In a “turn back time” moment, I recently read a March 2014 opinion piece by Washington Post writer Robert McCartney about Muriel Bowser. At the time, she was a candidate for mayor and Mr. McCartney questioned Ms. Bowser’s commitment to affordable housing. Can she implement them, he wondered and then ended with the statement that “(a)t least we’re not worried she might be indicted.”>
We’re now three years into Ms. Bowser’s tenure as mayor and Mr. McCartney’s concerns have proved valid. Mayor Bowser isn’t committed to affordable housing. Instead, she’s committed to chasing shiny rocks like the #ObviouslyDC Amazon bid which give millions in concessions to a billion-dollar company instead of focusing on the homeless, many of whom lacked hot water at DC General last weekend.
DC General is located on Reservation 13, the same plot of land that Mayor Bowser offered to Amazon. She didn’t talk with the homeless before announcing that demolition of the property would begin April 1st.
So what if the new shelters haven’t been built to house these individuals?
So what if forcing these individuals to leave by April will impact their children and the means by which they get to school? Kids are flexible.
We must win the Amazon bid.
Many nearby neighbors in the HillEast community oppose the Amazon bid. Mayor Bowser never spoke with them prior to announcing the bid. For ten years, Mayor Bowser and her predecessors promised the HillEast community that Reservation 13 would be developed into housing, including affordable housing as well as retail. That promise went out the window with the #ObviouslyDC bid.
What is particularly galling for neighbors is the fact that for three years Mayor Bowser’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development has slow-rolled permits for the F-1 and G-1 parcels on Reservation 13. The plans for these parcels were in place when Mayor Bowser was sworn into office. The plans included affordable housing. It wasn’t until the end of last year that they were approved, just in time to be shelved by the #ObviouslyDC bid.
I use the word “shelved” because, to date, the DC government has refused to share information on when construction of the F-1 and G-1 parcels will begin. It was supposed to happen in the first quarter of this year. So far, all we’ve heard is crickets leading many to give up hope.
Mayor Bowser’s track record of opaque governance is disappointing. I voted for Mayor Bowser in 2014. At that time, I viewed her as a fresh voice in a land of corruption. I won’t be voting for her again. And I won’t be voting for her because of the disrespect she has shown to my neighbors and to my community.
Denise is the commissioner for SMD ANC 6B10, an area of the neighborhood which borders the western end of Reservation 13 in Hill East.
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