Local blogger Carol Joynt says Georgetown should secede from D.C.

If you ever needed proof that Georgetowners are sometimes way too fond of their community, look no further than Carol Joynt’s bizarre treatise on why Georgetown should secede from D.C. to form its own city.

No, you did not misread me. In a weird and naive jeremiad about how much the rest of the District sucks, Joynt suggests we go Confederate on their asses, leaving their Home Rule-less, broke city behind:

“Reason one is that DC’s not going to get home rule. I just don’t see it happening. Why should we wait around, caving into powerlessness, when we could come together to create a governing body that helps to improve the quality of living right here where we live? ….

“If you think about it, it makes sense. If you live in Georgetown, how much of the management of the city government relates to you in a positive way? How many city government decisions are made with Georgetown even remotely in the equation?

“On the other hand, we pay high taxes. I would imagine a good chunk of the parking enforcement haul comes from Georgetown. We are a major tourist attraction, from which the city benefits. I’m just not convinced an appropriate amount of our tax dollars come back to Georgetown.”

Joynt also points out how super unfair it is that Georgetown has to share their councilmember, Jack Evans, “with too wide a swatch of the city and other neighborhoods that don’t share all our issues.”

Later in the day, a friend expressed concern that Georgetown would do a severe disservice to neighborhoods like Anacostia who benefit from Georgetown tax dollars, Joynt was not at all worried:

“Being our own city wouldn’t mean that Georgetown would become irresponsible. We would give and be involved in ways of our own choosing, and hopefully more effectively. [She] feared, too, that Georgetown would lose any hope of diversity. But if we were a well-run community we could attract more diversity, yes? It was an interesting debate.”

Basically, Joynt is saying, the rest of D.C. will miss us when we’re gone and saving them from the outside, and lots of people from all background will vie for entry to our idyllic, magnanimous community.

Wanna bet?

28 Comments on “Local blogger Carol Joynt says Georgetown should secede from D.C.

  1. Let’s take that principle and apply it to our own situation.

    Georgetown University should secede from Georgetown neighborhood!

    Think about it. If you’re part of the University community, how much of the management of the neighborhood government relates to you in a positive way? How many neighborhood government decisions are made with the University even remotely in the equation?

    On the other hand, we bring in lots of business. I would imagine a good chunk of the real estate market and M Street haul comes from Georgetown University students, visitors, faculty, staff, and the larger University community. We are a major tourist attraction, from which the neighborhood benefits. I’m just not convinced an appropriate amount of our contribution to the neighborhood is credited to the University.

    Why should we wait around, caving into powerlessness, when we could come together to create a governing body that helps to improve the quality of living right here where we study?

    If the University seceded from the neighborhood, we would be free of their bogus zoning regulation and police presence. We could finally ignore the neighbors and do what is right for our University community.

    Let’s secede, brethren! The University should be its own legal community, free from the shackles of Georgetown Neighborhood and its crazy residents.

  2. Please go ahead. You will not be missed. Your contribution to the neighborhood is negative and you don’t pay taxes. You are just a nuisance that needs to be controlled.

  3. I am also a libertarian up until the point where it stops benefiting me.

  4. Also, I think you missed the point. “Seceding” doesn’t mean “leaving.” It just means that you still have to deal with us without seeing any positives from the university! Though most of us students do not pay DC taxes, I find it quite hard to believe that the city sees no money from the university. But under our magical secession plan that we just formulated in these comments, you get none!

  5. But BillSars, to whom would you complain to fix your sidewalk, plow your streets, or trim the trees when the city won’t? Where would seniors 55+ go to sit in on classes that cost students $1500 per credit? How about all the free lectures and concerts? Maybe you wouldn’t want students to clean up trash from your streets for sanction hours and have them file papers in Admissions instead. Don’t forget that GERMS will come save you from a heart attack (or a hangnail) when DCFD is stuck in traffic on M Street.

    Also, the University, in some form or another, nets about $10,000,000 in tax revenues to the District of Columbia. (Source, along with a whole bunch of other things that you might want to consider: http://explore.georgetown.edu/documents/?DocumentID=735). And last time I checked, I still pay sales tax when I go out to eat at the Tombs or buy a new shirt at J.Crew and have federal and DC taxes taken out of my paycheck.

  6. Joynt’s musings sound like the wine soaked prattle that can be found in any upscale enclave. In her ongoing star turn as a professional victim it is no wonder that her misery would want company. Beyond anecdote there is, however, no hard evidence to support her premise. Does it bear scrutiny to propose that Georgetown residents carry some disproportionate tax burden? Taking into consideration the amount of land in Georgetown owned by the Church either directly by the Vatican, the diocese or the university (I have heard estimates as high as 80%) and therefore off the tax rolls (a situation the jurisdiction of New Georgetown would be powerless to change) I find it unlikely. The university returns relatively nothing to the District directly.

    She further muddied the waters with some strange comparison to Santa Monica, CA. I grew up both in Georgetown and Santa Monica and two places could hardly be more different. Santa Monica was incorporated as a city in 1887. I don’t believe it was ever part of Los Angeles. It did not secede. Santa Monica has a much more complex socio-economic mix then Georgetown. It is not elitist. It maintains one of the best public school systems in the country. West Hollywood would be a better but still not very apt comparison.

    Carol Joynt is kind of a sad case. She seems nice enough and bright enough but she sure is stuck in a rut. She needs to climb down off that bar stool at Nathan’s. I understand that she has a book coming out entitled “Innocent Spouse”. Could that say victim any more loudly? I hope she is forthright in inventorying the effects of booze and drugs on some of the bad decisions many of us make in life. It could be cathartic. It is not like Howard Joynt was an unknown commodity.

  7. @typical, that’s typical… c’mon try to get sober and listen. The problem is not GU or Medstar (which is a for-profit corp doing their job – they will save me not GU, if they keep students’ incompetent hands off me). We love GU, it’s part of our neighborhood. Since GU came in, many years after Georgetown was settled, we consider GU an integral part of Georgetown. It’s the few losers that vomit, pee, scream histerically in the middle of the night, break things, and so on that give a bad name to GU and create problems for everyone else. We simply would like these few losers to get arrested and go back to their farms. That’s all. It’s not unreasonable is it? Don’t answer, it was a rethorical question.

  8. With asshole neighbors like you, I can’t think of anymore of a fitting punishment than the roaming freshmen hordes that you so hate. For someone like you, who entirely lacks the capacity for reasonable dialogue (screaming only “get the fuck out” to all students), the only fitting rebuttal is for an active (yet very small) minority of Georgetown students to regularly vomit and piss on your doorstep while yelling at the top of their lungs. It’s especially fitting since that’s about what your comments here amount to.

    (But, really, maybe you should think before you post. I can assure you that being a total fucking asshole in the comments of a university’s blog isn’t going to make students give a shit about the neighbors… After years of this sort of stupidity, students have finally realized that caring about what you dicks want just isn’t important because you’ll complain and moan regardless of what happens.)

  9. “Being our own city wouldn’t mean that Georgetown would become irresponsible. We would give and be involved in ways of our own choosing, and hopefully more effectively. [She] feared, too, that Georgetown would lose any hope of diversity. But if we were a well-run community we could attract more diversity, yes? It was an interesting debate.”

    I don’t think the quality of Georgetown’s self-governance is a hinderance to its “diversity”… Georgetown used to be upwards of 40% black, most of whom were systematically forced out through the Old Georgetown Act of 1950, the lack of metro access, and generally hostile environment. There are actually a few historically black churches still in Georgetown past Wisconsin Avenue, but they are dying out. In any case – this is a simple, age-old segregationist strategy that may not sound racist, and doesnt position itself that way, but the repercussions of the ward partitions in DC and tax exempt status of most of DC’s institutions have done enough exclude blacks and latinos from access to the privileged, elite neighborhoods and institutions of our nation’s capitol.

  10. BillSars,

    1. How dare you slander Georgetown’s substantial farmer demographic?

    2. Let’s not be unreasonable. Due to the total incompetence of GERMS, students often suffer from insomnia, nausea, incontinence, and fits of rage.

    3. It’s spelled “hysterically.” (Guess who didn’t go to Georgetown?)

    4. And you’re part of our neighborhood, not the other way around.


  11. I’ve been trying to think up pettier ways to get back at the old farts for doing things like trying to shut down Philly P’s. I propose putting together a fact-finding team to go around to dig up all the business and tax records we can find on all the loudest busy-bodies in the neighborhood. Scrutinize them for inaccuracies and then blow the whistle to the IRS / DC gov’t (or at least make a nice blog post to immortalize them on the internets). I think it sounds fair. They want to hang out in their bathrobes, counting the ratio of take-out to dine-in orders to catch Philly P’s on a technicality? Fine. We can count too.

  12. “Georgetown used to be upwards of 40% black, most of whom were systematically forced out through the Old Georgetown Act of 1950″

    Please explain this more. How were they forced out? What did this preservationist act have to do with that?

  13. @BillSars:

    Obviously, my first post about the university seceding was a joke poking fun at Carol/the neighbors for their silly logic. I assume you understood that. But your second post was strange, because you say that you love the university, you just hate the drunken students. What I was talking about was the UNIVERSITY seceding so it wouldn’t have to deal with neighbors costing it tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing it to reroute GUTS bus services on absurd routes for absolutely no defensible reasons, delaying or nixing its campus plan, forcing the university to force drunk kids off campus by pressuring Georgetown to adopt stricter alcohol measures (which it can only execute on campus), etc etc etc.

    “Typical” had a good list of things you’d miss if we started barring you from university services. No GERMS for you (GERMS is a Georgetown University student group; also while MedStar operates GU Hospital, Georgetown still owns the buildings and as such could limit your access). No access to speakers and special events. No access to our classes.

    I don’t defend the drunk students who pee on your lawn and seduce and impregnate your daughters (though how can you be angry — most people would love to snag a Georgetown boy!), but I don’t see how those issues, which aren’t really under the control of the university, justify the neighbors’ massive interference in things like Georgetown’s campus plan, GUTS routes, and enrollment numbers? ANC commissioners have explicitly said that they plan to hold up approval of the campus plan and other zoning issues as leverage to get the university to take a harder stance on its students. That’s just absurd. I’m all for consultation and discussion on a rational basis, but that’s not what the ANC or CAG has in mind. As you yourself just proved, the attitude towards the university is “we want you to go away and anything less than complete and total surrender will be met with complete hostility and obstinacy.”

    It’s especially ludicrous since the things the ANC/CAG want wouldn’t even achieve their goals! Harsher crackdowns on partying and drinking have just forced it off campus, into your neighborhood. Meanwhile the neighbors don’t want to allow the university to either build new parking lots to take cars off the streets because, obtusely, this would lead to more traffic, while simultaneously calling on Georgetown to reduce the parking impact it has on the neighborhood by increasing on-campus parking. Along those same lines, by gutting GUTS bus services, the neighbors are again only encouraging students and other visitors to drive, while inconveniencing the many non-students and non-GU employees (including many hospital patients) who use those buses to get into and out of the neighborhood. Again, you’re forcing people into cars. And of course, you forbid Georgetown building pretty much anything on-campus (from the Performing Arts Center to new dormitories) because ANY building would increase traffic to the school you say, but at the same time you demand that Georgetown only build on its own campus so as to reduce the overflow of students off campus. If we can’t build on our campus and we can’t expand, the only solution is to shrink — and that’s NOT going to happen!

    If you really wanted to make some headway, you’d engage with the university and the student body to find non-punitive solutions that could form the basis for common ground. The current tactics do nothing to reduce unruly behavior, while poisoning the rest of the fairly well behaved student body against the neighbors.

  14. Some things should be off the table, like threatening to hold up the entire 2010 Campus Plan or trying to sabotage the university.

    @Quid pro quo – I agree. I’ve thought for a while now that the best way to get these neighbors to be reasonable is to establish a fund to send PI’s after them (the main ones – Citizens Against Georgetown leaders and the ANCs, the legit targets) to dig up all their dirt. These people are elected officials and heads of major local interest groups, it’s absolutely appropriate for us to vet them.

  15. Good idea on the PI’s, but where to get the funds? I know that the IRS actually pays out rewards if you can help them recover lost tax revenues. But yeah, I’m all for it. If they want to dish it out, then let’s bring it.

  16. hey – in reference to the Old Georgetown Act, you can read it here, mostly pages 94-7:


    the old georgetown act was a gentrifying bill – it rezoned parts of Georgetown, raised taxes, and required families to conform or leave, at the leniency of an Architectural Board that discriminated against black residents. Its all in the book, cowritten by a Georgetown professor.

  17. I did a project on a painting of a black georgetown family sitting on the stoop… so I know a tiny bit about the old Georgetown act of 1950. Georgetown was a traditional black community centered around rock creek. I think there is still a predominantly black baptist church by the park. In the roosevelt era, the amount of people on gov. pay roll went up and technocrats moved to DC, and Georgetown, in droves. They didnt want to be surrounded by “black life” so they passed an the old georgetown act, which i think put aesthetic standards in place (i.e. buildings had to be pretty). At this time most of the houses were encased in brick to meet the new standards. those who couldnt left.

    if this is of real interest to you check out “Black Georgetown remembered : a history of its black community from the founding of “The Town of George” in 1751 to the present day” from the lau. i should go brush up on my history a bit.

    and fellow georgetown students… the fbombs and hate language dont help. I think non-university residents can be totally ridiculous. The contradictions- no parking, yes parking, less cars and also less bus- are reconciled in a foolish desire for Georgetown University to disappear.
    They have one demand I am sympathize with. The drunken raging student crap. yes residents who live next to a university should expect a little noise on friday sat nights. I just wish they would agree to policies that minimized the amount of students puking and raging off campus. but i dont think everyone wants that, a few drunk students is great hate fodder for the “down with the university” club.

  18. Hey, Bill Sars:

    Though your question was rhetorical, I’ll take a stab at addressing your comments anyway! (We GU students are incorrigible, aren’t we?)

    In your first comment, you wrote: “You will not be missed. Your contribution to the neighborhood is negative and you don’t pay taxes. You are just a nuisance that needs to be controlled.”

    There is no mention in this comment about drunk students bothering you, waking you up, vomiting on your property, etc. Those are legitimate complaints! It’s a good thing you finally got around to mentioning them, and I understand your frustration. That would be unpleasant for anyone to live with.

    But please, in the future: don’t talk about us like we’re rats. I am a (conscientious, non-vomiting) college student, not a “nuisance that needs to be controlled,” and my university’s contribution to the neighborhood is not negative – as others in this thread have noted. If your head is so full of anger and bile that you *really* feel the need to talk about other people as if they’re less than human, then maybe you should take a few deep breaths, step back from the Internet, and consider that your attitude is adding to the problem!

    Like you did in the second post. After you so condescendingly asked someone who responded to you in an entirely appropriate and cogent manner to “get sober and listen!” That was nicer, that time when you didn’t refer to your neighbors as if they were vermin. But maybe – just maybe – when someone responds to your invective with reasonable arguments and documented facts, you could, you know, respond in a similar tone. Rather than just continuing to insult people. It’s almost hard to imagine why so many people think our neighbors are unreasonable!

  19. Leave bill alone. He’s just a towne trying to piss us off.
    By the way, GU came to Georgetown long after Georgetown was incorporated.
    So it’s true, we are in their neighborhood and the residents were here first.
    So what? Let’s keep drinking and vomiting on ourselves and never ever get laid because we are too wasted.
    GU rules! I don’t want to go back to minnesota.
    Please please let me stay!!!

  20. How come Bill Sars isn’t reprimanded by everyone when he makes fun of farmers? Don’t we have to have a forum on this, seeing as how society is soo progressive?

  21. I think that Farmers Alliance Georgetown is already organizing a forum on the subject. GU Pride will hold a forum the week after on the acronym chosen by Georgetown’s farmers group.

  22. I think the argument goes that while Georgetown town was incorporated earlier, residents who move here nowadays have no excuse for not realizing they’re moving next door to a university. No neighbor has been here longer than there have been drunken students. It’s not very reasonable to move into a neighborhood with a university and then complain that there’s a university there. If you move next to the airport, you’re gonna get flown over.

  23. Absolutely agreed.

    Neighbors make legitimate points about the small number of students who are unnecessarily rowdy and engage in petty vandalism or public urination. These students should be dealt with.

    In general, students should be respectful of the neighbors. I think, again, this is a point of common agreement.

    Where students and neighbors differ is to the levels of noise and atmosphere that is acceptable. And here @F you’s point is germane: Every resident who moved within several blocks of Georgetown knew what they were getting. They weren’t moving into a gated community next to a golf course nor a Buddhist monastery. That still doesn’t make ‘extreme’ behavior by students acceptable, but neighbors need to realize that by choosing to live next to a University that’s been there before they were, they cannot be entitled to heightened standards of behavior.

    Newsflash: College kids are going to occasionally party on the weekends past 9 PM. Partying at 2 AM on a Tuesday? Okay, unacceptable. Blasting music so loud it can be heard clearly a few houses away with the doors and windows shut? Yep, not okay.

    But there are different expectations of quiet for a library, a rural community and a college neighborhood. Like was said, if you move next to the airport, you’re gonna get flown over.

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  25. it seems no one actually read what i wrote, which put the idea of georgetown’s dc role out there for debate with no particular point of view from me, only raising what i hear in the community. the subject has nothing to do with nathans. pointless to include in the debate. its gone gone gone. anyway.

    sometimes one has to go extreme – random notion of secession – to get people to focus on where they live. georgetown does need more focused management. that’s all.

  26. “Founded in 1751, the city of Georgetown substantially predated the establishment of the city of Washington and the District of Columbia.”

    If we cite 1624, Georgetown–at least Georgetown’s Jesuits–have been here way before the city’s incorporation.
    If we cite 1789, Georgetown the city only predated us by only 38 years.

    Either way, I doubt Bill Sars, or his family, has been here since then.
    Moreover, Georgetown students used to be a lot rowdier. Read any book on Georgetown history, and you’ll find that the contemporary drinking has only substituted for large brawls against town folk.

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