Council Votes Aid Harbor Project
By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 8, 2004; Page PG02
National Harbor, the proposed waterfront development in Oxon Hill, cleared a major hurdle this week when the County Council approved bills that create a special taxing district for the hotel and allow the county to issue bonds to pay for infrastructure around the site.
About a dozen people testified in support of the bills.
First to testify was County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). Then Milton V. Peterson, the project's developer, and Colin V. Reed, the president of Gaylord Entertainment, which will operate the hotel and convention center, addressed the County Council.
Community activist Eugene Grant and several members of his Global Developmental Services for Youth Inc. offered their support. Most addressed their remarks to Peterson, thanking him for investing in Prince George's.
Then came Donna Edwards, who has been a thorn in Peterson's side for years. She urged the council to continue to oversee the project and make sure it is "fair to the people."
"The public isn't just the government, the public is the people," Edwards said.
And despite the handshakes and smiles exchanged between her and Peterson, Edwards said she is still going to make sure National Harbor benefits the community.
"You haven't heard the last of us yet," Edwards assured Peterson, Johnson and Reed.
Cheers, Tears for Brown
Del. Anthony G. Brown (D-Prince George's) started his remarks with a few jokes. But, with dozens of colleagues and campaign supporters surrounding him, Brown couldn't help but get a little choked up toward the end of his speech last week at a fundraiser at the Greenbelt Marriott.
Brown, 42, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and the recently named majority whip of the House of Delegates, has been ordered to report July 12 to Fort McCoy, Wis., and expects to be deployed to Iraq in the next couple of months. As a result, he will probably miss the upcoming 2005 legislative session, which begins in January. Brown also will miss his family: his wife, Patricia, and their two children, Rebecca, 9, and Jonathan, 4.
Brown, a lawyer, talked about how going from Annapolis to Iraq was like going from "one hostile area to another." A few chuckled.
He talked about how he had planned to make changes in the way business was done in Annapolis. He said he planned to be the head cheerleader for the party. A few applauded.
Brown noted that he would likely miss a lot of exciting issues. "But they've been around for decades," he said.
At the end, Brown said he wanted to make a pledge to his friends, colleagues and supporters. If and when he is deployed, he said, he will "focus on his mission" and "communicate as often as possible." A few, including his District 25 colleague, Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George's), got choked up.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company