Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Moral and Professional Failures

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Moral and Professional Failures

An environmentally destructive and unnecessarily costly plan trumped up primarily by two city officials in the city Transportation & Environmental Services (TES) department fails on moral and professional grounds.

Their plan is to use tax dollars you remit to the state and to the city to turn the ancient Alexandria stream known as Taylor Run into a glorified culvert denuded of hundreds of soil-stabilizing, nutrient-absorbing venerable trees and rare vegetation.

They assert their plan, strongly supported by mayor Wilson, is the only solution to stop phosphorous from entering the Chesapeake Bay from Taylor Run.

Get this: The grant application used data from a stream 125 miles away in Pennsylvania. It turns out TES has never tested Taylor Run to ascertain what, if any phosphorous, it might be sending downstream eventually into the Bay.

More: This undetermined, never verified amount of phosphorous is being sent, TES asserts, into the Bay via sediment from Taylor Run with every storm. Inexplicably, TES never observes that the stormwater rushing into Taylor Run is due to (a) density enabled by past and current city government resulting in the irrevocable loss of evermore water-absorbing land to developers’ concrete and paved parking lots and (b) by TES failure to route stormwater so it does not erode Taylor Run.

Worse: When these failings -- documented and published in local newspapers by a retired EPA attorney and Alexandria resident, Jim Clark -- were recently brought to the attention of mayor Wilson and city manager Jinks, the latter did not deign to reply, but the former went Full-Trump.

He caustically denounced them saying, “I read (what Mr Clark wrote) and found it absurd… (It) shows a remarkable ignorance of the laws and procedures associated with compliance with applicable law.”

This disdainful criticism by mayor Wilson of a citizen, a retired EPA attorney no less, who simply sought to share his expertise was unnecessary and unbecoming.

We can't let our city council be cowed by Wilson’s abusiveness into permitting Maines’ and Lambert’s moral and professional failings to stand. We deserve better from our public servants. Tell them, our city council especially: “Don’t Destroy Taylor Run.” After all, they work for us; we don’t work for them.

Jimm Roberts