By Michael Peck, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Mayor Bill Euille’s write-in campaign for the upcoming November election has brought out revealing comments from former Mayor Kerry Donley and others in their corner. They carry a surprising tone of churlish and entitled privilege. The Euille-Donley “she’s not ready” warning aimed at Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg represents nothing less than a flagrant sexist signal to duly elected women that they don’t qualify for prime time even if publicly tested and proven.
This Euille/Donley platform tries to convince Alexandria’s voters that the massive development versus neighborhood civil wars started, aided and abetted under their watch — BRAC, Landmark Mall, Beauregard, the waterfront and Potomac Yard — are a triumph of fiscal and architecturally visionary leadership over ambition, mediocrity writ large, and greed. If only that were true.
In particular, rampant citywide development projects have instigated a spiraling social injustice race to the bottom where the city collects increasing taxes from its residents, only to spend that money in dragged out and bitterly contested lawsuits filed by the very same residents it just taxed. At issue is the need to defend private residential property and neighborhoods from the Euille/Donley pecuniary belief that “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine stays mine.”
Virtue Feed & Grain owes its favored Old Town location to this line of attack, but there are no local Old Town homeowners who can say the same. Instead, disenfranchised residents wait for hours during civic forums to recount stories of betrayal, rage, fear and loss at the hands of their own municipal leaders.
Alexandria has become a government without any sustainable economy, because big, out-of-town developers, who contributed to Euille’s campaign, love the 12-year status quo. Those of us who protested against the waterfront plan recall being left out in the cold with our banners and voices while Euille simultaneously feted favored supporters in City Hall.
Silberberg speaks with an authentic voice and has shown the political courage of her convictions to “just say no” and put taxpaying residents ahead of exterritorial investors. It’s way past time to end the development-vs.-residents false choice, which the mayor and his “hangers-on” favor at our expense. Those who throw a fair and legal election under the bus because they can’t get their way reveal a rotting Alexandria political machine whose time has come.
Now is the time to retire self-styled “politicians for the people” who put vested interests and well-practiced backroom deal-making above the primary election results of their own Democratic party.