Bowser faces disruption and St E's demolition ceremony for sports stadium

On the 19th of February, two women with a banner disrupted Mayor Bowser's ceremonial appearance at the start of demolition of part of the old St Elizebeth's psychiatric hospital. They were able to get behind the Mayor's podium and shout her down before being dragged away by dozens of men. The banner included a specific reference to "Occupy Barry Farms," another site developers and the city government are chomping at the bit to displace and gentrify. The St E's site (which is public property) is slated for replacement by a new stadium for the Washington Mystics and also to be used for practice by the Wizards. Once again, professional sports is allowed to demolish public property in DC. Upscale retail and luxury housing are also in the plans for St E's.

Back in 2006, former Mayor Williams got a very unpleasant surprise at his similar demolition/groundbreaking targetting the former SE Gay enclave for the Washington Nationals baseball stadium. While all the police focussed on chasing away one very aggressive "traditional" Gay activist on a bike, several other community activists took advantage of the resulting security gaps to get in his face on national TV. The same activists were at his home that night after he tried to cut off food to residents of the former homeless shelter at the Franklin School. Not it seems Mayor Bowser learned nothing from the mistakes of former Mayor Williams.

Empower DC has taken credit for today's direct action against a mayor who pretends to care about the homeless while sending police to raid homeless camps and attempting to demolish public housing. The St E's project is a typica; gentrification project, to include the stadium, 1,300 "residential units" which persumably means condos or luxury apartments, over 200,000 square feet of retail, and two hotels to be built in Congress Heights. In short, the entire project is a dangerous developer/condo beachhead in Anacostia, breaching the natural line of defense created by the river. Probably that is the strategic reasoning behind it altogether, given that cities usually lose money on things like professional sports.

Photo by DCist

All rights reserved.