This has been a noisy political year.
Nationally, populism has surged, leading many on the left to denounce the financial class, while their counterparts on the right condemn political elites. Anger, driven by resentment, dominates. We have seen this play out in the presidential race, as party outsiders have dominated the polls and drawn the largest crowds.
Locally, development projects have caused the loudest ruckus. Those opposed to development, particularly along the waterfront in Old Town, have been the most vocal. Both the size and design of projects have drawn ire. Conversely, many others have complained that the pace of development in Alexandria has been too slow and that projects like the Potomac Yard Metro station should have already been built.
There are kernels of truth in all of those arguments. The conundrum voters face, particularly those in the middle, who are either silent or much less vocal, is deciding which aspect is most important. Many residents have said they feel their views are not truly heard and that they have no real input into decisions made in Alexandria.
Well, the one guaranteed way to voice your viewpoint and have a say is to vote. Whatever your position, whomever you support for mayor, city council or school board, we urge you to vote next Tuesday. Voting is both a constitutional privilege and a civic duty. Complaining but not voting is simply obnoxious.
As the saying goes, it’s time to “put up or shut up.”
This year’s mayoral election in particular has been endlessly entertaining for observers. First we witnessed a three-way race for the Democratic nomination between four-term incumbent Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg and former Mayor Kerry Donley.
After Silberberg won a narrow plurality in the Democratic primary, speculation bubbled all summer that Euille would not concede but would instead conduct a write-in campaign. Those rumors proved true. In September, Euille took a leave of absence — in his words — from the Alexandria Democratic Committee and has waged a write-in campaign without political affiliation.
This campaign has split the local Democratic party. While intriguing, it has not been particularly pretty. Euille’s camp has attacked Silberberg’s voting history, and Silberberg’s backers have condemned Euille’s campaign tactics. Everyone seems ready for this to be over.
It’s a fact of life in a democracy, where there are contested elections, that there are winners and losers. After November 3, there will be six city councilors and nine school board members. And the mayoral race will be decided soon afterward, as officials must evaluate and count write-in votes by hand.
The Times hopes that, after the votes are counted and winners announced, all sides pull together and attempt to work constructively to tackle the many issues facing Alexandria. Let’s not let our politics emulate those across the river, where political warfare never ends. There’s too much work to be done.