Advocates for bicyclists and more mass transit options are firing back at the Committee of 100 on the Federal City over its opposition to Gabe Klein, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, and Harriet Tregoning, who heads up the planning office.
Earlier today, the committee released a letter its chairman, George R. Clark, sent to Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray (D) requesting that he replace Klein and Tregoning when he takes office Jan. 2.
A short time later, the leaders of the Greater Greater Washington blog responded with their own letter to Gray. It demands that he retain Klein and Tregoning, citing their support for streetcars and other alleged neighborhood improvements.
"Both Harriet Tregoning and Gabe Klein have made the District of Columbia a better place for all residents, rich and poor, black and white, old and young, parents, singles, empty nesters and more," the letter states. "We hope you will keep the District moving forward by keeping Mr. Klein at DDOT and by either retaining Ms. Tregoning as head of OP or promoting her to Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development."
The letter, which had 226 online signatures as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, was signed by the "Committee of Far More Than 100."
The dueling letters underscore the unusually high-profile campaign underway to try to influence the face of Gray's Cabinet.
The battle appears to pit some longtime, established community leaders against newer residents who are starting to organize into a more cohesive political force.
During the campaign for the Democratic nomination, Gray felt the online wrath of the new urbanist community when he briefly suggested that the city delay the proposed streetcar project on H Street in Northeast Washington. After his office was deluged with angry phone calls and e-mails - many generated from the Greater Greater Washington Web site - Gray restored the funding for the streetcars.
Many readers of Greater Greater Washington ultimately voted for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). But Dave Alpert, the founder of the Web site, endorsed Gray a few days before the primary.
In deciding on Klein and Tregoning's future, Gray is now being wedged between two competing interest groups, representing an early test at achieving his "one city" vision
The Committee of 100 represents many of the civic, good-government and neighborhood activists that Gray successfully wooed during the campaign. His efforts helped Gray project a broad, racially diverse coalition of supporters.
But Gray has also shown a continued willingness to win over skeptics who fear that he would reverse Fenty's push to build more bicycle lanes and mass-transit options.
The debate over Klein and Tregoning is also dividing members of the Ward 3 Democratic Committee. Earlier this week, the committee's executive board sent a letter to Gray asking him to replace Klein and Tregoning, suggesting that they have been dismissive of community input.
But several members of the committee were angered to learn of the letter, saying it's not reflective of the overall membership of the committee.