Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mat Bader: last night's ANC 5E vote in support of VMP's master plan for McMillan

See this 11-20-2013 message from Bloomingdale resident Mat Bader:
                                          
At the ANC meeting last night, Commissioner C. Dianne Barnes submitted a request letter of support for the Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) Master Plan to move forward to the Mayor's Agent based on recommendations made by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). No letter was provided to the Commissioners prior to, or during, the vote so its contents are unclear. Such a letter was likewise not made available to the public either before, during, or after the meeting.
                             
According to Article VII, Section 8 of the ANC bylaws that govern a meeting: "Commissioners shall seek the support/non-support of their respective civic association(s) prior to requesting placement of a developer or anyone seeking ANC 5E support on the ANC 5E agenda for a vote."
                          
During discussion of the topic, objections were raised by Commissioner Teri Janine Quinn (also serves as Bloomingdale Civic Association (BCA) President) and Commissioner Mark Mueller (conducted objective, published survey of community desires for development of McMillan) on the grounds that the current VMP Master Plan has never received support from any of the respective civic associations (Stronghold and BCA primarily) nor received any support from the McMillan Advisory Group (MAG), the body created to represent community interests to the developer.
            
As one of two BCA MAG representatives, I would also like for it to be clear that a similar letter of support was presented to the MAG on Thursday, November 14th, 2013 by Commissioner Barnes. The MAG did not vote in support of the letter and instead chose to table such a vote indefinitely.
               
Despite such objections from two of the three commissioners most directly impacted by this development, Commissioner Debbie Smith-Steiner (ANC 5E01) motioned that the ANC approve the letter of the support for the VMP Master Plan to move forward to the Mayor's Agent based on the HPRB recommendations. She justified this position, in part, on the basis that Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (representative for Ward 5) supports the plan. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Joyce Robinson-Paul (ANC 5E05).
                       
The final result of the vote was, I believe, 6 to 2 in favor. I am unclear on the exact stance that Commissioner Alex Underwood (ANC 5E03) took in the matter.
                 
Votes in support of the letter: Commissioner Smith-Steiner (5E01), Commissioner Christy Love-Davis (5E02), Commissioner Alex Underwood (5E03) (believe he voted in favor), Commissioner Sylvia Pinckney (5E04), Commissioner Robinson-Paul (5E05), Commissioner Barnes (5E09)
      
Votes in opposition of the letter: Commissioner Quinn (5E06), Commissioner Mueller (5E08).
     
Commissioners absent from the meeting: Commissioner Wanda Foster (5E07 - representative for most of Bloomingdale south of Rhode Island), Commissioner Angela Blanks (5E10)
I would like to personally thank Teri Janine Quinn for voicing her opposition to this vote and opposition to the letter of support, in her capacity as BCA President. She made the position of the community on this matter quite clear. I would also like to thank Mark Mueller for clearly opposing the motion, in part, based on its violation of the ANC bylaws and the ANC practice to date (relying on the community to dictate its position on a matter).
                              
I am personally concerned both as a MAG representative and as a member of the BCA that the interests of the community were ignored for this particular vote. It sets a precedent for other issues which impact the neighborhood to be ignored if the ANC so chooses.

I would ask that all persons either in support or opposed to such an ANC position email me, mathew.bader@gmail.com, so that I can do my best to voice the opinion of the community to relevant parties. While I may be opposed, I do not want to speak for a community without input from that community. I would also encourage those in opposition to such a vote to write a strong letter to Councilmember McDuffie, as his support of the current plan served in part to justify the motion. Any letters for the Councilmember can be sent to kmcduffie@dccouncil.us and should include his Community Affair Coordinator Jon Mandel, jmandel@dccouncil.us.

I apologize for such a lengthy email. Thank you all for taking the time to read through this. My hope is simply to keep the entire McMillan process transparent as the MAG representative for the community. Any and all feedback related to McMillan is always welcome.
                  
Mathew Bader
Bloomingdale Civic Association, McMillan Advisory Group representative

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Well I support the VMP plan for many reasons. First because DC needs affordable housing, we cannot afford not to develop this property because DC decided 30 years ago to develop it and not turn it into a park, because DC ranks 2nd in open green space in any major Metro area on the east coast, McMillan was not, is not and never will be a park despite what some in the community think, if DC after 30 years cannot get its act together then we should give it back to the government and see what we get then...maybe a nuclear power plant!
    FOMP has put so much misinformation out into the public that it's frankly ignorant and obnoxious, if we don't add housing units to DC we will be 178,000 units short buy 2030 which means that the new comers in DC especially Bloomingdalians will realize that they too will not be able to afford to buy due to rising prices or even stay in DC due to the increase in property taxes that will occur because the property tax base is shrinking every year. FOMP keep referring to a "Dreamer's" plan they have that isn't not viable, has no funding and no contractor will even entertain their pie in the sky plan, DC cannot afford to maintain a 25 acre park that will cost upwards of 3 million dollars a year to maintain that will attract crime and mischief. It's time DC got together and compromised on a plan which VMP has done a great job in doing.
    Finally let's not forget about the $150 million dollars and the acres of space that Bloomingdale residents got for the few houses that have been flooded in the past two years with the Bloomingdale flood mitigation project that I hear not one person object to. Where I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH! I will now have 6 million gallons of waste water one block from my house stored in inrenforce concrete that is 100 years old that has a chance to fail and create a huge disaster in our city. Instead we should have spent that on another boring machine and compelte the Water tunnel project in half the time with the permanent long term solution to these issues that everyone agreed with.
    So enough! It’s not just about the white affluent new residents of Bloomingdale and their wants and more about the needs of everyone in DC...jobs, affordable housing, senior living and good community planning and development which the VMP plan does accomplish. I’m sick of the few residents who are selfish and want want want, instead of thinking of the needs of the residents of this city! You know who you are...you'll support a min wage hike that will not work as housing supply is low and prices increasing at a rate that out paces income. WAKE UP people don't just smell the coffee but drink it before its burnt!

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  3. To clarify: Mr. Bader there was a motion to table at the MAG meeting but that doesn't mean indefinitely, as a FOMP you seems to again put misinformation out. At any time a motion can be made to the same effect as the last motion and it can be moved on again. The GOP has been doing this with Obamacare fore two years so why would you think MAG is different?

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  4. TheCommiss,

    I hear the points that you have raised and encourage you to email me at the email address I've provided above, it will serve as my repository for comments on the project. I'm trying to gauge the opinion of the community on their desires for McMillan going forward and not attempting to influence people one way or the other. Having said that, you are certainly free to perceive my intentions however you like. Please refrain from speaking for me however as I have spoken with both my MAG proxy and other MAG members who informed me that there was no discussion of taking another vote on the letter of support in December. I perceive this to mean that the issue has been dropped indefinitely. You are correct that the issue can be taken up again at any point, hopefully with prior notice. I'm also confused as to why you are saying that I'm speaking as a Friend of McMillan Park in this matter.

    What I would really like feedback on, and the matter raised above, is the concern over a vote by the ANC that took place in which it was dismissed that the matter was never brought before nor voted on by the respective civic associations. It has been standard practice of the ANC all year to only vote once the matter is heard by the respective civic associations and is such stated in the ANC 5E bylaws. Whether such a motion was made on McMillan or on a liquor license, it is the same issue. I happen to have written the above response because, as one of the BCA MAG representatives, I felt it fell under my purview and wished to communicate the situation to the community.

    I'd be happy to speak with you offline at any point about either the vote or the ANC. I would be equally as happy to listen to your thoughts on McMillan. I just prefer to do this in some forum that is not a website and in some fashion that is not meant to demean me as a person.

    Respectfully,

    Mat Bader

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  5. Mr. Bader have you signed the FOMP petition? Furthermore I won't be emailing you anything as I sit on MAG and represent the interests of ANC5E09 as appointed by the chair to fill that seat. I have worked on this project for over 8 years. My family has lived in the DC Metro area since 1732 and my family resided on Bryant St NW since the late 70's. As a new resident I highly doubt that you will be able to provide me with any insight and rather you should be reaching out to people for insight instead. If you were you would find out that a majority of residents are for the development, that they are tired of the BS coming from FOMP and the various special interest groups that have held this development from becoming a reality. Furthermore McMillan was never a park, is never going to be a park and the ship has sialed on that decision when DC bought the land. So if you are not stepping up to the table with input on the DEVELOPMENT then you are just obstructing the the progress that will steam roll over you. IT's time to get on board with developing the land and asking for things that are VIABLE and rooted in reality. Stop with the selfish wants and start looking at the needs of DC residents. Furthermore, Bloomingdale has gotten theirs 2 acres of waster water to stop the flooding in Bloomingdale...tell me what the rest of DC residents get out of the 25 acres they have paid for too???? Se Mr. Bader you are new to this battle...you might just not have the stomach for it. Furthermore, MAG has nothing to do with the ANC PERIOD! So you won't be doing anything with that one. Furthermore you are complete incorrect on the your statement about going to civic associations first. As a former ANC commissioner it's always nice to hear what they have to say, but it's not required ans the bylaws mention have not been voted on or approved byt he ANC 5E so again you need to get the facts right. Lastly you wanted to be in the public eye and now you are, you choose to take this to the public so no matter you have to handle the criticism. My comments are not demeaning you as a person but rather feedback on your lack of facts, history, and understanding of the process and what has been done. This is why I objected to the BCA having voted on reps to the MAG especailly since MAG would be repeating things over and over for those who don't know the past. You are proving me to me quite right on my assessment.

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    1. Thanks for the response Mr. Daneker. I look forward to working with you as part of the MAG and hearing the thoughts of your constituents from 5E09.

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    2. You're very welcome Mr. Bader. I just hope you are ready to talk about the development plan VMP has put forward and how we can improve it and not be an obstacle to development of the site. I am very in touch with 5E09 residents and the most I hear is "Get it done already? when are we going to break ground? Are we getting senior housing? Will there be a good grocery store, restaurants, dry cleaners? How much affordable housing will there be? Is John Hopkins coming to the medical offices? Will there be a community center? Pool? Doggie park? How will the park be laid out, will it be active or passive space? Will there be a historical interactive exhibit on the site? Are the silos and regulator houses going to stay? Can we have a space for a farmers market? These are the questions residents in 5E09 want to know and many more residents in the area and all over DC want to know when we're finally going to do get something for the $9 million investment they made 30 years go in which they have spend millions on maintenance and plans but still nothing. That's what they want to know! I listen and bring my game to every meeting for the last 8 years since the formation of MAG. So at the next meeting let's hear what suggestions residents have on these topics and stop the madness of "Save the Park" which never existed and the city has said no to over and over and said no when they bought the property. I hope you as a new resident and member of the MAG will bring this outlook to the meetings...that's what we need to be hearing to move this project forward and ensure the wants and some of the needs of DC residents is fulfilled by this project. Because pleasing every person is not going to happen. Furthermore, you should know that 3 firms submitted plans for this site and VMP was chosen by MAG.

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