Letter: No Reason To Change

Letter: No Reason To Change

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

What an interesting election our local race is shaping up to be. On one hand we have a tested mayor in Bill Euille who has shown a steady hand guiding the city during turbulent times. On the other hand we have two challengers with good intentions but major flaws. Allison Silberberg is a wonderful person with a big heart, but she has shown she really doesn’t have the qualifications to be mayor. Kerry Donley has good ideas on economic development but seems to have a lack of concentration, bouncing in and out of public office. One has to wonder why these two are challenging Mayor Euille.

As vice mayor, Allison has sometimes had to lead City Council meetings, with rather lackluster results. She has trouble expressing herself in coherent thoughts, and often must be corrected on the facts by her colleagues on City Council. So far, I have not seen her enunciate what her vision of Alexandria’s future is, much less what City Council can do to get Alexandria positioned for that future.

Kerry Donley has proven to be forceful in his vision and pronouncements, and can even be overly aggressive in promoting a specific course of action. While pursuing a goal, he steps roughshod over any dissenting voices. Surprisingly for someone which such apparent single-mindedness, he appears to wander in his personal interests and ambitions. After a term as mayor, he bowed out of local political office and made a seeming detour with a three-year stint as athletic director at T.C. Williams High School. Later, he rejoined banking, his initial profession, and even later ran again for City Council and served one-term as vice mayor. Now two and half years later, he is once again running for city elective office. If he’s elected, will he remain committed for a three-year term, or will he once again get sidetracked to something else?

Bill Euille has been mayor for 12 years. In that time, while the Washington-area experienced a recession and the effects of the Federal sequestration, Alexandria has held its own in the region. Our residential property values barely registered the effects of those two events which were catastrophic in neighboring jurisdictions. We were able to gracefully accommodate regional growth pressures. We retained our status as one of the most desirable communities to live in. And we’ve made progress in defining a sustainable future for Alexandria, one in which residents don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of paying for infrastructure and community amenities. The current budget proposal is for a balanced budget with no tax rate increase. And we’ve retained our AAA bond rating, allowing us to obtain funds more cheaply. While firmly working to position Alexandria where it should be, our mayor is also a listening mayor. He strives for unity and consensus, although that is often difficult. What some see as slow progress, others see as progress achieved without harming the fabric of our community. Many of our neighboring jurisdictions are struggling, and we are riding high.

Why would we change course now? My vote is with Bill Euille.

Anne Gray Haynes