To the Editor:
On June 12, Alexandrians have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of City Council. As we head to the polls, it’s useful to take stock of the good fortune our city has experienced over the past decade:
Alexandria has grown and prospered into a community of nearly 140,000, a net increase of approximately 12,000 residents since 2000.
Our city government works. The trash gets picked up, our streets are plowed and parks are clean and safe. City staff is generally responsive to citizen concerns.
Old Town, Del Ray and other business districts have maintained an attractive mix of dining, retail, leisure and personal services, with a significant share of locally owned, independent businesses that sets Alexandria apart from other localities in the region.
We’ve adopted progressive new master plans that will provide new civic facilities, enhance our open space, preserve affordable housing and revitalize our waterfront.
We are a safe community. Crime rates hit a 45-year low in 2011, continuing a trend of annual declines in crime across the city.
We’ve adopted progressive transportation policies, including new transit services, enhanced facilities for bicycles and pedestrians and innovative programs like bike share.
We continue to cherish and preserve our magnificent history, earning honors from the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a "Distinctive Destination" and the American Planning Association, which named King Street a "Great Street" in 2011.
We’ve become an eco-city, boasting green building policies, enhanced curbside recycling and hybrid-powered buses. Later this year, Alexandria’s Gen-On Potomac River Generating Station will officially close, improving air quality throughout the region.
Our tax burden remains low, with the second-lowest residential property tax rate among major jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.
Given this solid performance, the clear choice on June 12 is to nominate a slate of experienced leaders responsible for Alexandria’s success. At the top of the list are Democratic incumbents Paul Smedberg and Del Pepper. They, along with Mayor Bill Euille and their Democratic council colleagues have made tough decisions required to sustain Alexandria’s forward momentum. Both deserve another term.
To be effective, they’ll need the support of council members who share their vision for the city, concern for its citizens and dedication to public service. Candidates Donna Fossum, Tim Lovain and Justin Wilson have demonstrated their commitment to Alexandria through active participation in city government that has directly resulted in many of the community accomplishments outlined above.
Other top candidates include Sean Holihan, John Taylor Chapman and Melissa Feld, each of whom has contributed to the community in noteworthy ways.
I am proud to call Alexandria home, and urge you to vote for the progressive, fiscally responsible candidates for City Council who will preserve and enhance our city’s high quality of life as council members over the next three years.
Nathan M. Macek