Dear Helene Quick, Randy Steer, Yoonmee Chang, John Yellen, Pope Barrow and Amber Jones,
I see from your letter, titled “MORE Liquor Licenses on Barracks Row,” that you oppose job-creating new businesses in Capitol Hill and enjoy pushing your busy-body values on an entertainment area that is blowing up because it serves hundreds of thousands of people — most of whom don’t have easy access to Northwest. I have yet to see a high-price restaurant fail on 8th Street SE, no matter how bad the food is. Banana Cafe=barf, but it’s packed every night.
We’ve never met, but we’re neighbors. Not for much longer, because I am moving to Hill East. Now I wish I wasn’t moving, so I could have the pleasure of receiving your ridiculous letters, dropped off at our building dutifully whenever there is a new restaurant or bar to oppose.
Why am I moving? Because this area is now too expensive for a lower-middle class journalist. But I can tell from your tone and glee in celebrating your successful opposition to Nooshi, a seafood restaurant, and Moby Dick, a local casual chain, that you are worried about all these new businesses — and their alcohol licenses — lowering your property values. Why do you think they are so high in the first place? Why is my shabby basement apartment’s rent more than my parents’ mortgage? Not because people get to live near you, lovely neighbors; instead it is access to all the amenities of Capitol Hill, like museums, restaurants and the Metro. Oh wait, you probably opposed that too.
Now you are concerned about the opening of Pacifico, which you describe as something that “would be by far the single biggest restaurant on Barracks Row and comparable to the combined capacity of Nooshi and Moby Dick,” two restaurants which haven’t opened yet but are already causing you heartburn. You say the “over-concentration of restaurants and bars are causing resident problems with parking, (especially 1-2 blocks on either of 8th St.), crowds, noise, disturbances, trash, and rats.” Walking 1-2 blocks? Preposterous! Crowds? It’s like living in Manhattan! Trash — it’s all from the 7-Eleven and Pizza Boli’s. Do you oppose those too?
You are worried that Pacifico will be open until 2 a.m. weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, identical to the operating hours of hundreds of bars in the city. Who the hell are you people, puritans? After your last blowhard mailing, in which you stated 8th Street is going to be “Adams Morganed,” I decided to see how wild and crazy Barracks Row is late at night. After a few walks up and down the strip on different nights, all after midnight, I am not ready to declare this 18th. St. NW. Last night at 1 a.m., there were two people drinking in Lola’s and a bunch of people partying at Phase One, a lesbian bar which has been around for 40 years. There aren’t ENOUGH bars on 8th Street, which is why I usually go to Pennsylvania Avenue for a tipple.
In the region, D.C.’s unemployment rate is much higher than Maryland or Virginia. Wards 7 and 8, which both have easy access to Barracks Row, have rates well over 20 percent. And six busy beavers want to stymie the creation of dozens of jobs in 8th Street during the worst recession of my lifetime?
Restaurants and businesses are becoming the engine for D.C.’s economy. Large corporations choose to locate in Virginia or Maryland, because both those states are more business-friendly. But restaurants and bars are bucking that trend, bringing more tax revenue to the city and making neighborhoods more exciting and alive with people.
In your letter, you advise me to come to the ANC6B liquor-license committee meeting. Well, I have to work. But if I didn’t have to work, I would prefer to go to a bar and drink over going to this meeting. And so would hundreds of other people.
So get over yourselves. You live nine blocks from downtown D.C., your neighborhood used to be maligned, featuring the “UnSafeway” grocery, and crime used to be a huge problem. Now your houses are worth a million dollars and your biggest problem is your neighborhood is too successful. Sorry you have it so bad.