Letter To The Editor:
The people who play by the rules won an important legal battle against a predatory and rapacious city government Wednesday. In a valiant neighborhood-wide effort to defend basic property rights against the Mayor’s hidden eminent domain agenda, to ensure open city-wide resident access to as much of Alexandria’s waterfront as possible, and to push back against arbitrarily increasing ecologically and community destructive density to the benefit of special outside developer interests threatening those who live in what has become “waterfront harm’s way,” Wednesday’s court ruling by the Honorable Nolan Dawkins gives cause for hope.
Judge Dawkins denied the Burke Respondents' Motion to Strike the City of Alexandria's Second Amended Petition for Appeal and denied the City of Alexandria's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court held that the summary judgment rule did apply but that a material issue of fact precluded summary judgment.
Judge Dawkins agreed with the City's and the Peck/Baldwin Trust's position that the Supreme Court rules on summary judgment apply to the City's appeal. The Burke Defendants argued that such Rules did not apply. Applying those Rules, the Court sided with the Peck/Baldwin Trust Respondents, finding that a material issue of fact existed, thus precluding summary judgment.
Judge Dawkins' denial of the City's Motion for Summary Judgment constituted a victory and substantial step forward for Respondents Michael Peck and the Elizabeth P. Baldwin Trust and the Burke Respondents in that the Court rejected the City's argument that it is undisputed that the Petition was untimely submitted. This ruling virtually assures that the case of the City of Alexandria suing its own Board of Zoning Appeals will proceed to bench trial on April 8 and 9.
While this victory represents an important milestone, Alexandria’s threatened citizens still have to play a twisted game of jeopardy to get the kind of good government they deserve. First, we pay taxes that are collected and then used to fund the City’s growing legal fees as it wages multiple neighborhood “triage” war against its own citizens who dare to question what has been agreed to in secret before the City’s standard, public “dialogue of the deaf” process sham is enacted. Second, we have to dig deep into our own pockets to uphold the dictates of our consciences and pay legal fees to defend our very homes and basic, unalienable rights in the courts of last resort against the same City government collecting our taxes before it then attacks residential stakeholders.
In any context, having to pay twice for something that should be tithed just once is called double indemnity which is both illegal and immoral, the Alexandria version of “double jeopardy.” Maybe one day soon paying once will suffice.
Michael A. Peck