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Mayoral Candidates Responses to OTP Questions | Editorial | Old Town Post

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The last day to vote in person absentee is June 6.  On Tuesday June 9, Alexandria will hold a Democratic Primary for Virginia House of Delegates (in the 45th House District) and Alexandria Mayor.  All regular polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 9, 2015.  Visit the City web site for more detailed election and voting information :  alexandriava.gov

Old Town Post asked the three Democratic Mayoral Candidates the following three questions:

1.  Why are you running for mayor?

2.  What sets you apart from your opponents?

3.  Why should someone living in Old Town vote for you?

The following are the verbatim responses we received via email by the Mayoral candidates in the order they were received:

 

Kerry Donley

1) Why are you running for Mayor?

I am running for Mayor because I am concerned about the long-term future of Alexandria, primarily the perilous fiscal course we are on. Alexandria faces a structural financial deficit where for eight straight years our expenses have exceeded our revenues. This factor is primarily due to anemic growth in our commercial real estate tax base. Overall, residential uses make up about 70% of our tax base, meaning that 70 cents on every tax dollar comes from a residential use.

We are now seeing this fiscal imbalance hit service reductions in some of our core local services, the most glaring example is the new West End Fire Station which cannot be fully staffed or equipped due to a lack of available revenue. This fact is not only an embarrassment to the City but a threat to public safety.

We need to focus on transit-oriented smart growth commercial development in order to solve this problem, and I believe we should focus on energies on growing the tax base in Potomac Yard, Carlyle and West Eisenhower as our development priorities. Supporting infrastructure is or soon will be in place to support commercial projects in these areas, and with commercial development we are able to gain the tax revenues we need without the associated demand for more public services that accompanies residential development. We have got closer to a 50-50 spilt on residential and commercial development to be economically sustainable over the long term.

2) What sets you apart from your opponents?

While I think we all agree on the structural deficit and its effects on our tax base, I have offered specific ideas on how to work our way out of this problem. Make no mistake, there are no quick fixes or easy answers but rather a lot of hard work ahead. We need to concentrate our efforts on transit-oriented development where transportation infrastructure is in place. My top priorities for Alexandria are Potomac Yard, Carlyle and Eisenhower West – all near Metro rail and existing roadways and Beltway interchanges and all well –served by various bus systems. I also will play a much more active role in our economic development planning and strategy both with the City Council and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.

3) Why should someone living in Old Town vote for you?

I do not feel our development potential lies in Old Town but rather in Potomac Yard , Carlyle and the Eisenhower Valley. Thus I would continue to support many of the protections we have in place in Old Town such as height limits and the role of the BAR. So often residents in Old Town feel the City is seeking to redevelop Old Town and thus they feel somewhat threatened. I understand their feelings in this regard and I would seek to preserve the protections we presently have in place. So, as a matter of policy I would attempt to focus our energy and resources to expand our revenue base to these top three priorities. I have been fairly clear throughout the campaign on my priorities and offered specific ideas on how Alexandria should meet its financial demands. While I have supported the Waterfront Plan, I feel we must now turn our attentions to other economic development priorities.


Mayor William “Bill” Euille

1.) I have been Mayor since 2003 and reelected in 2006, 2009 and 2012. I am seeking reelection to a 5th consecutive term to continue the work and vision for Alexandria in the areas of:

– Quality of Life

– Public Safety

– Improving the Quality of Education

– Housing Affordability

– Environment and Sustainability

– Diversifying the Revenue Base

2.) What sets me apart from my opponents is that I am a lifelong resident of Alexandria (TC Williams 1968). I’ve served on the School Board from 1974-1984. Neither of my opponents have ever served on the School Board. I am the only one with 4 consecutive terms as Mayor. Additionally, my leadership style as a team player and consensus builder sets me apart from my opponents. To quote the Washington Post, “In a city of 150,000 people facing serious challenges – crowded schools, sluggish growth, again and inadequate infrastructure – the mayor has been effective.”

3.) As Mayor for the past 12 years, I have had a very good relationship and collaboration with businesses and residents in O.T. in addressing the following concerns:

– Woodrow Wilson Bridge

– The Waterfront

– Parks and Open Space

– Barging vs. Trucking

– Clean and Safe Streets

– Street Lighting

– Parking Challenges


Allison Silberberg

Why are you running for mayor?

I am the Vice Mayor of Alexandria, and I am running for Mayor.

I have over 25 years of community leadership and public service, including: interning for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, working for Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen, founding and leading a nonprofit that mentored youth in Anacostia, chairing Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission where I served as an advocate for the city’s most vulnerable, and writing two books about individuals making a difference in our country.

Our beloved city is at a crossroads. Here are three key points of my strategic vision for Alexandria. (More information about my background and platform can be seen at www.allisonsilberberg.com.)

First, we must pursue thoughtful appropriate development that fits in, is to scale, and protects our neighborhoods and quality of life. We must preserve the Historic District in Old Town and all of the Historic Districts throughout the city. The Historic District in Old Town is the jewel in the crown that we inherited and must safeguard for generations to come. Historic preservation is a core value of our community, and it must be a core value of our elected leadership. When we build in the Historic District of Old Town, we must seek out architects who specialize in building in historic districts so that new buildings reflect the surrounding neighborhood.

Second, we must address our city’s debt and structural imbalance between our revenues and expenditures. We must grow our commercial tax base in a balanced way that diversifies our economy so we are not as tied to the ups and downs of the federal government. We need to be more proactive and recruit entities to Alexandria, as we did with the National Science Foundation.

Third, we must rebuild the people’s trust. This means we must have far more openness and transparency at City Hall. We must hold fewer executive sessions. Prior to my being on the Council, the BRAC building was discussed behind closed doors during executive sessions. There was no vote, and there is no accountability. There is no videotape or record of the Council deliberations regarding BRAC. There was no public input, and in fact, the surrounding neighborhood near BRAC had no say. There was no media scrutiny, nor any letters to the editor. Worst of all, the BRAC building is off the tax rolls and will cost our city $60 million over the next 20 years. This is an economic tragedy for Alexandria.

As Mayor, I would restore the set aside for our Open Space Fund, and I would implement the Alexandria Parks Foundation in order to increase our tree canopy, to support the Open Space Fund, and to preserve our parks.

I am deeply honored that the Honorable Patsy Ticer has endorsed me, calling me “A Voice of Reason.” Recently, she said, “Allison Silberberg shares my belief that our beloved city is a community of great neighborhoods. It is time for a new generation to take the reins of leadership. Allison’s priorities reflect our community’s values that are the heart of Alexandria, and she has demonstrated that she is dedicated to safeguarding our city’s rich history for generations to come. Her commitment to public service, to the most vulnerable, and to education is inspiring. She has integrity and reminds us all that our core values must be our moral compass. I am proud to support Allison Silberberg for Mayor!”

This election is of critical importance. I ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 9th! Thank you very much.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

At the beginning of this campaign, I decided to run a positive campaign, and I have done that.

I have integrity, and I keep my word. Promises were not meant to be broken. As a city, we are only as good as our word.

As Vice Mayor, I have listened carefully to the community and have respected everyone’s right to be heard. As Mayor, I would welcome citizen input, for civic engagement is critically important to the well-being of our city. City Hall is not separate from the people. City Hall is the people.

Since taking office in January 2013, I have hosted a monthly coffee gathering called “Council on Your Corner.” All are welcome, and it is an opportunity for citizens to sit in a circle with me and share their concerns, thoughts, and ideas. These gatherings have been popular since I began holding them. Some of the best ideas I have taken to Council have come from these coffees. All information about this monthly coffee can be seen at www.allisonsilberberg.com. As Mayor, I would continue to have these gatherings.

When I am elected Mayor, it will send a clear signal that Alexandrians want a new direction and a new way of doing the people’s business. When I am elected, the next City Council will understand that the voters of our city have voted for change and new leadership. I am prepared to provide that leadership.

Why should someone living in Old Town vote for you? 

All of us are the temporary stewards of this national treasure called Alexandria. My votes as Vice Mayor reflect this conviction.

Historic preservation is a core value of our community, and it needs to be a core value of our elected leadership. I will never sell City Hall. It is unfathomable to consider.

While Alexandria has many historic districts, the Historic District in Old Town is the jewel in the crown. Millions of tourists come every year to savor our rich history. All of us inherited these historic districts, and we must safeguard them for generations to come. It is not a burden nor an obligation, but rather an honor.

Regarding the waterfront plan, as many of our citizens may remember, I proposed a compromise that was supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Virginia, the Old Town Civic Association, the Honorable Patsy Ticer, and Pete Seeger.

I am on record that development projects along the waterfront and in Old Town and in our other historic districts must fit in and be to scale. We must protect these neighborhoods and quality of life as we develop projects.

For any new developments in the Historic District in Old Town, we need to reach out to architects who specialize in building in historic districts. Overall, the Mayor and the Council must do a far better job at bringing these specialized architects, City staff, and the community together. For example, the new building for the Old Dominion Boat Club reflects the Historic District, and there was consensus for this project.

I work diligently to make sure that citizens are heard. For example, I applaud that citizens pushed the Mayor and Council to insist on barging. As Vice Mayor, I fully supported that effort from the start and pushed the City Manager to work harder on this barging issue. I applaud how the Old Town Civic Association has played key, pivotal role on many issues. I applaud that citizens and NOTICe in North Old Town are displaying in the planning for future development along their waterfront.

Our beloved city is at a crossroads, and this election is of critical importance. I ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 9th! Thank you very much.

 

Candidates Social Media Pages and Websites (click on the links)

Kerry Donley

FaceBook

Twitter

Website

 

William “Bill” Euille

FaceBook

Twitter

Website

 

Allison Silberberg

FaceBook

Twitter

Website

 

Old Town Post hopes that this information will be helpful when you make your choice for Alexandria’s Mayor.  Let your voice be heard.  Get out and vote on June 9th. We will continue to strive to “Keep you in the Old Town Know”.

 

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