Marion Barry Pledges to Stop Gentrification

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 25 2011 1:08 PM

Marion Barry Pledges to Stop Gentrification

WaPo reports on the new Census numbers that have D.C.'s black population falling to 51 percent, with blacks certain to lose majority status this decade -- right in time for David Catania to beat Vincent Gray in 2014.* Marion Barry is displeased.

"We’re going to stop this trend — gentrification," said D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). "We can’t displace old-time Washingtonians."

"The key to keeping this city black is jobs, jobs, jobs for black people so they can have a better quality of life in neighborhoods in the city," he added. "I believe in integration, but I don’t believe in the apartheid we have in Ward 8. You don’t see corner stores in Ward 3. You don’t see the liquor stores."

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What Barry's referring to -- he clarifies in the next paragraph -- is a more robust patronage system that requires D.C. employees to live in the city, which would theoretically stop them from moving to Prince George's County. And Barry was very, very good at keeping the bureaucracy overstuffed and untouchable during his four terms as mayor. But this is stupid. How would this prevent non-black professionals from moving into the many undervalued parts of Washington?

For some non-stupid thinking on gentrification, consult Shani Hilton.

*You heard it here first.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.