To the editor:
What has become of the Democratic Party, once the party of the common folk, but today increasingly in the thrall of its corporate wing?
Today’s $100,000-plus annual income voter is more likely Democrat than Republican. By some measures, the middle class became a minority of the population during Barack Obama’s second term, while in his first term Democrats imposed a health care law designed to enrich the insurance industry with government subsidies laundered through previously uninsured working class folk fined for not buying insurance.
And when Bernie Sanders tried to stop these trends, the entire heft of the Democratic party apparatus was turned against his candidacy.
Only the trauma President Donald Trump brings to business-as-usual has opened enough political space that a third of Democratic members of congress have now signed onto Medicare-for-all.
In Alexandria’s golden age, when Jim Moran and Patsy Ticer were mayors, the Democratic Party’s old spirit of serving the people, rather than the corporations, prevailed. The Democratic leadership thereafter though has steered toward a give-and-get corporatist model where developers have received generous zoning concessions in exchange for comparatively trivial amenities.
Today’s Democrats try to impose a corporatist business improvement district that
most small businesses bitterly oppose. Can anyone image Patsy Ticer treating a gathering place on the rooftop of a pricey apartment tower as fulfilling an open space requirement – one that has typically been fulfilled by what common folk call a lawn?
Or pretending a roadway median strip is a park? Or calling a Beauregard small area plan, that green-lights a developer scheme to raze thousands of market-rate affordable units in exchange for guaranteeing a smaller number, an “increase” in affordable housing?
Those who wonder whether some Democratic candidates for city office are really Democrats have forgotten what the Democratic Party stood for before the corporatists took it over. When Mayor Allison Silberberg insists that city hall belongs to the people, I doubt she means the corporate personhood kind the way some Democratic candidates, whether they admit it or not, do. Consistently they side with those corporate persons and brush aside the testimony, concerns and interests of the human persons who come before city council.
-Dino Drudi, Alexandria