Monday, April 20, 2009

what's up the pike: four-twenty . . .

In honor of today's, uh, holiday, the theme today is about crime, because this is a professional blog, and I don't want potential employers getting the wrong idea:

- MoCo gets serious about crime prevention (see kids stealing a shopping cart on Ellsworth, above) with a town meeting tonight in Wheaton. People can talk to representatives from both the county and park police, MCPS School Security, WMATA and Wheaton Plaza (where four violent crimes have happened in as many years since the mall was renovated in 2005). The meeting is from 7 to 9pm at Wheaton High School on Dalewood Drive. For more info, check out this flyer. (warning! PDF file.)

- One day before the District 4 special election, the Post talks about the contested County Council race, which has led to some mudslinging between the Kramer and Navarro campaigns. If you'd like to learn more about the candidates, check out JUTP's series of interviews with eight of the ten primary contenders on the left sidebar.

- The Post also profiles the Hillandale neighborhood and its fight to bring the FDA to the former Naval Research Center on New Hampshire Avenue. I'm always disappointed to see how "neighborhood coming together" stories usually involve people working to stop development/transit/people who don't look like them, but in this economy, it looks like Hillandale had the right idea by keeping commercial interests at bay.

- The New York Times comes down to Langley Park and explores the added difficulties of growing up Latino in the suburbs, where social service agencies struggle to provide the same "safety net" that they do in more "traditional" immigrant hubs like Columbia Heights in the District. (Thanks to the Maryland Gangs blog for the heads-up.)


Thomas Hardman said...

LAYC-DC ("Latino American Youth Center of DC") actually did a pretty good job back in the 1990s when the District was falling apart under the combination of the Barry-Cronies(tm) Administration and Congress's unfunded LE/FD pension mandate which saddled the local government with a structural deficit guaranteed to crush the ability of the city to provide streetlights, much less comprehensive Social Services programs.

With only a fairly tiny office in a church in the 1500 block of Columbia Road, NW, LAYC-DC and comparable agencies manged to hold to their mission -- which was helping provide alternatives to gangs and crime -- and even expanded a bit. As the City of Washington finally stepped up to the plate (after massive Federal funding) and began to enforce building and safety codes, several slumlords in the area were driven into bankruptcy, and LAYC-DC and some related outfits were instrumental in assisting disenfranchised residents to purchase/homestead their own rental units, which became their condominium properties.

All of this took place in the early years as the the Metrorail construction came to a close, and the DCFRA and other Federal revitalization agencies worked closely with private capital and local developers to turn the failed intersection of 14th Street NW and Park Road into the glittering hub of modernity that it is today.

But there are no massive Federal bailouts headed for Langley Park, though ten or a dozen years down the line, we may see something comparable to the Columbia Heights Revitalization coming to Langley Park in the wake of the Purple Line.

But in the same way that, in Columbia Heights, we saw a few already-resident poor immigrant families become established as homeowners yet saw a great many more displaced first by construction and then by gentrification, we are likely to see any real restoration and improvements in Langley Park come with massive dislocation of most of the residents as places such as "the Crossroads" are razed and rebuilt.

This is the cost of "progress": if you're poor you are probably living on the least expensive real estate around, inexpensive mostly because that's where the culture of poverty and hopelessness is most deeply entrenched.

LAYC (operating as "Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers") is once again launching into the most difficult task of all: changing the culture.

It's difficult, but essential.

rb said...

It was never the Naval Research Center. It was the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL), then the Naval Surface Weapons Center, then the Naval Surface Warfare Center before it moved out, mostly to Dahlgren VA.