City Hall’s tactics force critics to adopt a first strike mentality

City Hall’s tactics force critics to adopt a first strike mentality
Alexandria City Hall. (file photo)

By Dino Drudi, Alexandria (File photo)

Do you recall Pogo’s quip, “We have met the enemy and he is us”?

The same might be said for Jonathan Krall’s accusation that “a few residents of Alexandria have been actively working to subvert the public process by attacking plans that are in the early planning stages and have not yet been publicly presented” (“Give bike lanes a fair hearing,” October 16) as if developers, the bicycle lobby, etc., don’t try to shape these proposals to the point where — by the time they are publicly presented — they already are fait accompli. This is the problem, and it does not have as much to do with those pesky Old Town residents or the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee as it does with the public’s conclusion that it cannot trust City Hall.

Precisely because large segments of the public now distrust City Hall, they are forced to alter their tactics with a strike first mentality. They must strike hard and fast at the first sign of some scheme being concocted at City Hall.

The bicycle lobby, which has played City Hall’s game to garner a few quick victories, cannot complain about the inevitable consequence of sacrificing public trust along the way.

Among the bicyclists, there is no shortage of technical people who could design a facility, show it around at local civic association and community meetings, engage in a real dialogue and factor objections into revised designs. Although this is a longer, more tedious route, it also is a more open and honest one.