Your View: At-large council seats are a disservice

Your View: At-large council seats are a disservice

By Jimm Roberts, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
Unless Alexandria drops the at-large voting format for city council elections, we must confront the sad phenomenon that our local Democratic Party is frustrating representational democracy. Why bother to vote if the choice is preordained?

This election returned every council incumbent to office. It is clear democracy was not at work. Instead, in a city dominated by the Democratic Party, the slate of tax-and-spend candidates selected in its primary by a tiny contingent of its political apparatchiks prevailed. The general election simply became a rubber stamp of a foregone conclusion.

Let’s re-establish representational democracy in Alexandria. Like our school board elections, and like city council elections in many other American cities, Alexandria residents should be able to elect someone from among their communities to represent them on city council. They should not be picked by an ersatz politburo.

However it came to pass, Alexandria is a one-party town. If you like the increased debt and density policies of the controlling party and the dismissive manner in which the council treats the citizens whose interests it purports to promote, you will be very defensive to any suggestion of change. Power is an intoxicating elixir: once you taste it, you don’t want to give it up.

Example: Del Pepper, a sweet lady who has been in office for far too long, used the at-large voting format to defeat Bob Wood, a distinguished T.C. Williams graduate whose lifetime career accomplishments, proven management skills and solutions are so exemplary that our nation has recognized them with awards, high rank and progressively more substantive responsibilities.

Pepper was selected as a general election candidate through the Democratic Party primary; Bob Wood was not. But if we had representational democracy, then Bob Wood would have been elected to council by his community and Del Pepper would have had to persuade hers why she deserves to remain in office.