To the Editor:
To say that Bill Euille has been an effective mayor is not a valid statement, since the City of Alexandria is a half billion dollars in debt, with an annual debt service now of $80 million. In addition, the Alexandria schools are facing massive infrastructure costs totaling close to a billion dollars over the next 10 years, and the city’s combined sewer system is in need of an estimated $350- $500 million to repair it. Moreover, the recently approved “Gold Plated” Metro station for Potomac Yards (which was the most expensive option of four and adds $14 million to our annual debt service), will cost $268 million. Also, since Alexandria has an abysmal record of completing developments on cost and schedule, the bill for the new Metro Station alone will undoubtedly be much larger than programmed. Finally, Mayor Euille’s threat to use eminent domain to obtain the property of the Old Dominion Boat Club was egregious at best, especially after vowing (on several occasions) that he would never employ it. In fact, during his tenure, Alexandria has used the threat of eminent domain in a total of four instances, which is management by intimidation and definitely not the way to run a city.
Former Mayor Kerry Donley is not a viable alternative. In the mid-’80s, he and Councilman David Speck initiated a “bricks and mortar” campaign to build as much and as dense a community as possible, with the end result being that Alexandria is one of the densest cities in the entire country, and if Mr. Donley is elected, he will double down on density. Also, he, like Mr. Euille and some others on the current City Council cater to the developers. These folks are in the process of ruining our magnificent waterfront, and if left to their own devices, they will create an Alexandria where everyone will be looking to escape to greener pastures.
A few citizens in our community assert that Allison Silberberg is not a credible candidate, claiming that she snipes at controversial development proposals, which is playing to the galleries. They also claim that she does not propose “viable alternatives." However, Ms. Silberberg was the only City Council member who offered any alternative solution to the dreary monolithic structures proposed for the Alexandria waterfront, repeatedly stating that those buildings were not suitable for the Old and Historic District. She advocated to tear down the former Washington Post warehouse on South Union Street, and to replace it with something at least compatible with the surrounding historic neighborhood, however this fell on deaf ears.
Since the Republicans are not running a candidate in the mayor’s race, whoever wins the Democratic primary on June 9 will become the next mayor. If you are content with the direction of Alexandria, vote for the incumbent or his predecessor on June 9. If not, Allison Silberberg would indeed be a welcome voice of reason to counter the current developer sponsored “borrow, build, and hope” dynasty.
Townsend A. ”Van” Van Fleet