Provision of Public Spaces Becomes Election Issue for D.C. Suburb

Armed with complaints over favoritism towards developers, and insufficient deference to the needs of ordinary citizens, an independent challenger is taking on the incumbent mayor of affluent Alexandria, Virginia.

Patricia Sullivan looks at the contentious campaign in predominantly Democratic Alexandria, which has focused on differences in opinion on some of the city's recent development plans. Andrew Macdonald is challenging Mayor William D. Euille with the belief that the city has "let developers basically dictate a lot of the public policy."

The battle over plans for the city's Potomac River waterfront is a case in point. "Under Euille's leadership, city officials held community meetings over two years, negotiated with landowners (including a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.), and unveiled a major redevelopment project [for the waterfront] in spring 2011," writes Sullivan. "Macdonald led a grass-roots uprising that contended the city's plan had allowed too much density and commerce and not enough parks or other public amenities."

More recently, "With each major redevelopment proposal that has come up for city approval this year, some residents have argued that officials are more inclined to side with developers than residents."

Euille, on the other hand, contends that "Macdonald represents a small number of people who are 'raising Cain' over what most Alexandrians support."

Full Story: Mayoral candidates disagree on Alexandria’s direction on development, operations

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