Priorities: In Their Own Words

Priorities: In Their Own Words

Nine Democratic candidates cite their top three goals.

The Alexandria Democratic Committee will hold a caucus on Feb. 4 at the Lee Center from noon to 7:30 p.m. Nine candidates will be on the ballot, with five incumbent City Council members sharing the ballot with four newcomers. The six candidates who receive the most votes will appear as Democratic candidates on the May 2 ballot for City Council. All nine candidates were asked to share their top three goals for the next City Council:

LUDWIG GAINES is a native of St. Albans, N.Y. He has lived in Alexandria since 1998, and he has been on City Council since 2003.

1. Lowering Property Taxes: “We must diversity our revenue base and identify sources of revenue that don’t drain hardworking residents of the city.”

2. Affordable Housing: “We’ve reached a crisis in Alexandria and the region. If we are to maintain the diversity that is the hallmark of our city, it is essential that housing opportunities for all are a priority.”

3. Emergency Preparedness: “I was appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine to advise his administration on preparedness issues for the commonwealth. In the wake of Hurricane Isabelle in 2003 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Alexandria must be prepared to deal with manmade and natural disasters — and that will be a priority for me.”

JESSE JENNINGS is a native Alexandrian, and a 1951 graduate of Parker-Gray High School. Since 2003, he has served on the city’s Planning Commission.

1. Fiscal Responsibility: “Do we really have the financial wherewithal to pay for T.C. Williams, the Police Department, the All-City Sports Facility, open-space acquisitions, and affordable housing? We must prioritize these needs and come up with specific action plans to implement the priorities.”

2. Lower Taxes: “We depend too heavily on real-estate taxes, particularly residential real-estate taxes, to support the city budget. It is only by increasing our commercial tax base and better utilizing our Metro Stations that we can reduce the burden on homeowners.”

3. Smart Growth: “There is room for well-designed projects that contribute to our tax base, and there are areas of the city where height and density can be accepted — particularly if we gain affordable-housing units or other benefits. Design is more significant than height or density when it comes to a quality living environment.”

SCOTT JOHNSON is a native of Plainfield, N.J. He moved to Alexandria six years ago, and he is currently a commercial litigation and government contracts attorney with the firm of Albo & Oblon, L.L.P. in Arlington.

1. Transportation: “I want to address the city’s transportation problem by promoting 'intra-Alexandria' solutions that focus on moving people faster and safer. Alexandrians deserve a well-designed transportation system that is pedestrian friendly, convenient and serves as a viable alternative to automobiles.”

2. Affordable Housing: “I want to keep Alexandrians in Alexandria by increasing affordable housing and rental opportunities. We need to prioritize people over procedure and recognize that it will take a collective effort to make Alexandria more affordable.”

3. A Responsible Budget: “I will exercise discipline and restraint in managing the tax dollars of Alexandrians. We need to be judicious, efficient and responsible in formulating the budget. Specifically, we need to improve city administrative processes and procedures through in-depth audits and extensive departmental performance measures.”

ROB KRUPICKA is a native of Seattle who moved to Alexandria in 1993. He was first elected to the City Council in 2003.

1. Opportunities for Children: “I helped Gov. Tim Kaine write his pre-school plan for Virginia, and I want to work to make sure it is implemented in Alexandria so our children are ready to learn when they get to kindergarten. We need to continue the implementation of the city open-space plan so every resident, especially our children, have parks, fields and trails to use throughout our city.”

2. Community Affordability: “I will work to take tax pressure off of homeowners through careful budgeting and by helping small businesses succeed. I want to continue pushing for department audits and better service-sharing with the schools, and to seek out innovative approaches to affordable housing so Alexandria can be a city for people of any background or income.”

3. Transportation: “We created a task force to look at long-term transportation needs for our city and I am looking forward to council action on critical transportation decisions next term. I want to continue my work to ensure Alexandria neighborhoods are safe for pedestrians and to work with our regional partners to expand mass transit services in our city.”

TIMOTHY LOVAIN is a native of Pennsylvania, and he has lived in Alexandria since 1983. He is currently chairman of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee, which examines the city’s budget procedures and recommends ways of improving the process.

1. Fiscal Responsibility: “I will seek to bring more fiscal responsibility to the city budget so we can bring property tax increases under greater control. I will bring forward many of the dozens of sensible cost-saving proposals made in recent years by the city's Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee, which I chair, that were not accepted by the City Council but should have been.”

2. Affordable Housing: “I will push hard for the city to approve a serious action plan for affordable housing that includes the integration of affordable housing into transit-oriented development near our Metro stations. City Council needs to show the political will to empower the city manager to insist that all city departments work together to make affordable housing a top priority of city government.”

3. Education: “As a parent with children in Alexandria public schools, I will look for new ways to work with the new School Board to provide real fiscal oversight over the school budget. We need to focus our resources on kids in the classroom by emphasizing hiring and retaining high-quality teachers, keeping class sizes small and looking for new and innovative ways to expand parental involvement in their children's learning.”

ANDREW MACDONALD was born in Paris, where his father was stationed as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He has lived in Alexandria since 1959, and he was elected to the City Council in 2003.

1. Historic Preservation: “I’d like to see us strengthen and modernize the city’s historic preservation ordinance, expand the boundaries of the current Parker Grey and Historic Alexandria districts, develop zoning guidelines to protect National Historic Register communities like Rosemont and establish a sustainable fund to maintain historic sites like Fort Ward and the Jones Point lighthouse.”

2. Waterfront Preservation: “Preservation of our waterfront for public use and enjoyment. The Potomac River is the city's largest and least appreciated open space. I'd like to see us complete the waterfront planning process that was begun many years ago.”

3. Open Space Preservation: “I'd like to see the city implement its open space master plan and expand its network of parks and trails and sport fields. Natural places such as Jones Point Park and Monticello Park should be given special protection.”

DEL PEPPER is a native of Omaha. She has lived in Alexandria since 1968, and she was first elected to the City Council in 1985.

1. Closing Mirant: “Studies have shown that the Mirant Power Plant is a health hazard to the community. I want to continue in my role as co-chair of the Mirant Community Monitoring Group to work on that issue and to eventually close this plant down.”

2. Development: “Landmark Shopping Mall and Van Dorn Street will soon undergo an enormous transformation, as will Potomac Yard and the waterfront. I want to be a part of the planning for what happens in these areas.”

3. A New Metro Station: “I have never given up the dream of a Metro stop being sited at Potomac Yard, and I will continue efforts to keep that possibility alive. I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before it will be absolutely necessary to build one here.”

PAUL SMEDBERG is a native of Hartford, Conn., and a former resident of Rocky Hill, Conn. He has lived in Alexandria for 18 years, and he was first elected to the City Council in 2003.

1. Responsible Spending: “I want to prioritize spending so that essential needs go to the top of the list and non-essential items get deferred or dropped altogether. I believe council must ask hard questions about the budget and follow through on the audits of city departments that I pushed for last year so we can find ways to serve our citizens more efficiently.

2. Public Health: “I want to strengthen our response and deal promptly with all threats to the health and safety of Alexandrians. For example, I worked with community leaders to bring attention to the hazardous operations of the Mirant Power Plant, and I will work to see it closed permanently.

3. Pedestrian Access: “I want to carry through with the Community Pathways program to ensure that my long-time objective of making Alexandria more pedestrian-friendly becomes a reality. This program, which I co-sponsored, aims to make walking and biking safer and more inviting by improving crosswalks, sidewalks and trails. This program must be incorporated into the planning and transportation process from the outset.

LILLIAN WHITE is a native of New York City. She has lived in Alexandria for more than 25 years, and has been active in city politics for most of that time.

1. Open Space: “I want to encourage the adoption of a citywide comprehensive housing program modeled after the open space program.”

2. Transportation: “I want to adopt a citywide transportation program which includes exploring circular bus routes and a campaign to get people out of their cars onto public transportation.

3. Pedestrian Access: “I want to encourage walkable, pedestrian-friendly communities and encourage sensible growth and development that does not overburden roads, schools or public spaces.”


The Newcomers' Money


* Timothy Lovain raised a total of $5,500. The candidate donated $5,000 to himself on Dec. 2. Lovain also received $250 from the Mark Sickles for Delegate campaign, $150 from Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel and $100 from Beth Temple, Mayor Bill Euille's aide.

* Lillain White raised $300, donating that amount to herself on Dec. 24.

* Scott Johnson raised a total of $5,233. He loaned the money to his campaign in two installments on Dec. 22 and Dec. 28.

* Jesse Jennings raised a total of $1,200, receiving $500 from property manager Donald Simpson, $400 in unitemized contributions and $300 from real-estate agent Monty Duncan.


The Incumbents' Money


* Ludwig Gaines raised a total of $50,150, including $1,500 from Alexandria attorney Jerome Chapman, $1,300 from Mayor Bill Euille and $200 from School Board member Gwendolyn Lewis.

* Rob Krupicka raised a total of $20,095, including $500 from the Saslaw for Senate campaign, $500 from the CEO of the Mark Winkler Company and $150 from Mayor Bill Euille.

* Andrew Macdonald raised a total of $25,834, including $500 from the Saslaw for Senate campaign and a $10,741 loan from the candidate. He was the only incumbent candidate who did not receive a donation from the mayor.

* Del Pepper raised a total of $10,459, including $500 from U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), $250 from the Saslaw for Senate campaign and $150 from Mayor Bill Euille.

* Paul Smedberg raised a total of $18,039, including $500 from Simpson Development Company, $200 from Jack Taylor's Alexandria Toyota and $150 from Mayor Bill Euille.