The Committee of 100 on the Federal City -- which has 153 members (inflation, I suppose) -- is, in its own words, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding and advancing Washington's historic distinction, natural beauty and overall livability.” It now wants to safeguard the city against District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein and Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning.
This seems odd, since Klein and Tregoning are two of the main advocates for bicycle lanes, streetcars and smart growth -- things which would seem right in line with the Committee of 100-or-so’s mission. But the committee’s chairman George Clark, in a letter to Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, said the pair has “downplayed or ignored comments at public hearings and displayed little or no empathy for the affect of [Tregoning's] complicated zoning changes on residents, individual neighborhoods or the pattern of living in the District.”
So really, the complaint is that the Fenty Administration officials acted like Adrian Fenty, choosing a path and barreling ahead regardless of what the public had to say. But many of those concerned with the issues at hand see Klein and Tregoning as heroes.
Noting that Greater Greater Washington has taken the lead in rebutting the Clark letter, DCist’s Martin Austermuhle observes that “both groups seek the same goal -- though they’re generations apart about how they define it. The Committee of 100 has been around since 1923, but one of its most significant victories for the District was when it fought back a plan in the 1950s and 60s that would have seen a number of additional freeways circle and crisscross the city. Greater Greater Washington has become the center of the vibrant smart growth movement in this city, so much so that it can rightfully take credit for forcing Gray to replace funding for streetcars that was removed in some late-night budget machinations earlier this year.”
The committee, Austermuhle writes, sees a city “much like what L’Enfant envisioned, which is all fine and good -- despite the fact that we’re about 200 years past his time.” Greater Greater Washington, meanwhile, speaks for a densely populated urban area in need of transit and zoning solutions.
Greater Greater Washington argues that though the committee claims Klein and Tregoning “don’t listen to public input,” the “truth is that they are hearing far more public input than ever before. That public input simply doesn’t match the Committee’s policy preferences.” A response letter to Gray -- snarkily signed by “The Committee of Far More Than 100” -- has already gathered more than 500 signatures online.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
- The Washington Post reports Gray, appearing at a George Washington University alumni event at Ben’s Next Door Wednesday night, said that when he attended GW in the ‘60s, he “was in the pre-mayor program.” It’s a good thing he found a job where he could put that to use. One thing he can’t use: more volunteers. The Washington Examiner reports Gray “has announced he’s no longer accepting volunteers for his transition team after receiving more than 1,200 requests from residents who wanted to lend a helping hand.”
- The Post reports Fenty “may propose doubling residential parking permit fees as he attempts to close a $185 million budget shortfall before he leaves office.” Increasing the fee to $30 “could further the Fenty administration’s goal of encouraging more residents to embrace mass transit.”
- We Love D.C.’s Tom Bridge suggests the D.C. Democratic State Committee narrow its double-digit list of candidates for the At-Large Council vacancy by making the competition a reality show, in which the candidates would have to live together and muddle through a mess of contests: “I want someone on the council who can easily do the math necessary to move large budget blocks around, and I want them to be able to do it while a little buzzed on Four Loko and dizzy from spinning around.” It’s not a bad idea, especially when the would-be panel of judges has at least one member who, as Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman tells us, sometimes attends meetings in her pajamas.
- Noting that Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry challenged an attendee at a hearing this week “to go on a walking tour of Ward 8 to ‘see the pain’ in the neighborhoods,” blogger Dave Stroup says he “would love to take up Councilmember Barry on his offer,” and has found “a few other people who would be interested in joining me, if the Councilmember is willing to lead us on a tour.” No response from Barry so far.
- The Examiner reports the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education “failed to consistently monitor and create records of its spending of federal money,” according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
- In Maryland, the Post reports Carmen Amedori, “who briefly joined long-shot GOP candidate Brian Murphy’s gubernatorial ticket this year before backing out,” may run for state Republican Party chair, the latest name added to a growing roster of possible contenders.
- In Virginia, the Post reports defeated freshman Rep. Tom Perriello is being mentioned as a possible U.S. Senate candidate if Sen. Jim Webb does not seek re-election. Though Perriello lost to Republican Robert Hurt, he “did well enough -- earning 47 percent of the vote in a very tough year for Democrats -- and ran an energetic enough campaign that many in his party hope the 36-year-old will run for office again.”
- Gov. Bob McDonnell was elected vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Thursday. In a statement, he said, “The solutions necessary to bring our nation out of this tough economy and into a new period of prosperity and achievement will be crafted, debated and implemented in our state capitols. That is why the work of the RGA is so critically important.”
- The Examiner reports Virginia Republicans “will consider a proposal from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to start charging the party’s candidates for statewide office $25,000 to run” for office at the state party convention. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Cuccinelli’s main rival for the 2013 gubernatorial nomination, says the filing fee “could make it impossible for people without ‘significant financial resources’ to run.” The Culpeper Star-Exponent says Bolling will speak in Culpeper today.
- Congress Heights on the Rise says the Marbury Plaza Concerned Tenants’ Association is hoping to get at least four more Thanksgiving turkeys from donors by early next week. And D.C. for Democracy is taking pledges for the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon, which takes place Saturday.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC