- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003


   Radio shows and newspapers have trumpeted that Alexandrians elected their first black mayor on Tuesday. That fact is missing the point. Both William Euille and Bill Cleveland, the Democrat and Republican candidates respectively, happen to be black, so history was sure to be made on that count. What the media has ignored are the issues — and on those merits, the electorate picked the wrong guy to change the city’s course.
   Mr. Cleveland is a fiscal conservative, who in 15 years on the City Council worked to make taxes lower and municipal government smaller. In this year’s campaign, he pledged to cap local taxes, cut government spending and bring transparency to city hall by posting city council votes on the Internet. Mr. Euille refused to rule out tax increases and promised to use taxpayer funds to buy up private property for public works. City residents, whose property taxes jumped 25 percent last year, can expect more increases under the new mayor.
   Of course, after defeat, successful politicians live to run another day. Cleveland supporters now are encouraging him to run for Congress against Rep. Jim Moran next year. We think it’s a good idea, not least because Mr. Moran’s constant scandals are a local and national embarrassment. He once shoved another congressman on the House floor and has been involved in numerous altercations in which the police had to be called. Just five days ago, Mr. Moran shouted down a Catholic priest who dared to use his sermon to reiterate church teaching that Catholics have a moral obligation to oppose abortion. Despite Mr. Moran’s knack for controversy, only a Republican with proven popularity and high name ID has a chance against a seven-term congressman in a Democrat town. Mr. Cleveland won the most votes for City Council in both 1991 and 2000.
   As re-elected Democrat councilman Del Pepper sang out at Tuesday’s victory party, “Happy Days are here again.” Indeed, this week’s election was a big day for Alexandria’s liberal Democrats, who swept every single office: mayor, sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney and all six council seats. The two state delegates are Democrats, as are the state senator and U.S. congressman. This decades-long control has brought nothing but skyrocketing taxes and ever-increased municipal spending on top of budget shortfalls. The city’s only chance to break uniparty government might be Cleveland for Congress in ‘04.
   

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