Week in Alexandria

Week in Alexandria

Crisscrossing Northern Virginia

As the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Jim Webb heads into the long hot political summer season, both candidates are trying to capture the attention of Northern Virginia voters. Former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and former Republican Gov. George Allen are crisscrossing the region in an effort to create an edge over the opposition.

This week, Allen met with small business owners and community leaders for a roundtable discussion hosted by the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. For Allen, it was an opportunity to underscore one of the central tenets of his campaign — that Washington makes business more expensive.

“As a small business owner, I wish Washington would walk a mile in my shoes and understand what it’s like to balance a budget under the taxes, regulations and energy costs they’ve created,” aid Vanessa Wheeler, owner of Holly, Woods and Vines. “George Allen understands that we can’t spend money we don’t have, tax hikes don’t create jobs, and more regulations mean less money to live on.”

Meanwhile, Kaine also spent some time with small business owners in Mount Vernon this week. Recent campaign stops for the Democrat include Alexandria and Herndon. Kaine is also trying to underscore a central campaign message that Virginia needs to invest in what he calls a “talent economy.”

“Once we decided that talent was important, we grew our own talent, attracted companies that want to be around talented people,” said Kaine. “At the national level, we need to recommit to having the world’s most talented workforce.”

Implementing Beauregard

For many years, city planning efforts have been criticized as being all hat and no cattle. Plans are drawn and then sit collecting dust on shelves. Now, in an effort to address those concerns, city leaders have created an implementation group for the controversial Beauregard small-area plan, which was adopted after hours of testimony for and against in May.

This week, Beauregard Rezoning Advisory Committee held its first meeting and discovered many of the issues that were controversial during the consideration of the plan remain sticking points today. Civic activist Jack Sullivan appeared before the panel to denounce the appointment of several of its members and criticize the mandate of the group.

“Any group such as yours, to do its civic duty, actively should be comparing the developer desires to what is in the plan,” Sullivan said. “The developers objected to many elements as the plan was being devised and they could be eliminating some of them in their design guidelines. Unless you take a serious look, you may never know.”

Desperately Seeking Officers

Just like Uncle Sam in that famous poster, Alexandria Registrar Tom Parkins wants you!

Parkins is asking for residents to serve as election officers for the city of Alexandria for this November’s election, which will feature races for president, the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, City Council and School Board.

“Be a part of history,” implores a note on the city’s website. “Near record turnout is predicted.”

Those interested should be civic-minded and have basic computer skills. Applicants must be registered voters in Virginia and willing to work from 4:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. And, of course, have a sense of integrity, neutrality, transparency and accuracy. Those selected will set up voting equipment, verify voter registration, demonstrate the voting process to assist voters and close the polling places down after the voting is over.

Here’s the best part — election officers are paid $100.

“But the value of their service is priceless,” the notice concludes.