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Breakfast links: Pointing fingers

Photo by gcfairch on Flickr.
Official scapegoats Smart Growth: A Carroll County commiss­ioner blamed Smart Growth policies for crime and poor schools to Prince George's. Rushern Baker resents the insult. (Post)

Leggett reprimands council: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is upset with the council for not passing his proposed curfew bill. He calls the anti-loitering bill, seen as a compromise, "a stall tactic intended to confuse the debate." (Examiner)

Election results still not all in: Republicans picked up one Virginia Senate seat and another remains too close to call. It will determine party control of the chamber. (HuffPo) ... Phyllis Marcuccio will remain Rockville's mayor. All incumbents survived in Gaithersburg and Greenbelt, while one College Park seat is too close to call. (Gazette)

DNC contradicts DC Democrats: Yesterday Dennis Jaffe argued that the Democratic National Committee couldn't have possibly forced DC Democrats to end party elections. The DNC confirmed that its rules didn't require the change at the local level. (Post)

Charters gain increasing share: Enrollment in DC's public charter schools jumped 8% from last year. DCPS enrollment, which had been increasing, fell slightly. (Post)

All options on the table for the FBI's HQ: GAO released a report detailing problems with the J. Edgar Hoover Building. The report considers all solutions, including renovating the building, replacing the building, and moving the FBI somewhere else. (HuffPo)

Are the police choking or pushing?: Occupy DC protestors have a video they say shows police brutality at the Convention Center protest last week. (City Desk)

And...: DC's statehood campaign is coming to a Metrobus near you! (DCist) ... After 6 years of planning, a tiny NPS park will get a modest renovation. (City Paper) ... Are the big-city Democratic mayors of today corporatist sell-outs? (Salon)

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Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 


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+1 for demolishing the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Total eyesore.

by Nicoli on Nov 9, 2011 9:25 am • linkreport

We're going to go with Prince George as an example of smart growth? I don't know whether the accuser doesn't know what smart growth is or that the term has been coopted to better sell sprawl.

Related, the Plan Maryland isn't about curbing growth or denying economic opportunity to rural counties but it does basically tell rural counties (and rural area of other counties) that the state won't subsidize sprawl development.

by Canaan on Nov 9, 2011 9:36 am • linkreport

+2 on the FBI Building. I would guess they will use the guise of 'security concerns' to move the HQ to WVA or some such.

by William on Nov 9, 2011 10:00 am • linkreport


That's fine by me - so long as they don't build another ATF-esque building on a prime parcel downtown.

by Alex B. on Nov 9, 2011 10:25 am • linkreport

Regarding the Carrol County Commissioner's comment, that's just red meat for their redneck voters. The redneck parts of Maryland use Prince George's and Baltimore as dog whistles for racists. Pay them no mind just like the rest of the state.

by Cavan on Nov 9, 2011 10:30 am • linkreport

To another issue. When marylanders do denigrate Baltimore (because of crime, poverty or whatever) why do they want it to stay crappy? I know state funding can be a zero sum game so money going to Baltimore may not be money going to carroll county but more residents in baltimore/urban areas will be better for the whole state. Especially if you're interested in preserving rural-ness in your county.

by Canaan on Nov 9, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

are they trying to preserve ruralness in carrol? It was getting fairly suburban in the SE corner 20 years ago. I assume like some other counties on the suburban/rural edge, theres a faction that wants ruralness and likes smart growth in the core, and theres a faction what wants more development and suburbanization.

Add to that, a sense of victimization at the hands of mighty baltimore that goes back over a century in maryland - back to when Baltimore really WAS wealthy and powerful.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 9, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

I've no love for the J. Edgar Hoover Building, but I'd rather keep it around if the alternative is moving hundreds more jobs to the car-dependent exurbs.

by pagodat on Nov 9, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

Canaan, I wish that was the thought process. With those rural voters, it's more along the lines of a mixture of fear due to unfamiliarity and just wanting someone to look down on. None of this jibberish spewing from the rural/exurban politician's mouth has much to do with wanting to improve the fiscal position of their jurisdiction. They just don't think that way.

For evidence, I present this post.

by Cavan on Nov 9, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport


If the FBI moves and the site is redeveloped as normal office space, you're still going to have lots of jobs located in the core of the city - just a different employer.

I think there's a bigger discussion that needs to happen about federal security requirements and job locations. The various design criteria are not compatible with urban contexts, but they need that very urban context for all sorts of transportation issues. I don't know what the answer is, really. DHS at St Es, behind a brick wall, isn't a great solution; nor is the ATF building; nor is a Langley-esque campus that's removed from various transit and land use assets.

by Alex B. on Nov 9, 2011 10:56 am • linkreport

@Alex - I will agree that it would be nice to get a property tax paying use for the FBI's headquarters but, you are compeltely wrong about the ATF. In 2004 when they started building the ATF Headquarters, that entire area of noma/Ny Ave/Fl Ave was a pretty horrendous waste land ghetto of empty lots and burned building carcasses that had been there since the race riots of the 60's. All of the development that has taken place there in the past 7 years, the millions of sq/ft of new shiny office/retail is there BECASUE of ATF acting as anchor. People can credit the metro stop all they like, but it had been planned since 1996, under construction since 2000 and opened in 2004 and still there was zero planned development in that area until ATF broke ground. The only thing "prime" about that land was its abandonded status and crime rate.

Charter Schools:

The incredibly steep increase in charter enrollment last fall, the steepest in 4 years and right after the first year of increased public school enrollment, coming directly after the departure of Rhee last spring is a pretty clear referendum as to what the departure of Rhee meant to the parents of school age kids in DC.

by freely on Nov 9, 2011 10:58 am • linkreport


I will certainly credit the Metro station far more than ATF ( as well as the zoning changes and associated improvements to the area). If you want tenants, the DOJ leasing office space in the Constitution Square project is likely more important than the ATF building at catalyzing development, since you're talking about leasing of private space instead of building a fortress.

Either way, I'm not sure how that's relevant to the FBI site. That's not an area that needs a catalyst at all, ergo your point about catalyzing NoMa is moot. The question is what the site should be in terms of form - and I'd argue that an ATF-esque fortress-like structure would be inappropriate (moreso than the current building is).

by Alex B. on Nov 9, 2011 11:07 am • linkreport

Regarding the Hoover building:

If the FBI wanted to demolish and rebuild, firstly...I would toast with a fine champagne the dusty debris from that monstrosity of a building. I mean, it's lacking an entire 2nd floor. WTF?

Secondly, there's plenty of office space scattered around town for them to relocate to. They'd spread across the city for the 5-10 years it would take to rebuild the thing on the same site and then move back to the NEW Hoover building.

It's been a good week for brutalist haters. First the new plans for the Scientist Church at 16th and I were released and now this. At this rate all of the eye sores in SW will be razed within a month!

by Michael on Nov 9, 2011 11:51 am • linkreport

a federal headquarters can be well integrated into the community without being a fortress (or a total eyesore). The new DOT headquarters is a great example of that. The community is still growing up around it, but it works and it works well. I used to jog through it, no questions asked. I cut through there on my bike and no one blinks an eye. Security features, such as a deep set-back from the street, were landscaped in such a way that you don't immediately notice them.

Will a potential new FBI headquarters embrace those same design elements? If they don't, it's a missed opportunity.

by Birdie on Nov 9, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

A Carroll County commiss­ioner blamed Smart Growth policies for crime and poor schools to Prince George's. Rushern Baker resents the insult.

This seems pretty obvious and noncontroversial to me. As DC has implemented Smart Growth policies, it's made the city more attractive to middle-class residents, housing costs have increased, and it's no longer the residence of last resort for the region's poorest. Instead, PG County--with its more suburban growth patterns--has made up the difference.

I'm sure the downstate Commissioner simply meant his comments as a full-throated paean to DC's Smart Growth policies, rather than a condemnation of PG County's abortive attempts to do the same.

by oboe on Nov 9, 2011 12:00 pm • linkreport


I suspect the FBI's security requirements would be higher than the DOT's, unfortunately. The ATF building meets a higher security standard.

Likewise, while the DOT building is better than ATF, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Almost no retail at all, save for a tiny Starbucks. First floor uses do not activate the street, etc.

by Alex B. on Nov 9, 2011 12:05 pm • linkreport

Is there room at St E's for the FBI? wouldnt moving them there and opening up the old site for redevelopment and private sector jobs be the best solution all around?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 9, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

@freely, I do hope you're wrong. If you are right, that would mean that these parents who were characterized as looking out for the best interest of their child, attached their child's future to person and not a specific policy.

I say this because 1)One year is not nearly enough time to gauge whether Rhee's departure "negatively" affected overall 2010's school performance. 2)Kaya has continued most of her policies..albiet in a much more diplomatic behind the scenes fashion? So why doubt her deputy?

by HogWash on Nov 9, 2011 2:07 pm • linkreport

At one point wasn't the FBI potentially going to relocate to a TOD at the Greenbelt Metro station (pdf)? I'm fairly sure that the city of Greenbelt is still trying to make that happen.

by stitchbones on Nov 9, 2011 2:15 pm • linkreport


Seems like the new Potomac Yard metro stop would be a good location. They could use the natural barriers of railroad tracks and GW Pkwy for added security and still have good transit accessibility. Also, I'd assume the largest share of employees live in Virginia.

by Falls Church on Nov 9, 2011 3:03 pm • linkreport

Decline in DCPS enrollment -- I am presently considering schools for my kids. I am planning to visit (3 DCPS + 3 or 4 charters) x 2 (elementary + middle) schools = 14 schools under consideration. I will review the educational programs, homework policies, extracurricular offerings, test results, consider what best fits my kids' interests and personalities, while also bearing in mind the commute, which needs to be reasonable. Most parents go through something like this when deciding on what school to send their kids to.

Rhee's presence will have no bearing on my decision. I think it is trite to blame the decline in DCPS enrollment on Rhee's departure.

by goldfish on Nov 9, 2011 4:07 pm • linkreport

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