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Great Moments in Washington, DC Police Work:

Amber Taylor describes an egregious example of incompetence by the Washington, DC police:

Yesterday, two men tried to break into my friend's home while she was inside. One man attempted to pry the door open and the other tried to get in the window. She called the police and, because the men were still milling around in a nearby alley, she was able to identify the perpetrators. One of them had just been released that morning . . .

The police told her that "D.C. doesn't have an attempted burglary statute" and so they could not arrest the men. They let them go, although now they know who my friend is, where she lives, and that she fingered them to the cops.

As Amber notes in her post, DC does in fact have an attempted burglary law (see also here), and the police could have arrested the suspects on other charges as well.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Despite its many virtues, Washington, DC has a longstanding reputation for having perhaps the worst city government in the country (see also here). That's one of the reasons why, when I moved to this area back in 2003, I chose to live in northern Virginia rather than in the District. Fortunately, I have had little occasion to use the services of the Fairfax County Police. But the one time I did need their help (a noise complaint that was a far less serious and urgent problem than that experienced by Amber's friend), they dealt with the issue swiftly and effectively. Perhaps if more people vote with their feet against DC, the District's political leaders will have some incentive to clean up their act.

jim:
For those of us unfamiliar with the district, what incentive is that? Presumably they won't be losing state tax revenue from people moving to Virginia. Will they lose federal funds of some kind of people don't live there?
7.12.2007 1:58am
whackjobbbb:
Amber's friend woulda been in better shape, if she had the ability to transmit a case of lead poisoning to those guys. Those DC politicos need to get off the stick, and end that idiotic gun control nonsense. You'd see these home invasion incidents drop like a rock there, once the word got out.
7.12.2007 2:05am
Ilya Somin:
For those of us unfamiliar with the district, what incentive is that? Presumably they won't be losing state tax revenue from people moving to Virginia. Will they lose federal funds of some kind of people don't live there?

DC has hefty income taxes of its own that are lost when people move out (higher rates than Virginia's, actually). Also, if more people move, property tax revenue is also likely to decline as real estate prices go down. Finally, some of DC's federal subsidies are keyed to the number of people who live in the area.
7.12.2007 2:06am
Truth Seeker:
This is the same city that re-elected a mayor caught on video tape being arrested for cocaine who said such things as "If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate." and "The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist." and "I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where's Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less."

But any criticism of the district would probably be called racist. What's the use? After the OJ trial it is clear there are two Americas, one that abhors crime and one that hopes they never get caught.
7.12.2007 2:24am
Mr. Impressive (mail):
Voting with your feet is a luxury that only those with adequate transportation and financial means can afford.

The idea of "voting" with your feet is good in theory, but often unworkable in practice. Of course, it works for some people in practice, but would be entirely impractical for many others.
7.12.2007 2:55am
Ilya Somin:
Voting with your feet is a luxury that only those with adequate transportation and financial means can afford.

As I noted in my earlier post on voting with your feet (linked near the end of this one), the very poor are actually MORE likely to vote with their feet than the middle class and rich. Here in the DC area, all you have to do to vote with your feet is move to Maryland or Virginia, 2 neighboring jurisdictions only a few miles away. Can everyone do it? Surely not. But you don't have to have everyone do it in order to have an effect, just a large enough number to significantly dent the DC government's coffers.
7.12.2007 3:01am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I called the Oakland Police and told them my life was in danger and I needed immediate assistance. It appeared as though my front door was about to be kicked in. I called back five minutes later and they told me they weren't coming. Finally about an hour later the police arrived. Fortunately the would-be intruders had given up because I think they finally figured out they had the wrong address. I was fully prepared to transmit a case of lead poisoning if they broke my front door in. The governance of the city of Oakland and DC are similar in other ways.
7.12.2007 3:09am
scote (mail):

The governance of the city of Oakland and DC are similar in other ways.

However, the metro PD in DC apparently has 3x the cops per capita as Oakland. I guess that is 3x as many to ignore you.
7.12.2007 3:36am
K Parker (mail):
You know, observing all this, and more, about D.C. ("more" includes stuff like Parker v. District of Columbia and the abominable state of the DC public schools) I do have to ask if you might enumerate a few of those advantages that accrue to actually residing in the district.
7.12.2007 4:33am
Armen (mail) (www):
Here in the DC area, all you have to do to vote with your feet is move to Maryland or Virginia, 2 neighboring jurisdictions only a few miles away.

Well after nearly two years of posts from your colleague and co-blogger about the housing market in the DC area, I seriously doubt it's easy for any DC resident to pick up and move to NoVa or MD (the very few in the NW excepted). Of course, this rests entirely on my baseless assumption that most people in DC are not as well off as a tenured law prof. I haven't checked the salary figures of coke dealers lately...they probably commute.

I guess that doesn't stop people from using "voting with your feet" arguments in all sorts of contexts. A classmate of mine tried to use this approach to constitutional rights. He argued that we can really live up to Brandeis' dream by letting each state or even locality offer its own little basket of rights: No abortions but M1A1 Abrams Tanks in Texas; Yes Gays No Guns in California; No Free Porn but State Religion in Utah; etc.

It was a hard sell. In the history of this country, other than the opportunity to earn wealth and the introduction of the car, I can't think of a single factor that has caused significant demographic shifts. And that's the problem. Everyone looks out for his/her best interest. If A, B, and C moved out of DC, X, Y, and Z will scoop up their lower priced homes and take over the jobs in a heartbeat. Why? Because they weren't even employed (or they're tenured law profs on the prowl for an affordable home). If there's any earthly possibility of the population of DC shrinking dramatically

I propose that we have an Orin Kerr poll on stamping out "voting with your feet" from the lexicon. It's about as useful a suggestion as actual voting.
7.12.2007 5:09am
Peter Young:
My upstairs neighbor saw two strangers walk out of my apartment carrying my brand new VCR and notified a passing LAPD patrol car as the burglars loaded it in their vehicle. The LAPD asked if my neighbor knew for a fact they did not have my authorization to remove the VCR and when he said no, refused to intervene. Off went the crooks as the LAPD watched. They didn't even ask the perps any questions. Not only are the LAPD brutal, but they are lazy and incompetent, too.

Remember Chief Daryl Gates bragging about his master plan in case L.A. ever erupted in a riot again and what happened when it did. There was no plan; the LAPD ran scared and abandoned the city, only drawing the line at the Beverly Hills city limits.

The LAPD excel at harrassing prostitutes and shooting down deranged old ladies. Anything else is a bit too much for them.

And they wonder why the voters don't approve police bond issues.
7.12.2007 5:09am
Fan of NoVa:
As for NoVa housing costs, I work with someone who lives in the District. I live in Northern Virginia. Her housing costs are about $450 more per month than mine, for about the same amount of space. And she has to pay for a parking place. The suburbs can actually be cheaper, and that's before you consider the tax rates.

I "pay" by having a longer commute, but it's not that much longer.
7.12.2007 6:01am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I more or less swore never to live in DC after living there in 1990, and being placed on hold for about 5 minutes when I called 911 on a rather urgent matter. I thought things had improved substantially in recent years, but perhaps not.
7.12.2007 7:26am
Bretzky (mail):
Anyone who lives in the DC area knows that living in the District is far more expensive than living in either Maryland or Virginia. Things that cost more in the District: housing, food, water, electricity, cars, etc. DC is like any other crowded urban center, it's very expensive.

I have lived across the river in Alexandria, Virginia for eight years now. I've known several people since I moved here from New Jersey who settled in DC when they came here initially. All of those people eventually moved out of DC because it's just too expensive and dangerous.

"Voting with your feet" is a plausible option, it's just that only a subset of the population is inclined to carry it out. Many people are willing to put up with all manner of difficulties and expenses to live in a particular place because of either mere inertia or they don't want to leave where they grew up.

BTW, I have also only called the police once since I have been here. It was also for a noise complaint. The Alexandria police responded quickly and handled it professionally. Any city who employed police officers like the ones above would be a city from which I would quickly flee.
7.12.2007 9:31am
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
Why would a drop in the tax base be incentive for the local government to do anything when, as everyone knows, the local government actually can't do anything in the first place? D.C. is actually run by congress, and its members respond to their constituencies back home.
7.12.2007 9:39am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that overall, it is an inner city thing. Or, to by snide, what you get when you put Democrats in charge of something for too long. A couple of decades ago, we called the Denver police for a burglary in progress. About six cars showed up almost an hour later, with lights, sirens, etc., about an hour after the call went in. Needless to say, the perps were long gone, but we had fun watching it all unfold.

I also note that it seems like the very same jurisdictions that are so tardy with their police response are also the ones that seem most adament about disarming their citizenry. If this person had tried to use a gun a couple of months ago, she could have ended up in jail herself for failing to get a permit before moving the gun from one room to the next, or some such thing. Other big cities are almost as notorious about their gun restrictions, and Denver here in CO has convinced the courts that they should be excempt from the state wide gun laws passed a couple years ago.
7.12.2007 9:53am
Eli Rabett (www):
Housing prices are high in DC because people want to live in the city. Supply and demand you know. There is amazing development of condos and rental units in the innermost ring adjacent to the office/business district. Slowly, but surely supermarkets and big stores are beginning to open to serve all the people who have moved into DC. This is forcing poorer people into the suburbs, especially into garden and townhouse apartments built in the 50s and 60s. Traffic sucks. Even against the traffic anyone working in Fairfax would have a significant commute from DC (10-12 miles). The city is losing population by displacement because housing the more well off uses more space than the poor (fewer people per house/apartment).

City services have improved greatly over the last 10-15 years. I can, for example get motor vehicle administrivia done within an hour and do a lot of it on line, while 20 years ago it took an entire day. Anthony Williams deserves a lot of credit. As someone who has lived in large cities most of my life I feel no need to arm myself, but do understand that there can be a huge change within a short geographical distance and there are places to avoid.
7.12.2007 10:23am
RPS (mail):

You know, observing all this, and more, about D.C. ("more" includes stuff like Parker v. District of Columbia and the abominable state of the DC public schools) I do have to ask if you might enumerate a few of those advantages that accrue to actually residing in the district.


Perhaps the biggest reason we chose to live in the District (Capitol Hill) was convenience -- Nationals and Wizards games (we split season tickets for both), the theatre, the Mall, the monuments, the ability to go out after work without having to worry about driving and/or riding the Metro for 45 minutes, and the 20 minute commute to work.

There's also intangible factors. I'll admit it, I enjoy seeing the Capital down Penn. everyday when I get on the Metro. I also think our neighborhood has more character than many of the surrounding suburbs.

Plus, while D.C. had a deservedly bad rap for taxes for years, now if you own a home it's cheaper than many places in MD and some in VA. Of course, what we get for our tax dollars is pitiful but I digress.

If/when schools became an issue that will likely cause us to move unless we decide to stomach the 20k+ that private school will cost, but given our current childless situation, D.C. is a great place to live.
7.12.2007 10:34am
Happyshooter:
When I got out of the Marine Corps in the early 90s the DC police were very agressively going after Marines about to be discharged. They were even hiring white Marines.

They were paying signing bonuses and relocation. The bennies were also pretty good. I thought hard about it but decided to go to college.

I am suprised that the quality of police service didn't improve after hiring all those former Marines.
7.12.2007 11:47am
Ted Frank (www):
the 20 minute commute to work

I have a 20-minute commute to downtown DC from Virginia. And, as occasional VC blogger Tyler Cowen notes, the ethnic restaurants are better here, too. (And the building I live in is taller than zoning laws permit apartment buildings in DC, so I even have as much of an urban environment as I would have in Upper NW DC.) But I can see the appeal of Capitol Hill for someone who attends 60 or so sporting events a year.
7.12.2007 12:02pm
Ilya Somin:
Well after nearly two years of posts from your colleague and co-blogger about the housing market in the DC area, I seriously doubt it's easy for any DC resident to pick up and move to NoVa or MD (the very few in the NW excepted).

Not everyone is looking for a house as high end as I think David is.
7.12.2007 12:04pm
BGates (www):
Well after nearly two years of posts from your colleague and co-blogger about the housing market in the DC area....
at least some of which must have included the notion that housing costs are high, relative to rent. Your point rests entirely on your baseless assumption that most DC residents are homeowners (43% in 2005, vs 69% nationally).
7.12.2007 12:12pm
new guy:
One example of poor police work (and a citation to a 1989 article) justifies the conclusion that DC is so bad that people should move out. I guess it's this sort of logical rigor that passes in the academy these days.
7.12.2007 12:25pm
Amber (www):
Not all police departments labor under the watchful eye of an independent monitor.
7.12.2007 12:32pm
Amber (www):
Not all police departments labor under the watchful eye of an independent monitor.
7.12.2007 12:32pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
For all the discussions above about voting with one's feet, Whackjobbbb has the better idea - lead pills. And even if a particular person chose (as many do) not to own a gun, the general knowledge (assuming that they didn't boast about their defencelessness) that many people in the district owned guns would tend to cut the crime rate and therefore protect them to some extent.

Of course, expecting DC to come up with sensible gun laws - well, don't hold your breath that long, undertaker's fees are big bucks these days. I suspect that even if the Supreme Court tells DC that they've got to reform their gun laws, that the liberals that run the town will still manage to make owning - never mind carrying concealed - a usable gun extremely difficult for the average person.

The silver lining of such a SC ruling would be if they incorporated the second Amendment. That probably wouldn't help the people of DC, but up here in MA, we might get some benefit, as our State Constitution's arms right clause has been ruled to be a collective right (we have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense) and so, in MA, you can't even own, let alone carry, a gun without a license, which has to be renewed every 5 or 6 years, and which, for handguns, is issued at the discretion of your police chief.
7.12.2007 12:36pm
AntonK (mail):
In any reasonably governed political entity, she would've been free to shoot them both...something they both deserved, and society would have benefited from.
7.12.2007 12:38pm
rarango (mail):
Washington DC is worse than New Orleans? that is truly breathtaking! You indeed have my sympathies.
7.12.2007 12:39pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Lived in DC briefly in 1979, got the heck out to Arlington and then Falls Church, VA. There is no way I'd live inside DC. BTW, DC's population was dropping over that and subsequent years, simply because anyone who could afford to get out was doing so. As I recollect, it fell from about 600,000 to 530,000 or so.

As far as the government realizing this and cleaning up its act -- that assumes rationality. This is a place that keeps on electing Marion Barry to leadership posts, remember. (The only good thing I can say for him is that I saw the movie and yes, the b****h set him up. He was looking for sex that night rather than cocaine).
7.12.2007 12:41pm
Ilya Somin:
One example of poor police work (and a citation to a 1989 article) justifies the conclusion that DC is so bad that people should move out.

Actually, it's a long record of bad government, and citations to 2 articles, plus a website compiling several more articles, only one of which dates back to 1989.
7.12.2007 12:50pm
Hattio (mail):
Armen says;

In the history of this country, other than the opportunity to earn wealth and the introduction of the car, I can't think of a single factor that has caused significant demographic shifts

Have you heard of the Dust Bowl? Cops at the California line keeping the Okies out? Or have you heard of blockbusting and white flight? Or the Oregon Trail? Or the Gold Rush of '49 to California? Or the Klondike Gold Rush? Though I guess the Gold Rushes fall under the "opportunity to earn wealth" the other examples are all contrary to your statement.
7.12.2007 12:57pm
new guy:
sorry, but most of your evidence is old. As are the comments on this page. Take this for example:

Lived in DC briefly in 1979, got the heck out to Arlington and then Falls Church, VA. There is no way I'd live inside DC. BTW, DC's population was dropping over that and subsequent years, simply because anyone who could afford to get out was doing so. As I recollect, it fell from about 600,000 to 530,000 or so.

Yeah, I'm sure DC is the same as it was close to 30 years ago. Good analysis.
7.12.2007 12:58pm
nnnn (mail):
Everyone seems to think "voting with one's feet" might make DC better. On the contrary, this is exactly what thugs like Barry want. It makes poor black voters the dominant faction in the elections. It makes DC a mix of rich politicos/policy wonks/young, childless professionals and a large number of poor, low skill workers. This allows demagoguery and patronage politics to become even more effective. There are just enough revenues and enough govt largesse to make handouts effective.

It is a concentrated version of what has been observed in Detroit, East St. Louis, New Orleans and other dysfunctional regions. The revenue base collapse has not hurt those cities' leaders. Of course they want a richer base, but ONLY if they can be guaranteed to have the same political structure forever. Given that such a deal is not possible, they prefer to keep the city poor. North Korea could not do a better job.
7.12.2007 1:05pm
curious:
I have live in the district for the past three years -- yes, you ask?, during the 21st century.

my quick take:

the claim that living in the city is so much more expensive than in NOVA is ridiculous. Rent (a figure I have more knowledge of than home prices) is just as expensive, or in some cases more, in areas of NOVA. Just compare rental rates in hot and not hot areas of DC with Ballston, Clarendon, Courthouse and Rosslyn. Granted, there is typically more in the way of new construction out there, but that isn't allways the case. And, there is a fair share of new construction (my place included) inside DC. Also -- after one year living and commuting on the Orange Line from NOVA, I wouldn't want to do that for a long time. Walking to work or the option of multiple lines within walking distance makes one hell of a difference.

It's a city. It has city problems. If people are really serious about helping to solve those problems, they should help turn it into a city that actually gets to run itself (DC Gov't gets to play around and make decisions that are ultimately voidable by Congress) and has full representation in Congress.
7.12.2007 1:14pm
Mark Field (mail):

In the history of this country, other than the opportunity to earn wealth and the introduction of the car, I can't think of a single factor that has caused significant demographic shifts.


There's good evidence that slavery had a huge impact on where immigrants chose to live, namely in states without slavery. Of course, you could see that as an "oppportunity to earn wealth" issue, but it's pretty clear social factors played a big role as well.
7.12.2007 1:47pm
Porkchop:
But to see REAL police work, you need to go to Prince Georges County, Maryland -- just across the line from DC. In PG County, the police ARE the criminals -- they randomly shoot civilians, usually without penalty. Sometimes they chase them into Virginia and then shoot them. DC police are just incompetent (most of the time); PGC police are downright vicious.

And, yes, I live in Virginia (Arlington) and work in the District -- wouldn't have it any other way.
7.12.2007 2:01pm
Armen (mail) (www):
Hattio, which one of those does not fall under the category of opportunity to earn wealth or use of the car? Gold rush? Dust bowl? White flight? (Car made it easy to commute to work in the city, see modern LA). The greatest shift is perhaps the migration of African-Americans north during the New Deal. But again, that falls under opportunity to earn wealth.
7.12.2007 2:04pm
Mike Keenan:
I would like to hear what people believe here: 1) the police were lazy 2) the police were ignorant/stupid

Some combination of the two is possible. I tend to believe 2). I would have thought that the police would "enjoy" arresting people for valid purposes. I suppose that is dangerous but the job has got to be pretty dull without that. Is it that the paper work is oppressive? Do they have some other dis-incentive? Is is because they are looking at future court appearances, interviews with DAs, and just an annoying hassle?
7.12.2007 2:15pm
Armen (mail) (www):
Mark, that's a good point. There is no strong Irish community in say Charleston. And the dominant immigrants of the time, Irish, Scots, and Germans, generally didn't think too highly of slavery. But of course, we'd have to overlook the industrial revolution in the north and the location of the dominant entry points into the US. I can easily say I'm never moving to Wyoming because it sucks. Am I voting with my feet?

More seriously, putting DC aside for one second, how is voting with your feet ever a better option than voting? We got rid of a governor because he was a bumbling idiot (hardly a disqualification for political office), last I checked California is still growing. Cops suck? Vote the mayor, city council, police commission, etc. out of office. Even if you're renting, that's still cheaper than "voting with your feet."

And btw, how do renters vote with their feet? Again, putting aside the hill and NW crowd, how many of them are living month to month? If they move it's because they found a cheaper place or a better job, not because they want to cast a referendum on local politics. I can just see it now, single mom with 4 kids and food burning in the kitchen: "Pack up you little bastards. I'm sick and tired of our city councilman not having any townhalls."
7.12.2007 2:19pm
whit:
a big reason for metro DC being such a terrible PD (this is well known in LE circles) is their employment of blatant racial preferences in both hiring and promotion

hiring incompetents, gang members, etc. in the interest of "diversity" has led to bad results. who woulda thunk it?.
7.12.2007 2:27pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I lived in DC through the 1990s, in the Adams Morgan area, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, Barry was an embarrasment, in many ways, as a mayor. On the other hand, D.C. local government is pretty much set up to fail because, as noted above, any and all rules or laws it passes can be, and in cases involving pet peeve issues of Republicans from elsewhere, are overturned by Congress. Not to excuse incompetence among city officials -- because their definitely was and is some -- but D.C. has some unique governance issues in terms of their elected officials lacking some powers, having some state-type functions as well as city type functions, etc.

I will say that Adams Morgan was a great multi-ethnic neighborhood, about equal numbers of whites, Hispanics, and blacks. I never had any problems with crime myself, and of all my friends that lived in the 'hood, one had his pocket picked once. I could walk to work (and most other places), great restaurants, clubs, stores, etc.

It does depend on what stage of your life you're in, though. It's fun to be a yuppie in a smaller space in the city when your younger, then have a bigger place further out when you are older, have kids, etc.

As to voting with your feet, the big demographic shift from when I lived there to now is white and upper-middle class folks moving back into the city. Neighborhoods where I wouldn't have wanted to walk alone at night are now downright chic. The whole "U Street Corridor" area is unrecognizable from when I lived there.

None of this is to excuse bad/incompetent behavior by police. But again, I loved living in that city, and it's gotten "nicer" since I left.
7.12.2007 2:35pm
Ted Frank (www):
I vote that the police were lazy, but possibly rationally lazy: the way DC courts give slaps on the wrists to criminals, it might not seem worth the paperwork and the like to arrest someone for attempted burglary.
7.12.2007 2:37pm
whit:
no, the DC police are incompetent

if u had asked me months ago what the most incompetent major PD in the country was, DC would have been top of the list. it's been that way for years

that's what happens when your hiring is determined by racial and gender quotas, not ability
7.12.2007 2:44pm
Mark Field (mail):

Mark, that's a good point. There is no strong Irish community in say Charleston. And the dominant immigrants of the time, Irish, Scots, and Germans, generally didn't think too highly of slavery. But of course, we'd have to overlook the industrial revolution in the north and the location of the dominant entry points into the US.


It's hard to separate the industrial revolution from the slavery issue, in part because slavery is (obviously) incompatible with the free labor ideology of capitalism. However, we can test the basic idea by looking to see where farmers migrated. And, again, the answer is clear -- they moved to the free states.

I am not a big fan of the "vote with your feet" theory. I think it's simplistic. The place where we live has hundreds, if not thousands, of identifiable characteristics which make it more or less desirable. Evaluating trade-offs with another state is extremely difficult except at the margins, i.e., when a particular factor takes on overwhelming significance for someone. That was true for slavery, it was certainly true for Hitler, but it doesn't have much relevance for America today.
7.12.2007 2:48pm
RPS (mail):

I have a 20-minute commute to downtown DC from Virginia.


Yes, but from what very little looking I did at housing prices in areas of VA where you could have a 20 minute commute driving (her) and walk a few blocks to a Metro stop (me), I wasn't seeing any great savings nor did I really see that many good options that were available.

In order to reap the benefits of VA living (lower housing costs + an actual backyard) it seemed to me like you either had to give up being close to Metro or give up being able to easily drive into the city.
7.12.2007 2:59pm
Grumpy Old Man (mail) (www):
Although your own lying eyes all see it, only one or two posters have alluded to this fact even indirectly--DC is a black majority city with an overwhelmingly black government.

My impression is that most such cities in the US are horribly run, even controlling for poverty (which of course is also partly a consequence of bad government--those who can, leave, black or white; and who would invest in such a place?). Think New Orleans, LA; Camden, NJ; Gary, Indiana; Compton, CA; East St. Louis. The new mayor of Newark seems to be trying, but he's cleaning up a cesspool, too.

Even in LA, King Hospital was created in what was then an overwhelmingly black area as a post-riot sop to the community and politicians. It has turned out to be a charnel house and may soon be closed.

I'd like to see an example of black success in municipal government in this country. Perhaps some commenter can point one out, but I can't think of one.
7.12.2007 3:06pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Grumpy Old Man:

You should at least get credit for saying explicitly what some folks say in ways that try to disguise the racism: e.g., the poster in one of the Libby threads whining about how poor Scooter couldn't a fair trial in a city with so many "underclass" folks who "voted for Marion Barry."
7.12.2007 3:56pm
whackjobbbb:

Not to excuse incompetence among city officials -- because their definitely was and is some -- but D.C. has some unique governance issues in terms of their elected officials lacking some powers, having some state-type functions as well as city type functions, etc.


Disagree, Slater. Detroit has given away or had taken away from them MUCH of their local governance. The State took over the failed school system. The Justice Department basically took over their failed police department (and lemme know if the DC cops ever let multiple jailed suspects die of medical issues in their cells on a regular basis, steal evidence and money constantly, and accept as "self defense" a police shooting where the cop had to stop and RELOAD to keep firing at an unarmed suspect)

Plus, the legendary black-robed fascist JOHN FEIKENS has been running the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department for the last THREE DECADES... and the DWSD is arguably one of the biggest public utilities in the world.

It ain't the Feds that wrecked DC or Detroit, my man, or if they HAVE... they've done it in equal measure.

DC has many failures as do other urban areas, but in this case here, Amber's inability to provide for her own personal defense is a result of the presence of a bunch of statist slugs who've glommed onto the District like leeches, and vote just as we'd expect statist slugs to vote, re local gun control laws.

If you limousine liberals weren't living there, it'd be JUST like Detroit... failed governance, perhaps, but at least the citizenry would have options for personal defense. Try breaking in on one of those old-school Southern brothas in my old neighborhood in Detroit... you WILL get a case of lead poisoning. And you know why that panderer Granholm signed that castle doctrine before her reelection last Fall, and why we passed concealed carry a while back? It was because those brothas don't LIKE it when some white liberal hack makes noises about disarming them... that's why. And Granholm knows the voters of all stripes will go that way, and she wanted to get her pretty tush back into that confortable seat, to keep her and her hubby on the public weal. Forget your "evil demopublicraticans" nonsense... open your eyes and look at the reality... compare these 2 situations... it jumps right out at you if you actually look. You white liberals need to drop your nonsense and stop discriminating against those brothas... and sistahs... as Granholm recognizes. I won't accuse you of racism, but the DC bantustans you've engendered contain people who have a right to defend themselves personally, even if you lefties don't want to.

If we organized an "ethnic cleansing" of you types from the District, and un-skewed the demographics your presence has created... I'd almost bet that Amber and the other vulnerables would have other choices available than dialing the incompetent police force... who right now probably arrive just in time to assist her by sliding her into a body bag.
7.12.2007 4:05pm
whackjobbbb:
No offense, Slater, you're my boy you know!
7.12.2007 4:10pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Whackjob:

Take a deep breath and relax. I wasn't talking about Detroit and, although my wife is from there so I know some things about it, I'm not debating that with you. Detroit and DC are very different cities -- an entirely different economic base, very different demographics (lots of white folks in DC), different government structures, etc.

This thread was about DC, as was my post, so even if I cared to parse your rant about Detroit, it wouldn't have much to do with what I was saying about my old neighborhood in DC, Adams Morgan. And just for the record, as to your "ethnic cleansing" line, I haven't lived in DC since 1999 -- I'm right on your border in scenic Toledo now.
7.12.2007 4:17pm
JosephSlater (mail):
No offense taken. But I would suggest a little less caffeine before posting for you.
7.12.2007 4:19pm
whackjobbbb:
That's exactly the point, Slater, it IS a different demographic than Detroit... but that's the ONLY difference between them, functionally. And it's that demographic that puts the Ambers at risk, and that's criminal.

And hey, too much caffeine is never enough!


--


OT: I gather you're involved in labor issues. You got any words of encouragement for me to pass onto my UAW buddies, re the upcoming trainwreck this Fall? Particularly, what do you know about this pension/retirement funds takeover? I gather it's probably a done deal, but if it's disastrous, now's a good time to get the word out.
7.12.2007 4:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
"It's that demographic that puts the Ambers at risk"? I thought your point was that gun control, not demographics, was the problem. Anyway, since I just wanted to put in a plug for my old DC 'hood, I'll leave it at that.

And very briefly even more off-topic, while I am into labor issues, here in my ivory tower I'm not privy to enough details about the pension/retirement funds stuff give reliable advice. I do believe that the the UAW staff, including but not limited to their attorneys, are smart and responsible people that will do the best they can for their members. But we all know it's tough times for the big three, and putting all the costs of health insurance on private industry, as we do in the U.S., ain't helping them.
7.12.2007 4:54pm
Amber (www):
For clarification: The Amber under discussion is only at risk while at work. I live in Virginia.
7.12.2007 5:06pm
Amber (www):
For clarification: The Amber under discussion is only at risk while at work. I live in Virginia.
7.12.2007 5:06pm
Stuttering Amber (mail) (www):
Sorry for the double posts. I swear I only click once!
7.12.2007 5:08pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Just out of curiosity, is there any corroboration that the original event occurred, beyond, "my friend said..."?
7.12.2007 6:10pm
Grumpy Old Man (mail) (www):

You should at least get credit for saying explicitly what some folks say in ways that try to disguise the racism:
I'm not certain what "racism" is, in this context. Marsden or no, any lawyer who tries cases will tell you that the race and ethnicity of jurors can make a difference.

A rather unsubtle kind of political corruption seems very common among black politicians; perhaps it's because most are still parvenus and dining out on city credit cards seems enticing. Some whites, no doubt, adopt a more institutional kind of self-aggrandizement--vote the right way and get a lucrative lobbying job, university presidency, or think tank sinecure.

Still and all, the question is there--even controlling for the income and education of the populace, is there a well-administered black-dominated city government in this country? If so, where?
7.12.2007 7:46pm
Grumpy Old Man (mail) (www):
Oops--Batson, not Marsden. Marsden's about a defendant's right to change appointed counsel, I think.
7.12.2007 7:51pm
Can't find a good name:
Truth Seeker: Marion Barry did say, "If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate," but the quotes about the law of gravity being racist and Reagan being defeated for a third term are fake, or at least not confirmed. See Snopes.com's article.
7.12.2007 11:50pm
Bleepless (mail):
Whenever a cop says he can do something, he almost always is right. Whenever he says he cannot, he may or may not be right, and might just be a lying pile of filth.
7.13.2007 12:05am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Marion Barry is also alleged to have said

"What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?"
He might be on to something here.
7.13.2007 12:44am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Still and all, the question is there--even controlling for the income and education of the populace, is there a well-administered black-dominated city government in this country? If so, where?

Is there one in the entire world?
7.13.2007 12:48am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):
This post isn't even about race, but I guess because we're discussing a city with a large population of African Americans, the racists must swarm to it nonetheless.

But any criticism of the district would probably be called racist.

Well, when the criticism appears to be based on race, then yes.

Although your own lying eyes all see it, only one or two posters have alluded to this fact even indirectly--DC is a black majority city with an overwhelmingly black government.

Implying of course that all African Americans-even well educated ones-are corrupt.

Still and all, the question is there--even controlling for the income and education of the populace, is there a well-administered black-dominated city government in this country? If so, where?

Is there one in the entire world?


Unless that is a question borne out of tremendous naivete and innocence, I'll presume the implication is that IN THE ENTIRE WORLD there isn't ONE city run by "blacks" (who apparently can be African, American, European, or whatever) that is competently run and not corrupt. I presume A. Zarkov spent the decades of study it would take to know this, though perhaps I am giving him more credit than he deserves.
7.13.2007 1:07pm