Letter to the Editor: City manager, attorney should hit the road

Letter to the Editor: City manager, attorney should hit the road
An image generated by WMATA that shows the revised Potomac Yard Metro plan with a northwest entrance and planned southwest access point. The original plan called for three entrances. (Image courtesy WMATA)

To the editor:

Something’s rotten in our local government. We are not being served well by some of our senior public servants. City Manager Mark Jinks and City Attorney Jim Banks recently bit the hand that feeds them – mine and yours – by telling us to eat dirt, figuratively speaking. Enough. It’s time for them to pack their bags and move on.

These two enforced a decision to keep an entire city in the dark for nearly one year. Who made this decision and why is behind a shroud. Literally, what’s shrouded is an exchange of correspondence pertaining to last year’s determination by the Metro board to truncate its Potomac Yard Metro station.

The Metro board, on which lame duck council member Paul Smedberg sits, eliminated one of two planned Potomac Yard Metro entries. The eliminated entry was the one most convenient to those lured to this planned community.

When this news was belatedly revealed, a new force popped up almost instantaneously: those tricked into believing what the city originally promised; that is, a Potomac Yard Metro with two entrances.

But worse was, to get to the bottom of how and why they were treated like proverbial mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed offal), this pop-up force had to use the FOIA process. What they got back from Banks were troves of redacted correspondence.

Since these citizens did not ask for state secrets or for social security numbers, disinterested observers now can’t help but wonder what Jinks and Banks are hiding. At this point, it does not take much imagination to believe whatever information is being closeted must be juicy if not incriminating. Maybe there are even references to secret codicils between the city and developers who agreed to help fund the new Metro station if it was located where they wanted it rather than where good government and fiscal prudence would place it.

All of which is by way of saying this is a mess, one made unnecessarily messier by Jinks and Banks. For intentionally hiding information and for allowing public falsifications by city staff resulting in unwarranted property developments, each with environmentally damaging consequences, they should hit the road.

-Jimm Roberts,