Wednesday, November 12, 2014

McMillan Park, an Opportunity for DC Council to Serve the People Not Developers

DC Council Hearing, 11/12/14
By G. Lee Aikin, Fifty-four year resident,
with Guest Posts by Daniel Wolkoff, Kirby Vining and David Schwartzman after that, and notice of our last chance to change the minds of our Council members at the October 26, 2015 public hearing at the Committee of the Whole. 

[11/1/15 - Here is the best photo I have seen of the vast underground galleries of McMillan Park.  Imagine if  our DC artists were set lose painting these 11 foot high ceilings.  We could have our own secular Sistine Chapel as a cultural and tourist attraction.  But the NO BID developers want to destroy most of this.  I recently saw a photo in a slick wine buyers magazine of a posh wine cellar and restaurant.  What if some of our local restauranteers did something like that in these grottos, and arranged for growers there to provide organic and specialty foods for their expensive tables?]

     What does the community want for this wide open expanse of grass and historic public structures? What should the DC government want with regard to supporting the community, growing our city, and proposing ideas for best use?  Surely community gardens should be one of those uses.

     This project will be carried forward by our new Mayor. Her mentor, a former Mayor was elected with small business support. He was defeated because he neglected the small businesses he said he favored, and concentrated on following the wishes of people west of 16th Street. Our new Mayor convinced a majority citywide she supports the interests/needs of the majority. Here is a big opportunity to show unconditional support. The city is now growing rapidly, but without careful, historically focused plans, those attracted to DC as it is now may face future disappointment and leave for MD and VA.  [May 2015--I have just been told that the Mayor has a $69,000,000 item in her Budget for demolition of all the historic water works.]
     New residents are drawn to the exciting combination of history, politics, public facilities, and as they settle down, to educational opportunities for their children both in schools and in the wider community with its parks and museums. There is also major concern over skyrocketing housing prices in DC. Many new residents want the city to maintain diversity. If developers are so greedy that all they care about is short term profits, they will destroy what makes DC such an attractive place to live. Their politicians will also suffer!
     We hear the city wants some return on it's $9 million investment. Giving a piece of land worth nearly $100 million to developers is unsound business practice.  It repeats the scandal of last year when a square block of downtown land worth over $100 million was given away to a developer for $20 million. I wonder how angry other developers were about such a giveaway? Our Mayor elect has said she will do away with this practice. The McMillan land is a fine place to display to us her ethics and commitment on stopping these expensive giveaways.
     I find it really distressing that after 28 years of just sitting there with a big fence around it, finally, now that big developers want to make big bucks, suddenly there is push to do something.  If the city is serious about serving the community, they should plan immediately, before any other decisions are made, to open a portion of the green space to the public by next spring.  Repositioning some of the fences, adding some seating, and a demountable building operated by our Recreation Department should cost nowhere near as much as some of the sole source, no bid planning and design contracts that have been awarded.
     Others have spoken about the community's plans and ideas, so I will limit mine. I have seen that young people today are fascinated by process and have a love for old and vintage things.  My 40 year old son is visiting and helping me sort through many things in our old home.  He works for high end lawyers and doctors on special projects, and keeps telling me, "Oh, I know someone who would like this old (lantern, car part, tool, etc.)"   
     This historic waterworks must be maintained as a museum, and as part of the Blue Plains education efforts.  I was surprised to be told that the old sand filtration system is superior to the chemically laden processing that our municipal water must now undergo. Apparently the chemical companies really were eager to change municipal water treatment to methods that would help their bottom line.
     The underground areas have wonderful potential for year round intensive agriculture for luxury crops like mushrooms. What a chance for our students to observe and take part in growing food and flowers for nutrition and for marketing. There should be USDA grant money available for this kind of training effort.  Elevated and spaced solar panels could provide energy for the underground agriculture, and shade from the hot summer sun for community gardens above ground interspersed with the solar panels.  Farmers in Germany do this all the time.  By using both the underground acreage and the area above it the city will get double the use out of the property, with the attendant benefits of employment, income taxes, parkland, and lower health costs for the people benefiting from better nutrition and outdoor exercise.
     DC is almost a one industry town—government and its related activities. We need to diversify into production, arts and crafts, and develop appropriate technically skilled workers.  Here is the place where such activities can take place on a regular basis. Some housing would be suitable and it should be a healthy mix of low, moderate, and market rate income units. Then, of course we have the open space. Why do we need a soccer field at Hains Point with the convoluted exchange of the Reeves Center and other city property for developers.
     On April 21, 2012, a tour of the facility was made available to see the late 1800s sand filtration system which saved our residents from typhoid and other water borne illnesses. In 1986, when a more modern filtration system was installed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered the site to the DC government. Our city paid $9.3 million and in 1991 the DC Historic Preservation Review Board awarded the site historic status. This provided permanent recognition of the combined park and water filtration facilities historic value. We should not loose that for shortsighted profit motives.
     Next, politics reared its frequently ugly head. In 1990 the Ward 5 Council member urged rather dense development of the site to gain a return on the city's $9.3 million investment. It was wrongfully presented that the community backed the idea, resulting in spirited protests by the community. [These spirited protests have now risen to the level of a Recall Petition for their Ward 5 representative.  This is why above I suggested a different kind of underground tax generating development,  It destroys nothing and provides jobs at many wage levels.]  I wonder what campaign money or construction deals were proposed behind the scenes on that one [to the Ward 5 Councilman and others]? Recently a no-bid contract consultancy deal was given to Vision McMillan Partners and EYA for site development proposals. No-bid?? Whose idea was that?
     A total of 97 people registered to testify at the Nov. 12, 2014 hearing at the Wilson Building which started at 10 am.  Most favored the community plan, not the one from the no-bid developer.  Future Mayor Muriel Bowser (who was absent much of the time), and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyon McDuffie chaired the two Committees sponsoring this hearing-- Comm. On Economic Development and Comm. On Government Operations. This is an excellent first opportunity to see our new Mayor in action and judge our future.  Tell your friends and others to follow this story on cable or the web, now and ongoing.

     Thank you for hearing our voices and please do the right thing for all the people not just the big developers and corporations.

     When I arrived shortly after 2 pm, registered testifiers in the 50s numbers were being called upon.  One of the most distressing things I heard is that 2 buildings of 13 stories are planned for the site.  All the neighboring buildings are 2 and 3 story.  Quite aside from scale and appropriateness for the neighborhood, is the question of handling traffic for so many residents and workers.  I have recently driven beside McMillan Park and across past Catholic University during rush hour.  It took me a half hour to drive 10 blocks, without any major development and 13 story buildings.
     A Dutch woman hydrology expert explained that corporate testimony expressing alarm about flooding runoff was wrong.  This was based on reports of a concrete underlining. She explained that with a yard or more of earth and grass above the concrete, all rain and snow would be absorbed and evaporate back into the air over time.  In fact, the corporate planned parking lots and other development would create far more runoff than the community plans and ideas.
     Our DC Statehood Green Party was well represented with people signed up to testify, including Joyce Robinson-Paul, Chris Otten, Eugene Puryear and David Schwartzman who I heard give excellent testimony, Debbie Hanrahan, Jenefer Ellington, myself, and Marian Douglas-Ungaro.  Anyone in our Party I missed, please forgive me.  Any who testified should feel free to add important facts in the Comments.  Community comments are also welcome.

10/16/15 - It looks as if we, the people, will have another opportunity to fight this outrageous corporate give-away, which even includes a $69 million item in the 2016 Budget to support the destruction of the historic McMillan water works.  Can you imagine, $69 million set aside for a real estate, no bid contract that does NOT even include low cost housing??  Please read, contact your Council representatives, plan to testify, or send written testimony.  This may be our last chance, other than the lawsuit to save our potential public park which the developer controlled city government has kept behind a fence for more than 30 years.

10/19/15 - The DC Auditor, Kathleen Patterson, sent a letter to Council Chair, Phil Mendelson, expressing concern that the McMillan work by the original contractor has so exceeded its mandate that the project ought to be re-bid.  She pointed out that, "Competition in contracting is a critical tool for achieving the best return on investment for taxpayers and can help save the taxpayer money, improve contractor performance, and promote accountability for results."

10/27/15 - Many McMillan supporters testified Monday as did the NO-BID developer and a few of their economically interested friends.  The acoustics in the hearing room were horrible.  Chairman Mendelson was frequently inaudible as were many of those who testified because they did not speak loudly with their months close to the microphones.  If this kind of thing happens again we should protest vigorously.  Mendelson indicated that pressure from other Council members would influence his opinion.

11/3/15 - I guess there was not enough pressure or minds were already made up.  At the Comm. of the Whole meeting this day, every Council member EXCEPT Elissa Silverman voted to give the NO-BID developer 5 more years to use our tax dollars to plan and execute this abortion.  The DC Auditor, Kathy Patterson has raised a number of concerns on the lack of bidding.  This article points out many things that are wrong with the process and has a link to the Auditor's letter, with its cc's to our new Attorney General and the Inspector General.  THANK YOU Elissa Silverman!!!  Oh well, we still have the lawsuit.  Hopefully people will continue to contribute to pay our lawyers.

DC Council to Consider Extension of McMillan Sale at October 26 Hearing.  Will You Testify to Stop This Outrageous Project?
   On Monday, October 26 at 9:30am, the DC Council Committee of the Whole will hold a public hearing to consider Mayor Bowser's request that the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) that would transfer ownership of McMillan Park from the city to its chosen developer, VMP, be extended by five additional years.  The duration of the LDA is presently two years, which means it expires December 2, 2016.  With the proposed extension, VMP would have exclusive rights to acquire the site to build McMillan Town Center until December 2021.  The Mayor cited "complexities" of the project as the basis for this request.

     The Council now has an opportunity to reassess the city's mediocre, backward-looking McMillan development proposal. Council members have told us that "that ship has sailed" and the Council no longer has a role.  Well, that "ship" is returning for a port call on October 26.  If the Council takes no action, the Mayor's resolution would die on November 4, 2015,  just as it would if the Council votes against the resolution. Friends of McMillan Park has been told by the Zoning Commission and the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation that overturning the city's current plan to destroy McMillan Park requires a political decision.   Responding to this resolution by written comment, or, better yet, oral testimony before the Council, may be our last opportunity to demonstrate political pressure on this project, and this is the first time this issue has come back before the Council since the Council approved the Land Disposition Agreement for the project last December. 

     Here are some specific points that we hope the Council should take into consideration as they look at this extension resolution and that may be helpful to you if you wish to testify or submit testimony for this hearing:

   - More than 7,500 persons have signed a petition asking that this deal be rejected and that the city consider alternative, more creative proposals. In every public hearing, according to every public poll, opposition to this plan has significantly exceeded support for it. 

  - VMP agreed, per the most recent public Term Sheet for this project, that the developer would shoulder all of the pre-development costs for the project.  Yet through 2014, the city has reimbursed VMP for pre-development costs to the tune of about $7 million -- including legal fees to fight off citizens' challenges to the project.  Will VMP continue to receive reimbursement for these pre-development costs if this extension is approved? Should they?

  - Why in this whole process has there been no competition to choose a design, a developer, or a purchaser for this historic site?  The D.C. Code calls upon the city to "maximize competition." 

   - What are the "complexities" Mayor Bowser alludes to in the project that require this extension? Are the three lawsuits pending now, challenging the zoning and historic preservation decisions the city made to permit this project, among those "complexities"?

   - The Land Development Agreement that governs this project, that the Council approved in December 2014, stipulates that the land would be sold to VMP for significantly below its assessed value.  Why undersell this or any other District-owned property?

     If you would like to testify in person at the hearing on resolution PR21-307:
                  Contact Cynthia Lefevre at by the close of business on Thursday, October 22, and provide your name, address, phone, and organization affiliation and title (if any). If you submit your testimony to Ms. Lefevre by COB October 22, it will be distributed to the Councilmembers. Otherwise, the Council requests that persons testifying bring 15 copies of their testimony for distribution on the day of the hearing, and each person will be given four minutes though lengthier remarks may be submitted in writing as well. The hearing will be at 9:30am on Monday, October 26th in room 120 of the Wilson Building.  

    If you would like to submit written testimony only:
                 Contact Cynthia Lefevre as above.  According to normal procedure, the record is open until the end of the hearing day (October 26), but it is advisable to submit written testimony to Ms. Lefevre by October 22 so that it is available to Council members before the hearing.  

       Some of us plan to submit testimony, written or oral or both, in hopes that our Council will be responsible and ask some serious questions about the fiscal, regulatory, and legal flaws in this outrageous deal.  Our park and our city deserves much better than this.  

We hope you will make your voice heard by our legislature.  

 Thank you!   Hugh Youngblood and Kirby Vining, Friends of McMillan Park

If you have any questions, please or call 202.213.2690. 

STOP MCMILLAN, Don't increase carbon emissions, urban heat island.
by Daniel G. Wolkoff

Subject: Urgent action for City Council McMillan surplus and land disposition

Neighbors of McMillan, for addresses and phone numbers just go to DC City Council, on line.
     Trying to get a City Council member's attention by email is a lost cause. The City Council members ignore all our emails.  This is a decade long effort to ignore the concerns of DC taxpayers and our children.  I invite all concerned residents to join my lawsuit, in DC Superior Court, to appeal the improper Zoning Commission decision to super urbanize and demolish McMillan Park.
     The media is doing a concerted avoidance,, "bias by omission". The Washington Post, so totally pro corporate, is busy taking a stroll down Memory Lane in the wake of Ben Bradley's death.  Reliving the days of Watergate, with Woodward and Bernstein, and The Pentagon Papers, while  not reporting 100's of protestors arrested in civil disobedience at The White House to STOP THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE, no real coverage of McMillan the "disposal" of our 25 acres by the City Council, Mayor and the development conglomerate.
     On McMillan, Mike DeBonis, avoids it, but Roger K. Lewis column in the Real Estate section paints a glowing column on the development that doesn't mention anything of the downside, the opposition, hundreds of testimony, petitions, zoning issues, etc, etc.  Of course, Roger K. Lewis is on Kojo, and Kojo puts you on MUTE the moment you call in and mention McMillan.  The miserable local developer in VMP, EYA has become WAMU corporate sponsor, and are spreading advertising money all over the place.
     I love all the local TV News stations, reporting for days if  Marian Barry has an outstanding parking ticket but not a single reporter has ever covered dozens of McMillan DC government hearings, meetings, protests, town  halls.  How much local political news can you fit in, in the 3 to 4 minutes before they go to the Redskins?
     Local media, the very few mentions, have been contemptuous of the public, Washington business journal "The McMillan Soap Opera Goes On".  The City Paper once upon a time muckraked the DC government regularly, but totally prodevelopment, a rag.  The only place for info is Scott Roberts Bloomingdale Blog, but it's a national issue.
[National Register of Historic Places nomination ( ) by DC Office of Historic Preservation architect Kim Williams]ly
     Our DC government has been governing without informed consent, and doesn't care, as Miss Bowser dissed my questions at BNCA , 90% off the district has no idea what is going on, it's a  Private Pig Fest!  I think the figure for the Surplus land disposition is negative $3.65 million, when developers all over the world would pay tens or hundreds of millions.  VMP once approved and land handed to them will undoubtedly sell it to Japanese, or Chinese developers, and walk with the money. 
     Brian, the Council has been lobbied by The Carmen Group, Grosso, Cheh had meetings, and I assume anyone else potentially on the fence.  The Jamie Fontaine PR firm, was hired, by Jeff Miller the Deputy Mayor( which he denied to Bowser oversight hearing Feb. 11th, 2014), and they have faked community support, or "neutralized opposition" and "created the appearance of support", 
so the government has kept its own agencies as oversight, and bought an "astroturf campaign" from Baltimore.
     I would ask the council member and staff, if they have ever been on the site, or in the mystical underground 20 acres of masonry "vaults". PLEASE ASK how does Mayor Gray find out what all the public needs are for the 25 acre green space? 
     Get responses in writing, and do not let these DC government hacks BLOW YOU OFF!
     The exclusion of the public, and the determination that the city Council has no responsibility to represent the Ward or At- Large, clearly has got to change now.
     Long story short, I would call our representatives, McDuffie, At-Large members, Gray, and staff, and demand that your needs for the 25 acre green space be acknowledged. We have the environmental concerns, water security, urban food and nutrition hub,        
cool breezes, community gardens, sunset views, not tunnels between rows of condos and offices. 
     Get answers not INSULTS, on this ABSURD declaration that "there is no longer any public need" for the land at McMillan. I would also blame each of these hacks, for the way they kept it fenced off, wasted about $40 million, which if the green space was in a white upper income section of DC, would have CERTAINLY been spent on safely opening up  access to the public, and not flushed down the overflowing sewers.
     Thank you from all the neighbors around the Park,

Daniel Goldon Wolkoff
McMillan Coalition  for Sustainable Agriculture
1231 Randolph Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Tel: 202-232-8391

I asked Mr. Wolkoff for more details and received the following:

I think one important aspect in our struggle to save McMillan for the community is the lack of information, the govt. was just thrilled to keep virtually everyone un-informed including themselves.

City Council members just differed on any awareness for years; Mary Cheh called my writing on McMillan "inspirational", but said she is not informed, and is it just too late.  David Grosso and Mary Cheh have "sustainable Agriculture", and increased public involvement in legislation bills, just not on McMillan.  David Grosso, our new younger At-Large, just said things like, "McMillan, don't go there".  Like just don't bother, it is a waste of your time. Cheh and Grosso had an appointment with Trammel-Crow lobbyists. The Carmen Group, top government lobby firm, paid $10,000 a month (indefinitely!) by Trammel-Crow. He then, right at the City Council push through, got very excited and just said "fantastic development", "hope we can do this right away".  These council members are giving away, and committing the govt. to a massive deal, but they have mostly never even visited the site!

The City Paper, Washington Business Journal used disdain ("more of the McMillan Soap Opera") to diminish any real coverage of the facts, and especially the opposition in the community.  I have called the method of keeping the issue out of public focus, "bias by omission". Kirby tells us that Washington Post and City Paper were called in to VMP, and pressured, I believe.

 My position is that elected officials are obligated to gather informed consent, on which Muriel Bowser just turned her head and ignored this, and most questions when posed at Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association meeting.

I would like to share some background.
Below is the DC Office of Historic Preservation staffer Kim Williams nomination to National Registry of Historic Places. But that office has completely circumvented their responsibility to enforce our and federal historic preservation laws.

Please read Nomination written by DC Office of Planning Historic Architect Kim Williams
  National Register of Historic Places nomination ( ) you will quickly understand that McMillan is a resource of NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE, and its preservation is NOT a Ward 5 issue, but a national issue. I have been disappointed that the Council has not educated the people in DC or even itself very well, while determining the future of this incredible site,, just awesome as originally designed and landscaped. 
     Ms. Williams describes an engineering miracle in good condition and  remarkably preserved.

     The Vision McMillan Partners development plan is financially driven and over-crowding of any great work is always a mistake, diminishing the original intent and elegance. Six congested "private" streets, 3000 parking spaces, and 50 brutalist building have no reference to the historic site. The unimaginative 5, 6 acre "McPark" proposed by VMP, is the only unpaved area, grudgingly carved out of the site and shows how little understanding these architects have of great urban design.  These are destructive compromises that  are not comparable to this spectacular Olmsted designed "great place", as required by the Historic Preservation laws, worthy of world capitol.

Daniel Goldon Wolkoff
McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture

Guest Post by Kirby Vining, Friends of McMillan Park

I hope some of this will help clarify some ideas in what at times gets to be a one-sided debate.  The things the Friends of McMillan Park are doing have been, I think, unfairly characterized by the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).   Unfortunately, DMPED has worked hard to keep our side of the story out of the Post and City Paper, etc., so the end result is only the Vision McMillan Partners (VMP, the sole-source bid developer pushing the heavy development) side of things is visible in the press, generally.

In Friends of McMillan we’ve been trying to get the city to do what it appeared it was going to do based on the 2002 Office of Planning ‘Recommendations for McMillan Site Revitalization,’ which is to send out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for some feasibility studies (which was done, 2006: Solicitation for Land Development Partner).  But supposedly five responses were received from that, and then they were ignored.  The Williams administration sent out that ‘Solicitation,’ and then the new Fenty administration took the whole project away from the National Capitol Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) and disbanded the NCRC and gave the project to DMPED.  DMPED did not continue with the line of approach of the ‘Solicitation’ and the 2002 OP recommendations, but hired the existing VMP group as a consultant and the whole character of the project changed.  Friends of McMillan participated in the ‘Recommendations’ fora and strongly encouraged it then and encourages it now.  There are many very good and very specific recommendations for options for the site.  Demolishing 90% of the place to put up high rise buildings is not at all consistent with any of the recommendations.

Friends would like to see that process be followed: a competition for feasibility studies and a design competition.  Our core values state quite clearly that we’d like to see what can be done working with the resource, and would support ideas that are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan (whole sub-chapter of the Comp Plan concerns that site) and the historic resources. Questioned at a couple of Council hearings on affordable housing for the site, a number of us responded that we’re not against or for any particular recommendation
for reuse of the site, would like to consider any and all, but we’d like to see what can be done to work WITH the resources, above and below ground rather than AGAINST those resources. Community surveys reveal that a significant part of the community wants substantial surface area to be available as the parkland it was until the fences went up, but the Friends has not taken a position on that point, other than supporting the results of that door-to-door survey of 1,000 community households that we did.  The city has never done such a survey, but we did. 

The site is really two thing, directly related: it’s a surface area of 25 acres,
but it’s also those caverns down underneath it.  Those two considerations
are unique to the site, and there are two-fold possibilities there.  So many of
us, myself strongly included, would like to see what can be done to incorporate
those existing caverns into the design…this is also consistent with Comp
Plan and 202 Recommendations.

This  site is, architects have told me, the largest green roof structure ever built
on the east coast.  There are some tremendous possibilities, all of which are
abandoned by demolishing the underground.

But all this hope to see what can be done is precluded by the ‘exclusive rights agreement’ the Mayor signed with his consultant, denying any possibility for a design competition or even any outside bidding for any aspect of the land sale or development, proposing the VMP plan as a fait accompli. “Value” means many things in the context of that site, the value of the land is only one of them.  The scale of the Mayor’s proposed development, one mile from the nearest Metro, should be a factor, as the Comp Plan states, determining the scale of any proposed development.  [Having driven past the site during rush hour, I can attest that traffic is already horrible there.  What will it be with 13 story businesses and condos?  GLA]

There are some interesting possibilities here that are being ignored in the rush to give the deal to VMP, ultimately as a result of the land that was taken from EYA in the first (not the current) stadium deal long ago.  Why is DMPED so afraid of having an open RFP and bidding to see what things are possible there?

Thank you! -Kirby Vining

Tour the magical spaces of McMillan Park,

and please consider donating to our legal fund to stop the city’s plans
to demolish and sell our park:

Friends of McMillan Park, Inc., is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 
Tour the magical spaces of McMillan Park in this lovely video in the PBS Digital Library, please consider donating to our legal fund to save our park:

Washington, D.C. investigative journalist Jeffrey Anderson has done what I think are the most authoritative articles on many aspects of McMillan for the Capitol Community News and has published two excellent OpEd pieces on the same subject:

See also the following articles from Street Sense and the New York Times, and the InTowner:

And a lovely group of interviews with neighbors who recall visiting the park when it was open.  Our city claims McMillan “was never a park.”:
(a full video of the interview with Ms. Ella is also available here:)

David Schwartzman, DC Statehood Green Party Activist, makes several useful arguments in this 2014 testimony.  He also includes a number of interesting links.

Committee on Government Operations & Economic Development Joint Public Roundtable,  Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 10:00AM, Room 412, Wilson Building
Considering the following legislation:
* PR20-1081 the "McMillan Surplus Declaration and Approval Resolution of
* PR20-1082 the "McMillan- Residential Town homes Parcel Disposition Approval Resolution of 2014”, 
* PR20-1083 the "McMillan-Residential Multifamily Parcels Disposition Approval Resolution of 2014", 
* PR20-1084 the "McMillan - Commercial Parcels Disposition Approval Resolution of 2014".
     As an activist of the DC Statehood Green Party, I am testifying to express my strong opposition to the surplusing of McMillan Park as well as the implementation of Vision McMillan Partner’s (VMP) development plan for this site.
     I strongly endorse the concerns already expressed by members of Friends of McMillan Park concerning traffic impacts, reduction of green space, disrespect for the historic significance of McMillan Park, and unwarranted giveaway of public land to corporate interests. The global and local commons must be expanded, not contracted, to meet the
imperatives of preventing the onset of catastrophic climate change. In this legislation we witness once again the “tragedy of privatization”, noting the discredited concept of the “tragedy of the commons” (Garrett Hardin).
     I am Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, Howard University, having retired at the end of June 2012 after being on the faculty for 39 years. I am an environmental scientist, with a research focus on climate and energy issues. I visited the McMillan Park site in apparently the last public tour on November 13, 2011. 
     I am appalled at the lack of vision of VMP, the lack of environmental consciousness and its disrespect for the strong opposition of the surrounding community for this proposed project. As a geoscientist (PhD, Brown University) I note that the removal of open green space in this proposed project raises serious concerns regarding stormwater and flood risk impacts, recognizing the overly dense development in a neighborhood already susceptible to flooding, in spite of DC Water’s current tunnel/water storage project to mitigate this problem. Open green space should be maintained, not decreased, given the projected warming and increased heavy rain events for our region (e.g., 
*; *
     I was an active participant in the Green Economy Working Group of Sustainable DC. VMP’s proposed project is not only inconsistent with the objectives of Sustainable DC, but is a frontal attack on environmental justice, “green justice”.  There are alternative proposals to keep McMillan Park as an historic site with truly green development, such as Jerome
Peloquin’s aquaculture concept; go to the Friends of McMillan Park Website to find out the full story: 
     I thought Sustainable DC was a very promising signal that our elected government
was rethinking economic development, to promote a just and green economy, but passing this legislation would make the Sustainable DC vision a mirage.
     PR20-1082 promises the creation of affordable housing “at least 20% of the total housing units…to households making between 50% and 80% of area median income (AMI). Note that 50-60% of DC families (ITEP Who Pays, 2013, posted at fall below 50% of this AMI ($53, 500 in 2014; area family median income of $107,000, source:
** Washington-
     It is pure tokenism to include this in the VMP package. There are multiple residential sites around DC, including public housing, which should provide opportunities for creation of
truly affordable housing to those most in need. Likewise, the creation of permanent jobs promised by the VMP plan can be accomplished by shifting the construction to another site in DC that is much closer to Metro transit, without destroying green space.
     I have lived in Brightwood since 1977, and like so many DC residents, look forward to truly green economic development of this site consistent with its historic legacy and preservation of green space for all our residents.  Surplusing public property to facilitate the VMP project fails these goals on all counts.
     David Schwartzman, PhD Tax & Budget Coordinator DC Statehood Green Party, 202-829-9063