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Council Candidate Wood Calls for a 'Reset' to City Hall

Republican Bob Wood says the city needs better guidance, direction, planning and communication.

Republican candidate for City Council Bob Wood called for a “reset” to City Hall on Thursday night before a packed courtyard at .

“We all love this city, its neighborhoods, its diversity… its history… its educated community. … We rally around issues that are important to us,” he said, adding that there’s been enough of city planning that “makes us not neighbors but enemies.”

Wood, a graduate of West Point and a retired military leader who holds an economics degree, said he has worked on putting communities together in Bosnia, Germany and other areas and it can be done in Alexandria.

“We see plans without citizen engagement and analysis,” he said. “Why are we rushing to failure?”

He cited the installation of the controversial BRAC-133 complex, which he referred to as "Mount Wastemore," and called it a “monument to lousy planning” that is exacerbating already complex traffic problems. Wood said the new bus lines to the complex out of King Street Metro would only further clog up the area.

Wood reiterated throughout his remarks to the crowd, which included Councilmembers Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes as well as mayoral aspirant Andrew Macdonald, that the city needs stronger leaders who can give proper guidance and direction to staff.

Former Vice Mayor Bill Cleveland, who is also a veteran, at the event said he’s a supporter because Wood “knows how to take and give orders and he thinks about the little guy—the people who are on the line.”

Karen Byers of Old Town who identified herself as a “conservative,” said there needs to be more balance on council.

Councilman Fannon said he’s excited to see Wood’s entry into the race. “Voters want options and citizens will have quality options” to choose from in the General Election in November, he said.

Jason Howell, who is running as an independent to unseat Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th congressional district of Virginia, said he admires Wood because he brings to the table “experience from his life that is not just political… and he understands the importance of creating relationships."

“I’m for anyone who is excited for progress,” Howell said.

West End Alexandrian John Ray said he is on board with Wood after hearing of Wood’s concerns over BRAC and the Beauregard corridor.

The scene was bespeckled with stickers, magnets, posters, yard signs and other campaign paraphernalia sporting Wood’s slogan: “Reset City Hall,” which Wood explained stands for Respect, Excellence, Service, Economy and Trust.

For more Patch coverage of the 2012 Election, "like" Old Town Alexandria Patch  and Del Ray Patch on Facebook and follow @delraypatch and @alexandriapatch on Twitter.

Jim Miller June 25, 2012 at 02:19 AM
John, in a city as small as Alexandria is, a ward system wouldn't be an efficient way of city government. As it is now, you have most council members on council, who are from different parts of the city, who geographically identify with their 'home territory', along with every square inch of the city. Plus, for example, people from the 'Arlington' part of Alexandria, could reach out to any council member, as none who are on council now live close to that part of town. There might be merit for a ward system of government, no doubt, as to the fact that each council member would have a block of territory that they would represent, but let me counter that thought, with saying that not all council members are equally skilled at dealing with any one issue, or any particular facet of their responsibilities of the population as a whole that they represent. The way it is now, people can call, email or contact all of their council members, or some on a case-by-case basis, relying on the known strengths or background of any council member. For instance, Rob Krupicka has a background in education issues, Frank Fannon and Kerry Donley, both have backgrounds in mortgage and financing, so my point being, is that if we did have a ward system, it would or could potentially restrict them from helping people from all over our city. Alexandria is only 15 square miles. It's just not big enough to have a ward system of government, no matter how much people think it would work, it wouldn't.
JohnFitzgerald June 25, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Jim- Richmond has a ward system. They are 45 or so percent bigger than us populating wise (200k vs our 140k). Fredericksburg also has a ward system (population 25k). I think our city attorney (Jim Banks) served on city council in Richmond but he didn't last long there and got beat in his re-election bid by a rather radical gentleman who wound up in jail. My point is that (1) it looks as though some other cities both smaller and larger than us have ward systems, and (2) perhaps Mr. Banks can comment on this... I think it's worth investigating...
Jim Miller June 25, 2012 at 03:07 AM
John, let me be specific, not all of our current council members or future council members, will have an equal amount of organizational skills for themselves, as individuals, or equally, their staffs. If Alexandria had a ward system in place, for instance, you might have some wards being more efficiently run than other wards, which would effect the city as a whole. It just wouldn't be the most effective way to have Alexandria run as a city government, in my opinion. By the way, our city attorney, Jim Banks, he lives all the way out in Leesburg, in Loudoun County, out in the hinterlands, so I'm not too sure he'd be the best person to state the good attributes of a ward system for which he is not a resident of the City of Alexandria, despite his background in Richmond, which has a vastly more polarized population than we do. I see where you're going with this, so try to sell me on why Alexandria needs a ward system, if you think that the current form of government doesn't work. I though, can tell you, that the system in place, offers people from all parts of our city to run, get elected, and be a part of our city's future. I'm no fan of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, every one knows that, and I also think that the Alexandria Republican City Committee is a complete joke of a political organization in Alexandria. The ARCC is a true paper tiger. The ARCC is so small they can hold their meetings in one of Pat Troy's restrooms. Sell me on why Alexandria should have wards.
Dennis Auld June 25, 2012 at 03:28 PM
John, I agree totally with Jim as to wards vs. at large. Alexandria is too small to have wards, and I do not think the issues facing Alexandria would be any better served with a ward structure. In fact, I think it wouldn't work as well. I would like to see a much higher percentage of registered voters come out for elections.
Jim Miller June 25, 2012 at 04:28 PM
John, let me be more specific here. People throughout Alexandria who want to reach out to their city council members, can and probably usually do, contact ALL of them in regards to a problem, or a specific issue, or whatever situation that they might have. As such, council members then, in turn, probably contact our city manager's office, where he then contacts city staff in regard to the particular issue raised. You now have, as a citizen, a greater voice, or impact, by raising an issue of concern, to the mayor and council members, than if you were to have a ward system in place. Let me say, once again, that not every council member has the same organizational skills as each other. It's just human nature. And that being said, if we had a ward system in place, the administrative staffs wouldn't be all organizationally equal as well. So the spectrum of our city government, governed by a ward system, probably wouldn't have a level playing field. That being said though, I think that I am getting your thought of implementing a ward system in Alexandria, to potentially weaken the current 'one party system' of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, and their so-called, firm grip on all the levers of our government here. The Alexandria Democratic Committee has proven itself to be, unintentionally, of course, to be a stumble bumble group of inept and unskilled political 'wannabes', who do need to be retired, and new fresh voices need to take their place, and not soon enough.

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