The IHOP on 14th Street has become a bullet point. Sen. Tom Coburn released his Waste Book of one hundred ways the government wastes money and the Anacostia Economic Development Corp makes his list. They received $765,828 in federal funds to cover staff training and the launch of the IHOP restaurant. Coburn's problem with the arrangement is that the money was supposed to be earmarked for 'underserved neighborhoods'. He begins his one-page criticism with the sentence: "Almost $800,000 of federal taxpayer funds went to subsidize "pancakes for yuppies" in the nation‘s capital."
He then goes on to describe the neighborhood:
The new IHOP is not located in an "underserved community" but a popular Washington D.C. neighborhood. The neighborhood is Columbia Heights, which has become a local shopping hot spot for some and one of Washington‘s more desirable neighborhoods. The notion that the staff at IHOP might live in an underserved community and commute to Columbia Heights because that is where the jobs are isn't mentioned, nor does he qualify the 'desirable neighborhoods' statement (which, let's face it, was probably plucked from broker babble and most likely refers to the affordability factor). But it isn't until a California-based newspaper columnist picks up on this that the nabe gets called 'tonied'. Kathy Kristoff summarized the pancakes point with:
"Federal funding went to the Anacostia Economic Development Corp to build an International House of Pancake franchise (and train its workers) in an "underserved community." The underserved community, however, turned out to the a toney area of Washington D.C. - Columbia Heights, which is termed "one of Washington's more desirable neighborhoods." Well, there you have it. Columbia Heights has moved up to join the Foxhalls and Georgetowns of the city. Our friends over at Eater looked at the other restaurants in the neighborhood, just to prove it is filled with $1,000 sundaes and extensive wines lists.
· 10 most outrageous ways government wastes your money [CBSNews via NCH]
· Dr. Coburn Releases New Report on Wasteful Government Spending in 2011: "Wastebook 2011" [Senate]
· Kathy Kristoff Lands New Gig [Fishbowl LA]
· Is Columbia Heights Just Too Damn Fancy For IHOP? [EDC]
· IHOP [Yelp]