Editor’s Note: Republicans and Democrats will hold caucuses Feb. 1, to select candidates for Alexandria’s City Council. To assist voters, The Gazette is providing a brief biography of each candidate. Candidates were asked to provide information for these profiles. Candidate Doug Wood did not respond to the request for information. In addition to the 18 candidates who have been profiled here, Pat Troy has announced that he will run as an independent candidate for City Council. He will not participate in a caucus. Complete profiles of those who will run in the general election will be presented in The Gazette after the caucuses. Mayoral candidates are not profiled in this report. Each party has one candidate plus one Independent running for the office.
For the first time in many years, Alexandria Republicans will hold a caucus. There are seven candidates for six Council seats. The caucus will be held on Feb. 1, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center.
KEITH BURNER has lived in Alexandria for the past nine years. He is president of the Alexandria Olympic Boys and Girls Club Board; a member of the Alexandria United Way Executive Committee; co-founder/co-chairman of FORE the Kids Golf Tournament; and a member of the Santa Claus Yacht Club. He has a B.A. in government and politics from George Mason University and is vice president-investments/financial consultant for Smith Barney Inc.
“I believe traffic/transportation is an issue we must address before we allow development into the city. It must meet strict traffic guidelines. We must have development prove that impacts to the city are minimal and understand our citizens’ concerns. My decisions on development will be guided by issues relating to traffic.
“I believe education is the most important thing we can support to achieve greatness within all of our communities. I support efforts to make immersion programs part of early-childhood education that help connect our diverse city beyond geographic boundaries. I believe that we should take a look at building a second high school for Alexandria. Too big a school, too big a problem. Our children deserve room to learn and express themselves, just as teachers need the ability to get to know them. We are too big a city to expect one high school to serve our needs any longer,” Burner said.
ALLISON W. CRYOR owns Kington Management Corp., a small business in Old Town Alexandria. She has served as a volunteer for the Alexandria Police Department, has worked with Habitat for Humanity and was a member of the Finance and Stewardship Council at St. Rita’s Church. She received both a bachelor’s degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.
“Alexandria must be a safe place to live. We must have quality education for all children. Our neighborhoods must be vibrant. We know we need a strong local economy, a public transit system that meets the expectations of its riders. Our parks and open space are to be prized. Those small sections of our city must be protected. Our town cannot become one of cement and asphalt.
“We know that our community is judged by its treatment of its children. Our schools continue to make progress. Our teachers, our parents, our school staff are devoted to raising the level of education. But there is much still to be done. We know each child must be educated. With state funding for schools slowing, the next City Council must find substantive ways to secure quality education,” Cryor said.
CLAIRE EBERWEIN has served one term as a City Council member and two terms as a member of the Alexandria City Public School Board. She is a member of the Metropolitan Development Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Council of Governments, the Chesapeake Bay Committee, Metropolitan Council of Governments, City Council Liaison to the T. C. Williams High School Steering Committee and the Alexandria Waterfront Committee, among other groups. She received a juris doctor from the Georgetown School of Law and bachelor’s degrees in architecture and natural resources from the University of Michigan.
“While on the School Board, I spearheaded the educational revitalization of Alexandria’s schools at a time when parental confidence was at an all-time low. This included the implementation of the Primary Initiative, concentrating fiscal resources at the elementary level, yielding higher test scores citywide and continuing accreditation of an increasing number of our schools.
“Additionally, I successfully advocated for funds from City Council to renovate and maintain aging school buildings and for long-range planning for new capital funds for the remodeling, expansion and new construction of elementary, middle schools and the high school that is occurring today," said Eberwein.
“In the last three years, the City Council and Planning and Zoning Department have completely changed how we handle development issues in our city. For too long, Council waited for developers to come forward with projects and then relied on citizens to critique them. Our land use process is now coming closer to the proactive one I advocated for three years ago," Eberwein said.
“As a leader and advocate of this change, I will continue my work for proper funding and staffing of the Planning Department, to guarantee the success of this initiative that ensures that traffic, density and architectural quality of a development are planned before the project is finalized, the development respects the scale and the integrity of existing neighborhoods,” Eberwein said.
JUDY MCVAY served as co-president of the Alexandria Federation of Civic Associations; is a past president and current member of the Old Town Civic Association; was the state legislative chair of the League of Women Voters of Alexandria; was a founding member of Citizens Against King-Duke Gridlock; is an active member of the Friends of the Burke Library; is currently a member of the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee and founder and co-chair of The Coalition for a Sensible Bridge.
“The quality of life for the citizens of Alexandria — the values that attracted my family here in the first place — is being rapidly eroded by land-use decisions that put the interests of developers and the government ahead of the needs of Alexandria’s people, families and neighborhoods. Overdevelopment chokes our streets with excessive traffic, obliterates much of our remaining open space and overcrowds our children’s schools. As a citizen, I have long worked for comprehensive and coherent development and land-use policies that make the long-term interests of the people of Alexandria and their neighborhoods and throughout the city the standard against which all governmental decisions are measured.
“Citizens with questions or concerns about pending City Council policies or departmental actions are too often treated as if their questions were an unwelcome annoyance, rather than a proper exercise of every American’s fundamental right.
“Traffic clogs our streets and neighborhoods. We need short-term rather than commuter parking, user-friendly environments for pedestrians and cyclists — not ‘connector’ highways that only induce more traffic,” McVay said.
MATTHEW NATALE is currently the president of the Park Fairfax Condominium Association board of directors and president of Alexandria Crime Solvers Board and has volunteered for a variety of organizations throughout Alexandria. He is a graduate of Eugene Lang College of the New School University.
“During my time as a volunteer community leader, I have been guided by the principle that to protect our neighborhoods is to care for our entire city. Protecting your neighborhood and quality of life will be my No. 1 priority as your member of City Council. More than a member of City Council, I will be your representative on Council. I will put you, your ideas, your neighborhood and your quality of life first.
“I believe a compelling vision of community is missing at City Hall, which speaks the language of experts — charts and jargon, statistics and studies. I pledge we will begin again to speak the language of community — of neighborhoods, of families and of citizens.
“I love public service. I pledge to treat all citizens with the respect and compassion I would expect for myself. We must build a connector from City Hall to every citizen, a connector of trust and responsiveness to protect our neighborhoods and quality of life. I pledge you will not be disappointed if we work together to map the future of our city,” Natale said.
JOHN REARDON is the president and CEO of Mobex Communications, an Alexandria-based wireless communication company, which brought in over $100 million in revenue in 2001. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
“I believe my experience in overseeing a multi-million-dollar budget and guiding a successful business, even in a recession economy, will be useful to city government.
“I think taxpayers would be surprised to learn our city government has over 80 departments and that city spending has increased 67 percent in the past decade. In short, we taxpayers support a bloated bureaucracy that needs to be managed efficiently, just like a business. We could get the same or better services for less money if we simply instituted more oversight and demanded accountability of our city.
“I also believe that traffic on Duke Street and Route 1 is out of control, thanks largely to the poor planning decisions of the current government. I believe the city needs to synchronize traffic lights, improve Route 1 and work with the state to update I-395 and I-495, so that cars do not divert off major throughways and into our neighborhoods. If we do this, I do not believe we need a connector between Duke Street and Eisenhower Avenue,” Reardon said.
Twelve candidates are vying for six Democratic Party City Council nominations. Like the Republican caucus, the Democrats will hold theirs on Feb. 1. It will be at Bishop Ireton High School from noon-7 p.m.
BARBARA BRENMAN is currently the president of the Board of Sheltered Homes of Alexandria, president of the Board of Lady Managers, Inova Alexandria Hospital. She is a member of the Board of Directors, Inova Alexandria Hospital, and a founding member of the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium. She has worked for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration; the Rehabilitation Services Administration and for locally owned retail stores in Alexandria. She is a graduate of Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pa.
"We can't make traffic go away, but we can make it flow around the city, not through our neighborhoods, and we can promote alternative transportation methods. We must ensure the preservation of our neighborhoods while recognizing the city's need to grow and develop. We must acquire and protect open space and parkland and preserve our historic sites.
"We must work to provide full funding for our schools. We must do a better job to make housing affordable for all Alexandrians. We must ensure no loss of services for Alexandrians with special needs. We must promote small, unique businesses that add to the aura of our very special city, and we must finally build a multigenerational community center in the west end," Brenman said.
BILL DICKINSON has served as the president of the Seminary Hill Civic Association and has been instrumental in forming coalitions to stop the Eisenhower-Duke Connector and protect open space and in devising an equitable process for location and operation of group homes. He was also instrumental in resolving the Inova Alexandria Hospital expansion with its neighbors and in developing a united neighborhood position on the expansion of T. C. Williams High School. After serving time in the U.S. Navy as an officer, he entered federal career service with the Office of Management and Budget. He also served as a policy analyst and regulatory manager in federal natural resource agencies.
"The campaign issues transcending the entire city are: traffic, neighborhood protection, educational excellence, open space and parks, environmental protection and meeting our financial responsibilities. It is on these issues that I base my campaign.
"Activists throughout the city urged that I run for Alexandria City Council, recognizing my ability, experiences and skills to represent all of the city's many neighborhoods and interests. Therefore, I am seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to run because of my deep concern for the city's future as it encounters unprecedented pressures for change," Dickinson said.
MARK FELDHEIM has served as the president of the Old Town Civic Association; as a member of the city's Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee; member, Jones Point Park Stakeholders Committee; and as a member of both the Airport Noise and Information Technology committees.
"As in the past, the important issues that continue to face us include the maintenance of a sound fiscal policy, improvements in education, affordable housing, traffic congestion, preservation of open space, and the challenges of balancing growth and development. Additionally, we must address the needs of our senior population and families of diverse nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. To ensure that Alexandria remains a vibrant and viable city, it is time to focus on a plan and to create a vision.
"The budget crisis in Richmond, our dwindling land resources, the increased demand on city services and the real-estate tax burden that results from our increased property values pose troublesome challenges that must be met with a fresh approach. The issues are complex and may not be resolved easily. It is time to ask the right questions, seek truthful answers, and take necessary actions to preserve and improve the quality of life that we seek to maintain. A balanced and reasoned approach is the course that we must set for ourselves. Moving Alexandria forward is the theme of my campaign, and with your support we can shape our future," Feldheim said.
LUDWIG GAINES is a member of the Alexandria Planning Commission, a member of the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Transit Co., a member of the Alexandria Circuit Court Jury Commission, second vice chair of the Alexandria United Way's Board of Directors and a member of the Board of Trustees of Inova Alexandria Hospital Foundation, first vice president of the Alexandria NAACP, among others. He is an attorney and a Howard Law School professor. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from Hobart College and his law degree from Howard University.
"This is a time for strong and experienced leadership. Leadership that works for you and will take decisive action to protect neighborhoods and quality of life; reduce traffic and gridlock; ensure smart and sensible growth and development; acquire and preserve open space and protect the environment; provide quality educational opportunities and facilities for all public-school students; provide affordable housing opportunities and retain the diversity we value; ensure funding for social services for those in need; foster open government and informed decision making; enhance relations among Alexandria's diverse citizenry and maintain Alexandria's strong economic foundation.
"I am eager to put my diverse background in law, business, planning, public policy and public service toward achieving these priorities. At the same time, it is my goal to reach out to every person regardless of race, religion or economic condition to deliver results and a message of hope, opportunity and inclusion. I love our city, respect its citizens and have a deep commitment to public interest. Together we can ensure that the city we live in and leave to future generations remains a desirable place to live, raise families and conduct business. Together we can solve problems, meet challenges and seize opportunities to better our community," Gaines said.
TOM KENNEDY, with his wife, Wanda, and daughter, Heather, have run Zig's, a local restaurant, for the last four years. “We have decided to offer my services to the city in the form of running for City Council,” he said.
"As a business operator and city resident, I am uniquely positioned to understand many perspectives of the issues. We, as a city, need to decide what we want our future to look like. There is a plan called Alexandria 2025 that I would support and participate in if given the chance. It will bring together residents, businesses and government decision-makers to form a consensus of what we should be working towards as a community.
"What do we want Old Town to be? Nightlife? Shops? Residences?
What to do with Eisenhower Avenue? West end of Duke Street? Landmark? Van Dorn? Together we need to create a vision. Without vision we have no direction. Without direction we have no control over our future.
"The most important thing that affects our future is the Master Plan. The Plan needs to be reviewed for modifications that were not approved. Changes need to be made; we cannot get back missed opportunities.
“Through our business we have been active with groups in the community. From T.C. to Saint Coletta's, the Leukemia Society to Lost Dog Rescue, we try to make a difference. Our support of Alexandria's Fire and Police Associations started long before Sept. 11. We support city workers, teachers and other citizens directly through Zig's. I would like to give back to the community that has given so much to my family."
ROB KRUPICKA has served as the president of the Del Ray Citizens Association and is a board member of the Alexandria Volunteer Bureau. He has also served as vice chair of the Community Services Board and of the Youth Services Commission. He is the executive vice president of corporate development and strategy for Priva Technologies Inc. in Arlington, a security technology company. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he was an economics major.
"Alexandria is a great place to live, work and raise a family. To prepare Alexandria for tomorrow, new development must strengthen neighborhoods, preserve Alexandria's history and historical setting, create new open space and protect our environment.
"Transportation is critical to our future. We must integrate transit, roads and pedestrian and bicycle access to create real alternatives to driving. We should move Alexandrians to places they travel most, not create highways for adjacent jurisdictions," Krupicka said.
ANDREW MACDONALD is the vice chair of the city's Environmental Policy Commission; chair of the Monticello Park Conservation Committee; a member of an environmental task force charged with monitoring the environmental cleanup of Cameron Station; chair of the Windmill Hill Park Task Force; a member of the Board of the Taylor Run Civic Association; and a member of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Commission; a member of the Board of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation and has served as a guest columnist for The Alexandria Gazette. He has held various positions with the National Science Foundation, the Office of Technology Assessment and has taught children and adults about the environment in many settings. He earned his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Western Ontario.
"There's so much worth protecting here, but I've learned firsthand you can't take any of it for granted. I want to be on City Council so I can do more to champion what makes this town so unique in the Washington area, including its historic landmarks, lots of family-run businesses, access to the river, and sense of community. As a member of City Council, I will work diligently to establish rules that help regulate the scale, type and quality of development in the city; protect and enhance the historic and residential character of Alexandria; strengthen the quality of our public schools, including after-school programs; protect the quality of the air we breathe, the water that flows into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay and the trees that should grace our streets; and ensure that we have adequate and well-maintained parkland and excellent recreational facilities," Macdonald said.
REDELLA S. "DEL" PEPPER has served as a member of the Alexandria City Council since 1985. She was vice mayor from 1996-97. Before being elected to City Council, she served as an aide to Mayor Charles Beatley Jr. She co-chairs or is a City Council representative to 13 Council-related task forces, boards, commissions or committees, including the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Air Quality Committee and the Virginia Regional Commission. She earned a bachelor's degree from Grinell College and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin.
PAUL SMEDBERG has served as a member of the city's Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee; member, Northeast Citizens Association Board; member, Alexandria Democratic Committee; and was the former board president of Community Partners for Children, among others. He is the director of public policy at the American Society of Nephrology, where he manages all policy, advocacy and education activities. He has degrees in economics and history from Allegheny College and is a 2001 Fellow, Sorensen Institute, at the University of Virginia.
"I believe in responsible redevelopment that is compatible with the fabric of our residential and commercial neighborhoods. Redevelopment is about process and expectations, and it should begin with an open dialogue with residents and developers.
"Safe and healthy neighborhoods that maintain their unique character and open space.This means innovative traffic claming and pedestrian-friendly measures that improve public safety and beautify our neighborhoods.
"Excellent education for our children and adequate education funding necessary to provide the tools for the teachers to instruct and students to learn.
"To accomplish these goals, I believe we must have strong fiscal management, responsive local government and regional cooperation," Smedberg said.
BARRY SCHIFTIC served as an Alexandria police officer for more than 30 years. During that time, he held a variety of positions that allowed him to get to know the community in a special way.
"Alexandria is a great place to live. Good jobs, nice homes, residential quiet near metropolitan benefits.
"It's a good place to bring up a family. I know. I've lived in Alexandria for over 25 years, the last 18 in Del Ray with my wife, Denise.
"During that time I worked in every single neighborhood and community in the city. As a member of the Alexandria police force for over 30 years, I've had an opportunity to get to know the community and its people. I've probably visited every block in town.
"I've watched the city grow and change, often improving, sometimes tentative, on occasion a misstep, but always keeping the flavor of life that makes Alexandria a good place to live.
"Eisenhower Valley, several thousand new residents, and more on the way, are going to put even more pressure on this limited-access community in the coming years. Close the door? We can't forget any section of the city that needs services. Open the door wide? Careful, we don't want tractor trailers on streets," Schiftic said.
LILLIAN WHITE headed precinct operations for the Alexandria Democratic Committee and represented the committee at Northern Virginia Democratic Committee activities; was a member of the Alexandria Commission for Women and the city's 2000 complete census ad hoc committee. She was also a member of the board of the Del Ray Citizens Association and is a member of that group's land-use committee. She holds a diploma in nursing and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She also earned a master's degree in government legislative affairs from George Washington University.
"I am running for City Council because I care deeply about the current issues that are facing our communities. I care about the public schools, where I sent my two children. I care about the scarcity of open space for parks and recreation. I care about decent and affordable housing for all Alexandrians. And I care about managed growth in our city so our neighborhoods are protected and enhanced," said White.
JOYCE WOODSON has served for one term as a member of the Alexandria City Council. Before that, she was a member of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority's board.
"I do not believe in teaching to the test; rather I support teaching children to be analytical and challenging them to be creative, to communicate well and to form and articulate original thoughts.
"Affluence and regionally balkanized land-use policies victimized us. Both create an unattainable situation that will only be solved with regional cooperation, not regional separatism; and more public transit, not more roads.
"One third of the homeless in Alexandria are children. This is unacceptable. These families are the working poor, and they deserve our attention. We must be willing to support affordable housing initiatives everywhere in Alexandria if we are to satisfy our housing needs in a balanced and effective way," Woodson said.