Friday, June 17, 2016

WCP: "McMillan Opponents Win FOIA Challenge Against D.C. Council"

Click on the link to read the entire Washington City Paper post:

McMillan Opponents Win FOIA Challenge Against D.C. Council

Lawmakers can't exempt certain documents from disclosure using a "speech and debate" statute, the Court of Appeals found.


JUNE 17, 2016 10:44 A.M.

Local lawmakers may have to release several hundred pages of additional documents about the redevelopment of the McMillan Sand Filtration site following a recent decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel last week ruled that the D.C. Council cannot withhold certain documents relating to the controversial project in Northwest based on a "speech and debate" exemption applied to the District’s Freedom of Information Act.  Opponents of the site’s redevelopment call the ruling a victory because of the transparency the documents—including emails between Wilson Building staff and developers—would provide.  Still, the case has been remanded to D.C. Superior Court, meaning Council attorneys could seek to exempt records from disclosure through other statutes.

Kirby Vining, one of the cofounders of Friends of McMillan Park, had filed a FOIA request a couple years ago that was in part denied by the Council. But on June 9, the Appeals Court ruled that the Council hadn’t sufficiently argued that a law meant to protect its staff from being subject to some litigation covered the exemption it had sought. (It’s called the Legislative Privilege Act.)

1 comment:

Daniel in brookland said...

National Register of Historic Places nomination for McMillan.

This document is a thorough history of the Sand Filtration Plant and describes a remarkably intact, fascinating, even charming engineering marvel, a 25 acre public property green space and historic park. The park the DC govt. has hid in plain sight for 30 years to steal it in corporate "giveaway". The biggest land theft since Manhattan! This City council testimony by historic restoration artist Daniel Wolkoff tells us about adaptive re-use and urban agriculture in 20 acres "underground" McMillan cisterns the govt. wants to demolish. Landscape Architect Mary Pat Rowan exposes the VMP/DC govt. plan to subvert our rights to oppose and petition the govt. with a Baltimore PR firm Fontaine Company.
Unfortunately DC govt. has dictated the destruction of the 20 acre "underground" and paving over the site with 50 buildings and 3000 parking spaces. A less corrupt govt. would be offering, the whole city, a great community amenity, as 25 acres of open air green space, and adaptive-reuse in creative and imaginative ways. Like a huge outdoor concert space(see Hyde Park, or Lansdowne, or Sheep Meadow in NY Central Park. Really, why don't we have a large community campus for arts/education and performance (see Glen Echo), why no DC Central Park like NY? Why should we get a "McPark" in front of condos, we already have only one fifth the proper park land as Upper NW?
The worshipers of profits are telling us to demolish 20 acres of fascinating underground cisterns and over build our public land, with a crass suburban office and condo park that violates the DC Comprehensive Plan and federal covenants which were assigned to the sale from GSA to DC in 1987. The "walkable neighborhoods" of EYA, require 31,000 additional auto trips daily, that traffic experts predict will crowd the ( National Harbor in historic Bloomingdale, on top of the existing 38,800 autos at present congesting, N. Capitol daily. And 24,000 mass transit users coming from the McMillan Town Center will need 600 buses and shuttles a day to use the Brookland-CUA or RI Ave metro rail. Don't let DC govt. corruption build the "Monstrosity on Michigan Avenue". It is our neighborhoods to lose. Join us at McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture to Save McMillan Park email is