By Dino Drudi, Alexandria
To the editor:
Once again, city council has overruled its own appointed committee or task force. Whether it be the BAR over Ramsey Homes or the traffic and parking board over the King Street bicycle lanes, city council shows the utmost disrespect for the work and judgment of its boards, commissions and task forces on all but the most mundane matters.
Why bother with boards, commissions or task forces when city council is just going to overrule their most important decisions? Why not instead just delegate framing issues to staff more likely to report back what city council wants to hear anyway?
The ad hoc advisory group on Confederate memorials and symbols was drawn carefully to represent all sectors of Alexandria’s society. Its deliberations struck a careful balance, whereas in overruling the task force, city council eschewed representing all of the people in favor of representing a well-organized subset.
In rejecting its task force’s recommendation to leave the “Appomattox” statue in the place it has occupied for more than a century, not only does city council set a place for itself among the “violent against art” in the seventh circle of Dante’s “Inferno,” but it also undermines the task force’s recommendation to rename Jefferson Davis Highway.
City council has made renaming the highway, a heavy political lift on its own, more politically difficult to accomplish by poisoning the well in Richmond with the request to remove the “Appomattox” statue.
If there is an electoral majority behind what City Hall wants to do, neither that perceived majority nor the politicians responding to it have very thoroughly thought through the implications and ramifications of their misbegotten gambit.