Mayoral Candidate–Alexandria: Allison Silberberg
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Mayoral Candidate–Alexandria: Allison Silberberg

Question & Answer

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Allison Silberberg



Democrat

Age: 52

Family: Single

Education including degrees and institutions:

The American University, B.A. in History and International Studies.

U.C.L.A., M.F.A. in Playwriting from the School of Theater, Film & Television.

Offices held, dates: Vice Mayor of Alexandria, January 2013 - present.

Occupation and relevant experience: Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg is a writer with over 25 years of community leadership and public service. With an expertise in grant making, nonprofit sector, and civic engagement, she is the author of "Visionaries In Our Midst: Ordinary People who are Changing our World," which profiles individuals who are making a difference. She is the co-author a forthcoming book about ensuring that women are included in medical research, clinical trials, and drug testing. She is also the commissioned author of a memoir for a philanthropic family about leading a meaningful life. Her writing has appeared on PBS.org, and her columns have appeared in The Washington Post and Dallas Morning News. She worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.

Community involvement:

  • Chair of Alexandria's Economic Opportunities Commission, serving as an advocate for our most vulnerable.
  • Led EOC to focus primarily on affordable/workforce housing and job creation.
  • Served on the EOC. (2004 to 2012)
  • Initiated EOC's "All Hands on Deck," an annual day for the EOC to give back to a local nonprofit, including the EOC's one-day mini-makeover of the city's homeless shelter.
  • New Hope Housing awarded her the Leadership/Servanthood Award in 2012.
  • Launched and managed Lights, Camera, Action!, a nonprofit committed to helping youth in Anacostia. For this work, she received two awards.
  • For nearly a decade, she led monthly charity events that gave all proceeds (over $50,000) to local nonprofits focused on children at risk and families in distress. She received the Reatig Award for her community work.
  • Appointee to The World Bank's Community Outreach Grants Committee, which gave $1.3 million to local nonprofits.
  • Volunteer tutor for two 4th graders at MacArthur Elementary School.
  • President of the board of the Georgetown Senior Center. (2010-2012)

Website: www.allisonsilberberg.com

Email address: allison@allisonsilberberg.com

Twitter handle: @A_Silberberg

Name three favorite endorsements:

I am honored by all the endorsements, but I will list four.

Congressman Don Beyer

Former Mayor / Former State Senator Patsy Ticer

Alexandria Political Action Committee on Education (A-PACE)

Alexandria Committee of Police, Local 5

QUESTIONS:

What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

All of us are the temporary stewards of this national treasure called Alexandria. The Honorable Patsy Ticer has called me, "A Voice of Reason." The question is, What kind of a community do we want to live in, whether it is in Old Town or the West End? We are a city of great neighborhoods. Throughout the city, I believe we must pursue thoughtful, appropriate development that fits in, is to scale, and protects our neighborhoods and quality of life. We must preserve all the Historic Districts of our beloved city and must safeguard them for generations to come. Historic preservation is a core value of our community, and it needs to be a core value of our elected leadership. I will never sell City Hall.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you? Restoring the public trust is critical. We need more transparency and fewer executive sessions. The BRAC building is an outcome of executive sessions. BRAC is off the tax rolls and will cost our city over $60 million over the next 20 years alone, and there was no vote, no accountability. It is an economic disaster for our city. Allison returns campaign contributions from people she knows have development proposals before the Council. Mr. Euille accepted over $100,000 in contributions from developers with business before the Council. Allison's campaign finance reports are 100% in compliance with State law. Mr. Euille's reports averaged under 15%. It is time for change.

Beyond funding, how else can city government help the school system?

  • Encourage matching grants.
  • Partner with entities such as the National Science Foundation to help students with their core science and math skills.
  • To deal with part of our school capacity issues, we should utilize empty office space in the city as well as repurpose the Lee Center, which used to be a school.

How do you convince citizens that you are truly listening to them even when you have to disagree with them?

I envision a city where the citizens know that their elected leadership listens first and then takes action. When I am mayor, when citizens take the time to come to City HalI, they will be heard. I am an active listener and pay attention to the public's concerns. I listen to all sides before making up my mind and seek compromise where possible.

As Vice Mayor, I have hosted a monthly coffee called "Council on Your Corner," where citizens from across the city have joined me to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas. I will continue these monthly coffees as mayor. I am proud of my reputation as someone who respects the voices of our citizens. We must rebuild the people's trust.

Any number of economic hiccups beyond the city's control (federal government, economic downturn, etc.) could force re-ordering of city budget priorities. For reductions, which three areas would you turn to first?

  • Push back the timeline for certain capitol spending projects.
  • Cut the use of consultants.
  • Cut the use of a car from the City Manager's and City Attorney's compensation package. I would curtail the use of city vehicles in terms of employees driving city cars home.

If you were given $1 million to spend any way you would like for the betterment of the city, how would you spend it?

  • Increase library hours and maintain the book collection.
  • Restore Ramsay Recreation Center's hours on Sundays.
  • Reduce the charge for children to use our public swimming pools.
  • Reduce charges for using the recreation centers.
  • Put $150,000 towards beautification for planting trees and more mowing.
  • Create a fund for teachers, public safety workers, and city employees to apply for a down payment so they can reside in Alexandria. Upon selling the property, the employee would reimburse the fund.