Remember all the cheerful articles I've written about becoming a D.C. Master Gardener? I wrote excitedly about the classes, then missing everybody when the classes are over, about starting to create an organization of Master Gardeners, and then changing our name to DC Urban Gardeners, independent of the city's Cooperative Extension Service at the Univ. of D.C. But finally, we started working on Projects, including the news blog those stories are on, and our website.
Well, the time to be coy about what's really going on is over. (Only readers of our blog saw the clues.) Several of us, after trying to correct a really awful situation from within, have gone to the top. We've written to the City Council, the Deputy Mayor for Education, and the acting president of the university. The encouraging elements here are the new mayor and an evolving City Council who are focusing on the university, holding hearings, asking for input and apparently willing to see heads roll. So at the urging of a staffer at the Council, we've submitted testimony for their oversight hearings. I've copied my testimony below the "Continue reading" at the end of this article.
I've gotta say it's weird, and not in a good way, for hands-in-dirt volunteer gardeners to find themselves in a role we basically hate - the whistleblower. But because we're just volunteers we have nothing to lose - at least we don't THINK they can hurt us for speaking up. Funds for good urban projects are limited, dammit, and we're just trying to correct this total waste of taxpayer money. Actually, it's worse than that because in this case city employees are working against the mission they're tasked to complete.
Now there's nothing left to be done, except wait to see if anybody gives a damn - anybody who can do something about it.