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The D.C. Council approved the Washington Convention Center by many unethical council maneuvers by backers, including the chair, who provided opponents redacted and late information, and presented a change in development plans just days before the vote that included tunneling from the Mount Vernon site to the old convention center without a hearing or public comment.

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I doubt very seriously that at least three of the “aye” votes on the council had any clue or understanding as to whether all of the fiscal requirements of the center were fulfilled at the time of their vote. This is the very kind of fiscal irresponsibility and misguided governance that almost placed this city in fiscal insolvency. The action taken by the council was easy for them, because it will be someone else’s responsibility to get the city out of this mess much less than 10 years from now. (Ask the city of Philadelphia, which is in the process of expanding its current convention center size, which is approximately 25,000 square feet smaller than the size being proposed here.)

The most disturbing fact of all was to learn that a person whose candidacy many citizens in this city viewed as the means to bring integrity, fiscal responsibility, and, most importantly, fairness, to the city government in fact approved the convention center financial package, as chief financial officer. This, no doubt, will change the perception of many of Anthony Williams as being any different in being more fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ money than Councilmembers Jarvis, Evans, Brazil, Smith, Thomas, Schwartz, Allen, and Cropp.

Most experts who have commented have varied in their opinions regarding different aspects of the center, but one thing they haven’t disagreed on is that “the convention center is too small.” So when we lose business money because of the center being too small, we will always have comfort in the fact that our councilmembers will build another center on the Union Station site. If not, Maryland or Virginia will be lurking in the deep, dark shadows threatening us—if we don’t, they will. We will build it because it will create 10,000 new jobs, and they will tell us it is, at last, expandable.

President, Park Skyland

Civic Association