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Hillary’s clue about ‘What Happened’ to gay culture

Clinton’s lament regarding gender politics is an LGBT political warning

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Hillary Clinton Book, gay news, washington blade

Hillary Clinton (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“I know that for a lot of people, including a lot of women, the movement for women’s equality exists largely in the past.”

That line, previewed from Hillary Clinton’s maligned-in-advance blame-everybody-else book-of-electoral-excuses “What Happened” published this week, provides an insight relevant to the current state of LGBT politics and culture.

Given the rapid and dramatic pace of broad gains in LGBT civil equality and cultural acceptance, the prevalent proclivity within our ranks for grievance collection and victim portrayal may wear as thin as Clinton’s lingering lament over losing.

Whether we will become chronic complainers like Clinton who simply won’t stop whining is the question.

We run the same risk as she, suffering political allies reported by media to be expressing in exasperation, “I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”

We will be measured by psychological preparedness for the transition from renegade to that of largely acceptance and assimilation. The degree to which we lament the loss of an historic “outsider” status and the collective cohesiveness such estrangement once provided will be gauged. A fundamental, if yet incomplete, cultural integration and the corresponding reduction in community entities and commercial establishments will characterize the contours and context of modern gay life.

Fear of this development can be found in the directives of too many LGBT activists. Our attention is increasingly being diverted to so-called “intersectional” issues outside the shared realm of essential matters of LGBT equality or community-centric concerns – accompanied by the attendant presumption that sexual orientation conveys proscribed political perspectives. Moreover, this implies there is now a lot less on the “gay agenda” commanding group attention.

We witnessed this dichotomy last summer when “No Justice No Pride” radicals pilloried wholesale the LGBT community and local Pride celebrations in multiple cities for not protesting pipelines, prisons, police, and the lending policies of banks. Nothing belies that a significant amount has been accomplished quite like a programmatic attempt to shift the focus toward other topics. The inherent irony implicit in these admonitions is that LGBT issues are no longer as intrinsically relevant due to the collaborative success and community progress toward fair and equal treatment.

Clinton’s legacy condemnation of “deplorables” is similarly emblematic of this out-of-the-mainstream LGBT political ideology. Fairly or not, it has led to a popularized and ignoble reputation for wanting to punish opponents, not persuade them.

We are seen as desiring to exact revenge for, or at least restriction of and recrimination against, even the slightest divergence outside a groupthink political posture and cultural attitude. There’s no pause anymore in the impatience of some for absolutist behavior. No slight is too small or no offense too minor, with no modulation or accommodation permitted.

If we’re to expand our sights on issues of community concern, we are notably casting our gaze in the wrong direction.

Given that LGBT entrepreneurs and small-to-moderate-size enterprise owners and operators are widely estimated to represent fully 10 percent or more of our demographic cohort, much higher than that of the population as a whole, community leaders might better turn their attention toward issues of concern to those engaged in business.

Although an increasingly hostile-to-enterprise leftist Democratic leadership doesn’t appear to care, it was not long ago that the business community was much more magnanimous toward the party. Today, however, surveys indicate that an overwhelming supermajority between 3-of-4 and 4-of-5 business operators now consistently support Republican candidates at the local, state, and federal levels. This widespread opposition to Democratic policies includes a sizable, if largely silent, contingent of lesbian and gay enterprise leaders.

National politics and political parties are currently a mess of internal disruption and external dysfunction. Voter affinity for both parties is at a dismal level and record-setting low.

Hillary Clinton’s observation regarding gender politics is an important lesson, and warning, for the LGBT community. It’s one passage in her book we’d be wise to heed.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at [email protected].

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. lnm3921

    September 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Look who is talking about being a constant whiner! Yet another annoying article by that blowhard Mark Lee! He throws in words like dichotomy to boot to sound more high brow!

    I would say that many of us feel whenever we read a Mark Lee article that:

    , “I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”

    • Bruce Majors

      September 16, 2017 at 7:18 am

      So you can’t not read them then. That’s hilarious.

      • lnm3921

        September 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

        • Bruce Majors

          September 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

          I agree with you: anyone who has ever been called unattractive should stop voting for Democrats. The Democratic Party is an exclusive club, only for people who wear the right clothes and went to the right law schools, and work for the right firms on K Street. You can’t let in the hoi-polloi no matter how many elections you lose.

          • lnm3921

            September 16, 2017 at 5:29 pm

            It’s also the face of the typical Trump supporter!

  2. Rick Rosendall

    September 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    1. Based on his absurd caricature echoing media accounts, it appears doubtful that Mark Lee has read Hillary’s book. In fact she takes responsibility for her failings on the first page. His over-the-top despisement of her is far beyond what is justified by policy differences or her actual record.
    2. Why should Hillary STFU any more than Mark? Washington memoirs come out all the time; I bought two just this week. I am just a few chapters in, but she has a grown-up, serious tone that is not what Mark portrays. He cites voices that suit his prior conclusions. He is writing opinion and not news, of course, so this is his right.
    3. As she is demonstrating in her interview with Rachel Maddow, which I am watching as I write this, Hillary is experienced, smart, measured, and wise. As she has noted, she had high approval ratings as Secretary of State. The knives came out when she re-entered the political arena and the Lady Macbeth smears resumed. It is preposterous to pretend that she is pathetically and egregiously whining to note that her own mistakes were supplemented by interference from Putin, Comey, Assange, and voter suppression. It is not clear why everyone but her is entitled to have their say.
    4. If losers should shut up and go away, why are we still hearing from Bernie Sanders? The reason is that he is still in the Senate and pushing his agenda. We are not (yet, at least) a banana republic where defeated candidates are jailed or executed. Hillary remains a citizen whose voice is just as legitimate as any other.
    5. Mark and I have both been critical of No Justice, No Pride. But their comically totalitarian mindset is out of step with the vast bulk of the LGBT community, as was clear during Capital Pride. The notion that those leftists are representative of an oppressive groupthink is belied by Mark’s continuing status as a Blade commentator with his own loyal following. That some among us are eager to silence disagreeable voices is no reason why those of us with regular access to newsprint should emulate them.

    • uhhuhh

      September 15, 2017 at 4:06 am

      This is the guy who nearly had to be institutionalized in an epic tantrum because DC banned smoking in bars and restaurants. He’s a mouthy idiot, and if the Blade had any integrity, they’d stop running his drivel no matter how much money he gives them.

      • LesbianTippingHabits

        September 16, 2017 at 10:10 am


        We know the Blade isn’t paying any money to Mark Lee.

        • lnm3921

          September 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

          That’s because what he writes isn’t worth anything!

          • Count Dracula

            September 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm

            Kinda like your posts

          • lnm3921

            September 18, 2017 at 9:43 pm

            Yet they threaten you so much that you need to reply to each one!!!

            What a stupid idiot you are!! As long as they piss you off they are priceless you loser!

    • Alex Knisely

      September 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      “Despisement”? Despite. Please don’t invent clunker words when good words are there at hand.

      • Rick Rosendall

        September 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        What is this, the French Academy? “Despite” as a noun is archaic.

        • Alex Knisely

          September 15, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          “Despisement” is, as you fail to recognise, a barbarism. The French Academy has as one of its goals elegance in use of language. But to you perhaps that is a bad thing.

          • Rick Rosendall

            September 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

            Indeed I do not so recognize.

    • Bruce Majors

      September 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

      My favorite part of Madcow’s interview was when they told Hillary to shut up so they could cut away to breaking news about a sneezing baby panda. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsmmztEDJ2M&feature=youtu.be

    • Bruce Majors

      September 16, 2017 at 7:22 am

      She needs to be in prison, gagged, breaking rocks, and when not, chained to a wall. Her entire family save the grand baby need to be convicted and incarcerated too. The baby should be given in adoption to someone in Libya, Venezuela, or North Korea.

      • lnm3921

        September 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Bruce Majors as Bertha Minors consumed with hatred prepares for murder! Time to report her to the secret service!

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fcd2e12c4891d0074d42d3fef04a17bda0619a0a48bc3f390e46910a8ef69615.jpg

        • Bruce Majors

          September 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm

          That would be “Secret Service.” You illegals are never going to get anywhere if you can’t learn English.

          • lnm3921

            September 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

            Is that why you failed to be Mayor of DC, even marginalized by fellow conservatives for being a homosexual? Bend over for Count Dracula!

          • BEARY FLINTSTONE

            September 18, 2017 at 3:35 am

            LMAO! You win the internets

          • Bruce P. Majors

            September 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

            Correcting the spelling errors of idiots? No I didn’t campaign on that. But it probably explains your failures

          • lnm3921

            September 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

            People who have nothing to offer the world fool themselves into thinking they do by whining about the spelling of others. That’s what spell checker is for so you’re obsolete loser! No wonder you can’t get a real job doing anything!

      • Rick Rosendall

        September 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        It is so much easier to reach a conclusion that you started with. Bruce’s gleeful trolling aside, even Mr. Comey, after helping sabotage Hillary’s presidential campaign, couldn’t find an actual crime to charge her with. Hearing after hearing after bogus Benghazi hearing turned up zip. But a quarter century of disinformation, along with help from Comey, Assange, Putin, voter suppression, and Clinton’s own mistakes, had its effect. After all the email hacking, all the Hillary haters have is John Podesta’s creamy risotto recipe, Hillary conspiring with Huma to be bad and split a creme brulee, some foolish DNC staffers, and a lot of fevered speculation. While Bruce is ready to lock her up based on his own smirking, the mad grifter currently in the White House coasts right by. Hillary’s principal crime was political ambition, along with a measure of hubris and a lack of her husband’s charm. If those things were crimes, Mitch McConnell would be a lifer. PS: does anyone really believe Bruce read Hillary’s book before declaring it ghost-written? After she weathered that marathon hearing run by Trey Gowdy a couple years ago, one would think even her haters would give up the notion that she cannot communicate for herself. But cheap mockery can be as addictive as meth.

        • Bruce P. Majors

          September 18, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          Actually, outside the brain dead world of gay Democrat flaks and lobbyists, evidence of Hillary’s crimes, which Comey and Lynch covered up, continues to emerge. The day her most recent drivel was published two security people stepped forward to say her State Department ordered them to be silent about Benghazi. More obstruction of justice.

          • Rick Rosendall

            September 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm

            Believe what you like. This is not (yet) a banana republic. That you are still pounding the Benghazi nonsense shows the level of delusion here. It is not happening, short of presidential intervention amounting to another impeachable offense. To mention obstruction of justice without naming Trump is some serious clowning past the graveyard. But give yourself the last word.

        • Kemwit Tall Tree

          September 27, 2017 at 9:53 pm

          The sad fact is that Hillary is unlikable. All that pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation tarnished both she and her husband in the eyes of many reasonable people.

          Her coziness with Wall Street bankers and corporatists turned out to be a huge albatross too. She is nothing more than a Country Club Republican who gives lip service to the 99%.

          The Democratic Party represents the average working man and woman as much as a K-Street Lobbyist.

  3. uhhuhh

    September 15, 2017 at 4:04 am

    I stopped reading before the end of your second paragraph. If you had bothered to learn anything about the book, you’d know that she also places plenty of blame on herself. Whatever “point” you have later in this piece of rancid garbage, it’s not worth wading through your obnoxious mouth to find.

    Shouldn’t you be off having a tantrum because DC banned smoking in restaurants?

  4. Bruce Majors

    September 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

    It’s so sad that the Blade devotes time to this when it could be exposing how the Russian funded Family Research Council is sending Senator Menendez to prison, and how it plans to convict Maxine Waters and many of our other brilliant leaders after that.

    • lnm3921

      September 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Yes, Bruce Lee articles are a waste of time! Trump’s love for Tony Perkins President of the FRC would then prove that he is tied to Russia then!

      • Bruce P. Majors

        September 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        We’re you on that island the Democrat congressman was talking about when it tipped over?

        • lnm3921

          September 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm

          You hear voices don’t you that tell you to do wicked things like vote republican?!

          See a doctor for medication!

          • Bruce Majors

            September 19, 2017 at 7:17 am

            Actually Hillary and Sally Quinn don’t invite me to their seances.

  5. Scott Bodenheimer

    September 16, 2017 at 9:19 am

    As long as teen suicides for LGBT kids are multiples of the straight average. MULTIPLES. Then no honey, there isn’t equality, and there’s plenty to fight for, and for the people that want to hijack our movement like parasitic fish on a shark, they can all go start their own, build it with their own blood and bodies, and we’ll support them. But the LGBT Equality Movement is OURS, and it won’t stop until full Equality is achieved.

    • Bruce Majors

      September 19, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Young gays commit suicide because Democrats deny them school choice and keep them incarcerated in schools where they are bullied.

  6. LesbianTippingHabits

    September 16, 2017 at 10:13 am


    Mark Lee, please follow Donald Trump’s example and run for office yourself.

    Or, you’re just griping on a website attracting few readers, fewer comments.

    Even if you lose the election, you will still gain respect. Thank you.

    • lnm3921

      September 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Really? Nothing could make me respect that mouthy idiot Mark Lee!

      • Bruce Majors

        September 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        Has anyone ever cared for your “respect” though?

        • lnm3921

          September 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm

          Look who’s asking! You’re our Rodney Dangerfield!

          • Bruce P. Majors

            September 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm

            Lost your pills again?

          • lnm3921

            September 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm

            You are the pill…a laxative!

  7. Bruce Majors

    September 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Hillary just announced her next autobiography, to be published by Knopf, a tell-all about her intimate life with Bill: “Sour Grapes.”

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Opinions

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal serves as a guide for enacting equality legislation

Equality Act supporters should take cues from Senate moderates

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Equality legislation is close to passing in Congress, but close isn’t good enough. “Close” won’t change anything for the LGBTQ Americans who face discrimination every day. Senate Democrats and Republicans must make a push to negotiate. With a reach on both sides to find common ground, we can move equality legislation from “close” to “done deal.”

Some Democrats are waiting for the filibuster to end—despite clear evidence that they lack the votes to end it. Some Republicans are practicing a tried-and-true brand of obstructionism. To break this deadlock, we should look to the successful, bipartisan repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) as a guide.

The DADT repeal is the single reference point for LGBTQ advocates for overcoming the Senate filibuster. Other victories have been in the courts; notably, the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision that made gay marriage legal nationwide.

Before Obergefell, advocates had success in the state legislatures. I worked on campaigns for the freedom to marry in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and elsewhere, finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans who thought it was impossible to negotiate on marriage. Eventually, enough people from both parties came together to pass marriage laws in a majority of states.

Working together at the state level is one thing. Congress is another.

Despite Democrats’ control of the White House, Senate and House, negotiations are failing at the federal level. So, we lets look to ancient history—the 2010 repeal of DADT—for guidance on reaching 60 votes in the Senate.

The most important lesson from the DADT repeal is that Senate moderates must champion the cause and lead negotiations. The more partisan figures on both sides need to step back. Overcoming the filibuster is a job for moderates, not ideologues.

As it happens, the hero of the DADT repeal is still a senator and can help. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine led the negotiations on DADT repeal.

Senator Collins supports the Equality Act in principle and even sponsored a version of the bill in past. However, the current version is too extreme for Sen. Collins, as a result, she has withdrawn as a co-sponsor. The current bill has also foundered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another important figure in the repeal of DADT.

The fact that moderate, pro-LGBTQ senators are unable to back the current version of the Equality Act should send a clear message to Democrats that we need to make reasonable changes to the bill. So far, the message is being ignored.

On the Democratic side, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman was essential to the repeal of DADT. There certainly were passionate, liberal Democrats who could have asserted themselves during the debate. But then, the bill would have taken longer to pass, or even might have failed.

The lesson is clear. Listen to the moderates. Let them lead this charge.

Another important lesson from the repeal of DADT is to be flexible in the legislative strategy. DADT repeal was originally an amendment to a large defense authorization bill. Rather than give up, Collins and Lieberman fought and saved DADT repeal from defeat by pulling out key provisions they knew could pass on their own and making them a standalone measure. Repeal passed with bipartisan support.

The current version of the Equality Act tries to do too much. That’s why it can’t win support from moderate Republicans who have legitimate concerns the bill might suppress free speech or shut down religious charities.  

Over 60 senators can agree on the basic premise of the Equality Act. They would gladly vote to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in employment, housing, and public accommodations, so long as the law didn’t intrude on the First Amendment.

If the far left believes that our country has too much religious liberty, they can deal with that in future legislation. But so long as we have a filibuster—and, there’s no indication it will end any time soon—the Equality Act needs to reflect our society’s current views on religious liberty.  

The DADT repeal passed with 65 votes in the Senate, overcoming the filibuster. Let’s replicate that victory by using the same playbook. Moderates: Take the lead.

Tyler Deaton is the senior advisor to the American Unity Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization working to advance LGBTQ freedom and religious freedom

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Commentary

LGBTQ people are being hunted down in Afghanistan

Homosexuality punishable by death under Taliban Sharia law interpretation

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Two men in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July 2021 (Photo courtesy of Dr. Ahmad Qais Munzahim)

Kabul was known as one of the few “liberal” cities in Afghanistan. The word liberal is in quotation marks, and inflected, because it is liberal compared to the rest of the country. Now that the Taliban has taken over, most people who expressed themselves differently and openly are forced to adhere to Sharia law, completely change their ways, hide their identity, or be killed.

The U.S. State Department reported in 2020 that even before the Taliban took power in August, LGBTQ people in Afghanistan faced “discrimination, assault and rape” and “homosexuality was widely seen as taboo and indecent.” Laws against lesbian, gay and transgender people made their existence illegal and punishable by up to two years in jail. Those laws were not always enforced, but they did leave LGBTQ people at risk of extortion and abuse by authorities, as reported by the U.K. government.

Even with the discrimination and abuse, LGBTQ people still had a sliver of space in society. Nemat Sadat, an LGBTQ Afghan author living in the United States said that gay, lesbian and transgender people helped the country’s cultural life develop since the Taliban’s last rule 20 years ago. But, most of these people built their lives quietly.

Now with the Taliban regime, their sliver of space in society is gone, there is no room to live quietly as an openly LGBTQ person. Under the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law, homosexuality is punished by death.

In an interview with Reuters, Waheedullah Hashimi, a top decision maker for the Taliban said, “there will be no democratic system at all because it does not have a base in our country,” and continued to say, “what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan is clear. It is sharia law and that is it.”

One source spoke to a 20-year-old university student who is lesbian in Afghanistan. Her family accepted her as a lesbian, but now the new Taliban leadership has put the lives of all of her family at risk. There is a new surge of violence against any lesbian, gay and transgender people. This includes anyone speculated of being lesbian, gay, or trans, and those who support them.

This young lesbian woman has gone into hiding. She is part of hundreds of LGBTQ people in Afghanistan who are pleading with advocates and organizations outside Afghanistan for help to escape the Taliban tyranny.

Nemat Sadat shares stories of lesbian, gay and trans people in hiding. He shared a story of a gay man who watched from his hiding place in the ceiling as Taliban fighters beat the friend who refused to disclose his location.  

LGBTQ people in Afghanistan fear the risk of being arrested, beaten and killed. The Taliban made it clear that it is enforcing its strict religious laws against Afghanistan’s LGBTQ citizens. In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, one Taliban judge said there were only two punishments for homosexuality: “stoning or being crushed under a wall.”

LGBTQ people in Afghanistan are reporting that their friends, partners and members of their community are being attacked and raped. They also stated that Islamic fundamentalists and riotous groups are encouraged by the new tyranny and are on the hunt for LGBTQ people.

Another source shared that a gay man was targeted for his sexuality and then raped by his male attackers. That is a terrible paradox. He was raped by his male attackers, who criminalizing him for having same sex relations.

LGBTQ people are in hiding, desperately trying to get out of the country, and trying to erase any proof of their queer identity.

They feel abandoned by the international LGBTQ community. The Taliban is proving that the Western nations have normalized relations to their government. The Taliban and their supporters see this a proof of their victory. This leaves LGBTQ people defeated and fearing torture and death.

The U.S. government and other Western countries evacuated many people out of Afghanistan, including journalists, women’s rights activists and those who worked with foreigners. But, LGBTQ activists said that nothing has been done for them. A source says about her situation, “we will definitely be killed. We are asking to be evacuated immediately from Afghanistan.” To date, no safe route has been found.

Even underground measures to help LGBTQ people are challenging and near impossible. The Rainbow Railroad is a non-governmental organization helping LGBTQ people around the world escape persecution. Executive Director Kimahli Powell said evacuating LGBTQ people from Afghanistan is especially hard as they are often alone, in hiding, and unable to contact each other. If routes to get them out is nearly impossible, that still means those routes are somewhat possible. As difficult as it may be, we must find pathways to save these people and get them out.

The Taliban regime has established itself, knowing with certainty that the world will stand aside, albeit condemning and protesting, but not intervening. This is empowering jihadists across the world, especially in the Middle East. The Taliban has many allies and admirers, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. 

The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, travelled from Palestinian territories to meet with Taliban leaders in Qatar. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a history of ties to the Taliban, even with radicals joining each other’s organizations. Very public statements of congratulations were made between leaders of the Taliban, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and all with full Iranian support.

The increase in brazen forcefulness of these groups reaches beyond Afghanistan, and spreads to the lands dominated by other similar groups. This causes an escalation of the threats to anyone who opposes Sharia law or who lives differently than what Sharia law allows. LGBTQ people in these lands are in peril. 

If we do not help LGBTQ people in Afghanistan, the lives of LGBTQ people under other similar tyrannies face increased uncertainty and danger.

Since posting this video, I have been receiving direct messages from LGBTQ people in hiding in Afghanistan, and those who are seeking to be evacuated. They all share harrowing experiences of being attacked, raped, and threatened by Taliban, Islamic State and bullying groups.

Yuval David is an innovative actor, host and filmmaker with a creative mantra to entertain, uplift and inspire. He is a captivating performer and compelling storyteller who uses his platform for sharing narratives that affect social change, specifically on behalf of highly respected U.S. and international organizations that raise awareness for the marginalized and under-represented, inspired by his LGBTQ+ and Jewish identity, and his Israeli-American roots.

He can be reached through social media

YouTube.com/YuvalDavid

Instagram.com/Yuval_David_

Facebook.com/YuvalDavid

Twitter.com/YuvalDavid

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Proposed zoning code changes will harm Rehoboth

Public hearing to take place on Oct. 15

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Double L, Diego's Hideaway, Fourth, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

As a former city commissioner for nine of the past 15 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the laws and decisions governing the city of Rehoboth Beach. Like most things in life, some have been good and some have been not so good. The ones that have been good for the city plan for the future. The ones that have been bad for the city try to hold on to the past. The city of Rehoboth Beach has been a magnet for tourists for a long time and that has not changed, nor can it be changed. Trying to stifle our business community will not decrease the numbers that come to our city but will only frustrate our residents and visitors by putting into place ordinances that will promote the construction of buildings that lack functional architectural creativity. Worse, discouraging business innovation will drive businesses to Route 1, resulting in vacant storefronts along our commercial streets that will ultimately increase costs to residents in terms of higher taxes, provision of basic services, and increased utility fees. 

On Oct. 15, a public hearing will be held regarding patchwork changes to the zoning code. The proposed changes have been put forth as “clarifications”. They are NOT clarifications but changes that will change the downtown commercial districts for generations to come. And not in a good way. 

This may seem like an over-reaction but truly it is not. Not to over-simplify, but the basic zoning code that applies to commercial buildings allows for construction of a building from lot line to lot line with a maximum height of 42 feet. The proposed changes/clarifications would count interior courtyards and elevator shafts. These changes do not change the bulk of a building but could very well disincentivize desired architectural enhancements, such as balconies and courtyards. In this day and age of COVID, open space should be promoted not penalized. Why would we stifle architects with ideas for buildings that embrace creative use of a parcel of land? The effect of the proposed changes on the new hotel projects that are currently being designed warrants involvement by everyone who wants to make sure that Rehoboth Avenue does not end up showcasing buildings with zero architectural interest. 

It is important to remember that the one square mile of the city of Rehoboth Beach is not a suburban community, nor is it a retirement community. It is a city that hosts tens of thousands of visitors eight to nine months a year with a vibrant restaurant scene, beach and boardwalk, farmers market, recreational dock, and hopefully one day a performing arts center. What can you do? Send an email by Oct. 15 to [email protected], asking the mayor and city commissioners to pause making these patchwork changes to the city code, changes that will have negative unintended consequences for years to come. Ask them to do what was programmed in the budget over a year ago—to hire a zoning expert to look holistically at the city ordinances and make practical, coordinated changes that incentivize development that sustains the aesthetics and prosperity of our town. 

Pat Coluzzi is a former city commissioner for the city of Rehoboth Beach.

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