|Post on Save Westbard Facebook|
page after the meeting showing the
This was the most-energized crowd I've seen since the last public meeting - and that's partly because there hasn't been a mass public meeting on Westbard since early last year. All gatherings since then have either been very controlled public hearings, or smaller civic association meetings. Residents are raring to take action, with a Council vote expected perhaps as soon as two weeks from now.
The prime targets? Councilmembers' taxing and zoning authority, and Council seats from which they wield their power.
"If that means voting for term limits, if that means running someone against Roger Berliner...you can write that down," resident and Save Westbard volunteer Jeanne Allen told a reporter in attendance. A resident gathered signatures for a ballot question that, if successful this November, would prevent Berliner (D - District 1) and his at-large Democratic colleagues Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich from running again in 2018.
Elrich, who has condemned the plan as "a naked real estate ploy for somebody who's got land, and wants to get more money out of that land," was the only elected official in favor with yesterday's crowd.
Ultimately, participants voted on a series of action items, with the votes being recorded on video so there can be no question that these are majority opinions of actual residents (not DC residents buying groceries on a Saturday afternoon being asked if the Westwood Shopping Center needs sprucing up). Names and addresses were also collected to record the votes.
Attendees agreed overwhelmingly or unanimously on the following:
- Residents demand the Council delay its vote
- The 1200 housing units of Councilmember Roger Berliner's "Berliner alternative" plan are too much, when the adjacent Springfield and Sumner communities combined have less homes than that
- Height limits must be 50' throughout the plan area
- Residents demand the release of all email communications between County officials, residents and developers regarding the plan and proposed development (County officials first refused to release the emails, then demanded $1000 from the resident who requested them; the public information law requires the fee be waived if a request is in the "public interest")
- Consider incorporating the area and having their own Mayor and Council with planning authority
With all of the targeted councilmembers - who also include at-large member Hans Riemer, a vocal supporter of the plan - mulling either a run for County Executive or continuing to "age-in-place" on the Council, they might want to heed Wiggins' historical lesson.
|Stan Wiggins of|
|Check out the size of|
this crowd - on a Sunday,
|Mad as heck...|
|...and not gonna take|
|The Council's greatest fear...|
|...an informed and mobilized|
|Darryl Trupp, whose Fashion Craft|
Cleaners is one of several
popular small businesses in the
Westwood Shopping Center threatened
by redevelopment, makes a point at
|Got to show you every part of|
the room here
|Not just a "vocal minority"|