Friday, January 12, 2007

DC Housing Rant

People are always amazed at the stupidity and wastefulness of DC’s bureaucrats, unless you live here, then you get used to it. I saw this article in the Washington Post about how the city will have to pay $1.5 million to buy a house in a wealthy part of the city and demolish it. Yes, demolish it. It seems DC didn’t follow proper procedures when it approved the plans, so they ended up having to buy it and will destroy it. They’ll destroy the brand new kitchen with granite countertops, as well as the never used bathroom with Jacuzzi tubs and all those other high end hoo has.

That’s the problem with government. If you cost your employer $1.5 million because you didn’t do your job right, you would be fired. Whoever is responsible for this cockup will still get their step increase every year, and their grade increase every couple of years. I guarantee that it’s someone who’s been in government as long as I’ve been alive and who will be harder to fire than the President.

Anyway, I think this story is as much about stuck up rich people and their attitude toward uppity people of color as it is about incompetent bureaucrats. It seems that when the house was being built, the neighbors raised a big stink and sued, which is why, in addition to paying to demolish the house, the city has to pay their lawyer fees too, and will let them buy the land for cheap Now, I don’t know why the neighbors are complaining. The house looks nice enough to me. Maybe those uppity WASPy types didn’t like the fact that the house was owned by a Vietnamese woman and a latino man. The article says she’s a lawyer, but I’m sure the only Vietnamese the people in that area of DC come in contact with are the women who do their nails (to be fair, they do say “hola” to their latino gardeners when their neighbors aren’t looking).

Here’s what I found interesting about the whole thing:
Also in the settlement, residents of the three houses adjoining the property led by attorneys Deborah Royster and her husband, Robert A. Malson, purchased the land for $135,000. The city owns the house and its contents, some of which can be salvaged, and will be responsible for grading the property when it is razed, Royster said.

So the neighbors get their legal fees, they get to buy the land for next to nothing, AND the city has to landscape the property for them? Such a deal!!!
When they toured their newly plundered pirate booty, guess what they had to say:

In one bathroom, the fixtures were in a box on the vanity. In another, a contemporary bowl sink was sitting on the floor. A fireplace mantel was propped on one wall. A second-floor bathroom with marble floors and shower featured a whirlpool bathtub and two windows with a bird's-eye view of Royster's pool and kitchen. A white tea kettle on her counter top could be seen clearly. "Omigod," Royster said, "I didn't realize they could see me at my kitchen sink."

HOLY CRAP, Deborah! Those ethnics can see you at your kitchen sink! Call the police! They must be up to no good! After all, they’re darker than you, right? And their food smells funny! I bet you locked up your pets when they moved in because you heard that Vietnamese eat dogs and cats with sweet and sour sauce, right? In fact, your friend told you that he heard from a guy who heard from a guy who read in a paper that they raided a Vietnamese restaurant and found cats in the kitchen, right?
Now here’s the kicker:
Many of the house's windows allowed a view of the houses on the adjoining property lots, but it was built so that the dining room had unobstructed front and side views of Rock Creek Park…
When they complained about the house to the paper "They have a better view than we do," said Royster, who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years.

TRANSLATION: “WHAT??? How dare they have a better view than us? We’re white!!!” Is that what you meant to say? Ya cracka ass cracka!!!

Anyway, I have no proof that these people are racists, but I do have proof that they are assholes. What other kind of person takes their neighbor to court, has their neighbors house torn down and then gets to buy their land for a song by using the legal system as a weapon. Oh, I know…assholes.

In other news, I saw this article today about increasing the value of your home. Why do all these articles say the same thing? Let me summarize: Focus on your kitchen and bath because that’s what people look at most. And don’t overdo it because you won’t make that money back. EVERY article says the exact same thing. That’s like reading diet tips that say “eat right and exercise.” Anyway, have a nice weekend everybody…except for those assholes in rock creek park.


Twoste said...

It's like when the Jews began slowing buying up all the land from the Palestinian bedouins in the early 1900s pre-formation of Israel. One day, the Palestinians looked around and said "Holy crap guys, those Jews disenfrachised us from our land right under our noses using our own greed and now we have no place to go!" So what did they do? Well, they began a 100-year-long+ campaign of bombing and maiming in a vain attempt to make up for the error of their ways.
So, unfair to the Palestinians? Yes. But illegal? No.
Moral of the story: Bomb the s*** out of your neighbors. Then maybe you'll get the Golan Heights.

John said...

Thank you for reminding my why I no longer live in DC and hopefully never will again.

Anonymous said...

I live near the top of a hill out in the country, but the government has been still driving me beserk. I am having a free-standing garage built and my home equity load to do so got stopped in its tracks. Why? Because FEMA just published new flood plain maps that show my house in a flood plain, when in reality my house is 300 feet above sea level and 100 feet higher than the nearest water source. How do they do this? They ignore all sorts of official maps that show elevation and work from aerial photographs that do not show elevation. They extrapolate between known flood points to draw the flood plain. It doesn't matter if the line crosses a cliff. First I hired my local surveyors to make certificate of elevation, which shows that my house is 100' above the nearest water. This only cost me $900. But then the bank said it wasn't good enough. I will have to submit a LOMA (letter of map amendment) and force FEMA to change their map. I am filing the E-Z form, but there is nothing E-Z about it. In the mean time, I have had to get flood insurance in order to get the home equity loan. It cost $2000, but the good news is that once FEMA accepts the LOMA they will re-imburse me (for the flood insurance they forced my to buy, not for the certificate of elevation which I need to get the LOMA). Our government and tax dollars at work....


wow is all i have to say...mufuckin govt. ...

Lord Chimmy said...

A nice example of assholism.

Re: the home improvement article.
For the handier among us, tiling can be an amusing way to perk up the kitchen or bathroom...Refinishing kitchen cabinets is also much easier than you might think...

EVERYONE thinks they're a handyman/handywoman. I can't tell you how many of my friends and acquaintances brag about their home improvement skills. The problem is they don't really have any skills. I've seen the hack jobs they call home improvement. How does making a mess out of your kitchen tile improve the value of your house?

Sometimes people need to hire a professional.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about assohlism. I wonder how much the Roysters paid the Fine Arts Commission not to approve that house and whether they get that money reimbursed. Well, maybe the city will auction off some of the great stuff before demolition, I could use a new fireplace mantel.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should do a little research before you make racist assumptions. You presumed that Ms. Royster was white because she lives in a multimillion dollar home and she's a lawyer. Well, Mr. know it all, Ms. Royster is African American! If the government doesn't follow their own rules and regulations, then she and her neighbors are entitled to take legal action like white folks have been doing in this country for years.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

twoste: you work for Condoleeza Rice, don't you?

john: I may move soon myself.

emily: you should become a libertarian.

sm: Ditto!

LC: yeah, people overestmimate their ability all the time. 85% of people think they are above average drivers, which is statistically impossible.

jeff: most politicians are corrupt assholes, so I wouldn't put anything past them (especially taking bribes).

anon: first, don't presume to know what's in my mind. I'm so much smarter than you're incapable of comprehending anything to do with my mind. Second, no, I assumed they were white because the family they screwed were minorities. I assumed the motive was racism because otherwise the motive was complete assholishness. I stand corrected. They are assholes. And don't try to play the race card on me. I don't suffer from white liberal guilt, so I laugh at your attempts at trying to evoke a guilt response from me.

Anonymous said...

Reiterating the post by Anonymous - just so you know, Debbie Royster and her husband Bob Malson are BLACK. And if you knew anything about of them, the last thing you would ever call them is "uppity" or "racist". They are UVA (her) and and Harvard (him) trained attorneys who knocked down racial barriers in law school just as they got that eyesore of an illegal house knocked down out of their and their neighbors' backyards.

Despite very busy careers and other community activities, they found the time and energy to stand up for their community, reading volumes of statutes, case law, etc., to back up their claim of the illegality of the house - an example not only for the black commmunity but for all people to stand up for themseleves and their communities.

"Uppity" - that would be using their education only for their own financial benefit. "Racist" - that would be the person who wrote this article who appears to assume that Debbie and Bob are white presumably because of their occupations and address, and for pitting the homeowners of that neighborhood against a Vietnamese and Latino couple as if that were the issue.