Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Lone Vote Of Opposition

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Lone Vote Of Opposition

As an interested voter in Alexandria, I attended the Chamber of Commerce debate and heard Vice Mayor Justin Wilson tout his ability to build coalitions on the City Council. He also criticized Mayor Allison Silberberg for being the lone vote of opposition in several 6 to 1 Council decisions.

What Mr. Wilson failed to point out is that Mayor Silberberg, in those votes, has not been afraid to buck the majority when she feels that it is in the best interests of Alexandrians. A case in point is the Karig Estates development, approved by the Council on a 6-1 vote. Mayor Silberberg was the only member who listened to the environmentalists and the neighboring community and paid attention to their quality of life concerns. Mr. Wilson and the other Council members instead sided with the developer, and against the neighborhood, as well as against geological experts and the Sierra Club who warned of environmental consequences.

Mr. Wilson also initiated and then led the charge for a record tax hike in 2017 that more than doubled the amount proposed by the City Manager in another 6-1 vote. Mayor Silberberg was the lone voice opposing the record tax hike. She instead urged the Council to support the City Manager’s proposed budget with a 2.7-cent tax rate increase, which would have met the City’s financial needs and the School Superintendent’s request for education. People want to see their tax dollars go to specific, well-defined needs. However, the additional money generated by Mr. Wilson’s historic tax rate increase was not dedicated or set aside for any specific project, but will be used for unspecified needs to be determined at a later time.

I fully support Mayor Silberberg for re-election on June 12, because I want a mayor who cares deeply about the people and who supports smart growth. Mayor Silberberg is a leader who never forgets that it is the citizens of this town who make this growth possible and that Alexandria’s government must be for the people. I am voting for Mayor Silberberg because I want a mayor who will have my back, reflects my values and hears my concerns.

Mary Shine