Yvette Alexander and the Deanwood Pool

Have you ever been to the Deanwood Pool? It is empty, I mean deserted. It is great if you like swimming by yourself, but not so great for the city.

So why is the pool empty, because people in Deanwood don’t like swimming? Perhaps, but I think there is another reason. The admission system of DC pools is designed to keep poor people out.  You have to have a government issue photo ID card and something with your address on it. No problem if you have a DC drivers license. But if you don’t own a car you probably do not have a license. And if you are really poor, spending 75% of your income on rent and living on food stamps, as it common in the 7th ward, then a non-drivers ID may be out of your reach.

You can use a utility bill to establish your residency, except if electricity is included with your rent and you use a cell phone, you don’t have a utility bill with your address. This is very common in the 7th ward, and indeed throughout the city. You might be registered to vote, but curiously your voter card is not considered sufficient to establish your residency for purposes of swimming in the swimming pool.

Of course if you are on food stamps you have a photo id. If the purpose of photo ID’s were to prevent VA and MD residents from swimming in DC pools for free, food stamp ID cards would be great. But that would let hundreds of poor people into the pools, not at all conducive to gentrification. Swimming pools are not there for the use of poor people.

Now it would be easy for Yvette Alexander to do something about this, she could change the rules so that food stamp ID cards could be used to gain admission. But as we know, Alexander does not do anything without talking to Walmart first, so I don’t see her doing anything. David Grosso could also bring legislation to change the rules in favor of fairness. He could show that reform means something other than pushing the poor people out of DC. He could, but I would not hold my breath.


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