different types of posts you do, from houses, doors, and gardens, to serious issues such as crime, and everything in between. Keep it up and don’t let the (wo)man get you down!

  • Jeezus y’all, keep it down. I’m trying to be hip over here.

  • Mal

    Oh and PoP – maybe you could do a “top stories” area? Stories that get the most comments that day or week could be linked in a frame on the left column near the “recent comments” section, that way a hot topic would be highlighted and not lost in the page.

  • Jimmy D

    I kept waiting for her to say something with incite or something thought provoking. It never happened. Instead, she just went for the low hanging fruit. Not surprised enough to muster any outrage.

  • Jamal

    Well, i mean, it’s kinda’ true. Most of you newer residents to the area are pretty shallow and self-absorbed, only caring about ‘white people issues’.

  • WDC

    I agree with Mal. I’ve often thought that it would be nice to have a section for the hot topics, so as to avoid scrolling back through the door of the day (not that I don’t love those!) every time I want to check in on a thread.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Mal that feature is coming soon!

  • Anonymous

    Seems on point to me.

    Is this not a white yuppie lifestyle blog?

  • quincycyclist

    I think she’s just trying to illustrate the dichotomy between these two facets of a changing neighborhood. When you take that last paragraph out of the context of the whole article, it might look like the author is trying to imply that frivolous stuff like coffee shop complaining doesn’t matter, but when I read the whole article, I didn’t get that impression from the last paragraph when I got there.

    The message I got from the article was “we can bring in Starbucks and Target and urban planning/development, and that is great for everyone, but it isn’t going to magically bring everyone in the neighborhood out of the poverty trap they’re stuck in – what do we do about that?.”

    The fact that many of you are ready to jump down her throat because of your own interpretation of her words might say more about your personal bias than hers.

  • Zack S

    Seems like the Washington Post still has far to go … to get back to the quality paper it use to be.

  • ‘Nonmiss

    It’s no wonder the Post is going down. Let’s all ironically drink cocktails at Ruby Tuesdays to toast its impending demise.

  • Anonymous

    The person complaining about the cofeeshop was pretty lame though. I mean, did you read his/her complaints? What a crybaby.

  • TaylorStreetMan

    Since when are concerns about crime, safety and quality of life “white people issues”?
    Aren’t they just “people” issues?

  • Goot Lemmon

    Petula Dvorak is useless, a waste of oxygen. She has probably never even been to Columbia Heights, and should issue PoP a written apology.

  • @quincycylist It is absolutely absurd to quote a comment from a neighborhood blog about a “bad latte” in the context of the article. A good editor would never let this article see the light of day. The dichotomy between these two facets….please.

  • Anonymous

    Her article was spot on. Columbia Heights is full of Mini Coopers and hipster kids who grew up in the suburbs wanting cities devoid of any cultural identity, ie Target, best buy, Gastro Pub of which I still dont understand why people go there-you are drinking outside a large target.) Most moved to the area post Obama and talk as if skin color is synonymous with diversity. (that argument has been put to rest by many included SCOTUS)

    Its a lame neighborhood that has been able to market itself as a diverse while all I see is a neighborhood that lacks any character. I mean come on the water fountain. That thing makes me cringe. When are you guys going to start playing music on little speakers disguised as rocks much like they do in clarendon.

    Yes attack the Washington Post. I love attacking people when they hit too close to home. Darn Media.

  • Irving Streete

    A little defensive, are we? Hate to have it pointed out that the gentrification of Columbia Heights hasn’t been the saving of the poor people here — that buying a condo hasn’t changed the grimmer realities, just hidden them a little better.

    A mediocre piece that makes a good point — that the gleam of much of “new” Washington doesn’t shine into every corner of the ‘hood. You should think of it as aimed not at you, but at the Mayor Fentys and the Federal City-types of the world, who remain unable to solve real problems and so play up the wallpaper they’ve covered them with.

    And the latte guy deserves all the derision he gets. And if he wants to make a federal case of it, I know where he can find a good barrister.

  • Take5

    quincycyclist – she could have made the same point using examples where people are working together to change things. Instead she chose the route the inflames division rather than talk about solutions.

  • voiceofreason

    I second what Jamal and others have said already, most of the newcomers ARE shallow self-absorbed yuppies.

  • TaylorStreetMan

    “I mean come on the water fountain.”
    Don’t you mean come “in” the water fountain?

  • New2CH

    Better a newcomer shallow self-absorbed yuppie, VOR, then a newcomer shallow self-absorbed holier than thou yuppie pretending to be somthing he’s not. Every minute you spend berating others on here (and it’s HOURS a day seemingly) is a minute you could be spend tutoring a neighborhood kid, just remember that.

    How many of the purportedly shallow yuppies have you bothered to get to know personally? You know what we do for jobs, what we do to help the community? Or are you just talking out your butt as usual? Considering how much self-hate you have, and how much hate you have for your neighbors, why don’t you move to southeast where you can dwell among your kindrer spirts, and be true to your hatred of rich white people? I simply don’t get it. I’m sure you will point to your dreads and peace sign earing as signs that you contribute more to the community and the world than everyone else on here. I, for one, am not buying it.

  • ColorMePetworth

    Its not like Target, Starbucks, and Best Buy provide jobs…oh, wait a minute – if you WORK that means you ARE a yuppie. If you sit around complaining about how you ain’t got no mo’ny while you trade your food-stamps for crack then your a victim of that evil, evil gentrification.

  • SG

    The Post’s coverage of neighborhoods always goes with the cheap shots and low-hanging fruit. Look at their coverage of “Capitol Riverfront”. They deride it for being an unrealized fantasy, despite the fact that its population went from near zero to 3000 in a matter of 3 years. Likewise, they portray the vibrant Cleveland Park neighborhood as some dying vestige of its former self, despite the fact that two new restaurants will soon be calling it home (Palena’s cousin in the old Magruders space and DC Diner in the old McDonalds space(). Then you see the last two Columbia Heights pieces- the “hipster” one how all people in CH are hipsters, and this latest one. The Post should stick to the news and avoid making shallow value judgments that lack basic perspective.

  • New2CH

    I don’t get why it’s kosher to generalize about all the white newcomers living in CH, but if someone were to say, “all the long-time black residents of CH are this, or that, or such-and-such” he would be (justifiably) crucified. Why the desperate need to categorize one another and to stereotype? Why all the generalized hatred? Personally, I’d rather assume the best of any given neighborhood resident I meet, until THEY (not someone else in their demographic) proves me wrong via their OWN particular actions or words. But folks, enjoy your stupid generalizations and your nasty vitriol if that is what helps you get through the day …

  • TaylorStreetMan

    This somewhat ties into the rather lengthy discussion yesterday about the types of new development I hate: Shiny, high-rise aluminum/glass towers. Sure, they look cool, but if you’re living on the 12th floor looking down at the scurrying ants, are you really as much a part of the neighborhood as you could be?

    Contrast this to being able to sit on your porch, wave and talk to neighbors, etc. Community connectedness is generally more a by-product of the types of living spaces being built, rather than snobby, rich, white, latte drinkers wanting to keep their shoes clean of the street riffraff, but the end result is that the perception of folks living in those towers seems to be the latter.

  • voiceofreason

    If you read the comments in most of the threads on this blog, you will definitely find a LOT of people making ridiculous generalizations about “long-time black residents of CH.” Read the crime posts again, it’s horrible. The difference here is that the generalizations about newcomers tend to be accurate.

  • JMW

    As a some-what newcomer to the CoHi that enjoys the Target, can I also say that I read this site everyday? If I hear a siren I check here first to see what is going on. Not WaPo. Keep on POP!

  • Anonymous
  • TaylorStreetMan

    Please don’t call it “CoHi”.

  • voiceofreason

    What’s the over/under on comments to this post? 120? 175?

  • Redhead

    I don’t think I would have read the article if it weren’t for POP highlighting it here. If her strategy was to boost readership of her own article by zinging a popular local blog, then I’d say she succeeded. We’ve taken the bait.

  • Mal

    Sorry, VOR, dead wrong about that one. Young Urban Professionals. That’s what yuppie stands for. Sure, most of us are technically yuppies. I know I am. I’m young, I live downtown, and I work in a “professional” field (mechanical engineer). Shallow, self-absorbed? Not so much. Most of the people on here are more than willing to help others out. I’ve witnessed it first hand. Volunteering their free time to help out the needy? Definitely not shallow or self-absorbed.

    People make generalizations about “long-time black residents” and they get called out for it, but you anti-“working, non-lazy, black or white” people can say anything you want and feel you are justified, because hey, you get discriminated against all the time. Sorry, not the way it works. Just makes me look down on YOU, not your demographic.

  • New2CH

    VOR, the generalizations about black residents are just as unacceptable as your generalizations. But if you want to get into accuracy, how many of the shootings in the last year have been perpetrated by white yuppie newcomers, remind me? Again, neither is contructive. The vast majority of residents, white and black, and good people worth getting to know. You just have on interest in bothering to try because you are a biased, stereotyping person. That is of course your right. There are a few selfish yuppie assholes out there, just like there are some black people shooting little kids out there, but it is destructive to pain everyone with a broad brush based on the actions of just a few people. Once again, since you love to bitch about how horrible and selfish we all are, why don’t you put your money with your loud, vitriolic, and usually completely inaccurate mouth is, and spend the 3-4 hours a day you spend complaining on blogs tutoring 3-4 at risk kids? I realize it is a lot easier and more fun to call everyone else names, but how is that helping anything or anyone? Do you have ANY idea how big a hypocrite you are, how ridiculously foolish you look on a daily basis?

    Valenti’s response was spot on. Kudos to him.

  • May I point out once again that “voiceofreason” is indeed himself a newcomer, and has only lived in the area for a couple of years, knowing little of its long history of ups and downs.
    In addition, he has previously heavily promoted the opening of an artisan/organic chocolate shop which is about as gentrifying/yuppie-oriented a business as can be imagined. In other words, he’s full of sh*t!

  • ontarioroader

    As stupid as “CoHi” is it’s still marginally better than the old nickname…. KILLumbia Heights.

  • voiceofreason

    She didn’t zing the blog, she zinged the kind of person that goes ape-shit over a mis-foamed latte when two doors down in a building full of people who can’t afford lattes, children are being shot.

    The blog isn’t the villain, it’s the significant number of folks who live in CH now that float through life in a VERY different current than their neighbors, and think that the solution to all the neighborhood’s ills are more yuppie amenities and businesses.

  • Anonymous

    New2CH, you just made a sweeping generalization about residents of the entire SE. Congrats on being that which you deride.

  • Ohio Player

    Yes JMW I agree. CoHi needs to stop. How about CH which could be universal – Court House / Columbia Heights.

  • Irving Streete

    I think that Killumbia Heights has a certain ring to it. Like Bodymore, Murderland. Whereas the term CoHi is reprehensible in every way.

  • New2CH

    Oh, please anonymous, give me a frigging break. I frankly know very little about southeast residents nor would I generalize about them, my point is that DCDireWolf wants to avoid living in a neighborhood where rich white yuppies are flocking to, and the neighborhoods in DC where that is least likely to happen (and yes, I do feel comfortable making a demographic generalization like this) would be southeast. But enjoy your “gotcha” moment. Sheesh.

  • voiceofreason

    Seems to me there is a very strong current of “the truth hurts” going on here. There are two worlds in CH, and they don’t mix very well. If people don’t see that, they’re being willfully blind.

  • WDC

    vor says: “The difference here is that the generalizations about newcomers tend to be accurate.”

    How about this one: low- or no-income minorities commit most of the violent crime in Columbia Heights.

    Please comment.

  • reflexive

    if i’m not deep with the rich culture of judgment, does that make me shallow?
    or am i shallow because i like fancy beer and buy my toilet paper at target?

  • Fascinating how most Americans seem to hate each other. I suppose it’s always been this way. I would say it’s unfortunate, but if that’s the way folks prefer to live, it must be alright. The will of the People and all that.

  • Anonymous

    I agree wholeheartedly with Irving Streete. Dvorak’s piece clearly isn’t going to win a Pulitzer but it rings true. Blog readers shouldn’t be taking this so personally (except for the spelling-impaired “latté” whiner).

    And another thing – Prince of Petworth does not focus enough on crime or quality of life issues. Half-hearted postings about crime (with the same damn picture of police tape every time) and open-ended questions about quality of life twice a week aren’t enough. You’re not questioning the political machinery in place either because you’re shamefully ignorant of the state of things or you benefit too much from Grahamstanding to stand up for what’s right.

  • New2CH

    I don’t think most Americans hate each other, Intangible. I think the shield of anonymity and the inability to talk face to face fostered by an online culture of increasingly segmented and polarized blogs just makes it seem that way. People’s face-to-face interactions are WORLDS apart from our interactions on blogs …

  • voiceofreason

    WDC, I agree with your statement on committing the crimes. But I think that the rich folks (minorities or not) are the ones creating the conditions leading to those crimes, or at a minimum are doing very little to prevent future crimes from being committed. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and no amount of coffee shops, Targets, condos or yuppie bars can solve the problem. As I’ve commented many times before, it takes a concerted effort from everyone, which as the Post article alludes to, isn’t happening now.

  • Dji

    Um. I’ve been here four years, going on five. Am I a “shallow newcomer” still?

    On a side note, I love my neighborhood. Hi, neighbors.

  • TonyS

    totally disagree Anon 11:57… you should be taking her article personally, as should everyone. Her kind of “journalism” is poisonous and its a big reason newspapers are fading and blogs like this one are flourishing.

    Thousands of people are reading her article this morning and saying “oh wow, PoP readers and the rich white people in CH sure are self centered.” New opinions are being formed across the city about CH… based on this crap article.

  • Redhead

    VOR – the point is the Post article doesn’t know what’s happening now or do a faithful job of reporting it.

  • voiceofreason

    “oh wow, PoP readers and the rich white people in CH sure are self centered.”

    and they’d be right, about many, but not all, of them.

  • New2CH

    What exactly did “rich folks” do that caused an MS-13 member to shoot a nine year old child? Maybe you should go and testify on defendant’s behalf at sentencing. Ultimately, we each are responsible for our own actions. Lots of reasonable minds disagree on collective action that can help ameliorate the conditions that lead to crime (for example, most people, other than VOR, believe that economic development which creates jobs is one of many ways to help fight crime, although of course it is hardly alone sufficient). But what no truly “reason”able person will claim is that the ultimate blame for an actual truly depraved and horrific act like shooting a nine yaer old lies with anyone but the perpetrator.

  • JodiHeights

    See… that’s a HUGE problem i have with the United States in general, not just Columbia Heights or DC… no one seems to be able to take responsibility for their own actions.
    This country is predominately self-centered. It’s pretty disgusting.

    And while you might say that those rich, white Columbia Heights residents are self-centered, you could also say the same is true for those murders that think it’s fine for them to take someone’s life and ruin plenty of others’.

  • voiceofreason

    For my thoughts on the shooting of the child, you can read the comments section in that specific POP post. I assigned the blame and responsibility to the shooter, but I also recognize that we are all to blame for the violent crime that occurs in our community.

  • padrock

    Gotta say, i think voiceofreason gets it. While the article took a disgustingly cheap shot (seriously? we’re gonna juxtapose lattes with the DEATH OF A CHILD?), she gets at the point that we’ve got a deeply divided neighborhood. The friendship heights and anacostia elements are not blending in the slightest. And PoP is certainly the voice of the former, though I commend him for keeping up on local issues.

  • jcm

    Jesus you people are defensive. I thought it was a pretty good column that could have been written about lots of neighborhoods in DC. A 9 year old kid was killed in a neighborhood that has half million dollar condos and $900K rowhouses because the lock on his shitty apartment building was broken.

    CH is a textbook gentrifying neighborhood, and the readers of this blog are the gentrifiers. I’m surprised so many people here find that surprising.

  • voiceofreason

    “And while you might say that those rich, white Columbia Heights residents are self-centered, you could also say the same is true for those murders that think it’s fine for them to take someone’s life and ruin plenty of others’.”

    Agreed! It takes the entire community being invested and involved in fixing the problem for any solutions to occur. Across all income levels, races and other distinctions that serve to divide us. I don’t see the will from most folks at the moment to do the hard work.

  • Publius

    Is it so far-fetched to say that the article in question, while not a piece of everlasting journalistic derring-do, succeeded in capturing the very disparate realities in Columbia Heights? I don’t necessarily agree with her cherry-picked anecdote, but it is a bit bizarre that latté quality control merited as much space as it did in the PoP discourse when literally a block away and a couple of nights earlier a nine-year-old was shot to death. I agree that there is a time and place for the critique of high end caffeinated beverages, but the timing of that piece and its proximity to a much GREATER crime are an embarrassment to PoP and all of us who indulged in the Talmudic that followed.

    And there definitely are some pretty terminal yuppies moving in the area who make no effort to blend in, give back, or have any involvement in the civic life of the neighborhood, preoccupied as they are with their ‘property value’. They exist; lethal attacks against children exist. I don’t think we should pillory Petula for juxtaposing the two. Perhaps she was a bit heavy-handed, but the point of her, again, OPINION was clearly to show these realities in stark relief, NOT to limn the gradient of gray present in our beloved neighborhood. I have to agree with posters who point out that the time spent mud-slinging on here would be better spent tutoring some of the adrift youth. And that time could have been better spent by PoP and us all by devoting more coverage, in-depth reporting and problem-solving spirit to the death of poor Oscar Fuentes rather than the lattés next door.

  • New2CH

    This is what I can’t stand about VOR and Publius and all the rest. You are all such damn hypocrites. Are any of your sports fans? Do you go to concerts? Do you watch TV? Every single person posting on this blog, including all the haters and all the judgmental people, spends a good chunk of each day engaged in frivolous activities that do nothing to help the community. Yet, you bash others for engaging in a frivolous debate about coffee. Well, so f’ing what? Your stupidity, hypocrisy, and utter lack of self-awareness or perspective continues to blow my mind. We ALL debate and engage in activites that do nothing to solve crime, and whether those involve bitching about Dan Snyder or bitching about coffee is irrelevant. The person spending ten minutes bitching about coffee may have spent their entire previous saturday working a soup kitchen, or volunteering with kids with disabilities, for all you know. Who are YOU people to condemn them? And that is what POP gets in his original post, and those of you defending the article fail to see. Just because the Washington Post covers sports, does that make its news coverage suddently less worthy, because it could be devoting less time to sports and more to news? How obtuse are you people? Better question — why am I am wasting my time tryign to talk sense to people who are so oblivious to their own lack of self-awareness. I’m done.

  • WDC

    Yeah, I’m working full time so as NOT to become a burden on anyone else, yet somehow it’s MY fault when someone gets hurt.

    Whereas the guy pullling the trigger, he’s the victim of my self-absorption. Love that logic.

    We had a fantastic example of just how useful all our efforts are. Imagine a young kid who grew up in an iffy part of town. How can we make sure that he doesn’t fall in to bad habits? Offer him a paid summer job! (Fenty’s program.) Give him training! (at the convention center.) Expose him first-hand to the inner workings of neighborhood governance! (internship with Graham.) It’s foolproof! What’s that, you say? That kid popped a cap in another kid AND an innocent bystander, within minutes of leaving his publicly-funded summer job training? I guess he just didn’t have enough opportunities.

  • The Snitch Next Door

    This post is somehow inspiring me to want to do some tutoring.

    I don’t know about shallow, but I’m pretty self absorbed these days, trying to keep my job so I can pay my bills, scurrying around trying to fix up the house and take care of the kids. I take my coffee at home and at the office these days. Those of you who have the time to linger with friends or a sister over coffee, or work from home and can take your laptop to Tynan, or are bummed to be looking for work, PLEASE savor every beautiful autumn moment and enjoy it. Someday you might have a passel of kids running you ragged, or get sick with something incurable, or your sister will get breast cancer, and you’ll miss the little things.

    Not sure what I could have done to stop what happened to Oscar, although if I saw some jerk trying to rob my neighbor and break into their building I would have called the cops, still it would have been too late. If I lived next door I definitely would have been clamoring to get the MS-13 members out of there. If I knew what was going on.

  • Publius

    I am gladdened that New2CH, while making no real point, finally huffed and puffed its was to a moment of agonized self-awareness. That’s a step in the right direction. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Take5

    “And there definitely are some pretty terminal yuppies moving in the area who make no effort to blend in, give back, or have any involvement in the civic life of the neighborhood”

    If you ask me just moving into a neighborhood with crime like this one has is giving back enough. That is a contribution or the problems would just feaster and get worse and worse. I shouldn’t have to “do” anything but if I choose to get involved then thats great, but it is extra.

  • voiceofreason

    The Post article’s point has been made very clearly and succinctly by Take5:

    “I shouldn’t have to “do” anything”

  • jcm

    VOR, don’t forget the implicit “these people are lucky to have me” in Take5’s comment.

  • PoP overreacted to the column. This blog certainly reports on crime in Columbia Heights. But not nearly as much as it examines restaurants, bars, real estate, doors, and — yes — lattes, all which matter little to the CH resident, stuck in poverty, who can’t lock killers out of her own apartment building.

  • TaylorStreetMan

    I gotta agree with 2b3s. Well, half agree.
    PoP does mostly cover topics like doors, trees, coffee shops and, well, other doors, but is it pretending to be anything but that?

    Basically, it’s a slice of life in CH/PW. Sometimes that’s a discussion of a nifty place that some neighbor hides his recycle bin, sometimes it’s a story about a tragic crime in the area. Both are valid, considering the forum.

    Who decided that PoP’s role is one thing or another. It’s whatever he wants it to be.

  • NP

    Thank you Snitch Next Door.

  • Print Reader

    I don’t think she’s so terribly off… I mean, it’s pretty unfortunate for the writer of that ridiculous letter that it got picked up by the Post, but hey, there’s a lesson on the interwebs for ya.
    But really — she was using it to point to what’s going on in Columbia Heights every day — there are tons of folks flooding the area, spending money, concerning themselves with their lattes and such, and at the same time right down the block there are regular shootings and some serious crime issues.

    Becoming a good columnist, I’m sure, is paved with missteps along the way, and perhaps this was one. (I, like others, thought the “tattoo girl” thing was a little silly. What’s wrong with her tattoos? I think there’s a better way to identify the girl who, it seems, declined to have her name printed.) Overall, though, I think it was a fair point.

    If there was a real misstep, I’d say it was the Post putting a picture of Oscar Fuentes’ open casket on B1. That seemed in poor taste to me.

  • rg

    POP, dont bother with the Post. Everyone knows that industry is nearly dead, let them go out with a whimper, and thank them for the additional web traffic. It isnt worth anyones time.

  • Publius

    @Take5: we’d do well to remember that a small number of the long-term residents here are taking much more than giving, but I’m curious as to how moving into a neighborhood equals ‘giving back enough’. Do you mean through property taxes or something? And maybe my phraseology was a bit off; I guess what I meant by ‘giving back’ was ‘being involved in building civil society around here’.

    We could all do better, myself included, is the point I’m trying to make.

    And TaylorStreetMan and New2CH, I do agree with you in terms of how this is a democratic forum for both high and low, and perhaps I should have thought more about how life is punctuated by both tragedy and banality before I got on PoP and all of our cases about plunging into lattédom given the tragic event yards away, but even if there is no real answer or proper position to all of this, I think it’s an opportunity for us to reflect on what’s important and what we as a community want our priorities to be. Myself included. I joined a friend for a latté at Tynan on Monday.

  • UT

    I am involved in a great new volunteer organization at Harriet Tubman Elementary right in the neighborhood –


    This group is starting with a volunteer literacy program, but the overall goal is to get the neighborhood to rally around the school and support the students AND their families.

    You can feel free to bring a latte if you want, but at the end of the day it is a great group of people giving their time to make the neighborhood better.

  • voiceofreason

    UT, I’ve signed up for the grass roots education thing at Tubman and never heard back from anyone. I’ll sign up again though.

  • inmtpl

    its funny how discussions start around inane pretty unimportant things ….an undrinkable latte, for gods sake. what if the “tyan Guy” had said something, in the moment if you will ,to his barrista like oh say, my latte is a big dissapointment and the said barrista would have graciously oh so grasciously remedied the coffee drink. all is well in Cofing Hi. no letter to rival War And Peace, no mention in the post , no pop on the defensive…..

  • UT


    Email Mark, the organizer, directly (his email is on the site). Maybe the stopped using the online form?

    Also, we will be at Tubman 10-12 this Saturday if you want to come by and meet an organizer. (They might even put you to work reading with a 3rd or 4th grader!) As I said, they are starting with this literacy program but also want to expand to new ways of supporting the school that will strengthen it in the long-term. I think the idea is that you can improve a neighborhood as a whole for all residents by rallying around the area schools.

  • Anonymous
  • Stoney Danza

    Don’t you people work???

  • Anonymous

    While there are definitely members of our DC society who could care less about DC and its less fortunate residents, the WPost article strikes me as opportunistic and not really journalism. And I agree – “the Post stopped being DC’s newspaper a long time ago”

  • voiceofreason

    Thanks UT, I’ll get on it.

  • Skeletor

    Hey, the latté post was BS. Who cares? The dinosaurs at WaPo are threatened enough by little old PoP that they have to take cheap shots. You are witness to an industry in its death-throws. It is a real shame objective news coverage is too expensive to be commercially viable, and thus they must fill it with cheap op ed crap.

  • Jon

    Anyone know how what “In the Streets” is? Hard to Google something with a name like that.

  • Anonymous

    … its nice to see that the mature response to unfavorable press is still going strong (I’ll just post a public shaming). Grow up and develop some thicker skin … the lot of you. This wasn’t about PoP or this blog, per se. It was about a lame self absorbed CH whiner. PoP just happened to chose to post about it. When PoP stops posting such unnecessary fluff, there won’t be any ammunition for stupid columns to pull from.

  • Par&Park

    How do people know if I am a rich, self-centered yuppie? Is it because I’m white? When we see generalizations on here about stupid hipsters and yuppies, do we really mean white people? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d like to know how you know whether I am unusually self-centered or what my checking account looks like. I think the answer might be that you judge me based on my skin color and clothing. Am I right?

    I also wish I had the power to divine others’ motives simply by looking at them. My god, there is an awful lot of stereotyping going on here. We construct straw men out of each other, present our neighbors as one-dimensional caricatures, and then self-righteously vent at the straw man until we feel satisfied that we’ve knocked it down and jumped up and down and stomped on it. Get over yourselves.

  • Anonymous

    Asking for good customer service = Self-absorbed whiner. Brilliant!

  • oboe

    I overheard some of my black working-class neighbors whining self-absorbedly about the Redskins performance last Sunday… This on the very *day* of Oscar Fuentes funeral!

    I blame them and their self-absorption for our cities woes…

  • voiceofreason

    Par&Park. It’s pretty obvious given the rents and mortgages in CH to figure out your checking account. It’s also pretty easy to figure that out based on the businesses I see you in and what they charge for their items.

  • Kristen

    Hey PoP,
    Maybe you are just jealous of Petula because she is a full time journalist that writes for a legitimate newspaper. Maybe you are jealous of her in the same way that Dave from why.i.hate.dc is “jealous” of you because you are a full time blogger and have a strong following of kool aid drinkers.
    Please. Your post was so self righteous.

  • voiceofreason

    Oboe, I do too, along with the rest of the self absorbed in the neighborhood. It will take the ENTIRE community acting and working together to bring down violent crime.

  • BungieBoy

    Judging people by the color of their skin (ie, white = rich, self-centered, latte-drinkin’ yuppie)? Sounds like racism to me!

    oh, wait…. a black person said it about a white person? I take it back. Black people can’t be racist, right?

  • voiceofreason

    To Kristen, thanks for mentioning why.i.hate.dc I’d never heard of that blog until now and checked it out, his take on the Post article was right on the money.

  • Hurleybird

    Overall, I thought the column made a couple important points. If the reference to the PoP post was meant as a criticism of PoP or his readers, then that part is patently lame and ridiculous.

    But I read it more as simply an illustration of how some people (the latte hater, not PoP) live in a completely different world of privilege in CH, intentionally oblivious, and focused on “problems” that are objectively unimportant compared to the bigger issues facing the neighborhood. Meanwhile others right next door get shot through their apartment doors, and, shockingly, the mere presence of increasing numbers of white, privileged residents has not cured the ills that have long affected this neighborhood. (Nor will it.)

    I’ve lived in CH for 12 years, and I don’t claim to know the solutions. But I do find the attitude of *some* more recent arrivals to be pretty appalling, and certainly not helpful. On this question of attitude, I’m not so much impressed if a newcomer volunteers in a tutoring program, though that is valuable, for sure. I’m more concerned about the ones who go out of their way to avoid eye contact with all people of color when they walk down the street, or who conclude that people who hang out in front of their buildings are necessarily menacing thugs because of their race and style of dress. I’m a skinny white guy, and one of the things that’s always really impressed me about CH is how so many black and hispanic people, especially teenagers and 20-somethings, go out of their way to make eye contact, smile, greet me, generally make me feel welcome, and strike up a conversation. It’s like being in a village in small-town America, but I almost never see that from people i would identify as newcomers.

    One commenter on this site once posted a tirade on CH Forum about how he/she was horrified at the aesthetics of a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk, where a kid had just been shot in the head and killed. It was probably the most vile thing i have seen on a DC blog. S/he was bragging about having called the city to demand that the memorial be torn down, because those kids are just a bunch of thugs who are mean when s/he walked by their building, etc. I don’t doubt that they may react with offense and hostility to the attitude that s/he undoubtedly and obviously projects, but the point is, people like that commenter bring it on themselves and are destructive to this neighborhood.

    There’s nothing wrong with advocating for better quality from local businesses, but the taste of a latte ranks in a person’s mind as one of the more compelling problems currently facing the neighborhood, then in my opinion they really don’t belong here.

  • oboe

    Oboe, I do too, along with the rest of the self absorbed in the neighborhood. It will take the ENTIRE community acting and working together to bring down violent crime.

    I eagerly await the coming of the colorless, flavorless utopia of social work, gruel, and repentance that is to come. One further question: Is it okay to give or receive oral sex, or is that also off-limits until the Worker’s Paradise is imminent?

  • oboe

    I read it more as simply an illustration of how some people (the latte hater, not PoP) live in a completely different world of privilege in CH, intentionally oblivious, and focused on “problems” that are objectively unimportant compared to the bigger issues facing the neighborhood.

    Just curious: if the poster had been complaining about stanky barbeque, or, say, the quality of the fried fish at Horace and Dickies, would that also be indicative of a “completely different world of priviledge?”

    Or should we be consulting stuffwhitepeoplelike.com for verboten topics going forward?


  • a strange

    @ Par&Park- Well said, Thank you!

  • voiceofreason

    Questionable quality sarcasm will not end violent crime in CH or anywhere else.

  • voiceofreason

    Have you ever heard of anyone crafting a two plus page letter over bbq or fried fish, and then asking a local blog to publish it. Have you ever seen outrage over bbq or fried fish like we saw over the latte foam?

    I think the answer is no because most people aren’t as ridiculously self absorbed as the latte drinkers in CH.

  • Anonymous

    Why we all should have stopped reading the post a long time ago:

  • MBK

    @ Hurleybird – I agree! It always puzzles me why people purposefully avoid any and all eye contact with folks in their neighborhood. Is it so much of a bother to smile and say hello to people?

  • Take5

    A persons only responsiblity to society is to obey its laws.

  • Mike

    How about ‘C Heights’ for a nickname? Anyway… being a self-absorbed C Heights newcomer, can anyone turn me on to a good tutoring program? Maybe something involving music? Being serious, not snarky here…

  • Lee

    PoP, I think it’s fair to say that publishing the Tynan letter was a poor editorial decision. Sure, it attracted a lot of comments, but even before the Post article I (and I’m sure many others) felt that the writer’s petulant and verbose tone overshadowed his/her real complaints. There’s nothing wrong with complaining about service, or with complaining about coffee, or even with doing so on this blog, but when I read every minutia of that writer’s interaction with his/her barista, I thought he was self-absorbed too. More importantly, the letter left the door open to the kind of Amateur Anthropologists’ Hour that this blog sees more than enough of already. As far as I’m concerned, Dvorak was just taking the same drivel we hear in the comments and spreading it from a larger podium with more opportunity for harm.

    In my experience, when you start acting as if everyone you meet is equally a member of your community, regardless of their background, they act in kind, and a community forms. Communities don’t require a detailed accounting of goodwill or a whole lot of extraneous activity. But they do require something more than the tense “live and let live” that many people in this neighborhood seem to prefer. The demographic composition of Columbia Heights is going to be what it’s going to be. All the whiny comments in the world from all sides won’t change the economics. Why don’t we all just suck it up and be civil for once? I, for one, think that if the gangs didn’t feel that they could operate in the space left by cultural and socioeconomic divides, we’d actually have significantly less crime in parts of this neighborhood.

    This whole tendency to act as if we should all be counting up each others’ volunteer hours is BS. So is all the crap about “I can deduce that you are self-absorbed by the fact that you paid $4 for a latte.” The people who make comments like these above really need to get over themselves. They’re hurting our community.

  • TonyS

    new2Ch 12:31 — right on the money. Stole the words right out of my mouth.

    Kristen 2:40 — go away.

  • voiceofreason

    How can you NOT deduce that someone is self absorbed by paying $4 for a latte?

  • oboe

    Have you ever seen outrage over bbq or fried fish like we saw over the latte foam?

    You don’t know many BBQ obsessives, do you?

    The bottom line is, you appear to have a knee-jerk revulsion to “yuppie scum” which comes from the exact same place as the sense that unreconstructed racists have towards non-white cultures. And it’s a very unsavory place indeed…

    This whole tendency to act as if we should all be counting up each others’ volunteer hours is BS. So is all the crap about “I can deduce that you are self-absorbed by the fact that you paid $4 for a latte.” The people who make comments like these above really need to get over themselves. They’re hurting our community.


  • Anonymous

    VOR @ 3:07, I call bullshit. Two page letter? No. Hour-long 6-way maintenance room conversation about H&D’s fish? Yes. More than once. How long have you been living here, again? Personally, I’d never want to be in the position of betting against the self-absorbsion of any particular socioeconomic class, but you go ahead and keep deifying your mostly fictional underclass of “noble poor.” It makes for good blog traffic, if little else.

  • voiceofreason

    I don’t think the poor are noble. Far from it. But I do think the rich are the opposite of noble.

  • Eric in Ledroit

    @ Hurleybird – totally agree with this:

    I’m a skinny white guy, and one of the things that’s always really impressed me about CH is how so many black and hispanic people, especially teenagers and 20-somethings, go out of their way to make eye contact, smile, greet me, generally make me feel welcome, and strike up a conversation. It’s like being in a village in small-town America, but I almost never see that from people i would identify as newcomers.

    I agree with this 100% about Ledroit Park. I have grown used to greeting everyone I walk past, typically when I do this to obvious newcomers walking their dogs they avoid eye contact, when I do this to people I recognize having lived here for years (I have lived here 7 years or so) they always greet me, sometimes emphatically. I have never experienced this anywhere else I have lived. In Bethesda the correct approach is apparently to pretend other people are not there and avert your eyes.

  • I say hello, now.

    Eric, right, but just to be fair — how long have you been here? Did you smile and greet everyone you passed from the minute you set foot in DC? I’m not saying its right for new-to-the-city people to be averting their eyes from each other on the street, but you have to build up a certain comfort with the city, the neighborhood, the block. When I first moved to DC I kept my head down, too. Ten years later, I say hello to about everyone as I’m walking around the neighborhood. Just saying.

  • Eric in Ledroit

    yes that’s fair – i have been here 7 years and agree i did not do this at first. my point however is that I feel that the lack of friendliness from the throngs of newcomers that are in my neighborhood now puts a lot of distance between newcomers and longer term residents.

  • MBK

    @ Hurleybird and Eric in Ledroit – True in Petworth too. I smile and say hi to most folks I pass by in the street… but I don’t even bother any more with the “obvious newcomers”, because they directly avoid the interaction/eye contact. Sheesh! (and for the record, I’m white and a relative newcomer in Petworth myself)

  • I say hello, now.

    Eric, I know, and its a good point. But I really would like these newcomers to stay and become long-timers. Finding a way to get young professionals stay rather leave after 6 years is important to the future of this city. I’d hate to see them chased off for being newcomers, by other newcomers, myself included. I want more new people to come invest in the nieghborhood! Of course at the same time, as a young-ish professional, and even with crime trending down, I can’t help but wonder about Bethesda or N.VA., and what it must be like to have 98 percent socially functional neighbors, rather than 80 percent….sigh.

  • Par&Park

    @VOR: your error is in assuming that one self-righteous idiot’s ranting about a latte is representative of every white person in the neighborhood. i am a white person living in Park View who would certainly be branded by you or others a trust fund hipster based on my appearance. in truth, i make $20-something thousand, buy used clothes because they’re cheap and just as good as some hot, trendy label, and i got a good deal on rent. i like lattes but only get them once in every great while because they are expensive. if you saw me walk out of starbucks with a cup in my hand, you would draw all sorts of erroneous conclusions about me based on skin color, chuck taylors and dark-rimmed glasses. i think that’s unfair and unproductive. a little humility that you don’t know everything about everyone would do you some good. (and that goes for others on here as well)

  • voiceofreason said:
    “How can you NOT deduce that someone is self absorbed by paying $4 for a latte?”

    How self-absorbed would someone be who’s selling, or buying “artisan” or “fair trade” luxury chocolates from an online vendor? Just asking… ;)

  • voiceofreason

    I know enough.

  • hg – original poster here

    Who thought asking for decent customer service gets this much attention. Also, wow, most of you are so wrong on your assumptions. Have fun with this…
    I am not white, I am not a woman, and I am not from privileged background. I am 30 something black male who worked hard to get where I am. I supported myself since I was 17. I am a former refuge who lived in refugee camp as a teen. Now I can afford $4 latte at coffee shops when having quality time with friends and family. In the past, I have worked at a coffee shop, restaurants, computer labs, etc… All in customer service setting and I know a good customer service when I see it. I have had wonderful experiences at most of the coffee shops I visited so far (here and abroad) and I do not expect anything less from Columbia Heights. I just want good service (friendly people) with my favorite drink. I do not think that it is to much to ask, really.
    I apologize for the initial long letter, but I just did not have time to make it short; Well I actually did not even think about it that much. Besides, I wanted to communicate what happened in details… after all it is a blog and I was discussing customer service concerns, nothing else.

  • JoeEsq 74

    Most people in the US currently live or were raised among people of similar financial means, family structure, religion and heritage (race / ethnicity). Those environments are comfortable and insulated. Columbia Heights is by far the most diverse neighborhood I have ever spent any significant time in. I truly like the diversity. It has forced me to adapt in some ways but nothing life altering. Maybe people just need some additional time to learn to play together in the ‘sandbox.’ I try to remain friendly and open-minded while being safe.

  • oboe

    Could hq’s timing have possibly been better? Thanks for making my day…

  • voiceofreason

    hg, you forgot to add “self absorbed” to your description.

  • Par&Park

    @hg: thank you for that. you’re probably the least privileged person on this thread and here we had all assumed you were some skull and bones d-bag. i love it.

  • Anonymous

    VOR@ 4:31, 4:44: Spoken like a true self-absorbed, self-righteous jackass. Good day to you, sir.

  • lalalala

    Yes, the timing on hg’s post was perfect. vor: you know nothing, please just leave CH

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, but even if the latte guy had been a fictional metaphor dreamed up by the columnist, the issues invoked by the contrast she drew still stand.

  • voiceofreason

    agreed with anon at 5:01 pm, plus the background of the latte complainer doesn’t erase the fact that he went nutso over the foam on his coffee drink. as anon says, the contrast still stands.

  • i resent it that anyone should say we are a community of shallow, self-absorbed yuppies, buppies, and gang members. true, one type kvetches about the coffee, another shoots a little kid through his front door to make his big, manly point, and still others sit back and go tsk tsk. that’s not the whole story, though. some people are working hard to make a difference.

  • inmtpl

    christ! all mighty, yuppies hipsters nimbys hippies buppies ect. ect. where are the fun loving !!PRANKSTERS!! when we need them?? please come to CofingHi and make merry .

  • intractable

    No, VoR, we are not all to blame for the death of Oscar Fuentes, or Rufina Hernandez. The thugs who prey on immigrants because they carry cash are to blame. The landlord who didn’t fix the door is to blame. The two axxholes who robbed La Casa Morata are to blame. The neighbors who abide by the code of “Stop Snitching” are to blame.

    Again, you blame the victims of crime — which includes not only those murdered and robbed, but all of us who live in DC and want to make it better — when you should just blame the perps.

    Other than that, about there being two worlds existing side-by-side in CH, you’re right. For once.

  • Neener

    VoiceofReason, accept that you’re wrong and move on. Your circular rationalization borders on mental illness.

  • Mr Tea

    Mr. T – You are obsessed with high-end chocolate shops. Seriously. Putting smiley faces in all your posts doesn’t mean you aren’t a douchebag.

  • victoria

    Sorry VOR and everybody else, I did very little today to prevent future crimes from being committed.

    My mind is stuck contemplating the dichotomy of nobility – the place between those who are not noble and those who are are the opposite of noble.

    And my real confession – I don’t actually know exactly what a latte is – just a foamless cappuccino?

    But mostly now deliciously awaiting a re-write of Dvorak’s original (dull, trite and lazy) piece.

    “The latte complainer, a 30 something black male immigrant, a former refuge who lived in refugee camp as a teen, supported himself since he was 17, with a variety of service positions, including a job at a coffee shop, and has allegedly never murdered anyone.”

  • New2CH

    This may be the best epilogue to a stupid discussion ever: VOR, the white, johnny-come late, holier-than-thou, preachy, insufferable, know-it-all, humorless, aspiring high-end chocolatier attorney, perhaps the single most self-absorbed and self-important poster (note I said poster, not person, although in this case, hard to believe the thousands of posts are not indicative of the person) in the history of this or any other blog I’ve read, proclaiming from on high that a former refugee who he doesn’t even know is self-absorbed. Fantastic.

    In the meantime, I look forward to a another nice weekend in CH, surrounded by people, the vast majority of whom, new and old residents alike, are friendly, neighborly, fun-loving, hard-working folks, notwithstanding our occasional desire to indulge a frivolous taste (and I don’t even LIKE coffee and could give a damn about lattes, but I have plenty of equally or even more frivolous pastimes, and I make no apologies for them, nor should anyway else who decides to splurge with their hard-earned money on — gasp — a four buck cup of coffee or a seven dollar glass of wine. God forbid …). I REALLY wish the neighborhood marxist patrol could drop by VOR’s house to check for frivolous items bought with money that could have instead been donated to those less fortunate. But I guess only people who drink coffee or wine are subject to that type of scrutiny.

    The sad thing is, of COURSE there are serious urban problems in CH, duh, you’d have to blind not to see them or heartless not to care. But articles like the WaPo article or posters like VOR and his ilk, rather than focusing on the root cause and potential solutions for those problems, rather than a serious, in depth analysis, only distract by trying to be too clever by half / alienating the very people in a position to potentially help / inspiring division rather than building community / scapegoating / trying to ignite a race or class war / just generally being insanely dumb and annoyingly self-important. The day I see VOR stop wasting his time doing nothing but alienate and berate good people like, I don’t know, REFUGEES WHO SPEND A LITTLE POCKET MONEY ON COFFEE, and uses that time to, I don’t know, actually help someone in the community instead, is the day I might start to listen. Personally, I follow those who lead via example, not via sanctimony.

  • Looy

    >>And the latte guy deserves all the derision he gets. And if he wants to make a federal case of it, I know where he can find a good barrister. Barista?

  • Looy

    “And the latte guy deserves all the derision he gets. And if he wants to make a federal case of it, I know where he can find a good barrister.”

    Irving, is that a pun???? Barrister> Barista?

  • Constermash

    This the FIRST place I come to for news in the neighborhood pertaining to local crime and community concerns. The WaPost and other local news channels lag behind and the perspective is from afar.

    I would respect the writer more of she lived here and actually took the time to talk to the wider community. Yes CH has its problems and conflicting values/priorities but I have never lived in such a community oriented neighborhood in my life. Props to everyone who is trying to make CH and the area a better place. Hipsters and homeless, minorities and yuppies – it’s what CH is and the tensions are real as in most urban centers. But its what we do with them that matters.

  • cavexin

    Have to agree with quincycyclist comment way up there. i think people are completely missing the article’s point about highlighting the contrast in residents’ lives and backgrounds in columbia heights. How a few hundred feet can make a difference between life and death, poverty and 4$ lattes (for the record i regularly enjoy $4 lattes). Yes not the best written article, but quoting from PoP was just illustrative of the different constituencies represented in the neighborhood and not some sort of direct attack on PoP in order to paint you or anyone else as a heartless person who doesn’t care about the terrible murder.

    And to all those folks jumping to PoP’s defense both in the Post comment section and the why.i.hate.dc blog – you really think he gives a wide-ranging and nuanced view of neighborhood living and racism and crime and gentrification? Puh-leeze!!! I enjoy coming to PoP daily for the GDON posts and other news on new businesses etc, but this blog and most its posters sure as hell aren’t proactive and educated front-runners on the much-needed discussion about all the ups and downs of development, urban renewal etc and all the socio-economic baggage that goes with it. I don’t come to, nor expect, PoP to fulfill that role and would hope that others don’t either.

  • cavexin

    just to clarify when i meant i don’t come here for meaningful and nuanced crime discussion, i meant for talking about the root-causes, possible solutions etc…. for just actual news-items, this blog is a great resource.

  • I think that PoP and many others are being way too defensive about this author’s opinion. I just read the article in question and I have to say that I did not find it to be offensive or misleading. She makes the exact point that has been the focus of countless threads in this Listserv – adding upscale stores and restaurants is not necessarily making CH any safer. I find it odd that so many are so much more defensive about this point when it comes from outside the community. I guess it’s like someone who criticizes their family to no end but gets offended when someone else offers the same criticisms.


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