Your View: Silberberg is a lifelong Democrat


By Michael Campilongo, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
Recently, I saw an email asserting Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg is not a real Democrat or competent to be mayor. Those contentions are baseless.

Silberberg interned for U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D) while attending American University. She later worked for her home state’s U.S. Senator, Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas), as his chief research assistant.

Silberberg ran as a Democrat in all three contests she has won: primaries in 2012 and 2015 and the 2012 general election, yet she is able to reach across party lines.

Her late mother managed former Texas Gov. Ann Richards’ Dallas-North campaign headquarters. Richards appointed Mrs. Silberberg to a major state board in Texas. This is not the background of a crypto-Republican.

To back the assertion on the vice mayor’s true partisan identity, the writer says her plurality is attributable to Republicans voting in the Democratic primary. Republicans voted for all three candidates. That writer’s bald assertion is just that.

The other bald assertion is equally baseless. Our mayors have been a construction company owner in Euille, a banker in Kerry Donley; Patsy Ticer was a civic activist who went on to chair a powerful committee in the Virginia Senate. Jim Moran was a stockbroker and U.S. Senate Appropriations staffer who went to Congress, while Charles Beatley was an airline pilot.

Silberberg was an aide to a powerful Democratic senator while he chaired the Senate Finance Committee. Since graduate school at UCLA, she launched and led a youth mentoring program in Anacostia at the height of the crack wars. She was a community organizer before many realized it is a door to public office. She was appointed to our city’s economic opportunities commission, which she chaired before joining city council. She is a published author and commentator.

Silberberg is an accomplished professional. She is a civic activist like her exemplar Ticer, who calls her “a voice of reason.” I trust her judgment and integrity. U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8), Alexandria Police Committee’s Local 5 and State Democratic Chair Susan Swecker all endorse her. Silberberg will continue to act wisely in serving the city she refers to as a trust, whose temporary trustees we all are.



  1. The biography is interesting. Nonetheless on local controversies in Alexandria, she has opposed the positions of the other Dems on the Council, and has taken positions shared by conservative Republicans in the City, including positions on debt, spending, multimodal transportation, smart growth, and eminent domain. She did disproportionately well in parts of the City with the most Republicans.

    All someone has to do is look at signs in front of houses to see if her supporters are more commonly supporters of the Repubs for Council or of Dems.

  2. Eminent Domain for a public purpose is legal and constitutional. It is mentioned in the bill of rights, written by James Madison and supported by the founding fathers “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Are you accusing Madison, Jefferson, Adams., Washington and Hamilton of sanctioning theft? The keys are a public purpose (which a waterfront park certainly is) and just compensation (which the boat club received)

    Per the SCOTUS even new development can be a legitimate public purpose, but that is not the law here in Virginia, and so is not relevant. In general the panic about eminent domain has been a meme of the more paranoid elements on the right.

  3. The taking of land for a public purpose is explicitly allowed in the Bill of Rights, authored by James Madison – the only limit is that it must be accompanied by just compensation.

    Are you accusing the founding fathers of sanctioning theft?

    • So, bottom line-you want the government to take your land. Or more accurately, you want the government to take others’ land so you can use it.
      You seem to spend a lot of time thinking about government land confiscation. Maybe you saw where Virginian’s voted in large numbers to restrict Eminent Domain.
      Your comment about Allison Silberbeg serving as an intern for Ted Kennedy, his views on park land and her supposed hypocrisy are just silly. However, they do show that you have tremendous animosity towards her and those who may be like-minded. Says a lot. Way too out there for me.

  4. I think the govt should take land in those few instances where it is needed for a public purpose, and a purchase cannot be negotiated, and even then it must be taken with just compensation. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Va voters voted to restrict ED, but not to end it. It remains legal under Va law.

    My mention of Sen Kennedy was to show the absurdity of calling eminent domain theft. What Ms Silberbergs real opinion on eminent domain is I do not know. Is there any evidence that she said or did anything aboout it before it became an issue on the Alexandria waterfront?

    I do oppose her yes. Because I believe her positions on the issues are wrong, and because I believe she has aligned herself with the narrow parochial interests of a few wealthy people against the interests of the City as a whole. I do not think that is “out there” at all. And certainly many of her supporters have great animosity against Mayor Euille.

    I note also that per her campaign literature, she endorses the Dem candidates for Council. The very same ones who voted for the use of eminent domain.

    Now I understand there are pressures on her as the Dem nominee to endorse the other dems. However in her trumpeting of endorsements by Beyer and Ebbin, she acts as if there were no such pressures on other Dem elected officials.

    This is a very strange election – strange because the Dem nominee takes positions supported by the local GOP, and against those taken by the Dems on the Council.

  5. Check the Box and Write-In Bill Euille.

    Ms. Silberberg is only the mouth piece of the elitists in Old Town. Her interests in the rest of the city and particularly the West End are minimal. Ask for her position on Ethanol Transloading, new fire houses, or improving transportation options on Van Dorn St & Eisenhower Ave and she fumbles for an answer.

    Keep the city moving forward with the candidate who brought the National Science Foundation and Transportation Security Administration to Alexandria. Write in Bill Euille.

    • I don’t live in Old Town and I’ve voted for democrats my whole life. I live in the West end. But i have supported Allison beginning in 2012 because she walks the talk even when hers is the only vote on council and when her supposed democratic council members refuse to second her motion so there can be an actual debate. Seems to me you are just a troll for the Mayor and not a true democrat. You and the Mayor remind me of the Chicago democratic machine. They played dirty politics too and never turned down money from special interests either. And after 4 terms in office why hasn’t the Mayor learned how to accurately complete a campaign finance report?