With population growth, the face of D.C. is changing

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, January 2, 2010

The past decade has witnessed the remaking of the District . . . even as the mayor and the D.C. Council tussle among themselves.

From a Post story:

"The administration's attitude toward the council sometimes has seemed to be: Who needs them? Haven't they been part of the problem?"

" 'The mayor himself, when he is supporting important legislative initiatives, should personally talk with individual council members,' [Ward 2 Democratic council member Jack] Evans said. 'Up to now, using surrogates and having breakfast with the full council is not the way to influence the legislative process.

" 'Things are not always going to go smoothly,' Evans added. 'But a more personal touch will produce better results.' "

The article continued: "Many black community leaders east of the Anacostia River . . . are increasingly worried that their part of town might be left behind as [the mayor's] vision of an economic rebirth in the District continues to unfold, drawing whites back into the city."

Sounds like familiar criticisms about Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and his administration. Those statements, which appeared in an article published exactly 10 years ago, referred to Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

The current mayor and council still bug each other. But, after a decade, is it the same-old, same-old? Hardly.

Today's District of Columbia is not the city Williams inherited in 1999.

Case in point: the controversial snowball fight at 14th and U Streets NW.

More white people gathered during the snowstorm at that historically black intersection than the total number who ventured into the U Street corridor in all of the '70s. (Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean.) More to the point, the snowballers weren't outsiders. They were cavorting in their own newly acquired neighborhood.

That's change.

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