Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Frank Fannon, Living Legend

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Frank Fannon, Living Legend

It is heartening to see a citizen as solid as Frank Fannon recognized as a "Living Legend." Given the time and effort this Alexandrian has dedicated to making his community a better place, no one can question the appropriateness of the honor.

Your article referenced Mr. Fannon having served his hometown politically as a member of the Alexandria City Council from 2009-2012. His devotion to public service and love of community were well-proven. Unfortunately, that was not enough to offset his party affiliation, Republican. In this city's politics, there is no room for diversity of thought.

So sensitive were then-mayor Euille and then-council member Wilson to this intrusion on their comfort that, against strong public opposition, they succeeded in moving the date of local elections from May, when voters could focus on local issues, to November, when Democratic star-power at the top of the ticket might move even the least movable to the polls.

It's fair to mention that some prominent Democrats, albeit none then running for or holding public office, opposed the change in election dates, as did the majority of a bipartisan commission specifically established to examine the issue. In their view, political competition is healthy and citizens ought to be able to focus on local needs and candidates in a vote separate from those for national and state offices. Those Democrats deserve credit for taking the high ground, for holding representative governance above mere politics.

Unfortunately, raw political power and self-interest prevailed. For similar reasons, the Alexandria City Council likely never will grant Alexandrians an opportunity to vote for council members from their own neighborhoods. That would be too risky. Views might be challenged. Positions might have to be explained and justified. Some voters might even choose to elect candidates like Frank Fannon, a great Alexandrian to apparently all but a few.

Jack Lichtenstein