Thursday, July 5, 2007

Harry Thomas Jr. is the Ward 5 Council member who is meeting neighborhood opposition to his proposal to plant a day-laborer center near the Home Depot on Rhode Island Avenue Northeast.

The otherwise good residents of the Brentwood neighborhood take exception to the day laborers sleeping under their porches, drinking firewater on street corners and irrigating the trees, bushes and walls in their midst.

It is a cultural thing, and the fine folks of Brentwood just do not understand. The need to understand those from a foreign land is important, especially if they have come all this way to sleep under your porch, imbibe in bottled spirits and relieve themselves whenever it is necessary.

The enlightened Mr. Thomas wants to do right by the laborers, illegal or not, and has secured $500,000 in taxpayer money to build the center. D.C. officials have not said whether they will check the immigration status of the day laborers who congregate there. We would hope they would overlook this tiny detail.

The day laborers merely want to do the jobs that Americans refuse to do, at least when they are not sleeping under porches and showering plants with their natural fertilizer.

Alas, the process of building the center is moving slower than Mr. Thomas would like. The bureaucrats have yet to pick a permanent site, which is fine by Brentwood’s residents, most of whom have not evolved to Mr. Thomas” advanced state of enlightenment. They see a day laborer with a weak bladder on their yard and think it is deplorable. Mr. Thomas sees a day laborer with a weak bladder in a yard and acquires $500,000 in taxpayer money to help the person deal more effectively with this bodily function.

It is a beautiful thing, the city endeavoring to take the lead in the region in helping recent arrivals, illegal or not, try to resolve the emotionally distressing issue of a weak bladder.

City officials should build more day-laborer centers, one in each ward, in fact, to spread the joy of multiculturalism and diversity. This would be especially beneficial to the residents of Ward 3, most presumed to be adherents of multiculturalism and diversity but unable to live it from their incredibly pale enclaves.

Many of the neighborhoods in Ward 3 could have been used as the set in “Pleasantville,” considering so little change has come to these idyllic spots since the 1950s.

It would be up to Mary M. Cheh to let her fellow D.C. Council members know that Ward 3 is receptive to a day-laborer center. It would not even have to cost taxpayers $500,000 if an empty building were converted into a center.

As luck would have it, the old Apollo convenience store in the 2400 block of Wisconsin Avenue Northwest is ready to be turned into a day-laborer center. This would be a wonderful education for a neighborhood that could use more diversity than the Russian Embassy.

Residents and day laborers could gather at the old Apollo convenience store and sing songs in English or Spanish, whichever language the newcomers prefer, and reach a transcendent moment that unites all as one.

Why, neighborhood residents could invite the day laborers to sleep under their porches as a gesture to connect with them.

If successful, city officials could set out a welcome mat to our friends south of the Rio Grande, with an appeal: “If you come, we will build as many day-laborer centers as necessary at taxpayer expense.”

And then one day soon, hopefully, we will have an equal number of porches and day laborers in the city.

And ours will be the best landscaped city in the world, and fertilized by natural means as well.

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