Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Open Letter to Hon. Vincent Gray

Mayor Gray ...
I am writing in reference to the present Imbroglio involving The Crummel School and Ivy City.   I am Jerome Peloquin, Executive Director of The National Capital Jobs Coalition and a resident of Washington, DC and Ward 5. (The Jobs Coalition is a program of our non-profit, MicroVenture Support, Inc.)  I realize that thousands of issues pass before your desk and that  you must rely on competent staff to deal with many if not most of them.  I think, however at this point you need to step in and remedy a problem created by your administration and Mr. Hoskins, deputy Mayor for Economic Development.
Incidentally,  we have had several meetings with Mr. Vincent Glaude who heads your Office of Community Affairs on issues relevant to jobs development and training.  He is being copied on this email in anticipation of  his conveying it to you.  It is my belief that the issue of the Curmmel School has reached the point where it is a, "no win," situation for our city and your administration in particular.  
By the way, I worked for your re election, Mr Mayor ... I canvased and served as a poll-watcher for you. I attended every one of your town hall meetings.   I am not a hostile critic.  In addition, The National Capital Jobs Coalition has been active in the redrafting and crafting of the Workforce Intermediary Act.  We worked with Kilan Schroyer-Boardman in Member M. Brown's office during its journey through committees.  We held public awareness meetings in Ward 5 in support.  I am neither a crank, nor am I uninformed on the Crummel matter as we have participated and attended a number of the meetings at Bethesda Baptist and I have read the Court's recent ruling against the City.
Perjury by the defendants - Let me be direct.  Please do not continue with this unjust, unproductive, and dishonest effort.  The findings and facts contained in the Judges granting of the  preliminary injunction provide a tawdry picture of overreaching on the part of both defendants in this matter.  It is clear that the engineer involved perjured himself at the behest of either your administration or the developers, who  were obviously trying to circumvent the environmental regs.  
Devaluation of the ANC's - The evasion and the machinations undertaken by the city in a cynical and wrongful circumvention of the ANC (also noted by the judge) is another example of poor judgement and dishonest practice.    It is not a pretty picture.     It is simple.  Step away from the matter.  Move the buses to the former trash site on Benning road.  It is in Ward 7 but it raises no such issues.   it is accessable and with ]]easier access (down H Street) to Union Station. It is also more directly accessible to  I-95.  
There is no upside for you, your administration, or The City in pursuing this pograom.  Actively engage with the community in turning The Crummel School into a national example of enlightened urban economic development and engagement.  You have succeeded admirably in bringing the Ivy City neighborhood together.  Now, make lemonade from the lemon, demonstrate political courage and initiative.  Turn the existing site over to the community.   Let us take advantage of that and make it a plus for the Gray administration.  I stand ready to support you in this effort and to volunteer my time and resources to that end.  Please see our suggestion as a sustainable alternative to the present course.  It will turn a political and social liability into a revenue producing asset.