At this morning’s Speakers’ Series (which was a great success, by the way), a Friends of White Flint member told me that someone suggested that FoWF was dominated by developers. I blinked, and then pointed out that:
at almost all of our Board meetings this year, 60% or more of the Directors present were “residents” and not affiliated with developers;
the vast majority of our members are residents or businesses which are not developers;
until this year, none of our funds had come from developers and we had no developers as members; and
only one-third of our Directors are affiliated with developers (and all of those are publicly-disclosed and very active in the White Flint planning process; we’re very pleased to have them participate with us).
I started Friends of White Flint in 2007, and I am a tax-exempt organization (charities and political organizations) lawyer, with no practice in real estate, and no clients in real estate, much less developers. By far the most involved people in Friends of White Flint have been residents, community groups, bicycle groups, and businesses (when I say businesses, I include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a federal agency which is a member in that group). So, no, I’d say that we aren’t dominated by developers.
We want participation by ALL groups in White Flint. It’s what we do: encourage dialogue among “stakeholders.” So we work with any group that wants to talk about White Flint; that includes the White Flint Partnership, which does include property owners and developers, and with which we have co-sponsored events to reach out to the public. Like today’s Speakers Series.