A controversial petition launched to protest the opening of a 14th Street NW 7-Eleven store was successful, says its creator.
The Change.org petition originally called for residents to rise up against a new 7-Eleven convenience store coming to the ground floor of the Solea condo building at 2300 14th Street NW.
Ezra Weinblatt, who lives in the condo and originally filed the petition, told Borderstan in July he was “not impressed by the processed and sugary foods that they sell,” and hoped “to get enough support behind the opposition to … demonstrate that the neighborhood would rather have a more local bodega, clothier or anything else.”
Though 300 people went on to sign Weinblatt’s petition, not all of the feedback it garnered was positive. CityLab’s Kriston Capps wrote in July that the petition smacked of “crypto-classism.”
And yesterday, PoPville declared that the petition had failed because it couldn’t prevent the embattled 7-Eleven from posting its permits on the window and moving forward with renovations.
While Weinblatt acknowledges that the petition failed to stop the new 7-Eleven, he says his petition was ultimately a success.
“It wasn’t a failure,” says Weinblatt. “We wanted to raise awareness that the community objected to another insipid corporate fast food type establishment.”
“Given that there are only 50 units in the building and over 300 people from every race and class in the neighborhood signed the petition, the effort was successful,” he says.
One thing Weinblatt says he didn’t anticipate is that his original petition would be so controversial.
“I had no idea I would have so many detractors,” Weinblatt says. “I thought this was a slam dunk. The petition was accused of being classist. It couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”
“There’s such an epidemic with obesity. It’s sad,” Weinblatt adds. “I don’t know exactly how people who think they’re defending the underdog when they’re supporting food and lifestyle choices that are actually oppressive to them.”
Now that the 7-Eleven has moved closer to opening, will Weinblatt boycott it?
“I’m not going to support it for the first 6 months,” Weinblatt says. “But I wouldn’t rule it out [later]. It’s not going to stay open because I buy a bottle of water once every six months.”