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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Nov 28, 2023 10:19 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Alexandria possibly eliminating zoning for single family homes, another student walkout in MCPS, an epidemic of estrangement, and a daughter's mysterious emergency room visit.

Yesterday the Gaza war thread continued as the most active thread. Skipping, that one, the most active thread was titled, "Alexandria on the Cusp of Eliminating All SFH Zoning" and posted in the "Metropolitan DC Local Politics" forum. The original poster claims that Alexandria is plagued by a number of negative factors such as failing schools and an increasing number of murders and now the Council is going to completely destroy the city by eliminating zoning for single family housing. There is apparently a vote on this topic today. First, just to clarify what this proposal is all about. Currently, some parts of Alexandria are zoned exclusively for single family houses. In an effort to expand housing options, the Council proposes to remove this zoning and allow the development of multifamily housing units in those areas. Posters variously see this as either enhancing the value of their property or destroying it. Those in the first group suggest that what is now a single family home could be sold for a higher profit if it were purchased in order to develop multifamily housing. Others, on the other hand, believe that higher-density will destroy their current community and cause their current homes to lose value. This illustrates the dilemma of housing costs. Those in search of housing are eager to see more affordable housing which, proponents of development argue, can best be achieved by increasing the supply of housing. As such, encouraging the replacement of single family homes with multifamily units should increase affordability. But those who currently own property are not interested in seeing it lose value and that is exactly what they fear will happen if their current property is suddenly surrounded by lower-cost housing. Regardless, there is no agreement about the best course of action. Some posters think it makes sense to sell to a developer and take the money and run. Others think staying put until single family homes are scarce and sell for a significant premium makes more sense. Several posters are also worried about an increased number of residents overburdening city services, especially schools. Anger with the proposal is such that many posters who apparently currently own single-family homes make all sorts of threats about how they will react, such as turning their homes into brothels or raising pigs in their back yards. Sadly for these posters, the new zoning proposals will not allow for brothels or pig farms.

The next most active thread was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum and titled, "What is the student walkout for on 11/29 at Sherwood?". Since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, area high schools have witnessed a number of student-led walkouts by students. Most of these have been in support of a ceasefire or more generally in support of the Palestinians. Most have created controversy due to real or perceived antisemitism that has been linked to them. The original poster of this thread says that she just received a notice from Montgomery County Public School's Sherwood High School about a planned walkout tomorrow. The original poster knows that the walkout is about Palestine but wants to know more specifically what it is addressing. The reactions of those who respond reflect their own personal views about the conflict. Those who are pro-Israel are not supportive of the walkout unless it engages in pro-Israel messaging, something they don't suspect will be the case. Others argue that the point of the protest is to call for a ceasefire which they don't believe is inherently pro-Palestinian. But, others see a ceasefire demand as not only supporting Palestinians, but more specifically, supporting Hamas. Some posters use this as an opportunity to attack MCPS which, they argue, has essentially brainwashed kids so that their knee-jerk reaction is to support the Palestinians, something these posters suggest is naive and uninformed. As is reflected in the thread, the topic of antisemitism is complicated in situations like this. Some posters feel that any demonstration that is pro-Palestinian would likely make Jewish students feel uncomfortable and, therefore, is almost antisemitic by definition and should not be allowed. Others are more worried about overt antisemitism that might occur. But, there is disagreement over whether slogans such as "Free Palestine from the River to the Sea" constitute antisemitism. The problem with every one of these threads about student walkouts has been that they eventually turn into debates about the conflict rather than discussions of the walkouts. Debates about the Gaza-Israel conflict don't belong in school forums and, hence, I end up locking them. That was also the case with this thread and this morning I locked it.

Next was a thread titled, "An epidemic of estrangement" and posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. The original poster cites a number of cases involving her friends or family in which daughters have become estranged from their mothers and no longer have contact with them. She says that this happens for no reason and she wants to know whether this phenomenon is limited to her family or if it is happening everywhere. Several posters say that they don't know anyone who is estranged and they find it strange that the original poster knows so many. Other posters respond to say that there was a reason for the estrangement but that whoever initiated it does not feel that there is any benefit in sharing the reason. A few posters say that they cut off contact with parents or other family members due to years of abuse from which they want to protect their own children. One poster suggests that mental health issues and personality disorders may have genetic links which result in clusters within one family, possibly explaining the original poster's experience. Other posters say that they are aware of estrangements but that they are often attributed to something like alcoholism or extreme political differences. Much of the thread consists of posters relating anecdotes of their own personal experiences or experiences of those they know. Other posters suggest ways that estrangements might be resolved. Quite a bit of the discussion revolves around alleged generational differences. Posters who have not adopted my dislike of generational labels argue that "boomers" have a host of personality traits that cause millennials to justifiably cut off contact with them. Another poster contended that there would have been more frequent estrangements in the past but sexism prohibited women from being financially independent. Now that women can more easily get by without relying on a husband or parent, they are more likely to disengage themselves from unwanted relationships.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum and titled, "Blindsided by ER bill - DD says she was "‘roofied’". The original poster says that she unexpectedly received a bill for an emergency room visit involving her daughter who is away at college. When she asked her daughter why she had been at the emergency room, her daughter told her that she had been "roofied" but that she was okay. The original poster feels that her daughter was being very evasive, for instance saying that she had reported the incident to the police but refusing to share the name of the police officer or provide a copy of the report. Moreover, the original poster suspects that her daughter may have just been drunk, in which case she plans to make her daughter pay the bill and prohibit her from bringing a car to campus next year. She wants to know if this is overkill. The dilemma facing the original poster, which she restates a number of times in the thread, is that if her daughter was the victim of a crime she wants to support her but if she is lying, she thinks punishment is merited. She just doesn't know which is the case. Those responding seem to mostly think the daughter is lying. They support prohibiting her from taking a car to campus. There is quite a bit of discussion of what rights a parent has in this situation. Because the original poster's daughter is legally an adult, she does not have authorization to see medical or police records. Posters discuss how they have addressed these issues with their children. Several posters argue that the original poster should pay the copay for the emergency room and that this should not be part of the discussion about whether or not she is lying. One poster suggested dropping the topic altogether until her daughter is home for Christmas break. The thread gets sidetracked a bit by discussions of parenting. Some posters believe that this shows that the original poster has been too lax of a parent in the past and her daughter thinks she can manipulate and ignore her. Others think that punishing her daughter will just encourage her to lie and evade even more in the future. The original poster stayed engaged throughout the thread, clearly accepting advice that she thought was good. On what is currently the last page of the thread, she published a detailed plan of action which, at least my opinion, looks well thought-out and considered. She has taken into account both her own interests and those of her daughter. Still the plan elicits some criticism from posters who say that the daughter should not be punished for seeking medical help, but that does not appear to be part of the plan. So, that criticism is confusing and seems unfounded.

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