By Mayor Allison Silberberg
Just over two years ago, I became mayor of Alexandria. As a candidate, I shared with you my vision for Alexandria, and I have stayed true to that vision. I am proud of my record of leadership.
In the past two years, together, we have:
• Tackled head-on a range of environmental and infrastructure issues that have festered for years and even decades, including our combined sewer outfalls.
• Approved two new schools in one year – a first for Alexandria, and we have increased significantly the city’s budget commitment to our schools, as never before.
• Approved affordable and workforce housing projects throughout our city, including: Ramsey Homes, the St. James and the Church of the Resurrection.
• Repaved more than 130 lane miles of streets with more to come.
• Maintained Alexandria’s AAA bond rating, and I fought for responsible fiscal management to avoid placing an undue burden on our taxpayers.
• As promised, I initiated an ethics reform to increase transparency and trust in local government.
• I have championed civic engagement and fought hard for the open mic tradition, which had been a staple of city hall for more than 40 years without restriction.
• I initiated and drafted council’s Statement on Inclusiveness, which is now posted across our city as a commitment to all our residents.
• I successfully fought against the Old Town BID tax, which was opposed by most local businesses.
As a total environmentalist, I became one of the Climate Mayors and pushed for the city to commit to the goal of using 100 percent renewable energy and have pushed to increase our tree canopy.
As in 2015, you have a choice to make about the future of our city, and it will come down to a difference in vision. I am fighting for a livable Alexandria, and I will continue to fight for your quality of life.
First and foremost, we’re a city of great neighborhoods. I will continue to pursue thoughtful, appropriate development that fits in, is to scale and protects our neighborhoods. Some recent examples of my fight for neighbors and neighborhoods are Potomac Yard and the Karig Estates.
Second, I will continue to focus on growing our commercial tax base in a balanced way with a staunch commitment to economic sustainability and fiscal responsibility. We need to diversify our economy so we are not so tied to the ups and downs of federal spending. We need to continue to shift toward being a center for innovation, focusing on science, research and health tech.
Third, I will continue to push for academic excellence and greater capacity in our schools. Our schools and our city are intertwined in one ecosystem, and we must continue to foster collaboration and cooperation.
I propose that when a student graduates from T. C. Williams, he or she should be encouraged to have a plan of action to go to a four-year college, community college, the Armed Forces or a trade.
Fourth, I will continue to fight for more affordable and workforce housing. I fully support increasing dedicated funding for affordable housing, and I am proud that I led the effort to reinstate the set aside for the affordable housing fund in 2013 after it was removed.
Fifth, I will continue to fight for more open space, environmental protections and tree canopy. In 2013, I was the only council member to support keeping dedicated funding for the open space fund. I will work to reinstate dedicated funding for open space, and we should set a new goal of acreage to save.
Sixth, historic preservation is a core value of our city, and I will never sell our city hall building. I will continue to fight to preserve our historic districts for generations to come.
Seventh, I will continue to advocate for more ethics reform. Following the lead of the federal government, I will push to adopt revolving door restrictions to limit lobbying of city elected officials and staff by former elected officials.
Finally, I will continue to fight for meaningful civic participation and to create opportunities to form alliances, as I have done by establishing the Senior Advocacy Roundtable and the Clergy Council.
In addition to my monthly coffees known as “Mayor on Your Corner,” I will be starting a new tradition called “Meet with the Mayor” by inviting the public to meet with me at the mayoral office once a month. Each person will have 10 minutes to discuss any idea or concern regarding our city. No appointment necessary. The first will be on Monday, March 26, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
In two short years, we have made significant progress. The choice is clear. With me, you know your voice will be heard, because as I have often stated, city hall is not separate from the people. City hall is the people.
I ask for your vote on June 12.