Letter: Need Ethics Commission

Letter: Need Ethics Commission

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I would like to comment on Justin Wilson’s recent remarks about newly elected Mayor Silberberg’s proposal to establish an ethics commission to improve the city government’s transparency.

Mr. Wilson has been quoted as saying: “I would certainly like to review a proposal if and when it is made, and then figure out where we go next, but this outgoing Council (as well as previous Councils), has done a lot to create what is probably the most transparent, accessible and above-board government around.”

This flies in the face of recent questionable events, which are as follows:

  • Members of the current City Council, allegedly in executive session, allowed the deputy city manager to approve the BRAC 133 structure next to the Mark Center, much to the dismay of the Seminary Hills residents, who must fight massive traffic jams on a daily basis.

  • The outgoing mayor indicated that he would vote on the development of the North Robinson Terminal, despite the fact that he had received contributions from the developer.

  • The previous vice mayor voted to give half of Wales Alley to Virtue Feed and Grain, despite the fact that the Old Dominion Boat Club owned the easement on that property. It just so happened that his bank had bankrolled the loans to initially set up the restaurant. His reply to all this when confronted was that he was not the loan officer.

  • And lastly, who can forget the “10 percent rule,” which allows members of City Council to hide their ownership of personal interests, if under that 10 percent.

There are many more examples of the current “above board” climate in Alexandria, but they are too numerous to relate here. Ms. Silberberg’s initiative will go a long to re-establish our trust in local government. In short, there has never been a better time to change the climate from questionable to ethical.

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet