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Letter to the Editor: The Sierra Club Chose Badly in Its Endorsements

Alexandrian Kathy Burns says the group endorses pro-development candidates who are not friendly to the environment.

To the Editor:

With the June 6 press release of endorsements from the Mount Vernon Group of the national Sierra Club, they have removed any shred of credibility that the goal of the Mount Vernon chapter was environmental awareness and accountability, and replaced it with political pragmatism by voting for the supporters of the BRAC and other disastrous pro-growth schemes which trash the rights of citizens. These would include the environmentally unfriendly plans for the Beauregard Small Area Plan, the Waterfront, Corridor C and Arlandria.

It is absolutely stunning this group would endorse all those from the totally developer-funded slate!  One can only wonder what kind of criteria they were looking at. 

Just out of curiosity----did Pat Soriano and a majority of their Alexandria/Arlington executive board attend all three public debates, including that from June 4? Was their main source of input the questionnaire which the group devised and the interviews? Did they rely on ANY neutral input---from those with no financial stakes in this electoral contest----since it is obvious they paid zero attention to community comments from May 29 or any of our subsequent remarks.

So much for citizen input. Sean Holihan has no track record of any community involvement, especially with anything with environmental input and community-supported outcomes. In her 23 years on the Planning Commission, Donna Fossum has aggressively rejected any citizen input contrary to her own point of View. Four of the six endorsed by the Sierra Club voted for the BRAC complex at #395/Seminary, which will cause havoc with future traffic and transportation and resulted in land taken from the open space of the Winkler Preserve, without adequate compensation.

All six endorsements supported the Beauregard Small Area Plan, Waterfront, Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Corridor C, which will cause irreparable harm. 

Doesn’t the massive loss of the tree canopy cause them even to pause? BRAC took 100 mature trees and Corridor C will claim at least 18 blocks of trees. Is the Mount Vernon SC group looking for an asphalt Alexandria? Have they totally divorced “the environment” from reputable traffic and transportation planning, geared to livable results? Do they care what local residents---with no vested financial interests in this election---care about wayward Growth and Development schemes?

What in the world were they  all thinking when they voted to give carte blanche endorsements to these six people? I have spoken at great length with the SC National Offices to ascertain if there has been a sea change in what Sierra Club used to stand for and what this appalling decision would stand for.      

And they shouldn’t waste any time on an honest assessment of the pros and cons of the mayoral race, which isn’t until Nov. 6. Since they already support incumbent Mayor Bill Euille and all his 18 years of development decisions, they should go ahead and endorse him right now. They couldn’t possibly be interested in someone like Andrew Macdonald who has a solid, documented record of environmental activism and support.

I can’t remember a day in my adult life when I have been more disappointed that an entire group of adults would pick developers over residents, and support vague assumptions over documented facts.  This is a very sad time for the once totally trusted and esteemed “brand” of the national Sierra Club.

John Muir must be turning over in his grave!


Kathleen Burns, Alexandria

Dennis Auld June 08, 2012 at 05:28 PM
On the other hand Ms. Burns, perhaps the Club knew exactly what makes good candidates. To accept your position, you would have to believe the the SC has gone 180. I seriously doubt that. They did vet the candidates as to their environmental credentials. Perhaps the SC is looking at all of the abilities needed in a good candidate to effectively govern.
Danny Barefoot June 08, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Er Kathy is obviously clueless, there was never a vote on BRAC.
RJ June 09, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Higher density equals less sprawl and car dependence. Those are great things for the environment.


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