Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DC Council Chair Mendelson's letter on McMillan: comments from Tania Jackson, Mehdi Mansouri & Hugh Youngblood

The Historic Washington list at Yahoogroups, moderated by Chevy Chase resident Mary Rowse, has had a few recent posts on Bloomingdale's landmarked McMillan Sand Filtration site.
As a follow-up to the recent Kojo Nnamdii Show on the development of McMillan, Mary Rowse posted a link to a letter by DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on the McMillan site.

Here is Mary Rowse's brief post:

During the Kojo Nnamdi interview below, Councilmember Mendelson`s May 16, 2012 letter to the HPRB on the McMillan site was referenced. Here`s a link to it:
The HPRB will discuss the McMillan Master Plan on Thursday July 12, beginning at  9 a.m. They have set the whole day aside for this issue.
Mary Rowse

Now see this two subsequent comments also posted at the Historic Washington list.  The first comment is from Tania Jackson and the second comment is from Bloomingdale resident Mehdi Mansouri.  Just added a comment from Hugh Youngblood.
a)  Re: Text of Phil Mendelson`s letter to the HPRB on McMillan
Posted by: ``Tania Jackson`` create_communitas @ yahoo.com   create_communitas
Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:18 am (PDT)

As many know I`m a consultant to Vision McMillan Partners, and have been working on the project since they won the project in 2007.

Thanks for including this link to now Chairman Mendelson`s letter. His was one of over 40 letters received  by HPRB regarding the project. Unfortunately the Chair has not been to any of the almost 60 meetings we`ve had to plan the project. Â He has not been briefed by the development team about the current proposal. Â He has not talked to ANC 5C, which did vote to support the Vision McMillan Partners proposal for the site, and did also send a letter to that effect to HPRB.  To be clear, since writing the letter he has indicated an interest in hearing more about the project-- as Chair, he needs to be well informed about the status of this project.

I appreciate that the readers of this list would want to know Chairman Mendelson`s position on this project, which is significant, but I also think they should know the circumstances of the letter, and what informed his decision.

Tania B. Jackson
Create Communitas Consulting
Columbia Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009

b)  Re: Text of Phil Mendelson`s letter to the HPRB on McMillan
Posted by: ``Mehdi Mansouri`` tin @ onlineoffice.us
Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:06 pm (PDT)

For everyone`s information:

1. EYA and Ms. Tania Jackson did not ``win`` the project, because there was never an honest bidding process. The project was handed to them by the convicted Mr. Harry Thomas, and his team members such as the McMillan project manger from the City, Mr. Clint Jackson (who was previously a co-worker with Mr. Aakash (vp of EYA?) with another employer), and others.

As it has been documented, prior to receiving the McMillan contract, ``Team Thomas`` of convicted Mr. Harry Thomas had received $60,000.00 or so from EYA, and was handed a contract of another development the next day by convicted Mr. Thomas. Shortly after that EYA received the McMillan contract after a few deceptive technicality maneuvers. Who knows (yet) how much more had changed hands between EYA and convicted Mr. Thomas.

2. No one from people was involved in the ``development`` of the current ``EYA`` plan. More than 99% of the current ``plan`` was already drawn by EYA and other members of EYA team. All EYA did was showed people the plan (that was drawn almost to the dot--in terms of how much residential, retail, office space, etc. etc. must be included, with ``elaborate`` and deeply deceptive water-color drawings of the ``super fantasy landscape``). And then the only thing that EYA and City asked people was ``what kind of businesses do you want here and there?`` That was it!! And they call that ``people`s participation. ``

3. And they did many, many other deceptive acts such as above at every step of the way.

4. Below are a small portion of the questions that we asked the City and EYA and never received an answer to:

a. Show us in which parts of the decision making for the current EYA plan have people been involved?

b. who were the people who made those suggestions?

c. what have been people`s suggestions?

d. which ones of those suggestions were implemented? and

e. what changes did EYA/City make to the plan based on people`s suggestions?

But we never received an answer from EYA nor from the City, but only run-arounds. For example, some of their answers to the above questions were ``we have already answered those questions.`` But when we asked them to whom did you give those answers? They either said ``to you`` or never answered.

And when we said in that case your answers are ready and it should be easy for you to give them to us again. so why don`t you give them to us again? They never responded.

Mehdi Mansouri

c)  Just added this response from ANC 5C03 Commissioner Hugh Youngblood:


There seems to be some confusion in your 16 June posting to the Historic Washington listserv below.

At the ANC 5C monthly meeting on 22 May 2012, ANC 5C adopted a resolution to neither support nor oppose the VMP proposed master plan.

Subsequent to the adoption of said resolution, ANC 5C Chairman Ronnie Edwards erroneously delivered a letter to HPRB stating that ANC 5C supported the proposed master plan. In addition to failing to capture the essence of the

outcome of the actual 22 May vote, the erroneous resolution initially delivered to HPRB also included a great deal of other text on which Commission 5C never voted. Commissioner Fournier promptly notified Mr. Callcott at HPRB about the error and pursued corrective action with other 5C Commissioners.

Please let us know if you require any additional clarifying information, and we apologize for the confusion.

Thank you,

Hugh Youngblood


TheCommiss said...

First let me say that Mr. Mansori is a complete whack job. His information is so far off base that it screams CRAZY! One examples to refute his claim about input from the community---we ask for senior housing which was not in the original plan ans it's there NOW! So Mr. Mansouri please stop the lies! You are wrong and just because you believe the crap you spew doesn't mean it's actually the truth!

Finally Mr. Fournier has no room whatsoever to even speak to any zoning issue or development since first he is a zoning violator himself in which he has illegally built with illegal immigrant labor a two story two car garage that far exceeds the FAR and zoning limitations of his property. He did so without a building permit and attempted to use an old building permit issued to replace windows to avert attention to his corrupt ways. The when ANC Commissioner James Fournier was caught by DCRA for illegal building he attempted to say that it was an existing structure. Then DCRA was provided with satellite images dating back several years along with photos from 2010 showing his property and vehicle parked in the rear yard with no structure or even a garage concrete slab, he was caught again! This is what ANC5C07 voters elected, another corrupt, cheating official! Now Mr. Fournier seems to back away from McMillan and ANC Commissioner Youngblood takes the stage on McMillan. You might ask why? Why because among the Salatti clan, Youngblood is the only one left without any major scandal.

However voters might recall the ANC questioning the AG about a conflict of interest with Mr. Youngblood's participation in a bid to EPA for McMillan and potentially his interest in the alternative Gusevich plan for McMillan. You see Mr. Youngblood is a "green" energy business owner Youngblood Captial Group and also Co-founder of Beston Planations which is another renewable enegery or green company. (FYI data states co-founder and there is no web-site and no other co-founder found for this company). So that could lead someone to smell something funny in his attempts to stop EYA but support fully the Gusevich plan for McMillan, without any financials, storm water or transportation studies.

Something is wrong here Bloomingdalians! Wake up before another opportunity for our neighborhood and city to get it's well deserved share of economic development in the DC Metro area. Don't let these wacko jackos who know nothing about development, financials, affordable housing, economic stimulus and jobs stop a good plan!

IMGoph said...

It seems that this entire argument could have been made better with some editing and a lack of ad hominem and racist attacks.

Paul Kirk said...

When you don't have the facts on your side, including:

1) No traffic solution to an already overburdened First Street,

2) No stormwater solution to an already overburdened combined sewer overflow system;

3) No design worthy of this elevated site which currently enjoys line-of-site views of the U.S. Capitol, Washington National Cathedral, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and even, on a clear day, northern Virginia. (Instead, this small-time development team, composed of a former gymnast and DC government hacks has a small-time plan to build another Shirlington.); and

4) A plan so driven by maximizing square footage that the neighborhood is left haggling over the scraps of a community benefits package;

When you have no answers to any of these most basic neighborhood concerns, you attack people and their motives.

Danneker and his corrupt buddies, including convicted embezzler Harry Thomas Jr, have consistently supported EVERY iteration of the small-time developers plan, regardless of the thoughtful objections of the neighborhood.

ANYONE who tries to make the case that giving this public land to this unimaginative developer is the only way this parcel can be developed is full of it.

There is a reason why any other City would have a proper competition. A competition would engage creative people, provide cost/benefit data and ensure that a pre-selected developer doesn't continue to get millions of dollars of handouts paid by taxpayers.

Danneker has already admitted that he is in discussions to personally benefit by developing the subsidized housing that is being planned. As his rants show, he is a caring guy who wants to be helpful to others.

Paul Kirk said...

Also, in response to Tania's comments, it is in everyone's interest to understand that Tania is part of the development team who have already received over $1 million in taxpayer funds to shove this project down our throats.

Tania stated:

"Unfortunately the Chair (Mr. Mendelson) has not been to any of the almost 60 meetings we`ve had to plan the project."

No "planning" is going on at any of these meetings. These 60 meetings are being used as evidence that the developer is interested in our input. I've been to many of the meetings and have been admonished for even asking questions, never mind making any recommendations.

Tania also stated:

"He has not talked to ANC 5C, which did vote to support the Vision McMillan Partners proposal for the site"

This is an outright lie. Each and every vote that has been taken to support or oppose the plan has resulted in neighborhood groups voting to oppose the plan. The ANC 5C meeting would have voted to oppose the plan, but Mr. Edwards orchestrated a vote on whether to allow the Bethesda-based developer to continue working on the project or not. Since the current developer has $1 million in taxpayer money, this vote is meaningless as the developer will carry on regardless of the explicit opposition to the plan as voted by all of he other neighborhood groups that have weighed in.