A recent City Council meeting was accidentally very revealing. It is not news that Council quickly rushed to make a fait accompli of a highly controversial action on Seminary Road. Apparently Council did not regard the significant neighborhood opposition as a reason to reconsider or to gather more facts. Nor did the highly unusual 4-3 vote give any pause. What opposition in the neighborhood and the close vote did do was spur the government to act before there was any more “trouble.” It may be recalled that in an unguarded recent moment Mayor Justin Wilson, reviewing the considerable public opposition, remarked; “We cannot do this again. This kind of knockdown drag out on each road in the city.”
Thus when Council member Amy Jackson made an unexpected motion which had not been cleared through the Mayor's Caucus before the public got wind of it there was much consternation. How dare a member of Council make a motion in a public meeting without it being pre-cleared? Mayor Wilson, apparently shocked by the irregular insubordination, responded that, “Nobody is aware that council is considering this issue. Nobody who weighed in on this has any idea what is going on RIGHT NOW UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS IN CITY HALL.” A motion by an elected official at a council meeting is “under the cover of darkness”?! Much that goes on in this city is under the cover of darkness but Councilwoman Jackson's motion was no such thing.
It may be that Jackson, having served on the School Board which selects members by district rather than At Large, is more sensitive to constituent's concerns. Had we election by Ward in Alexandria perhaps we would have a Council sensitive to local constituents.
Government arrogance is now on full display “Right Here In River City”.
David A. Norcross