The sheer brazenness of these individuals to spend 5 minutes, during the middle of the day, robbing and abusing the store, its owner and its customers is disheartening—especially, I’m sure, to those who have been fighting for this area for many years.
Gut-check: There is no guarantee that things are predestined to get better in this community. Perhaps the mayor’s office and police department, in an attempt to save and shift resources to other target needs, have extreme faith in the power of gentrification to improve the economy and safety of a neighborhood. Possibly. But is that really such a strong force in our area today?
The term, “tipping point,” was coined by a sociologist in the 1960’s in reference to integration and “white flight.” It has since been used to describe many processes in various fields of study. In terms of gentrification—a term which, unjustifiably, became associated with negative connotations—the turnover of homes would plod along steadily, gain momentum, and then, at the “tipping point,” witness a wave of new owners and development.
We are certainly not there, yet. Moreover, the whole analogy of a ball going up a hill and, reaching the top, then tipping over, picking up momentum on the way down is based on physics. As such, there has to be an equally-probable opposite outcome. The neighborhood could just as easily start slipping back down the mountain….
- Resident “A” (who has live here for 7 years) decides to move; sells his/her home for $425k—an appreciation of almost 125%
- Resident “B” (who has live here for 3 years) decides to move; sells his/her home for $400k—an appreciation of almost 50%
- Resident “C” (who has live here for 1 year) decides to move; sells his/her home for $415k—an appreciation of0% (essentially a loss of over $26k due to realtor fees, etc.)
- Prospective residents “D, E and F” decide to look elsewhere
Heard of a bank rush? You could be looking at a Ward rush—begins with those who can pull out of the market with capital gains, and ends with those who are capable or taking a loss before it drops any further.
Now, I think that there are some strong residents and leaders in this area who will not let this happen. That being said, it is the responsibility of everyone in this community to keep pushing this ball up the hill—whether that is opening up a business in the neighborhood, joining area organizations, contacting elected officials or simply walking along our streets.
In this example, people helped the owner transfer his surveillance tape to the internet. The LeDroit Civic Association has submitted a letter to the mayor, council and police chief and surely will be following up with these officials. An earlier article talked about the bond of the residents and the store owner: “The LeDroit Park Market – For LeDroit Park residents, a local market and its owner are more than a store, they’re part of the family”.
[Note: one of the reasons I started this blog was to promote the neighborhood to potential new residents. I may pepper my posts with tongue-in-cheek remarks, but it is not my intent to sugarcoat the issues, nor do I want to scare away new recruits. Our neighborhood doesn’t just need new owners willing to plop down a half-million dollars and hope for nice returns, but neighbors who want to live in a community full of activist malcontents (in a good way).]