Council Notebook

Council Notebook

<b>Potential Candidates Emerge</b>

The unexpected resignation of Vice Mayor <b>Andrew Macdonald</b> left many Alexandrians speechless — for a moment. Then talk turned immediately to politics. Macdonald’s absence leaves a vacancy on City Council that must be filled by a special election, according to the city’s charter. In a May 8 memorandum to City Council members, City Attorney <b>Ignacio Pessoa</b> spelled out the process: member submits letter of resignation, council adopts resolution certifying the vacancy, court issues a writ of election and then candidates start filing their statements of qualification. Registrar <b>Tom Parkins</b> recommends that the special election take place on July 17, and potential candidates are already emerging from the woodwork.

The Democrats have a deep bench, and their potential candidates include: <b>Mark Feldheim</b>, a former president of Old Town Civic Association; <b>John Irvine</b>, president of Tugboat Public Relations; <b>Scott Johnson</b>, a commercial litigation and government contracts attorney; <b>Jim Lay</b>, a former prosecutor now in private practice; <b>Matthew Natale</b>, president of the Parkfairfax Condominium Unit Owners Association; <b>Boyd Walker</b>, historic preservationist who served as Macdonald’s campaign manager last year; and <b>Justin Wilson</b>, a leader in the Democratic Committee who served as the mayor’s campaign treasurer last year.

The Democrats expect to hold a caucus on June 9, although that date must be ratified by the committee.

The Republicans have had a tough time in recent elections, and they currently hold none of the city’s elected offices. Several names have emerged as potential candidates: <b>Bill Cleveland</b>, former City Council member; <b>Allison Cryor DiNardo</b>, vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Alexandria Community Trust; <b>Pat Troy</b>, the Irish restaurateur and noted raconteur; <b>Townsend Van Fleet</b>, president of the Old Town Civic Association; and <b>Bernie Schultz</b>, a senior official at American University.

The Republicans expect to hold a canvas on May 26, although that date must approved by the committee.


<b>Giving and Receiving</b>

The old saying says that giving is better than receiving, but it’s difficult to top Potomac Yard, LLC. The development team that’s building Alexandria’s newest neighborhood donated a fire station to the city earlier this year — a generous gift that includes the land and most of the facility.

On Tuesday night the deed was formally presented to the city. The Alexandria Fire Department seized the moment to give a gift of its own to members of the development team: fireman’s helmets. After teasing the developers with a flimsy plastic toy, fire department officials presented the real deal — actual Fire Department helmets bearing a shield with the new station number: 209.

"Over the next 50 years, thousands of firefighters will wear that number," said Battalion Chief <b>John North</b> presenting the helmets to the developers. "But you have the first four helmets from 209."


<b>Fun Side of the Pole</b>

How far does the influence of Alexandria reach? Apparently it’s all the way to the North Pole.

While recounting her recent stay on the USS Alexandria, a Los Angeles Class nuclear submarine, Director of Citizen Assistance <b>Rose Boyd</b> presented the City Council with a photograph of the Alexandria’s captain planting a flag on the North Pole. While on the submarine, she also had a chance to look through the periscope, watch the sonar and sleep in extremely confined quarters.

"I also had an opportunity to see a Tomahawk missile, which I don’t think I would have been able to see otherwise," said Boyd. "The most awesome thing was going up on the bridge, which was the only part of the submarine above water. And we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."

Boyd represented Mayor <b>Bill Euille</b> as part of a five-member delegation from the city to spend time on the nuclear submarine. Apparently the mayor was too busy with the budget to take up the offer.

"The captain called me to ask me if I wanted to change my mind," said Euille. "But I told him that I was just too busy."

"Yea, right," chided Councilwoman <b>Del Pepper</b>.


<b>Thanks, Mom and Dad</b>

During Monday night’s special meeting at City Hall to adopt the budget, each member offered a traditional round of thanks to the city staff. Member after member thanked the city manager, the deputy city managers, the Office of Management and Budget, the Finance Department and even the real-estate assessor. After about 30 minutes of cheering for city staff, Councilman <b>Ludwig Gaines</b> decided to widen the scope of praise.

"At this point in the evening, I almost feel like thanking my parents," said Gaines. "Without them, none of this would be possible."