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Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 11/18/2010

Committee of 100 wants Klein, Tregoning ousted

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Editors

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City, which advocates for historical preservation and conservative land-use policies, is urging Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray (D) to replace key members of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration who have oversight over District streets and neighborhood development.

In a letter sent to Gray this week, the chairman of the committee requested that he remove Gabe Klein, the transportation director, and Harriet Tregoning, the director of the Office of Planning.

The committee's stance puts it at odds with many in the city's new urbanist community, who are lobbying Gray to retain Klein and Tregoning. They argue that Klein and Tregoning have helped to enliven the city and push through projects such as bicycle lanes and the proposed streetcar line on H Street Northeast.

But George R. Clark, chairman of the Committee of 100, accused the pair of being too closely aligned with Fenty's "get it done" style of government, which he said has shut residents and advocates out of major decisions.

"We think the results demonstrate that Ms. Tregoning has a skewed view of smart urban growth and a top-down approach to the future of our city," Clark wrote.

Specifically, Clark said Tregoning has "disregarded" the city's comprehensive master plan, "demonstrated questionable judgment" in overseeing historical preservation cases, and "downplayed or ignored comments at public hearings and displayed little or no empathy for the affect of her complicated zoning changes on residents, individual neighborhoods or the pattern of living in the District." Clark also raised concerns about Tregoning's support for allowing some taller buildings near Union Station.

"There may be some residents who applaud the 'I-know-best' approach exemplified by Harriett Tregoning, but we think that her style conveys the message that the public is not welcome to intrude on the advancement of an agenda," Clark wrote. "We are hopeful that as a mayor you will find the absolutist approach incompatible with brining the city together."

Klein, Clark said, has been too aggressive in pushing the street car project without regard to "thorough financial and governance planning' and "environmental and historical preservation review." In recent months, Klein and the committee have clashed over whether the use of aerial wires for streetcars would violate 1889 federal law banning such wires in parts of the city.

The committee also took aim at Klein's push to build more bicycle lanes, saying they have "resulted in confusion for all roadway users."

"At the same time that Mr. Klein was focused on bikes and streetcars, daily transportation needs went unaddressed," Clark wrote.

After The Washington Post quoted Dave Alpert, founder of the Greater Greater Washington blog, two weeks ago saying the growing new urbanist community wanted Gray to retain Tregoning and Klein, their critics have been organizing to try to block their reappointments.

Last week, the Ward 3 Democratic Committee's executive board sent Gray a letter that also asked him to fire Klein and Tregoning, citing many of the same reasons outlined by Clark.

In an interview this morning, Klein said it's common for some interest groups to get upset over reforms.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and I think anytime you push the envelope and try to align the various goals of the administration as we are, I think there is always going to be somebody that is less than happy," Klein said. "Change is sometimes hard and we understand that and we sympathize and we value the input."

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Tim Craig  | November 18, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, Mayor Fenty, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray  
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Next: Bicycle, transit advocates fire back in support of Tregoning, Klein

Comments

D.C. deserves a transportation chief that understands, well...."Transportation".

Klein really should be replaced. He is simply not the best, most qualified, transportation chief out there. Not even close. In fact he isn't a transportation guy at all. D.C. deserves better. Gray can find better, and I expect him to do just that.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

DDOT Director Gabe Klein is lacking the experience to be in this high profile position. I still don't know why would Mayor Adrian Fenty selected this dude to run this D.C. Agency? Gabe Klein should pack his belonglings and leave. He can be somewhat arrogant. He's is duplicate of Fenty.

Posted by: RockCreekPark | November 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who are calling for Mayor-Elect Gray to not re-appoint Directors Tregoning and Klein to their posts (or otherwise retain them as DC government employees). They have run roughshod over neighborhoods across the city. I do not want a city that offers no or very little low density housing within walking distance of Metro or major bus routes. I also want to see an greater emphasis on creating parks and open space for our city's residents.

Posted by: DCResident22 | November 18, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope both Klein and Tregoning are both retained -- they are both very strong advocates and officials for a better DC, as they've both ably demonstrated.

Posted by: shmooth2 | November 18, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

There you go with those Fentyisms that mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to DC Residents...

advocates for a "better" DC....
What happened to advocating for the constiuents?

Practicing "Best practices"
Best for who? Once again, if the answer isnt DC residents, YOU are wrong.

Deliberation takes up too much time, we want action...
You are scared that if someone takes a minute to think, then we will realize you are full of it, the project cost double what it should, and the person you want hired to RUN the operation has not had a job in this field EVER (but yall were boys in College so he's cool right?)

WE, THE PEOPLE, THE CITIZENS OF DC are so over Fenty et al and all who have come to the city for a few years of getting a paycheck before they move on to the next city. Enough already. The gig is up. Klein is nothing more than a vendor, purchasing his own items to sell. IS he worthy of recieving a contract for the zip cars he owns? Yes... be DIRECTOR of an agency because of it? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

Posted by: tformation1 | November 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The comments attacking Klein and Tregoning reflect the know-nothing attitude among *some* of Gray's supporters that alarmed so many of us who were not crazy about Fenty's imperial style but worried that Gray would reverse years of progress in improving the city for everyone. The decision on the future of Klein and Tregoning will speak volumes about whether Gray feels the need to pander to those who can't stand the idea that the city is changing -- even if it is changing for the better -- or is going to build on the substantive legacy of Williams and Fenty while rejecting Fenty's high-handed style. I sure hope for the sake of DC's future that they are both asked to stay.

Posted by: caseybanderson | November 19, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The GGW crowd has put together a response letter and you'll see if you read through the people who have signed in support of Klein and Tregoning, a full 30% of them are NON-District Residents.

I don't care what the hipster set of MD and VA want, they have no business demanding the elected officials of DC do anything when they AREN'T residents.

This harkens back to the GGW crew organizing an email drive to Gray when he zeroed out the 50 million for street car funding, which was the smart and fiscally responsible thing to do when the city is in a half a billion dollar budget hole.

Supposedly, thousands of so called irate "voters" emailed in and threatened to not vote for Gray and as suspected, a huge proportion of them weren't even District residents.

This kind of flagrant deception and lying to get your way is like a child throwing a tantrum at the checkout line to get a candy bar.

Lastly,

Considering this crew of folks apparently loved all the people Fenty appointed, I find it the height of hilarity that their leader supported his opponent, and is now having to organize a movement to SAVE those same people.

Their childlike naivety is really funny.

Posted by: Nosh1 | November 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Nosh1 you are right on point. These "hipsters" are mostly out of towners seeking to sway District affairs.

It didn't work in the election and it won't work now.

DC deserves a transportation chief that has the professional credentials and experience to manage this engineering intensive agency. Klien comes from running street vending carts.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 19, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Gray appears to be an unimaginative mediocrity. If he gets rid of Tregoning and Klein, he will confirm these suspicions.

Posted by: spike3905 | November 19, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

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