To the editor:
I am a lifelong Democrat and have not voted for candidates for public office other than Democrats. Unfortunately, there has come a point at the local level in Alexandria that I can’t, in good conscious, bring myself to support the Democrat incumbents that are running for the City Council. They have displayed a level of disrespect, incompetence and delegation of responsibility that is inexcusable. There seems to be no leadership, no fresh new ideas and no willingness to devote time and energy to move this city forward in a responsible manner while preserving the wonderful unique character of this community. Rather, they have delegated to nonelected city employees the authority to present their own vision of this city, which seems to be a vision that sets aside many of the elements and aspects that make the city so special and unique, and try to make it look like every other city that is overdeveloped and excessively dense. Then the council members grab their rubber stamps and give their blessings to bad ideas and poor planning. This process is totally backward. A decision-making process should originate at the top, with elected officials creating a detailed vision for the city, with real and meaningful opportunities for public involvement and input, and then directing the city employees to develop draft implementation plans for review by the council and the public. This would require a good deal of more energy and work by council members than they appear willing to undertake.
After writing this letter, but before I transmitted it, I received a Sample Ballot from the Democrats running for City Council which included a recommendation that we vote against Virginia Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit governmental bodies, like Alexandria, from taking private property from citizens and giving the property to other persons for their own private gain and benefit. Vote against this? This reinforces my belief that I should vote differently than I ever have before. These aren’t real Democrats who should receive support from those of us who have supported the party and its fundamental ideals for all our lives.
I am not happy with the necessity I feel to vote in a manner that I have never have before, but I don’t see an option if we are to protect this very special and unique community located in the significantly overdeveloped Washington Metropolitan area. We clearly need a change in the governing body of this city to protect and preserve what they have not already destroyed.