By H. J. Rosenbaum, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Bill Euille has been an excellent mayor. I have not agreed with him on all issues, especially his vote approving the move of the La Bergerie restaurant into my residential neighborhood. But he, unlike most politicians, has been willing to spend political capital to pursue goals he sees as important for the city’s future. It took great political courage, for example, to obtain approval of the waterfront plan in the face of strenuous opposition. And he works at his job 24/7.
Kerry Donley was an effective mayor too. However, his entry into the current mayoral race will act as a spoiler and all but guarantee the election of Allison Silberberg, the third mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary. Euille and Donley will split the vote of those who see development as generally positive for the city.
Donley feels the mayor has not been energetic enough in attracting business to the city. But commercial development throughout the region is weak. It is true that the city and the local Chamber of Commerce, which jointly runs the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, has not provided the resources necessary for the city to compete with neighboring jurisdictions.
In my view, Allison Silberberg will be a disaster as mayor. She is a populist, telling people what they want to hear rather than leading. She is often indecisive and appears not to have studied council issues and staff memos. And she has demonstrated an inability to effectively chair council meetings in the absence of the mayor. Silberberg is usually the only “no” vote among city councilors. If most of the current city councilors are returned to office — all are running — how will she lead?
Silberberg, in what will be a low turnout primary, will attract the Republican crossover vote mainly in Old Town — most of these voters opposed the waterfront plan — others that see the city and developers as being engaged in an evil conspiracy, and many women, who will vote largely on gender.