Sunday, December 1, 2019
As Roman dramatist Terence reminds us, even two millennia ago, "Nihil dictum quod non dictum prius." (Nothing is said which hasn't been said before.)
While Bill Rossello believes that Mayor Wilson's "We cannot do this again" will dog his tenure, I am more concerned about the Mayor's dismissive, "If 99% of people wanted me to do something stupid, I wouldn't do it," because this remark, in response to the 13 civic associations opposing the Seminary Road diet, implied that the civic associations and their presidents meeting with the mayor are "stupid." Why else would he respond in that way?
King Louis XIV famously quipped,"L'état, c'est moi" (I am the state), a faint echo of Barack Obama's "phone and pen" remark or Mayor Wilson's dismissal of the civic association presidents' concerns.
The 99% remark is also alarming because we all recall the "Occupy Movement" who represented the dispossessed working class and the former middle class the "New Economy" has dumped into the working class. In Mayor Wilson's lifetime, by some measures, the middle class has fallen from more than 60% of the adult population to under 50%. Mayor Wilson's pro-development policies most directly enhance and benefit the 1%, while the 99% find it ever harder to afford to live here.
The Alexandria Seaport Foundation finds itself shunted off to a "floating building" where there isn't enough space for all the young people needing its services so its former neighborhood can be redeveloped into luxury housing and trendy eateries serving sophisticated fare Councilmember Del Pepper can't wait to try. She might as well have said what King Louis XIV's wife Queen Marie-Thérèse remarked during the French famines, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" (Let them eat cake).
Dear hoi polloi, your city government hopes you understand what it thinks of you. Please do not waste its Saturday afternoon city council session with your retrograde quibbles about the bright future your betters envision, even if not for you, then at least for the people whom they believe matter.