To the Editor:
Bill Euille has been an excellent mayor. I have not agreed with him on all issues, especially his vote approving the move of the Bergerie Restaurant into my residential neighborhood. But he, unlike most politicians, has been willing to expend political capital to pursue goals he sees as important for the city's future. It took great political courage, for example, to gain approval of the city's waterfront plan in the face of strenuous opposition. And he works at his job 24 -7.
Kerry Donley was an effective mayor too. However, entry into the current mayoral race will act as a spoiler and all but guarantee the election of Allison Silberberg, the third mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary. Euille and Donley will split the vote of those who see development as generally positive for the city. Donley argues that the current mayor has not pushed economic development energetically. But the commercial real estate market in the entire Washington area is very weak currently. (It is true that the city and the Chamber of Commerce, which jointly run the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, are not competing well with neighboring jurisdictions nor spending adequately to do so.)
In my view, Allison Silberberg will be a disaster as mayor. She is a populist, telling people what they want to hear, rather than leading. Often she has proved indecisive as a council member and sometimes appears not to have fully studied issues and staff memos. Several times she has chaired council meetings and demonstrated an inability to work with the other Democratic members or move issues along expeditiously. Silberberg, in what will be a low turnout primary, will attract the Republican cross-over vote mainly in Old Town (most of whom oppose the waterfront plan), others who see development as a conspiracy between the city and the developers, and many woman who will vote mainly on gender.