Thursday, January 1, 2009

Alexandria Neighborhoods Divulge City's 'Planning' Charade Formula

Alexandria neighborhoods are increasingly angry about Alexandria City Council's Planning Charades vis a vis redevelopment. What is City Council's 'formula' for imposing it's will on neighborhoods? Here it is (looks suspiciously like what's occuring in Arlington during Pike redevelopment):

First, hire a consultant to do the private stakeholder interviews. By not discussing these issues in public the City is given inside knowledge of where each player stands and can develop a strategy to divide and conquer.

Second, in lieu of widespread neighborhood participation, have the Mayor and Council appoint an advisory group heavily stacked with those who are known to sympathize with the City's already predetermined outcome. To further protect the City's interests, strip the Advisory Group of any ability to deliberate or vote among themselves on the issues.

Next, run bogus community meetings dominated by expensive out of town 'experts,. Their role is to create the agenda, shape the discussions and cut off dissent or meaningful dialogue that does not trend toward what the City wants.

Next, issue draft reports composed by the consultants and for an extra twist inform the community about the draft over a holiday weekend.

Lastly, hold a 'final' community meeting while important redevelopment decisions are still being discussed by City Staff.

(Let's not forget another important Charade component: threaten activists who question the Planning Charade with arrest - A.Y.)