Letter: City Needs Consensus Builder

Letter: City Needs Consensus Builder

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my wholehearted support for the candidacy of Allison Silberberg for Alexandria City Council. As a former City Council president in Albany, N.Y., a long-time professor-in-residence at the New York State Assembly, and a continuing consultant for U.S. government projects around the world on what makes an effective, transparent and publicly engaged legislative body, I have had a long time to reflect on the qualities that we need on our City Council. Furthermore, as someone who grew up on the coast of Maine and who moved to Alexandria to live close to my two grandsons, I have thought long and hard about the leadership that we need to help safeguard our precious waterfront, and our environmental and fiscal resources for their future. Allison Silberberg is an inspiring examplar of those essential leadership qualities.

First of all, Allison Silberberg is a visionary, a person who evokes for all of us the glories that can be built into the many plans for Alexandria’s future, drawing on the talents, inputs and ideas of all its citizens. A visionary is a person who will help us articulate who we are and want to be as a community, and work with all of us to tie concrete plans to that vision.

Second, she has made public involvement and citizen engagement hallmarks of her entire campaign. When she says that she wants a “people’s waterfront,” she means it. And when she points out that this and other projects key to Alexandria’s future require public involvement at all stages of the process, she is committed to exactly that.

Third, Allison Silberberg can inspire others to work for the best, and to work with each other. I’ve seen her at several debates and public events. She doesn’t holler, she doesn’t take the low-road of sarcasm or easy attacks; instead, she reminds us that she will build on her work as chair of Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission to not only bring fiscal responsibility to her work on the council, but to play a crucial role on that council as a consensus-builder. Consensus-building is desperately needed if Alexandria politics are not to mirror the sometimes crippling disfunctionality that we see at the state and national levels.

Finally, Allison Silberberg sincerely believes in the concept of stewardship, that “we are all the temporary stewards of this national treasure called Alexandria.” Stewardship, by definition, implies a commitment to building on the best work of past generations to guarantee the best possible future for generations of Alexandrians to come. Allison Silberberg understands the true implications of this important, respectful, and humbling concept. I urge my fellow Alexandrians to vote for Allison Silberberg on Nov. 6. 

Helen R. Desfosses