City Journal Autumn 2014

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Jerry Weinberger
It Takes a Certain Kind of Village « Back to Story

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Theodore Sternberg February 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Wow, the crowd at that Frager's fundraiser sure doesn't "look like DC". Lucky for them, they probably all vote Democrat and make the right token noises about diversity. Otherwise, they'd already be in the DoJ's sights, listed as a hate group at the SPLC, and the subject of journalistic sneers about being "too white".

Unfortunately, even with the best intentions and "progressive" credentials, sometimes it can be tough sledding trying to SWPLify a neighborhood:
http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_25126926/scorned-oakland-gentrifier-accepts-label-but-calls-truce
Professor Weinberger, I am one of those Capitol Hill folks who raced over to see my favorite place in Washington burn. I enjoyed your article about the Hill community - except for the last paragraph. Whatever AmeriCorps pros or cons may be, why sully your wonderful description of our community by that comparison? You provide no support whatsoever to make the claim that the Hill community would not have supported Frager's or Eastern Market if AmeriCorps had operations on the Hill. I don't know whether it does or not. AmeriCorps' one large failed program is hardly proof that the Hill community would not stand by each other if AmeriCorps had other programs nearby. Eastern Market, the Hill Center, Congressional Cemetery have all been the beneficiary of government funding in the past, which did not stop us from supporting them with personal funds and volunteer time. The thrust of your last paragraph is entirely unsupported by any facts.
This article fails twice.

1. The author has clearly never read "It takes a village", since Hillary’s village is not a dependency-inducing nanny state but rather exactly the kind of community he has described here. The idea is that it takes family, church, businesses, schools (yes, run by the government), neighbors etc... to raise a child. If you've sent your kids off to soccer practice or girl scouts then she's talking about you. So when he says "This kind of support is not likely to have surfaced if Frager’s and Eastern Market had put their faith in Hillary Clinton’s version of community." he's not making any sense. This is EXACTLY the version of community she's talking about in that book.

2. The criticism of AmeriCorps comes out of nowhere. Did Hilary Clinton start it? What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? But since he brought it up, let's point out that his criticism of the program is just that it hasn't produced studies showing efficacy. But such studies do exist. Here's one:

http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/07_0803_ac_longitudinal_study.pdf

And there are others. AmeriCorps supports Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Red Cross, Teach for America, Justicecorps and other community based charities that seem to represent the kind of village Weinberger supports. If he thinks these are bad programs, that would be an unusual position to take. As to whether that help provides dividends, I'm sure if he called their national directors and asked them if AmeriCorps is making a difference for them he'd find that they do.
Prior commenter Sam Abrams, obviously referring to the article's closing paragraph (about the Americorps program): "Only a few hundred k misused in a half-trillion dollar per year budget is actually an index of very good management indeed."

But the gist of the paragraph is that the program may be doing no good at all, in which case it's entirely a waste.

And $446 million is half a billion $, not half a trillion $.
From the article: "The [Eastern Market] fire was thus a disaster for D.C. as a whole, and since the city owns the place, it was imperative that it restore the building and provide a temporary location so that the market could resume functioning as soon as possible."

From prior commenter KPJ: "The author apparently does not know that Eastern Market is a government run facility and was rebuilt only because the government (both DC and the federal government) paid for the work."

Conclusion: Commenter KPJ apparently can't read.
I am giving Mr. Weinberger a C- for his article, mainly because he did not do very complete research. If it had not been for the work of former Council-member Sharon Ambrose, the rebuilding of the Eastern Market building would have taken much longer to complete.
Sounds like the 1950s. Everybody was taken care of somehow. No government interference or taxpayer dollars.
Very glad to hear Cap Hill is on upgrade...30 years ago walking it at night was combat conditions...but slaps at Lib programs seem gratuitous. Only a few hundred k misused in a half-trillion dollar per year budget is actually an index of very good management indeed.
The author apparently does not know that Eastern Market is a government run facility and was rebuilt only because the government (both DC and the federal government) paid for the work.
I perceive the negative comments about this article are from persons who love big government, think Hillary should be exempt from honest criticism so she can win the presidency, and misinterpret the author's exposure of social programs' failures as an indiscriminate attack on all aspects of government.
What an excellent mumbo-jumbo-decimating article by a guy who has seen the difference first hand. Love it.
Of course, it takes a village to raise a child, providing that the village supports the family to rear the child, and doesn't destructively interfere with the family.

Bob Dole's problem is that he never met a compound sentence, or tried to teach his constituents anything.

But, then, while Bob Dole had a fine biography, he did not have Ronald Reagan's magisterial gift for teaching his beliefs.
This piece is a joke. How on earth is the charitable activity of a liberal, wealthy, and educated community evidence that government doesn't work? Jerry needs to perhaps visit some other communities within DC to see how little private charity actually contributes to those in need. Perhaps he can also remember that he has been employed by a public institution for a good part of his career.
Mr. Chapman, I did not think the author was "slamming" Hillary as much as pointing out how ridiculous the concept she promoted is, irregardless of its source. Since most will readily make the between that concept and her, the choice to mention its source was valid. If her crazy ideas were valid, bashing her for speaking them would fall flat. Obviously, it did not do, in your case. Sad..... no village, as she envisions, will ever "raise" my children.
It is a good piece although it fails in terms of objectivity (aka political disconnect).

Why does the author feel the need to attempt scoring points against Hillary Clinton's "village" concept? That "village" is viewed by the author as an exponent of the Democratic Party's approach to social policy, based on the wealth of references to the "nanny state" that the author provides throughout his piece.
And this is actually ironic since the author fails to recognize that the Hill is what it is (a great village, indeed) due to the quality of the people living on the Hill - people which are employed by the very government which the author seems to disregard, people which make a very good living (enabling therefore the "village"'s financial health and generosity) by being the bureaucrats the authors seems to despise.

One will easily recognize as well that the Capitol Hill Village organization is the center of praise in this piece (and I am agnostic about it here, I am just making an objective observation) while the last paragraph, out of the blue (or should I say "red"?), takes a stab at AmeriCorps (of which, again, I am agnostic of).

It is good for the Hill to be nicely described, it is however bad form for the author to not be able to steer clear of attitudes which belong on K Street not on the Hill village.
the Free Market is an amazing thing, and it is a great tregedy that government, in general, utterly fails to comprehend it either as a phenomenon or as a legitimate means of operating society. It seems the largest hurdles Fragers are facing in reopenting are government-imposed regulations, permits, processes, fees, "facilitators", etc. Just think... if we, nationwide, could jusst get government out of our way and off our backs, how much more efficient, profitable, simple, and enjoyable, our lives would become.
It takes both a family including a father and a village to do it well.
Gilbert W. Chapman February 16, 2014 at 4:49 PM
An excellent article, except for the first paragraph.

Why the author chose this opportunity to degrade his effort by 'bashing' Hillary Clinton is beyond my imagination.

As lifetime Republican (Goldwater Style), I am amazed at the lengths members of both parties will go to in order to 'slam' the opposition.