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Monday! Monday! Monday! Returned to Alexandria a few hours ago... and while I was away, I learned some very interesting facts that I am not in a position to give away quite yet. I enjoyed this article in today's Town Talk: Alexandria decisions ‘amaze’ I read with interest that our City Council is looking for more money to help some of our citizens pay their utility bills. I applaud this effort.

It amazes me that our council can give $250,000 to a consulting firm to tell us that we need to plant trees on Third Street and have two-way traffic. It amazes me that this same council authorized $650,000 on a jogging trail that will be seldom used, knowing all the while that the city utility department is behind $3 million on collections. People desperately need help coping with high utility bills. These are the same officials who failed to lock in natural gas prices and actually enabled our utility bills to skyrocket. Thank God for a mild winter. I wonder if these guys can feel the pain. Where are their priorities? It’s almost election time. Should we tell them we approve of the job they are doing?

Don Holloway, Alexandria

Mr. Holloway and I feel the same way about the current state of affairs; however, I also think the city needs to be really careful about how they handle this utility bill crisis. They certainly don't want to do anything illegal. Right? Also, I agree with Mr. Silver's contention that it is equally important for the council to consider the stress these bills are taking on small business owners, because if you're only assisting individuals, you're neglecting the fact that for many businesses, their utility bills are as high as rent. And when this occurs, people lose their jobs. The reception I've received from my article: Hmmmm... one thing is for certain, the people who "disagreed" with me haven't given me a single substantive example of why I am so wrong; insted, they've said that I am "full of myself" and that I "don't know what I am talking about." But so far, no death threats! (Side question: Am I being full of myself in thinking that I am even important enough to warrant a death threat?) People may be confused about the picture I have posted of the old Weiss and Goldring building. Well, our company has a 90-day feasibility study hold on it, and right now, we're looking for investors. So far, we've received committments from quite a few people. It's exciting. I think that the conversion of this building is the key to opening up downtown. Personally, I don't care if the project makes money... it DEFINITELY won't make me a dime (except maybe a gift certificate to Weiss and Goldring in the mall)... what is most important is FINALLY getting the job done.