"First was the hysteria of announcing over 4 million people might be flooding the Mall. Later, they amend that number by half. Then they announce there will be no parking, few toilets and that everyone will be standing and waiting for hours. Then they tell people not to bring children and, finally, they close all the bridges," fumed Virginian Holly Kenney. "Do they think we're dense? Clearly, the public is no longer welcome."
But to some business and political leaders in the region, the plan represents more than a snub. They are concerned that the unprecedented closings and restrictions will turn away visitors, hurt businesses and employees, and tip the balance too far toward security over access.
The plan unveiled by the Secret Service and area transportation officials Wednesday closes all Virginia bridges across the Potomac and interstates 395 and 66 inside the Beltway to personal vehicles. It also cordons off a large section of downtown Washington to help manage the unprecedented crowds expected. Maryland, in contrast, has no planned road closures.
"The Secret Service, they're insane," said U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Alexandria). "This is security on steroids. They are imposing major obstacles on people who have a right to be there for the inauguration..."
...Alexandria resident Phil Hocker, 64, is trying to figure out a way to get his family to the inauguration and was furious about the announced restrictions.
"The Secret Service's plan to keep the inauguration secret is succeeding," he said. He also blames the Obama transition team for not putting its foot down with security officials. "If the motto of the campaign was 'Yes we can!' the motto of the inauguration is 'No you can't.' "
Friday, January 09, 2009
From today's Washington Post: