This article appeared in InsideNova Letter: Arlington government again tries to marginalize Green Valley | Letters To Editor | insidenova.com
Editor: There is a new road map for the “Arlington Way.” The county has been paving this path for some time, but it came careening through the Green Valley community on Sept. 15, when the County Board voted 5-0 to instruct us on what we may or may not discuss about a multi-million-dollar public project.
In essence, our local elected officials told our community to stay in its lane.
A new facility for ART bus maintenance and operations will be built in Green Valley, and the community did not object. However, the Green Valley Civic Association would like to discuss site optimization, environmental and other issues for the project.
These issues have merit and deserve discussion. Our local government thinks otherwise.
The staff presentation said, “we will engage the community as we move forward.” The slides to accompany the statement note a “first community-engagement checkpoint,” then a second one and then a final “checkpoint.” Staff says “we’ll go back to the community so they can see where we are in the process.”
Does this sound like dialogue, involvement or engagement?
The staff report to the County Board determines what Green Valley may say about the project. The county writes it will “gather feedback from the community on the aesthetic elements of the buildings and perimeter treatments.”
Remarkably, the chair of the County Board took this a step further, noting that only professional people should be involved with the details of this project. Assuming residents of Green Valley might get “frustrated” by these “complex” matters and that we should “stay in the areas [that] are most appropriate” is disrespectful at best. It shines a particular distain for Green Valley and for democratic processes.
This contempt for public participation should be an affront to all Arlingtonians. Send a message this election cycle. You can raise your voice by writing in your name on the ballot for a spot on the County Board. The incumbent will surely be re-elected, but this is a less “complex” way for all of us to be heard and respected.
Robin Stombler, Arlington