Here we answer a few typical questions from the well-meaning supporters of Bowser’s plan.
I support the plan to end homelessness. Why don’t you care about the homeless?
By lifting up our brothers and sisters in need, we absolutely believe that everybody benefits. Research shows it, and our conscience demands it. The end goal–to eliminate homelessness–is something that everybody can get behind.
So you support this plan, but you just don’t want it in your backyard? Are you just being a NIMBY?
“NIMBY” gets thrown around a lot. By using the term NIMBY, the accuser is invalidating any and all criticisms, because, well, “You’re just a NIMBY”. Muriel Bowser herself did so within the first 3 minutes of her very first press conference about her plan.
But the simple fact is this: we who live right next to this proposed development have a lot at stake. Whether we rent, just bought, lived here for generations, or send our kids to the daycare across the street, we all share a pride that runs deep. Just like you do wherever you live.
Why don’t you think this plan will be successful?
This City and this administration take on a lot of tasks. Some fail. Remember the half inch of snow that crippled the city last month? That’s okay, she apologized, that’s life.
But a project like this will have implications on our neighborhood long after Muriel Bowser gets her photo op at the ribbon cutting. We will be the ones directly dealing with any consequences — both daily nuisances, and repercussions of a large-scale failure.
So YOU BET we’re going to be critical. The risks are very real.
But why are you so skeptical that this particular project WON’T succeed?
A few things:
1) It’s an enormous project, and Muriel Bowser herself has said that all the parts of the project will need to succeed in order for the whole plan to work.
2) We’re off to a VERY BAD START. The project was announced on Tuesday, with community meetings two days later. Eight separate meetings are being held (in each ward), all of them simultaneously despite Bowser being one person. She claims she is gathering community feedback, but none of us, the constituents, the community members, have been given any real opportunity for feedback. There are already architectural drawings made for the 10th and V site, with plans for a SEVEN story building–which will supposedly “conform” to the neighborhood, nestled among two story row houses, three- to five-story condos, and a historic school.
“So what do you want?”
We believe that for a project this large, the ENTIRE community should be given an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback on all the MAJOR parts of this project.
The location of each site is an extremely important aspect to its success, and thus a very major part. The administration has suggested that they are not open to any feedback on the site selection, and we feel this is a crucial mistake on their part.
“So where do you want to put it then?”
We agree that if objections are to be raised, alternatives should be proposed.
But holy moly, we have been given NO notice about this. It was announced Tuesday, this post is being written on Wednesday, and the community is expected to submit feedback on Thursday.
We want to help the city by providing meaningful feedback, which includes thoroughly vetted alternative options. But that is all moot if, as Mayor Bowser has said herself, she is not open to feedback.
So to start, we need the administration to know that WE HAVE A VOICE.