To the editor:
Why is our local Sierra Club endorsing Justin Wilson for mayor? His vote and those of his fellow council members to allow the protected wetland on the Karig property to be razed is bad for the environment and is in violation of the laws enacted to protect the wetlands that ensure our water quality. Something is terribly amiss within this once-respected organization.
Strangely enough, the local Mount Vernon chapter of the Sierra Club itself sent a letter to the mayor and members of city council on Jan. 4, 2018 urging them to, in its words, “reduce the negative environmental consequences of the proposed development” by reducing “required setbacks from Seminary Road” to keep the development up on the stable gravelly terrace and off of the fragile marine clay slope with the forested wetland.
In that same letter, they urged the mayor and council to ensure it enforced “its Chesapeake Bay protection ordinance” by “protecting the headwaters of Strawberry Run.” Lastly, the Sierra Club urged that the city consult with state officials and have them do a wetland determination/delineation on the area slated for development.
Only one elected official out of the seven – Mayor Allison Silberberg – voted to remand the development back to Planning & Zoning for adjustments that would protect that wetland.
Because of the feckless votes of Wilson, Del Pepper, John Taylor Chapman, Willie Bailey, Paul Smedberg and Tim Lovain, our city is now using residents’ tax dollars to hire an attorney to defend its illegal actions. What kind of insanity is this? Since when does the Sierra Club, which was founded to protect natural lands, excuse the taking of the little bit of nature we have left – nature that helps clean our air and water? Why is this organization not endorsing the one elected official who heard their plea and worked to protect our environment?
We urge Alexandrians to take the time to learn more about these candidates’ records and vote for Silberberg on June 12 and for non-incumbent council candidates who are willing to do what Democrats are supposed to do – protect the environment.
-Lynn Gas, Jane Seward,