Monday, June 20, 2011

Can this process be trusted?

In the lead-up to the June 8th first "FAC" meeting of the "feasibility study" process for B-CC middle school 2, we heard a lot of people talking about the Great Wall of Cabin John, that so infuriated a community, because people thought the Wall raises questions about whether the "feasibility study" process can be trusted.

At the May 17th emergency meeting of the RCHCA, MCPS Construction Director Joyce Jessell had said:
"The retaining wall at Cabin John Middle school was not ... put forward during feasibility nor even during the initial schematic design of the school. It was something that happened during the development of the construction documents. The Division of Construction readily admits that we could have done a better job communicating to the community something that happened after the community involvement portion."
It wasn't surprising, then, that at the June 8th "FAC" meeting, the Wall came up for discussion several times. What was surprising, however, was what was said, and what was transcribed in the minutes.

Here is one exchange, at the end of which you can hear Paul Falkenbury of Samaha Associates, on the far left, assigning blame to the Cabin John community:

"They weren't here, at this meeting. They waited until it was under construction."
Well. Isn't that rather surprising, given Ms. Jessell's explanation?

Isn't it also surprising that the draft minutes for the June 8th meeting do not mention any of this – that they omit all discussion of the Cabin John Wall?

Oh, wait, maybe it's actually not that surprising, when you consider that the firm responsible for the Great Wall of Cabin John, the firm responsible for the B-CC Middle School #2 "feasibility study", the firm seeking to blame the Cabin John community, and the firm transcribing the minutes*, are all one and the same.

Can this process be trusted?

*Yes, you read that right – while the minutes are posted on the MCPS website, they are transcribed and provided by the Virginia firm hired to conduct the "feasibility study".

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