I spent the weekend hiking and drinking on the "tallest mountain on the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia." No television and no Internet. Sweet release. My one demand was that we drive into town in the mornings for a newspaper. I needed to know how my beloved Red Sox were doing. They are doing quite well.
To my surprise, Saturday's Post featured a cover story on some development in Friendship Heights on Wisconsin and Ingomar. The property there is currently being wasted on a dilapidated used car lot, flower shop, and abandoned PEPCO substation. It couldn't hurt to have something a little more exciting there. However, I also sympathize with the people who want to keep everything as is. I mean, the neighborhood is already frighteningly close to some high-sclare retail. Unfortunately, both sides of this argument are acting like total douche nozzles.
Jim Sefcik thought he was buying a slice of urban nirvana when he paid $700,000 to live in Northwest Washington. Then he went shopping on his stretch of Wisconsin Avenue, with its pet shop, trophy store and boarded-up buildings, and he decided he had moved to a retail wasteland.
I'm sorry, but, you invested how much money into your house before having any idea what the neighborhood was like? You know, some people like the retail around where they live. As much as I despise the city, I could do a lot worse than living next to a charming coffee house and the little grocery store that sells beer cheaper than anywhere else in the city. Who the Hell does Jim Sefcik think he is? I hope the people opposing the condo project are a bit more sympathetic. Of course the NIMBY folks are never sympathetic.
"They're coming in to rape our [expletive] neighborhood," Carolyn Sherman, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and an opponent, said of developers in general as she toured the site.
Hyperbole much? I mean, it would be one thing if they were trying to push out all the little stores that I like. I suppose that could happen in the long term if the development keeps seeping into the city. But, Wisconsin and Ingomar is a dead zone. It is not charming. It is all but abandoned.
On the other side, Reed Fawell, a project supporter, compared the block where the proposed project would be to a "Third World country," albeit one within walking distance of a Williams-Sonoma.
Oh my God. I had the decency to call the area a "dead zone." "Third world country" is a bit much, don't you think? The location is within walking distance to stores that sells $600 shoes and $1,800 purses. Fuck you, Reed Falwell, you insensitive prick.
Team NIMBY isn't done acting silly either.
The opponents refused an invitation from The Washington Post to appear in a photograph with the project's supporters, saying it would convey the impression that the neighborhood is evenly divided over the issue. (They also declined to be photographed on their own.)
This isn't really fair, but the guy who came to my doorstep to get me to sign an anti-development petition was really unfortunate looking. I think that's the real reason why this group wants to keep their faces out of the papers. That has to be the reason. They knew refusing to have their picture taken would make them seem like paranoid morons, right?
"How many of your members live within one half-mile of this site?" Lucy Eldridge, a leader of the opposition, demanded of a supporter testifying last month before the zoning commission.
Well, I live within a half-mile radius of the site. So I guess that makes me qualified to have an opinion here. My opinion is for both sides to chill out and shut the fuck up. You're both acting like babies. Why don't you both pool your resources into doing something for Washington's schools or homeless or anything other than a way to maintain your property values.