Last Thursday I went to Utility Discount Day, an annual "event" here in DC. I had no idea what it was until I had to go myself. The local utility companies (Washington Gas, Pepco, WASA and Verizon) all get together to have a massive intake for people to apply for discounts for each company.

When I arrived on the doorstep of the Convention Center, it was already packed. They had you get in line to wait in another line to get a number to wait some more. The first number I pulled was 2,151 and they were calling groups of 50. Oh, when I got to the room they were on 800-850. Not going anywhere for a while?

Some folks were vets, I could tell. Packed lunches, stuff to amuse the kids, extra batteries for electronics....they was ready to camp out. Being the rookie that I was, hunger and boredom settled in fast. Yeah, I had a book to read. Somehow I felt it quite unappropriate to read about welfare reform at that particular moment. A press conference was held and Holmes-Norton spoke of how the funding can help District residents and how disappointed she is that so many people need help and the administration isn't taking notice. As I moved closer to the speakers, she stated that Congress is trying to cut funding for such programs. Big surprise there.

I looked around the room in awe; I'd never been around so many people before. Ghetto divas, hoodrats, senior citizens and average joe's showed up in hopes of getting some relief from the burdenous utility bills, notably Washington Gas. I wonder if anyone, other than myself, paid attention to the press conference. Did the statement, "Congress is trying to eliminate such programs from its budget." fall on upon deaf, indifferent ears? It irritates the hell out of me when people don't pay attention to what's happening around them.

I see this as a part of gentrification. The projects have been bulldozed. Police presence had increased. They coming back in droves. Gettin real nice incentives to come back too. A building about 4 blocks from me is in the process of being renovated to be sold as almost upscale condos. I'm feeling the press of the economy as I wonder how much force is gonna be needed to uproot me.

25.October.2004    03:26 PM    

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