To the editor:
On April 16, the Democrats for a Better Alexandria announced their slate for mayor and city council. They endorsed incumbent mayor Allison Silberberg for mayor, and Canek Aguirre, John Chapman, Matt Feely, Del Pepper, Robert Ray and Mo Seifeldein for council. On May 8, Alexandrians for a Better City Government also endorsed Silberberg for mayor along with Ray, Feely and Seifeldein for council. These two organizations have now given the citizens several slates from which to choose from in the Democratic Primary election on June 12.
After studying the aforementioned lists, I have decided to publish a list of candidates who should not be voted for in the upcoming primary. First and foremost, I would not recommend Vice Mayor Justin Wilson to become our new mayor. From his very first day as vice mayor, he has acted in an obstructive manner toward Silberberg by doing everything possible to overturn all initiatives proposed or supported by her.
In addition, he has successfully recruited the other five council members to vote with him and against the mayor on almost every important issue coming before council, thus resulting in a large number of 6-to-1 votes. Ironically, the mayor’s votes have generally reflected the overwhelming desires of the majority of citizens within the Alexandria community.
On the other hand, Wilson runs counter to citizen desires; he favors extremely dense development, takes contributions from a number of individuals who do business before the city and he will continue to support higher taxes as he did with his 5.7-cent (per $100 assessed property) tax raise that he vigorously pushed into the 2018 Alexandria budget. Since he has managed to persuade the other members of the current city council to vote with him on almost every issue, I would not recommend any of the incumbent city council members running to retain their seats.
I would also not recommend two other candidates running for city council seats. The first is Robert Ray, who has stated that “most Alexandrians would hope the sheriff would lean toward more liberal policies regarding undocumented members of our community,” which aligns him with those who are seeking to have a sanctuary city. Ray needs to leave the sheriff alone, so that he can perform his job in accordance with current laws.
The second candidate whom I do not recommend is Dak Hardwick, who has over the years aligned himself with the pro-developer faction, and who is essentially a clone of Wilson.
When six of the candidates are eliminated from the list of 12 running, a list containing six viable individuals remains. I hope to see them elected, and I hope that they will serve the city well. We deserve a city council that works on behalf of the citizens, and that performs in a manner free from spite and obstructive behavior. Vote smartly, Alexandria.
-Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet, Alexandria