Anne Hull's "As One Urban Panorama Fades, Another Rises" [front page, Nov. 13] was a good sketch of an urban D.C. neighborhood facing gentrification.

But as as an affordable-housing developer in Washington, I have noticed that a theme in this drama is the tendency of people to cast aside thoughtful analysis and rely instead on symbolic and often vapid gestures.

For example, Mike Benson, proprietor of Cafe Saint-Ex, was described as someone who laments the encroaching suburban element at 14th and T streets. He has reacted by "discontinuing the trendy Pabst Blue Ribbon Nights . . . to keep playing his favorite Manchester Brit pop."

Mr. Benson also worried about the arrival of "another Starbucks," but Starbucks has a great record of hiring local young people.

The article also referred to a flier handed out in the neighborhood that described D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) as "Gramzilla, the black business killa." That harshly worded flier overshadows the complex reality of what is going on around 14th and T. Church of the Rapture, for example, is a black-owned institution that made good on its real estate assets to the tune of $10 million. This transaction, which probably had little to do with Mr. Graham, involved a multiracial cast of characters responsible for their own choices.




Am I the only one who sees the multiple layers of irony in the fight about gentrification along 14th Street NW? The arguments sound too much like the arguments that previous generations made about integration.

Also, a female pastor who preaches against homosexuality might wish to consider what that same legalistic reading of the Bible would say about women as pastors.