Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mehdi Mansouri: City trying to silence McMillan critics

See this message from Bloomingdale resident Mehdi Mansouri. The McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) meeting referenced occurred earlier this evening.

City Trying to Silence McMillan Critics; Meeting Thursday
Posted by: ``peoplescouncil`` peoplescouncil
Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:47 pm (PDT)

My Fellow DC Citizens:

After my previous posting I received the following correction from a fellow community member. Although the contract that was awarded to EYA after EYA made its $55,000 contribution to CM Thomas` ``Ward 5 Business Council`` was not to the McMillan project but rather to St. Paul`s College, nevertheless EYA received the contract after making that contribution and later was selected to become the developer of the McMillan project as well.

``EYA eventually contributed $55,000 to Thomas`s Ward 5 Business Council, which had Vicky Leonard, Thomas`s right hand, as the treasurer, until the Office of Campaign Finance admonished him for that. Also, the vote the following day was not about McMillan but about approving the St. Paul`s College construction project (which breaks ground next week). The College is building homes on its property to raise money; EYA is the developer. The City Council approved the project over the objections of the ANC.``

In addition, here is more information about relations between the City and EYA--behind the scene of the McMillan project:

The manager of the McMillan project at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development of the DC Government is Mr. Clint Jackson*. The VP of EYA is Mr. Aakash Thakkar**. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Thakkar used to work for the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC). They worked on the NCRC approach to getting McMillan developed, which started in 2006. NCRC picked the Vision McMillan Partners (of which EYA is the lead partner) to be the site developer. After Adrian Fenty became Mayor, he dissolved NCRC and McMillan became part of the portfolio of projects of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. At that point, Aakash went to work for EYA and Clint went to the Deputy Mayor`s office.

I hope you will be able to come to the meeting on Thursday and/or let me know that you are interested in being involved in saving the McMillan sand filtration site. We are forming a group to take immediate action. What we don`t have at this time is a huge number of people who have joined us. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to save such a magnificent historic construction, while making a significant impact in helping to improve processes in the DC Government. If you can think of a reason this is not the time to act, please share this with us. Otherwise, please let me know that at least you are willing to add your name to the petition of citizens against demolition of McMillan and against the McMillan project by extension.

Information on the people mentioned above:

[*Clint Jackson Development Manager
Government of the District of Columbia
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 317 Washington, DC 20004
W 202. 538. 1282 F 202. 724. 7171]

[**Aakash R. Thakkar vice president EYA
D 301- 634- 8617 C 202- 427- 4066 E
4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 300 l Bethesda, MD 20814
T 301- 634- 8600 F 301- 634- 8717 W]

Mehdi Mansouri
(202)657- 6457

My Fellow DC Citizens:

1. At around 12:20 PM today (Wednesday, August 25, 2010), two DC detectives knocked on my door. I invited them in and we talked for about half an hour. They were here based on a complaint that CM Thomas had filed against me with the DC Police for what I did while he was talking in Gray`s fundraising campaign this past Sunday. (I told him he is a liar and corrupt after he told the audience his Nth lie, deception, meaningless and misleading words, and trying to appeal to people`s emotions even by putting his mom on the stage. I did ask him to let me ask him one question but he didn`t let me.

This issue of officials and politicians being able to say anything that they want but people not being able to ask their questions exactly when they say their lies—so everyone who hears their lies can also hear the other side of the story — is one of the biggest devastating weapons that the politicians and officials have that they are using against people and to their own advantage.

My issue with CM Thomas has to do with his role in the destruction of McMillan sand filtration project. Just a brief history, as you may know, CM Thomas received $50,000 (?) or so for something (I don`t know exactly for what) from

EYA (construction company) and the next day (as I am told) EYA was selected as the main developer of McMillan. Ever since CM Thomas has been one of the solid supporters of the McMillan ``project`` that will result in the demolition of at least 99% of McMillan historic sand filtration, and packing its graveyard with 1200 residential units and massive commercial space, without having done any studies of cost/benefit to people, environment, quality of life, side effects, additional devastation to skyrocketing budget deficit, etc. etc.

And the worst part is that the City, CM Thomas, Mayor Fenty, and everyone else involved in this ``project`` is not showing us (MAG representatives of people—to which, as of January of this year I became a member of) any of the documents and contracts. They are also not answering any of our critical questions. The City, with the help of a number of officials and politicians has pushed this devastating plan forward for the past three years and is now very close to sealing the deal. Most probably if it weren`t for the upcoming elections, they would have sealed the process, which would have been the end of McMillan.

2. One of the strategies of the City for making sure that they can get this project done the way they want (that is only about maximizing profit for the developer at astronomic losses to people), has been to eliminate people`s effective input into the planning process. To that end, they created a group of ``representatives`` called MAG (McMillan Advisory Group), but a) made it completely powerless in any decision making (by giving it just a puppet role), and b) closed the meetings with this group to public attendance. As a result, the City, EYA, CM Thomas, and others used MAG in their speeches countless times stating that people have been involved in the development of the ``EYA Plan`` every step of the way, when in reality, that was just a complete and shameless lie.

After I started looking into who had decided to close MAG meetings to the public, the City blamed it on the MAG itself. When I shared that response with MAG, one of the MAG members wrote the history of the events to show that it was in fact the City and the developer who had established the closed-door strategy. After those discussions the City ``agreed`` to allow public participation in the MAG meetings, with the condition that the public will not be allowed to even speak, let alone ask questions. (Even though it must be the other way around--people must be the decision makers for public projects and not the City--but that is another issue).

3. MAG is meeting with the City and developers of McMillan project this Thursday, August 26, 2010, at 7:00pm at All Nations Church in Bloomingdale (2001 North Capitol Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20002-1327 (202) 832- 9591). Agenda is to discuss the two ``study reports`` that the City claims they have done related to McMillan project. These are historical study and fiscal impact reports. I will be happy to send them to you if you send me an email so you can review those reports. These are probably the most critical moments in the life of McMillan sand filtration that will result in its preservation or loss forever.

Please come to this meeting, despite the short notice, to see what the City and developers present, and what their strategy is. We need all this information to do our own analysis and strategizing. Other efforts to save McMillan, our tax monies, environment, and quality of life that depend on this project are happening. But no one has stopped the City from pushing forward. This is our last chance to stop this project. We have several VERY good claims against the City and against this project that can stop this avalanche, but ONLY if we join hands and show huge numbers of people.

I know from experience that one or a few people will be crushed by the City (as they have tried to do to me for the last year—by framing me, lying to others about me, contacting my employer last week to report the only incident of me having used my university email back in May by mistake in a communication with the community and City officials related to McMillan, and now sending detectives to my door).

If you are serious about saving McMillan and helping to clean our DC Government, please come to the meeting Thursday night August 26 and take notes of your questions and observations. Then let us have our own meetings to strategize and win this case. If we win and save McMillan, that would be a major step in starting to change and improve how recklessly the DC Government operates.

Please let me know if you have any questions or even need a ride to come to the meeting Thursday night.

Mehdi Mansouri


  1. The MAG group is not representative of the community at all. Not once has the MAG group engaged the community to find out what the concerns are whether for or against the development.

  2. I agree with Anonymous. Who is this Mehdi Mansouri character anyway?

    More importantly, does anyone actually believe that an old sand filtration plant actually has any historic value? It is 25 acres of land that can be used to provide some of the many ammenities currently missing in our neighborhood. If done correctly it will be great for all members of the community

  3. This information is inaccurate; the MAG group is a representative group of civic associations, ANC commissioners, residents, and the McMillan Park Committee. There are 15 voting seats and several non-voting seats in which CM Thomas and Graham have representation. The MAG in conjunction with VMP and the City has held three public forums on this development site. Currently MAG is reviewing various studies and will be holding 3 more public forums to discuss this site. MAG meets regularly to hear new information and to supply advice on the development plans. MAG has also reached out to several civic associations and community groups about the plans and has received input into this process.

    Mr. Mansouri is a member of the MAG who lives at 62 Channing ST NW. He was chosen (by default due to lack of interest from other Channing St residents) to fill a vacant Channing ST resident spot on the MAG. He has also joined the Our McMillan group and is forming another group to protest the development of this site.

    As for the historical aspects, some might agree with you Mr. T. However DC has established this as a historical site thanks to Mr. Norman and the McMillan Park Committee. Now how much of it that gets preserved is a topic of discussion. I have made my opinion which represents 5C07 residents, who would like to see the re-use of the above ground structures along with a few below grade structures. They see multi-use development that allows for amenities, affordable housing and some office/commercial space on the site while maintaining a large park space, and that the site has continuity with the existing structures and community as not to create a whole new separated community.