To the Editor:
Unless Alexandria drops the at-large voting format for City Council elections, then we must confront the sad phenomenon that our local Democratic Party is frustrating representational democracy. Why bother to vote if the choice is pre-ordained?
This election which returned every council incumbent to office makes clear democracy was not at work. Instead, in a city dominated by the Democratic Party, the slate of tax-and-spend candidates selected in its primary by a tiny contingent of its political apparatchiks prevailed. The general election simply became a rubber stamp of a foregone conclusion.
Let’s re-establish representational democracy in Alexandria. Like our School Board elections, and like City Council elections in 99 percent of all other American cities, Alexandria residents should be able to elect someone from among our communities to represent us on City Council. They should not be picked by an ersatz politburo.
However it came to pass, Alexandria is a one-political party town. If you like the more debt and density policies of the controlling party, and the dismissive manner in which the council treats the citizens whose interests it purports to promote, then you will be very defensive to any suggestion of change. Power is an intoxicating elixir; once you taste it, you don’t want to give it up.
Example: Del Pepper, a sweet lady, never the leader; always the follower, used the at-large voting format to defeat Bob Wood, a distinguished T.C. Williams graduate whose lifetime career accomplishments, proven management skills and solutions are so exemplary that our nation has recognized them with awards, high rank and progressively more substantive responsibilities.
Pepper was selected as a candidate by the Democratic Party primary; Bob Wood was not. But if we had representational democracy, then Bob Wood would have been elected to City Council by his community and Del Pepper would have had to persuade hers why she deserves to remain in office.