Capitalizing on the Moment
So let’s say you’re an African American Republican who lives in Washington and you did not vote for Barack Obama. What do you do now?
If you’re Deana Bass, you put your free-market, capitalist philosophy to work.
Bass, 35, who lives in Alexandria, isn’t moping around after her candidate of choice, John McCain, lost last week. On Monday, she launched a for-profit Web site, which is aimed at helping people find housing--or rent out their housing--for Inauguration Week, January 16-23.
For $10, people can advertise their properties on the site with a description ($12 with a picture); for $7, they can list their properties in a private database through which Bass refers potential renters. People can surf the site looking for housing for free.
The idea, Bass said, came to her because she used to work as a grass-roots organizer to build a coalition of blacks to support the Republican Party. Not an easy chore. Her work left her with a long list of contacts from around the country, and shortly after Obama won the Nov. 4th election, they began to call her looking for a place to crash for the inauguration.
“I live in a 700-square-foot apartment,” Bass said. “I began to match people with friends that I knew. My sister and I are capitalists, and we thought, ‘What a great way to connect. Let’s start a Web site.’”
Bass, who is in the process of starting a public affairs consulting firm with her sister, Dee Bee Francis, declined to say how much business she has gotten so far. There are four property ads on the site so far, but Bass said she’s been busy enough with the database that she and Francis have hired a friend, Bryant Taylor, to help staff the site.
So how does she feel about all the excitement headed to Washington of which she won’t really be a part?
“While I did not vote for Senator Obama, I could not help but to be moved,” Bass said. “I cried when he got the nomination.”
Bass, who was raised in Columbus, Ga., said she’s been a Republican all her life, as is her mother.
“But my mom voted for Obama,” she said. “It was a big shock.”
David A Nakamura
November 11, 2008; 3:27 PM ET
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