Should urbanists be nervous about Vince Gray?
One thing that's evident from talking to Chairman Gray is that he's one of the smartest people in the room. He really knows most areas of DC policy inside and out. For me, who thinks about policy a lot, that's a big plus.
But would Gray also get things done? That's a question on my and many other people's minds.
After speaking with Gray and his campaign manager, Adam Rubinson, I have become far less nervous about this issue than I was at the outset. There's no way to be sure, of course. I can only tell you what he said during our discussion and how it fits with his actions in the past.
One of my first and most significant interactions with Gray was at an oversight hearing on the Office of Planning in 2009. They had just finished about 9 months of public meetings on many aspects of the zoning code. They had conducted around 60 public meetings by this time.
However, members of the Committee of 100 and the Federation of Citizens Associations testified that this process was an out of control freight train and had to be restrained. They said they weren't happy with the process, but I argued at the time that the real complaint seemed to be one of outcomes. They simply didn't like the decisions OP was making.
Gray listened thoughtfully to everyone, and then said in effect, it sounds like there have been plenty of public meetings and you've all had plenty of chances to voice your opinions. It sounds like there is not unanimity of agreement on which route to take. Therefore, we should let OP continue doing what they're doing.
Likewise, when the Brookland Small Area Plan came up, Gray asked similar questions. Did you have ample opportunity to voice your opinions? Yes? Then let's move forward.
Letting OP go ahead versus actually being the guy pushing OP to make progress are two different things, of course. Would he just not stand in the way of progress or actively push it forward? Would he really lean on people to accomplish things or be satisfied with a slow crawling pace? Would he keep pushing even if many people get upset?
Continue reading this piece by David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington here.
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
| July 22, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network
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