Maybe We Should Vote on Cabinet Members, Too
When the Committee of 100's "Fire Klein/Tregoning" letter dropped into my inbox this morning, I didn't spend too much time parsing its points, figuring that David Alpert would get to it sooner or later. Sure enough, the rebuttal showed up earlier this afternoon, along with a petition you can sign in support of the pair, now at 267 signatures and counting. Which reminds me of something odd about the Committee's letter: Parts of it seemed aimed squarely at Klein/Tregoning's supporters, rather than DDOT and the Office of Planning's actions per se. If they meant to elicit a reaction, they've done so (hi Huffington Post!)
Meanwhile, George Clark wasn't the only one pushing for Klein/Tregoning's ouster. The Ward 3 Democrats, apparently without the explicit approval of its membership, also advised Gray to give them the boot. Their (much more concise) letter is after the jump.
At this point, we might as well hold a referendum on the matter.
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. – This all reminds me of another thing Gabe Klein said at Monday's ThinkBike forum. "It’s important that we’re courageous, even put our jobs on the line, to make sure we’re making the right choices for the region and for our cities," he said. And later, a repeat: "It’s important that government show leadership, and be willing to take risks, push the envelope a little bit, and really give the people what they want when they want it."
So don't say Klein wasn't asking for it.
From: Tom Smith
Subject: Ward 3 Dems: Reappointing Tregoning, Klein
Dear Mayor-Elect Gray,
The Executive Board of the Ward Three Democratic Committee approved the following statement concerning the possible reappointment of Harriet Tregoning as Director of the Office of Planning and Gabe Klein as Director of the District Department of Transportation. The Executive Board of the Committee recommends that both directors be replaced because their tenures at OP and DDOT do not reflect the values you outlined during the campaign.
Chair, Ward Three Democratic Committee
Statement of Exec Board of Ward 3 Dems
On The Reappointment Of OP and DDOT Directors The Executive Board of the Ward Three Democratic Committee wishes to express its concern about recent news reports indicating you are being encouraged or are considering reappointment of Harriet Tregoning as the Director of the Office of Planning (OP) and Gabe Klein as the Director of District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Your campaign was successful largely because of your commitment to engage the community in city policy making – a sharp contrast to the way OP and DDOT have operated over the last four years.
The tenure of Ms. Tregoning at OP has been marked by her failure to engage the community in the decision-making process. Since 2007, shortly after Ms. Tregoning assumed her position, OP began a complete rewrite of the zoning code. Despite many public and private requests that ANC commissioners be included as members of the Task Force that would advise OP – and despite Ms. Tregoning’s commitment to do so – only one Commissioner was appointed to the task force and this appointment was made by a Councilmember. There have been no briefings for ANC commissioners on the zoning changes recommended by OP despite the critical role that ANC’s play in the zoning process. In contrast, the 3-year process to rewrite the Comprehensive Plan included multiple meetings for ANC commissioners and numerous regional meetings for the public.
The record indicates that there is a disconnect between what Ms. Tregoning promises and what she delivers. She has demonstrated during her tenure that she does not seek substantive public participation and that she will ignore public comment, when it does not fit her pre-conceived, but not always well-informed views.
Currently, OP is urging the Council to undo pieces of the Comprehensive Plan in order to change the historic measurement for building heights and to introduce transit oriented development throughout the city without proper planning and without engaging the public in a more formal dialogue on the implications of the proposed changes.
We think Ms. Tregoning’s insular style of leadership would be in conflict with the principles that you espoused during the campaign and we urge you to replace her and certainly not to elevate her to a deputy mayor position as has been rumored.
Likewise, DDOT traffic management policies under the leadership of Gabe Klein have created more road congestion throughout the city.
New lane configurations, including the introduction of bike lanes, on downtown and neighborhood streets have contributed to the increasing congestion and have created more conflicts among drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists leading to more safety risks. DDOT’s attempt to create a streetcar system in the District has been exposed as deficient in planning resulting in two rejections for federal funding and an increasing fear that taxpayers will be footing an open-ended bill for what is beginning to look like a folly.
In addition, normal DDOT services, such as street repairs became political tools during the mayoral campaign, especially in Ward 3 neighborhoods, as a way to curry favor for the incumbent mayor.
Furthermore, it has also been our experience that Mr. Klein is rarely accessible to meet with neighborhood residents.
Both Tregoning and Klein have allowed their ideological leanings on growth to shape decision-making without regard to the views of neighborhood activists – and too often without even seeking input or assessing the value of the input that is provided. Although there may be some who merit consideration for reappointment in a Gray administration, the Executive Board of the Ward Three Democratic Committee believes that OP and DDOT would benefit from a new approach and new leadership.