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Letter: Don’t Forget BRAC Issue


To the Editor:

Alexandrians will soon be going to the polls to cast their votes for both federal and local candidates. As they prepare to do so, my fellow Alexandrians should be mindful of what happened the last time we had an all-Democrat city council — the West End got an enormous BRAC building while the City Council stood by mutely. I strongly believe that Alexandria is best served by having a City Council with a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and even Independents, rather than being controlled by a single party. A diversity of views in the council increases the likelihood that issues will be more thoroughly vetted before they are decided — or ignored.

I know that moving the local elections to November was expressly designed to produce an all-Democrat City Council but, in my judgment, that outcome would be a serious mistake. In fact, I personally think that the Democrats who sat on the City Council when the BRAC issue was in play, some of whom are now trying to get back on the council, don’t deserve a single vote from the West End — they certainly won’t get mine — but I will leave that decision to my friends and neighbors in the West End. I just know how unhappy I am each time I see a hulking BRAC building overshadowing all of Seminary Valley and realize that this facility could and should have been placed in another part of Alexandria that was readily accessible to mass transit and far less residential in nature. If the City Council had at least tried but failed to achieve this alternative outcome, I would feel better than I do now. But the record shows that they didn’t even try. Shall we see what another all-Democrat City Council will bring us? I hope not.

Henry R. Desmarais

Alexandria