Your Views: Council overreach and the Dillon rule

Your Views: Council overreach and the Dillon rule
An Alexandria City Council public hearing. (File Photo)

To the editor:

“We can’t do this again,” Mayor Justin Wilson proclaimed at the end of September’s city council public hearing on the Seminary Road Diet.

He might as well have said, “Je suis le chef d’etat; vous êtes les hoi polloi,” or “I’m in charge here; you’re merely the unwashed masses.” In other words, he can’t bear sitting through hours of city council meetings listening to residents’ carping, but he seems far less concerned about residents who have to sit in traffic on Seminary Road.

At its Dec. 14 session, city council added gender identity and transgender status to its human rights ordinance despite not having the legal authority to do so due to Dillon’s Rule, which reserves such decisions for the state legislature.

Instead of waiting a year for the legislature – now under liberal control thanks in part to huge amounts of funding LGBTQ groups invested – to frame the format LGBTQ rights would take in Virginia, city council chose this popular cause to overstep its powers, surely hoping that beneficiaries will reciprocate with political support for city council’s overreach on land use issues and in other more mundane arenas.

Councilor Del Pepper explained that Dillon’s Rule came up three decades ago when they added sexual orientation to the city’s human rights ordinance. Then there was concern about repercussions from Richmond, but none materialized. City hall’s stark message is that it will, boldly and openly, overstep its power and dare Richmond to stop it. Imagine how such a city hall will treat its own residents.

During this time, Republicans held the attorney general’s office for 24 straight years and did nothing about the Alexandria city council’s violation of the Dillon rule. Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was more interested in a fishing expedition against state university climate scientists than in Alexandria’s city council extending the term of office in 2009 after the election had already been held.

No one should be surprised to see Republican vote shares in Alexandria or Northern Virginia continue to drop, because folks have figured out that the Republicans do not care about us and will not protect us from the Democrats’ abuses.

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria