Everything Changes

But What Do We Have To Say In That Change?

So it’s Thanksgiving. Per our custom, we throw open the doors for orphans who don’t have a place to go, or just can’t get there. We, as the archetypal orphans understand, never turn anyone away…and never question who is at our table. It’s always a good combination.

Our friend M comes; he’s a l0ng time resident nearby; one who, like some of us, have seen this neighborhood through its ups and downs. He’s a smart guy.

We’re in the kitchen, scrambling over the bird and the stuff that will become, ultimately, gravy. Which gives us time to talk.

“So, did you hear that ‘Matchbox’ is coming?” he asks.

Yes, in fact, we have. Months ago. In face we’ve been debating their hours, alcohol permits and other restrictions in a development that still is not in any way set.

Argument breaks out. Our friend, “M”, says “I like Matchbox! Don’t you like it?”  I respond, turkey tongs in hand, “What I don’t like is that I dont’ have any say about what goes on my block.”

“Oh, you’re a NIMBY,” he says, smug in his label. I withhold, knowing that there are soooo many labels I could apply to him, or to anyone else, but choose not to. Rather, we have a festive Thanksgiving meal.

ANC Stepping Forward

“M” brings up a question. “Hey, I only live a few blocks from here, don’t I have a say?” he asks.

M lives 3 blocks from the new Matchbox development. We’re less than 1 block.

Parking, development; these are not abstruse discussions. People spend a lot of time thinking about this. Especially those who get paid for it.

But let’s just take M’s idea for a moment. “Don’t I have a say in what happens here?” he asks. This is beyond all the ‘You hate Matchbox’ and assorted phony make-believe digestives that passes for argument. So, who should have a say, I ask.

And who?

Should someone in Harrisburg Pennsylvania have a say about what buildings we put up? Really? Of course not. (Anyone who says yes, just leave now and go back to your Cheetos.)  Should someone in Bethesda, or Arlington – much closer – have a say? Still, most everyone would say no.

And what are they invoking? Self-control? State Boundary? Blah blah blah…we all recognize that, unless there is something national at stake, each jurisdiction should have the right to determine it’s future. So…let’s take the next step:

DC Moving Forward

So the District government is involved in all kinds of development options: some at its behest, some a partnership, some very much private.

So. I’m living in Ward 8, at U and 14th SE. Should I have a say about a development at U and 14th NW? Mnnn, perhaps. How much DC government money is involved? How many tax breaks? I should be able to raise concern, but still…nobody would raise objections one for the other about development.

So how far does the circle go? We’ve already established those from out of state have no voice. Those within our state have limited voice. Thus the measure is clear: the closer you are to the development, the greater voice you have in its completion.

“Oh Noes!” the condo crowd cries.  And yet, yes, it’s true. Anyone with a brain will recognize: the closer you live to a development, the more say you have in its completion.

Unless, of course, developers want everyone in DC to have an equal voice in all development.

And that…I promise…is not something any developer wants. Really? You want comfy established Foxhall making decisions on H Street?  Really?

Here’s the point. The closer you live to a development, the louder your voice in determining if it happens. Otherwise, we all get to jump into everyone else’s business…and that’s not going to end pretty.


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