Letter to the Editor: City’s Problems Rooted in Past Decisions

Letter to the Editor: City’s Problems Rooted in Past Decisions

Citizens of Alexandria, I view this upcoming election as a referendum on the future fiscal health of Alexandria. Do we continue to ignore our broken school and city infrastructure and our increasing debt obligations? Do we continue to raise taxes on the backs of our citizens to pay for the incompetent decisions of our representatives, do we continue to see the demise of businesses in Old Town, and do we continue to allow political attacks against our neighborhoods from an unfriendly political system. The answer is no — there can be no status quo — we cannot exist in this doomsday approach of ignoring what is happening in our city, in our schools and in our neighborhoods and as such I cannot vote for Justin Wilson.

In 2007 Justin Wilson was elected to City Council — during this period he (and others) allowed the BRACC to be part of our city skyline — as a “transportation expert” Mr. Wilson was asleep at the wheel allowing this BRACC structure to be built not only in a congested part of the city but also in a place where there was no Metro (the other location for BRACC was Victory Center with Metro). Was he not aware of the VHDOT study warning not to build due to the extensive congestion the edifice would bring — was he not aware that government buildings are not taxable — a loss of $60M dollars per year in tax money ad infinitum. Was he not aware of the 4,000 cars per day seeking parking spaces at the BRACC resulting in the massive cut-through traffic that infects our neighborhoods daily threatening their safety and solitude. There was never any development around the BRACC as promised, the BRACC stands as a symbol of total city ineptitude.

On another front Mr Wilson is a strong advocate for tax increases — his method of financing debt. In 2009, Mr Wilson motioned for a tax increase in the midst of a “Financial Armageddon.” In 2016, Mr. Wilson issued a need for a .03 cent tax increase three times greater than the city manager sought. In 2017, Mr. Wilson proposed to double the real estate tax again from 2.7 cents as per Mr. Jinks to 5.4 cents to “fund the schools.” Wait — Mr. Wilson is anything but a school advocate. There has been but one school built in the past 10 years, our schools are appalling — leaky roofs, mold, gas leaks and rodents.

Mr. Wilson is completing his ninth year on council. So where was his agenda for school infrastructure and academics? Is this just an epiphany on his part that this mess just happened?

Let me leave you this message from Donnie Wintermute a long time real estate agent and an “Alexandria Living Legend:” “In my 40 years of being a Realtor I have never had a client want to move to Alexandria because of the quality of the public schools. I have however, had a number of clients over the years move from Alexandria to McLean, Arlington, or Vienna because of their highly rated school system.”

There has been no action on school infrastructure for decades.

City and school infrastructure and sewage issues (now ordered to be completed by 2025 instead of 2038 at increased costs and disruption) have been grossly neglected, developers have had the upper hand.

There is one candidate that truly supports neighborhood tranquility, tight budgets, measured development, political transparency and the need for excellence in schools. With a new council in place, Allison Silberberg, and a new vice mayor sitting to her immediate right representing a sign of solidarity and purpose, will help the citizens take back their city. Vote Allison Silberberg.

Bill Goff