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Posted at 6:25 PM ET, 11/15/2010

Shut out on Mall security

By Judy Scott Feldman, Rockville

Thank you for publishing Philip Kennicott’s commentary alerting the public to the travesty of the National Park Service’s “public” scoping meeting last week for Washington Monument security [“A public failure of monumental scale,” Nov. 10].

Mr. Kennicott’s piece is a snapshot in time of a broken process that discourages public participation. While laws call for meaningful public involvement in federal planning decisions, in practice we, along with numerous other nonprofits and private citizens participating in Mall projects, have found our informed and thoughtful comments and suggestions consistently ignored or dismissed — except, maybe, when those comments agree with predetermined agency decisions. It’s time for reform.

The writer is chair and president of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall.

By Judy Scott Feldman, Rockville  | November 15, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., National Mall  
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Comments

Someone better tell the NPS that meeting with the public and NOT recording the content of the meeting might be illegal.

Posted by: Wallenstein | November 16, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Re: Philip Kennicott's "A public failure of monumental scale.

Unfortunately this is not news to followers of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall. When excavation causes the Monument to crack and crumble it will be due to the philosophy of our "stewards" at the NPS: Seek no comment, Hear no comment, Speak "No Comment."

Posted by: betsymba | November 16, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Post, or some other reputable organization would look at the larger picture and report just why the National Park Service always seems so obdurate, so closed to big ideas and citizen input supporting long term major improvements to the citizens' mall.

Isn't this administration supposed to be supportive of change?

Posted by: elldeejay | November 16, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The National Park Service may sincerely believe that its consultant design professionals (and its own staff) know better than the public about Mall security. If so it apparently lacks the courage to say so—just as it lacks the courage to record the citizen ideas the law says it must ask for.

Happily, the NPS has a last chance to stand tall. It can simply close the Washington Monument observation floor, an option (as Philip Kennicott notes online) not on the table, but with much to recommend it. It saves the Mall from expensive and possibly ruinous construction; saves visitors from long waits and disappointing views; and, best of all, honestly tells the world that we have a security problem, and that we will remove these temporary closures when we get it under control.

Posted by: rlma | November 17, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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