I am a pragmatist who wants to achieve three things on Council:
- Make Alexandria friendlier to homeowners and businesses.
- Improve public engagement and deliberative processes.
- Increase the role of technology in core areas of government for more efficiency.
I would achieve these goals as follows:
1) Make Alexandria friendlier to homeowners and businesses.
» Build consensus around growth.
We need a strong economy to attract jobs, building the talent we need to generate net new revenue.
» Champion financial responsibility.
Financial health requires keeping fundamentals strong. We should not borrow to excess against this, but steward and grow our financial position.
» Make Alexandria a trendsetter for innovation.
We have the talent, resources, and capacity as a city to go on the offensive and become one of the most competitive cities in the country. We simply need a cheerleader who gets the big picture and says, “we can, we will, we must lead.”
»Pragmatic over idealistic infrastructure development.
We cannot alter behavior without large misallocation of resources. The city should focus instead on immediate or neglected infrastructure failings and fix these as soon as possible. Spreading ourselves too thin will result in waste.
» Streamline permitting for new businesses.
The city is running beneath its economic potential. We are losing opportunities to create jobs, revenue, and a vibrant commercial property market. Being so close to D.C., we fail to maintain or enhance supporting improvements of our waterfront. I will ensure that we let businesses create a more vibrant economy in our city.
» Consider incorporating local area plans into the city charter on three-year cycles.
We need teeth in our city’s commitments to residents. We need balance between communication of plans with flexibility to capitalize on opportunities. A more transparent city that does what it says when handling development would improve the relationship between residents and developers.
» Restructure development to make it more conducive to growth and accountability.
We can have our cake and eat it too. We shouldn’t abandon prudent land management for the sake of a developer’s interests, and to the exclusion of our own. Instead, the city must balance its business with its engagement of residents. Government in Alexandria works for us all and we cannot lose sight of this as we rush to put more money into our piggy banks.
»Improve small businesses representation.
Businesses look to the city for leadership on issues past what they can solve by themselves. Inadequate engagement with our business community alienates a key agent of positive change in the city. The city needs a partner with this community, not an enemy.
» Establish a year-round public atrium space to boost tourism and community all-season.
Alexandria lacks adequate public space, especially during the off-season. This space would foster a better all-weather economy and civic climate.
» Maximize the appeal of our waterfront attractions (enhanced river transportation, an audited Torpedo Factory, cleaner public amenities, etc.).
The city can simply do better with our waterfront. Enhanced ferry connectivity means more tourism, more revenue, and a healthier economy. A working relationship with the artist colony need not exclude improving its viability. And better, cleaner bathrooms, improved maintenance, and a more integrated waterfront hurt no one but the public interest.
»Improve data collection on employers to better serve our small businesses.
The city does not provide adequate data coverage of the health of our small businesses. If we don’t know how they are doing, we cannot help them succeed. If they fail, our city suffers for it with a loss in branding, revenue, jobs, and civic engagement.
2) Improve public/regional engagement and deliberative processes.
» Stand up against WMATA and its one-sided 2019 station renovations plan.
The city rolls over for WMATA in that organization’s one-sided conversation with itself on when to conduct renovations and how to do it. Your elected leadership was complacent in shutting down metro for three months next summer. That will place a pall over the economy from which Alexandria could take years to recover. I won’t back down from getting compromise to scale this to a more gradual renovation, no matter what.
» Advocate to the General Assembly to move the deadline for completing the combined sewer outfalls project to 2028.
The state assembly has not articulated a punishment for failing to follow its 2025 completion mandate. Working with the assembly to stretch out completion to 2028 could save Alexandra taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. I will fight for this extended deadline.
» Cap representative salaries to avoid professionalization of our elected leadership.
Politics is not a job, it is a duty to discharge by engaged residents. That at least was the view of our founders. I see no reason for it to change today. To do otherwise is to subsidize the professional politician who cares more about his or her political career than this city.
» Create a working group to consult on regional developments which affect Alexandria’s competitiveness.
Alexandria is parochial and introverted in a market which pays to be the opposite. This is a dangerous and expensive position to sustain. We need a group that coordinates high-level strategic planning to make our city among the most vibrant in the region.
» Convert city administration from being staff-led to staff-guided.
Your city is staff, not citizen, directed. This is government dictating to itself what is best for it. I will put a stop to this and make Alexandria council-led. Our decisions will be more accountable, so if you don’t like something, you know exactly to whom to turn.
» Commit to focused, candid, and routine meetings with residents to ensure Alexandria is working on behalf of more than one interest.
Narrow interests steer our city’s policies and objectives. Since Alexandria is so dynamic and diverse, it deserves a candidate who will listen well to all concerns and address each regardless of its origin.
»No new stadium lights at T.C. Williams. Period.
Alexandria’s promises are hardly worth more than the paper they are written on these days. Regardless of the prudence to installing new lights (and there are in fact good reasons to do so), we as a city promised not to do so. Vote in leadership that honors its word. We say “yes” we mean it. We say “no” we mean it.
3) Increase the role of technology in core areas of our government for more efficiency.
» Provide adequate support to maturing technologies that improve the efficiency of city government.
Our city depends upon powerful technologies to manage the services we provide residents. Yet we have not provided consistent support to these or the staff who administer them. Without improvement, we cannot equal our peers’ technological capacities, to our long-term detriment.
» Expand the career opportunities for staff in our city’s IT department.
The city lacks a viable plan to retain top talent in our IT department and for it to play a larger roll across the city. This undercuts our long-term competitive abilities.
» Promote data exchange between care providers and law enforcement while respecting privacy concerns.
APD responds to a growing share of calls from individuals with mental health issues. Typically, these individuals have lacked appropriate preventative care resources from mental health providers. Closer data integration is essential to protecting these individuals, is supported by APD, and will preempt an issue before law enforcement is needed, improving overall public safety.
» Empower a new city manager in the role as Chief Innovation Officer to promote a culture of dynamic evolution in our bureaucracy.
The most successful cities today are defined by how they adjust to changes in technology. Alexandria does not operate well against this benchmark. As long as it does not, we will suffer to increasing extents. To make sure we are not only accountable but also effective, we need someone who looks for ways to improve, not sustain a status quo.