Letter to the Editor: Menjivar on Affordable Housing
Alexandria City Council candidate Victoria Menjivar responds to a letter written by fellow Democrat Donna Fossum on issues of affordable housing and the Beauregard Small Area Plan.
Concerning Donna Fossum's letter to the editor; I too am a candidate for City Council and I am running to offer an alternative to the logic that says the main thing the city can do is trade density for a few units of affordable housing. Yes, our powers are limited but city government can:
Re-establish the "Penny Fund'' for affordable housing. At a cost of about $50 per household, we can generate over $3 million dollars that can go toward affordable housing. This is at least a start.
Require a "displacement" analysis prior to any project is approved. We should know the impact of our decisions and take them into full consideration.
Play hard ball and vote down projects that require special use permits. If developers are offering little, then say no.
Have code and building inspectors on projects checking for every violation.
Under certain circumstances, consider eminent domain. The government has the right to seize (and compensate) property in order to preserve the public good.
It is usually a question of priorities and this electoral cycle talking about affordable is quite popular. Taking a stand and acting is quite different.
I opposed the recently approved Beauregard Small Area Plan because not one unit of affordable housing is going to be available for at least five years. In the meantime, it is likely that every single current resident will be forced from the area by skyrocketing rents.
I've seen too many friends, neighbors and coworkers forced out of the city. Enough is enough. We need to preserve what affordable housing is left and fight for every new unit that is possible.
Victoria A. Menjivar
Democratic Candidate for City Council