Since there are no more mayoral debates, everything boils down to the democratic primary on June 8th.
Like the main event in a boxing match, Mayor Justin Wilson and former Mayor Allison Silberberg answered a series of questions in the finals of four Seminary Ridge Civic Association candidate forums on Thursday night.
This is the final debate or forum for the two candidates until the Democratic primary on June 8th.
Wilson is a leader in fundraising and fundraising, while outsider Silberberg has received support from groups like the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook page to agree on a number of its key issues including Government Transparency, Seminary Road Reversal Diet and curb developments.
Fifteen city council candidates attended the Seminary Ridge talks, commenting on density, affordable housing, government transparency, flooding, and their views on changes to the controversial Seminary Road Diet.
Following a council vote of 4 to 3 in 2019, the road next to Inova Alexandria Hospital has been reduced from four to two lanes to include a center turning lane, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the street, crosswalks and median. A majority of the councilors are now in favor of reducing the lanes on the 1.5 km road between N. Quaker Lane and Howard Streets from two to four lanes.
Wilson said he was in favor of optimizing the plan, despite being accused of ignoring opposition from 13 civic organizations.
“It’s Unfortunately we could not receive everyone in the the Community on the equal page on these Problem, ”said Wilson. “I believe the Improvements The we made were Well Ones. I am hopeful The in the the future we can continue to optimize how necessary.”
Silberberg said she would restore the four lanes.
“These is a head arterial road The leads to our just Hospital, ”she said. “I have seen it and lots Residents to have seen it and told me over it The They have seen ambulance stuck. I think we to have a chance to Law these not correct, and, of Course, to keep the pedestrian Improvements, but I would not to have elected to the it and I become restore the travel Lanes if I can receive everyone together on The.”
Silberberg said she was sad to hear reports from residents who did not trust their government and recently defended herself on a pledge of accountability known as the Alexandria Constituents Bill of Rights. Silberberg lost to Wilson in Democratic Elementary School in 2018, saying she worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week during her tenure.
“I think, you [City staff] should also sign the promise, ”she said.
Silberberg also criticized the performance and the six-figure salary of City Manager Mark Jinks.
“To be honest, it’s a lot of money. I brought this up (as mayor) but no one agreed with me except that the city manager has a car credit. It sounds small, but I don’t think we should have this for him. I think we should revise that. “
Wilson said Jinks’ salary was mid-range when compared to salaries in neighboring jurisdictions and that given the organization he runs, he is being paid appropriately.
Colocation of affordable housing
Wilson he said Not I want to assemble affordable housing on the Alexandria City Public Schools site, a position Silberberg affirms on another controversial issue.
“I Not support Putt affordable casing on our existing school Properties, ”he said. “We need More manual place. ”
Silberberg said the school system is bursting at the seams.
“I would certainly support a regulation to say nÖ to Putt casing on our limited school Properties, ”she said.
Wilson said the city’s Environmental Policy Commission is full of “good scientists” to study on the city’s electricity restoration projects, including Taylor Run, Strawberry Run and Lucky Run. Last month, the Council decided to send aspects of the projects back to the drawing board in the face of widespread public criticism.
Silberberg says that Alexandria has only a few forests left and that she has long spoken out against the plans and against Wilson’s “endless pursuit of superstructures.”
Transit lanes on Duke Street
Wilson and Silberberg agreed that the Duke Street Transitway project should not result in fewer lanes between the Landmark Mall and the King Street-Old Town underground station.
“I personally Not think the Volumes on duke road would enable us to remove any traffic Lanes on duke Street, ”said Wilson. “W.marriage will to have a quantity of Community engagement to number out the best Alignment, how Well how search at the the Intersections to To attempt to to reduce something of the Cut-by traffic The we see in the a quantity of our Neighborhoods. “
The city will begin public engagement with the project next month.
To $ 60 million in federal COVID funding
Silberberg said the nearly $ 60 million in COVID aid money coming into the city should be handled carefully and funds should be spent on rainwater infrastructure after all of last year’s floods.
“This is a one-time federal government investment and we must be extremely careful and careful with this money,” she said. “Think about what is business critical. First and foremost, I think we clearly need to focus like a laser beam on this flood, the sewage and rainwater inundation that attacks and haunts our residents every time it rains. “
Wilson said he was proud to have led the city through the most significant public health crisis in a century and that the city needs to invest more in the social, emotional and academic losses Alexandria children suffer.
“We to have a opportunity to do generation Investments in the our Community around our Infrastructure, around our Investments, around something of the Systems around Workforce development and Things The are walk to eventually advantage our Community to the Generations, ”he said. “W.e have 1,300 proposals of the Community, and were walk to Be Work in the June and July to apply those proposals in the to find out out How to to use The first Tranche of Money.”
Image via Seminary Ridge Civic Association / Zoom