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Marion Barry, Soccer Maven

Marion Barry was against a new soccer stadium in Southeast before he was for it. But now that he's for a new stadium for D.C. United on national park land at Poplar Point, the former Mayor for Life is really, really for it.

"Can you imagine the national soccer championship game in Anacostia and 20,000 people coming over here and seeing it's not hell over here?" Barry asks. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

When Marion Barry is supporting an idea that he not long ago derided as a silly notion that had nothing to offer to a low-income, black community, you know there's a delicious power game going on behind the scenes. And the wrangling over Poplar Point--a beautiful yet scruffy, 110-acre swath of federal park land along the Anacostia River--is turning into a grand story of brute political power, feisty environmentalists, and crafty community activists, all vying for control over land that until recently nobody wanted.

But in a land swap that originated in the White House, the District stands poised to gain control over the parkland. The question then becomes what to do with it. The White House's idea was to let the city use the land for economic development. But parks advocates say the waterfront is precious public space and must be fixed up so the people of Anacostia may enjoy it.

Then came Victor MacFarlane, the San Francisco developer who proposed a $150 million, 27,000-seat soccer stadium for the site, along with a retail and residential complex. MacFarlane worked the community, holding open meetings and private schmooze sessions, and winning over not only Barry, but a wide coalition of neighborhood activists who formerly thought that soccer made about as much sense in Anacostia as would a museum of bluegrass.

"We need massive development over here," Barry says. And MacFarlane promised to set aside 30 percent of the units in his project as affordable housing, for people making $35,000 to $55,000 a year.

Then, Mayor Adrian Fenty threw a wrench in the works, deciding that sole-sourcing the deal for MacFarlane made no sense. Instead, the mayor is opening up Poplar Point to proposals from other developers, some of whom might want to reserve more land for a park, some of whom might have no interest in a soccer stadium, and some of whom may simply be blowing smoke. MacFarlane, meanwhile, is not out of the running, but is clearly miffed.

Barry is now leading a campaign to push Fenty back into the MacFarlane fold. The Ward 8 council member held a news conference at the Anacostia Metro station where he was joined by neighborhood activists who demanded that Fenty scrap his plan to seek alternative proposals for the site.

"MacFarlane is a do-er, he is dynamic," said Jackie Lashley-Ward, a Ward 8 ctivist who said the developer "rehabilitated a school for us. He came to our meetings. He talked to the community."

But Barry and company are not the only voices in Ward 8. A group called One DC Anacostia, an offshoot of the community development agency formerly known as Manna, is out on the same streets drumming up opposition to a soccer stadium and support for refurbishing the park for Anacostia residents. One DC says it conducted a survey that found 87 percent of respondents opposed to building another stadium no matter how it is financed. Similarly large majorities opposed any market rate development at Poplar Point and favored restoration of the park, One DC says.

Barry says he's not opposed in principle to having developers compete for the land, but he thinks that should have been done upfront--"It's too late now," he says. "They're been studying this for the last two years. We can't wait. Ward 8 doesn't have a sit-down restaurant, doesn't have a movie theater, doesn't have retail. The mayor ought to get busy and put as much energy as he did in the Georgetown library or Eastern Market." That last blast, a classic Barry nod toward racial and economic jealousies and conflict, drew shouts of "Come on now!"

Barry says his support for the MacFarlane project is based not so much on a sudden affinity for soccer, but on the promise of 3,000 permanent jobs and "upscale shops, not these typical low-income kind of shops."

So now, after a brief honeymoon between the former mayor and the new mayor, there's a widening gap between the two different kinds of populists. A few days after slamming Fenty over Poplar Point, Barry lashed out at the mayor over Fenty's plan to pump $79 million in city money into the purchase of Greater Southeast Community Hospital by Specialty Hospitals of America.

"Once again, Mayor Fenty and his administration have disrespected the 140,000 citizens who live east of the river and their elected representatives on the Council," Barry said. "I have had to call around to get information on this deal, which is offensive. The Mayor is operating in the same isolated manner as [he] did with the appointment of Michelle Rhee as Chancellor, with Poplar Point, and Alan Lew's appointment as head of School Facilities, and that is a mistake."

Barry remains a joy to watch when he gets riled up and his competitive juices start to flow. "If Adrian Fenty goes ahead with this," he said at Poplar Point, "the community won't cooperate. That's not threatening, that's promising. It would be tragic to lose that stadium just like we lost the Redskins."


By Marc Fisher |  October 2, 2007; 7:12 AM ET
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Comments

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I think Barry just got excited about all the white lines on the field.

Posted by: Jon | October 2, 2007 7:27 AM

Will Mr. MacFarlane charm Metro into running a line out to Poplar Point? When you consider adding thousands of cars to the neighborhood and the trans-river pinch points, it is clear that this is an ill-conceived enterprise.

Posted by: Mike Licht | October 2, 2007 7:57 AM

I have a ton of reports between the two about the site. A DC United stadium would only create opportunity across the city. Firstly, if DC United builds their stadium, the Redskins will come back to the city on the RFK site, thereby bringing all of "DC's" teams back to their home turf. Secondly, I have never seen any exact pricing but Fenty needs to get his head out of his [rear] on this one and go with the stadium. To quarrel on this one over $50 million is ridiculous on a project of this magnitude. It will increase the cities economy, taxes and property values, thereby increasing the residents home values. I say MacFarlane should get back in there. On October 19th, all outside bids & proposals from developers are due. I guess we'll all see what happens.

Posted by: Developersagent.com | October 2, 2007 8:06 AM

And maybe Barry is for it because MacFarlane provides him free all expense paid trips to Vegas and "companionship" while there. Funny how some powder and other things make him suddenly like a project.

Posted by: Poplar Pt is At Anacostia Metro | October 2, 2007 8:50 AM

The site is less than half a mile (I believe) from the Anacostia metro station. So there is no need for a new metro stop.

DC United has worked diligently on this project since well before MacFarlane and Chang bought the team. The club has been very active in the community organizing education and soccer programs for the kids in the surrounding area. Bringing in MacFarlane as well as Brian Davis was a very shrewd move by Kevin Payne.

I have to say I am a little bit baffled by Marc's crusade against DC United. I don't seem to recall quite so much opposition when MLB was stealing several hundred million $$$ from the District. At least DC United is willing to pay for the stadium out of their own pocket for the rights to use some land for commercial development and some infrastructure improvement which will be necessary no matter who ends up developing the land.

And I would suggest that no sports team in the city brings together so many parts of the community as DC United. Go to a match. See all the diversity on the field and in the stands. It is a joy to be a part of.

Posted by: Glenn | October 2, 2007 9:00 AM

Marc Fisher loves baseball and strongly dislikes soccer. His personal opinions reflect quite clearly in how he treats news stories and public policy debates related to these sports. He is not and never has been an "objective" journalist, and I don't think he makes the claim to be objective. As long as he's candid with how his personal biases affect his reporting, which I think he is, then I don't have a problem with his work.

Maybe the subtitle of Raw Fisher should say "A Cold Splash of Marc Fisher's Reality, with a Large Serving of Personal Opinion and Bias." Guess it doesn't sound as catchy.

Posted by: SSMD | October 2, 2007 9:18 AM

As A DC United fan I would say Marc Fisher's assessment here is fair, although he's missing a few key and important points:

1. DC United and McFarlane group are paying for the stadium, fully, 100% out of their pocket, the stadium (which seems for some reason to be contentious) will cost the tx payers, the government, the people of ward 8 exacty 0 dollars and 0 cents.

2. Secondly, OneDC is flat out lying when they say there is no parkland in the McFarlane plans, all one needs to do is go look at their publicly available plans (online at dcunited.com) and see that the riverfront from the park all the way down to the bridge is open-public, maintained parkland. And be honest, open and maintained by an entity with businesses nearby is much more likely to ensure that it is a safe public place, more so than OneDC's plan to just let the park be a park and hope for the best.

3. the other proposals are not required to have low income housing in the deal. If you think the winning bid will have 30% low income housing, Mayor Barry has a rock you can smoke.

4. Most importantly, this land would not even be in the hands of the DC government if McFarlane group and AEG had not aggressively spent time, lawyers and money lobbying congress for 2 years to get them to release the land to DC. NOT ONE of the other developers bidding was on board, not one of them spent dime one getting this land transferred to the city. Don't you think the people who did this deserve a little preferential treatment?

5. Finally, McFarlane group is ready to go NOW. They can put shovel in ground tomorrow and have everything pumping money into ward 8 in a year. The other bidding groups won't even be able to start by then. Let's hope that the economy holds up and in a years' time the climate hasn't changed so much that the winning bidder just walks away. A stadium, by the way, ties members of the cummunity to that area through good times and BAD.

I do not in any way shape or form work for any parties involved. However, I am a lifelong supporter of DC United (their life, not mine, I'm older) and have watched this sad, sordid story unfold where time and time again DC has promiosed a stadium at the beginning of the season, only to pull back. We kept RFK alive so that baseball could even come here. All we're asking is that you let us build, pay for and maintain our own stadium, in a park of town nobody has ever cared about or helped out. Why is this so hard? This is win-win for everyone.

Posted by: DCAustinite | October 2, 2007 9:23 AM

Wow, I'm shocked, shocked, that DC is having problems with a stadium proposal. They argued about the baseball park endlessly and Cooke got so fed up that he left for the suburbs. I seem to remember Pollin having problems as well.

Posted by: dgc | October 2, 2007 9:34 AM

If Marc hopes to retain any journalistic credibility he should recuse himself from ever writing about DC United again. He makes Marion Barry look fair-minded in comparison.

Posted by: Payne | October 2, 2007 9:40 AM

To: Developersagent.com

"I guess we'll all see what happens."

I guess we will.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2007 9:55 AM

One DC isn't the only group taking action.

www.DCUnitedPetition.com

Posted by: Riz | October 2, 2007 9:56 AM

Glenn: and let's not forget the club's generosity in the community as well. When Eastern Market burned down, which tennant of nearby RFK donated $50,000 to the merchants? hint: it wasn't the Nats. When the horror at VaTech happened, which team took the initiative to run a fundraiser, buying jerseys to wear and then auction, and which needed the Sports Authority to donate caps at the last minute? can anyone name one thing the Nats do in the community at all?

Posted by: northzax | October 2, 2007 9:58 AM

"And maybe Barry is for it because MacFarlane provides him free all expense paid trips to Vegas and "companionship" while there. Funny how some powder and other things make him suddenly like a project."

It's perfectly fair to slag Barry for his past track record of drug abuse, but implicating Victor McFarlane in anything under the table is wrong and immature.

Posted by: DCAustinite | October 2, 2007 10:02 AM

I live in Ward 8 and I don't know who OneDC is, but 95% of the folks I talk to are in favor of development at that site. We are tired of driving out to VA or MD for basic shopping and would love to have some of the amenities that people who live in the suburbs or upper NW take for granted.

The DC United plan is not perfect (a little too dense for my tastes), but it is a fair starting point for discussion.

Posted by: hoos30 | October 2, 2007 10:06 AM

Fenty is just trying to save face after being bent over by MLB. And btw, where's the City Council in all of this? When did DC become a Dictatorship?

Posted by: ColdDoseofReality | October 2, 2007 10:08 AM

Marc, your comment "Then came Victor MacFarlane..." is disingenuous - DC probably wouldn't have the land by now if it weren't for the lobbying done by DC United to get the land swap done. DC United has been involved in the Poplar Point land swap for years.

Additionally, DC United worked in conjunction with Mayor Williams on the deal, and Mayor Williams made it clear that DC United would build a stadium at the site. It is totally unfair for Fenty to come into office and discard all the groundwork and promises made before him.

Finally, the entire point of the land swap was for the federal government to give valuable land to the District to increase their tax base, as a tiny recognition of all the revenue lost on other tax-free federal land. So for DC to now turn around and turn it into one giant park would be asinine.

Posted by: Pat | October 2, 2007 10:11 AM

this is ridiculous!!!!

lets see, dc pays for nats stadium thats 10x's the price of the united stadium, and oh wait its all privately financed!

hmmmmmmmm, oh yeah dc united spent how many years lobbying FOR THE DC GOVT to gain that land?

hmmmmmmmm, low cost housing, parkland, jobs for ward 8 people, yeah that sounds terrible doesnt it?

Marc, please please PLEASE for the love of all dc residents, please look into stories before you write another one about dc united, soccer, or anything close to that, cause as a dc resident, it seems like you have no idea whats going on.

thanks and mabye one day you will make it over to ward 8 and find out what the citizens really want!

Posted by: dc resident | October 2, 2007 10:16 AM

Hey Marc, do you have any comment on Fenty's quote to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post stating that a stadium for DC United WILL be built in the District?

Posted by: Chico | October 2, 2007 10:20 AM

Re: Mike Licht

295, north capital st.(route to 395) and the anacostia metro stop all converge at Poplar Point

don't you think Poplar Point was chosen because of its ease of transportation access. Please, look at a map before you make an ill advised comment.
Thanks

Posted by: myt! | October 2, 2007 10:30 AM

Hey, the United plan is the best option on the table because it is the ONLY option on the table. Everything is else is hypothetical.

Marc, I'm sure you'll love this post because I must be equal to infected pondscum in your eyes since I am a soccer fan from *gasp* Baltimore, where we unfairly lord power over you poor bastards in Montgomery County while shouldering the burden of supporting the overwhelming percentage of the states poor and homeless population.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | October 2, 2007 10:32 AM

Glen: ONLY a half mile from the Metro? So today's Orange Line-riding United supporters are going to walk a half mile from the Green Line Anacostia metro station, then walk a half mile back in the dark? Please, get real. And the mere thought of 40-passenger shuttle buses is ludicrous. Soccer's a great game, but gaming the city about the viability of this development isn't.

Posted by: Mike Licht | October 2, 2007 10:34 AM

Mike Licht your Orange line riding United fans currently do this at RFK and Lot 8.

Think before you pot... Thanks

Posted by: myt! | October 2, 2007 10:40 AM

freudian slip, whoops, but the POST still stands...

Posted by: myt! | October 2, 2007 10:56 AM

Re: the District not having the land to decide what to do with if DC United's then-ownership hadn't spent an enormous amount of time and money lobbying the heck out of Congress to get it transferred to the District, only to have Fenty say "now that you got us the land, we don't need you anymore" . . .wait, what? Marc Fisher wrote an editorial in which he either didn't have, or chose not to present, all the important and relevant facts? You're putting me on!!!

Posted by: Chris Metzler | October 2, 2007 11:04 AM

Yes, they already walk a half a mile and there is no problem because of safety in numbers and security. two cops sitting in patrol cars is all that is needed to 'guard' people walking a straight line to the metro.

I haved never felt intimidated or unsafe in the slightest at RFK, and for many years that neighborhood had some of the highest crime rates in DC. So I concur, Mike Licht, you're arguing about something you don't know about. Best to cut your losses here.

Posted by: DCaustinite | October 2, 2007 11:07 AM

hey Marc, please come over to www.bigsoccer.com and help explain your stance as to why your so against dc united getting poplar point and all. It would really help us understand, and mabye just mabye give you a different perspective on the dc united plan and everything.
thanks!

Posted by: bigsoccer poster | October 2, 2007 11:13 AM

ML:
Re the Anacostia Metro, if you look at the PDF of the stadium plans at www.dcunited.com you'll see that the proposed stadium is right there at the Anacostia stop (it will be closer than RFK stop is to the stadium now). And why would you assume that the road between the station and the stadium would be dark and unsafe???

K

Posted by: SEKim | October 2, 2007 11:15 AM

Mike Licht: Is it difficult to type with your foot in your mouth?

I think Fenty is just doing this for show (and negotiating position) knowing full well that no better plan will be submitted. He'll get some more out of MacFarlane and the stadium will be built--albeit later than some of us would like.

Go United, beat Chivas!

Posted by: Terp | October 2, 2007 11:16 AM

Actually, it is only about a quarter mile from the Stadium-Armory metro to RFK (according to the Google pedometer) but it's an even shorter walk from the Anacostia Metro to the planned United stadium when you look at DCU's plans. I estimate about .15 miles from the north Anacostia exit (where the parking garage is) to the southern end of the stadium.

Posted by: DE | October 2, 2007 11:17 AM

There is no half mile walk at Anacostia. According to the plans on dcunited.com, the stadium will be across the street from the existing parking garage and northern entrance to the Metro station.

Posted by: H. Kemp | October 2, 2007 11:17 AM

SeKim,

because like a lot of people who just are anti-soccer, they're looking for any excuse to trash it. Can't trash the stadium because DC United is paying for it. Can trash attendance because they pull 20k per game, so lets trash the walk from the metro stop!

Posted by: Soccer hating! | October 2, 2007 11:18 AM

the metro hates dc united!

Posted by: metro stop | October 2, 2007 11:21 AM

There's no doubt in my mind that I would have checked those facts.

Posted by: Hope Solo | October 2, 2007 11:26 AM

'bigsoccer poster' - you haven't read Marc Fisher for very long if you haven't realized he gets off on riling up the Internet nuts.

Posted by: pat | October 2, 2007 11:27 AM

While I usually don't find myself agreeing with Mr. Barry, I do here. I am fine with opening up land for competition between developers but it is too late for Poplar Point. As Marc Fisher himself points out, "until recently nobody wanted" the land. The change was when the DC gov't told United they could use it if they helped get it out from under Federal control. Now that it is more or less District land everybody now wants a piece, and Fenty has opened it back up. I think this is wrong.

Posted by: Kinney | October 2, 2007 11:36 AM

It drives up his post numbers.

Posted by: DCAustinite | October 2, 2007 11:36 AM

Mr. Fischer:
I believe the prior posters covered the errors in what is at best a disengenuous article. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, however ill conceived they may be, but you are not entitled to your facts. Facts that you have wrong and/or incomplete in both this piece as well as your prior piece on the end of RFK.

The citizens of DC as well as the larger community of readers of the Post deserve better. If your management will not hold you accountable for your lack of integrity and competancy, perhaps the add sponsors will. Today it seems to be Google. They just lost my business and I plan to let them and the Post know why. I will be checking the main page as well for other sponsors. Then again since DC United has no fans as you assert, maybe you have nothing to worry about if the non-existant others choose the same approach.

Posted by: WC | October 2, 2007 11:45 AM

This whole article needs rebuttment in the Letters to The Editor page of The Washington Post. The citizens of the District of Columbia need all the facts to this story without Fisher's slant and bias.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | October 2, 2007 11:57 AM

So Marc,

The no-bid sweetheart deal for Radio One is fine? Why aren't you criticizing Mayor Fenty for letting that (and other deals) go through while he did the right thing in your eyes by holding up the Poplar Point deal?

And the DC United plans didn't originate with Victor MacFarlane's purchase of the team. They have been out there for a while.

And to characterize Mr. MacFarlane as the "San Francisco developer" does a disservice to the projects he has undertaken in DC and other cities.

Your hatred for soccer clouds your writing. The insulting tones undertaken by you (and several other writers at the Post) in pronouncing RFK closed with only a passing mention about the soccer team (which kept RFK open and available for your precious baseball) is an example of your ignorance of the facts, or at least your unwillingness to accept things that don't fit into your worldview.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: JayRockers! | October 2, 2007 12:29 PM

I am a dc united fan. i have never been across the river or spent a dime on that side of the city. it would be shame for dc united to put their facility there. if they did i would have to go there a few hour in advance of each game to buy food and drink and tail gate. i would be forced to shop over there when i go for the smaller games in the related facility. would they build a team store that i would have to frequent for my dcu gear? Would they force the local kids to compete in community games? I would fee much safer no providing community fields or activities.

and why would we want one of the most viable teams in mls working with the city? yes. they have worked with the city for ten years with consistent winning management. yes they have contributed to the city. yes there is something to be said for reliability, but wouldn't it be more fun to pick some new guy with no ties to the city ? then we could wait and see if they could or would do what they said? what would rotten fish write about if there was no controversy?

Posted by: hiro_pro | October 2, 2007 1:12 PM

how many fans show up for the caps & wizards combined?

Posted by: hiro_pro | October 2, 2007 1:16 PM

Amazing!!!

Marc Fisher did not object to building the soccer stadium! He did not object to building it at Poplar Point! What he did object to is a sole source contractor.

This is not the first time, nor do I suspect that it will be the last, that he has objected to such an arrangement.

I really wonder what the reaction of those folks who seem to be foaming at the mouth about any hitch in the works to put the soccer stadium at Poplar Point, by MacFarlane, would be if, say, Dan Snyder was given a free pass, with no competition, to put up a new football stadium on the site of RFK in about 2012? You'd hear the howls all the way to Manchester.

BTW, please don't forget that soccer needed and needs DC much more than did baseball, if you're going to compare the two. MLB was perfectly willing to contract the franchise. If not for the solid attendance that DCU provides (and it does), MLS would probably have gone the way of its two professional predecessors.

Posted by: mikes | October 2, 2007 1:54 PM

Actually MLS is doing just fine even with weak links in Kansas City and NJ. When it started a dozen years ago all you heard was the word never. Never going to work, never going to last. The original investors stuck it out, folded and moved weak teams. Now the league is expanding, attendance is on the rise, there's new ownerships buying into the league and big time corporations are investing in it. ESPN paid for the rights to televise matches. If Fenty and Fisher weren't so shortsighted they'd see that the landscape is changing and there's a solid tax base to be tapped in to.

Posted by: Chico | October 2, 2007 2:04 PM

Man it must be nice to be paid to be a professional internet troll. Can you tell me how to break into the biz Marc?

Seriously, I'm not surprised there wasn't fact checking (it is a blog after all), but I don't know why United fans get so riled up. Fischer has perfected how to get a rise out of us over the years.

Posted by: NW DC | October 2, 2007 2:09 PM

Interesting that Marc has no comment to offer.

This is why the Post has an Ombudsman. Because reporters, on occasion, are so biased they can't see the tree through the forest.

In this case, Fisher's swipe at the Stadium deal comes in the form of calling Marion Barry disingenuous on the issue. It's as if to say, that if an elected official supports a soccer stadium, of all things, he must have been arm twisted unfairly.

Marc could have pegged his story just as easily on why it is that McFarlan and company are sticking to the set-aside for low income housing while Mayor Fenty is not requiring other bids to do the same. If Fisher were really the saint he tries to be, offering a voice for the disenfranchised people of DC, this question would have to be at the top of the story.


Next time the Post top brass wonders why its circulation figures are dropping, I hope they will recall the bias of Marc Fisher. Credibility can't be bought back, it has to be earned. Post reporters will have to work extra hard to regain my trust.

Posted by: zzzzzzzzzzzzzz | October 2, 2007 2:10 PM

Mikes,
The day that Dan Snyder offers to build a stadium in DC WITH HIS OWN MONEY is the day I wouldn't object.

Posted by: zzzzzzzzzzzz | October 2, 2007 2:12 PM

Sorry Mikes, but you're wrong. Although DC United's attendance has been at the top of MLS for years it doesn't make any money for the league because it plays at RFK. It might provide a good image for the league, but it certainly doesn't support MLS financially. DC United needs its own stadium in order to be profitable (just like LA, FC Dallas, Chicago and Colorado).

Posted by: Greg | October 2, 2007 2:23 PM

I actually thought this was Fisher's most balanced piece. Seriously.

Anyway, having lived in this area for 35 years, this is just typical DC gov't bs. They would rather build a $700 million baseball stadium than fix the schools, fill in potholes, or have a functioning police department. And God forbid they allow for the private funding of a stadium! We can't allow that! Perhaps if the plan was for DC residents to pay for it all, it would already have been built. : )

Posted by: Hoost | October 2, 2007 3:18 PM

one dc is telling blatant lies and using statistics from fake polls. isn't it your job as a journalist to check their validity and at least point out the fact that their numbers in disrepute?

Posted by: jerad | October 2, 2007 6:18 PM

I think people have most of it covered except that they have left out the most important flaw, that a Washington Post journalist is quoting One DC which is about as credible as someone quoting The Onion.

Obviously Marc has had 0 direct contact with One DC or he would never be using a completely worthless source of information that has yet to release anything of value. Working with several local community papers over the years most of them actually do research as to who they are quoting before they blindly used them as a source.

Marc, grow up and become a real journalist and re-write this joke of an article. If you hate DC United and the idea of a soccer stadium bring up some valid arguements, not the opinion of One DC.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 2, 2007 6:42 PM

one dc is telling blatant lies and using statistics from fake polls. isn't it your job as a journalist to check their validity and at least point out the fact that their numbers in disrepute?

Posted by: jerad | October 2, 2007 06:18 PM

The poll wasn't fake. They took a survey of 10 people working at their office and 8.7 of them like parks. The .7 reflects a margin of error in the survey methodology.

One DC wants a park not a development of any kind. But they have to come to the realization that if it's not MacFarlane, Soccer, parks and 30% low income housing its going to be a big fat white VA developer with 100% expensive condos and no park...at least for the "poor" local people.

We all love parks but DC can't afford the upkeep for the ones they already have in Anacostia. How will this one be any different? Go ahead and clean it up and make a park but besides drug users and dealers who is going to feel safe enough to use it?

Posted by: Reality Check | October 2, 2007 6:59 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzz, Marc isn't a reporter. He's a columnist, and as such writes about his opinion, which is very different that reporting the details of a story.

Now I think, Marc, it's legitimate that folks ask you to take a look at what DC United's role has been in the community for such a long time and the work that they have done to move this land transfer along.

And even if the argument can be made that they had ulterior motives driving this, contrast what United has done (including the immediate Eastern Market support) with what other DC teams have done.

Forget about the sport. Think about the organization. DC United is a valuable member of the community. Keeping the team located in DC and having it be an economic engine to open up Ward 8 and enable its citizens to feel like they are a treasured part of the District is something that no other developer can offer.

Write a column challenging those bidding on Poplar Point to put forth what they have done and can do for the people who live in Ward 8.

That's the key story here. Be a champion of that.

Thanks Marc.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 2, 2007 9:20 PM

"schmoozing and winning over not only Barry, but a wide coalition of neighborhood activists who formerly thought that soccer made about as much sense in Anacostia as would a museum of bluegrass."

This part of his column is really interesting. Let's deconstruct it. First, the "schmoozing" bit implies that McFarlane and DCUnited somehow 'schmoozed'---a prejorative adjective in some ways--- and either this coalition of community activists (except for One) and Mayor Barry were so dazzled by the prawn sandwiches and champangne they changed their minds, or they were outright bought (as one poster believes). Did Marc ask them why they changed their minds?? What did they say?

Mayor Barry looks to have said that he wants development for his Ward and constituents --- several quotes from him about that. And at least a hope (30% of the plan will be for low income housing) that the neighborhood won't be sucked dry completely and gentrified so much so that regular working people can't afford to stay and use the development. Isn't it just possible that the folks there (and let's be clear... while Mayor Barry hasn't ever been popular with the upper class white people like Fisher in DC, he has been with minorities---why is that? Because he sells out their interest all the time, or because he fights for it?)---isn't it just possible that after seeing the plans and active/continued involvement in the community by DCUnited and it's developer owners, that they believed this would be great for the area? Given Barry's past, and comfort in the halls of power, one could reasonably have suspicions, I suppose, that he wasn't on the up and up. By why did all the other community organizers change their minds as well?? There seems to be condescending attitude on his part (I won't call it prejudice necessarily, though it verges on it) toward people in Ward 8. Like Marc knows what's good for them, and they don't. Interesting.

The part about comparing soccer to bluegrass was strange too. What was he saying? Maybe white appalachians like bluegrass, so black people can't or something? Heck, I don't even know if white appalachians like Bluegrass?! OK, sure, soccer is predominantly a suburban deal in America (it isn't in the rest of the world, if Marc cared to take a look---or maybe just go up to Hyattsville), so black parents in the city wouldn't possibly want a healthy, safe activity (local youth league and clinics run by United, as well as the youth structure in the club itself) right in the neighborhood?? They'd have to have had the wool pulled over their eyes, they couldn't have possibly been (rightfully) skeptical, been shown an impressive plan, and changed their minds... riiiiiight...

Posted by: forgone | October 3, 2007 8:00 AM

Uh, once Fenty voted against a mayoral takeover of the D.C. public schools. Look where were are now.

Posted by: DCPS Mom | October 3, 2007 11:20 AM

Give us our stadium.

Vamos United!

Posted by: Larry France | October 3, 2007 12:58 PM

One DC are a bunch of bamas.

Posted by: Huggy Low Down | October 3, 2007 4:56 PM

what a waste of a human being, Marc Fisher get a life!!!!

Posted by: koolcaio | October 3, 2007 5:12 PM

I'm really disappointed that someone tricked me by pasting a link to this "blog" without letting me know it was written by Marc Fisher. I try to avoid all things related to Marc Fisher. Can I get my 5 minutes back? What a waste of ones and zeros.

Posted by: Du Pont Mike | October 3, 2007 8:05 PM

Marc,

Once again you write to get a rise out of soccer fans...trying to inflate your numbers?

C'mon, you have to be better than this...this is just trolling...

Marc, take the United challenge...come with me to a game with La Barra Brava...just give it a shot...why do you have to be trying to divide DC sports fans?

United does so much for this community. Why do you have to be trying to put them down?

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