To the editor:
Alexandria is being run like a Wall Street bank. The last election in November was a farce from a local perspective and the result of such indifference (or should I say such blind allegiance to one political party) is now becoming clearer and clearer.
The city’s population is rising much faster than the amount of open space per capita, which is far below what it should be for a city of this size and wealth. “City meets 100-acre target,” read the headlines, but that’s not a success story — it’s a failure. Great cities have great open spaces, and we don’t!
Tree care? Take a look at the stumps of the big, old oak trees that lined the street near the soon-to-be rebuilt Jefferson-Houston School (a project which was pushed through over the design objections of many residents there). Public housing with real open space — and trees and playgrounds for kids — is being demolished, and cheap-looking new housing is being erected with inadequate open space.
The waterfront redevelopment plan was passed over the objections of residents that wanted to improve it. Recently, the board of architectural review approved a residential project on North Columbus Street over the objections of neighbors. The proposed new Metro stop at Potomac Yard is being financed like a mortgage derivative.
Then there is the case of Hunting Towers (Hunting Point now) near Hunting Creek, which the Virginia Department of Transportation recently sold. What will happen to these affordable apartments now? What’s the city done to help? Little so far.
There are market forces at play here to be sure, but the real push for these changes comes from City Hall and its elected leaders and the folks they align themselves with in the community. We need to hold politicians whose interests are in conflict with a real democracy responsible — as is occurring in Turkey and Brazil. Time is running out.
- Andrew Macdonald