Letter: Deliberative Leadership

Letter: Deliberative Leadership

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

In recent months, I have become involved as a volunteer in the Alexandria election process for the first time and have been most pleased to have come to know Allison Silberberg. Allison is a person of integrity. I am confident of her enthusiastic ability to serve all the citizens of Alexandria.

She has demonstrated attributes that all citizens desire of their leaders: listen carefully, ask questions candidly, inquire about additional information or research before making final decisions, and make every effort to achieve consensus. Some — in and out of Alexandria — have attempted to twist these attributes into “weaknesses”; however, her audiences across the city know that these attributes are the genuine qualities they desire in all of their senior government policy makers.

As the current vice mayor, Allison has offered alternatives to resolve issues that caused significant conflicts in our city. When Allison voiced concerns about issues before council, she wanted more answers, more examination of issues. When she votes, she doesn’t state, as others on council too often do, “I have some reservations about this issue and wish we could change certain things,” and then they routinely vote to approve the agenda item. Allison has taken the view that if there are steps to achieve a greater consensus within our city, the council should take the additional time and expend the additional energy to work out problems before forcing a vote. As was clear on the recent Robinson terminal debate, the council had the ability, and the leverage, to insist on more refinements by the developer to meet the continuing concerns of the community. Instead, the council did what it too often does. Move to close public debate, ignore the testimony of the community just heard, and vote for the developer’s proposal.

Therefore, it should be of no surprise that the development community likes what they have and does not want a mayor and council that questions more or insists on a more deliberative process to address community concerns. The level of developer money flowing into the Alexandria’s Mayoral race is unprecedented; these contributions speak volumes about how the political system is being manipulated, and they should give us all pause as we approach our vote on June 9.

When Allison Silberberg is elected, the next City Council will understand that the voters of our city have voted for change and new leadership. She will set agendas and organize meetings to insure that the voices of our citizenry are heard and that there is time for thoughtful input and full consideration of all issues of importance to Alexandria.

Dr. Victoria N. Salmon