i would like to respond to james jones’ posting (“Pandering Pays Off,’’ Aug. 9, 2006) to the City Desk staff blog regarding the Sierra Club’s endorsement decision in the council chairman’s race.

We in the Sierra Club hold Kathy Patterson in high regard. We have worked with her in recent years to pass legislation banning the shipment of hazardous cargoes on the rails and roads that run through the heart of our city, and she has supported other Sierra Club priorities as well.

We faced a difficult decision when considering Patterson and Vincent Gray for the council chairmanship, and we understand her disappointment in not receiving our endorsement. However, we would like to set the record straight. While we were saddened to learn that Patterson no longer supports the Sierra Club’s position of keeping automobile traffic out of Klingle Valley, that was not the only factor in our decision, as has been suggested, but one of many. We had other points of disagreement as well, including that she does not support the Sierra Club’s campaign to increase recreational use of Rock Creek Park by limiting automobile traffic on Beach Drive on weekdays.

The Sierra Club is working on a range of environmental initiatives, including passing green-building legislation, improving recycling, expanding public transit systems, and working east of the Anacostia River to help clean up the local environment and improve the quality of life. Our questionnaire and subsequent conversations with Patterson, Gray, and all the interviewed candidates were opportunities for wide-ranging discussions touching on all of these campaigns. Vincent Gray supports our environmental agenda across the board, and this tipped the balance in his favor and won him the Sierra Club’s endorsement.

Chair, Washington, D.C. Chapter The Sierra Club