By Delegate Rob Krupicka, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
I’ve been a lifelong Democrat. I am a Democrat because of my values, not the other way around. So my values have to come first in Alexandria’s mayoral race.
Folks know schools and education are my top priority. We have a growing student population as more families choose our improving public schools. Mayor Bill Euille has been rock solid in his support for funding to build new schools, to fund teacher raises and is proposing to expand pre-K services so more kids are ready to learn when they get to kindergarten.
Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg supported a lower amount of school construction funding than any of her colleagues on city council and has shown little real interest or made any effort related to our schools. The quality of life and future of any city starts with its schools and families. Euille gets that.
I care about the diversity of our city and I know we have to provide housing for people of all income levels. My doughnut shop pays a living wage, but in our region, my employees and many like them struggle to find housing. I want a mayor that will support affordable housing and the hard choices that go with it. Euille is steadfast on affordable housing. Silberberg has repeatedly voted against opportunities for the preservation or addition of affordable housing — she only supports it when it is easy to do. Leadership isn’t about doing what is easy.
A vibrant city must adapt to changes and support everybody. Alexandria has an aging population and has adopted a strategic plan to address senior issues. While Euille worked to bring a new home for people with Alzheimer’s to the city, Silberberg voted “No,” saying the architecture of the building was more important than the people it served.
It is always easy to find an excuse to vote “No.” Doing the work to vote “Yes” takes work, effort and consensus building. In this case, voting “no” means you think families stricken with Alzheimer’s should have to go outside the city for services. That isn’t the kind of city I want to live in.
The environment has always been a key issue for me. The mayor has helped transform Alexandria into a green building leader and has led the fight on climate change as well as efforts to acquire new parks. By contrast, Silberberg tried to defund both Capital Bikeshare and Alexandria’s popular composting program. She also has voted against plans to create new parks. I want our city to lead on the environment, not move backwards.
Euille supports our need to have alternatives to Comcast in Alexandria. Citizens and businesses regularly decry the bad service from the cable provider. Yet, when presented with a city initiative to push for alternatives to Comcast, Silberberg’s reaction was that Comcast was just fine and that we didn’t need alternatives.
For Alexandria to thrive, we need to compete for commercial tenants. They bring in money and put less strain on homeowner taxes. Euille has helped bring new commercial tenants to Alexandria and has worked to keep our local economy stable, even during tough times. With a weak world economy, Alexandria needs to send a clear message that it will work to attract business to help offset residential taxes. Silberberg has not shown that leadership. I know
Euille will do the proactive work that is needed.
The mayor, with his accounting background, keeps a close eye on the city’s budget. I worry when Silberberg repeatedly says things that demonstrate a lack of understanding about how the city budget works. I also worry that her budget rhetoric implies we should significantly reduce our city infrastructure plans to fix aging sewers, roads and forgo the work necessary to make school classrooms less crowded.
We are an old city. Ignoring our infrastructure needs is foolish and will only cost us more in the future. The fact that she has used factually inaccurate numbers in candidate surveys during this campaign also concerns me. We need a mayor that knows how our city’s bond rating and budget works.
Small businesses give our city much of its unique character. Euille has first-hand small business experience and has worked to streamline permitting and process. The vice mayor, despite many platitudes, has done nothing to improve small business life in the city.
I believe in good government. The mayor has a long list of accomplishments. He works with others, consults with different sides of issues and finds solutions. Silberberg can’t point to any significant achievements in that regard. She votes “no” and has gotten far politically for doing it. But “no” is a lazy way to govern. The politics of “no” is hanging up the U.S. Congress right now. I don’t want it to stagnate our local government as well. Real governing, the kind of good government for which Alexandria is famous, requires problem solving and collaboration, not excuses.
I generally like the concept of “new ideas” in politics, but not all ideas are good ones. Alexandria would be a very different place if Silberberg’s “no” votes won the day. We’d have less diversity, less successful small businesses, fewer parks, more crowded classrooms, less funding for basic infrastructure and would abandon our environmental work. Under Euille’s leadership, Alexandria has survived economic downturns and won countless accolades as a great place to live, with low crime, wonderful arts, improving schools, increased parkland and more.
I won’t compromise my values in this upcoming mayoral election. For any political party to stay healthy, its values have come first, not the organization. My values are not platitudes or empty promises. They are things I’ve worked on for my entire public career. There is only one candidate in this race that represents those values. I’m writing in Bill Euille for mayor.