Letter to the Editor: Former vice mayor urges council overhaul

Letter to the Editor: Former vice mayor urges council overhaul
Allison Silberberg during her 2015 run for mayor (File photo)

To the editor:

We need to re-elect Mayor Allison Silberberg and elect six new council members who will bring with them fresh ideas on how to protect our natural environment, increase affordable housing, improve our public schools and develop our city in a way that sustains its historic character and the environment.

The current crop of incumbents has not shown adequate leadership to be re-elected and some of them have been in office long enough. Del Pepper has been on council since 1985 and Paul Smedberg since 2003. There should be a three-term limit. Long-term incumbency is a rot on the political system.

Vice Mayor Justin Wilson, who is running against Silberberg, is a puppet of developers and special interests, just like former mayors Bill Euille and Kerry Donley. Wilson’s environmental record is abysmal and he appears to care little about preserving the historic character of Alexandria.

Wilson and his colleagues on council have done everything in their power to undermine Silberberg during her first term. She listens to citizens and better represents the interests of the city as a whole. In contrast, Wilson and his fellow incumbents have aligned themselves with developers and business interests.

This is problematic to say the least.

If their version of smart development were the answer, we would have more than enough parkland for our growing population, for instance. We don’t. Their policies are clearly not providing adequate affordable housing or preserving what little natural habitat we have left in the city, either.

I urge you to pick six new candidates and re-elect Silberberg when you cast your vote on June 12. I personally endorse Robert Ray, whom I have known for decades. I think he will make a fine council member.

It’s time for some real change.

-Andrew Macdonald,
former vice mayor, Alexandria