Greater Greater Washington

Will smart growth or sprawl win in 2011?

In our last post, we talked about the top 5 smart growth victories of 2010. More and more people are looking for vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods where walking, biking, and transit are real options.


Photo by Civil War Preservation Trust on Flickr.

In the year ahead, will our leaders maintain the momentum for smart growth? Or will they make decisions that mean a return to sprawling development, more traffic, higher energy use and the continuation of the east-west economic divide?

Our pick for the top threat of 2011: Location decisions made in a vacuum, as highlighted in this Post story. These decisions include BRAC, Science City, and other government, corporate, university and hospital location decisions that lack adequate transit, increase traffic, and are simply unaffordable and unsustainable. Couple this with the push in Maryland and Virginia to spend billions more on highways that don't reduce congestion, and we have a recipe for more sprawl.

Our one wish for 2011: That officials and civic and business leaders will continue to implement transit-oriented communities with better linkages between jobs and housing, invest more in transit, walking and bicycling, and set us firmly on a course to become the most energy efficient, and environmentally and fiscally sustainable region in the nation.

With all those things in mind, here are what we see as the biggest opportunities and challenges in 2011:

The Region: The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) made great strides with its Region Forward sustainability plan and studies (study one and study two PDFs) that show a network of walkable/bikeable, transit-oriented centers reduces the amount we have to drive and offers more options for getting around. Two things need to happen in 2011:

  1. COG's update to its Regional Activity Centers has to focus on transit-oriented centers, revitalization of older commercial corridors, and walkable urban design.
  2. We have to stop stapling together state transportation project wish-lists and instead produce a plan based on the transportation projects that meet COG's sustainability goals.
Meanwhile, expect John "Til" Hazel's 2030 Group to announce a renewed push for an outer beltway, for a regional transportation authority led by unaccountable appointees, and for dedicating more funding to highways, not transit.

Focus has to instead be on adequate funding for Metro and other transit, maintenance and operations of our existing roads and transit, and those new projects that best support transit-oriented, energy efficient development patterns. We also hope our local officials will maintain a central role in governing Metro and that the attempt to shift power to less-transit friendly state authorities in Virginia fails.

Prince George's County: With new, reform-minded leadership at the helm, we look forward to progress on a number of fronts. Certainly we'd like to see implementation of the housing reforms highlighted in our Building Stronger Communities report. We also have high hopes that all sectors are coming together to make transit-oriented development happen at Prince George's 15 underutilized Metro stations, as highlighted in our Invest Prince George's report.

Governor O'Malley, Metro, Prince George's officials, the business and smart growth communities, and the federal General Services Administration are coming together to finally get TOD on track in Prince George's. Among the new initiatives is the federal Housing and Urban Development grant for planning redevelopment along the southern Green Line Metro corridor to Branch Avenue.

TOD and moving forward with the Purple Line must be a higher priority than the types of sprawling, traffic generating developments recently approved outside the Beltway in Prince George's. Concurrently, we hope to see a more transparent, unbiased, and consistent approach to development review to give the public and private sectors greater confidence in the process, and attract more investment.

Montgomery County: A pioneering leader in planning for transit-oriented development, preservation of agricultural land, and inclusionary zoning for affordable housing, Montgomery County often seems pulled in different directions today.

Major highway expansion is proposed including widening I-270 at a cost of $3.4 billion, extending the Mid-County Highway and building the 28/198 connection (ICC 2?), and development approvals have included both the transit-oriented White Flint and the far flung "Science City." And with a new upcounty hospital proposed, will it be in a walkable, mixed-use center?

In 2011 we need to ensure that transit-oriented development returns as the top priority for funding and incentives, that more jobs are encouraged at transit-oriented locations on the underserved east side of the county, that the Purple Line and a set of bus-priority corridors moves forward, and that the Agricultural Reserve receives expanded protection and investment in value-added production.

The county's Department of Transportation will need to be more supportive of complete streets, local street networks and transit-oriented communities.

Fairfax County: We're all excited that the Tysons Corner Plan passed, but now it's time to get moving. We need to get the urban design details right, to make sure Tysons is a great place for pedestrian life at the street level. Routes 7 and 123 are still planned as 8-lane virtual highways through the heart of Tysons. We urgently need to shift to a boulevard design.

The "Future of Fairfax" and other area counties will be found in the vast parking lots of their strip commercial corridors. These are the places where we can create walkable communities that absorb growth while protecting suburban neighborhoods, protecting forests and streams, and reducing traffic.

We hope the County will move forward with a major vision-planning initiative for Route 1, linking transit, land use, housing, economic development and the environment. Investment initiatives also need to accelerate for Springfield, Bailey's Crossroads, Annandale, Seven Corners and Merrifield.

New county directors of planning and transportation will be hired. They need to be committed leaders in implementing smart growth and transit-oriented communities.

Loudoun, Prince William, Frederick and Charles Counties: The real estate crisis hit the outer counties hard and the powerful demographic and market shifts seen by the real estate industry (PDF) could mean more challenges ahead. Market demand for large suburban houses in distant locations will remain weak.

The key to future competitiveness is protecting invaluable scenic and historic landscapes, restoring historic downtowns, and creating a few mixed-use, walkable centers in the right places. Examples include Loudoun's two future Metro stations, Woodbridge, Manassas and the Innovation center in Prince William, continued revitalization of downtown Frederick, and the mixed-use plan for Waldorf's sprawling commercial strip corridor.

Unfortunately, both Loudoun and Prince William counties are on course to plan and approve far too many centers than the market can support. Loudoun also proposes an unaffordable $2 billion road expansion plan. Prince William keeps pushing for the Outer Beltway. They call it their "road to Dulles," but it lands miles west of Dulles whose entrance is on the east side.

The highway, called the Tri-County Parkway, 234 Bypass, Battlefield Bypass and Western Bypass, would destroy the setting of Manassas National Battlefield on the eve of the 150-year anniversary of two of the most significant battles of the Civil War. We should focus should instead on street networks for local activity and on transit investments for the radial commuting corridors of I-95 and I-66. VRE, HOV/slugging, and rapid bus transit are the keys to accomplishing these goals, not necessarily the conversion to private toll roads as proposed by the state.

District of Columbia: A lot of people are wondering if the new mayor and council will continue the momentum started by the last two administrations for cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. These progressive policies not only need to continue, but they must benefit all areas of the District, including east of the Anacostia. DC's economic competitiveness and ability to attract people from around the world is tied to its expanding sustainable transportation and planning initiatives.

Ensuring that there are affordable housing and job benefits from major projects like waterfront revitalization and St. Elizabeth's development should be a top priority. Protecting the social safety net, continuing education initiatives, and restoring and expanding affordable housing programs are essential.

The city's housing trust fund needs to be restored, affordable units preserved, and new affordable workforce housing built in conjunction with new development. D.C. is emerging as one of the world's great, diverse and green cities. Let's ensure everyone benefits.

Arlington, Alexandria, College Park, Rockville, Falls Church and more: Arlington County continues its cutting-edge sustainable growth and Alexandria plans a transit future. Meanwhile, many of the smaller cities and towns within our region share similar goals.

Our historic towns have the fabric to support the sort of walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible communities that are so much in demand, but they need to welcome development designed to the right form and scale, invest in "complete street" networks, adopt the right parking policies, and ensure the right mix of uses.

Do these communities have adequate funding support from the states and the flexibility they need from state and local departments of transportation? There's Route 1 in College Park, Broad Street in Falls Church, Rockville Pike, Maple Street in Vienna, Old Town City of Fairfax and their Route 50 "Boulevard," and more. Will 2011 be the year where we solve the puzzle and move forward with the right development and transportation solutions?

Will we see more smart growth or more sprawl? What do you think?

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Stewart Schwartz is Executive Director and a founder of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which he built into the leading smart growth organization in the Washington, DC region, addressing the interconnected issues of land use, transportation, urban design, housing, and energy. A retired Navy Captain with 24 years of active and reserve service, he earned a BA and JD from the University of Virginia and an MA from Georgetown University. 

Comments

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I think that's a lot for one post...

by Froggie on Dec 29, 2010 1:08 pm • linkreport

to become the most energy efficient, and environmentally and fiscally sustainable region in the nation.

i say 'in the world'. :)

and i'd add and put first 'most fair and equitable' -- ahead of 'most energy efficient', etc. that would be my goal, at least, tho, obv, many here would disagree.

and walkable urban design.

i'd change this to: "and walkable and bikable urban design." maybe it doesn't make complete sense in that context, but i'd hold that "walkable" still means "walkable and drivable but nothing else should be given consideration", so i'd take pains to be explicit about allowing bikes into and through the area. just my two.

And with a new upcounty hospital proposed, will it be in a walkable, mixed-use center?

i'd add 'bikable' to this, too. you likely wouldn't be riding around a 'mixed-use center', but you _would_ ride directly to your first destination in that mixed-use center, and you'd want to be able to do it at a 'level of granularity' that is comparable to walking, etc.

These are the places where we can create walkable communities that absorb growth while protecting suburban neighborhoods, protecting forests and streams, and reducing traffic.

if a walkable community was also automatically a bikable community, then we could get away without saying 'bikable', but that's not the case.

Our historic towns have the fabric to support the sort of walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible communities that are so much in demand

yes! :)

by Peter Smith on Dec 29, 2010 1:33 pm • linkreport

Now that Fairfax is done with all the focus on Tysons, they need to look at developing the southern end of the county, especially around Ft Belvoir and US-1. Right now, that is the worst possible sprawl country, and also the low income end of the county (except for the GW Parkway corridor on the Potomac shore). By redeveloping this area, Fairfax can easily use the incoming BRAC folks and traffic to recreate the southern end of the county.

They should start by extending the yellow line to Woodbridge, and forcing apartments and condo's on all the big box stores. Add some fast bus lanes, and facilities for all the military families that live there.

Remeber, this is also a green and touristic corner in the county with Mt Vernon, Gunston Hall, and the parks on the Mason Neck peninsula.

by Jasper on Dec 29, 2010 1:34 pm • linkreport

could we add another dollar to the gasoline tax and stop subsidizing sprawl?

by Thayer-D on Dec 29, 2010 2:13 pm • linkreport

@ Thayer-D:

What does it stand at now? Is it still 18.5 cents or something miserable like that?

Once folks are attuned to the hidden costs of sprawl, no one will ever consign to it under any circumstances...ever again.

by C. R. on Dec 29, 2010 4:58 pm • linkreport

Am I missing something? Gaithersburg is about to become an urban hub in Montgomery County. Gaithersburg will be filled with nothing but new urbanism developments. Everyone in Montgomery County and Gaithersburg has endorsed lightrail for the Science city. All urban centers are waiting on the CCT. I don't really know what you are talking about. By the way, have you seen the Olde Town Gaithersburg redevelopment plans? You spend so much time on every place else in the region, you must not have noticed what is moving in Gaithersburg as of December 2010:

Crownfarm Mixed Use development: (Under Construction)

-180 acre development
-2,250 residential units
-320,000 square feet of commercial
-6 distinct urban neighborhoods
-8 story high rises in some neighborhoods
-20 story high rises in the urban core
-CCT Light rail stop

Watkins Mill Town Center Mixed use development: (Under Construction)

-125 acre development
-1100 residential units
-1.2 millions of square feet of office and retail space
-20 story high rises in Urban Core
-3 distinct urban neighborhoods
-Marc Commuter Rail and CCT light rail stop

Great Seneca Life Science City (Approved waiting on CCT)

-900 acre development
-17.5 million square feet of development
-9,000 new residential units mainly in high rises
-52,500 new jobs
-4 CCT light rail stops

Gaithersburg's award winning Kentlands Urban Village Downtown CBD: (Approved waiting on CCT)

-Major Central Business District development to replace all parking lots
-12 story high rises
-1 CCT light rail stop

Corridor Cities Transitway Lightrail Line (Final Alignment and mode to be chosen in Spring 2011)

-15 miles
-34,000-42,000 projected daily ridership
-8 stops in Gaithersburg (soon to be annexed land)
-15 total stops

Olde Town Gaithersburg Redevelopment

-Major mix use development Archstone is scheduled to break ground this winter 2011
-Many other developments all over Olde Town are about to break ground as well.

Maybe you should write something on Gaithersburg. Yes the ICC was a waist of money but it has made Gaithersburg it's own regional hub now with two major Highways feeding and intersecting into the city. It sucks for everyone outside of Gaithersburg though. Gaithersburg will have more than half of the lightrail stops in the city limits at 8 (soon to be annexed land). Gaithersburg density is going to be extremely high in the next 5-10 years. We are already served by great bus service and it will only get better with the new developments when the lightrail line is built.

by Gaithersburg resident on Dec 29, 2010 6:45 pm • linkreport

@Jasper

Some of us have been making a similar argument for months (in my case) and years (in some of my neighbors cases). Nothing will happen transportation-wise until VDOT and/or the county can fund and conduct a transitway study along Route 1, though. To that effect, the Mt. Vernon Council has drafted (again) a resolution imploring VDOT, FHWA, and the county to fund a Route 1 fixed guideway transit study (emphasis mine, because that's specifically what we put in the resolution).

@Thayer

Some increase in the gas tax is well-justified. But you don't want to make it too steep or you'll introduce a lot of "not-so-positive" effects. For starters, such taxes have a disproportionate effect on lower income groups (as do gas price increases as a whole). Then there's the matter of significantly increasing the cost of driving without a corresponding increase in the number of alternatives to driving. Also consider that food and goods spend at least some of their time on trucks...so consumers of all incomes will also feel such effects.

Again, I think some gas tax increase is warranted, but I think a dollar is too much at this point, especially if it comes all at once. The negative impacts of such outweigh the positives.

by Froggie on Dec 29, 2010 7:56 pm • linkreport

I was just curious - what the view is of the outer-outer counties like Stafford and Spotsylvania which are about 130K each and both have about 1/2 of their workers commuting to NoVa for jobs.

Would most who post here consider those to be classic sprawl locations?

If folks down that way rode commuter rail or van/buses to their NoVa jobs - would that change anything?

In a perfect world - would all of these folks work ..and live in the NoVa Metro Area?

thanks for the opinions!

by LarryG on Dec 29, 2010 8:20 pm • linkreport

@ Froggie: Some of us have been making a similar argument for months (in my case) and years (in some of my neighbors cases).

It's not the first time I say it either. And I am not trying to take credit for it. Just throwing in my bone. Hope the Lee district is in on it as well.

by Jasper on Dec 29, 2010 8:33 pm • linkreport

Prince William already has a road to Dulles -- VA 28.

by dcseain on Dec 29, 2010 9:13 pm • linkreport

Larry G.

Transportation (especially commuting only transportation) isn't the only factor in sprawl. Land use is equally important. Spotsy and stafford may be better than most because of the VRE and Buses that travel up 95, but their land use and focus of all (single use)development along only a couple of major roads (creating HUGE bottlenecks in many ways worse than "crowded" fairfax.

Also the reason a lot of people move down there is that housing is a lot cheaper. I'm sure if there were a greater supply of housing further north this would alleviate some of the pressure now facing those counties.

by Canaan on Dec 29, 2010 9:44 pm • linkreport

DC's economic competitiveness and ability to attract people from around the world is tied to its expanding sustainable transportation and planning initiatives.

True, but it doesn't hurt to also include some facilities for bicyclists ... in moderation. Not every mode of transportation has to be sustainable ... Some really can be 'just for fun' ...

by Lance on Dec 30, 2010 12:18 am • linkreport

@Jasper

I know from discussions that Supervisor McKay (Lee Dist) has been supportive...perhaps even more supportive than Supervisor Hyland (Mt. Vernon Dist).

@dcseain

Route 28 works for the Manassas area. Not so much for those along the I-95 corridor (Woodbridge, Dale City, Dumfries, etc).

by Froggie on Dec 30, 2010 1:15 am • linkreport

The State has come up with this idea of UDAs -Urban Development Areas that are required to be implemented into the Comp Plans of most localities in the NoVa region extending to the outer exurbs to include Stafford and Spotsylvania.

here's a brief rundown of it:

http://www.hb3202.virginia.gov/urbandevelopment.shtml

All localities with a growth rate of 15% or a growth rate of 5% and a population of at least 20,000 are required designate at least one Urban Development Area in the comprehensive plan by 2011. The Urban Development Area or areas are required to accommodate at least 10 years but no more than 20 years worth of growth based on official estimates and projections of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia or other official government sources. The size necessary to accommodate such growth will vary based on the residential and commercial densities provide for in the locality’s comprehensive plan.

When designating an area as an Urban Development Area, a locality is to consider the following criteria:

Proximity to a city, town or other developed area
Proximity to transportation facilities
Availability of a public or community water and sewer system

so Stafford and Spotsylvania are in the process of implementing such critters but there is a real question as to why people move to the exurbs to start with and just providing them with dense housing options like they would already find in NoVa is not what they're really after but instead the more conventional residential subdivision detached home with garage, front/back yard, etc is why they move to the exurbs - not to find NoVa-like Townhouses and Apartments/condos.

So .. the state could encourage these localities to build "Smart Growth" but is there really a market for it if what is also available is your typical residential 1/3 acre+ detached home?

So the bigger question I ask - perhaps - is this: " Does the definition of "Smart Growth" change depending on whether you are a place like NoVa or an outer exurb whose occupants do not live and work and play locally - they only live and play locally but they commute 100 miles a day to their jobs.

Is THAT - "Smart Growth" as long as they ride commuter rail/vans and buses to work instead of SOLO auto?

any/all responses/opinions welcomed!

by LarryG on Dec 30, 2010 1:59 am • linkreport

My prediction for 2011: The city and close-in suburbs will continue in the smart growth direction. Everywhere else will see sprawl trump smart policies. DC and close-in suburbs housing prices will maintain their value. We'll see a continual chipping-away of suburban/exurban home values.

I'd love to be proved wrong about this, but it seems that every time MD and VA take steps to do the right thing, the more reactionary elements manage to undermine their efforts.

Protecting the social safety net, continuing education initiatives, and restoring and expanding affordable housing programs are essential. The city's housing trust fund needs to be restored, affordable units preserved, and new affordable workforce housing built in conjunction with new development. D.C. is emerging as one of the world's great, diverse and green cities. Let's ensure everyone benefits.

We're going to see a radical improvement in DC social services as regional poverty continues to move outward from the urban core resulting in a more equitable load on these services in MD, DC, and VA. The problem has always been less a matter of mismangement than of total and complete swamping of the system.

by oboe on Dec 30, 2010 9:49 am • linkreport

@ oboe: The problem has always been less a matter of mismangement than of total and complete swamping of the system.

Which is not to say there is not massive mismanagement, right?

by Jasper on Dec 30, 2010 10:24 am • linkreport

All: Great comments - thank you. A couple of thoughts: First, whenever I use just "walkable" instead of "walkable and bikeable" it's to save space and it becomes unwieldy to repeatedly say "walkable and bikeable." Perhaps we need to adopt a term like "walk/bike neighborhoods."

Second, Route 1 revitalization/transit planning remains a top goal for the Coalition for Smarter Growth and we will continue to work with the community to press officials to move forward with integrated planning.

Third, I'm overdue for an updated survey of the greater Gaithersburg area. The concern has been that the new urbanist neighborhoods are isolated within a larger area of auto-dependent communities and that good transit connections and service will be a challenge. We'll look deeper into this issue during 2011.

Fourth, for outer/outer suburbs like Stafford and Spotsylvania - greetings first to Larry G., a veteran of the conservation and preservation efforts in the area. The CWPT photo of Old Salem Church surrounded by malls tells a sad story. Civil War battles were fought up and down this part of Route 3. For these communities, stop the strip-malling of history -- your economic competitiveness can be enhanced by much more aggressive protection of your historic sites and natural assets. Yes, more housing close to jobs in Northern Virginia and DC will reduce the growth pressures in the outer areas. High gas prices and changing demographics will also slow growth pressures. Professor Chris Nelson of the Univ of Utah says we've built all the large lot single family homes our country needs through 2025. That's because by then only 28% of households will be families with children. Young people, empty nesters and retirees will make up most households. Stafford and Spotsy tend to plan for too much population growth and set aside too much land for development. New urbanist, walkable/bikeable communities are applicable here especially with changing demographics but should be in the right places with good access to transit to DC and Richmond. Redevelopment of strip center parking lots is just as applicable here as well. But use zoning, transfer of development rights (TDR), purchase of development rights (PDR) and conservation easements to retire the stale lots zoned into what should be agricultural and natural areas, in conjunction with creating the more compact communities within defined urban development areas. The VRE/Amtrak corridor is a tricky issue because so much of it is located far from I-95 growth areas. That's why we don't recommend development along parts of this corridor because it would be too far from other developed parts of Stafford and would open up large swaths of forests to development. There's a lot more to talk about here as we track the Urban Development Area planning for the two counties.

by Stewart Schwartz on Dec 30, 2010 10:32 am • linkreport

Hi Stewart! "Preserving" history is not easy. Witness the WalMart kerfuffle in Orange county at the Wilderness.

But on the UDAs in the exurban counties - they are being "billed" as new urban developments where people can live, work and place and in the context of commuter-centric exurban places like Stafford and Spotsy - it's a joke.

Ironically - the UDAs will provide "affordable" housing - for local workers who do not commute on I-95 rather than housing for the I-95 NoVa commuters who really want a different kind of "affordable" housing.

And the real irony in Stafford is that the BOS is designating - not one UDA as required but several, and several that are in rural areas with no road or water/sewer infrastructure and both will have to be extended to them and of course the UDA law says nothing about the new/improved road and water/sewer "corridor" on the way to the UDA "pod".

So all along the extended water/sewer corridor - your typical auto-dependent residential sprawl is re-energized to the delight of those who make money off of such "affordable" housing.

by LarryG on Dec 30, 2010 2:32 pm • linkreport

I have removed a comment by "Mike" which was using namecalling and not making any substantive points.

by David Alpert on Dec 31, 2010 2:41 pm • linkreport

I don't know about insufferable know-it-alls but it's the vernacular used by many even though many who use it realize it's a term that has been co-opted and "used" especially by developers who want to use SOME of the elements but not all - but still call it "smart". surprise. surprise!

That's one reason in my earlier post that I DID ask what Smart Growth was or was not in the context of outer-ring exurban counties where people live, play and shop but don't work and instead commute about 100 miles a day to their NoVa jobs.

I was half way expecting someone like Stewart Schwartz to say that Smart Growth is "not" commuting 100 miles a day in a SOLO car so I had asked... what about... living in an exurban locality but commuting in a Bus, Van, carpool or Train?

Some folks call Commuter Rail the rail equivalent of commuter interstates highways - and not "smart".

by LarryG on Jan 2, 2011 7:09 am • linkreport

Which is not to say there is not massive mismanagement, right?

Let's unpack this for a moment. DC runs a summer youth jobs program. Every year thousands and thousands of kids with no work history, who can't find employment doing anything else, most of whom come from extremely poor families, descend on it looking for a gig, and every year it's a debacle.

Can we think of any reason why if, say, Reston instituted such a program, where maybe a hundred kids showed up, it might not be such a massive clusterfuck?

I actually had this conversation with a exurban acquaintance at a holiday party. His argument was the same you're making: that the dysfunction you see in so many of these urban programs are predominantly (or solely) a question of mismanagement.

I told him that--considering the "suburbanization of poverty" was pretty much the biggest unreported urban story of the 2000s, and the trend is only increasing--it's going to be wonderful to see suburban governments completely fix all of these long-term social problems that cities have been grappling with for a century. After all, they've been sniping from the sidelines since at least the 50s. They must be chomping at the bit to take over the reins.

by oboe on Jan 3, 2011 9:19 am • linkreport

@ oboe: His argument was the same you're making: that the dysfunction you see in so many of these urban programs are predominantly (or solely) a question of mismanagement.

That's not the argument I am making. It's not either/or, it's and/and. Yes, there is an overload. And yes, there is mismanagement. If there were no overload, there would still be mismanagement. If there were not mismanagement, there would still be the overload.

Hence, work needs to be done on both fronts simultaneously. There should be no whining about overload, while denying the mismanagement.

by Jasper on Jan 3, 2011 6:14 pm • linkreport

If there were no overload, there would still be mismanagement. If there were not mismanagement, there would still be the overload.

The argument I'm making is that systems break down through overload. You could have the greatest management in the history of leadership, and the system would still break down.

If you cut the load by 70%, sub-par management would be sufficient. This is the situation you see in many affluent suburbs. It's the classic case of "born on third base and thought they hit a triple."

There was a big difference between the response to the Katrina disaster between the city of New Orleans and some of the wealthier, less populous areas of Mississippi. I can't imagine what the difference was other than mismanagement by minority-led, and Democratic N.O./Lousisiana versus the steady hand of Haley Barbor's stalwart conservative leadership.

Come on. We all know District government is far from perfect, but *government* is imperfect. The District's government is no worse or better than any other in the region. It's just that DC has dealth with what has essentially been a rolling disaster for the last 50 years while the suburbs have stood at the bridge wielding a shotgun.

by oboe on Jan 4, 2011 12:38 pm • linkreport

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