Vote out entire ‘leadership’

Vote out entire ‘leadership’

To the editor: 

With its unanimous vote for the Zoning for Housing proposal, City Council made a decision that is not only detrimental to its citizens’ quality of life, but also one that demonstrated Council’s blatant disregard for citizen input. Once again, the mayor and City Council have broken the faith with its citizens. 

Council’s preconceived bias for ZFH was evident throughout the process. For example, Councilor Canek Aguirre made the absurd insinuation that Alexandria’s 10,000 density should be much higher since New York City’s density is 29,500 (his number). NYC’s population is 8 million; Alexandria’s is 160,000, which is 2% of NYC’s. 

That would indicate Alexandria’s equivalent density should be about 600. For Aguirre’s edification, NYC is the densest large city in the nation; Alexandria is in the top 10 nationwide for midsize-city density. 

Councilor Kirk McPike commented about ZFH being the city’s most important issue this year, yet he had little-to-no command of the facts/data, and he didn’t even discuss ZFH with the neighbors on his street. And of course, true to form, Mayor Justin Wilson was quick to claim a number of opposing views were not accurate, while not once challenging supportive comments. 

Citizens expect the mayor and City Council to make fact-based, objective decisions; evidently, they continue to be unable and/or unwilling to do that. It’s one thing to turn a deaf ear to a common citizen like me. 

For instance, I have asked the city on several occasions why it has approved replacing the 314-bed-capacity Inova Hospital at 4320 Seminary Road with a 230-bed-capacity Inova Hospital at the former Landmark Plaza. The bed-capacity numbers are from Inova’s website. 

With continuing efforts underway to increase Alexandria’s population, why would Council approve a 27% reduction in bed capacity? Maybe the city should consider keeping the Seminary Road hospital. 

It’s an altogether different factor in the decision equation to ignore respected experts, not to mention large civic organizations. Eric Wagner, former nine-year chair of the Planning Commission, made a compelling, fact-based case for opposing ZFH. Impact: Zero. 

Similarly, Sandy Modell, former long-time DASH manager, made a powerful argument against the flawed “Duke Street in Motion” initiative. Result: Nada. 

If not one Council member has the sense of decency to vote with the view of the majority of Alexandria’s citizens, two things need to happen. First, the city needs to return to a ward-based system of City Council representation so that Council decisions will more accurately and rightly reflect citizens’ needs. Second, the entire “leadership” needs to be voted out of office. Enough is enough. Vote them all out of office! 

-James E. Allgood, Alexandria