Author Archives: Seth Liss

It’s time to say good-bye, for now

Saying good-bye is never easy, but faced with an unfortunate funding reality, and out of respect for our readers and the complex issues DCentric tackles, we have come to a decision: We are shutting down this blog.

Since August 2010, DCentric has been a place to read and participate in a nuanced discussion about the intersection of race and class in Washington, D.C. We have written about unemployment, the digital divide, food deserts, the black middle class, gentrification, These and other timely topics, often pushed far from the front page, have lived above the fold on DCentric.

On a personal note, I moved to Washington D.C. in early 2011 and this blog was a terrific resource for me, teaching me about the unique history and complex issues that make the district such an interesting place to live. I’m thrilled to have been part of a blog that contributed to an important conversation on the city’s changing demographics and how they affect many aspects of residents’ lives.

DCentric was a grant-funded endeavor, existing initially through funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Knight Foundation, and most recently through generous support from Ginny McArthur. With the exit of blogger Elahe Izadi this week, we believe the time has come to end DCentric, at least for now.

Should we locate funding for the blog that would enable us to staff it appropriately and maintain the quality our online users deserve, we will re-launch DCentric. Until then, we extend our sincere gratitude to all the regular and occasional DCentric readers.

DC ranks at the top of Medicaid costs

By Dana Farrington

Medicaid costs

A PBS graphic

As the spotlight in D.C. continues to shine on Sulaimon Brown, a recently fired auditor at the Department of Health Care Finance, we thought we’d bring you some numbers on the District’s Medicaid spending.

A recent NewsHour PBS photo essay breaks down 2012 Medicaid budgets and 2009 spending for the 50 states and D.C. The District ranked number one in two areas in 2009: Medicaid cost per capita and the percentage of the population enrolled in Medicaid.

*Cost per capita: $2,836
Percent of total population in Medicaid: 24 %
(*The NewsHour confirmed that this figure is the combined cost for the federal and city governments.)

D.C. also offers the D.C. HealthCare Alliance program, which covers people who are not eligible for Medicaid, including “non-disabled childless adults, non-qualified aliens and some individuals who are over-income for Medicaid.”

In other news, Wayne Turnage, who fired Brown last week, was expected to have been confirmed as the director of Health Care Finance.

Tasty Morning Bytes – Planning DC’s future, fighting metro crime, and more problems for struggling DC homeowners

Harriet Tregoning: Planning DC’s Future: Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning, discussed the city’s need for more retail options, the imminent arrival of new big-box developments, including WalMart, and whether “conservation districts” might be an alternative to “historic district” designation. She also talked about redevelopment plans for the Walter Reed Medical Center, which could mean allocated the entire frontage along Georgia Avenue to the medical center. (

Metro anti-crime initiative could restrict student use of system: In an attempt to reduce the increase of violent incidents on the metro, the transit authority plans issue student metro cards that include ID information. The pilot program with start with students from the School Without Walls and is looking at limiting usage at night and on weekends. (Washington Post)

House Republicans prepare to evict struggling DC homeowners: A looming government shutdown on March 4 could harm people having problems keeping up with their mortgage payments. Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) announced his panel would consider legislation on March 3 that would take an axe to housing programs that have been the last hope of some facing the possibility of foreclosure.

Sulaimon Brown, aide to D.C. mayor, is fired after allegations of criminal record: Sacrificial lamb? D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, perhaps responding to allegations of cronyism fired Brown, but Brown didn’t go quietly. He showed up at a news briefing where the mayor was addressing the termination and started answering questions. From what I have seen, no argument with the dismissal, but why was he hired in the first place? (Washington Post)

Tasty Morning Bytes – Georgetown Hoyas, Columbia Heights hipness, and no guns at Walmart

Georgetown is D.C.: Mark Porter writes that former Georgetown basketball John Thompson Jr. was more than a great coach. He was apt representative of the racially divided D.C. Porter tells the Syracuse audience that the District and the team have changed, but the rivalry between the schools has not. Go Hoyas!(The Juice)

Columbia Heights Gets Hip NBC’s P.J. Orvetti writes a response to a New York Times travel piece highlighting the hipness of Columbia Heights. “Not all is well in the ‘hood’,” he says. He adds “Columbia Heights has become a synonym for “soulless gentrification” to many Washingtonians.” The NY Times piece says, “(Columbia Heights) saw gentrification come not with the usual creep but with a boom” Orvetti, who has lived in Columbia Heights for nine years indicates that it came with the usual creep and is still creeping along. (

D.C. Walmarts “Will Not Offer Firearms”: “Our D.C. stores will not offer firearms,” Walmart spokesperson Steven Restivo tells DCist.(

Gray defends controversial hires and salaries: Mayor Vincent C. Gray denied cronyism after the media revealed that children of adviser Lorraine Green, communications director Linda Wharton Boyd and chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall have landed jobs in the administration.(