To the editor:
The Environmental Council of Alexandria endorses Allison Silberberg for mayor. ECA is a nonprofit advocacy organization formed by residents of Alexandria.
The endorsement is based on Silberberg’s track record of thoughtful statements and careful action to preserve the few remaining natural parcels of land in the city. As mayor, she opposed the city casting aside Karig for development rather than preserving it as open space.
This is particularly significant because Karig was on a list of properties compiled by the city for preservation as open space, and it is the headwaters of Strawberry Run. Silberberg would have protected the mature oak tree, sometimes called the Witness Tree, adjacent to the high school football field. The tree was cut down so that a snack bar could be constructed where it once stood.
Silberberg opposes clear cutting mature trees and dumping fill into the stream bed of Taylor Run and Strawberry Run to meet pollution goals when the streams have not been tested for pollutants by the city and when the city can meet its goals without destroying either stream.
Silberberg is also opposed to a “stream restoration” which has already failed at Strawberry Run. She is sensitive to the fact these projects have generated considerable anxiety in the city and are opposed by scientists, including John Field, a river geologist.
Our current mayor is aware that the real problem is uncontrolled stormwater from past ill-advised development upstream of Taylor Run. But Mayor Justin Wilson seems to agree with city staff that retrofitting upstream impervious surfaces to hold and slowly release the storm water is of a complexity beyond the city’s means and expertise.
This is shortsighted. He is also aware the “restoration” he supports may not reduce actual pollutants flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
Wilson’s conviction that paper credits outweigh the facts is not leadership. His pursuit of unproven pollution credits will result in the needless loss of valuable wildlife habitat and destroy the abundant stream life documented by the science teachers at the city’s high school.
Silberberg will make decisions supported by facts and science, rather than outdated and soon to be discarded modeling used by the city to claim pollution credits.
Allison listens carefully, and re-evaluates her position as facts are developed. Her decisions are responsive to citizen and expert input. She is also aware that residents most affected by development and construction have an important voice in decision making.
While he has strong points, Wilson is not responsive to the concerns of city residents who feel overwhelmed by new development and the degradation of the environment.
Allison Silberberg will fight to protect Alexandria’s remaining open space, and provide leadership that is missing in our current city government.
-ECA board of directors: Andrew Macdonald, Jeremy Flachs, Erin Winograd, Mary Zoeter, Stan Protigal, Katy Cannady, Anne Peterson, Hal Hardaway, Alexandria