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December 18, 2013

Living High on the Hog

Dear Wealthy Washingtonians:

Michael Neibauer has written a provocative article in the Washington Business Journal, “DC Far Outpaces Nation in Personal Earnings,”, which is currently the most popular article on the Washington Business Journal’s site. Neibauer quotes income figures from the November economic and revenue trends report of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. “The District’s total personal income in 2012 was $47.28 billion, or $74,733 for each of its 632,323 residents. . . . The US average per capita personal income was $43,725. The highest of the 50 states, Connecticut, fell 25 percent short of DC. Personal income is a combination of work and non-work related components — wages and salaries, employee health and other benefits, proprietor’s income, property income and transfer payments (such as Social Security). In terms of pure wages, DC, on a per capita basis, was 79 percent higher than the national average in 2012 — $36,974 to $20,656.”

What do these high numbers mean to DC residents? Neibauer’s takeaway is that “The numbers suggest DC residents are living the high life. Some are, but, of course, it’s not that simple. Poverty is entrenched in many DC neighborhoods, especially east of the Anacostia River, where earnings are virtually nonexistent and the need for social services is dire. But as long as the District is booming on a per capita basis, the money should be available to help.” Is that how you interpret them? More importantly, is that how you experience them?

Gary Imhoff


Clyde Howard,

How is it that the DC Government can authorize overhead power lines within the city of Washington when there is a federal law that forbids the erecting of overhead power lines? H Street, NE, is within the Federal City of Washington and therefore meets the requirements of the law. Only Congress can grant an exception to the law, thus the DC government is in violation of the federal law. The Territory of the District of Columbia is the only place overhead power lines can be erected.

Further, the path of travel for the streetcars was ill conceived and ill planned. Early on, DC Transit had the foresight to place the streetcars in the center of the street in every area of the city with a third rail or overhead power lines to avoid having streetcars blocked by delivery trucks and cars that were trying to park and load groceries plus other items. Most businesses do not have rear loading docks and extra wide alleys for the large delivery trucks. Can you imagine the amount of blocked traffic on the side streets caused by the large delivery trucks? This is another case of the DC government’s not thinking things through.

Officials of the government and specialized committees like the National Capital Planning Committee have all buried their heads in the sand and will not respond to the legality of power lines being erected overhead within the Federal City. Also, do they know the dangers associated with DC voltage and how it can cause problems with radio and TV reception. Check and find out how many DC Transit workers died from electrocution by DC voltage when changing streetcars from overhead wires to under ground third rail and visa versa. Are we trying to look like some European Cities where streetcar’s path of travel is in a pedestrian type mall devoid of cars and trucks? Why must we continue to be a day late and a dollar short?


Beverly Wheeler for Ward 1
Meg Maguire,

Beverly Wheeler, who is running for Jim Graham’s seat in Ward 1, would bring considerable talent, experience, and good judgment to the DC city council. She has served as Executive Director of the DC State Board of Education and in the Executive Office of four DC mayors in a variety of positions including education, civic engagement, economic development and policy. She has given much to the city through her longtime engagement with Save the Tivoli, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, and Washington Parks and People. Beverly is progressive and informed on the issues. She sees beyond rhetoric and understands complex issues. Beverly Wheeler will serve not only her constituents, but all parts of this city as well.


Thinking about Council Elections
Marchant Wentworth,

I am excited by Kenyan McDuffie’s decision to seek reelection for Ward 5 councilmember because of his tireless work on behalf the whole ward. I am confused about Carolyn Steptoe’s candidacy for the same job, as many in the ward perceive her as a divisive figure. I am buoyed by Chairman Mendelson’s decision to seek well-deserved reelection for the DC council chair because of his considered approach to the job and his ability to herd the egos on the council to get things done. Ms. Bowser’s positions remain somewhat of a cipher, however, as chair of WMATA’s real estate committee, she has the opportunity to weigh in to define what sensible development around Metro stations might look like. In the case of preserving some open space in back of Brooks Mansion adjacent to the Brookland metro stop (the Brookland Green), I do not believe she taken a position yet. Preserving this space is strongly supported by Mr. McDuffie, all the citizens associations in the area, as well as the neighbors and residents in the area.


Comment on Tony Norman and Jeff Miller in Washington City Paper
Daniel Wolkoff,

[Comment on December 11 Housing Complex article in Washington City Paper,, “Advice and Dissent: Whatever Happened to ANC’s’ ‘Great Weight’?”] We need to pursue is how to increase democratic participation and popular enfranchisement. Put your thinking caps on, kiddies. I know it’s scary to become more responsible for your own lives, and clinging to Daddy’s pant leg has a kinda warm fuzzy feeling. Jeff Miller, the District government’s director of real estate, is a former employee of Trammel Crow. He should not be assigning multimillion dollar development deals with our money and our land even in this oligarchy at the Wilson Building.

Whether the ANCs become a paid Assembly Neighborhood Congress, with real voting power over the city government, or we create any other process for greater enfranchisement, we need to do it right now. Whether we are ruled by the hacks in the Deputy Mayors Office or the hacks on the city council, the system is structurally corrupt. Corrupt for money and corrupt for dictatorial decisions like in this article controlling the future of our city. Free yourself from the corrupt process, clique government, and the Jeff Millers!

Stop the mayor’s surplussing of McMillan. It’s our Park, a Glen Echo style Eco-City Campus for the benefit of our families and young people, with big open space (what a concept). Come on kiddies, don’t let the hacks control your mind and the whole process. Those responses in this article by the Deputy Mayor were as arrogant as one can stand. It is your city, not the developers city, or Jeff Miller’s and (unindicted) Mayor Gray’s.


InTowner December Issue Content Now Online
P.L. Wolff,

The December issue content can be viewed at, including the issue PDF in which will be found the primary news stories and museum exhibition reviews — plus all photos and other images. Not included in the PDF but linked directly from the home page is Stephen A. Hansen’s “What Once Was” feature — this month all about the Cutts-Madison and Benjamin Ogle Tayloe houses on Lafayette Square and the families that built and occupied them.

This month’s lead stories include the following: 1) “Adams Morgan ANC Seeks to Further Extend Liquor Moratorium by 5 Years”; 2) a revisiting of our November issue reporting on gentrification of the Bloomingdale neighborhood, this time focusing on how longtime, lower income residents are being impacted; and 3) a report on the recent tree lighting at the prominent La Tomate patio at Connecticut and R. Also to be found on the web site pages is the recent real estate sales feature along with the “Reservations Recommended” and “Food in the ‘Hood” columns.

Our editorial this month discusses DC Delegate Norton’s revelations on how extreme are congressional attempts to strip the District of any and all curbs on unfettered carrying and ownership of guns within the city. Your thoughts are welcome and can be sent by clicking the comment link at the bottom of the web page or by E-mail to letters [at] The next issue PDF will publish early in the morning of January 10 (the second Friday of the month, as usual). For more information, either send an E-mail to newsroom [at] or call 234-1717.


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