City Paper is not for tourists
The battle over an obscure nomination by Mayor Adrian Fenty to the D.C. Zoning Commission has turned into a public soap opera.
Today, the council is debating the nomination of Geoffrey Griffis to the board. “Debating” would be the nice way of saying “dragging Griffis through the mud.”
Opponents of Griffis’ appointment just can’t forgive and forget his behavior when he was chair of the Board of Zoning Adjustment. In 2004, the National Child Research Center (NCRC) had put in for a zoning change so it could expand its facility in Northwest. As the matter was being debated, opponents of the project learned that Griffis had a personal relationship with Claire Bloch, a former member of the center’s board. He voted in favor of the zoning adjustment, and the NIMBYs hired a private detective to document his late-night rendezvous with Bloch.
All of this was recounted in writing recently when At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson called on Fenty to pull Griffis’ nomination last month. Mendelson promised a “messy” confirmation hearing—-and he’s delivered. Most of the mud-slinging and salacious details have been supplied by activists who signed up to testify against Griffis. A block of Griffis supporters is lined up as well.
If that’s not enough intrigue for D.C. Cable Channel 13 viewers, consider this: Bloch was a top campaign worker for Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh‘s 2006 campaign. Cheh hasn’t forgotten. She’s been acting like Griffis’ defense attorney from the dais. Campaign finance records show Bloch was paid $5,890 by the campaign. After winning the Ward 3 seat, Cheh pushed to have Bloch elected president of the Ward 3 Democrats. Bloch lost in a close election.
Those who missed today’s council hearing will get a chance to see a rerun of the steamy proceedings when the council votes on the Griffis nomination in a couple of weeks.