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St. Paul's Quadrant (Phase 1-Under Construction)


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14 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

Keeping people locked away in these antiquated and sometimes dangerous concrete boxes is cruel and unusual.  We have witnessed 60 or more years of the pubic housing experiment, an abject failure time and again, all across the US, as study after study have shown that mixed income is the aspirational way to lift all economic boats and to simultaneously reduce crime and drug use in densely populated, low-income African American communities. For the better part of three decades, SOME of the resistance to moving toward a mixed-income neighborhood replacement model, i.e., moving more upwardly mobile folks into the urban mix via the addition of market-rate rentals and deeded single family/townhome/condo (whatever the particular mix may be here, I’m not sure), seems to be rooted in some type of perverse plantation preservation mentality. The government, of course, being the plantation owner.  The advocates for rebuilding public housing in lieu of something like what’s going on here—or at  least those who seem reflexively opposed to what they would falsely term “gentrification,” are both white and African American—progressives all.  Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing “progressive” about what they are espousing.  

This is a bad take, in my opinion. You're pulling a couple of different issues together to throw up a straw-man progressive that I don't think really exists. The issue with public housing is not that public housing is inherently bad, it is that it is not supported or utilized correctly. Public housing, especially in Norfolk, is under funded, concentrated, and segregated. Why aren't the public housing communities better integrated into the fabric of the city, and why don't they receive better services? Why has it taken 60 years for Tidewater Gardens to be replaced? Why aren't there already new units for the current residents to move into? Like seriously, it's not like there's a dearth of demand for public housing, it's almost impossible to get on the waiting list there are so many that need it. Why didn't the city build more public housing, move the current residents there, and then redevelop St. Pauls to add more public housing stock for the city? They would have been able to avoid a lot of their current criticisms if they took that route.

I would also say that private led Section 8 housing is not the end-all-be-all solution that will fix all of our problems. Private apartment complexes are there to make a buck, and that clashes with public housing since most that need it don't have a ton of money. It is a useful tool in the public housing belt, but cities need to be careful in how they utilize and regulate private section 8 housing or else the residents are actually going to be in a much worse situation. Right now in Richmond they're having issues because Leasers have way too much control. They are able to jack up rents on poorly maintained properties with the threat of eviction if residents don't comply, and they face little if any repercussions whatsoever.  And the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has shown very little desire to help.

And to be clear, yes gentrification is something that we need to be careful of. It forces out longtime residents and breaks up communities. And, as we all enough of urban development enthusiasts to frequent this site, we should be much more concerned with the development and protection of communities rather than ignore their potential erosion.

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I think some good points have been made here by several posters. I would like to add that although the city of Norfolk has not excelled in every effort it has taken in the area of redevelopment of historically impoverished majority African-American neighborhoods it has done a decent job in some. 
    Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I think the city’s efforts in Broad Creek have been mostly positive. I believe the housing stock has been greatly improved, while the overall makeup of the neighborhood has been maintained. There have also been some improvements such as a new library, and school. The Kroc Center was also built, although not paid for by the city, they did do much work to attract such a highly regarded facility to the neighborhood.

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4 hours ago, Arctic_Tern said:

This is a bad take, in my opinion. You're pulling a couple of different issues together to throw up a straw-man progressive that I don't think really exists. The issue with public housing is not that public housing is inherently bad, it is that it is not supported or utilized correctly. Public housing, especially in Norfolk, is under funded, concentrated, and segregated. Why aren't the public housing communities better integrated into the fabric of the city, and why don't they receive better services? Why has it taken 60 years for Tidewater Gardens to be replaced? Why aren't there already new units for the current residents to move into? Like seriously, it's not like there's a dearth of demand for public housing, it's almost impossible to get on the waiting list there are so many that need it. Why didn't the city build more public housing, move the current residents there, and then redevelop St. Pauls to add more public housing stock for the city? They would have been able to avoid a lot of their current criticisms if they took that route.

I would also say that private led Section 8 housing is not the end-all-be-all solution that will fix all of our problems. Private apartment complexes are there to make a buck, and that clashes with public housing since most that need it don't have a ton of money. It is a useful tool in the public housing belt, but cities need to be careful in how they utilize and regulate private section 8 housing or else the residents are actually going to be in a much worse situation. Right now in Richmond they're having issues because Leasers have way too much control. They are able to jack up rents on poorly maintained properties with the threat of eviction if residents don't comply, and they face little if any repercussions whatsoever.  And the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has shown very little desire to help.

And to be clear, yes gentrification is something that we need to be careful of. It forces out longtime residents and breaks up communities. And, as we all enough of urban development enthusiasts to frequent this site, we should be much more concerned with the development and protection of communities rather than ignore their potential erosion.

Could not disagree more strongly with every fiber of my being, and I believe that yours is the “bad take” ...and patently on the wrong side of history. With respect, it sounds very much like an answer that came straight out of a university lecture or a sociology or Marxian economics textbook. Certainly, the private sector is not entirely altruistic, nor is it a panacea factory, but let there be no doubt that the cruelest master soul-sucker in all of human history is a nameless, faceless government bureaucrat. The great war on poverty, a feckless progressive fantasy which brought us these Gulag style housing encampments, has failed the masses.  And miserably so. Time to try something  new. Time to inject a little private economy capitalism into the human housing solution equation. For never has there been an economic system that has lifted more people out of poverty than free-market capitalism. Mixed-income, mixed use, private ownership of property:  onward and upward.

———p.s.......———

The issue with public housing is not that public housing is inherently bad, it is that it is not supported or utilized correctly” .....sounds all very familiar to me.  

For it’s pretty much the same tired and demonstrably fallacious argument as “The issue with communism is not that communism  is inherently bad, it is that it has not been implemented correctly.” 

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1 hour ago, NFKjeff said:

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I think the city’s efforts in Broad Creek have been mostly positive. I believe the housing stock has been greatly improved, while the overall makeup of the neighborhood has been maintained. There have also been some improvements such as a new library, and school. The Kroc Center was also built, although not paid for by the city, they did do much work to attract such a highly regarded facility to the neighborhood.

Broad Creek is probably the best example of rebuilding done right (I refuse to use the G-word), IMO. Although I'm sure the city wanted a more integrated neighborhood, from what I've seen they successfully created a middle-class Black neighborhood. Hopefully SPQ brings more diversity, both racially and economically, and put these debates to rest.

Kudos everyone for not letting this devolve to name-calling. I wish more Internet debates could be as civil as the ones here.

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6 hours ago, Arctic_Tern said:

This is a bad take, in my opinion. You're pulling a couple of different issues together to throw up a straw-man progressive that I don't think really exists. The issue with public housing is not that public housing is inherently bad, it is that it is not supported or utilized correctly. Public housing, especially in Norfolk, is under funded, concentrated, and segregated. Why aren't the public housing communities better integrated into the fabric of the city, and why don't they receive better services? Why has it taken 60 years for Tidewater Gardens to be replaced? Why aren't there already new units for the current residents to move into? Like seriously, it's not like there's a dearth of demand for public housing, it's almost impossible to get on the waiting list there are so many that need it. Why didn't the city build more public housing, move the current residents there, and then redevelop St. Pauls to add more public housing stock for the city? They would have been able to avoid a lot of their current criticisms if they took that route.

I would also say that private led Section 8 housing is not the end-all-be-all solution that will fix all of our problems. Private apartment complexes are there to make a buck, and that clashes with public housing since most that need it don't have a ton of money. It is a useful tool in the public housing belt, but cities need to be careful in how they utilize and regulate private section 8 housing or else the residents are actually going to be in a much worse situation. Right now in Richmond they're having issues because Leasers have way too much control. They are able to jack up rents on poorly maintained properties with the threat of eviction if residents don't comply, and they face little if any repercussions whatsoever.  And the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has shown very little desire to help.

And to be clear, yes gentrification is something that we need to be careful of. It forces out longtime residents and breaks up communities. And, as we all enough of urban development enthusiasts to frequent this site, we should be much more concerned with the development and protection of communities rather than ignore their potential erosion.

The intent of public housing was to be more akin to a halfway house, not a lifetime or multi-generational dwelling. The fact it has become a way of life to the point you refer to it as a community in need of protection shows the depth of the failure of public housing. 

To your point of gentrification (not related to public housing per se), where do you draw the line between owner rights and non-owners or "community" rights?

 

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4 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

Could not disagree more strongly with every fiber of my being, and I believe that yours is the “bad take” ...and patently on the wrong side of history. With respect, it sounds very much like an answer that came straight out of a university lecture or a sociology or Marxian economics textbook. Certainly, the private sector is not entirely altruistic, nor is it a panacea factory, but let there be no doubt that the cruelest master soul-sucker in all of human history is a nameless, faceless government bureaucrat. The great war on poverty, a feckless progressive fantasy which brought us these Gulag style housing encampments, has failed the masses.  And miserably so. Time to try something  new. Time to inject a little private economy capitalism into the human housing solution equation. For never has there been an economic system that has lifted more people out of poverty than free-market capitalism. Mixed-income, mixed use, private ownership of property:  onward and upward.

———p.s.......———

The issue with public housing is not that public housing is inherently bad, it is that it is not supported or utilized correctly” .....sounds all very familiar to me.  

For it’s pretty much the same tired and demonstrably fallacious argument as “The issue with communism is not that communism  is inherently bad, it is that it has not been implemented correctly.” 

You seem to want to argue more about communism/capitalism than have a good faith argument about how to best serve the underprivileged in our society. Which, neat, but the issue is a lot more complex than just saying "let laissez-faire capitalism do all the work".  Creating communities and delivering services that work, especially for those that cannot afford to buy solutions, requires careful planning and years long foresight. This isn't about capitalism, it's about planning. (Weird seeing how we're on an urban planning message  board right?)

Private companies are not some big evil boogeyman, but they are around to do exactly one thing: make money. There is nothing that a company will do if it does not in some way make them more money. So when we cities are planning about how to help people who do not have money to give, they need to be wary of how they can be taken advantage of or else they end up in a situation where they pay more money to put their citizens in a worse situation than if they had just built the damn housing themselves.

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1 hour ago, mistermetaj said:

The intent of public housing was to be more akin to a halfway house, not a lifetime or multi-generational dwelling. The fact it has become a way of life to the point you refer to it as a community in need of protection shows the depth of the failure of public housing. 

To your point of gentrification (not related to public housing per se), where do you draw the line between owner rights and non-owners or "community" rights?

 

I would say it is less a failure of public housing, and more a failure of the society. How is it the housings fault if the people living there are prevented from moving upward?

So the thing is about gentrification is that there is no one *line*.  It is an incredibly grey issue.  I think we can all agree it's awful when people are forced out of their homes not for any fault of their own.

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16 hours ago, Arctic_Tern said:

You seem to want to argue more about communism/capitalism than have a good faith argument about how to best serve the underprivileged in our society. Which, neat, but the issue is a lot more complex than just saying "let laissez-faire capitalism do all the work".  Creating communities and delivering services that work, especially for those that cannot afford to buy solutions, requires careful planning and years long foresight. This isn't about capitalism, it's about planning. (Weird seeing how we're on an urban planning message  board right?)

Private companies are not some big evil boogeyman, but they are around to do exactly one thing: make money. There is nothing that a company will do if it does not in some way make them more money. So when we cities are planning about how to help people who do not have money to give, they need to be wary of how they can be taken advantage of or else they end up in a situation where they pay more money to put their citizens in a worse situation than if they had just built the damn housing themselves.

The difference between us is that you do not acknowledge the abject failure—on every level—of government-planned low-income housing (more like warehousing) over the past 60+ years.  Both in concept and in actual/practical form. I suspect this is rooted in your genuine belief and faith in our government to find solutions to complex socio-economic, socio-cultural problems...and in your distrust of and disdain for private enterprise, and yes, capitalism.  If only we worked smarter, cared more, spent more public dollars and executed better, then public housing would be a rousing success. Right?  
 

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5 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

The difference between us is that you do not acknowledge the abject failure—on every level—of government-planned low-income housing (more like warehousing) over the past 60+ years.  Both in concept and in actual/practical form. I suspect this is rooted in your genuine belief and faith in our government to find solutions to complex socio-economic, socio-cultural problems...and in your distrust of and disdain for private enterprise, and yes, capitalism.  If only we worked smarter, cared more, spent more public dollars and executed better, then public housing would be a rousing success. Right?  
 

Nah man, the different between us is that one wants a discussion on genuine improvements for folks and the other wants to call people commies for doing the former.

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We appear to be drifting ever so close to the line of personal attack (perhaps we’ve already crossed it?). I am trying to hang back and let the discussion develop, but let’s stay off the personal and concentrate more on the points brought up on both sides of this discussion.

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On 3/23/2021 at 6:02 AM, vdogg said:

The people complaining must want nothing to change. As stated above, this was not a once vibrant and historically black community. It is and always has been public housing. It’s concentrated poverty, which is the death knell for any neighborhood. The complaint seems to be that not every single resident can come back. I’m sorry, but if you keep the exact same people in the exact same place what have you really accomplished except, perhaps, updating the housing stock? The concentrated poverty is still there, the reasons for that poverty are still there, and jobs will not magically appear for folks who may not have a high school diploma/Ged/vocational degree/etc. I don’t know what the answer to this problem is but I do know that simply giving the area a face lift and doing the exact same thing ain’t it. Mixed income is the way to go. Expungement of criminals records for minor offenses is the way to go. Scholarships to technical and trade schools would provide huge benefits. Provide people with a pathway toward upward mobility. Let’s solve the underlying issues first. 

I think it has more to do with those complaining are those that don't have the trust in the city that the change that they want would be good for the residents. When taking away people's neighborhoods like what happened to build public housing, it's hard to get that trust back when talking about wanting to redevelop their neighborhoods again. 

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3 hours ago, urbanlife said:

I think it has more to do with those complaining are those that don't have the trust in the city that the change that they want would be good for the residents. When taking away people's neighborhoods like what happened to build public housing, it's hard to get that trust back when talking about wanting to redevelop their neighborhoods again. 

I can understand that, however, this plan has been in development for 20 + years. There have been multiple meetings, charrettes, etc., with all involved stakeholders. The city has been both up front and vocal as to their intentions. Many of these meetings were attended by members of this very forum, which is why I find the allusions to and characterizations of some nefarious subterfuge on the part of the city confusing. It’s simply not true. At a certain point, a plan has to make it from paper to reality. They have to pull the trigger and see where things go, perhaps make adjustments along the way. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But doing nothing was not an option.

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20 hours ago, vdogg said:

I can understand that, however, this plan has been in development for 20 + years. There have been multiple meetings, charrettes, etc., with all involved stakeholders. The city has been both up front and vocal as to their intentions. Many of these meetings were attended by members of this very forum, which is why I find the allusions to and characterizations of some nefarious subterfuge on the part of the city confusing. It’s simply not true. At a certain point, a plan has to make it from paper to reality. They have to pull the trigger and see where things go, perhaps make adjustments along the way. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But doing nothing was not an option.

Oh, I agree because no matter what, there will always be people living in these public housing developments that don't trust the city's actions no matter what is said. At this point, the city needs to just act and prove that those living there won't be shoved aside.

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On 3/26/2021 at 9:29 PM, Arctic_Tern said:

Nah man, the different between us is that one wants a discussion on genuine improvements for folks and the other wants to call people commies for doing the former.

I never called you any names. The  communism reference was but an analogy to your stated argument, not an allegation that you are an adherent. 

Additionally, even though I think your position is wrong-headed, I said that you had a “GENUINE belief and faith in our government to find solutions to complex socio-economic...issues...”, the housing of low income, urban-dwelling citizens being one of them. Key word was “genuine.” We can disagree on the subject matter and still both genuinely care about improving things for “folks.” Correct?  I ask because this is at least the second time that you’ve insinuated or just plain stated that I don’t care, don’t operate in “good faith”...and of course, naturally, we are to infer that you care more (than do I).

Bottom line:  This is happening.  And nobody’s going to be rebuilding any public housing projects here. 

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On 3/27/2021 at 5:51 AM, vdogg said:

I can understand that, however, this plan has been in development for 20 + years. There have been multiple meetings, charrettes, etc., with all involved stakeholders. The city has been both up front and vocal as to their intentions. Many of these meetings were attended by members of this very forum, which is why I find the allusions to and characterizations of some nefarious subterfuge on the part of the city confusing. It’s simply not true. At a certain point, a plan has to make it from paper to reality. They have to pull the trigger and see where things go, perhaps make adjustments along the way. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But doing nothing was not an option.

Yes I applaud Norfolk for holding the multiple meetings and charrettes early on, but it seems that the city has taken the project underground and is no longer communicating with the residents or the citizens.  The city simply cannot ignore the inquiries from the citizens or the press.  It kind of makes it looks like they are hiding something.  The city must do better or they will not allay the fears of the residents that SPQ is nothing but East Ghent all over again. 

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Dr. Chip Filer,  the Norfolk City Manager, and Ronald Jackson, the Executive Director of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, addressed the inquiries and the BET program in Sunday's Virginia Pilot.  You can disagree with what they are saying, but I don't think you can claim they are ignoring the residents or hiding from them.

http://digitaledition.pilotonline.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=45f8a1a6-f763-4166-93ab-643331ddc764 

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1 hour ago, virginia pe said:

Dr. Chip Filer,  the Norfolk City Manager, and Ronald Jackson, the Executive Director of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, addressed the inquiries and the BET program in Sunday's Virginia Pilot.  You can disagree with what they are saying, but I don't think you can claim they are ignoring the residents or hiding from them.

http://digitaledition.pilotonline.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=45f8a1a6-f763-4166-93ab-643331ddc764 

This is a good move by the city.  

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2 minutes ago, EJ_LEWIS said:

This is a good move by the city.  

Agreed. Good damage control and more transparency at a critical moment. They don't need any more delays or controversy, esp. since Covid put this off long enough.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The problem that I'm starting to have is, when the city tries to be transparent, the Pilot continues to remind us of Norfolk's history with East Ghent. The editorial below is the latest.

I'm all about holding people accountable, but continuing to throw dirt is not productive either, esp. when the city is already playing damage control after being called out nationally twice. First by Bloomberg (which ended up being blown out of proportion) then BET.

https://www.pilotonline.com/opinion/columns/vp-ed-column-finn-0411-20210410-sv7szlhikjhzvfgm3nadty743u-story.html

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18 hours ago, BFG said:

The problem that I'm starting to have is, when the city tries to be transparent, the Pilot continues to remind us of Norfolk's history with East Ghent. The editorial below is the latest.

I'm all about holding people accountable, but continuing to throw dirt is not productive either, esp. when the city is already playing damage control after being called out nationally twice. First by Bloomberg (which ended up being blown out of proportion) then BET.

https://www.pilotonline.com/opinion/columns/vp-ed-column-finn-0411-20210410-sv7szlhikjhzvfgm3nadty743u-story.html

I think throwing dirt could be construed as digging up dirt that the city has tried hard to cover up.   The Ghost of East Ghent is there and I think it is very reasonable for residents of Tidewater Park to be wary of this latest "redevelopment".   The city has to be ready to respond to the media throwing dirt.  They should never institute a media blackout again about a billion dollar redevelopment which is the largest in city history.  

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I couldn't read the article (subscription restrictions), but from what i've been told, East Ghent was the slums when that was demolished. This is in many ways is a false comparison if that was true. My dad and uncle did a short stint out there before they moved  to Va.beach then back to norfolk.

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I say East Ghent because in the 70s, the city promised to offer housing to the outgoing residents, only to build the overpriced townhouses along Princess Anne Rd. I think Tidewater Gardens residents see a repeat of that happening, although I haven’t seen any indication that the city would do so. 

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23 hours ago, BFG said:

I say East Ghent because in the 70s, the city promised to offer housing to the outgoing residents, only to build the overpriced townhouses along Princess Anne Rd. I think Tidewater Gardens residents see a repeat of that happening, although I haven’t seen any indication that the city would do so. 

First time posting here in a few years, but I had to get in on the good discussion!

I would counter this argument in that in the 70s, the City was not under federal obligations they currently are under the Uniform Relocation Act, since this is a federally funded redevelopment of housing that currently received federal operating and capital subsidies. I can appreciate and understand the concerns of Tidewater Gardens residents, and I really get why they are skeptical of the City/NR&HA keeping their promises. I guess I am just a bit more hopeful (maybe naively so) that since the URA has such strict requirements on relocation and displacement, that these residents will either certainly be guaranteed housing (whether with a project-based or housing choice voucher) in the redeveloped community, or will be given a large sum equivalent to 42 or 60 months of replacement housing payments. I know that the money is no replacement for the community itself, but it's not insignificant either.

I have spent the last few years working in a community development department that receives federal housing funds, so I have had to learn pretty quickly what temporary and permanent displacement entails!

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On 4/12/2021 at 9:38 AM, EJ_LEWIS said:

I think throwing dirt could be construed as digging up dirt that the city has tried hard to cover up.   The Ghost of East Ghent is there and I think it is very reasonable for residents of Tidewater Park to be wary of this latest "redevelopment".   The city has to be ready to respond to the media throwing dirt.  They should never institute a media blackout again about a billion dollar redevelopment which is the largest in city history.  

Where does it end though? It is correct that Norfolk doesn't have the best history in this area. It is also correct that the residents have a right to be concerned about this, though I think the statements of the city not reaching out have been overblown, because they have. I also think that the media has a right to bring these issues up. The thing that concerns me however, is that the discussion is only centering around what has happened and what is bad rather than what should happen. Okay, so we've been at this for 20 or so years and we are finally executing a plan, and now people think that that plan is not as good as it should be. Fine, then provide a solution. That is not what is occurring here, they're simply saying stop the process altogether this is not fair. They need to offer an alternative to what's occurring, because simply keeping things as they are is not a valid option.

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  • vdogg changed the title to St. Paul's Quadrant (Phase 1-Under Construction)
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