Saturday, September 12, 2009

Unity Responds to Giant Appeal

As was indicated, a group of residents have appealed the Zoning Commission decision on Giant. As this issue is the undercurrent for the mantel to represent the whole community at the citizen association level, the response from "either side" is telling.

Unity candidate John Chelen made the following statement on the Cleveland Park Listserv:

It was a surprise for us to learn about the filings regarding the Giant PUD application decision. It's disappointing to have charges leveled at us that we're Anti-Giant.

We see no issue more important than to reinstate a basic level of respect and civility in all discussions.

We came together as a team with respect for our differences. I sought out people with different philosophies and life experiences, different points of view. We tried to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood.

There was no litmus test to join the unity team. No one was asked to state or accept a position on Giant's application, either way.

This statement misses some basic points.

The first, that the members of the Unity slate don't even have enough respect for each other, much less the neighborhood, to disclose community action within the Slate. The neighborhood discovered an important and impactful move, such as potentially delaying a contentious development proposal via a post on the listserv from an unaffiliated individual, not through upfront disclosure either from those who chose this action, or from one of the "team" members who is running for office. Certainly even members of a community slate would have enough respect to disclose the action with each other, much less the broader community?

Second, there is no denouncing the action. If the Unity slate really wanted to bring the community together, it would join with those who have responded on the listserv and with the Reform Slate in moving past the Giant issue to truly unite the community to address other issues. Instead, the community is given lame lipservice that does nothing but continue the kind of acrimony which has caused initial divisions in the community.

As a Reform Slate candidate posted:

Please do not be discouraged with minor setbacks. The trend today in Cleveland Park is toward better communications and more participatory democracy and that binds a neighborhood together much more than sniping and bickering and law suits can pull it apart.

Touche, the community should be encouraging all to move forward and address the important issues which are outstanding, rather than remain mired in the past acrimonious debates.

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