Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr., angered by a flier circulated by a tenant group that condemned the city's housing policies, chastized the group last night and said it raised his "Irish temper."
"Do you really believe that the City of Alexandria has made people's housing needs a low priority?" Moran shouted at Louise Arnold, director of the Alexandria United Tenant Organization.
"Yes," responded Arnold, who was attending last night's City Council meeting seeking a $16,000 grant to study poor tenants' housing options.
Several council members and the Rev. Gerry Creedon, director of Catholic Charities for Northern Virginia, broke in, asking Moran not to let the flier interfere with the study.
"There is a crisis in Arlandria West," Creedon said, referring to the area that houses 3,000 of the city's poorest residents who are facing eviction because their apartments are for sale. "The flier is not the central point," Creedon said, saying the study is needed to give the poor a chance of keeping their houses.
The pamphlet said, "Alexandria has failed to provide affordable housing for its low-income residents."
Moran said that the city "had paved the way" for subsidized and public housing.
Finally, Moran participated in the unanimous council vote awarding the group the $16,000, provided that it stays in contact with the city's housing office and that the group's directors review the fliers it distributes.
In an unscheduled appearance before the council, School Board Chairman Lou Cook asked City Manager Vola Lawson to reconsider her recommended 6 percent increase in the city's school budget. Unless the schools get $60.2 million -- representing an 8.59 percent increase -- there will be teacher layoffs, larger classes and cuts in special education, she said.
In other business, the council voted 4 to 3 to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct an environmental impact study of a proposed heliport near the Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station. The study will take at least six months.