Allison for Alexandria Mayor
Alexandria is largely a bedroom community. Its riverside East End is notoriously affluent and tourist-heavy. Its West End, where I live, is not exactly cheap, but it is the closest the city comes to having affordable housing. Even then, a one-bedroom apartment can easily rent for more than $1300 a month. This area, largely dominated by the Mark Center web of apartment complexes, is slowly undergoing a major overhaul that will displace its inhabitants and put up in their place a series of luxury apartments and townhouses with “modern” amenities. In other words, by the time the Plan is complete, most affordable housing in the City of Alexandria will disappear.
Earlier this year, the Democratic Party was holding a primary to decide its candidate for mayor. As no independents or Republicans had filed to run, the primary was tantamount to a general election. This is especially so as Virginia has open primaries and no partisan voter registration. The three candidates were the long-time incumbent mayor, his immediate predecessor, and his current Vice-Mayor. Bill Euille and Kerry Donley were perceived as the main contenders and they fought hard to win, with many a mailer being dropped attacking each other over their liberal bona fides. Allison Silberberg, an opponent of the West End redevelopment plan, stayed positive and her under-funded campaign proved the ultimate winner, just edging out Euille for the nomination.
Apparently, Euille didn’t like the fact that his Vice-Mayor beat him and decided to wage a write-in campaign. Consequently, he’s turned his relentlessly negative campaigning style against her. I just received a stack full of direct mail pieces from various local candidates and the two from him were completely negative. He had nothing good to say about himself, only bad things about her. Which, come to think of it, says a lot more about him and long tenure at the head of our city than it does about her.
I am not a huge fan of partisan primaries and/or run-offs in local races where a ranked order of voting would allow every voter who shows up on the first round to have a say in the final outcome. But warts and all, the primary and general election system is the one we have. And as long as that is the case, I have always believed that if you are going to run in a party’s primary race, you have to be an honorable member of that party and accept the outcome.
Bill Euille is asking his fellow Democrats to render our earlier primary null and void by giving him a second chance at a job he lost fair and square. Worse than that, he is trying to convince us with some of the darkest appeals you can make and still try to call yourself a Democrat, if not a democrat.
We voted for change this summer in nominating Allison Silberberg for Mayor. She deserves the benefit of the doubt over the next 3 years. What we don’t need is a long-time incumbent waging a guerilla campaign of unceasing negativity just because he can’t accept defeat.
It’s time for Bill Euille to go.