Proliferation of Security on the Mall

Dear Coalition Friends:

1. Tomorrow’s meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission opens at 12:45 p.m. with an informational presentation (no testimony taken) on the new FEMA Floodplain Maps and proposed improvements to the National Mall Levee. The NCPC expressed alarm at its last meeting because the maps show a large part of the Mall and Downtown DC in the 100-year flood plain. See the article in The Washington Post from January 24, 2008.

Other items on NCPC’s agenda include review of the proposed Waterfront Park at The Yards at Southeast Federal Center and an informational presentation on the Capital Space Initiative for DC’s public parks and park system (excluding the Mall). See the agenda and contact information here.

2. It seems we have more to worry about when it comes to security on the Mall than the proliferation of ugly security barriers around our national monuments. Here’s the story from the front page of last Sunday’s Washington Post , plus another article and a letter to the editor the next day.

Park Police Rebuked For Weak Security

Widespread Flaws Put U.S. Landmarks At Risk, Report Says

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 4, 2008; A01

The U.S. Park Police have failed to adequately protect such national landmarks as the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and are plagued by low morale, poor leadership and bad organization, according to a new government report.

The force is understaffed, insufficiently trained and woefully equipped, the report by the Interior Department’s inspector general concludes. Hallowed sites on the Mall are weakly guarded and vulnerable to terrorist attack, the inspector general’s office found….

Union Calls Department A ‘Mess,’ Seeks New Management, Funding

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; B02

The Fraternal Order of Police appealed yesterday for management changes and a bigger budget for the
U.S. Park Police, saying the agency that protects the nation’s monuments is a “mess.”

“We’ll keep floundering in this mess until somebody steps in and helps us,” said Jim Austin, chairman of the union labor committee that represents Park Police officers. “We’re at a critical point.”…

Letters to the Editor

Cassandra on the Mall

Tuesday, February 5, 2008; Page A18

So the former chief of the U.S. Park Police, Teresa C. Chambers, was fired in 2004 for warning of problems with staffing and security, and now, four years later, we have a front-page, above-the-fold story confirming her warnings [“Park Police Rebuked for Weak Security,” Feb. 4].

Tell me again, why was Ms. Chambers fired, and why is Dwight E. Pettiford in charge of the Park
Police?

BARBARA SYKES
Lanham

 

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