Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Who Hijacked City Government?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Who Hijacked City Government?

At every turn it seems, malfeasance and abuse of public trust is shown to be commonplace in Alexandria's staff and council. How long is this to be tolerated?

Regarding the shameful current state of the Potomac Yard Metro Station (PYMS) project, we find that the Deputy Director of DPI signed the federal wetland permit application in February 2018, which included the south entrance, certifying all information as accurate and true, but knowing that the city eliminated the south entrance in July 2017.

If this isn't enough, a FOIA revealed that Deputy City Manager Emily Baker similarly misled the public in April 2018 by removing and replacing a rendering that depicted one mezzanine – thus showing the south mezzanine had been removed – from a WMATA presentation released on April 9 [2018] ... “We have to pull it,” Baker said in an email to [Potomac Yard Metro Manager Jason] Kacamburas at 1:31 p.m. on April 9.

There's more. Another recent and very much related issue in Alexandria featured yet another misrepresentation. The Deputy Director of TES is on record as telling the public, City Council, and staff at the Jan. 20, 2018 Karig Estates appeal hearing that "no intermittent stream exists on the Karig property" and that TES staff and contractors have verified this several times since 2004 by "performing rigorous, multi-step North Carolina and Fairfax County Stream Identification protocols" for the site.

Yet, only after another FOIA in February 2018 and follow-up with TES Stormwater Management Chief was it revealed (and admitted) that no such analyses were performed by TES or its contractor. Scientific studies of the Karig ravine and watershed with verifiable findings of an intermittent stream spanning the property were, however, performed by the city's geologic consultant and other highly credible environmental scientists, including other city staff. (The intermittent stream issue is key here because if it were to be upheld, development of the ravine and stream could not legally occur.)

Obviously, the individuals sharing incorrect information, whether staff or council, have not served the public or their office properly. All of this is substantiated, on record, and in the hands of interested parties. It will be interesting to see in upcoming months whether civic justice prevails.

Jimm Roberts

C. Dara

Hal Hardaway