During the Alexandria Democratic primary, I discouraged voting for the City Council’s incumbents for a variety of reasons, and only two of them managed to survive the primary. However, all four are still on this Council through the General Election on Nov. 6, and will continue to serve through the “lame duck” session to the first of the new year. In that intervening time span, all four incumbents will continue to affect our daily lives.
Just this past week, all four voted to install lights for the T.C. Williams High School stadium, and to permit residents of Chatham Square to pursue on-street parking stickers. Both of these issues were previously adjudicated by the City Council through Development Special Use Permits (DSUPs) wherein it was promised that (a) no lights would be allowed in the stadium, and (b) no parking stickers would be issued to the residents of Chatham Square.
The T.C. Williams “no lights” promise was made in the 1960s to African-American citizens whose homes were seized through the eminent domain that was created in order to build TC. The Chatham Square “no street parking” promise was made before the development was built, since its residents were to have two-car garages. The approval of the parking sticker initiative will allow Chatham Square residents to occupy parking spaces that are needed by nearby residents who do not have parking garages. The abrogation of inherent promises made in the DSUP is very disturbing, and portends a much larger issue – why even have a DSUP process if the city is not going to honor it? Why waste everyone’s time if the City Council is going to renege on its agreements? Voters need to ensure a clean sweep of this less-than honorable bunch. Our founding fathers must be spinning in their graves at this lack of integrity.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet