Your View: The Alexandria Times plays the age card against Ed Semonian

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To the editor:

I was disappointed to read your covert endorsement of a candidate for the Clerk’s race in the latest edition of the Alexandria Times (“Contested races best serve the public,” November 3, 2011).

We all agree that competition is healthy; contested races certainly highlight the performers and, hopefully, weed out the underperforming candidates. No argument there.

However, the first paragraph stating that the Alexandria Democratic Committee “erupted in disbelief and outrage” upon learning that the circuit court clerk race would be contested is pure fiction. Where did this notion come from? We didn’t erupt — we mobilized. We moved to propel forward our candidate who has served in this position with distinction and who has transformed the office into a mostly paperless, online and customer-friendly office, well ahead of other offices in the state. Most other offices in the commonwealth followed Mr. Semonian’s lead, basing their aging systems on his new and innovative ones.

But the next-to-last paragraph really said it all. After extolling Mr. Semonian for his years of dedicated and meaningful service to the City of Alexandria, the zinger hit. “Still, he’s held this post since 1979 … American hostages were being held in Iran and American airwaves were dominated by disco. A case can be made that it’s time for a change …”

Why change when you have a cutting-edge, leading innovator in place already demonstrating the experience to continue running this office? Because of his age? Because the opposing candidate is younger in age?  Experience is experience, regardless of age.

Shame on you, Alexandria Times, for playing the age card to endorse a younger, less-experienced candidate. Too bad that a newspaper with “older” workers on its staff had to resort to such a dirty trick to endorse a candidate less than one week before the election. Shame on you!

– Becky Arnold, Alexandria Democratic Committee

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