Ward 1

Residents of Ward 1, interviewed by staff writer Joann Stevens and staff photographer Craig Herndon, were asked, "What are the issues in your ward and what would you like your City Council member to do about them?" Caren Taylor, 31, housewife, 14th and Girard N.W.: One of the big problems is crime in the 14th and Girard Street area. The crime and everything on that street is horrible. Just a lot of dope dealing, people fighting and drinking all night, shooting and carrying on. The police come through there, but they don't seem to be concerned about what's going on. Finding housing that will take children is another problem, not just here but all over the city. Children have to have some place to live, too. But they'll tell you, this is an adult building, period." Thurston Taylor Jr., 54, disabled, resident at 14th and Girard NW: "I live in an RLA (Redevelopment Land Agency) apartment and they won't paint our apartments. They say you have to do it yourself. That's the problem. The only thing they'll fix is your bathroom and stuff like that. They won't have an exterminator come in, and there's a problem with rats and roaches. The neighborhood they put us in is rough anyway, so I feel I deserve something for my $55 a month. We also need more grocery stores in the area. I don't think the City Council is doing as much as they can in this area." Cary Clennon, 22, cab driver, resident at 17th and Euclide NW: "Speculation and displacement of the poor is the major problem. The money is there to remodel the houses and put them in the high rent brackets for the higher class people, but it's not there to help the poor people who already live here. There's never any money to renovate the houses to keep the people living there in the homes. I think the issue is one of renovation. The city govenment needs to expand opportunities for people to buy their homes. People are paying as much in rent as they would in mortgage costs. However, you're buying the building for the landlord. If he owns it already, that money isn't going into improvements." Lafayette Rose, 27, attorney, 16th and Euclid NW: "The main issue is housing and how to get the housing improved without displacing the people already living there. The city can buy up vacant houses and lease them back to low-income families at a lower rate. Or they can make them available to low-income families in a homesteaders program. Another issue is sanitation. It's a matter of getting people to pick up trash, rather than throwing it in the street. We also need more businesses." Pedro-Lujan, 45, community worker and businessman, resident at Lanier Place and 17th Street NW: "One of the big problems is housing. I bought my house on Lanier Place five years ago for $29,500. They offer to me now $120,000! How can poor people live in this area? They (the housing department) say, 'Why don't the Latinos move to 14th Street?' But that's not the point. This is our home. Many people say the Latinos are not here anymore (because of displacement). But that's not true. The Latinos are still here. They're just all living together, three and four families together to pay $700 and $800 dollars a month rent. We need government subsidized housing."