Editor: A recent online “Editor’s Notebook” column from the Sun Gazette, lauding Arlington’s supposedly slavish devotion to “good governance,” has me wondering: Where is the evidence of Arlington’s superiority in truth-telling, transparency or accountability?

 Based on my own interactions with Arlington County government and my observation of others’ interactions with Alexandria city government, I fail to see much difference in their indifference to the public.

Arlington’s “process” is pure smokescreen democracy, designed to make it appear that board members have considered the public’s input, when in fact they simply ignore it and do whatever they had originally intended to do.

At every turn, the public’s input and concerns are reflexively dismissed:

• If you convince several people to attend the Herculean number of meetings comprising Arlington’s process, but they then fail to parrot the exact same script, the board will pronounce a lack of “consensus.” You lose.

• If you attend all the meetings and provide comments early and repeat them often but you don’t have a huge posse of 100 other like-minded people –  even if your concerns are backed by current science, documented by facts or supported by professional expertise – then you are dismissed as one of just a “few” malcontents. You lose.

• If, after arduous effort, you collect 1,000-plus petition signatures supporting your position – which takes time – board members will declare your efforts “too late.” You lose, again.

 This “Groundhog Day” set-up stymies any attempt to review past failures, much less to take corrective action. Instead, we just repeat the same mistakes.

Case in point: Having registered repeated concerns with staff and board members since 2016 regarding Arlington’s highly flawed approach to stormwater management and growing flood risk, the county appears to have made zero adjustments. Even after the catastrophic wake-up call of July 8, the board and staff stubbornly cling to the status quo.

Suzanne Smith Sundburg, Arlington

(2) comments


Archie Bunker made famous a one-word edict to Edith: Stifle

STIFLE: a perfect synonym for the school board’s contempt for the W-L community, a disrespect

weaponized by deceit and manipulation so well documented by Dean Fleming.

A directed verdict— a “name change” committee—is their poorly camouflaged pretense of

community involvement or respect for anything but their own will to rule by decree.

Process? Criteria? Inventions of a predetermined result.

I assume one or more of the Five Hard Heads made a private promise to an unknown somebody, perhaps one of their own, a promise they couldn’t keep without a whirlwind of deceit and manipulation, functioning as a corrupt collective dictatorship.

SA mom

Having moved from Alexandria, I would say that my experience in Arlington has been a delight by comparison. I don't always get my way, but I believe in the sincere efforts of our elected leaders to make the best decisions to reflect our values. The devil is always in the details, hence my sometimes reservations... BUT Alexandria's government back in the 1990's was shameless. Saying one thing and doing another, saying to anyone's face exactly what they wanted to hear and then acting in opposition to that. When I was moving, my one stipulation was NOT Alexandria. The grass was definitely less green there.

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