Letter: Nice Vs. Needed

Letter: Nice Vs. Needed

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Bill Eiulle was defeated in the Democrat primary, but now is campaigning as "A Proven Democrat for Mayor." How ethical is this?

Euille says the election is not about his ego, but that the city needs him. Really? What about his efforts to get a job in the McAuliffe administration or his campaign for Krupicka's seat in the state legislature?

Alexandria cannot afford three more years of Euille's leadership. Under Euille, Alexandria's debt has nearly quadrupled from $144 million to $540 million. This explosion occurred as Euille, the City Council, and School Board have been unwilling to distinguish between expenditures that would be "nice" and "essential." They argue that our 4 star bond rating indicates nothing is amiss, but this is premised on the notion that we are an affluent community that can "afford" substantially higher taxes to pay our debt. But is this what we want?

The Crystal City Potomac Yard Metroway dedicated bus line cost $21 million to build, but the buses often run empty. The annual operating losses are going to be colossal. Now the City Council has decided on the most expensive option for the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station at a cost of at least $268 million. Our city leaders claim that this will be a "free lunch" for most city taxpayers, but will their rosy projections turn out this time to be true? Or is it another case of "borrow, build, and pray?"

What is particularly troubling about the city's leaders' constant penchant to build gold-plated facilities is that it is done without regard to future spending needs such as the EPA's requirement that our combined storm water and sewage system be upgraded. This could cost the city at least $100-180 million and with one option running as high as $400 million.

Adding to our debt are decisions made by this School Board. While many students receive instruction in temporary modular class rooms or those in need of repair and we must build more than 100 classrooms over the next five years, how is it that we can find $1 million to provide lighting to T.C. Williams' tennis courts and are considering spending $3-4 million to "upgrade" its football stadium including money for its "press box" because its present state is "embarrassing."

Not only did we spend $45 million on expanding Jefferson Houston to include space for grades 6-8, but have decided to do the same at Patrick Henry and possibly at Douglas MacArthur. At the same time the long range plan calls for a third middle school. Which is it: K-8 or use middle schools for instruction?

The iron triangle of our current mayor/city council, development firms, and compliant city government employees has resulted in increasing density, road congestion, an exacerbation of the shortage of parking in Old Town, and a loss of affordable housing. The latter is ironic as our city leaders constantly harp on the need to increase affordable housing, but take actions that drastically cut availabilities. During Euille's tenure the number of affordable rental units has been slashed almost in half from over 12,200 units to 6,600. The most egregious example was the 2013 decision to allow developers to demolish The Hamlets on Beauregard Avenue In this single move, 2,475 affordable apartments were lost to condominiums and luxury rentals. The city's "fix:" subsidize the rent on 800 units.

Twelve years of Bill Euille's "leadership" is enough. Vote to retire the mayor on Nov. 3 and elect a new City Council that can distinguish between "nice" and "needed" expenditures of our tax money.

Tom Slayton