Letter to the Editor: Sierra Club Endorsements Are 'Unbelievable'
Sierra Club member and Alexandria resident Robert Pringle questions the club's choices for City Council, agreeing with resident Michael Peck.
To me, it is particularly galling that, as a representative of the Sierra Club, Mr. Amel should repeat the fiction, a staple of high-density advocates, that without its favored projects (BRAC, Beauregard, National Harbor II and now a Potomac Yard metro stop) landowners would develop even more densely under the rubric of "By Right."
In fact, the developers need new, looser zoning regimes in order to raise land values, get rid of those awkward poor people, and make the kind of money they are after. To argue that they can do more under "By Right" is like arguing that if we relax the regulation of hunting and get rid of game wardens, people will hunt less, not more.
I believe that Mr. Amel will find that passions are not cooling on this subject. I cannot believe why he is promoting positions which must be deeply offensive to most Sierra Club members in Alexandria, who were not consulted.
One might conclude that the Sierra Club, in favoring "viable" candidates, meaning those it thinks can win, is demonstrating that it simply doesn't care much about urban as opposed to rural environmental issues. One might also conclude that what it really wants is support from candidates it endorses on issues it really cares about, i.e., those more related to conservation in rural areas. That at least would be understandable.
But what would the Sierra Club think if the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which favors (as I do) a new and better plan for the Alexandria Waterfront, endorsed unrestricted drilling on the North Slope, in the hope that the oil companies would give the National Trust more money to save old houses?
After a quarter century of Sierra Club membership, I am planning to resign unless the Mt. Vernon Chapter rethinks its endorsements before the general election in November and consults its Alexandria membership before so doing.
Ambassador Robert Pringle (ret), former director of the Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation, U.S. Department of State.