Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guest Post: Time for a New Ward 8

By Anonymous

After another weekend of trash cleanup behind my fellow Anacostans, I have to say that some are simply too trashy, have no regard for public appearance, and simply purchase, eat, and dispose on the spot. I have seen everything from tires, to bicycles to items too unsanitary to mention. It's never "everybody," but it is certainly "somebody." After a year on the Historic side, observing, cleaning, contacting authorities, attending meetings, seeing outcomes, etc., it seems the community is on one page, yet elected officials and decision-makers are on another. How are we defining progress? Believe it or not, for some, more social services is progress. For others, it is more of the same.

My issue borders on the behavioral. Dirty is just plain dirty. Foul language is just plain foul language. A negative outlook and blaming society, is simply a negative outlook that continues to blame society. It seems, some prefer to keep it this way. I think we need better council representaiton. I don't hate Barry, but after years and years and years of representing Ward 8, I think we need somebody who can interact with other council members in a more progressive way. We need new blood, new ideas, and simply new waysof doing things. Other wards have issues too, and our council is just plain jacked up. DC politics is a joke in my opinion and elected officials undermine their effectiveness by creating an atmospehere of mistrust over a series of missteps, financial and otherwise. Good luck pushing statehood...

I respect all individuals, but things were moving under Fenty and at least he was decisive. Under Gray, we've had nothing but scandals and issues surrounding his vetting process. With the drama, what is he really accomplishing? Will he take a stand on the11th st bridge project? Can he help produce the 1.5 million to install streetcar tracks so that we avoid a disastrous short-term decision? It's hard to keep any progressive momentum going in DC. 4 years is not enough time to let initiatives play out, when you take transition into account. Throw in a couple of scandals, and we have "Amateur Night at the Apollo". You have to impress quickly....or out comes the sandman.

I think residents personalize things too much in this city, at the expense of looking at things objectively. In Ward 8, the uneducated simply outnumber the educated. Not that education is everything, but politicians play residents. People in a neglected part of town come out against the very transportation initiaitives that are designed to increase access to points west. How smart is that? I don't think anybody will open businesses, thereby increasing jobs in an area inundated with too many social services, resulting in people out on the street. Like I'm really going to take my wife and kids to a sit-down restaurant in that type of environment? Despite being walkable, we NEVER walk to the library. It's not just about the access. It's also about the experience. Walkability is not just about distance. People with families don't want their kids constantly seeing liquor stores and laundromats and people out doing nothing, standing around, wasting time, when we need workers to compete in a global environment. Local security impacts national security....

Lastly, I am all for neighborhood meetings and participation. I consider it a civic duty. However, it seems various "officials" and business leaders show up, produce great looking renderings, listen to the community, and hear great ideas, but to no avail. If the people who care enough to show up, who actually own property, pay taxes, clean up where the city doesn't, etc. are voicing one direction, why does it always seem that decisions are being made against the wishes of those who are actually investing the time, energy and resources? Why are secret deals going down resulting in more social services on Good Hope Road? Why do we get Save-A-Lot, when we clearly said we wanted something of higher quality. We already have Safeway and Giant in ward 8. Why are these decisions kept secret, where we find out about them afterwards. For all the meetings we have, Ward 8 is not a very transparent place....

What this says to me is that people aren't taking us seriously. When I say "us" I mean the people who are trying to make a positive difference in improving our community, regardless of socio-economic or educational status. There should be one Ward 8. In reality, this means doing things differently. I am not a Barry hater, but I am a realist. I just think political officials higher up - and on the council - in that environment, will never really take Ward 8 seriously, until we elect somebody to represent us on the council who brings a more progressive approach. It's a new day in the economy, the country and the city, and it's time for Ward 8 to catch up. Otherwise, we will continue to be the land of the lost in a city where the other wards are embracing progress. We have to move away from this divide and conquer community set-up. For example, I live in historic Anacostia, but most forces against Ward 8 tend to group our neighborhoods together. Therefore, I believe Ward 8 has to take a more collective and unified approach on common initiatives and challenges in order to affect the type of change that is needed.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free..."

This post was originally sent by an Anacostia resident as an email to the Historic Anacostia Google Group mailing list. To request inclusion into the Google Group, follow the instructions on the Google Group page.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I agree 100%.

The Advoc8te said...

I just linked to this post from my blog.

newresident said...

I say --OCCUPY WARD 8! Instead of galvanizing for statehood, Ward 8 residents must initiate a movement to Occupy Ward 8! Our message would be crystal clear: Time for new leadership, direction, and vision. I'm ready to occupy; are you ready?

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for posting. We need somewhat of an awakening over here to get the type of change needed. Ultimately, a unified Ward 8 will get much more accomplished, versus individual communities. Although change can start at the community level. Our ANCs need to get it going!

SCBrown said...

I may be blasted, however, I've got to ask why be "anonymous?" One of the reasons change doesn't happen is because the status quo counts on us to be anonymous--talk a lot but then hide our hands. One of the things weighed when running for office is visibility of the public you want to represent. What's more powerful "Anonymous said..." or "Ms. Smith said..."? When the rubber meets the road will anonymous be there?

Linnie-Me said...

here! here!

AnacostiaYogi said...

Yes, it would be nice to come out of the class closet and own your privilege. It is much better for an open and honest dialogue. But it is still too risky for some who are attacked for wanting to live in a nice neighborhood, regardless of race.

More people need to stop hiding behind the comp, attend critical meetings and campaign for candidates that we believe in. Going to the voting booth is not enough. In order for sweeping improvements, you need a groundswell that reflects organized thought.

W7C said...

I can agree with the poster of the article. Much of what is stated is going on in many of the EoR communities. Yet, I also agree with the respondents of the post as well. Change must happen, but if you are not willing to at least partake or participate in the change then it is pointless. With that being said, what is needed is awareness-for people to be aware in the community. People perish, or at least stay stagnant with lack of knowledge. Only in many of our communities is it acceptable to carry the non-chalant attidudes towards businesses and services that really to not fully or positively serve the community. Only in our communities is it acceptable for our streets to be litter lined and were residents would have to call to schedule street cleanup services-yet would have to wait almost a month for anything to be done in regards to the services requested by a department of the government who we pay taxes to. Change must come, but before it is to come the renewing of the mindsets of the residents who live in these communities must change for the better first. I've lived on both sides of the fence, so I know what I'm talking about when I see, what I see on the daily.

Ruthcarol said...

Perhaps your sentiment about our Ward is right on but I have to say the Anonymous authorship is really off putting. Take the blame/praise for your writing.

East River Heights Community said...

AMEN. And the same goes for downtown Ward 7. Ugh. How difficult is it to put something in the trash?! Often I have to pick up a potato chip bag or something from around my walk way. It used to be bad, but it's gotten a lot better. It is too difficult to dump it in your trash when you go home? What are people raising for kids? Who tells their child it's ok to dump some trash in your own neighborhood? Who lives like that? UGH.

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous. What difference does it make, whether I post anonymously or "open" in this age of social media with so many people, including employers, having access to everything? Too many people want to focus on the messenger, versus the merits of the message. What's important is that the communication is happening. People have various reasons for posting anonymously...

Anonymous said...

The rubber met the road a long time ago, and present day Ward 8 isn't winning. I think future Ward 8 will be a winner. "Anonymous" is here, while "it" is currently going down and thus the "Guest Post". The best teachers in the best schools can't teach unruly kids facing multiple challenges. Don't believe the hype. That's why the better teachers won't be found in Ward 8, despite the biggest need being here.

AC said...

I agree 110% with the message...who cares if the poster was anonymous...focus on what matters most.

girl mischief said...

Fantastic article! As a recent Ward 8 resident and a Washingtonian, I applaud your honesty. Thank you!

E said...

I have read through the primary observation of the ward and the many negations and proponents for the message. I am on the outside looking in and must admit there is validity in the posting created by anonymous. However I get a very bad vibe that those of you that are most educated and/or sensible enough to post the things that matter via the internet are quarrelling and not taking these opinions to those who need to hear the messages the most. I feel that there is a divide amongst residents. There are mixed messages and mindsets. In order to get on the same page, we need to define community and understand that at some point in our histories the entities that made a community counted for something. I plan to start on the streets. I would like to clean up the neighborhoods; literally. How can we become organized if we are unorganized?