Southwest Voice Editor Testified Before DC Tax Commission on November 6, 2023
Editor Forwards DC Council Evidence-Based Data from Education Literature
The District has struggled with proper planning and data-driven analysis, as we discussed in a prior issue. Education is no different. Prompted by a Council bill on addressing the needs and low performance of DC's bottom 5% of schools, the Southwest Voice editor-in-chief encouraged the District to build solutions based on evidence and the literature.
I strongly encourage a more meaningful bill than the one proposed by Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Parker to address deep educational gaps. To advance educational reform, a broader scope and evidence-based practice are needed. Here are resources from the education literature. The articles can be downloaded using the following Dropbox link.
Editor-in-chief, Southwest Voice
Special Report: Census Tracts with >70 Black Population Carry Higher Disease Burden, Reflecting Apartheid Adjacency
For 30 Years, DC Failed to Follow Law on Publishing Election Results in DC Register
Deep Racial Spatial Inequality in Four Graphs by Census Tracts in DC
Data obtained from five-year estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016-2020 American Community Survey (Policy Map) show stark racial difference in household median income. Census tracts (n=83) with majority white populations are on average $18,700 above the median citywide household income of $93,500 (Table 1). Census tracts (n=81) with majority black populations are on average $10,000 below the median citywide household income, excluding two outliers (Table 2). Census tract with no distinct majority (n=38) are on average $21,000 above the median citywide household income, excluding two outliers (Table 3). Table 2 illustrates the household median income for all 202 Census tracts with available data (Table 4).
Requesting Oversight of DC's "Smart City" Programs
Only One Conclusion: DC Resembles Apartheid
The totality of persistent racial inequalities in the District of Columbia leads only to a single, logical conclusion — the District is an apartheid-adjacent city. While it lacks a system of institutionalized racial segregation, the effects are highly similar. Vast racial disparities persist in nearly every facet of life in the nation's capital. This paper has struggled since its first issue in 2019 to explain the root causes. It had assumed that contemporary sources of structural racism were the result of a handful of bad actors - errant government agencies, elected officials, and private interest groups. As with our last issue, we often blamed the DC Housing Authority. Our conclusions were not wrong, only short-sighted. Racial disparities across education, health, income, and opportunity are not only interrelated, but comprise a whole system and ideology that are adjacent to apartheid. Apathy, inaction, racial prejudice, and a high tolerance for structural racism define the District's contemporary character.
Housing Code Violations and Change in Black Populations in Census Tract
Three District wards show associations between housing code violations and decline in the percentage of non-Hispanic Blacks. Wards 2 (-11%), 5 (-8%), and 6 (-9.5%) showed that, on average, properties with violations were in Census tracts that declined in the percent of the Black populations between 2012-2016 and 2017-2021.
Analysis is limited due to recent ward redistricting and lack of ward boundaries in mapping platforms. However, these data might suggest that there are particular dynamics associated with housing code violations in the District's most gentrifying areas. Southwest Voice recently conducted an analysis which found that the Southwest neighborhood has a concentration of HUD-assisted properties that declined in HUD inspection score by 18 points or more.
The District lacks comprehensive planning to understand how District-directed massive redevelopments are destabilizing affordable housing and eroding housing quality in highly gentrifying neighborhoods. For more than a decade, it has failed to conduct impact and environmental assessments, as required by law. Surrounded by two national league stadiums and a regional entertainment venue with the Wharf, Southwest is highly susceptible. We speculate that rising property values are placing immense pressure on owners and investors of affordable housing properties. A portion of funds that would otherwise go to upkeep and repair are now redirected to paying property taxes. In addition, some Southwest privately-owned affordable housing is subjected to additional BID taxes. Compounding this issue, many properties require massive capital investments to extend the life or replace equipment such as elevators and boilers. The District shares responsibility for the financial decisions that force owners to sell, to exit, and to contribute to housing code violations.
Public housing in Southwest has experienced considerable underinvestment, prompting direct city funding for repairs. Ghettoization associated with gun violence and lax security was the basis of litigation by the Office of Attorney General, which forced security upgrades at James Creek and Syphax Gardens. A representative from OAG explained to Southwest Voice a couple of years ago that Greenleaf was not included in this settlement because DCHA said that Greenleaf redevelopment was imminent. Greenleaf residents continue to be subjected to gun violence.
Three wards showed no meaningful change (<1%) in the Black population percentage in this period - Wards 4, 7, and 8. Wards 7 and 8 both have the highest number of owners with outstanding violations and remaining violations. Unlike Wards 2, 5, and 6, violations in Wards 7 and 8 are likely a more historical issue due to its longstanding poverty concentration and neglect by the District. During the District's current gentrification and economic restructuring, Ward 8 is seeing increased poverty concentration.
Southwest Voice analyzed a public dataset containing all of the housing code violations that included the owner's name, property address, wards, and the number of inspections with violations and remaining violations. The data were geocoded in PolicyMap for 5,326 separate inspections. Prior to conducting analysis, we created a table to ensure non-duplicates in the list of owners. The number of remaining violations were summed for each owner and ward. The percent change in the number of non-Hispanic Black or African Americans relied on a variable in PolicyMap for the periods of 2012-2016 and 2017-2021 at the level of the Census tract. The average Black population change was calculated for each owner across all inspections.
The District Turned Southwest into a Perpetual Construction Zone, Residents Met with Harms and Hazards
The District has turned the Southwest-Waterfront neighborhood into a perpetual construction zone associated with noise and air pollution. Safety conditions for bikers and pedestrians are compromised with changing road signs and eliminated bike lanes. - Southwest Voice DC https://www.southwestvoicedc.com/ | Video taken on August 7, 2023
Southwest DC Sees Concentration of Declining Building Conditions Based on HUD Physical Inspection Scores
For Immediate Release
August 6, 2023
Mow the Lawn: Compounding Indignities in Public Housing
August 4, 2023
Dear DCHA Officials,
August 4, 2023
Dear DCHA Officials,
Southwest Voice Editor Puts Question on DC-directed Structural Racism to DC Mayor in Press Conference on New Police Chief
Southwest Voice Editor Implores DC Council to Repair Harm to Public Housing Residents
Southwest Voice Editor Denied Delivering Live Testimony Against Reparations Bill
Reparations to Every US Descendant of Slavery?
I am testifying on Thursday to oppose DC's reparations bill. My personal perspective is that it makes so little sense for the District to move on this at this time when it has been responsible for strengthening structural racism and the legacy of slavery. Instead reparations should be directed at the contemporary populations for which the District does share responsibility for their harm and abridgement of constitutional and civil rights. For starters, here are some populations deserving of reparations.
Rethinking Race and Black History Month
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Chairman Phil Mendelson, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and two US Senators in a press conference on January 24 to discuss a bill to grant District statehood. The mood of an otherwise choreographed and celebratory event suddenly shifted when this paper directed a question to U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), "The District has some of the worst racial health and economic disparities. A 2020 study showed that (the racial difference in) life expectancy in the US is shrinking but is growing in the District. The income inequality by race is now $100,000. Is this the type of government that we can expect under statehood?"
Remembering SW's role in Supporting Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy
A group of 300 residents from Southwest marched to the US Senate on June 3, 1964 to encourage passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 according to the Washington Post. Black and White residents from River Park, Greenleaf, Capitol Park Apartments (now Potomac Place), Capitol Park Towers, Capitol Park condos, and properties in Southwest Towncenter. "March coordinator Shirley Lockwood told [Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin] the group acted so a neighborhood with no great social problems because of Negro and white living side by side may stimulate and encourage other communities less open to change to accept every man as an individual regardless of his race." The group was also received by former SW resident and Vice President Hubert Humphrey who was US Senator at the time.
Prison Color Used as Psychological Weapon
I recently visited friends in Greenleaf Family Midrise Apartments. It was an otherwise uneventful start. I signed in with security and took the elevator. With my bike in tow, I stepped off the elevators. To my shock and horror, the recent renovations in Greenleaf had taken a turn for the worse. The distinct blue color used in prisons confronted me. The doors and trim were all painted in the same color as in the stock image of a prison above. Each door had a foot-wide blue area on the left that ran the length of the door.
This was "psychological," noted someone in the hallway. "Intentional," exclaimed another. This shade of cobalt blue is used for institutions, often associated with law and order and places with institutionalized populations. "I don't live in a prison, but they sure painted it to make me look like I live in one," said Patricia Bishop, President of Greenleaf Family Midrise Apartments. "When I do a walk-through with the newly elected (DCHA) Board, I will request a more positive color to represent Greenleaf." DCHA's color choice is intended to convey authority and control. It appears on the outside doors of the Metropolitan Police Department First District building on M Street, just across the street from Greenleaf.
DC Should Become Bicameral, ANCs to Become DC House of Representatives
Former DC Mayor and Ward 7 Councilor Vincent Gray's public anger with Chairman Phil Mendelson's committee reorganization plan highlights a more serious issue with governance in the District. According to the Post, Mendelson claimed that Gray's health "interfered with (Gray's) capacity to manage the Health Committee’s robust workload." Gray contends that use of his health status following a stroke inaccurately and unlawfully mischaracterizes his capacity. Mendelson's concern about the demands of the committee "workload" reflects the acute crisis in Council governance. There is insufficient oversight of the Executive because the District has too few elected officials in its legislative body. As the Gray-Mendelson drama illustrates, the personal health challenges of a single Council member can expose major cracks in an already broken system. The situation is at crisis level with Mendelson declaring in an August 2022 tweet that, "This also speaks to a wider problem of the Executive not following the law." Mendelson diagnosed only part of the problem.
Southwest Coalition Calls on Council to Vote "No" on DCHA Bill 24-1144
DC Office of Health Equity Succumbs to Gentrification Forces, Report Lacks Analysis
The DC Council voted to approve the Congress Heights Small Area Plan in mid-November. The legislation received unanimous approval from all 12 members of Council present for voting. Situated in the District's most socially and economically vulnerable Ward, the effects of intense redevelopment will be felt throughout Ward 8 for generations and well beyond the technical boundaries of the study area. The Plan focuses on the area bounded by St. Elizabeths and Suitland Parkway, Stanton Road SE, Oxon Run Parkway SE, and I - 295. Intended to be "implemented through private redevelopment and public investment," the Plan makes an alarming admission — the District seeks to push the gentrification wave eastward through land use decisions and public subsidy.
DC's Racial Equity Plan Seeks Slow Pace of Change, Overlooks Deep Social Inequity
ga gaThe District recently released its proposed Racial Equity Action Plan to the public. Open for public comment until January 2, the 44-page document can appear to reassure residents that the District is preparing for a course-correction. Except it is not. Positioning its challenge of "undoing hundreds of years of discrimination" is disingenuous and deflecting blame. Leveling the playing field has been within the District's locus of control since Home Rule, even more so after the end of the Control Board when its coffers swelled. The District's tax revenue per capita from 2002-2019 increased by $6,500 - a rate of growth more than any US state. Yet, Southwest Voice's own research has shown that one-third of neighborhoods in Washington, DC saw a decline in Black median household income from 2010-2019 when the economy went from recession to expansion. Black median household income in DC of $42,000 is less than a third of the whites' at $134,000 - part of a national trend revealing no progress in reducing racial income and wealth inequalities between blacks and whites over the past 70 years. Black-white life expectancy gap by gender is 12 and 17 years, respectively for women and men, even greater in low-income neighborhoods like Anacostia. Despite consistent literature on vast racial gaps in life expectancy and health outcomes, the District has no coherent public policy approach. The plan fails to respond to the people's mandate for racial reform and anticipates no change in the systems of power that perpetuate modern-day structural oppression and racism
ANC6D Discriminating Against Seniors, Low-Income, Racial Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC6D) for Southwest does not allow any member of the public to testify live at ANC6D meetings unless they provide a written testimony and topic for discussion at least 48 hours in advance. This policy, which has been in place since the mayor declared a Covid-19-related public health emergency, is discriminatory against seniors, low-income residents, racial minorities, and persons with disabilities. "They are violating the American Disabilities Act," said Patricia Bishop, President of Greenleaf Midrise and a senior with disabilities. It is this paper's position that the ANC6D needs re-training and a change in policy.
SW DC Residents Lead New Public Health Movement
Southwest DC residents recently announced the publication of their white paper, "Public Health Liberation – An Emerging Transdiscipline to Elucidate and Transform the Public Health Economy". ANC6D Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton, Greenleaf Midrise President Patricia Bishop, Greenleaf Gardens President Dena Walker, and Southwest Voice Editor-in-Chief Chris Williams developed a sweeping 21-page radical reconceptualization of public health, along with an international group of diverse authors from the US, Canada, and Uganda.
How Ethical and Transparent is the Community Land Trust Discussion in SW?
"Last Friday, June 3rd, SW Action held a rally at 4th & M Streets SW to advocate for the parcels, located at 425 and 375 M Street, to be purchased by the DC government and transferred to the Douglass Community Land Trust. "
This is the opening line to a press release from SW Action in June of this year announcing that it had held a rally urging the District to not only buy privately owned land at 4th and M St SW, but also to subsequently transfer ownership to another private entity — the Douglass Community Land Trust. The audacity of the request struck this paper as unethical and highly questionable, as we will discuss.
Discriminatory Practice & Community Center: Request to ANC for Denial of Contract to Operate
The Southwest Voice Editorial Board unanimously adopted a resolution respectfully requesting that the Advisory Neighborhood Commission ANC6D deny authorization to the Board of Southwest DC Community Center (SWDCC) to operate the proposed community center at 4th and M St SW. The SWDCC Board is not representative of Southwest racially or by income. We are dissatisfied with the composition of the Board and its lack of community outreach and tabling in our communities containing low-income households and Black residents.
DC Elections Raise Questions
Southwest Voice recently called for the District of Columbia to generate a semi-annual report on voter turnout rates by race. That article was positively received and widely circulated. In a follow-up, this paper seeks to raise concerns about additional issues concerning the integrity of elections in the District. We call upon the District to immediately study these issues and satisfactorily address these concerns in the current legislative session.
SW Voice Calls Upon Attorney General to Investigate Hoffman
Editor calls upon Attorney General to immediately initiate an investigation into Hoffman and Associates based on OAG’s legal authority under protecting the public interest and to enforce the disparate impact rule codified under the Department of Housing and Urban Development discrimination housing practices and intercede now to prevent Hoffman from further construction activity and building occupancy in Southwest to prevent further harm to Southwest residents, especially its Black population.
SW Voice Endorses Candidates for 2022 Election Season
Issue: SW Voice Endorsements: Robert White (DC Mayor) | Phil Mendelson (Council Chairman), Lisa Gore (at-Large), Bruce Spiva (Attorney General); Opposing Candidacy: Charles Allen (Ward 6) | The District Must Protect Black Women and Families Against Structural Violence | DC Systematically Centralizing Patient Data | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
DCHA's Structural Violence Against Black Women
Southwest Voice is calling for an end to structural violence against Black women leaders and families in public housing. DC Housing Authority's continuing policies of Black displacement and repeated harm are forms of structural racism. We urgently call on DC Council to fund legal defense funds for resident councils undergoing redevelopment. Read on for more discussion and our call to action to the Black middle class and advocacy communities to defend Black women leadership and support their fierce commitment to community.
April 2022 Issue
Issue: Remembering the Pearl Escape of 1848 | Titanic 110th Anniversary | DC Must Address Structural Racism | Local Church Sponsors Scholarship Program | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Feature Story: The Pearl Escape of 1848 - April 15th marks the 174th anniversary of the Pearl Escape - the largest known escape attempt by enslaved people in American history. It occurred at the Southwest waterfront in 1848. Until recently, the Pearl Escape had been mostly a footnote in history, except among local historians and cultural preservationists. The Pearl Group formed in 2021 to share the story with a wider audience and celebrate Southwest's rich heritage in partnership with other community groups including the Pearl Coalition. The Pearl Group has grown this year thanks to generous grant support from the Diverse City Fund. The weekend event has now become a month-long remembrance.
DC Must Address Structural Racism
The economic and health reality for African Americans in Washington, DC does not live up to the promise of equal protection or racial equality. Yet the political establishment through successive administrations and city councils continues to punt the need for addressing structural racism and inequality for at least the last 20 years. Kicking the can down the road is no longer a tenable position. As we illustrate, the lived experiences of Black DC residents are starkly different from other racial and ethnic groups. The severe health burden due to the social determinants of health remains a lingering injustice more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement. An often quoted mantra from that era, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” is as relevant today as it was then.
Betrayal: No Build First for Greenleaf
Issue: Greenleaf Betrayed | Public Statement from Greenleaf Gardens President Dena Walker | Public Statement from Greenleaf Midrise President Patricia Bishop | Was Greenleaf Build First a Farce All Along? | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Call for Greater Attention to Racial/Gender HIV Disparities
Laquandra Nesbitt, MD, MPH Director, DC Department of Health
cc: DC Council Committee on Health, Phil Mendelson, firstname.lastname@example.org, DC CFAR Community Partnership Council (CPC)
Addressing HIV/AIDS and Racial/Intersectional Disease Burden: Call for a Specific Strategy
Dear Director Nesbitt,
The latest Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance Report of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA) highlights the tremendous progress in the District addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The mortality and incidence rates have declined steeply in the last decade. However, the data show startling racial and intersectional disparities, as the tables in the report illustrate (below). Southwest Voice calls on the Department of Health to explore more tailored, evidence-based interventions to address the HIV burden among Black residents, Black men who have sex with men, and Black heterosexual women. Black MSM are 34% of newly diagnosed HIV cases, followed by Black heterosexual women (15%). Increasing screening among this population could theoretically explain these trends, but that does not appear to be an effect since the report acknowledges “disruptions to screening services”. Comprehensive HIV testing, linkage to care, retention in care and adherence interventions for black MSM have shown to be more effective over behavioral interventions (Source). Black women are increasingly acutely vulnerable, accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed HIV cases among US women. We implore DOH to commit more HIV/AIDS training, resources, and population-based strategies to reduce the high burden of disease among these populations.
(Table on left accompanied the letter)
View report raising concerns about HIV/AIDS research funding and racial and sexual minorities.
Editor Files Suit Against Congress and Council
Issue: SW Voice Editor Files Suit Against Congress and Council | SW Voice Interview with Senator Joe Manchin | Housing Authority Headed Toward Receivership | Deepest Condolences | SW Coalition Prepares for Annual Cultural Event | Poetic Voice Corner | A Quiet Place
Who is Enforcing the US Constitution in DC?
Issue: Who is Enforcing the US Constitution in DC | SW Leaders Led National Webinar | Greenleaf President Dena Walker Issues Open Letter | Attorney General Takes on Zoning Commission | Support for Eriq Martin - Young SW Artist | Remembering Barbara Jordan - Former SW resident | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
SW Hosts National Webinar on Structural Barriers and Social Determinants of Health
Issue: SW Hosts National Webinar on Structural Barriers and Social Determinants of Health | Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association Retains Legal Representation | DC Officials Makes Case Against Statehood | Creating Affirming LGBTQIA+ Spaces | SW Women on Reaching 100 | Poetic Voice | Quiet Space
Video on Southwest Social Injustices Goes Viral - 19,000 Views in One Week
Southwest Voice Editor-in-Chief, discusses Southwest's social and historical injustices in wide-ranging interview with Legal Zone with Attorney John Salatti, Dr. Arlena Cheney, and Attorney Solon Phillips
Press Release - Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association Lawyers-Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2021
SOUTHWEST, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association recently retained the Law Offices of Paul Strauss & Associates, P.C. The tenant association faces dual challenges - the prospect of sharply rising rents in early 2022 and an ownership transfer that many experts believe is violating tenants' legal rights. Mr. Strauss & Associates are providing legal support for residents to contest the building owners' claims that residents' rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) are exempted. Rather than accept these claims, which no government agency has evaluated for accuracy or substantiated, the CPPT Tenant Association is seeking to exercise all avenues to uphold the law. Read Complete Statement
Low-income Residents Face Crises in SW
Urgent message from Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association
October 14, 2021
My name is Diva Samai. I write to you as Co-President of the Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association. I am going to be blunt. We're in crisis mode here. We are facing dual challenges - the prospect of sharply rising rents in early 2022 and an ownership transfer that experts believe is violating our legal rights. We are a low-income housing tax credit building (LIHTC). 65% of our units are low-income, which means that the government provides housing security through property-based rent subsidies for financially vulnerable residents such as seniors, those with disabilities, and low-income households. Like Southwest as a whole, we reflect a rich tapestry of diversity in family/household size, income, age, and race/ethnicity.
We are committed to all of our CPPT neighbors like Angela G. (read her story below) whose livelihood hangs in the balance. As tenant association Co-President, I want to talk about our challenges and ask for your support. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story. Because of neighbors like you, Southwest can continue to be a resilient and vibrant community. Will you join CPPT residents and other community partners by considering a donation or other forms of support? Read More
Co-President, Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association
"I have repeatedly asked the management office for a lease renewal. They are still ignoring me. I am retired on a limited income, so if they are planning to hold off on renewing my lease to significantly raise it in the new year, I don't know what I am going to do." - Dax, age 72
How to Spot a Poverty Pimp: SW Action, Charles Allen, DCHA
Issue: Special Issue: How to Spot a Poverty Pimp | Congratulations to Council Presidents | Parking Wars in SW | DC Misspent Funds for Low-Income | Council Claims It Does Have to Follow the Law | Editor's Corner | From the Archives | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Paul Taylor Organizes Another Successful Summer in Lansburgh
Issue: Summer in Lansburgh | SW Resident Joins Others in Lawsuit Against City | Election Day for Public Housing Communities | Media Challenges with Reporting Gun Violence | SW Voice Intern Cody Paddack | Redistricting | From the Archives | Poetic Voice | Quiet Place
The Future of SW: Moving to Ward 2 or Ward 8?
Issue: Southwest Changing Wards: The Obvious Path? | Southwest Community Awards | Project SW: Community Survey Results | Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenants Organize | From the Archives: Historical Significance of Greenleaf Gardens | Poetic Voice | A Quiet Place
Greenleaf Women Protest, Pride Stories from Residents
$100,000 Scandal Breaks
Cover Story: Litsky's $100,000 Scandal | "No Chip for Me" and Other Perceptions of the Unvaccinated in SW | How Resident Overcame Fears to Get Vaccinated | Archives: SW Marches for Civil Rights | GGW Report Gets it Wrong (Again) | Housing Authority Director is Out | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Correction: The ANC did not vote unanimously in support of the project. The vote to support the project was only 5 (out of 7) commissioners in favor. In a separate vote, the ANC did vote unanimously to approve giving an ANC testimony supporting the project at the Zoning Commission hearing on Cotton Annex.
Greenleaf Balks at Impending Displacement
Greenleaf refuses to be displaced - to issue own proposal.
Greenleaf redevelopment is turning out to be business as usual for the DC Housing Authority - incompetence, broken promises, and decisions that veer away from common sense and equity-centered development. In February, we reported on a whistleblower's allegations of procurement violations regarding the redevelopment. Read More
Mendelson, White leave SW in Shock, Disappointment
In-depth Cover Story: State of Shock Following Council Meetings | Greenleaf in Crisis | Remembering 1848 SW Escape of Enslaved Families | SW Vaccination Site | Poetry Corner | Quiet Place .
Washington, DC Shifts to
Jim Crow Economy
Jim Crow Economy
March Issue Released
Press Release: March 2021 Issue of Southwest Voice: The People's Paper
Hoffman Report | SW Voice Editor Takes on Build Mindset | Environmental Study Gets Underway | An Indictment of Charles Allen | Pandemic and Gentrification | Greenleaf Redevelopment: Black Box | Poetry Corner | Quiet Place
Census-level Analysis of Hoffman Developments
Southwest Voice conducted a Census block analysis of demographic changes for 34 Hoffman and Associates developments between 2000-2016. We relied on their website for address data and year of opening. The number and percentage of Blacks and Whites for each block were based on Census data. We used Policy Map to conduct analysis. We split the data into two periods (2000-2009 and 2010-2019) because Census blocks generally undergo a change in size and shape across decennial Census. The columns are intended to show a potential estimate of the development impact. However, the direct relationship between neighborhood demographic changes and a specific Hoffman and Associates development cannot be fully accounted for without knowing all new residential construction in that Census block. Read More
Exclusive: Whistleblower Tells All, No Holds Barred
Southwest Voice conducted a phone interview with a whistleblower associated with the senior leadership for the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). We use the third person pronoun "they" to protect the source's identity. They allege procurement violations, poor leadership by its executive director, and incompetencies among senior staff. Our January issue discussed the problematic selection of Pennrose, EYA, and Bozzuto Development as the potential co-developer for Greenleaf. Allegedly, three DCHA senior staff members including one from the Executive Director's (left) office, were assigned to attend the Greenleaf procurement meetings although they were not part of the voting panel. Read More
February Issue is Out!
Housing Makes People Sick
Southwest Voice recently interviewed several residents familiar with the experiences of community members dealing with mold and poor air quality in public housing. At times, we have used pseudonyms to protect their identity. Their accounts are jarring and point to the multiple system failures that have left residents - often seniors and those with disabilities - little choice but to live in toxic conditions that exacerbate health conditions. Read More
"Well-Off" Couple Can't Afford SW
By Tom de Man, Associate Editor
Southwest DC’s inequality and gentrification are a major topic of discussion for our newspaper. Gentrification attracts wealthy people, so prices increase, restaurants target affluent newcomers, and the area becomes unaffordable for many residents who have lived here for a long time. Read More
Family Communication & COVID
The COVID pandemic has drastically changed the lives of individuals, families, communities, the world for many years to come – if not forever. Here are a few pointers to establish a communication climate in your homes that may provide the only silver-lining to this pandemic devastation – finding “US” again! Read More
The project proposed for 100 V St will more than double traffic on 4th St and Delaware. The developer's Comprehensive Transportation Review states 100 V will result in about 1,100 additional cars down 4th and Delaware in just 2 peak traffic hours each day. That is an additional driver every 7 seconds, folks coming in and out of the neighborhood at the expense to those of us who call SW home. Read More
Dispelling Myth of DC's "Drop"
The selective interpretation of DC’s “drop” from 1st to 13th – The National Community Reinvestment Coalition conducted two major studies on gentrification. Released in 2019, the first study looked at data from 2000-2012 and showed that DC had the greatest number of Census tracts to gentrify in the US. The second study showed that only 16.8% of tracts gentrified from 2013-2017. It is important to understand how to interpret this data. Read More
A New Zoning Commission?
The Oct 1 Zoning Commission meeting on the 7-Eleven development was characterized by many feelings from commissioners that this project was incompatible with Southwest's architecture and diversity. "This development needs to respect the diversity of Southwest," said Rob Miller . Chairman Anthony Hood also spoke of the ongoing challenges with gentrification. Given the level of ANC6D and community opposition, the hearing was rescheduled for Nov 2 for the JBG Smith to engage with the ANC and community. As long as the Commission only considers the case a "design review," it will likely be left to the community to challenge in court.
Free Clothing Giveaway
Christ United Methodist Church and the Ward 6 Mutual Aid Group will cosponsor a community giveaway on Oct 3rd from 10am-3pm at I St and 4th St SW. Featuring all the women's clothing that we have received in over the spring and summer - there is an amazing amount of top quality clothes that need new homes. It will also have baby & children's clothes and supplies and some men's clothes and a few household items.
SW Has Low Rental Rate of Vacancies
SW has an low rate of renting vacant housing units. While the citywide average is 46%, SW is only 30%. Lower rates appear at the Wharf and the western side of Southwest. Affordable properties such as Capitol Park Plaza and public housing have high rates of renting vacant units. Overall the renter-occupied units reflect trends in Ward 7 and 8, rather than demographically with more White residents.
Where is Neighborhood Retail?
This image is pre-urban renewal on 4th St between E and F St on the east side. This is an example of the more than 1,000 businesses that were lost to urban renewal in SW. Residential SW does not have a Black barbershop - evidence of the general lack of neighborhood-serving retail. (Credit: Joseph Owen Curtis Photograph Collection)
Shulman's Market was one of dozens of Jewish businesses lost to urban renewal. It was at the intersection of N St and Union St, which no longer exists, but ran through what is now Harbour Square and Tiber Island (Credit: Library of Congress, Louise Rosskam - photographer)
Black Lives Matter Back to SW (1/2)
Participants in Commitment March on Washington march south on Maine Avenue.
BLM March (2/2)
A break in the downpour raised hopes for the march continuing down Maine Avenue.
SW Lives Matter
A resident gestures "Black Lives Matter' support, wearing a "SW Lives Matter" T-shirt.
Significant Public Housing Architecture
Public housing in SW provide an excellent example of early century public housing architecture, reflecting aesthetics and communal living: “low-rise designs provided a human scale ...for tenants to view playgrounds, courts, and gardens..and allowed residents to supervise their children...” (Newman 1972) This approach would be largely abandoned in the 1950s and 60s, especially in major cities.
District Fadez: Important for Economy
Barbershops serve important needs for the local economy, health and wellness, small business, and racial equity building. District Fadez is located in L'Enfant Plaza in SW DC.
Instagram: [Make appointment]
BLM Messages at Arena Stage
A pioneer in 1950 of the Regional Theater Movement, Arena Stage is a tremendous asset in the Southwest community and supporter of the Black theatre arts. These BLM messages represent a commitment to ensuring diversity in local theatre. Its 2020-21 season includes Toni Stone, August Wilson's Seven Guitars, and American Prophet.
Greenleaf Deserves New Name
Greenleaf public housing including the Gardens, 203N, and the Senior building is named after land speculator and slave-owner James Greenleaf. The Southwest Voice, which includes Greenleaf residents, is preparing a letter to the DC Council and DC Housing Authority to raise awareness about Greenleaf's slave-holding legacy and to request immediate renaming to a culturally appropriate historical figure such as Anthony Bowen.
LGBTQ-A+ Pride in SW
SW resident is pictured above wearing the LGBT colors in a breathy summer dress from Target. LGBT families and individuals, as well as affirming straight allies, are highly visible in the Southwest community.
Industry Cheapens Development
From Vulcan and Superior concrete mixing plants and the large Pepco substation, Buzzard Point remains an active industrial site. The use of this land for professional sports could be deemed reasonable - despite the known carcinogens in the soil. However, the anticipated luxury high-density residential means easily half of residents will peer out of their windows to see unattractive industrial activity.
AG Sues Housing Authority
DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). The lawsuit focuses on the drug and firearm-related issues around the city's public housing including James Creek and Syphax.
Fire at James Creek
James Creek was the site of the second major fire in Southwest in less than two weeks. Flames engulfed a duplex that started at an upper unit. Residents in the entire building were evacuated. Representatives from the DC Housing Authority were on scene.
Rally for Racial Justice in SW
The "Rally for Racial Justice in Southwest" was held on June 12. Sponsored by area churches, Southwest Voice, and Southwest Action DC, the event attracted hundreds of residents. The first part of the event involved participants holding signs and calling for racial justice, followed by speakers.
BLM Caravan Comes to SW
A caravan seeking to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement came to Southwest on May 30, bringing out local residents who greeted onlookers with messages of support. Several members of Southwest Action DC - a resident coalition - brought music, literature, and a megaphone to show support.
10 Ideas to Transform Southwest
With gentrification and over-development looming large in Southwest, the community's historical and cultural heritage preservation could not come at a better time. Here are 10 ideas to restore balance in the remaking of Southwest. These ideas would create a vibrant and more equitable economy that draws on Southwest's many legacies.
Southwest Action's Equity Report
Co-sponsored by Southwest Voice, "Promoting Social and Economic Equity in the Southwest Waterfront Community" advances community values in four areas. The coalition includes educators, lawyers, students, environmentalists, retirees, persons with disabilities, and parents.
Legacy of Urban Renewal
"Urban renewal projects displaced more than 300,000 people between 1955 and 1966, and the burden fell disproportionately on people of color."  Southwest was the first example in the city and one of the earliest in the country, though not without resistance. Two Southwest business owners challenged the government's ability to take private property.
Vulcan Concrete is required to obtain an air permit to operate its concrete batching plant in SW DC. Buzzard Point residents have had longstanding opposition to industrial activity in their backyard. They say that poor community health has been attributed to polluters in the area, combined with increased construction activity and traffic-related pollution.
SW Voice Supports Local Artists
SW resident Sergio Jiménez, Pentandra Digital Marketing Consultors LLC, illustrated SW DC animated graphic exclusively for Southwest Voice. Mr. Jiménez also designed the Southwest Community Gardens flag.
Brickies Must End
Established as the "Livable Walkable Awards" more than ten years ago under Tommy Wells, former Ward 6 councilor and current director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the "Brickies" are highly questionable and must end in its current form.
Poor Reporting at GGW
The Southwest Voice and Southwest Action recently emailed Greater Greater Washington with our concerns about their reporting on Greenleaf redevelopment. Our letter raises issues with conflict of interest for the lead writer, Nena Perry-Brown...
Climate Change & SW
The District’s climate study also noted that Buzzard Point and Southwest DC are at great risk of flooding, due to sea level rise and land subsidence- a natural geological pattern dating back to the most recent Ice Age, causing Washington, DC to sink. Yes, we are sinking at the same time that sea level is rising. The Anacostia river is also a tidal river.
United in Peace Walk
The Southwest community gathered on Saturday, November 2 to unite against gun violence that has claimed several lives throughout the summer and fall of this year. Organized by community leader and ANC6D Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton and Reverend Ruth Hamilton, Co-Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, the walk attracted residents from across the community. Residents began their march with a prayer for peace (pictured above).
Anthony Bowen's legacy lives on in Southwest and around Washington, DC. The First District Station occupies the former building of Anthony Bowen Elementary School on M St and includes a permanent exhibit on his life and historical significance. Amidon-Bowen Elementary School also bears his name, along with Margaret Milburn Amidon, a teacher and principal in SW in the 1800s. The Twelfth Street YMCA Building in NW, also known as the Anthony Bowen YMCA, honors Bowen.
Olympian Sheila Ingram
It was just something I did." This is how Sheila Ingram describes her silver medal win in the 4 × 400 meter relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. Her characteristic humility understates her exceptional talent in track and field. Sheila was only 19 years old that summer, missing her graduation to compete. Yet, she set two American women’s records at various times throughout the competition, in addition to four national high school records. Only three high schoolers have beat her 400m semifinal time.