Thank you for your support

I want to thank everyone who voted for me and supported me throughout this campaign.  My apologies to all of you for not being able to bring it to a more successful conclusion.

The good news is that we have a new council with many new faces who I’m sure will have a positive impact on the city.  Congratulations to our new council members.  🙂  I will stay active to help them make positive impacts on the city, and I hope that you will do so as well.

I’d like to specifically call out and thank for their particularly strong support:

  • My wife and family
  • Anita and Jim
  • Gary and Ann
  • Maggie
  • Roy
  • Tom

Voting for change

One resident I ran into while canvassing had the message that she wasn’t sure people knew they don’t have to vote for six candidates.  You may vote, in fact, for *up to* six candidates.  Why does this fact matter?

If you want change, you should vote only for the candidates you actually like.  Voting for others can hurt your favorites’ chances.  The best thing you can do this election is to only vote for those candidates you personally want.  If that doesn’t come to six, even if it’s only one or two, feel confident in stopping there and you will really help your favorites.

Another neighborhood, the same story

I don’t know if it’s heartening or disheartening to hear my message spoken to me again and again from residents who are fed up with the city and looking for change.  Too many times I’ve heard residents complain that they came to meetings, people with differing views worked hard to find compromise, and they went back to the city (or school board) with a plan that took into account all of the stakeholders’ input… just to have it ignored and the plan that the city apparently had set their mind to before the process started is the one the city went with.

I don’t want to get into how much work these residents are putting in to come to fruitful compromise (it’s a lot), just to have it ignored.  I think it’s a waste of people’s time and it’s a waste of the best resource we have in this city–engaged and thoughtful citizens.

It’s a good thing it’s fall and change is in the air.


Who is Mark Shiffer?

I ran my first ad in the Alexandria Times:

You don’t get to say a lot in an ad, so I thought I’d fill in some details about who I am.  I’m the father of two, one in ACPS and one on her way there.   I’m originally from New Orleans and did the second half of my growing up in New Jersey.  I then lived in Ithaca, NY; Long Beach, CA; and most recently Boston, MA.  We moved to Alexandria so my wife could take her dream job at NASA HQ.

The most striking thing to me about Alexandria is it’s diversity.  Diversity of people–rich history mixed with fresh new faces from all over the world.  Diversity of neighborhoods–from the west end to Old Town, from central Alexandria to Potomac Yards.  Whether you’re looking for history, for an urban vibe, a town house or a single family home, we’ve got it.  Whatever stage of life you’re at, Alexandria has something beautiful to offer.

Professionally, I’ve been in science and technology my entire life.  Starting with a degree in Math from Cornell University, I went on to earn degrees in Computer Science and Computational Neuroscience.  I taught Computer Science for a while before moving to industry where I’ve worked in defense, finance, startups, online retail, and online advertising.  Throughout, I’ve built strong teams and solved hard, challenging problems.  It’s what I love to do and why I’ve decided to run for city council.

If you’re interested in my experience:

Why Independent?

I’ve been asked by many residents why I’m running as an independent (and which way I lean).  The answer to the first question is that I don’t believe party is all that important in city politics.  The majority of any city’s residents want the same thing.  They want a city that provides good services, maintains its infrastructure, and does so efficiently.  This is true of almost all of Alexandria’s residents regardless of party affiliation.

What strikes me most about Alexandria is its diversity of people and lifestyles.  From those living in town homes in old town, to high rise condos and apartments, to families raising children in single family homes — no matter who you are or where you are in your life, the city has a place for you.  With such a diverse population, the city should have no problem finding ideas to solve our problems.  Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case with the current city council.

I happen to lean democrat, in fact I was a registered democrat before I moved to Alexandria (we don’t register for a party in VA), although I like to think of myself as an independent thinker.  I hope that when you go to the polls in November that you vote for candidates that will bring fresh ideas and energy regardless of their political affiliation.  I hope you vote for candidates like myself that will work hard to solve the city’s problems and who will take input from all of Alexandria’s diverse residents.