Letter to the Editor: A call for truth in campaigning

Letter to the Editor: A call for truth in campaigning

To the editor:

As the candidates for mayor and city council inevitably step up their campaign efforts leading to the June 12 primary we would caution all of them to exercise truth in their campaign materials. Alexandria is not the place to use Trumpian-style untruths to try to one-up your opponent.

One particular untruth needs to be called out and retracted. A point prominently featured in an Allison Silberberg mailer that hit mailboxes last week stated that Silberberg “Led a successful effort to prevent a new proposed tax on Old Town businesses, known as the BID tax, which was initiated by her opponent and opposed by the majority of Old Town business owners.” That statement is fully untrue and has no basis in fact.

The notion that a business improvement district could provide huge benefits to the Old Town business district and the developing waterfront was born out of the Waterfront Plan and was, in fact, a recommendation of the Waterfront Governance Committee. In addition, the same concept grew out of work of the Government Relations Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. Two people involved in those efforts were pivotal in framing the notion of a BID and an exploratory group to research a recommendation for a BID: business owners Danielle Romanetti and Jody Manor.

We were a part of the group that came together and worked for more than a year to put a wellformed proposal in front of the city leadership. We can say unequivocally that the BID effort was not an idea that originated with Vice Mayor Justin Wilson.

Wilson was not a part of any of the research or work product that led to the BID framework our group developed. Silberberg’s assertion in her campaign mailer is completely untrue and an attempt to paint her opponent with something he had no part in. In addition, Silberberg cannot take credit with leading any effort at all on this matter. In fact, she did not vote against the BID proposal. She abstained from voting on it at all. The effort to defeat the proposal was led entirely by a small cadre of local business owners and residents within the district.

We now call on her to publicly retract her published statement and offer a public apology to both her opponent and to every person who served on the BID Exploratory Committee.

This is a small community and while truth in campaigning has been thrown under the bus at the federal level it definitely still matters here as candidates campaign and as our citizens mark their ballots. Don’t make things up. Just tell the truth.

-Judy Guse-Noritake, Victoria Vergason, Danielle Romanetti, Alexandria