Alexandria Letter: One-Party Rule Thrives

Alexandria Letter: One-Party Rule Thrives

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Despite the fact that Alexandria is one of the most diverse cities in the entire country, we are totally absent leadership that embraces anything close to diversity in opinion. As it is with one-party rule, it goes without saying that if you don’t hear the arguments on the other side you will never be able to make good rational decisions.

If one were to track the many decisions made by this council since January, you would find that almost all of their decisions have been made with a 7-0 vote. If all of those “slam dunk” decisions had been made using the right rationale and reasoning you would shout “Hooray.” However, that has not been the case. Unfortunately there is not one member of this council who has the intestinal fortitude to take on his or her colleagues and subsequently not cave-in when the final vote is taken. A number of examples bare this out.

There were three major developments that typify what is commonly referred to as “pay-to-play” or what does it cost me to essentially cheat upon the zoning criteria. These were: the Ramsey Homes pubic housing redevelopment, the ABC Liquor/ Giant Food Store development and the Old Colony Inn redevelopment. None of these developments should have been approved. If a city is expected to abide by zoning that in most cases has been in place for many years, then why is the zoning always changed based upon the size of the contributions made by the developers. In addition, the Ramsey homes reflected a different historic past reflecting for the first time housing for black tenants working in the Pentagon during World War II.

Council unanimously and suspiciously approved a watered down version of an ethics code, however there is absolutely no enforcement arm to bring ethics violators to justice. All seven council members also approved a property tax increase of three cents on top of even more egregious tax assessment increases which they were very aware of. Also remember that for at least the last two election cycles they have not increased taxes before the election. Immediately thereafter taxes always seem to increase precipitously.

The council also hammered through a food truck ordinance that authorizes one location near the King Street Metro which happens to be in the Old and Historic District. Lastly, they have failed to take actions against a city staff who have allowed a runaway Bikeshare program to germinate throughout the Old and Historic District.

This one-party rule has to start being responsive to the citizenry.

The residents in Alexandria make up one of the most educated populations in the entire country. Council, you need to start paying attention to the people who put you there, or if the heat is too much for you to handle then bail out. Even more importantly why do the citizens continue to vote in the same cast of characters when they know fully well that conditions will not get better?

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet