Keeping an open mind

Keeping an open mind

To the editor: 

I am trying my best to keep an open mind about the arena project, and to not automatically assume that any large development plan is a negative. Nevertheless I – and I think most residents – have several preliminary questions that must be answered. Despite the heightened emotions spawned mostly from the anti-arena people, our elected leaders cannot sidestep the residents’ valid concerns. Like any large investment, objective, transparent due diligence is not just appropriate, but necessary. Few would buy a house without a walk-through or a thorough inspection. 

This said, all politicians and candidates for office should pledge not to support the arena without first securing permanent, dedicated and sufficient funding for Metro. Without reliable public transportation, drivers and rideshare vehicles will flood our roads, and our collective quality of life will suffer. 

Second, if the jobs and economic benefits to Alexandria are as great as what is being touted, then why isn’t Washington, D.C. pushing harder to retain the sports teams? Why isn’t Maryland also vying for the teams? And as an aside, if the benefits are so great, the District needs these benefits more than Alexandria needs them – the District is our hub city, and Alexandria’s long-term health is inextricably linked to the health of the District. 

Finally, I am skeptical of any deal that seems too good to be true, and if this deal is so great, why am I bombarded with push-polls that only record survey responses which confirm Monumental Sports’ desired outcome? Can’t their arguments withstand the trials of an honest, neutral poll? 

Within five questions, I am forced to hang up as the questions become more skewed, such as, “What is the primary reason that you strongly support the arena project?” This is pure bunk, and while the arena may ultimately be great for the community, the citizens – first and foremost – deserve to know all the gritty details of our investment: The good, the bad and importantly, under what conditions are politicians prepared to scrap the project for not being in the best interests of the people? 

I am keeping an open mind, and I expect that our leaders will as well. 

–Matt Harris, Alexandria