Civil rights attorney Aristotle Theresa’s lawsuit against the District over its land-use policies that favor gentrification may not be legally sufficient to persuade a judge, but Mr. Theresa is correct that the D.C. government’s overall land-use and tax and spending policies overtly favor development for high-income residents and businesses [“Gentrification lawsuit is baseless, D.C. tells court,” Metro, July 4].
Two clear examples of the District’s bias toward gentrification: the $750 million it gave to the Lerner family to build Nationals Park and the $2 billion Southwest Waterfront development. The more than $750 million cost of Nationals Park and related transportation upgrades was a gift to the billionaire owner and a major subsidy to landowners around the stadium who mostly built high-income rental housing, unaffordable to many D.C. residents. The Southwest Waterfront development, built on city-owned land, has 2,000 luxury apartments, none of which is affordable. It’s a playground for the rich.
The mayor and the D.C. Council supported these projects using a trickle-down theory of economics that we economists have long discredited as bogus. This is lemon socialism for the rich and empty promises for working people with lower incomes.
We in Arlington see the same forces of gentrification and the uses of local tax revenue and zoning powers to remove lower-income renters — many of whom are black, Latino or elderly — from our community. Market forces will certainly gentrify some neighborhoods over time, but local government revenue and zoning powers should not accelerate this process.
John Reeder, Arlington