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Fenty Goes on the Road for Obama Campaign
Since the redevelopment of Gallery Place over the past 10 years, most of what once was D.C.'s Chinese American hub has been reduced to about one block of H Street NW, between Sixth and Seventh streets.
But Alexander Chi, head of the Chinatown Revitalization Council, who has been critical of the shrinking influence of Chinese culture in Chinatown, figured it would be good to get some city officials together to address the issue head-on. Fenty, two D.C. Council members, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), and D.C. planning director Harriet Tregoning, were joined by Taiwan representative Joseph Wu at the organization's headquarters at Fifth and I streets Monday night.
The officials didn't have a lot of meat to offer the standing-room-only crowd of about 80. They praised the area's growth into a regional entertainment hub -- Evans called it the "Times Square of D.C." -- and promised to ensure more opportunities for Chinese-American-owned businesses. Wu offered to help create a Chinese lantern festival, a custom in Taiwan.
Tregoning said the city plans to hire consultants to do a study of how to bring more culture, specifically Chinese culture, to the area.
For the most part, the crowd was good-natured, posing for pictures with the mayor and other officials. But Alfred Liu, the architect who designed the Chinese-inspired Friendship Arch that spans H Street, complained that the city "invested $75 million and not a single Chinese restaurant or store was in the development. I'm feeling sad."
Evans said: "Some would say Chinatown lost a lot of character. But the argument could be made on the other side that there's been a lot of positive changes."
Turnabout Is Fine Play
Funny how politics works.
Council member Yvette M. Alexander, who won her Ward 7 seat in last year's special election, will kick off her reelection campaign Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington's Richard England Clubhouse on Benning Road NE.
Who plans to be on hand to support Alexander? None other than two of her chief rivals from May: Victor Vandell and Greg Rhett.
Vandell, who works as chemical terrorism coordinator for the city's Department of Health, said he has heard no complaints about Alexander's performance.
"All I can do is offer support," he said. "I haven't heard anything that was damaging about what she's done so far. At this point, I'm definitely supporting her effort. We'll see what plays out down the road."
Asked for her reaction, Alexander said with a chuckle, "I'll take that as an endorsement."
Responding to a question, Alexander said her biggest accomplishment has been her resolution requiring the fire department and the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority to develop a plan to repair fire hydrants.
With more time, she said, she can do more: "There is no way your vision can be realized in 18 months."
Two More for Obama
Obama picked up a couple of more delegates from D.C. this week in his race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Illinois senator, who swept the Potomac Primary on Feb. 12, announced Tuesday that he has been endorsed by two D.C. super delegates: shadow senators Paul Strauss and Michael D. Brown.