Category Archives: Articles

Articles and news on development.

WDC vis-a-vis London

A recent Washington Post article highlights the Grenfell Tower fire, a building poorly constructed with questionable materials that was approved with little accountable municipal permitting review.

The Grenfell fire illustrated in searing fashion the perils of life in Britain’s public housing high-rises, where years of unheeded warnings, slashed costs and deregulation all added up to a tragedy unlike any Britain has seen in at least a century.

But the aftermath has shined a spotlight on a different problem with Britain’s strained-to-the-breaking-point housing system — a severe shortage of affordable options that has left people desperate for a roof over their heads.

The article captures London’s construction boom in a way that closely matches the problems in the District.  DCRA is DC’s permitting office which is under much scrutiny for similar oversight and permitting failures.  And DC has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis for more than a decade.

The article sheds light on DC’s major planning and permitting problems.  It’s a good read, if sad for all those families hurt or killed and displaced.

Using Law for Good & Bad

While the corporate “journalists” attack the character of local activists when they use the law to demand accountability for developments in the District, slumlords can use the law (Bankruptcy) to avoid accountability and dodge their ethical duty to provide clean and humane residential units to District residents.

That is, when activists use the law to protect their communities they get attacked in the press. When slumlords use the law to cover-up their negligence and assault on poor people and families, the monied classes get a pass.

#tiltedpress
#lawforgood
#legalaction

Accountability of Developer Promises, NOT

City officials gets wooed constantly by developers pleading for handouts and corporate welfare and these officials (city council, mayor, planners) have dutifully served their campaign contributors well.

Since activists shined the light bright on this corporate welfare during boomtown DC, the City Council had to begin giving the appearance they expected returns on the promises instead of just dispossessing the public farm.

But, as should have been expected, these same city officials gifting the monied classes never actually followed up to see if those promises were fulfilled or that the city got a fair return on our investments.

DC taxpayers continue to still be robbed by the developer-class for a myriad of large financial gifts of public land, tax breaks, and zoning entitlements.

And now the dot on the exclamation point — the independent DC Auditor pulled together the stark data and concluded what we all intuitively knew — city officials (planners, city council, mayor) are suckas for corporate-driven development and the monied classes.

#DCfiresale
#corporatehandouts
#welfare4therich

Activism in Fall, on Fleek

Fall on Fleek :: Get Active & Involved

DC4RD Fall on Fleek Update

~~ This year’s fall theme is finding accountability in the courts because the woeful City Council and Mayoral oversight of agency action is no longer cutting it.

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HOUSING ACTIVISM
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* Barry Farms (Ward 8) in Court this Wednesday >>
https://www.facebook.com/events/1784614785138267/

* Kenilworth Courts (Ward 7) in a zoning battle against displacement >>
http://www.dchousing.org/property.aspx?id=5N

* Brookland Manor (Ward 5) residents take racism and classism to court >> http://thehilltoponline.com/2016/09/23/brookland-manor-v-gentrification/

* Congress Heights (Ward 8) rally to defend their homes >>
https://dcindymedia.org/node/1246

* Museum Square Tenants (Ward 2) win in Court of Appeals >>
http://dcist.com/2016/09/museum_square_tenants_win_another_c.php

—> If you have questions about any of these above items, contact us:
dc4reality@gmail.com 202 810 2768

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ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
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* McMillan Park (Ward 1 & 5; National Landmark) has its day in Court >>
https://www.facebook.com/SAVEMcMillan/

* Buzzard Point (Ward 6) residents air and water quality under threat >> http://planning.dc.gov/page/buzzard-point-urban-design-framework

* Zoning Rewrong (The whole city) — The ZRR passed with no impacts studies conducted >> http://www.twilightzoning.org/legal

* The ZRR is still being amended >>
http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/316

* [new] DC Consumer Utility Board >>
http://www.dcconsumerutilityboard.org/

—> If you have questions about any of these above items, contact us:
dc4reality@gmail.com 202 810 2768

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
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* Adams Morgan Suntrust Plaza (Ward 1) — PN Hoffman wants it all >>
http://www.saveourplaza.wordpress.com

* Union Market (Ward 5 & 6) facing serious upheaval >>
http://tinyurl.com/wapo-union-market-sep-2016

* DMPED Land Disposition Agreements (The whole city) — Finally put online >> http://dmped.dc.gov/node/1019962

—> If you have questions about any of these above items, contact us:
dc4reality@gmail.com 202 810 2768

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MORE EVENTS (Calendars & Bulletin Boards)
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* Washington Peace Center >> http://washingtonpeacecenter.net/calendar/
* Neighborhood Network >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeighborhoodSolidarityNetwork
* DC Organizing Posse >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/235632049818909/
* The Great Ward Eight >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/161579963922562

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DON’T AGONIZE, ORGANIZE!
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* EmpowerDC >> http://www.empowerdc.org
* ONE-DC >> http://www.onedconline.org
* DC for Democracy >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/2540176953/
* SURJ DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/652826544817571/
* Food Not Bombs DC >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/foodnotbombsdc/
* DC for Reasonable Development >> https://www.facebook.com/dc4reality/

Thank you!
Chris O. & The DC4RD team!
www.dc4reality.org
202 810 2768

PS: If you haven’t already seen this weeks big event, check out >>
http://www.BreakingThroughPower.org

FALL UP-date: Calendar, Articles & Racism in the District

DC for Reasonable Development FALL UPdate:
Calendar, Articles & Racism in the District

DC for Reasonable Development connects points of information for your mental digest to inspire action in you and your neighbors living and working in the District.

Our updates are seasonal, but our site is full of current resources and information to assist in your desire to not be displaced, ignored, or adversely affected by the influx of developer-corporate capital flowing into the City and drastically changing our collective futures.

The racism we see at the ground-level and on the street is also perpetrated at the highest government levels as well.

Disparate treatment by the cops is mimicked by City zoning officials and the result is the same, racism.

This has got to stop.  Learn more.  Then Act!

Update Topics (with links to data)

Racism in DC (On the streets and in the halls of planning and zoning) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#racism

Affordable Housing (More Housing Needed, Congress Heights, Downtown Exempt from Affordability) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#housing

Food Security (Local DC farm festiva;  Anti-Monsanto) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#food

Municipal Energy Update: Exelon supported by Mayor, Opposed by the People (Keep the pressure on) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#energy

MLK Library Renovation Update (See the plans, meet DCPL’s Director) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#libraries

Transportation Metro
(Bigger DC — Bigger Metro Collapse) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#metro

Social Justice Activities (Save McMillan; Public Banking; Dia De Los Muertos) http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/215#social_justice

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RACISM IN DC
On the Street and in DC’s halls of planning

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This past week we have seen our young black friend Jason get brutalized by cops who responded to a call from a person who “felt uncomfortable” that him and his friends were getting money from the bank >> http://wjla.com/news/local/lawyer-for-udc-student-handcuffed-on-video-looking-into-civil-rights-violations

Then we found out that business leaders are working with the  Metropolitan Police Dept. and other officials to implement an online app used to largely profile black people in and around Georgetown >> http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mobile-app-groupme-used-to-counter-shoplifting-in-georgetown-accused-of-racial-profiling/

The on the ground profiling and racism follows a pattern with District officials in DC’s planning departments too. 

As it regards the controversial Zoning Regulations Rewrite, several residents, including ANC’s have complained that residents in Georgetown were offered special treatment in working alongside the Office of Planning to customize zoning regulations to protect their community >> http://www.dc4reason.org/zrr/anc/pr/

But, when ANC’s in Ward 5, 7, and 8 asked for similar direct assistance as offered to Georgetown, the Office of Planning told them to wait until the ZRR had passed, effectively nullifying any chance at customizing and protecting their ANC districts from the ZRR.  http://www.twilightzoning.org/wrong

Racism in DC is present from the profiling on the ground by cops and business leaders all the way up to the DC’s planning and zoning officials.  And, the mounting demands for justice is real.

#BlackLivesMatterDMV will be hosting a march against racism and police abuse on October 20, 2015, 7:30pm, be there.  FMI >> https://www.facebook.com/events/185243745143911/

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ARTICLES & EVENTS
Housing, Food, Energy, Libraries,
Transportation & Social Justice

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 Housing (Articles & Events)

Even when the DC Government intervenes to help, they pour on the hurt.

In the case of a dilapidated apartment building, DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) helps people move out of an unsafe situation, but then won’t provide any real temporary living options for those DC residents being moved >> http://wjla.com/news/local/evicted-from-unsafe-building-dc-residents-struggle-to-find-affordable-housing

In Ward 8, the Congress Heights Metro properties face development, but at what costs and who benefits >>  http://tinyurl.com/wapo-oct-14-2015-CH

And, in downtown, where housing affordability is at an all-time low, some of the last affordable units at Museum Square are threatened to be displaced as part of a national trend of hatred of the poor and working families >> http://www.afro.com/voucher-expirations-create-housing-insecurity-in-d-c-across-nation/

To stand up for affordable housing in the District, there are several events to mark your calendar by:

* Empower DC — affordable housing advocates — Annual Meeting, This Saturday, October 17, 11AM to 2PM, Union Temple Baptist Church, 1225 W Street, SE.  http://tinyurl.com/empower-dc-annual-mtg-2015

* The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is to host two public input events and release an online survey for residents to express affordable housing and community development needs in DC. First one to be held, Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, 1630 7th Street, NW in the large meeting room, FMI >> http://dhcd.dc.gov/service/dc-draft-fy-2016-2020-consolidated-plan

* The Campaign for Inclusionary Zoning invites the public to learn how we can help make Inclusionary Zoning better serve the people it was intended to help. Be at the meeting to discuss, Thursday, October 22, 2015, 9:30–11:30am at DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), 820 First St NE #510, Washington, DC 20002.  There are specific ways to make IZ work >> http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/179

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Food Security Events

Here in the District, while baseball and basketball stadiums steal the show, and steal our city monies, many DC youth still go to bed hungry on any given night.

There are two events coming up to work on Food justice issues this weekend:

* Local District farmers proving lots of healthy food
can be produced relatively inexpensively within the District.  The Three Part Harmony Farm team invite you to their Fall Farm Festival, 10AM to 4PM at 3104 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20017 (close to the Brookland Metro Stop on the Red Line), FMI >> https://www.facebook.com/events/1471814903124592/

* Join the Food Justice Coalition as we go to Washington, DC to fight the DARK Act! Friday will be a day of Senate lobbying followed by a March around DC and Saturday will be the Food Justice Rally at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol with speakers beginning at noon. FMI >> https://www.facebook.com/events/582976311808973/

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Energy Access & Justice

It would appear the Mayor and other officials, including DC’s first-elected Attorney General, Karl Racine, as well as many business and social leaders are trying to work around the decision by DC’s Public Service Commission to oppose the Exelon-Pepco Merger >> http://dcist.com/2015/10/heres_what_people_are_saying_about.php

It is clear that Exelon is looking to leverage DC’s Pepco assets and financials, those of OUR energy provider, to balance THEIR failing nationwide nuclear-based energy gamble.

If you oppose this bad deal, DC SUN is asking you write a letter to City officials asap >> http://www.powerdc.org/take-action.html

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DC’s Libraries

DC’s central public library, our King Memorial Library is being renovated >> http://dclibrary.org/MLKfuture

Join the MLK Library Friends and come hear about the plans for the future of MLK Library, provide your feedback, and engage with the Director of the Library, Rich Reyes-Gavilan.  This coming Tuesday, October 20, 2015, starting at 6:30pm at the MLK Library, 901 G Street, NW.  FMI >> http://www.mlklibraryfriends.org/

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Metro Transportation

As the DC Zoning Regulations Rewrite (ZRR) looks to triple the area of “Downtown DC,” the transportation capacities of Downtown have not been evaluated by City planners >> http://dczoning.blogspot.com/2014/03/downtown-thats-where-action-is.html

In fact, while DC’s Office of Planning and Zoning officials want to go big with DC, including a bigger downtown, with bigger crowds, bigger offices, bigger cafés, bigger toilets, and bigger transportation demand — simultaneously Metro is struggling to keep up with current levels of action, threatening increased fares and service cuts Downtown and around the City.

See these articles:

It seems the City planners want to ignore Metro’s woes in their attempt to appease the corporate developers who want to squeeze as much profit from every corner of DC, without having to look under the rug, or in this case the street to determine if DC’s ageing infrastructure and transportation modalities can keep up with their incessant greed.

And, then there’s this, Study Says DC Most At Risk of Water Shortage” >> http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/05/15/study-says-dcs-water-is-at-risk-of-drying-up/

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Social Justice Activities

Rounding out this Fall update are a slew of upcoming events to make sure you are a part of:

* SAVE MCMILLAN PARK — Pack the hearing room on October 26, 2015 if you oppose the privatization and demolition of one of DC’s first integrated-spaces and 25 acres of historic public land.  FMI >> http://dccouncil.us/events/committee-of-the-whole-public-hearing

* PUBLIC BANKING — If you like the idea of the people of the District controlling their future through direct fiscal responsibility and democratic decision-making, then be at the Goethe Institute next Wednesday night >> https://www.facebook.com/events/836405599811113/

* OCT 30 — Quetzal: Día de los Muertos Concert (free!) >> https://www.facebook.com/events/695075803970014/

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OTHER ARTICLES OF IMPORT
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* District officials violating law on language access, lawsuit says –https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/district-officials-violating-law-on-language-access-lawsuit-says/2015/10/06/9e5c578e-6c3f-11e5-aa5b-f78a98956699_story.html

* Never mind the hipsters. It’s the property developers who are ruining our cities — http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/28/hipsters-property-developers-gentrification-cereal-killer-cafe

* 6 imaginative new ways America has found to punish its poor  — http://www.salon.com/2015/08/18/6_inventive_new_strategies_republicans_have_developed_to_punish_the_poor_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

* POLL: What Should the RFK Stadium Campus Have in the Future? https://www.hillnow.com/2015/09/29/poll-what-should-the-rfk-stadium-campus-have-in-the-future/

* Taxes Will Fund 90 Percent of Wizards Practice Site — http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2015/09/15/taxes-will-fund-90-percent-of-wizards-practice-site/

* The Continuing Legacy of Theresa Howe Joneshttp://husln4.com/2014/11/26/the-legacy-of-theresa-howe-jones/

* California citrus farmers pull up trees, dig reservoirs to survive drought — http://news.yahoo.com/california-citrus-farmers-pull-trees-dig-reservoirs-survive-130944199.html




Missing-you DC, Summer Update

Missing-you DC, Summer Update [edited June 15, 2015]

It’s been two months since our last update.    We don’t like bombarding you, but we’ve been a little too quiet.  It’s got to be a loud summer if the people of DC want to preserve and protect the culture, people, history, and public interest of our City.

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Menu:

1) CITY BUDGETING – LAST VOTE JUNE 30
2) SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MCMILLAN PARK
3) DCRA & CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS
4) ZONING REGULATIONS REWRITE DROPS
5) IMPORTANT ARTICLES
6) UPCOMING EVENTS

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1) CITY BUDGETING – LAST VOTE JUNE 30th

The main thing that has occurred since DC4RD’s last update has been the City’s budget discussions.

Mayor Bowser submitted her budget to the Council in early May.   The Council has since approved the spending numbers, largely unchanged.

A good analysis of the budget came by way of Justice First, located here in the District >> http://justicefirst.nationbuilder.com/analyzing_mayor_bowser_s_fy16_budget

The voting on our budget isn’t over. 

On June 30th, the DC Council will vote on a bill that informs the Mayor on how to specifically spend or funnel some of the City’s budget allocations.  It’s called the FY2016 Budget Support Act.  DC’s Chief Financial Office summarizes the key components of the BSA here >> http://tinyurl.com/cfo-fy2016-bsa

DC for Reasonable Development working with the Citywide Friends of McMillan Park invite you to join us in asking the Council to include language that defunds the demolition of the park until a full inquiry can happen as to the ethical and planning breakdowns that surround this humongous public land giveaway.

There are two ways to use this last budget vote to protect McMillan now:

  • Put on your calendar to attend the last Council session on the FY 2016 Budget Support Act next Tuesday, June 30th, and demonstrate why McMillan is so important to save from destruction and the clutches of privateers.   We will meet at the Wilson Building, outside of Room 500 at 11am, Tuesday, June 30th.  RSVP, Chris O., 202-810-2768, dc4reality@gmail.com
  • Please send a letter to the Council today regarding McMillan, particularly to CM Elissa Silverman who campaigned on a platform declining corporate contributions so she can objectively review the City’s land deals, like McMillan >> http://www.dcfeedback.com/mcmillan/letter

 

2) SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MCMILLAN PARK

The Save McMillan Action Coalition has found and announced some truly disturbing features of the McMillan Park scandal, for instance:

* The City has paid for a private PR firm to “neutralize” public opposition to the McMillan giveaway, and to give “cover” to elected-officials about this bad deal;

* $500,000 District dollars has been spent on legal services from Holland and Knight, a premier private zoning law firm to push the McMillan land deal forward;  And,

* Most recently, it has come to light that the City will be paying more than $75 million to destroy McMillan and prepare it for private development, but only get $27 million dollars to sell the land to the private developers.  The DC Tax Office has evaluated our 25-acres of public space about 1 mile from the Capitol at about $100 million dollars.  We believe the land after it is privatized and developed will be worth beyond $2 billion.

* And, the City will be paying for the so-called amenities at the site, like the recreation center, and public right-of-ways.  These are amenities that are supposed to be paid for by the developers in return for sweetheart deals.

There are many activities around McMillan Park to help you engage on this critical public land deal and to expose the ethical lapses verging on fraud in our City politic.  See this page >>  https://www.facebook.com/dc4reality

3) DCRA & CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is the City agency charged with reviewing building permit applications and ultimately ensuring that construction is safely done in the District >> http://dcra.dc.gov/

It would seem DCRA has fallen down on their job, bigtime.

DCRA officials have ignored pleas from residents to protect their neighborhoods (https://www.facebook.com/stopthepopdc), and continues to issue permits with lackadaisical oversight (http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/DC-Orders-Brand-New-Condo-Building-Torn-Down-Citing-Dangers-to-Water-System-302480421.html), and blows off residents who are hurt by impatient and unsafe construction practices (http://www.wjla.com/articles/2015/05/southeast-neighborhood-blames-breathing-problems-on-nearby-demolition-fights-d-c-housing-authority–.html).

Interim DCRA director, Melinda Bolling, awaits confirmation from the DC City Council and there is a public roundtable scheduled to hear your comments this week on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. 

BE THERE — Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to testify at the public roundtable are asked to contact Ms. Faye Caldwell, Special Assistant to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, at (202) 727-6683, or via e-mail at fcaldwell@dccouncil.us

DCRA has been told to keep issuing the permits to overdevelop at all costs, and simultaneously continues to ignore the lurking issue of DC’s very real infrastructure collapse >> http://www.dc4reason.org/updates/category/updates#up3

4) ZONING REGULATIONS REWRITE DROPS

The highly controversial Zoning Regulations Rewrite has been dropped into the DC Register, and conveniently the Office of Zoning and Planning has ensured the public only has the summer while we are vacationing with our families to review the 1000 pages of changes >> http://www.dcoz.dc.gov/ZRR/ZRR.shtm

ANC’s are being asked to resubmit their prior ANC resolutions about the ZRR.

The bottom-line is that these zoning regulations have been found to be arbitrary and capricious by many people, including lawyers and its one-size-fits-all philosophy is not based on any meaningful studies or jurisdictional reports.  It’s all a gamble with the future of our City.  For more details of its impacts and lack of due process see this blog >>  http://dczoning.blogspot.com/

Check out the archive of the terrible process of review and how the Office of Planning has rankled people across the City >>
http://dcfeedback.com/zoningchanges/venus/press.php

Listen for more information and ask your ANC’s to weigh in soon!

5) IMPORTANT ARTICLES



6) UPCOMING EVENTS

 

  • Our RFP — Parcel 42, Saturday June 13, 10:00am
    The Mayor wants to try out her new RFP process regarding public land deals, starting with Parcel 42.  If this RFP process is anything like Hine School or the West End deals, then the taxpayer will be paying for the costs of amenities and privatizing the land. So be there this Saturday to witness more semantic word play and call it out!  FMI: http://dmped.dc.gov/OURRFP_Parcel42
 
  • Support EmpowerDC, June 15th
    Donate to an amazing grassroots organization fighting to protect the residents of the historic Barry Farm community in Ward 8.  They need your help to keep 400 families from being displaced by DCHA into homelessness.Link >> http://www.empowerdc.org/index.php?page=donate
 
  • DC Ferguson, June 16th, 7:00pm
    WHAT: DCFerguson Movement protest against racist, militarized policing in Washington, D.C. and across the nation.
    WHEN: June 16, 7:00PM
    WHERE: Mt. Vernon Sq.
    FMI: https://www.facebook.com/events/865978560116129/
 
  • The Marriot Marquis Coverup, June 19th, 10am
    http://www.onedconline.org/juneteenth?utm_campaign=juneteenth

    Location: United Black Fund, 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE.
    The City spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build a hotel, and got a paltry number of jobs for locals in return.  Be there at OneDC’s press conference which will expose this TIF sham.
  • Hipster Fascism Art Opening, June 20th
    The Fridge opening Reception Saturday,  June 20, 6 – 11pm, free and open to the public >> http://www.thefridgedc.com/