I am writing to express my concern about the future of Alexandria. The failure of the Mayor and majority of the City Council to ensure the continued quality of life my family and I have come to enjoy as residents of this historic city is disheartening. For that reason, I am voting for Allison Silberberg for Mayor of Alexandria in the Democratic Primary.
While there are many reasons to be concerned with the current Mayor ‘s policies, in each of our neighborhoods, it has been my experience that while he will meet with residents or whip out a quick email, he is perfectly satisfied to provide a textbook response to a citizen’s question. In my case he did not follow up. He lacks the interest to understand the concerns brought to him by individual citizens or the community.
My personal experience was as a board member of a Condominium Association in the Landmark Area. The Association was interested in pursuing and installing photovoltaic solar panels in the condominium. It is the residents’ desire to reduce its carbon footprint, lower the cost of electricity per unit and perhaps sell excess electricity back to the utility. Representing the Board, I and another member scheduled a meeting with the Mayor to discuss the matter and the possibility of acquiring city approval for such an environmental and economic enhancement.
We explained to the mayor the advantages of the installation of solar panels and told him we had done research and found a company that would install the solar panels if we could get the Alexandria city backing. We sent emails to the departments he suggested, however, we did not receive any meaningful responses. I went so far as to attend a meeting with the energy manager in a public forum. I asked several questions and met with the energy manager at the end of the meeting; he suggested that I contact my city council member and put our suggestion to him. I called the city councilperson twice and received no answer. I asked another member of the condo board to call, and he received no response. I then concluded the city government was not serious about energy conservation.
I was greatly disappointed in my meeting with the Mayor, his knowledge of the city regulations was significant and appeared to have a well-informed technocrat’s grasp of the issue, almost as though he had a graduate degree from Google. However, his final recommendation was that we get the item placed on the City Council Agenda, as if he were handing us a copy of How A Bill Becomes A Law, no interest, no “great idea,” no leadership!
Alexandria is a delightful city which is why we chose to locate here; however, the change of the landscape approved by the City over the last few years has been enormous, not of the scale or character that has been so appealing to my family. It is for that reason that I am voting for the candidate that cares about the environment, that cares about the community, that cares about Alexandria’s future, and truly listens to Alexandria residents. I am voting for the candidate that cares about our quality of life, I am voting for Allison Silberberg for Mayor.
Craig M Silman