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June 18, 2014

Lower Your Expectations and Be Satisfied with Less

Dear Washingtonians:

Robert Samuels wrote a Washington Post article that has been much discussed on neighborhood listservs, “Millennials Consider Leaving Washington as the City Becomes More Costly,” “Many are struggling to keep pace with the city’s rising cost of housing. And as new millennials move into the District, older members of that generation — loosely defined as ranging from 18 to 34 years old — are heading out. The churn adds another layer to the District’s affordable-housing debate as rents skyrocket and thousands of low-income residents struggle to find places to live. Young transients are feeling that squeeze in another way, residents and experts say, cramming into apartments and forgoing cars to be able to make rent. But those conditions can wear thin.”

As Donna Carter comments on the Ward 5 listserv: “As if we didn’t already know this.” Our city planners and city leaders think the solution to peoples’ dissatisfaction is to convince them to lower their expectations and convince them they should be happy that they’ll never be able to afford the lifestyles that their parents achieved, because diminished horizons makes the earth greener. So you’ll never be able to afford a big house like your parents? That’s good. Be happy with an apartment, and if your apartment is small and cramped, that’s even better, because making do with less makes sure you leave a smaller footprint on the earth. Have fewer children, or none at all. Do without a car, and go only to places you can reach easily on a bus. If those conditions begin to wear thin on you, our politicians and planners won’t do what they can to let you achieve the lifestyle you want; they will scold you for your irresponsibility.

If older millennials are moving out of DC, they may not be searching for better housing and better roads. They may really be searching for better politicians and better planners, who believe their job is to satisfy peoples’ needs rather than frustrate them.

Gary Imhoff


Rational Explanation
Paul Basken,

Clyde “let’s-run-over-the-bicyclists” Howard isn’t of course expected to give a rational explanation for whatever thoughts cross his field of vision, so seeing him offer the old “they must be smoking wacky cigarettes” [themail, June 15] as the intellectual underpinning of his latest anti-societal rant hardly seems surprising.

Folks could again offer him and Gary some facts about the damage being done to people and the planet, and to our individual and collective budgets, and to our long-term survival and health, and to our military personnel, among many others, by our great over-reliance on fossil fuel-based transportation. But having tried a few times in the past, and gotten only admonitions from others that it’s a waste of time to try to break through the echo-chamber of this “community” message board that somehow only seems to have a handful of regular readers, it’s probably not worth the energy. Just keep feeding your physical addition to your motorized wheel chairs, Clyde and Gary, and the rest of the world will smile and nod at you, while continuing to decide for themselves what makes the most overall sense for their health and well-being.


Adding Residents
Richard Layman,

I submitted “The Mayor’s Campaign to Attract 100,000 New Residents,” to themail in 2003 ( and it’s relevant as a response to your post in themail on June 15. If you expect to add 170,000 more residents to the city who primarily rely on the automobile for most of their mobility needs, then the city is screwed.


Reply to Dorothy Brizill
Deborah Bradford,

[Re: exchange between Dorothy Brizill and Kenyon McDuffie, themail, June 15] I believe what Kenyan McDuffie had to say and he said very good too bad you didn’t take it well as usual.


InTowner June Issue Content Uploaded
P.L. Wolff,

The June 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 about St. Thomas’ Parish in Dupont Circle.

This month’s lead stories include the following: 1) “Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone Extension Decision Expected to be Decided by ABC Board Next Month, Strong Community Opposition Revealed at Hearing”; 2) “MLK Library Reconstruction Planning Now Moving Forward, Funding Issues to Delay”; 3) “Residents Concerned About the Fate of the Historic McMillan Park Site Reveal Dubious Dealings Between the City and Developer.” (NOTE: This third report is not included in the PDF but is posted on the home page and linked directly from the Lead Stories listing at the top.) Also to be found on the web site pages are the “Reservations Recommended” and “Food in the ‘Hood” columns, along with the recent real estate sales feature.

The title of our editorial, “Streetcars — Folly or Not?” speaks for itself. Your thoughts will be most welcome and can be sent by clicking the comment link at the bottom of the web page or by E-mail to newsroom[at] The next issue PDF will publish early in the morning of July 11 (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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