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CAAWP Calls for Transparency in Waterfront Development

Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan send letter to council asking members to sign pledge not to accept contributions from waterfront developers.

The organized group of Alexandrians opposed to the city’s current plan to redevelop its riverside has sent a letter to City Council asking for more transparency about their financial ties to waterfront redevelopment.

The letter from Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan also asks council members to sign a Waterfront Conflict of Interest Statement, including a pledge not to accept campaign contributions from waterfront developers and property owners.

The pledge asks signatories to agree to such statements as: “Have you received any campaign or other contributions over the last three years from any businesses or individuals that stand to benefit financially from the redevelopment and rezoning of the waterfront?” and “Will you take a pledge to refuse all political contributions from any businesses, organizations, or individuals that stand to benefit financially from the redevelopment of the waterfront?”

“The community has lost confidence in the political process,” said CAAWP Co-Chairman Andrew Macdonald. “We hope that the members of the Council, Planning Commission and Waterfront4All will disclose any financial involvement in and connection with the rezoning and redevelopment of the waterfront.”

Meanwhile, public relations firm Shirley and Banister on Friday evening released documents showing that Virginia Commerce Bank, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley's employer, issued a loan to Virtue Feed and Grain in February 2011 and that Mayor Euille sent a letter to City Council in May 2010 outlining that he has a less than 10 percent interest in a business related to the restaurant.

The Supreme Court of Virginia  Alexandria City Council v. Old Dominion Boat Club and 106 Union Dublin v. Old Dominion Boat Club, both of which address the legality of the Virtue Feed and Grain’s use of Wales Alley for outdoor dining. The Old Dominion Boat Club also uses the alley.

Shirley and Banister would not disclose its client who hired the firm to circulate the documents.

A special waterfront work session of the Planning Commission and City Council is scheduled for Tuesday evening as well as a CAAWP press conference.

Karen Gautney January 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Is there a list of people who've agreed to be represented by the CAAWP? City Council members were elected. How were the spokespeople for the CAAWP chosen?
Jon Rosenbaum January 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM
As I said in another reply, it seems strange that Andrew MacDonald would demand extraordinary transparency by current council members when he still has not told Alexandrians why he abruptly resigned as Vice Mayor. I voted for him and think that he should provide an explanation for his action before preaching to others about the need for transparency.
Gina Baum January 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
City Council Members and the Mayor annually sign a comprehensive conflict of interest questionnaire and certification with the City of Alexandria. As a result, CAAWP's request is simply an attempt to cast a shadow and call into question the motivations of our public servants without any justification"

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