YOUR VIEW | Examining Non-Democratic Council Members


To the editor:

In May 2009, Alexandria voters made a significant change to our City Council by throwing out two Democratic incumbents and replacing them with a Republican and an Independent endorsed by Republicans: Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes.

Six months into the Fannon-Hughes tenure, its useful to examine their record and what changes they have brought to our city.

Throughout the election, the Alexandria Republicans bemoaned a perceived lack of dissent on the City Council, citing unanimous votes on the previous Council. Despite the rhetoric, the record of this newly constituted Council has shown a strikingly similar level of unanimity.

Where there has been dissent, it has been against the interests of the residents of our city.
Both Hughes and Fannon were against efforts to appoint Police Chief Earl Cook to the Board of Commissioners of our Public Housing Authority, thus opposing efforts to improve public safety in our low-income housing.

Fannon voted against a public-private partnership with Shiloh Baptist Church to provide needed housing for low-income seniors.

Hughes voted against funding to ensure that Alexandria would tap into hundreds of millions of dollars that will flow to localities over the next decade due to a full count of our residents through the 2010 Census.

Fannon has fought efforts to dispose of unneeded city properties, hurting efforts to save taxpayers money in a difficult economy.

Hughes even voted against accepting federal stimulus dollars to fund security improvements at our courthouse, purchase equipment needed by our police department, fund efforts to fight violence against women and provide needed services to children with disabilities.

Change can be good in government particularly when it results in new ideas. Unfortunately, in the case of the two new Republicans on our City Council, it seems as though there arent too many new ideas, and the ideas they do have are bad for Alexandria and its residents.

Geraldine Bernier