Alexandria wins big with misconduct in obtaining wetlands permit
"Citizens of Alexandria City demand corruption investigation of Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Mark Jink, his Deputy Emily Baker, and Metro Board Chairman Paul Smedberg"
Paul Smedberg, ousted from Alexandria City Council for a prior Metro Scandal, is now a primary target of investigation. Only in the Peoples Republic of Alexandria (PRA) do you get promoted after a highly publicized scandal.
Dear WMATA Office of Inspector General, Metro Board, and copied,
We were recently informed that USACE has issued the Section 404 Clean Water Act permit, with "special conditions", needed by the City of Alexandria to destroy nationally owned wetlands, floodplain, and scenic easement for the highly controversial Potomac Yard Metro Station Alternative B project.
This project is perhaps unique for the level of intrigue, misconduct, and irregularities undertaken during the permitting process by City of Alexandria, WMATA, USACE, and others aiding the City's interests, especially since these tawdry tactics and breach of trust were used to secure a permit to build the metro at the wrong location on top of wetlands.
The fact that the permit has been issued actually puts the City in a worse light because it has now officially profited from its misconduct.
This is exactly what WMATA censured former Metro board chairman and D.C. councilor Jack Evans for.
This is why the Metro board punished Arlington County Board member and Metro board member Christian Dorsey, by forcing him to return a $10,000 unreported campaign contribution and to relinquish chairmanship of the finance committee.
This is what the Metro code of ethics is supposed to prevent.
WMATA - and their partner in building the station, Alexandria City - are essentially saying to all in the region that one succeeds by what one gets away with. And WMATA is letting Alexandria off the hook for its misconduct and breach of trust.
Well-documented cases of falsely signed permit applications, deliberately lying to the public and regulators alike, rigging due process and analyses to favor the City's preferred Alternative B, and more have been presented to WMATA, USACE, VDEQ, and others - all to no avail.
WMATA Chief Engineer and General Counsel extricated Metro from the City's misconduct in 2018, but otherwise ignored any responsible efforts for keeping the City honest and committed to transparency, accountability, and WMATA's values.
Does this inspire a high degree of confidence and public trust in Metro, as board chairman Smedberg would later demand of the organization? Of course not, it suggests expediency and self-serving propaganda on the part of Metro - especially when WMATA seemingly only acted to censure its wayward members when it had to.
Regrettably, what WMATA's dereliction of upholding its own principles allowed was a crooked partner to exploit and manipulate a process that gained an unfair advantage over others in the region - and at the public's expense no less.
WMATA cannot let Evans and Dorsey pay while giving Alexandria a free pass for wrongdoing, even if it is the public who will pay most for this ill-begotten project.
If Alexandria gets its way with WMATA's complicit aid in building the improperly sited and permitted metro station, it will prove that Metro has zero credibility moving forward and that its practices for upholding its ethical code are unfair and inconsistent. Such a revelation carries enormous implications.
Alexandria's permit was obtained under false pretenses and abuse of process. The permit should be revoked and Alexandria should not profit from its misconduct.
C. Dara, Alexandria 22304
Hal Hardaway, Alexandria 22314
Jimm Roberts, Alexandria 22314