The 23 May [Washington Post] editorial “On the Ballot in Northern Virginia” is totally off the mark endorsing Bill Euille for Mayor of Alexandria. How can one say that Bill Euille has been an effective mayor when the City of Alexandria is a half billion dollars in debt, with an annual debt service of $80 million? In addition, Alexandria schools are facing massive infrastructure costs totaling close to a billion dollars over the next ten years, and the City’s combined sewer system needs an estimated $350 – $500 million to repair it. Moreover, the recently approved Metro station for Potomac Yards (which was the most expensive option of four) will cost $268 million. Since Alexandria has never completed a development on cost and schedule, the bill for the new Metro Station alone will be much larger than programmed. Finally, Mayor Euille’s threat to use eminent domain to obtain the property of the Old Dominion Boat Club was egregious at best, especially after he swore (on several occasions) that he would never do it. In fact, during his tenure, the City has used the threat of eminent domain in a total of four instances, which is management by intimidation, and not a way to run a city.
The editorial states that Allison Silberberg is not a credible candidate, claiming that she snipes at controversial development proposals, which is “playing to the galleries.” The editorial also claimed that she did this without “proposing viable alternatives.” However, Allison was the only member of the City Council who advanced any alternative solution to the dreary monolithic structures proposed for the Alexandria waterfront. None of those buildings are suitable for the Old and Historic District, and she repeatedly said that. She advocated to tear down the former Washington Post warehouse on South Union Street, and to replace it with something at least compatible with the surrounding historic neighborhood.
Since the Republicans are not running a candidate in the Mayor’s race, whoever wins the Democratic primary on the 9th of June will, in fact become the next mayor. Allison will be a welcome voice of reason for what heretofore has become a developer sponsored “borrow, build and hope” dynasty.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet