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Letter: Fresh Alternative

To the Editor:

Not long ago, I saw a clip on television of Barack Obama saying that as President, he would represent all the people, no matter whether they had voted for him or not. I wish three-term Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille shared that sentiment. I do not believe that he does. On Oct. 10, Mayor Euille refused to attend the candidates’ forum of the Old Town Civic Association.

When he was invited to participate in a 30-minute debate with his opponent, Andrew Macdonald, before the association, Mayor Euille said he had to be at City Hall to chair a meeting of a new committee dealing with the possible future Potomac Yard Metro station on that evening.

The Metro station meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and the civic association meeting at 7 p.m. at Lyles Crouch School, just blocks away. The forum organizers rearranged the program of the forum in hopes that the Mayor would attend. All the candidates for council, except Mr. Smedberg who was out of town, assembled on stage in the school auditorium at 7 p.m. and took questions until almost 8:30 p.m. before an audience of 200 to 300 citizens.

At that point, the presiding board member, Michael Hobbs, announced an intermission. He allowed more than 30 minutes to pass to give the Mayor more time to appear. Finally Mr. Macdonald took the stage at 9:05 p.m. and answered the questions that would have been put to both candidates. The moderator enforced the time limits just as if time had to be allotted to the absent Mayor. This was a clear disadvantage for Mr. Macdonald since, without his opponent, there was no way for the citizens to compare their ideas and plans for the future of the city by hearing the views of both.

The Transportation and Environmental Services Department has posted a video of the meeting Mayor Euille chaired on the city’s web site. The tape shows the meeting lasting a little more than an hour. In other words, there was ample time for the Mayor to come to a citizens’ meeting afterwards.

The Mayor has assumed that not many Old Town voters will support him on Nov. 6. Therefore no one in Old Town, not even good citizens seeking to be better informed on local issues by hearing from all the candidates for office, were worthy of his time. Any elected official with such disdain and distaste for his voters cannot serve well in democratic government. This Mayor is unworthy of support. We need that fresh alternative that Andrew Macdonald is offering.

Katy Cannady

Alexandria