Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ward 8: A non motherf*cking factor

Aaron Wiener of the WCP's Housing Complex just wrote a very informative piece on the explosion of new grocery stores west of the river in neighborhoods like H Street NE and Capital Riverfront.

Did you know there are financial incentives for grocery stories to open stores in "underserved" areas? It makes me wonder, you can't get much more "underserved" than Ward 8. We have only ONE major grocery store (Giant on Alabama Avenue) in a ward of over 70,000+ residents. Ward 8 only has THREE sit-down restaurants for 70,000+ residents. If that isn't a food desert I don't know what is. That being said, why are we again being left out in the cold when it comes to the most basic of needs? Do you know where I shop for groceries? West of the river, at the Safeway at the Waterfront. I drive over the bridge everytime I need something as basic as toilet paper or dog food.

In theory, the incentives are out there -- they just don't seem to be aimed at us.  There seems to be so many incentives out there in "disadvantaged" neighborhoods west of the river now considered "hot" or "trendy" (and with the high incomes deemed grocery/restaurant/retail/entertainment worthy) that those "up and coming" neighborhoods get more while our east of the river neighborhoods continue to get nothing. Correction, we get more of the same: group homes, transitional housing facilities, homeless shelters. The very things that are used to justify why we allegedly can't support basic amneties such as grocery stores and retail in the first place but need more things like transitional facilities. We always seem to be in desperate need of more table and chairs in an empty restaurant -- why can't we ever get some food for that restaurant?!

Ward 8 and east of the river in general is such a "non motherf*cking factor" when it comes to DC's revitalization efforts we might as well not even exist. If we mattered -- in some meaningful way -- our neighborhoods would be first on the list for these most basic amneties, our needs would be prioritized, and these tax incentives would be directed where they would do the most good -- to a section of the city with the highest unemployment, the lowest number of jobs, and a literal sprinkling of food options. Economically speaking there are two District of Columbia's -- over here and over there and clearly never shall the two meet.

Now if DC is supposed to be "One City" and all 13 of our Councilmembers have a commitment to to the health and the hope of all 8 quadrants why can't they get together and pass some legislation that would put Wards 7 and 8 at the top of the line for once? Even for a little while? Just until the gulf isn't so wide?

To pull another Basketball Wives quote, "you ain't about this life."

Go HERE to read the full article by Aaron Wiener.

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