I think opening the businesses neighbors want is a great idea! Here’s my thought, though – we do have this thing in the United States called “capitalism,” which, despite its many flaws, has a pretty decent track record of providing the businesses neighborhoods want without having an online vote or anything. It goes like this:

-Somebody opens a business

-People vote with their dollars

-If enough votes/dollars are submitted the business stays open; if not, the business closes and is replaced by a different business hoping to have better success.

Why do we need a slickly-branded middleman running an online vote only available to a fraction of the people in the neighborhood (yet also available to be gamed by people outside it) when this system has worked pretty well for a very long time?

On a related note, the reason we don’t see enough sit-down restaurants east of the River is because the people who live around there don’t have enough dollars. Rather than have an online competition, what we need to do is get more dollars to the people who live across the river, something traditionally done by employing them and something the District and Federal governments have badly failed at for years.