Write in urban renewal!

Since I campaigned for the Republican nomination for the House of Delegates seat held by Mitch Van Yahres since 1981, I thought I should weigh in on gentrification, which I favor.

Antoinette Roades is correct [Letters, October 2, "Fifeville wasn't Fife's"]. Poor and working class neighborhoods are and always have been more diverse than affluent neighborhoods. Fifeville was not a poor neighborhood when it was new.

If you own a cheap house in a run-down neighborhood being gentrified, that's your ticket out of poverty.

Whatever the assessed value, you should ask for two or three times that amount. If your selling price is too high, you continue to own the property and pay taxes at the assessed value. Don't sell unless you get enough to buy a decent place with money leftover to spend. Gentrification is the kind of redevelopment that can benefit everyone.

My campaign was against urban renewal, the process by which homeowners and businesses are forced out or threatened to be forced out by the government for the express purpose of selling the land to a private developer. According to public statements by citizens and officials, the one-block renewal on Prospect Avenue, and individual houses on and near Tenth Street NW are examples of urban renewal 2003.

The only thing I can do about it is write this letter.

Unlike Mitch Van Yahres while he was on City Council 1968-1976, I don't have oversight of the Redevelopment and Housing Authority. I have no reason to think that he has changed his position.

On November 4, I will write in myself because I actually tried to get the nomination. When an incumbent runs unopposed, that's an opportunity to write in the one issue you think needs to be addressed. The incumbent will still win.

Write in Urban Renewal so we can begin to put this chapter of history behind us.

Blair Hawkins


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