Tweet of the Week, Vol. 5

In which I highlight tweets from around the area and analyze why they’re important.

Yesterday, the D.C. Council held a hearing to discuss the homeless families of the District. The stories of people at D.C. General are horrifying and  sad. On top of that, the situation is so bad that the city is sending people to hotels in Maryland to alleviate overcrowding, according to The Post’s Brigid Schulte. And since that won’t be an option soon, families are sure to be sleeping on cots at recreation centers.

But more directly to this tweet is our old friend Paul Zukerberg, “an Adams Morgan attorney who specializes in defending marijuana possession cases,” as The Post’s Tim Craig once described him. Also, you might remember him from when he ran for D.C. Council.

Now, he’s looking to become the District’s first elected Attorney General. If you ask me, he’s the reason why the push for decriminalization has had any legs at all in this city. His vocal stance on the matter during his run made it a popular topic that eventually made it to the Wilson Building.

His reply to Sarah Anne Hughes’ tweet might be somewhat tongue in cheek at first glance, but not really. There is no direct line between selling recreational marijuana and ending homelessness, but Zukerberg’s point is well made. There are people freezing to death in old hospitals while the city is turning away an opportunity to bring in cash that could potentially help them.

Obviously, there are some  downsides to  legalization: for starters, scoffing at federal policy in Congress’ backyard are not a good way to curry favors. I’m not sure that I’d even agree to legalization myself. But if District officials want anyone to ever believe that they care about holding on to those less fortunate as residents, they’ll have to start making far more concrete efforts that draw on the resources of the more fortunate: say, adjusting the tax structure or (gasp) tolling commuters.  That’s how it works, if you’re going to claim to be a progressive city.

Buildings are going up left and right all over the city and we can’t seem to find a place for hundreds of families to live without shipping them out or holding a hearing. The message at this point is impossible to ignore as a matter of chance or market forces: If you can’t afford to live here, the District of Columbia doesn’t want you.

Any indication otherwise from an elected official in this town is a lie.

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.

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Patricia Sullivan · February 4, 2014