Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander's open letter to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray

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Mr. Mayor:

I am in receipt of your letter to all councilmembers regarding budget choices the council has made regarding the FY2015 budget.

I must say that I am disappointed in the way that you have chosen to characterize the efforts of the Committee on Health.

You and I have worked together for many years on Ward 7 and city wide issues. I have learned a great deal working with you and one of the main things that anyone who works with you will quickly appreciate is your focus on the finances of the District of Columbia. I have stood with you as you made the tough decisions to increase the city’s fund balance increasing our respect on Wall Street and I stood with you as you fought the federal government deeming all District employees as “Essential,” refusing to shut down the District government. I have learned from and follow these and many more strong fiscal examples.

Let me be clear. I support a new hospital that is able to serve residents East of the River. I support that hospital in a fiscally responsible way. Here are the requests that I as Chairman of the Committee on Health have made:

1. The total presented budget for the new hospital is $335.9 million dollars. Please provide me with the study that says that moving forward a new hospital, to be successful, requires this level of funding.

2. Please provide me with the study that demonstrates that St. Elizabeth’s is the best location for a new hospital. While I believe that St. Elizabeth’s should be examined as one of many potential locations for a new hospital, I and many that I have spoken with, are not convinced that St. Elizabeth’s is the best location.

3. Please delineate for me the criteria that have been used to identify a potential partner for this new hospital. While we can all hypothesize about who of the excellent local hospitals might make an excellent partner for a new hospital, the oversight responsibilities of the committee require that these standards be submitted in writing. You have indicated that Allen Lew will brief all of the councilmembers on the plans for the new soccer stadium. No such senior official has performed a similar effort for the new hospital. I, my colleagues, and the residents require the answers to these questions and more before moving forward.

As to your comments regarding the Nannie Helen Burroughs project and the Promise Neighborhood garden at Parkside, let me say that these are projects and individuals that we both have worked with and supported over the years. My hope would have been that together we would have solved these funding needs years ago, yet to date, we had not. I took the step to solve issues. These projects are run by individuals who are of the highest integrity and these are individuals who along with me have been your greatest supporters. We all deserve better than the characterizations that your letter displayed.

Many of your supporters believe that the April 1 loss has taken a toll on you. To this day, I tell people that Mayor Gray will carry out his term with a level of integrity and respect that we can all be proud of. I urge you to make that statement true.


The Honorable Yvette M. Alexander
Councilmember – Ward 7

Cc: Chairman Phil Mendelson
Cc: Councilmember David Catania
Cc: Councilmember Vincent Orange
Cc: Councilmember David Grosso
Cc: Councilmember Anita Bonds
Cc: Councilmember Jim Graham
Cc: Councilmember Jack Evans
Cc: Councilmember Mary Cheh
Cc: Councilmember Muriel Bowser
Cc: Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
Cc: Councilmember Tommy Wells
Cc: Councilmember Marion Barry