Monday, June 9

DC MONDAY

WHY THE MAYOR WANTS CHECKPOINT FENTY

GARY IMHOFF, DC WATCH Barricading streets, cordoning off neighborhoods, checking identities, and denying free travel and free access to forbidden zones, is a very effective tactic - if you're an alien occupying force. It is not an effective crime-fighting measure. It isn't a crime-fighting measure at all; it is a measure that is used to attempt to pacify a hostile native population. That is how Mayor Adrian Fenty, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, and Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles see Washington, DC.

They are wrong. The police department is not an alien occupying force, no matter how much the city's administration wants it to behave like one. We, the people who live in Washington, are not a hostile native population, no matter how much the administration perceives us as one. We are all Americans, and we have the rights of Americans, including the right to move about and travel freely, without having to identify ourselves to the authorities, having to inform the authorities of what we are doing, or having to seek those authorities' permission to drive down public streets. We are all Washingtonians, and we are all in this together. (At least, most of us are Washingtonians; MPD Chief Lanier lives in Maryland, and has a rented address of convenience in DC to fulfill her occupational residency requirement. Interim AG Nickles lives in Virginia, and will only be dragged kicking and screaming into renting an address of convenience if he is forced to by being appointed the permanent Attorney General.). . .

We think that Fenty, Lanier, and Nickles know very well what they are doing, and that they believe it will be good public relations for them to identify and carve out quarantined neighborhoods. Fenty thinks, this school of thought says, that he can divide and conquer this city. He believes that his supporters don't know, don't like, and don't identify with the residents of Trinidad, DC, and similar neighborhoods. Fenty thinks his supporters fear the people who live in Trinidad and other Forbidden Zone neighborhoods, that they don't see themselves as ever having to travel anywhere near those neighborhoods, and therefore as not ever being even inconvenienced by the police blockades. Fenty's supporters, in this cynical view, don't see us all as being Washingtonians who are in this situation together; they do see themselves as an alien occupying force, and they see the Washingtonians who live in neighborhoods like Trinidad as a hostile native population that must be pacified or, better yet, cleared out. Therefore, Fenty, Lanier, and Nickles believe that large-scale denials of the civil liberties of some Washingtonians will make the administration more popular and more successful with other Washingtonians, their core supporters.

The ACLU's Johnny Barnes reports that more than 90% of those who passed through the Trinidad checkpoint on its first night were denied access to the neighborhood. "There were a lot of disgruntled citizens. . . Lanier showed up for a while, and we were all very cordial to her. Grooms got grilled for an extended period of time by some neighborhood young people who respectfully though strongly discussed how they felt about the occupation."

SPORT STADIUMS

You may have noticed an op ed piece in the Sunday's Post by the head of the African American Environmentalist Association, Norris McDonald. In it, McDonald claimed, "A soccer stadium and its related mixed-use commercial development would create an economic engine in a section of the District that desperately needs it. Many residents east of the Anacostia River have long bemoaned the lack of development and upscale amenities there. This need for sustainable development and a landmark attraction near an entrance to the city justify the use of parkland and public funds."

Then he threw in this gratuitous slam: "Some environmentalists oppose the stadium plan. But these opponents should rethink their decision to block sustainable development in a section of the city where they absolutely will not live. . . Ward 8 is 91 percent African American. Perhaps these critics who will not live east of the river should spend their time promoting a tunnel for Interstate 295 along the riverfront so that locals can have easy access to the park area, soccer stadium and environmentally friendly mixed-use retail shops. Maybe environmentally friendly, transit-oriented development could then flourish at the Anacostia Metro station."

So who is this in-your-face black activist?

Source Watch - Norris McDonald, the president of the African American Environmentalist Association, describes himself as "a black conservative environmentalist". McDonald is also the the co-chair of the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition, which champions the use of "highly enriched uranium and plutonium from nuclear warheads as fuel in new nuclear power plants. . . Asked why the AAEA supports nuclear power Norris McDonald wrote that it was "because it is emission free. It produces no emissions that contribute to global warming and smog. It emits no mercury. It emits no particulates. It is a major plus for asthmatics like me. The waste can be recycled, and world-threatening warhead uranium and plutonium can be utilized in nuclear power plants. I got tired of waiting for the big meltdown. It has been 26 years since Three Mile Island." A June 2005 newspaper article said that McDonald "was against nuclear power until about five years ago, when he began seeing it as a way to reduce air pollution."

A few months earlier McDonald was floating a proposal for AAEA to host a conference on nuclear power in an attempt to marginalize anti-nuclear groups. "We should have a conference that would include environmentalists for nuclear power. That would be interesting. The nuts would try to kill it and it would probably recruit more informal support. If the foundations were included, it would moderate the antinuclear lunatic fringe.". . .

In April 2002, McDonald spoke at a Congressional news conference in support of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. . . A news account of a similar pro-Yucca event in February 2002 described McDonald as "one of a half-dozen speakers assembled by the Nuclear Energy Institute to congratulate President Bush on selecting Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, for a nuclear waste repository and to urge Congress to advance the program by rejecting an anticipated veto from Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn later this year." . . .

GOVERNMENT

Washington Business Journal In 2000, D.C. sold 25,000 square feet of land on North Capitol Street -- the site of a former women's prison -- to Gonzaga College High School for $1.1 million. Years later, however, the District needed the land for its Northwest One development, the first project in the city's New Communities initiative to improve ailing neighborhoods. So last July, after a bout of incredible real estate appreciation, the District bought the land back for $5.7 million, a loss of $4.6 million. Citing that example, Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, R-at large, has proposed legislation that would require the D.C. Council to deem a property no longer needed for public use before any attempt to sell or lease it. "We've just done ridiculous things because we're not looking at our needs first and foremost," she said. "I don't have much confidence that taxpayers are getting the best deal. There is no business in the world that would treat its assets that way." . . . Schwartz herself voted both to sell and buy back the former women's prison. But routinely when the mayor's office makes a deal with a buyer -- whether through exclusive negotiations or a bidding process -- the council simultaneously votes to deem the property surplus and to sell it. Schwartz's bill would require the mayor's office to look for other government uses and, if none is found, notify nearby residents, hold a community meeting about the property and provide a written explanation to the council explaining why the property has no government use. Should the council vote to designate the property as surplus, a separate process of identifying a buyer or tenant could begin.

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