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Letter to the Editor: Support Experienced Leaders for Alexandria City Council

Alexandrian Nate Macek urges voters on June 12 to show their support for the city's experienced leaders.

To the Editor:

On June 12, Alexandrians have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of City Council.  As we head to the polls, it’s useful to take stock of the good fortune our City has experienced over the past decade:

  • Alexandria has grown and prospered into a community of nearly 140,000, a net increase of approximately 12,000 residents since 2000. 
  • Our city government works. The trash gets picked up, our streets are plowed, and parks are clean and safe.  City staff is generally responsive to citizen concerns.
  • Old Town, Del Ray, and other business districts have maintained an attractive mix of dining, retail, leisure, and personal services, with a significant share of locally owned, independent businesses that sets Alexandria apart from other localities in the region.
  • We’ve adopted progressive new master plans that will provide new civic facilities, enhance our open space, preserve affordable housing, and revitalize our waterfront.
  • We are a safe community.  Crime rates hit a 45-year low in 2011, continuing a trend of annual declines in crime across the city. 
  • We’ve adopted progressive transportation policies, including new transit services, enhanced facilities for bicycles and pedestrians, and innovative programs like bike share.
  • Our city is a four-time honoree in the America’s Promise Alliance “100 Best Communities for Young People,” recognition of civic efforts to support children and families.      
  • We continue to cherish and preserve our magnificent history, earning honors from the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a “Distinctive Destination” and the American Planning Association, which named King Street a “Great Street” in 2011.   
  • We’ve become an eco-city, boasting green building policies, enhanced curbside recycling, and hybrid-powered buses.  Later this year, Alexandria’s Gen-On Potomac River Generating Station will officially close, improving air quality throughout the region.
  • Our tax burden remains low, with the second-lowest residential property tax rate among major jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.

Given this solid performance, the clear choice on June 12 is to nominate a slate of experienced leaders responsible for Alexandria’s success.  At the top of the list are Democratic incumbents Paul Smedberg and Del Pepper.  They, along with Mayor Bill Euille and their Democratic council colleagues have made tough decisions required sustain Alexandria’s forward momentum. Both deserve another term.

To be effective, they’ll need the support of council members who share their vision for the City, concern for its citizens, and dedication to public service.  Candidates Donna Fossum, Tim Lovain, and Justin Wilson have demonstrated their commitment to Alexandria through active participation in city government that has directly resulted in many of the community accomplishments outlined above.

Other top candidates include Sean Holihan, John Taylor Chapman and Melissa Feld, each of whom has contributed to the community in noteworthy ways. 

I am proud to call Alexandria home, and urge you to vote for the progressive, fiscally responsible candidates for City Council who will preserve and enhance our City’s high quality of life as Council members over the next three years.

Sincerely,

Nathan M. Macek

Alexandria

Bud Miller June 08, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Of course this letter omits: 1. Dramatic & Unrelenting increases our taxes 2. The worst performing school system in the entire country 3. Choking Traffic 4. The City Council turning its back on a legitimate petition--one of the most basic tools in Democracy. 5. The City suing itself! (Alexandria City Council IS stranger than fiction) In regards to Justin Wilson and TIm Lovain: 1. Lovain is a one issue person who believes all the City's challenges can be resolved via mass transit. 2. Lovain is one of the primary persons behind the effort to impose street cars in Alexandria, yet he and his group have no estimate as to the cost or how the monies will be obtained for such a project. (Hint, watch your wallet, Lovain will go for it, probably starting with 25% increase in commercial property taxes.) 3. Lovain and Wilson are tainted by their anti-democratic effort to rig the election process in favor of the local machine, which they represent. 4. Lovain and Wilson have already been rejected by the voters. 5. Lovain and Wilson are just more of the same rehashed professional politicians who have been in control of our City for far too long. 6. Lovan and Wilson--the so called transportation experts--supported BRAC, causing untold misery in the daily commute from hell for numerous voters. President Obama has asked for change, local Democrats should provide it. It is time for new blood on City Council
Diane Costello June 09, 2012 at 06:52 AM
As the City of Alexandria is less than 16 sq. miles and that billion dollar behemoth sits adjacent to a major area road, I can’t understand how BRAC 133 continually gets left out of discussions regarding the City Council primary. Although DoD is ultimately responsible for the site choice, the City was complicit in that decision, indeed lobbied for the building. In letters sent May 2008 to Senators Webb and John Warner: “We believe the two Alexandria sites will represent the "best value" to the federal government and be less costly than putting the WHS at the GSA warehouse site (which involves spending significant federal funds to move existing federal warehouse uses to other sites).” Despite VDOT telling DoD that the site was “not viable”, the City continued to assert in the August 2008 EA Comments: “…traffic studies undertaken when the City approved the Mark Center office density carefully determined what roadway improvements would be necessary. This includes the widening of Seminary Road and the expansion of the turning capacity from Seminary Road into the Mark Center site. With these improvements, which are to be made at developer's expense,… and that no additional transportation studies are warranted. Since Duke Realty is funding these road improvements, this site does not require any Defense Access Roads funding.” What’s the reality?
Diane Costello June 09, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Short and mid-term improvements are projected to be $20 million – paid by DoD (as in taxpayers). The long term improvement is the proposed I-395 HOV Seminary Rd. ramp; estimated cost is $80 million (to be paid by VA and federal funds – as in taxpayers). Moving on to “fiscally responsible candidates”. From a January 2008 letter to Duke Realty representatives: “Accordingly, any City support of the Mark Center site (or any other site in the City) as the possible site for the offices of the Washington Headquarters Services is contingent upon the City obtaining significant financial compensation to offset its multi-year loss of future real estate taxes. We know that payment-in-lieu-of taxes by the federal government is not something that is feasible, but it would seem that the sale transaction could be structured in such a way as to address the City's concerns regarding this considerable loss of tax revenue. In order to put the compensation for lost tax revenue in perspective, we have calculated that if the federal government chose your site the net present value of foregone real estate taxes over a 20-year period to the City would be about $60 million.” It has always been my understanding that there was no PILT payment ever made.
Diane Costello June 09, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Regarding “their vision for the City” - I would truly like to know what “vision” these elected officials had in mind for the West End that included a Remote Inspection Facility within a mile of three schools. Mayor Euille and the 2006-2009 City Council – Councilwoman Pepper, Councilman Smedberg, Councilman Krupicka, Mr. Lovain, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Gaines, still owe the residents of the West End, indeed all of Alexandria, an explanation for their actions. Hopefully some measure of accountability will be realized on 12 June.
Bud Miller June 09, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Mayor Euille and the majority on City Council understand the pain, discomfort and economic impact they cause when they impose controversial, unwise facilities that degrade neighborhoods and put our children at risk, however, they simply don't care. Their political agenda is more important than our concerns. They believe they are untouchable and that the local political machine will get them re-elected time and again. So far they have generally been right. However, after the last election cost them two of their anointed cronies, they became concerned about the growing Democracy Movement in the City and changed the election dates over the strong objections of several NONPARTISAN organizations to further game the system and increase their hold on power. President Obama has called for change. Let's support his call and clean house in Alexandria!
Judith Ames June 11, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Wish we could elect city Code Department officials! I've never seen such Incompetent, insensitive and dishonest people in my life!
Jim Miller June 12, 2012 at 02:27 AM
The City of Alexandria, to me, is very much like New Orleans, or, maybe its adjacent neighbor, Washington, DC. Here, in Alexandria, we have Democrats who do not fear the electorate putting them out off office, or even shunning them, because even though they can do malice towards other politicians, Democrats included, the Alexandria Democratic Committee feels that it is above the law of decency and allows a strong underpinning of illicit and reprehensible actions to be taken by Democrats, all while feigning ignorance. The Alexandria Democatic Committee is like Captain Renault in the classic movie, Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" [A croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: "Your winnings, sir." Captain Renault: [sotto voce] "Oh, thank you very much." As a progressive Democrat, I'm truly embarrassed by the 'good ole boy/girl network' of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Since there are only about 15 Republicans who live in the City of Alexandria, and 14 of them make up the Alexandria Republican City Committee, they really pose no serious political threat to keep them honest, and, as we have seen, there are many in the ADC who are not honest, and their names will come to light, with Sean Holihan and his partner, Danny Barefoot, being two of the worst, with, no doubt Shayna Englin probably involved in the PAC, as well. Sadly, a woman like Gail Gordon was left alone to take heat, while the ADC ignored her. Nice work.
Jim Miller June 12, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Wow! This is so sad, now there are threats being made, Democrats against Democrats, right here in 'River City', my friend's, Alexandria, a town, which up until recently, I always thought of as pretty quaint, well, except when it comes to city politics. To have Democrats, let alone, anyone, threaten someone over politics is not only wrong, its truly criminal on so many levels. Tragically, most Democrats in Alexandria who are members of the Alexandria Democratic Committee act as if they're wearing blinders, that no one among them or in their leadership can ever do wrong, that everything is perfect, and 'Lake ADC' is calm without a ripple on it. Oh, there's no controversy here, they will say, we don't have any problems. It's time to wake up, people! While we all know there aren't any Republicans in the City of Alexandria, it's the Independents, the true 'swing voters', who now are potentially getting turned off by the actions of some members of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. And that's just wrong. To ALL those who have broken the law, whether intentional or not, I hope that you're brought to justice, either by your peers or by the courts, especially involving threats against other Democrats. How ridiculous! How scandalous! How truly shameful! I can only think of how many other Democrats, like myself, are embarrassed by those in the ADC who thought they are above the laws of human decency. The exposure of the PAC group shows how bad Alexandria politics are now.
Cathryn S June 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Jim, perhaps you should calm down a bit. Remember that people are more than their claimed party affiliation. There are a few who will get carried away with their words and try to stir up trouble. Go out today and vote for the candidates that you think will serve the City best.
Another Concerned Citizen June 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Jim, what threats are being made? Is that hyperbole, or are there literal threats? If so, they should be brought to light. Call the police. The threat may be worse than what ever the person is being threatened about. What are we even talking about? End the secrecy. This PAC thing, which we now know was the work of the Holihan campaign (his partner Danny Barefoot funded it) is truly an embarrassment to all Democrats. The attack was dirty, but the attempt to cover up who was behind it was even worse. BTW, you should google Danny Barefoot and ask how he would feel if someone published a mailer drudging up dirt on Sean Holihan and him.
McBrinn June 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Today is the day.
Bud Miller June 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Peaceful voting and unfettered discussion is the American way to do it. People may and should disagree. It is the clash and testing of ideas that makes our country strong. Just about everyone is right sometimes, and just about everyone is wrong sometimes. Threats have no place in the dialogue and should be reported to law enforcement authorities for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. We may disagree, but that is part of the process, and I'll vigorously defend your right to disagree. After all, as a Democracy (Technically a Republic), we tend, for better or worse, to get the leaders we deserve So get out there & VOTE!

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