Look out! The poors are coming!

Have you been following the 3 day+ rager on the listserv about supposed plans for George Mason Elementary school?

For those of you that just read this blog for comedic value and can’t be bothered with your idiotic neighbors’ rants, there was a PowerPoint deck that went out from ACPS to parents at the school outlining how they plan to rebuild the aging building. Only, an earlier draft had a mention of the space’s potential for housing, and someone read it and freaked the hell out thinking there was a land grab. The final draft that’s online has no mention of the school being used for housing, but hahahaha who can be bothered to read, and why do facts matter?

In no particular order, the BH listserv worked themselves into a froth about:

  • Racism
  • Class warfare
  • Why people of more modest means would want to live among seven-figure dwellings (Jesus f’ing Christ, people!)
  • Greenspace
  • The difference between affordable housing and low-income housing
  • Parking
  • The Mayor’s developer mafia
  • Traffic
  • Number and types of cars in BH
  • The annual salaries of firefighters
  • What constitutes an ACPS employee versus a contractor
  • Will my home value go down if everyone near me isn’t rich
  • The number of square feet a single mom and 2 kids need
  • Zoning rules (and wouldn’t these people be better in Del Ray?!)

Honest to god though, I had to pick my jaw off the floor, when I read THIS gem from the lovely Jennifer M.:

What’s perplexing to me is how anyone can think that folks living in affordable housing want to live in a neighborhood with $1M+ homes.  You think that’s going to make them feel better about themselves?  Taking the bus while a neighbor is driving a Mercedes is going to perk them up?  Think they are going to feel like they belong to the local community??  Come on – who would want that?

Seriously, JFC. I hope everyone throws their dog poop bags in your city trash can, Jennifer.

Anyway, I’ve been sitting back writing and rewriting a possible blog post for the past several days, and then I see that my fans have spoken (Thanks, Tom E.! I’ll bring by a halal chicken to reward you for the plug!).

Wait, so this was all one big misunderstanding?  Oh boy…can’t wait to see what Tales from the BH Listserv is going to say about this!!!!

It’s time for Bev to chime in.

May I present to you a one-act play I’ve written, entitled “The George Mason Commons”:

———

The sun is rising and people across Beverley Hills are getting ready to go to work.

A brown-skinned person walks out of the old George Mason Elementary school, recently renamed “The George Mason Commons” because affordable housing brought a wave of commoners into the neighborhood.

She waves at the recycling truck crew as they drive by. After all, they all live in the building. “Damn,” she thinks, “this Beverley Hills neighborhood might not be everything I dreamed it would be. They don’t even have curbside glass recycling here. What have I gotten myself into?!”

She tries to put it out of her mind, only to look up and see one of those fancy-pants single-family-home dwellers drive by in a Mercedes. Sigh. Clearly, she is unable to see a nice car and not hate on herself.

“I’ll show those snobs,” she thinks, walking past the bus stop of lowlife scum waiting for transport to the Pentagon, DC law firms, and other low-class jobs.

Finding a pile of abandoned scooters in a heap across the sidewalk, she heads off, helmetless, toward her job at the newly opened halal butcher shop.

Of course, the fastest option is to zip her scooter down Seminary Road. Ever since the road diet (high five, Mayor Wilson!), she can get to work before the angry picketing crowds show up and ruin her mood. Speaking of mood, she’s having such a fun, fast ride that she waves to all the cars waiting. A few of the drivers see her and honk. “Wait, are those middle fingers?” she wonders. “No, they couldn’t be. Not here. I’m pretty sure those drivers are just telling me I’m #1 based on my eco-friendly commute!”

The scooter breaks down about a block away from work when she jumps it over one of the ridiculously high speedbumps recently installed. “Hmm,” she thinks, “maybe some of Mayor Wilson’s developer cronies put these here.” Angered,  she flings the scooter in the road, because scooter riders do what they want.

Her workday at the butcher is pretty quiet and uneventful, except for all the dogs outside howling because the blood makes them crazy. She ignores the sound, and when she eventually gets bored, her mind wanders. “Man, I’m so lucky to have scored that affordable housing in the middle of Beverley Hills. To think it was all because a sneaky ACPS ‘contractor’ stuck that slide in a PowerPoint deck a few years ago and set it all in motion. Surely, this is the only way a person of color like me could ever gain entrance to such a utopia. I don’t even have a European car.”

With her shift done and unable to find a scooter, she hops on the bus (ew, gross!) and makes her way back to the four-story George Mason Commons building she now calls home.

Walking up to the building, she narrowly avoids stepping in a fresh pile of dog poo that someone neglected to pick up. “What a jerk!” she says. “Dog poo belongs in people’s city-provided trash cans!” At last, the brown-skinned woman climbs the stairs to her apartment. First floor, firefighters. Second floor, trash truck folks. Third floor, sketchy potential child molesters. And finally, fourth floor, the poors.

Home sweet home. As she walks in the door, she can’t help but sing the words to the Weezer song, “Beverly Hills”:
Where I come from isn’t all that great
My automobile is a piece of crap
My fashion sense is a little whack
And my friends are just as screwy as me

Beverly Hills!
That’s where I want to be!
Gimme gimme gimme gimme!
Living in Beverly Hills!

[Aaaaand scene]

PS. How has our opinionated “Donna” not chimed in on this thread after 3 days?? Has anyone checked in on her? Does she have cats? They get so hungry…

19 thoughts on “Look out! The poors are coming!

    1. Tricia Maher-Miller

      I am one of the people you described in your opening paragraph. I “read this blog for comedic value and can’t be bothered with [my] idiotic neighbors’ rants.” This is your best yet! If you have some free time, NextDoor could use you. The 5 day+ rager in Seminary Hill warning, “Look Out! The Poors Are Coming!” to MacArthur is worthy of an APA Abstract. It is actually titled, “City is trying to jam housing units onto the MacArthur Elementary rebuild.” Enjoy, or should I say, good luck!

      https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=134628584&comment=331670550&s=&reactor=25902621&ct=tpSMgmGB4Qy4VhFVbOuU74GIs3f7SoNqMKg4QgS2SAuT9s_hlZwUi5ALC-kF_UjC&ec=0aq8TnLEBDXgXCuYo_4LkQ%3D%3D&mobile_deeplink_data=eyJhY3Rpb24iOiAidmlld19wb3N0IiwgInBvc3QiOiAxMzQ2Mjg1ODR9&link_source_user_id=47736882&lc=3128

      Thank you, as always, for your brilliance!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. LizC

    I really feel where Jennifer M is coming from. When I was an impoverished investment banker living in a rented flat in the posh London neighborhood of Chelsea taking the bus to work (or even walking!), while being surrounded by Bentley and Lamborghini driving mansion dwelling oligarchs, not to mention actual royalty, I can tell you, I was absolutely mortified in the presence of all of that toxic affluence. I have never felt worse about myself. I don’t know how I survived it but thankfully I am home safe in the relative poverty of Beverley Hills.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reg Brown

    Actually, if the facts matter to you, go to the ACPS Jan 23 agenda and you will see that the housing proposal idea is in fact on the agenda for discussion and you will see that the City met with the school system multiple times starting on October 23 to discuss it. All of this is accessible via the link and shows that the Mayor and others were dissembling or ill-informed. There are probably some bigots reacting negatively to the proposal but they aren’t the only ones. I’m black, and both my kids attended George Mason elementary. We even hosted the end of year parent party – fun neighbors. When we were younger we lived on Overlook, now we are in our dream house on the unfortunately named Mansion Drive. We are pretty wealthy, but we aren’t racists or enemies of the less fortunate. We were them when we were younger. We do have concerns about a four story 60-100 unit complex being dropped into a neighborhood of sf homes at the expense of parkland, and we have a shitload of questions about a possible 100,000 square foot new school wiping out parkland and abutting our neighbors houses with no plan to avoid massive stormwater runoff and the like. Right now the school abuts no one’s homes. Imposing that externality on a few neighbors – not you of course – may be totally fine and funny by you but I think it sorta sucks. At a minimum it requires a lot more discussion.

    https://esbpublic.acps.k12.va.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=13107&mtgId=1520

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    1. NeighborForMoreNeighbors

      Nothing is being dropped in – an architect sketched out a possibility – that is also why there is no stormwater plan. The parkland though is a ballfield. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask if the City needs more affordable housing as much as it needs a ballfield. And much discussion, about this and other sites, has definitely suggested its a bad idea to add more committed AH. Also its not clear to me why the neighborhood currently being SFH’s makes adding a four story building (which is really not very tall at all) a bad idea per se.

      And yes, when we look at housing issues, class matters. Housing availability impacts economic segregation, it impacts opportunity.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Nonexistent Plan for Affordable Housing Roils Wealthy Alexandria Neighborhood -

  4. Julie

    I disagreed with many of the comments on that listserv thread (especially the one you noted which was cringe-y and dumb) but the property devaluation concerns are, for most folks, due to a massive new structure being placed at the lower edge of the field abutting several houses that now enjoy a view of green space (and btw, proximity to green space is a selling point, looking at a parking lot and a big ugly building isn’t). People are also worried about new road construction and the plan’s lack of adequate parking which could lead to neighborhood parking issues. It’s not race or poor people. It’s incredibly bad planning.

    Of course, this is your blog. You can call those who are concerned (some of them minorities btw) racists. I get that charge gets more clicks but I (as a big fan of this site) wanted to point out that there are very valid concerns from residents. Concerns I share. Thanks for what you do here. I’m still a big fan!

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    1. Matt D

      Julie — sure, the dividing line between someone being classist and someone being racist can be a blurry one. As a fellow neighbor, I do think most of it is actually the latter. While some of the complaints about the school expansion are legitimate, most of it is just NIMBYs being NIMBYs. My neighbor is very concerned about parking. He also owns six cars, 4 BMW’s, a beautiful Morgan, and a Mercedes. Some go in the garage, others do not. When people knowingly buy homes next to decades old schools, hospitals, and athletic fields, complaints about construction and parking don’t hold the same weight. Neighbors’ current views are not guaranteed forever — there are no air rights here. Even my friends living near Maryland’s agricultural reserve know it is only a matter of time before that rural lifestyle so close to the nation’s capital, changes. They’ll fight forever to keep it tough. I get the concerns, I really do. I would be sad if I lost a nice view or if I couldn’t find parking right near my home. I also know that if another neighbor tells me Alexandria is going to be just like Manhattan, I may just lose it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael J Moran

    They say the politics are fiercest where the stakes are smallest. But it’s where the stakes are wholly imagined that you must fear thy neighbor.

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  6. Pingback: Is NOTHING sacred? City ruins trash-picking Christmas – Tales from the Beverley Hills Listserv

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