To the Editor:
Recent letters and articles have endorsed Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille for reelection. I find Mayor Euille a true gentleman and wonderful spokesman for the city, but these endorsements are disingenuous at best, playing free with the facts about Mayor Euille’s blame (and Candidate Kerry Donley’s) for much of what has gone wrong in Alexandria planning over the last decade. Serial disrespect for neighborhoods is a clue.
To date, I've attended only one of the Alexandria mayoral debates, but one at which the issue of BRAC 133 at Mark Center was raised. Incumbent Euille and candidate and former Mayor Donley both tap-danced on stage, indicating BRAC 133 was not their fault. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did not that happen on their watches?
Somehow, City Hall's hands were tied because it was the federal government which built BRAC 133. Mayor Euille claimed he did not get involved in these kinds of real estate transactions — yet this is the same mayor who did get involved in the real estate "deal" with the Old Dominion Boat Club, threatening eminent domain against the club's King Street property and compelling its move. I reckon the huge BRAC 133 didn’t rate the same amount of concern as a small parcel on the waterfront that had been there for decades and occupied by good citizens.
Why didn't the city sue the federal government over the handling of the Mark Center, knowing it was problematic? After all, the city trigger-happily threatened to sue the city's own Board of Zoning Appeals when that board offered to hear a petition by citizens contesting increased zoning density on the waterfront. That petition, properly completed, was wrongfully thrown out by the former city Planning Director when the petitioners attempted to deliver it before the deadline. It's currently a subject before the Virginia Supreme Court.
While recent writings ignore the facts about Mayor Euille, they were just as busy contorting those about his opponent, current Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg, describing her as "... inexperienced ..." As a former staffer for a U.S. senator, and a very successful and popular member of the current City Council, she is hardly politically inexperienced. In fact, she has a far better outreach to the residents of Alexandria, holding regular meetings throughout the city and listens far more seriously than Euille or Donley, who seem to brush off the public as inconvenient and ignorant. Silberberg detractors attempt to cast her as sophomoric on the dias, and to marginalize her serious efforts to spark debate. My observations are that she asks the right questions, but perhaps not ones others want to hear. I once witnessed the mayor cut her off when she challenged a questionable practice by a developer.
Her question: Why hadn't the city considered barging in lieu of trucking for the Carr and EYA developments on the waterfront? Isn't that ironic?
Vote on June 9; vote Silberberg.