Greater Greater Washington

Residents unimpressed by non-answers on Redskins "plan"

Last night, Mayor Gray, Jack Evans, and Michael Brown met with a skeptical audience, mostly residents from wards 6 and 7, about reported plans to put a Redskins practice facility on the Reservation 13/Hill East land.


Image by Brian Flahaven on Twitter.

Readers who attended the meeting report that the officials seemed to genuinely expect that the crowd would just cheer for anything that helped the Redskins, regardless of policy merit or economic justification.

Tim Krepp:
The mayor, and Jack Evans, and Michael Brown kept repeating "we'd like to bring the Redskins back" and waited for the applause. To say it fell flat was is an understatement. I was frankly shocked at how bad these politicians were at politics. It was a chance for them to sell their plan, or at least reassure a nervous and frustrated audience, and they spent the time lecturing us.

Joe:

Tim is absolutely right, all four of them were absolutely tone deaf last night. They've clearly already decided what they want. It'll be up to those of us in Wards 6 and 7 to fight like hell to stop it. I'm glad there were so many people out there and that we're, if not in front of this, at least ready to deal with it.
MLD:
It seems to me the point of the meeting was that the CMs were hoping to get a lot of people agreeing with them and cheering on the general idea of the training facility. Instead they found that there was a pretty solid opposition to the training facility from people at the meeting.
ETD:
Its clear that all the officials are drooling at anything football related. Even if it means the destruction of city services, residential, city income, affordable housing, and health care services for residents. They did say that the training facility could have a medical facility for the study of concussion-related sports injuries.
Gray and the councilmembers emphasized that there wasn't a specific plan, but it seemed to depend on how you define "plan." They seem to have done a lot of thinking about this issue, and have made up their minds, but for political reasons wanted to downplay any talk that this is a done deal.

ETD:

[Gray] stressed that there are no concrete plans, and nothing to show. But they were willing to talk about its concussion health center, job creation, and its possibility of a catalyst for development. The neighborhood thought there was going to be some specific details, but he didn't bring anything. If anything, the point of the meeting should, and did try to at times, focus on why the city hasn't chosen a developer yet for the master plan. Hopefully it did get them to move forward on picking one of the two developers for the smaller parcels of land to be developed.
Joe:
They were willing to talk specifics when they wanted, but mostly spent trying to distract the audience [by talking about the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls club] or pleading ignorance, like not knowing how the area is zoned. They also made no economic argument whatsoever for doing so. Gray, Evans and Alexander didn't even try, and Brown vaguely alluded to creating year-round jobs, but there was no discussion of the fact that although a training facility might create a few jobs, it wouldn't create nearly as many as a mixed-use development!
RG:
Redeveloping Reservation 13 is clearly a difficult task. I get that. But the Stadium-Armory Metro station has been open nearly 40 years! And there has been a master plan for the site for nearly a decade. Think of what Arlington would have done with a similar parcel of land by now.

Brian Flahaven was the star of the show. You could tell towards the end that Gray and Evans were frustrated at having been so thoroughly schooled in the game of retail politics by a mere ANC Commissioner. (Brown and Alexander were too clueless to realize they had been schooled.)

As for Alexander: What a joke. I wrote a check for Tom Brown immediately after the meeting.

Residents spent a lot of time and effort building consensus for a master plan for the area. They weren't happy to hear that Gray is basically stopping it from moving forward in the general hope they can work out something with the Redskins.

In response to questions, the officials refused to give any timeline when they would have more detail, or when they would just let the original plan move forward, or give neighbors any closure at all.

MLD:

They presented their idea, which is basically to ditch the Reservation 13 plan agreed upon years ago so they can keep pursuing this pie-in-the-sky idea of bringing the Redskins training camp to the area. And it seems like nobody at the meeting wanted the training camp except the councilmembers. They have talked to the team. They have not created a formal plan.
ETD:
From my understanding in 2008, there were four developers bidding on the master plan project. DC didn't pick any of them and let it sit. DC then decided to scale down the project to two parcels of land. Two developers are ready to go; DC just needs to pick a developer to start.
RG:
Jack Evans clearly doesn't get it. He kept trying to make the it an issue of Redskins fans versus non-Redskins fans. I like the Redskins as much as the next guy. But that's not the point Jack! The point is that when your constituents walk to the Metro, they walk through vibrant neighborhoods on streets lined with shops and services. When I walk to the Metro, I walk up a one-way street (19th) that is a freeway for Maryland commuters and past a vast and dilapidated surface parking lot for DC government employees, most of whom are Maryland residents.
Finally, Mike Debonis revealed that this meeting had been rescheduled (from the coming week) because Jack Evans couldn't make the meeting. Tommy Wells, whose ward borders this site and previously included it, was speaking at his alma mater, the University of Alabama School of Social Work.

Why can't Mayor Gray, who represents the entire city, attend a meeting to talk about a plan he's promoting without the help of a councilmember from a different ward?

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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This is simply copy and pasted from, Breakfast links: Put up your dukes, correct?

by selxic on Mar 23, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport

I am a huge Redskins fan. There are nine jerseys in the closet of my Ward 5 apartment. I bleed the burgundy and gold. I'm ecstatic for the upcoming season. But this is a terrible idea.

I'm sure it will be sort of convenient for a couple weeks in late July if I want to watch the open practices, but otherwise, worthless. Practices don't really interest me. I am a season ticket holder and I have been going to Redskins games since 1992, but I have been to exactly zero practices.

I'm sure both the people that get jobs from this new facility will be very thankful, but I would much rather have a neighborhood that integrates well with Capitol Hill and helps revive that area a little.

Wanna bring the Redskins back to DC? get them involved in city programs. Try and entice some of them with their million dollar salaries to move into and become more invested in this city instead of McMansions out in Ashburn. Get Danny Snyder to sponsor some public schools with scholarships or refurbishing or something. Then maybe talk about bringing some sort of facility into the city.

I love the Redskins, and frankly I wish the team played it's games somewhere in the city. But this plan for Reservation 13 is absurd. Riverfront property for a huge facility that is functionally useless 99% of the time. Let's get the organization more involved and respected by this town before we start handing out millions of dollars in real estate to them.

by Dave Murphy on Mar 23, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

Am I wrong in thinking that the SW Waterfront plan is as old as this Hill East plan? Why is the SW Waterfront moving forward?

by cc on Mar 23, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

As we all know when it comes to these sorts of issues, the interests of the DC employees are paramount, moreso than rank-and-file DC residents. The reason to support this facility is because it will give city council members and their staffs easier and more frequent access to Redskins players and Redskins officials.

by JustMe on Mar 23, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

What was in the way of the SW plan moving forward, cc?

by selxic on Mar 23, 2012 2:35 pm • linkreport

@Selxic, initially I thought I had missed something but then realized, they really did just copy and paste the responses here which (some) are based on how things "seemed."

It "seemed" as if they wanted the group to be fully supportive of the idea. How could they have possibly thought that? Its nonsensical.

Did any GGW contributors attend?

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 2:36 pm • linkreport

As I said elsewhere, there are also a ton of Beatles fans in DC. Ergo, using the logic, we should consider giving res 13 to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr for Mansions and Recording Studios. Residents can watch them practice occasionally, and they and their well paid staff and studio techs will spend money here in the District.

by John on Mar 23, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

This may have already been discussed before, but is the rationale for bringing the Redskins back primarily a hope that it would be a device to unify the city?

by watcher on Mar 23, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

@selxic, according to the mayor at last night's meeting, the SW plan's age and its lack of a sports arena should be standing in the way of its development. Yet, it sees like magic that they're not, since those are the only things holding up the Hill East development.

Unless it's unreasonable for me to be making the comparison between the two waterfront development plans. Which, as I don't remember much about SW, it could very well be. That's why I asked.

by cc on Mar 23, 2012 2:52 pm • linkreport

I'm sure both the people that get jobs from this new facility will be very thankful...

I initially mis-read this as "both people that get jobs from this new facility will be very thankful. That's actually pretty accurate, given the number of DC residents who'll get jobs at the "Dan Synder Practice Facility and Center for the Study of Concussions" will be countable on one hand.

by oboe on Mar 23, 2012 3:11 pm • linkreport

It's a good thing that Snyder'll be building a center for the study of concussions because I'll be needing it from the level 5 facepalm I'll be doing if the council builds him a practice facility instead of something, you know, smarter.

by Joshua on Mar 23, 2012 3:18 pm • linkreport

@oboe

Spot on. I think one hand, two at the most would definitely sum up the amount of DC residents who will gain employment here. Perhaps water boys and stuff? I could see the DC summer jobs program getting used a bit here?

As far as driving other development, has anyone though of actually living next to the stadium? 355 days a year you are surrounded by parking lots, and a big circular tower that is hard to drive around. Seems awful.

by Kyle W on Mar 23, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, I have in the past contributed to GGW and hope I have time to do so again. That said, I went last night as a neighbor, not as a very occasional contributor. I'd consider writing something up, but not sure what I could add. David's post here is an excellent recap of the meeting last night.

I'm not really sure why the Mayor even came to it. He was incredibly abrasive and even borderline insulting to residents. I've seen him before, and this was, to put it mildly, not his best performance. Rather than engaging a dubious audience, he galvanized them into a hostile one.

He wasn't helped by Jack Evans and Michael Brown cheerleading the Redskins at every opportunity. My neighbors and I showed up to see how, if even possible, a Redskins facility would fit into our neighborhood. It is very obvious that they had little interest in working with us to develop Res 13.

And we were almost universally insulted by Yvette Alexander's antics. She opened her speech with a rehashing of redistricting. She dismissed the years of work Hill East (and others!) had put into the project, insisting it was her's now, and that she would listen only to Ward 7 residents. If there was ever a project that could really unite Ward 6 and 7, Reservation 13 is it. But Councilmember Alexander would prefer to use it as a wedge to demonize people across the river from her. I don't know if it was election year politics, or if she honestly hates us, but the message was loudly received by all in attendance.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 23, 2012 3:39 pm • linkreport

@Tim, thanks. I talked to a buddy of mine who attended and he had thoughts somewhat similar to yours. While he acknowledged Gray's lackluster performance and confusion about why they were there, he also believed that the audience itself was hostile..even about the discussion.

WRT to Alexander. Not sure about her comments but is Hill East in W6 or W7?

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

@Kyle W, I think it actually has the potential to be a very nice area. It's right next to the water on one side and Congressional Cemetery on another, which are both quite nice. The Hill East neighborhood on the other side is a really pleasant place. I think its desirability, like anything, depends on what gets done with it. You could toss up a couple of ugly apartment buildings and forget about it, or you could put in some great homes/rowhouses/apartments as well as some retail and restaurants, have nice access to the river and what will hopefully be a park and some playing fields in the north lots, and it would be a great place to live. I live just a few minutes from the stadium on the north side and hardly ever notice it.

by Joe on Mar 23, 2012 3:57 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, I don't think the audience was hostile about the discussion, but rather the LACK of discussion. Gray and the others have made their mind up, they weren't coming to discuss anything. And the format prevented discussion as well; rather than getting a chance to ask questions directly folks had to write them down on notecards beforehand. It prevented any kind of real interaction and allowed the pols to give answers more reminiscent of a scripted debate rather than a conversation.

by Joe on Mar 23, 2012 4:00 pm • linkreport

As we all know when it comes to these sorts of issues, the interests of the DC employees are paramount, moreso than rank-and-file DC residents. The reason to support this facility is because it will give city council members and their staffs easier and more frequent access to Redskins players and Redskins officials.

+1. How about we ask every one of them pushing this to take a pledge not to accept for themselves any discounted or free Redskins tickets or other passes for themselves or the Council if this facility is built.

by ah on Mar 23, 2012 4:06 pm • linkreport

As we all know when it comes to these sorts of issues, the interests of the DC employees are paramount, moreso than rank-and-file DC residents

I don't get this. The interests of DC employees is more important than "rank and file" DC residents?

@Joe, sounds like the format was horrible. Another source (W7 resident) cosigned that she too thought the audience was hostile and felt that "how" the meeting would be conducted was largely ignored in the run up to the event itself. She also thought you could tell that the most of the audience were anti-Redskins/facility..which does sorta change the perspective.

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 4:16 pm • linkreport

@Joe, to be fair, I think the ANC commissioners decided on the format (maybe someone can confirm).

@HogWash, I think the crowd was open-minded until the mayor and Jack Evans opened their mouths, and instead of initially talking about development or even Res. 13 itself, they tried to distract the audience, as if they were children, with the promise of the circus part of bread and circuses. It was so insulting, I don't know how anyone remained un-hostile. Plus Alexander's divisive remarks were clearly intended to make the majority of the room hostile right off the bat.

@ah, if we go that route they should be prohibited from getting any tickets at all, because I'm sure part of it is to show off to their buddies, and hand out favors to donors, contractors, etc.

by cc on Mar 23, 2012 4:16 pm • linkreport

I think the crowd was open-minded until the mayor and Jack Evans opened their mouths, and instead of initially talking about development or even Res. 13 itself, they tried to distract the audience, as if they were children,

Distract by doing what? I'm attempting to understand how the audience went from being "open" to insulted. Insulted by what exactly?

What did Alexander say that divisive? That she would listen to W7 residents?

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash, there was a show of hands that most of the audience are fans of the football team.

The show of hands against the facility came at the end. It would have been good ask that at the start, and then do it again at the end to see how many people changed their minds. But it was impromptu.

by cc on Mar 23, 2012 4:23 pm • linkreport

Dear Mayor - terrible idea. Sorry I ever voted for you. Move to Prince George's if you like the redskins that much.

by John on Mar 23, 2012 4:46 pm • linkreport

It's insulting to speak about superficial things for the purpose of distracting people from substance. For the first half hour or so, all Evans and Gray could talk about was football. They opened by bragging about this fabulous trip to Florida, they had a wonderful time, the Florida training facility was so shiny, etc. I mean, it was football, football, football.

The DC facility wasn't even mentioned for a long time, just the Florida facility. We had all come to talk about the DC facility and development at Reservation 13, and that didn't come until way into the meeting. Why come to a meeting and not initially discuss the topic?

I think that had they started out with the facts about Res. 13 instead of their fabulous, irrelevant lifestyle, they wouldn't have lost the crowd as quickly as they did.

And that all is just at the top of the meeting. There were two more hours that they could have recovered the crowd, but they squandered it. Instead of bringing up things that had nothing to do with Res. 13, they could have spoken about it. It was really bizarre and so frustrating that you could watch as the crowd turned.

Here are Alexander's comments, though Joe summed them up nicely: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2012/03/23/almost-nothing-is-happening-at-reservation-13/

by cc on Mar 23, 2012 4:56 pm • linkreport

@CC sounds like a habenero mess.

Now I'm not so sure that talking 30 minutes about football is a distraction from substantive talk.

I read Lydia's piece noting Alexander's remarks and I must say I'm amused over the fact that people were so offended by her "gloating" that people are now fighting over a plot that's in her ward and that she would first listen to her residents before anyone else.

It's in her Ward. Why would she "first and foremost" listen to what W6 residents have to say?

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 5:25 pm • linkreport

@Hog Wash. Of course, she's supposed to listen to her consitutents first and foremost. But Reservation 13 is cut off from the rest of her ward and her constituents by the Anacostia River. All roads leading to Res 13 and the homes that border it are in Ward 6. You'd think she would want to convey a message of working with Ward 6 residents on how best to develop this land, but instead she chose to grandstand and communicate disdain.

by I. Rex on Mar 23, 2012 6:07 pm • linkreport

Good work following this story. Residents (across the city) not impressed with the simpleton machinations of Vince Gray.

by John M on Mar 23, 2012 6:10 pm • linkreport

@I.Rex, it's certainly not the approach I'd advise anyone to employ. But I do understand where's she's coming from.

I also think it's important not to let things get too "who does she think she is"...which it has the potential to do.

That aside, it's a lesson in how no one ever wants to feel as if they are being marginalized or not having their feelings towards an issue considered. The immediate (and natural) reaction is to stiffen your back. And we always feel justified reacting in that way.

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 8:32 pm • linkreport

But the newcomers got their dog parks and bike lanes nice and easy, didn't they? One City!

by TJ on Mar 23, 2012 10:28 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Daniel Wolkoff on Mar 24, 2012 8:23 am • linkreport

@HogWash, you're trying to form a lot of opinions without having actually attended the meeting. I was there. Believe me - If you had attended you would have a clear understanding of how the audience (nearby residents) felt. Period. The two other people that you spoke to who felt that the crowd was hostile were just two people. I can tell you that I went into that meeting with an open mind, expecting something different than what happened. Mayor Grey was downright mean, insulting, arrogant and for someone who claims to have been a psychology major, pretty clunky in any semblance of diplomacy. He, and others on the panel, were also incredibly uninformed about the existing plans, repeatedly referring back to older versions of it. Overall, it was really obvious why they didn't spend any time researching or refreshing about the original plan details -- that's not what they're interested in doing with the site. Their true intentions were confirmed. And their lack of interest in any real discussion reveals just whose minds were already closed.

by CJ on Mar 24, 2012 10:10 am • linkreport

It's in her Ward. Why would she "first and foremost" listen to what W6 residents have to say?

Are you trying to be obtuse because you like needling GGW posters, like Lance[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] ?

Hogwash, as the person who doesn't think that being a tax cheat who can't handle his or her own finances and being generally clueless isn't a reason to vote against a candidate for city council, you aren't really in a position to give an informed opinion on this issue.

by Tyro on Mar 24, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

I'd have to back up what CJ said. I'm not a reflexive Mayor Gray hater. I didn't vote for the guy, but I agreed with a lot of the points of people who did elect him. I've also seen him at forums before, where he comes off as somewhat of a technocrat, analytical in a good way, and with a good grasp of the salient points.

None of that was on display Thursday. He was offensive, almost deliberately so; unengaged on both substance and body language, contemptuous of community concerns, and, frankly, rude. He did subtly refute Councilmember Alexander's hateful remarks and attitude, but that was the one slightly high point in an otherwise horrible performance.

He clearly had no idea of the community's concerns, which is unfortunate because we've been saying them for almost a decade now. He came to yell at us, not listen to us. I suspect he has other things on his mind right now besides engage the Hill East community, but this project is important to us and we deserve to be listened to and treated like adults, not naughty children.

It would been better for him if this meeting was not held. He angered a lot of people, many of whom were on the fence, or at least willing to listen.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 24, 2012 11:57 am • linkreport

Hopefully Vincent Gray will be indicted soon. I hope all the do-gooders who voted for him take some responsibility for detouring DC's renaissance thanks to Vince Gracy & Kwame Brown & Michael Brown & Tommy Thomas. Tommy Wells is an ineffectual utopian dreamer, but at least he's not a bought politician.

by MK on Mar 24, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

She dismissed the years of work Hill East (and others!) had put into the project, insisting it was her's now, and that she would listen only to Ward 7 residents.

I wasn't at the meeting, so I don't know exactly what Alexander said, and I'm certainly no apologist for her, Gray, or any DC politician. But why is anyone even remotely surprised that a politician gives more weight to her constituents' opinions than non-constituents? It's certainly impolitic to state in an open forum full of non-constituents, but wouldn't you assume this to be the case? If Mark Warner said he gives more weight to Virginians' opinions than those of DC or Maryland residents, who would find it objectionable?

This strikes me as a non-issue. Let's keep our eyes on the ball.

by dcd on Mar 24, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

@dcd, It's pretty critical actually. The res 13 area was redistricted into Ward 7, but the closest residents (by almost a mile, a river, and interstate highway, and train tracks) are across 19th Street in Ward 6.

Nor was it a casual remark by Councilmember Alexander. She opened her remarks by warning Ward 6 residents (about 90% of the crowd) that this wasn't their affair. Obviously a council member will look after their constituents (I expect Tommy Wells to listen to mine). But to be told that a potential development that is two blocks from my house is of no concern to me because a Councilmember who lives several miles away "owns" it (her words, not mine) is just ridiculous.

During the redistricting battles, we were consistently told that it didn't matter what ward we were in. We were told we were making a mountain out of a molehill. Councilmember Alexander, through her contempt, her naked and obvious contempt, for Hill East residents, showed why we were so adamant about remaining in Ward 6.

To use your example, if Mark Warner came to Washington, DC, discussed say, the 14th Street Bridge (to use a random example of cross-state line cooperation), and pledged NOT to work together, yeah, I'd be a little insulted.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 24, 2012 3:36 pm • linkreport

As I said, impolitic, even stupid, to say, especially like that. And I get that Ward 6 residents have a greater interest than Ward 7. I'd be insulted if I were you, too. But unfortulately, it just gives voice to what I generally assume is the predominant (or only) concern of every politician - getting reelected. Take Evans, for example, whose constituents are safely ensconsed in Georgetown, or Logan Circle, or wherever - I'm sure many of them would LOVE the Redskins to come back to DC, stadium or practice facility, safe in their knowledge that the disruption won''t impact their lilves. Plus, he'd love some tickets to pass out as bennies. So, he's all in favor. Cynical? Yes, absolutely. Accurate? Probably.

by dcd on Mar 24, 2012 4:49 pm • linkreport

I generally have little use for a politician who isn't good at politics, and that includes running effectively for re-election. But I don't understand the point of deliberately insulting neighbors. Neighbors that were almost your constituents themselves, in some cases are close friends and relatives of your constituents, and certainly talk on a daily basis with your constituents.

What did it gain her? The five or six people who cheered her were there TO cheer her. If she thinks it works to stoke an artificial Ward 6/7 division for purposes of reelection, that's fine, but I didn't see a lot of her constituents there to even notice.

Those that were did NOT reflect the artificial antagonism of Yvette Alexander.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 24, 2012 5:14 pm • linkreport

Actually, I was sitting next to a few Ward 7 residents/constituents (I'm in Ward 6, by a hair) at the meeting. One of whom looked at me after Yvette's antics and stated calmly, "That woman is a fool." No truer words. I hope there are enough 7 constituents who feel the same to reflect that in the upcoming polls.

As Tim mentioned, the same contradiction was raised during the recent redistricting conflict as was continued by the Mayor and Alexander Thursday night. That we're all "One City" and which ward you're in doesn't mean or change anything. Then in the same breath, Alexander gloats about Reservation 13 being in HER ward and that she will only listen to her constituents. If wards don't matter - what's that all about?

As someone else mentioned, if local politics is her career choice, she will either aspire to a higher position (that will require all-ward votes) or if she's a councilmember "for life", the very people that she's aggravating may become Ward 7 voters (due to future redistricting). Either way, not smart politics. Also, she and Grey kept mentioning divisiveness between Wards 6/7, but to my recent awareness, the neighboring commissioners and residents (some portions of 7 are north of the Armory and RFK in Hill East) have been continuously collaborating on local matters. It appeared to me that Alexander and Grey were trying to start "beef" that doesn't exist. People DO have beef however, with HER and her stink attitude.

by CJ on Mar 24, 2012 6:07 pm • linkreport

politics 101: when a pol needlessly makes enemies, particularly those with a vested interest and the energy and resources to follow through, such enemies tend to dredge things up -- true or not -- that find its way to the general public. So even though W6 is not Ms. Alexander's constituency, she may find that inflaming them over a vital land-use issue is the worst thing to do for her career.

I've seen this play out it in other local issues, when there was a core group of motivated people that opposed a powerful but seemingly immune politician. The politician lost.

by goldfish on Mar 26, 2012 8:05 am • linkreport

Pictures of the event here.

by goldfish on Mar 26, 2012 9:12 am • linkreport

@Goldfish, I doubt that the opinions of W6 residents will have any bearing on Alexander's reelection bid. But it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many and they certainly will dredge it up and disinterest people from having any substantive future conversation.

Sounds like she pissed some people off..justified or not.

I wonder if they "started" a beef or "exacerbated" an existing one.

by HogWash on Mar 26, 2012 9:55 am • linkreport

@Hogwash, we are barely on round two of what will be a full 15-round fight. Res 13 has incredible potential and the people that see that will not let it go without a fight -- and by the time something is actually built I will wager that this training facility will have been long forgotten. How CM Alexander fares will depend on how she handles this -- this is a big enough issue to either bring her to infamy, irrelevance, or to mayor's office.

by goldfish on Mar 26, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

Hey, I'm just glad we're on Round 2, Goldfish! But you're right, this is not a short time thing. Pretty soon, we're going to put "training facility" up in the attic with "world class medical facility", "amusement park", and whatever other spur of the moment thing our mayors and others have suggested for Res 13 in lieu of real strategic thinking and planning.

The important thing isn't this particular battle. I'm satisfied that this idea is going no where, lacks any coherent vision behind it, and will be crushed by its own weight. The important thing is that all stakeholders develop the long term relationships so that we can work together for Reservation 13 to (eventually) become a thriving asset to our mutual neighborhoods.

Obviously, some people like Ms. Alexander prefer divisiveness and want to marginalize those of us in Ward 6. That's fine, there's plenty of other Ward 7 residents I can work with in the interim. We're in this for the long hall, and she won't be Councilmember forever.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 26, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

@Tim Krepp: let me assume that at some point Ms Alexander "gets it" and pulls together a plan that has the support of its neighbors in W6. This being her ward she is on point to walk it through to get all of approvals and write whatever legislation is need to make it happen. The thing goes out to bid -- the winning developer(s) will be a very important supporter for her, and coupled with the success of the project, could propel her to higher office. This is how it is normally done.

Or she could be divisive and win her W7 seat, but because nothing happens with the project due to W6 neighborhood opposition, she becomes irrelevant. The project will probably languish until she is eventually unseated.

by goldfish on Mar 26, 2012 11:03 am • linkreport

Hogwash, we are barely on round two of what will be a full 15-round fight.

And this attitude is also the problem. I imagine that much of it came through at the meeting. Why does this have to be a "fight?" We know what the master plan is. We know what the community wants. We know that the city has made what seems like little effort to pore the alternatives. So what are you and others gearing up to fight over? A poorly constructed idea...something of which you have little information about? And that's where you think the fight needs to be? Imagine that.

As I stated earlier, no one likes to feel as if they are being marginalized and I sense that much this revival of opposition is in response to that. I get that. But let's also be clear. What you are doing is exercising your "right" to be turned off by how a pol "chose" to deal w/the concerns of your community. There is also no need to stoke fear by threatening a "fight" because while that might not bode well for Alexander...it will most certainly not help the overall relationships between the two wards (beyond the extent they already exist).

Ignoring the concerns of DC residents? My oh my...oh have things changed.

by HogWash on Mar 26, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

@Goldfish. Yup, there's a lot of real structural issues before this project moves forward in any sense. Less than there were 9 years ago when the Master Plan was approved, but nevertheless, I understand why other projects were green lighted first.

But yes, this is an incredible wasted opportunity for her. Even for her narrow goals of getting reelected, this is politically just dumb. And if you can't do basic retail politics right, you're really not a good politician.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 26, 2012 11:10 am • linkreport

@Hogwash, perhaps my analogy to pugilism was the best way to put it. If this stupid idea is replaced by real progress, then there will be no fight.

Ignoring the concerns of DC residents? My oh my...oh have things changed.

In the olden days a pol could sneak something through because the constituency was unaware and uniformed. But times have indeed changed, and this blog is a part of that. Pols ignore this at their peril.

by goldfish on Mar 26, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

Why does this have to be a "fight?"

Because this is a zero-sum game. For Gray to win, the neighbors of Res 13 have to lose. For the neighbors of Res 13 to get development that benefits them, Gray has to lose his bid to ingratiate himself to the Redskins management.

by JustMe on Mar 26, 2012 11:33 am • linkreport

In the olden days

Yeah that was a long time ago. Just a few years ago, many dc residents were chided for expecting politicians to "appropriately" address their communities. Yes, times have changed.

by HogWash on Mar 26, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

I think we need to fight for the master plan to move forward now, because if we don't, the mayor will let it languish for another decade or more. I still don't think it will need revisiting then, but I could see a stronger argument for it if there are no other development plans as old.

by cc on Mar 26, 2012 3:57 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by DJ Ren on Mar 28, 2012 4:14 pm • linkreport

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