News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: Why I Hate DC

This week, we take a peek at what blogger Dave Stroup has done with one of our favorite sites, Why I Hate DC.

Why I Hate DC's new(ish) blogger, Dave Stroup. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Remember many moons ago when we tapped Rusty from Why I Hate DC for an interview? Today we’ve got his successor, Dave Stroup, who’s been helming the site since last November.

Stroup started writing for the site with a team of bloggers after Rusty moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 2008. One by one, Stroup says, the other writers moved away or they just lost interest, so he was eventually the site’s sole blogger.

During his tenure, Stroup says he’s aimed to push the blog in a new direction—less snark (though there’s still a good dose) and more news. “It’s less about hating DC,” he says. “I just hate that there are so many problems in the city that prevent it from being better.” High on his list is John Catoe—Stroup wrote a petition to get the Metro chief fired.

We couldn’t resist getting Stroup to put on his snark hat for just a few minutes to give us the dirt on what really gets his goat about the capital city. We asked him some of the same questions that Rusty answered so you can compare the new writer with the old. Check out Rusty’s interview here, then read on for Stroup’s take on DC.

Five words to sum up why you hate DC:
“I don’t really hate DC.”

City you hate more than DC:
“Chicago makes DC’s problems look trivial. Don’t get me wrong—Chicago is a great city. But it’s plagued by corruption, crime, and poverty.”

Three reasons you think John Catoe should be fired:
“(1) The worst accident in Metro’s history happened on his watch, and Catoe hasn’t accepted responsibility. No one has. (2) There’s a demonstrated history of safety problems at Metro. Catoe may have inherited many of the problems, but it’s on his shoulders to fix them. He hasn’t. (3) Catoe is more of the same. The status quo killed nine people. More of the same means more deaths. Period.”

Local official besides Catoe you most wish you could fire:

“Police chief Cathy Lanier. Crime might be down this year, but it’s a nationwide trend. Lanier takes credit for DC going along with this trend. Her efforts are mostly just police theater combined with good luck. Meanwhile, officers on the beat are unhappy, unmotivated, and undertrained.”

Your thoughts on The Real World: DC:
“I was amused by all the hubbub about it, but I never thought it’d be a big deal or an inconvenience.”

Most annoying quality of DC residents:
“The smug self-importance that comes from being close to power. You see it in people’s attitudes when walking down the street or ordering at a coffeeshop. The world is supposed to stop for you because you live in DC and have a BlackBerry. It’s a cliché because it’s true.”

Most overrated neighborhood:

“Bloomingdale. It’s too overpriced and under-policed.”

Most overrated restaurant:

Marvin. You can dim the lights at a Waffle House all you want, but it’s still a Waffle House.”

Most pretentious job title you’ve ever heard in DC:
“Professional blogger.”

Worst local-government agency:
“DC Office of Tax and Revenue. They can’t keep their own house in order, and they send out ‘mistaken’ refund checks to residents. They have terrible customer service. They do have a super-secret customer-relations manager, if you can track him or her down.”

Worst local-news broadcast:
“Broadcast? Fox 5 is subpar, but I don’t typically watch the TV news—I browse the Web sites. ABC7’s site could really use copyediting. Typos and exclamation points in headlines? Really?”

Worst Washington newspaper:
“I would say the Washington Times, but it’s more irrelevant than bad. Ask me again in a year or two and I might say the Washington Post.”

Worst hometown team:
“Too easy: the Nationals. But at least we’ve got a nearly $700 million monument to their crappiness.”

Finish this sentence: “If I could improve one thing about DC, it would be . . .”
“. . . establishing a city government that was responsive, transparent, and, most of all, respectable.”

Where you’d live if not DC:
“Somewhere near Lake Champlain in Vermont or New York. Somewhere quiet.”

Favorite local blog besides your own:
Greater Greater Washington. It covers what I’d cover if my site didn’t have the word ‘hate’ in the title.”

Vox Populi
Scary Mommy
All Blogger Beat interviews

Have a favorite local blogger you’d like to hear from? Send an e-mail to with suggestions.

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