Having a random moment over here. Maybe it’s more of a senior moment, but PU-LEAZE, lil-blogger-baby is way too young (wink-wink) for that. I don’t want to get into politics right now but there really just never seems a way around it. I want to write about food and human nature and happy stuff but alas, politics is the first course today. While watching
Mayor Councilman Marion Barry endorse Vincent Gray for another term as DC’s figurehead, I couldn’t help but wonder what bargain Barry and Gray eeked out over wings with mumbo sauce. Barry cited Gray’s commitment to keeping residents, especially the ‘black middle class’ in the District in the face of gentrification…“And we can’t let the city continue to be gentrified, I’ll tell you that. I’m talking from a black perspective, and a city perspective.” *dead crickets can’t chirp*
Don’t get me wrong, DC is mine in my heart, and because of DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, I have a special endearment to Marion Barry, but none of that has made me a fool. Today’s gentrification is ugly in DC. When I grew up, I had “new resident” neighbors that were (and still are) fully invested in the neighborhood and were loving, cookie baking people who never minded me parking my big-wheel in front of their steps. This new breed don’t speak and will have your elementary school tore down to make way for a dog park so their in-bred lil beast can pee freely. These people don’t say hello, not even the ones on your block. I’ve heard from friends in the Trinidad/H Street Corridor/NoMa/Congress Heights/Brookland neighborhoods. I’m told about the “new residents” who
ask tell neighbors and visitors to move out of their off-street parking spots, new residents who wait until they think you’re not home and let their furry-nervous dogs urinate and defaecate on their neighbors steps, gentrifiers who assume my friend’s houses must be places they’re renting because they’re so nice. Yes I’ve heard about them. I’ve also heard that this crew doesn’t vote and doesn’t particularly care who’s running for Mayor. A Washington Post poll shows that even though the new and young in DC have the power to shape this mayoral election, they probably won’t because of their apathy. It makes perfect sense that Vincent Gray would pander to Marion Barry and his supporters because his constituents still vote and fuss loud enough for the cameras to come.
All this is very curious to me as a new resident of Prince George’s County; I’m probably seen as a gentrifier to some of the older residents, but at least I wave and say hello. I’m invested in my community but unlike the gentrifiers in DC, my presence hasn’t brought any major development or major influx of resources. Maybe I’d get the big head too if my butt was turning everything in my surrounding area into gold. Where is my Vincent Gray? Where is my bike path? Transit oriented development that prices out the undesirables? We have County Executive Baker, and while he’s broken some campaign promises about bringing gambling to PGCo and taking over the school system, he’s not likely to be indicted on federal charges for running a shadow campaign. And also unlike Mayor Gray, County Executive Baker, I believe, is putting programs like the Transitioning Neighborhoods Initiative into place to deal with troubled areas in the county. It’s inevitable that Baker will be voted into office for another term. Still there are controversies and mumblings about post-Jack Johnson-politics in Prince George’s County. There are legacy families like the Millers who still reign politically and business owners like Lerner Enterprises, owners of the now shuttered Landover Mall and the thriving Tysons Corner who still rule Prince George’s County like overseers on a plantation. There are also politicians who will sell their signature to the first company to give them some liquor and shrimp.
The difference between our legislators and DC/VA’s are that in DC they are well aware of the value of their underhanded dealings. Virginia sits in the seat of the scornful, mocking our legislators that stay in trouble with the law. Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), a supporter of INDICTED FORMER Governor Robert McDonnell, took heavy swings at the ethical debacles of both DC and Prince George’s, “A county executive had taken hundreds of thousands worth of bribes,” Saslaw said. “His wife — and that must have been some bra, because when the FBI broke in, entered the house, she had $77,000 in $100 bills in there, plus she just flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet. Their laws on reporting campaign contributions and everything are far stricter than ours.” Of DC he said, ““Hell, in D.C., there’s got to be a shuttle bus between the penitentiary and that city council chambers,” Saslaw said. “Three since last election have gone to jail or resigned, and the mayor’s up to his ass in alligators.” Currently, there has been no response from Prince George’s County officials. DC Councilman Jack Evans did make a statement noting Governor McConnell and his wife’s current corruption indictment. Let us not forget how Governor McDonnell also handed out contracts like the $1.4 billion one for the building of a new road along Route 460. Not one permit has been acquired or issued for this project, approved in 2012 by McConnell, but about $250 million has been spent. My question: ON WHAT?! Studies? STOP IT!!
I’m soliciting help in going through Prince George’s current and upcoming budget. I’m soliciting help keeping up with all these people running for state senator, state delegate, County council, crossing guards, and anything else where a vest is involved. We cannot allow shrimp and liquor politicians to reign over our county. There is great value being added albeit not at the pace of our neighbors. If a politician or political candidate already has ethical lapses (you’ve seen my posts on Delegate Darren Swain, councilman-he-wants-to-be-chesty Vince Canales, former delegate Tiffany Alston, etc.), why vote them into office or BACK into office and hand to them the power to allocate resources, make companies richer who give us crumbs, impact our environments, sign contracts/agreements AND THEN get mad when they do the wrong things. *sidebar* I want to know how if the WORLD did we let a CARRY OUT open at the Woodmoore Towne Center. *end sidebar* Who do we blame after these politicians we blindly vote into office take their seats and we get more sprawl, more fast-food, more drug paraphernalia at gas stations, more illegal dumping in our waterways and neighborhoods? I can tell you what the politicians will say in their heads, as they laugh and walk away, knowing you won’t make an informed vote from your sleepy bedroom communities: The shrimp and liquor made me do it.