To the Editor:
William Goff hit a homerun in my eyes when he pointed out in his letter that we are losing neighborhood battles one by one because we’re only seeing these issues through local eyes rather than being proud of and caring for all of Alexandria. Bill Euille ran on a “One Alexandria” mantra, but since then it’s been anything but one Alexandria.
We all passed Civics 101 in school, yet we’re only remembering that at the national and state level. Having a ward system would only exacerbate this divided attitude. Only when we unite to question developments are we able to evoke policy that benefits all. When Washington Street was eyed as another K Street, a critical mass led by Ed Braswell gathered energy and forced Washington Street Standards, which protects this august street in keeping with our agreement with the National Park Service. Similar occurrences include the Connector issue and adding another entrance to the parkway just north of Alexandria. United we succeeded!
When the BRAC issue arose, citizens from all over Alexandria should have been outraged and not just those in the affected neighborhoods. Alexandria belongs to all of us. All of us should be outraged at our lousy school performance and should be clamoring from the rooftops for results. Waterfront development. Another huge issue but apparently only those who live close by really care. Everyone should care that we seem to be emulating National Harbor and continuing on the current march to change our Colonial heritage to the “Every City in America” look. Instead, everyone who lives in Alexandria should be proud of our historic heritage and the beauty of our waterfront that is being turned over to commercial interests.
Until and unless we see the city as “our” city and care enough for each of its diverse neighborhoods, politicians and developers will continue to take advantage of us. With an election this fall, it is imperative that we choose candidates who will commit to preserving every neighborhood and ensuring our schools are measured by outcomes and not new, fancy buildings.
My hat goes off to Mr. Goff and to others like Jack Sullivan, Katy Cannady and Poul Hertel who care about all of Alexandria and whose actions demonstrate that caring. And to remember those before us who did as well: Mayor Beatley, Vola Lawson, Ed Braswell and Ellen Pickering.