Letter: Hindering Affordable Housing?

Letter: Hindering Affordable Housing?

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

On her website, Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg states that she would like to “support nonprofit developers who want to invest in our city’s affordable, workforce housing.” I agree. Unfortunately, it would appear that Vice Mayor Silberberg’s words are just that. Her record is one that is demonstrably against the creation of affordable housing at nearly every turn. And, her responses to date, like her responses on many other critical issues confronting our city, are completely devoid of any specifics or even the semblance of a plan.

A sampling of Allison Silberberg’s disappointing affordable housing record includes the following:

In January 2013, when the council was presented with a public-private partnership with a nonprofit to build 78 units of affordable housing on Reed Avenue, Vice Mayor Silberberg voted, “No.”

In April 2013, when the council was presented with the largest developer contribution to affordable housing in the city’s history, in the form of the Beauregard Plan, Vice Mayor Silberberg voted, “No.”

In January, when the council was presented with another public-private partnership with a nonprofit to build 93 units of affordable housing on Fillmore Avenue, Vice Mayor Silberberg withheld her support.

In April, when the council was presented with new parking standards to reduce the costs of affordable housing development, Vice Mayor Silberberg voted, “No.”

Just last month, when the council was asked by ARHA to allow them to build 53 new units of affordable housing, Vice Mayor Silberberg voted, “No.”

With the incredible loss of affordable housing in our region over the last decade, and the incredible financial demands on hardworking Alexandrians, we need a mayor fully committed to the cause of expanding not thwarting affordability options. Unfortunately, it appears Vice Mayor Silberberg pays affordable housing lip service, and nothing more.

Silberberg’s “No” history is not a visionary policy agenda for Alexandria on issues critical to our continued progress, vitality and diversity. Rather, Silberberg’s “No” mantra is a response, regrettably, from an erstwhile well-intentioned politician either ill-prepared, unready or unwilling to at least publicly address the difficult and challenging issues confronting our city. The job demands much more. It demands policy not platitudes absent of details. It demands well-reasoned planning and not public posturing. It demands continued hard work and not simply plucking the low hanging fruit often the stuff of divisive neighborhood issues. I will vote for the candidate for mayor that I know has worked tirelessly on issues such as affordable housing, public safety, education and the environment. On Nov. 3, I am writing in “Bill Euille.”

Ludwig P. Gaines

The writer served City of Alexandria City Council (2003-2006, 2006-2009); City of Alexandria Planning Commission (2001-2003); City of Alexandria Human Rights Commission (2003, 2010-Present, chairperson); City of Alexandria Affordable Housing Work Group (2007-2009, chairperson); Washington Area Housing Partnership, (2008-2009, chairperson); City of Alexandria Landlord-Tenant Relations Board (2000-2002, chairperson)