Opinion: Letter to the Editor: A Good Start

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: A Good Start

Alexandrians for Better City Government (A4BCG) was formed by a non-partisan group of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to promote real choice and constructive change through the ballot box in the June Democratic Primary election.

There are no Republican or Independent Council members and there was no Republican open primary, so this was the only election where such change could be achieved. We believed this City Council, in particular, needed a shock to their collective senses to better understand the level of citizen frustration with their poor performance, their disdain for residents’ views, and their apparent air of entitlement.

While Mo Seifeldein was our only endorsed candidate who won, two incumbents lost this primary and one, Dak Hardwick, lost a shot at a seat all thought was his to win. In this primary, we got the change we wanted, but, certainly not the mayor we needed. Just as the city elected new Democratic candidates for council, it also elected a mayor who finds himself in serious trouble explaining his actions informing citizens and other council members in the Potomac Yard Metro fiasco on the heels of his similar maneuvers to overcome the valid environmental concerns of residents and city staff in the Karig Estates debate.

Still, our hearty congratulations to all non-incumbents. We are especially pleased to see a majority of new Democratic leaders with new perspectives vying for City Council seats. Four new votes on council is a new block that could accomplish constructive changes sought by A4BCG and the many Alexandrians we represent.

And, congratulations to city voters. In total, 21,637 voted for a mayor candidate. It’s a simple assumption to assume these same voters cast their six votes for council candidates. But, they didn’t. Election data shows almost 20 percent chose to cast less than six votes and, instead, voted very selectively with no “throw away votes.” In fact, as many as 4,233 votes were not cast for incumbents or others. This highly unusual outcome easily explains how incumbents lost, the “old boy” block was broken, and new council primary candidates were elected.

Our conclusion? Our efforts prompted change, educated voters on choices, and built a new coalition – it was well worth the effort. Passing out thousands of fliers, knocking hundreds of doors, and posting numerous ads was an excellent use of the donations from supporters across all parties, neighborhoods, and affiliations.

Alexandrians for Better City Government will not stand down. We remain committed to a better government for this city – one that is transparent, accountable, and responsive to all citizens and their concerns. Whether registering new voters, highlighting government issues, or connecting neighbors, we will continue to build our presence in all ways necessary to best represent those who feel they have no voice or power, particularly if our new mayor elect continues to operate in back rooms with his signature lack of transparency.

Only 21 percent of registered voters cast primary votes for council and mayor. We encourage the other 79 percent to be counted on this upcoming election day, certainly, but also and always when city government fails to meet its fundamental responsibilities to all Alexandrians.

Kathy Burns

Bob Wood

Hal Hardaway