Letters To The Editor


July 29, 2005

Planning panel protects charm of Mount Vernon

This letter is to correct the mistaken impression left by The Sun's article on the July 21 Planning Commission hearing on the Mount Vernon urban renewal plan ("Planning panel OKs 200-foot Mount Vernon height limit," July 22).

The panel resoundingly supported two of three major recommendations of the community, and on the third issue, it significantly reduced height limits to 100 feet or less for more than half of Mount Vernon. Yes, it did allow a 200-foot zone and a 150-foot zone, which are unacceptable. But its decisions are a major step in the right direction.

And instead of "emotional pleas from preservationists," the commissioners were convinced by a 30-minute comprehensive and data-supported presentation by community volunteers.

The community documented in great detail the devastating impact tall buildings would have on Mount Vernon's Charles Street and juxtaposed those images with the insignificant number of residential units that would be gained with this kind of inappropriate development - just 752 additional residential units if every inch of development space is utilized on every likely development parcel on Charles Street with the height limits that were earlier proposed.

This translates to a measly 11.9 percent increase in residential population. Clearly, this is not worth ruining forever the grand thoroughfare that is Charles Street, and the Planning Commission agreed.

In addition, contrary to what The Sun has repeatedly suggested, this battle is not between businesses and preservationists.

Our residents and our businesses know that the best model for business and residential revitalization in Mount Vernon is one that preserves and promotes the historic charm and ambience that make Mount Vernon one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the country.

Stores and restaurants in prosperous historic neighborhoods are not made successful because of the size of the neighborhood population but by the visitors drawn to those communities by their special ambiance and friendly scale.

More than $100 million in major high-quality developments are currently planned for Mount Vernon at heights under 12 stories, and the community supports all of those enthusiastically.

With an urban renewal plan that respects and promotes our historic architecture by setting unequivocal height limits, we will see many more projects coming to Mount Vernon in the very near future.

Jason Curtis


The writer is president of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association.

Perjury is right focus for CIA leak probe

Anyone who cares about the role truth plays in our system of justice should be pleased to see the shift in focus in the special prosecutor's investigation of the administration's role in blowing CIA Agent Valerie Plame's cover ("Prosecutor in CIA leak is said to shift his focus," July 23).

The disgusting word-parsing of various Bush administration officials, including President Bush himself, in addressing this serious and immoral breach of national security makes the uproar over former President Bill Clinton's "what the definition of `is' is" uproar look as minor and insignificant as it actually was.

By shifting from the fine print issue of whether Karl Rove and others actually used Ms. Plame's name to something more tangible such as perjury, the special prosecutor is going in the proper direction.

Joe Roman


Bright side of bill is more daylight

The Sun's editorial "No redeeming value" (July 27) says of the energy bill, "Not even the measure's gimmicky plan to extend daylight savings time by a month each year offers indisputable benefits."

I have suffered from seasonal affective disorder all of my life, a condition that worsens year by year.

As much as I hate to give this Congress credit for anything, extending daylight savings time will be an indisputable boon to folks like me.

Benjamin Feldman


Roberts is partisan as well as friendly

Although Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s Democratic friends insist he is not a partisan, his actions suggest otherwise ("Bush camp looks to Roberts' Democratic friends for help," July 26).

What could be more partisan than going to Florida to aid the Republican Party and provide counsel regarding the then-unresolved 2000 presidential election?

All may well come to agree that Judge Roberts possesses a brilliant legal mind and balanced temperament.

But it is not a stretch to perceive him as a partisan as well.

Sarah King Scott


Shameful portrayal of honorable jurist

I found Pat Oliphant's cartoon on the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. (July 23) extremely distasteful and lacking in sensitivity.

To depict Judge Roberts as a terrorist bomb at someone's doorstep during the same month when hundreds of innocent citizens in London and Egypt were killed and maimed is a disgrace to Mr. Oliphant and anyone who facilitated the publication of that cartoon.

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