Positions of the Alexandria League of Women Voters
Positions on various issues taken by consensus and adopted by the Members of the Alexandria League of Women Voters in 2004 and reaffirmed in 2010.
Right to Vote.
Equality of Opportunity.
Land Use and Planning.
Sources of Local Revenue.
Ecology for Land Use Planning.
Environmental Protection and Pollution Control.
Right to Vote
We support protection of the right to vote of every citizen.
Equality of Opportunity
We support equality of opportunity for education, employment, adequate housing, public heath services, and further means of combating poverty in Alexandria.
We support the Council-Manager Plan as outlined in the Model City Charter Standards. We support maintenance of high standards of City government and services, especially through long-range planning. We support a City government that is responsive to citizens and able to hold its own leaders, committees, and members responsible for their actions and decisions.
- improved quality education, including adequate facilities, strengthened curriculum, efficient administration, and sound fiscal policies;
- community involvement in considering changes in school attendance zones and opening and closing of schools; using the goals of quality education, racial balance, stability of the school system; and socio-economic integration (by concurrence);
- increased public access in design of the School-Budget Calendar;
- improved communication between the School Board and the City Council, especially toward common principles for determining school salaries and formally developed long- and short-term goals.
We support budget priorities in this order:
- Capital-roofs, HVAC, space, playgrounds, incorporating energy efficiency devices;
- Operating-staff development, basic needs, and building budget, followed by class size and building operation and maintenance, physical and mental health, and school day and personnel costs.
Land Use and Planning
- a policy of controlled growth for the City, coordinating social and environmental factors and fiscal costs and benefits;
- efforts by the City Council to ensure that development is compatible in location, height, mass, scale, density, use, site layout and architectural character with surrounding neighborhoods. Existing affordable housing should be retained and the City should negotiate to include affordable housing in new developments wherever possible. The pace of development should be keyed to development of adequate supporting facilities, open space and parkland as well as low-scale and low-density mixed-use development of the waterfront, with a wide green strip on the river for public use and access;
- maintenance of current residential and historic areas and protection of nearby neighborhoods, especially from the impact of traffic, as the Metro Station area is developed in a combination of uses with appropriate height limitations;
- revitalization of Mt. Vernon Avenue with maintenance of existing scale and density and preservation of surrounding residential neighborhoods, including most recommended zoning in the applicable small area plan;
- maintenance of a moderate level of development in Eisenhower Valley with residential uses to support our housing stock, maintain a safe, active nighttime environment, and alleviate the impact of rush hour traffic. To support this level of development, we support:
- initiation of traffic improvements by the City to allow access to the valley from the Beltway and avoid increasing traffic through residential neighborhoods;
- improvement, expansion, and maintenance of existing parks and recreation facilities and of continued efforts by the City to acquire additional land for open space and recreational use. Open space should be truly usable space and should provide aesthetic values;
- improvement and expansion of availability of pedestrian access and creation of a pedestrian-friendly environment in every neighborhood.
We support a public transit service that is comprehensive enough to attract and keep riders, and a level of subsidy sufficient to keep fares at a competitive level. To finance this, we support an operating subsidy of at least five percent of the City budget and more as increased development revenues are realized from Vernon. The City's policy and future actions should aim at making the use of public transit relatively more convenient and less expensive than the use of automobiles. Provide safe, interconnecting bike trails throughout the city.
We support maintenance of adequate, suitable, safe, affordable housing for all citizens of Alexandria, including
- adequate housing opportunities for households with children,
- adequate support for appropriate, residential care facilities for the elderly,
- adequate rental housing stock, and
- continuing Alexandria's commitment to Resolution 830 (which commits City Council to replace any of the 1981 stock of 1,150 publicly assisted housing units that might be eliminated by development with an equal number of publicly assisted rental units;
- ensuring that persons are not discriminated against in obtaining housing on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, handicaps, presence of children, or sexual orientation; and
- continuing efforts and public dissemination of information on housing problems, legislation and other issues.
- action by the City and the community to increase the availability of day care. The extended-day care program should include every elementary school, with the number of child-slots in each school more nearly reflecting the actual need in each neighborhood. Those who can afford to do so should bear a larger portion of the cost of extended-day care so that lower income families will not have to experience increased fees.
- efforts by the City and the community to ensure the health and safety of children in day care and the quality of day-care programs by appropriate regulation and education for both parents and day care providers.
- continued support, with adequate state and local funding, for Alexandria Shelter Care Program for troubled adolescents who cannot be placed in a home setting; and
- continued action by the City to prevent delinquency and truancy.
Drug Treatment and Education
We encourage the City government to provide education, prevention, and treatment programs for substance abusers.
- direct increased attention and information to groups with special needs which include pregnant women, single parents, both men and women, with children in their care; recidivists; and non-English speaking residents; and
- coordination of efforts to combat drug abuse by City agencies, community groups, and private organizations.
Sources of Local Revenue
- The League of Women Voters of Alexandria believes that our City should consider other sources of revenue rather than continue to rely so heavily on the property tax. We think the City Council should consider holding a referendum as outlined in state law to approve a limited local income tax to be used to support new transportation initiatives.
- We also favor having our City Council and members of the General Assembly request the General Assembly to allow Alexandria to enact a local piggyback income tax without having a referendum and without restrictions on the use of the revenue.
- The League of Women Voters considers the Business and Professional Occupation License (BPOL) tax an appropriate revenue source. However, if the General Assembly were to abolish it, then our City Council and members of the General Assembly should request the General Assembly to allow Alexandria to enact an income tax to be levied on those who would otherwise be subject to the BPOL.
Ecology for Land Use Planning
- The City staff should include an environmental specialist to oversee all building and maintenance projects within the City to ensure that environmental concerns are incorporated within these projects so that they improve or at least do not degrade our fragile natural environment.
- The City should reconsider its definition of open space and invite public input in this process of redefinition. It should make forceful attempts to obtain those few remaining open-space areas as public parkland.
- The City should continue to make compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act a major requirement for all building and maintenance projects where the act applies.
- Stream valleys (for example, Eisenhower, more accurately Cameron Valley and Backlick) should be developed as areas for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Pedestrian safety and access should be a major objective in public planning.
Environmental Protection and Pollution Control
The League supports regulation of pollution sources by control and penalties; inspection and monitoring; full disclosure of pollution data; incentives to accelerate pollution control; vigorous enforcement mechanisms, including sanctions for states and localities that do not comply with federal standards and substantial fines for noncompliance; and the elimination of the cap and trade program.
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Last revised: October 12, 2012 20:50 PDT.
League of Women Voters of Alexandria, Virginia. All rights reserved.