Sunday, March 18, 2012

suggestion to redirect the DC budget allocation for McMillan elsewhere; a Randolph Pl NW neighbor responds

First, see this message sent by ANC 5C03 Commissioner Hugh Youngblood to the mayor, the DC Council and others regarding the current DC budget's allocation towards the McMillan Sand Filtration site project:

From: Commissioner Youngblood

Date: March 8, 2012 6:06:09 PM EST
To: ``vincent.gray @ dc.gov``

Cc: Cross Jason , ``eric.goulet @ dc.gov`` , ``kbrown @ dccouncil.us`` , ``vorange @ dccouncil.us`` , mcheh @ dccouncil.us, ``twells @ dccouncil.us`` , dcatania @ dccouncil.us, pmendelson @ dccouncil.us, mbrown @ dccouncil.us, jgraham @ dccouncil.us, jevans @ dccouncil.us, mbowser @ dccouncil.us, yalexander @ dccouncil.us, mbarry @ dccouncil.us, James Fournier , 1B10@anc.dc.gov, ``Edwards, Ronnie (ANC 5C11)`` <5C11@anc.dc.gov>, Bradley Thomas <5C01@anc.dc.gov>

Subject: DC Budget Input and McMillan

Dear Mayor Gray:

It was a pleasure chatting with you and your team at the Florida Avenue Park ribbon-cutting event on February 25th.

Thank you for sending budget representatives to the community to discuss our City`s current fiscal challenges. Mr. Eric Goulet provided a comprehensive overview at the 27 February Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting and asked us to submit ideas to help shape the future.

On behalf of Bloomingdale and the surrounding communities, Commissioner Fournier and I urge you to please reallocate the $50m (plus any contingency reserve) currently earmarked for McMillan to other capital projects in Ward 5. The Rhode Island Avenue corridor, Bates Area, and other under-served communities within Ward 5 would reap much greater benefit from this investment than would the already developed Bloomingdale community.

Mr. Goulet noted during the Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting your desire to focus the City`s limited budget resources on development projects most wanted and needed by the community. The people of Bloomingdale oppose the Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) master plan as presented. Bates and Rhode Island Avenue representatives have, however, strongly expressed their desires for new development in their communities.

Additionally, we recognize that the massive additional infrastructure investment that would be required to mitigate adverse storm water and transportation impacts of the proposed VMP plan on the Bloomingdale community lie well beyond the reach of the funds currently allocated for the VMP plan. If the current McMillan plan were to proceed, the project could easily snowball out of control and face funding shortfalls for years, leaving the people of Bloomingdale and the surrounding communities to contend with the adverse impacts.

McMillan deserves world-class, sustainable development, and other Ward 5 communities have much greater immediate needs for investment.

Sincerely,

Hugh

--
Hugh Youngblood
ANC, SMD 5C03
240 . 925 then 1079

b) Now see this subsequent message from a Randolph Place NW resident:

From a Randolph Place NW resident:

I am concerned about an e-mail sent by one of our ANC Commissioners, Mr. Youngblood, to the D.C. City Council, in which he is affirmatively ASKING the city to ``reallocate`` funding of $50,000,000 ($50 million) AWAY from Bloomingdale. First, he claims that he is writing ``[o]n behalf of Bloomingdale.`` He never sought his ANC`s input on this issue, to my knowledge -- I wasn`t ever asked, nor any of my neighbors. Nor did he seek input from the Bloomingdale Civic Association. He is writing on his own behalf, and nothing more. His motives are unclear, at best. (He also claimed that he is writing on behalf of another ANC Commissioner, Mr. Fournier. This is likewise untrue. Mr. Fournier has stated to the ANC 5C, which forwarded it to the Attorney General`s office (to whom this issue and that of Mr. Youngblood`s other possible conflicts of interest were reported) that he was not even aware of this e-mail; Mr. Fournier distanced himself from the content of Mr. Youngblood`s message, in writing, on March 11, saying: ``I did not know about this e-mail.`` So, too, has the chairman of ANC 5C, Ronnie Edwards.)

Second -- and this is what I am most worried about, as should every Bloomingdale resident -- this presents the unfortunate situation of one of our own Bloomingdale Commissioners not only ``urg[ing] to please reallocate the $50 million (plus any contingency reserve)`` away from Bloomingdale, but more importantly him claiming that the ``Bloomingdale community [is] already developed,`` and therefore apparently does not need any more funding from the city. Again, this is untrue. We certainly DO need funding from the District -- as much as we can get. And Mr. Youngblood, as our Commissioner, should certainly make sure that his ANC is obtaining all the funds he can get, rather than sending them away to unspecified other projects and districts that are not even within his purview. Plus, please take a walk along North Capitol or Florida Ave. N.W., and tell me with a straight face that you consider this blight ``developed.`` You cannot.

Lastly, setting aside the present time and his limited tenure, this sets a terrible precedent for future projects or requests for any D.C. funding for Bloomingdale, well after Mr. Youngblood will be gone -- this is not just about the McMillan site, but will affect any kind of funding or future development: if Mr. Youngblood`s statement that ``Bloomingdale is already developed`` is taken at face value by the Council, the City will certainly reconsider, if not outright reject, future requests for support by us. The Council can quote this untruth right back at us: ``Bloomingdale doesn`t need funding -- your area is `already developed,` according to your own ANC...``

It behooves our Commissioner to rally on behalf of his own. At a minimum, he should be a passive representative, as he has been for most of his tenure. But to affirmatively steer funds away from his own neighborhood is decidedly not part of his mandate as our ANC Commissioner.

Let`s just put it this way: Georgetown is certainly ``developed`` by anyone`s standards. Yet, its ANC Commissioners are not going to steer funds away from Georgetown to ``other under-served communities`` that may perhaps ``have much greater immediate needs for investment.`` ...... Trust me -- Georgetown will take it. So should we. Mr. Youngblood`s position as ANC Commissioner is not to hand out money to others that was given to the community that he represents.

2 comments:

  1. Way to go Hugh...you give em hell and keep that horrid development out of our backyard. Bloomingdale is doing fine. We have all the proper and responsible development we need.

    Lastly to the person who has drafted the rebuttal, you really ought to sign your name to something like this. It's easy (and cowardly) to sling curses from the darkness of anonymity but takes real bravery and courage to take credit for your work like Hugh did. If you want to live in an area with awful development and the kind of negative consequences that come with a project like that which is being proposed at McMillan, you ought to just move to Columbia Heights. A more shining example of a stain on our city's pride and heritage does not exist. I didn't move here to Bloomingdale to have it look like cookie cutter suburbia with a ton of crap emporiums, one way streets, traffic galore, and "quality development" like that which was thrown together at Rhode Island Station just up the street. These big box impersonal developments never improve a community and if you think they do then leave us alone and move someplace where they prize this kind of thing...because Bloomingdale clearly isn't one of those places, at least as long as I am living here!

    -John Novak

    -John Novak

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  2. Here we go again! Commissioner Youngblood has has a potential conflict of interest in this development and he now attempts to over step, not only his authority, but now is speaking for all of Bloomingdale? I think NOT! Did he survey Bloomingdale? Did he speaks to his SMD? NO! That's the problem, he hasn't allowed the process to be followed and once again stirs up controversy without merit. Even Commissioner Fournier has disavowed Commissioner Youngblood's letter/email. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when two Commissioners in Bloomingdale are even commenting on this.

    With Mr. Yougblood's potential conflict of interest now in the AG's office along with Commissioner Fournier's zoning and building permit violations and fine for illegal construction of a two story garage/barn (that happens to look terrible...take a look for yourself at the rear of 69 Bryant St); we have two individuals who don't seem to get it! Frounier claims the density and a host of undocumented issue is the reason to stop McMillan; yet he has exceeded the FAR on his own lot and illegally constructed a two story garage/barn/building. Then Youngblood's conflict of interest! ARE WE REALLY GOING TO TAKE ADVICE OR GIVE ANY CREDENCE TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING?

    I think Bloomingdale residents have a lot more sense to listen to the well informed instead of the ill-informed, conflicted and manipulative actions of Commissioners Fournier and Youngblood! Novemeber is the time for change in Bloomingdale...VOTE IN HONESTY AND INTEGRITY!

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