Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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First he was a consumer crusader. Then he was a presidential candidate—five times. Now the protean Ralph Nader has shapeshifted once again, into the scourge of anyone attempting to rebuild a D.C. library. He and the latest incarnation of Nader’s Raiders—the Nader-founded and -funded D.C. Library Renaissance Project and District Dynamos—have waged legal campaigns against several D.C. library projects, most prominently the planned mixed-use redevelopment of the West End Library. In August, an appeals court panel ruled against Nader on the latter, but Nader’s group quickly petitioned for a rehearing before the full court, bringing further delay. Regardless of the outcome, library advocates and neighborhood leaders say Nader’s objections have cost the city millions of dollars. And now that the director of the Library Renaissance Project has led a coup to take control of the MLK Library Friends, we could be in for a big fight over the planned overhaul of our flagship library. In other words, we haven’t seen the last of Ralph Nader.