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The Home Stretch. Vote for Roy. The election is less than a week away, and during this final week, I think it's important for us to remember what we're voting for and what, in my opinion, we should be voting against. When I first began blogging back in March, other bloggers and concerned citizens sent me letters with information about consulting companies, backdoor ordinances, and insider deals. Granted, we bloggers are known to suffer from a healthy amount of paranoia, and some of this material was more innocuous than they first thought. However, where there is smoke, there is fire. In my humble opinion, in the course of an election, it's not negative to tell the public about an opponent's professional record; it's informative. It provides an insight into the way our local government currently operates. Have we all forgotten this? Why is it rude, at this point, to remind people about the issues? When a candidate lies to the public why is it that our first inclination is to kill the messenger? (And we're not talking about a little white lie. We're talking about a lie that goes to the core of a candidate's ability to operate with a governing body that must be dealt with on a daily basis). I understand: We like our campaigns to be polite. But friends, at one point does our desire to be polite impede on the public's right to know the truth? We deserve a government that believes in and practices honesty and transparency. Let's really talk about this. Is it okay for the mayor's chief of staff to create an acquisition company to place a six-figure bid on a government-sponsored relocation contract? (And doesn't this at least deserve a thorough explanation?) The chief of staff and the city attorney's wife BOTH bid on a contract to be decided by a board in which four out of five members are appointed by the mayor. How is this fair? During the past twenty years, Alexandria has undergone a number of positive changes, and yet, we continue to recycle the same consultants, lawyers, insurance salesmen, and engineers. Unfortunately, most people aren't paying attention, and of those who do, some (even those who express the best intentions) are still complicit in the enterprise. Why? Because during those twenty years, these consultants, lawyers, insurance salesmen, and engineers aren't just business partners; they've become friends. If Alexandria is to take advantage of our growing economy, we must look toward young, fresh, and unconnected leadership. As much as people want to discount the Town Talk's endorsement, there's a good reason they selected Jacques Roy. Mr. Roy met with their editorial board for two hours, answering very specific questions and accounting for his vision of Alexandria's future. They selected him, because he presented a clear plan, not just a series of talking points and abstractions, and he demonstrated his committment. During this election, Jacques Roy has been the only candidate to really tackle the issue of smart growth. Campaigns can make promises about cleaning up crime and revitalizing our downtown, but without clear principles and a plan to accommodate for our growth, Alexandria will continue down the same path-- disconnected, disjointed, and inefficient. After my initial endorsement of Jacques, I've shied away from blogging about his candidacy, but with less than a week away, I want to share some of the things I've learned during his campaign. First, Jacques has always been approachable, willing to listen, and willing to answer the most difficult questions. I have listened to Jacques campaign at block parties, coffee shops, music events, restaurants, and living rooms throughout our community. But don't just take my word for it. Ask others who attended these events. Ask Robert Randow, a local musician, who was so impressed by Jacques' enthusiasm and honesty during an event at the House of Java, that he wrote a letter about it to The Town Talk. People who otherwise felt disinterested and disenfranchised, particularly young professionals, from our government are now speaking out and taking an active interest. On a personal level, no one has promised me anything, and I do not expect anything. No one has ever told me what to write, for better or worse. I support Jacques Roy, because I recognized, from the first letter he sent me in early July, that he truly wants good government. And I know what my naysayers will say: That I'm star-eyed and naive, that I'm too close to Jacques to have an objective perspective. Perhaps these are valid criticisms, but it doesn't make them relevant. Let me make this clear: I simply want what is best for our community. (I've never claimed to have all of the answers, but after reading and writing about Alexandria every single day for five months, I think I have a good handle on the issues). In two years, it's possible I'll be in graduate school. Contrary to the opinions of some, I do not have a vested financial interest in any candidate. My immediate family has not donated a dime to any political candidate. And after a lengthy due diligence period on the downtown Weiss and Goldring building, my family's company has decided to move onto other projects (primarily, improving our existing inventory). As many of you may know, my two objectives are to reopen Bringhurst Golf Course as a non-profit and to create a truly independent press. That's it. I hope that my opinion will be read for what it is: That of someone motivated and inspired by the opportunity for change, someone who has carefully followed this campaign, someone dismayed by the insider deals, the lies, the consulting contracts, and the lack of transparency, and someone willing to speak out, even if it means catching a lot of anonymous grief.