Logan Circle Parking Problems

A Blog designed to bring to the attention of our political leaders the problems of illegal church parking

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Local Churches: Anti-Resident?

Like Logan Circle, Shaw residents have also tired to reason with the churches over local issues. The concern for people in the Shaw neighborhood has been economic development. What Shaw residents want to do is bring in new shops and restaurants to revive their local economy. Some of the churches, however, oppose this move. One in particular has been Shiloh Baptist Church which was "going around with petitions, saying (the restraurants) are nightclubs." As one author noted, "Shiloh's petition against the two restaurant liquor licenses is ironic in light of the recent Convention Strategic Plan that came out several months ago. In it, the Mayor detailed his plans for developing the area surrounding the New Convention Center-the 1600 block of 9th street being one of the blocks mentioned. Neighbors specifically named fine-dining establishments-which cannot easily survive without liquor sales- as one of the top business priorities for this neighborhood." Like Logan, Shaw residents experienced the not so truthful way that some of the churches chose to frame the issue. Being divisive and uncooperative appears to be the modus operendi for church leaders.

Not wanting to stoop to their level, the Shaw residents gathered signatures for a petition asking Shiloh Baptist Church not to oppose community development. Here is the Shaw letter:
Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith
Senior Pastor
Shiloh Baptist Church
9th and P Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Rev. Smith,

We are residents of the historic Shaw neighborhood where your church is located, and we have read the articles about the conflict between your church and the proprietors of Queen of Sheba and Vegetate restaurants. We are truly grateful for the presence of Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw, your concerns for this neighborhood, and your long-standing outreach ministry to Shaw residents. We share your concern for this neighborhood and its development. We view Shiloh Baptist Church as a partner in the redevelopment of Shaw.

However, we are excited to see new businesses coming to the neighborhood, especially sit-down restaurants. We view these restaurants not as negative influences on the neighborhood, but as gathering places where community can be fostered. In our view, they are a great improvement over abandoned buildings.

We respect your church's long history in this neighborhood. Therefore, we request that a representative group from our neighborhood have the chance to meet with you, to hear your concerns about these restaurants, and to hear your vision for the future of Shaw. We would also like to share with you our concerns and hopes for this place we call home. Please contact Rachel Cornwell at 202-***-**** (604 Q Street NW) to make arrangements for a meeting that suits your schedule.
The intent of the letter was to seek compromise with the churches and open up a dialogue but the religious leaders weren't interested. This is not a way to be part of a community. How can the churches claim to be the source of the solution when they prevent economic development and parking solutions? As one poster on the DCist noted, "Perhaps if these churches weren't so divisive and keeping neighborhoods from thriving, residents could be a bit more sympathetic to their wants."

The two restaurants are Vegetate and Queen of Sheba. DCist has done a wonderful job covering this issue as well.


At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the petitions go, are the petitions checked to see whether the signatures are from residents?

At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do you ask?

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes the churches are anti-resident. They have been for years now. Maybe if they haven't been anti-gay, anti-progress, anti-white for so many years, this issue wouldn't be so volatile. But these are a bunch of arrogant, race-baiting scumbags and I plan on slashing all of their tires if they continue to park illegally.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess they need to check for the same reasons that the signatures on the petitions to allow slot machines in the District had to be checked ... to ensure that all the signatures are valid - are from real DC residents and not just added to a list to get the numbers. AND WE ALL KNOW HOW MANY VALID SIGNATURES THOSE PETITIONS HAD

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

most of the signatures on those "petitions" were from maryland residents. the ones from the district were from residents who lived no where near shaw/logan circle or the two restaurants that were protested.


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