I live in Georgetown, where I have ample opportunity to observe all the happenings. The trash problem has gotten completely out of control. It is a shame when visitors to the capital city visit the Georgetown they have always heard about and find it inundated with trash.
When you walk down M Street and Wisconsin Avenue you find the streets are littered with trash, with uncovered trash containers in front of stores and restaurants, with trash spilling out and reeking of spoiled food and stale beer. Get the picture?
Before moving to the Washington area I lived in another famous area, in New Orleans, with its famous French Quarter, comparable in popularity and demeanor to Georgetown. I wouldn't say that the French Quarter doesn't have any problems, but it does control its trash pretty well. It hires extra personnel for its major tourist attraction. Each Mardi Gras, all the trash from thousands of people is cleaned up by noon on the following day. They even judge how big a Mardi Gras they had by the thousands of tons of trash.
I hate to lay blame for a situation on any one person, but I wonder if part of the reason for the trash and other problems is Mayor Barry's lack of interest in Georgetown. He was recently quoted as saying, "I don't care about Georgetown." Apparently, this was in reference to the snow removal problems when the mayor was in California. During that time, snow was not cleaned off of major intersections in Georgetown, much less any of the side streets. It remained that way for several days. Does the mayor have an ax to grind? Did someone here vote the wrong way?
I doubt whether there is another place in the city that makes as much money for the city as Georgetown does. It is a major tourist attraction. Something like 7 or 8 movies -- "Suspect," "No Way Out," "Protocol," "Heartburn" among them -- have been made in Georgetown. During the time these movies are made, the citizens, the shop owners, pedestrians and traffic flow are inconvenienced. The city gets money from the movie producers for allowing the movies to be made here. What happens to this money? Why can't some of it be used to repair and clean up the area? We can build all the beautiful new shopping areas and buildings we want to, but if the area is not clean, this leaves a bad impression.
It is really a shame that the editor of the Georgetown newspaper and other local citizens and businessmen have to get out on the streets and run the "Elephant Vac," a machine purchased by the residents for the purpose of trying to keep the streets clean. This is admirable, but it is really not the job of the local citizens to clean the streets. We pay taxes for this purpose.
They call David Roffman, the editor of the "The Georgetowner," the "mayor of Georgetown." Maybe Georgetown does need its own mayor! -- Rosalyn H. Martty