Location, Location, Location ---- It’s
the Environment Stupid
Former slave Benjamin Banneker,
now a freed man, an astronomer and a member of Andrew Ellicott’s survey team was lying on the ground, staring at the
skies in 1790; plotting the constellation aligned borders of the federal district, Washington DC the new capitol of the fledgling
independent nation. Ellicott had been appointed to command this project by First President George Washington relieving Pierre
“Peter” Charles L'Enfant a French-born American architect and civil engineer, who had fallen into
discord. The concept of a capitol that was independent of any State for security was conceived after soldiers from the War
for Independence had rioted in the 1783 Pennsylvania Mutiny because of difficulties in receiving payment.
The 100 square mile District would be situated at a location that was an approximate midpoint
between the Northern border of Florida (then under Spanish control) and the Southern coastal border of Canada. The States
of Virginia and Maryland ceded the necessary land although the land south of the Potomac River was later returned to Maryland
under a retrocession agreement. Construction was done by predominately slave labor. The owners of the slaves received five
dollars a day per slave; the slaves of course received no compensation.
1856 a dome with a statue topped by a Greek freed man’s cap symbol was later placed over the Capitol. This sculpture
was altered and replaced after the objection of Jefferson Davis then Secretary of War, subsequent President of the Confederate
States of America.
The Capitol has remained in this “central”
location despite westward expansion, fruited plains, purple mountains and a border an ocean away.
Since the population has greatly
shifted (the fastest growing cities are in the West), a working fully functional satellite Capitol, for want of a better
name, the Western White House should be considered. Some possible locations Four Points Monument, where the borders of Arizona,
Colorado, New Mexico, Utah conjoin, or Promontory Point; where the cross continental railroad lines historically met. Aside
from the Eastern States power base and the Western States perceived secondary status; there could be environmental and economic
This satellite Capitol’s interior and infrastructure
could be environmentally friendly constructed using entirely clean air; solar and wind power sources thereby setting the
commitment to full scale environmental projects. The transportation system would be battery operated vehicles (except for
emergency vehicles and the exterior airport). Financing could be arranged through long term leases for hotel sites and housing
sites by the private sector.
Then there is this matter of jobs ----
hundreds of thousand or more jobs would be created.
It’s the environment, Stupid.