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Supporters, Detractors Weigh In On Change Proposal

by ARLnow.com | May 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm | 1,377 views | 44 Comments

This morning we ran a story on Committee for a Better Arlington chairman Mike Staples declining to participate in a planned debate over the group’s change-of-government proposal. Since there will be no “debate” tonight, we decided to ask two fresh voices from each side of the issue to make their case to Arlington residents here, in 400 words or less.

As a preface: it’s looking like this is a debate that will only get louder in the coming weeks and, possibly, months. The Committee is facing the daunting task of collecting 14,340 signatures by July 15 in order to float the proposal as a ballot initiative. Staples, however, says his group is “on track” to collect the needed signatures.

The reasons for and against changing Arlington’s form of government, after the jump.

For the proposed change:

In Favor of a “County Board” Form of Government

By Brian R. Smith, Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans Chairman

Throughout the Spring I have been working with Arlington First Responders to gather signatures from Arlington County voters.   We’re striving to bring to the ballot a modest, but important, set of changes to our county government.   Arlington voters should sign the petition in order to promote further debate and discussion of this proposed transition from a County Manager form of government to a County Board form of government.

In 1930, Arlington adopted a form of government that increased the power of the unelected county manager and decreased the power of the voting populous.  This was achieved in two key ways:  first, the county manager became the county’s ‘chief executive’, significantly limiting the ability of elected county board members to hold accountable county department heads.  Second, county board members began to be elected “at-large”, dramatically increasing the voter-to-elected-official ratio.   At a time when the population of Arlington was about 26,000 residents, this form of government may have made sense.

Today, Arlington County has nearly 10 times the amount of people it did in 1930.  The proposed County Board form of government is critical in an effort to rebalance power to the electorate.  If passed, the county manager would effectively become a county administrator, giving elected officials the ability to directly interface and oversee the department heads. Second, and perhaps most important, the County Board positions would be elected by districts, vastly improving the ‘representativeness’ of the county.  Contrast that to our current board, which has three of the five board members living within the same zip code.

The “Change of Government” Petition is not an indictment of the performance of our County public officials, as some may believe.   Instead, this is an effort to rebalance power from the un-elected to the elected, and strengthen the connection between the Arlington voter and their elected representatives.

I hope you will join me in helping our first responders collecting the signatures they need for this July. With all of our support we can make a better Arlington.

Against the proposed change:

Decline to Sign!

By Alan Howze, Coalition for Arlington Good Government Co-Chair

The change of government proposal would take Arlington backwards, and we encourage voters to DECLINE TO SIGN the referendum petition.

Defeating this referendum is not about gaining or losing partisan advantage, it is about standing up to defeat very bad public policy.  It’s about making sure that we have a local government that meets the needs of our populous and diverse county and works in the best interests of all of Arlington.

The Coalition for Arlington Good Government (CAGG), led by Co-Chairs Bill Bozman, Judy Connally, Alan Howze, and Kris McLaughlin, recently formed to educate voters about the significant negative consequences of the proposal.

The damage from the referendum would include:

  • Invalidating Arlington’s strong locally-adopted child day care standards and replacing them with weaker state requirements
  • Overturning Arlington’s current system for governing our schools
  • Rolling-back Arlington’s stronger anti-discrimination protections
  • Eliminating Arlington Civil Service System and politicizing our County Government by making County Board members directly responsible for personnel decisions

The proposed new form of government, called the County Board form, would impose on Arlington residents a government used by only four sparsely populated rural counties in Southwest Virginia (Russell, Scott, Carroll and Grayson if readers would like to look them up on a map).  Moreover, it would yoke Arlington to these same rural counties, because any additional local authority that we sought from the state, whether to control growth, protect diversity, or protect our environment, would have to be agreed to by all the other counties under the County Board form of government.

The referendum would also render useless the authorities that have already been granted to Arlington by the Virginia Legislature and place Arlington more at the mercy of Richmond.  And all this disruption because a small number of Arlington County public safety employees are dissatisfied with their pay and benefits (which are competitive for our region).  Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

To learn more, readers can see a briefing given recently to the Arlington Chapter of the League of Women Voters that explains the referendum’s effects on Arlington: http://lwv-arlingtonva.org/, or read the recently released County Attorney’s memo at http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/CountyAttorney/CountyAttorneyMain.aspx

To join our efforts to stop this damaging referendum, please visit CAGG’s Facebook Group at: http://tinyurl.com/2apxtzc

So if, in the coming weeks, you are asked to sign the referendum petition, just remember these three words – Decline to Sign!

We welcome your thoughts. Please continue the discussion in the comments section below.

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  • Jason

    Honestly, I don’t know what to think. I’m a bleeding heart liberal but I thought the argument for the proposed change was stronger. I would like if arlnow could continue publishing various arguments for and against the proposal. Thanks.

  • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

    What I worry about is that Arlington would become DC like. Instead of *ONE* Arlington with *ONE* board, we would become five distinct wards and those wards interests would become pitted against each other. Instead of making decisions that would benefit all of Arlington, Board members would make decisions that benefit only their ward. Arlington is already small – we dont need it sliced any smaller.

    Further I think all this conflates two issues – how board members are elected – and the power of the county executive. The power of the county executive worries me and I think that is legitimate. But that is not fixed by changing how board members are elected. These are two distinct issues. You can change / fix one without changing / fixing the other.

    The strength of Arlington is its sense of unified community. I think this proposal with regards to how officials are elected – would be eroded.

    • Jose

      This is interesting stuff. I see the danger in throwing in with rural VA counties when it comes to addition of ‘liberal’ county rights and in the potential for divisiveness in electing board members by district. However, Arlington would benefit from more direct district representation.

      Arlington’s low income housing initiatives, such as the MIPAP program (of which I am a recipient), are generally speaking a joke. In 2008 there were a total of 8 MIPAP loan recipients, assistance amounts had remained unchanged since 2000. Even with changes to the MIPAP program, having effectively increased the size of loans, in order to qualify for the program the maximum purchase price of a home is set at $362,790 compared to the average assessed value of a home in Arlington of $527,500.

      Also, I cannot help but think that district representation would assist in lighting a fire under efforts to face-lift aging areas like the Columbia Pike corridor, bring true diversity to our boards, and maybe put an end to all of the money going to laying down traffic humps in North Arlington.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    The current Arlington County Board at-large, majority-place system is rooted in overt, willful racism.

    The last thing the majority white County Board members and the ACDC want is ceding representation to the Arlington communities of color through districts.

    Walter Tejada is merely a token, as was the late honorable Charles Monroe, both given a “slot” by the ACDC for the sake of maintaining the all-white at-large majority without question.

    The current county board arrangement should be sent to the dustbin of history for that reason alone, and should have been sent there 80 years ago.

    There are many other good reasons to go single-member through districts so that the new people elected to the Arlington County Board clearly endeavor to be responsive to the concerns of neighborhood and community groups in their districts

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Hey, “Efrem Hornbostle”, your concern is touching. Too bad it’s as fake as your name.

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

    Jason, this really doesn’t have anything to do with liberal(bleeding-heart or otherwise)/conservative philosophies. The proposal is just the Arlington GOP’s most desperate attempt (to date) to gain relevance by some means other than actually addressing the concerns of a majority of Arlington’s voters. The unions are apparently unhappy with their inability to influence the existing board, so they’ve thrown their lot in with this silly proposal. And the Greens, well, they’re doing what Arlington’s Greens have done as long as I’ve lived here.

    The thing that really annoys me about the Brian Smith’s argument above is it’s unwillingness to acknowledge the damage that this proposal would do to Arlington. Then again, it’s probably the kind of damage they’d like to see done. They are Republicans, after all.

  • Arlington Observer

    What Brian ignores (or more likely doesn’t know) is the fact that the rural county board form of government actually dates back much further than 1930. In its present form, it dates to 1938, and was designed for rural, sparsely populated counties like Russell and Grayson. The combined population of the four counties with that form of government is less than Arlington and the square mileage of each county is many times larger.

    Any changes to the County Board form, if we adopt it, would require the approval of those four rural counties, one of which voted against Obama by 70 percent. What is the likelihood Arlington and Grayson will agree on non-discrimination for gays and lesbians, or transferable development rights, innovative affordable housing programs, or benefits for part-time employees, or stronger childcare standards? For Arlington to win these authorities without their consent would require a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly.

    These are among the powers we would lose if we adopt the rural form of government. In return we get a mandatory Cooperative Extension office and cede to McDonnell the right to pick our health and human services director. These are the real issues at stake.

    Democrats will overwhelmingly win in Arlington whether board members are elected at-large or not. So do not kid yourselves into thinking that will matter one bit. What matters is the fact that all of Arlington will be worse off if the GOP/Fire Fighter proposal is adopted for the reasons Alan Howze and I have described.

    As MB said, when Brian and others acknowledge the legal consequences of the change, we can have an honest debate. Until then, they are basically perpetrating a fraud on the people of Arlington.

  • South Walter Reed

    Clearly the subtext of this whole situation is trying to force a county that consistently votes 70% Democratic into electing non-Democrats.
    Although I hold Arlington’s public safety employees in the highest regard, I find it slightly odd that they are partnering in this effort with virulently anti-union Republicans.

  • Wakefield alumni

    What about term limits for Board members? Isn’t anyone else sick of this merry-go-round?

  • Arlington Observer

    Actually turnover on the board has been pretty consistent. The fact of the matter is that most people in Arlington like their board members, which is why they are routinely elected with 65-75% of the vote. Perhaps if the Arlington Republicans sponsored reasonable candidates with actual ideas about how to improve Arlington, they would do better. And if there are discontented Democrats, the primary process is open to all. Run for office. Make your case.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Perhaps if the Arlington Republicans sponsored reasonable candidates with actual ideas about how to improve Arlington, they would do better.

      This. I, on the whole, am quite satisfied with our County Board. But I think everyone benefits from some healthy competition. The Arlington GOP certainly hasn’t been able (or willing) to provide that, though. Instead of reasoned and thoughtful alternatives, they offer clown shows that make me wonder if they realize they’re actually running in Arlington. Too bad, really, as I bet Arlington would give a fair hearing to those “reasonable Republicans” I occasionally hear still exist. (And to beat a dead horse – you Greens could probably garner enough support to apply some real pressure from the left, if you’d get serious about it.)

  • Not in the weeds

    bArlington’s comment is spot-on. There is unity in Arlington’s at-large elected Board that is lacking when there are districts. And Arlington’s 1 Board member per 52,000 people is still better than our large neighbors.

    And despite the whining of many in the southern corners of town, Arlington’s demographics are not balkanized like many larger jurisdictions; there is diversity and changing demographics just going a few blocks in all but one zip code. The increasingly false division between north & south Arlington is fading with every passing year.

    It ain’t broken, so there’s no need to try to ‘fix’ it.

  • 22205

    This is what happens when you decide to pursue a course of action that serves your own interests at the expense of genuine public input & vetting. Everyone is posting comments to a blog post rather than learning and responding to reporters’ independent research on how we got here in the first place.

    The unions foolishly hitched their wagon to a short-sighted course of action without doing their homework. They were joined by two weak but opportunistic partisan groups to serve their own interests, namely to oust the same Democrats the same unions have endorsed repeatedly.

    Now a new organization opposed to the petition is trying to get the word out of the actual ramifications in spite of media coverage that has preferred to focus on “the debate on the debate” and petty sniping rather than the facts at issue.

    This is no way to stage a true public discussion about a fundamental question of governance, that has impacts ranging from our bond rating to our economic development potential to our power in Richmond. Is that too much to ask of our local reporters? The snow ordinance got more earnest coverage.

    Even if you don’t like Democrats – even if you want to elect your officials in districts – no person in their right mind would support this petition. People have until July 15 to figure that out. I challenge the media to do their part to educate voters.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Elitist Arlington Democrats are in denial and this measure has bitten right where it hurts. You can blame this on Republicans, Conservatives, Greens, Firefighters, and George Bush all you want, but this measure has you bozos running scared.

    What goes around comes around, and a signicant cadre of Arlington citizens (yes there are some sane anti-Obama Democrats out there) want the current form of government in this county to pass to the wayside so that the “little guy” is represented and we can have a grassroots government with a focus on real issues.

    The elitist Democrats are concerned they may really lose there current grip on power.

    • lily

      I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • CJ

      As one of the few arlington Republicans (and closeted about it since last time I had my voting signs vandalized – shocker) I’ll support allowing some competition in the county authority makeup – even if it does change some additional rights Arlington has achieved in the past. If Arlington is as small and cohesive as some claim, it will keep its “personality” despite having separate voting districts. Competiion is always the best choice when facing an entrenched bureaucracy.

  • Confused

    I’m trying to understand the pros and cons on this proposal. I fully understand the argument against the proposal that we’re small enough already and we don’t need balkanization of this small county, but I don’t at all understand what changing the election procedure and county executive authority has to do with day-care standards, anti-discrimination policies, school governance, or elimination of the arlington civil service system. Are there specific provisions in state law that change those items when moving to a County Board form of government or are those things that “could” happen when a executive board is in-place? I find it hard to believe that any actions of our County Board would require that the other four County Board counties have any say in the matter! Assertions without facts just confuse this issue.
    If all this does is replace an unelected County Manager with an elected County Executive authority and moves to voting by wards, then I lean to supporting it, as my experience of almost 50 years in Arlington has been that there is too much power in an unresponsive county staff (although they do in general do a good job). If there are other direct effects of the action (not possible effects) then I need to get information about what those effects are.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Confused, you raise good points that every discussion on this topic should start out addressing. Virginia is what you call a “Dillon Rule” state. To borrow Fairfax County’s explanation:

      Virginia courts have concluded that local governments in Virginia have only:

      Those powers that are specifically conferred on them by the Virginia General Assembly

      Those powers that are necessarily or fairly implied from a specific grant of authority

      Those powers that are essential to the purposes of government — not simply convenient but indispensable

      In other words, to do anything, Arlington County needs specific permission from Richmond. Richmond, in ~1930, provided for a number of models that counties could select from, which gave them a specific set of powers. Since then, Arlington has secured a number of additional powers (related to the “day-care standards, anti-discrimination policies, school governance, or elimination of the arlington civil service system” you talk about) that would go away if it selected a different model. If Arlington were to attempt to change whatever model it selected, that change would affect those rural counties, who would probably object. (The alternative is for Arlington to again seek special dispensation from Richmond. What do you think the chances are that Richmond’s going to act to affirmatively protect gay folks from discrimination? I’d fully expect Cuccinelli & Co. to march on Arlington with pitchforks).

      If all this does is replace an unelected County Manager with an elected County Executive authority and moves to voting by wards,

      No, that’s not all it does, as Alan Howze explains. The reason so many of us are greatly annoyed with this proposal is the dishonest way in which the GOP is selling it, leading people like you to think that that’s all it is. Next time they ask you to sign on, raise the above points and watch them dissemble. It’s pathetic.

      • Arlington Observer

        Just to follow up on this. If you look at the Virginia Code, you’ll see that each form of government has its own section. The County Manager Plan form of government has its section and Arlington is the only county that fall under it. If Fairfax were to change their government, for example, they could adopt it and if they did, they would have the benefit of all the provisions that are contained in it. When Arlington’s General Assembly delegation seeks new authorities for Arlington, this is where it goes and Arlington is rarely mentioned by name.

        Changing Arlington’s form of government would take Arlington out of that section of the Code and make a different section of the code (which contains different authorities) the section that would govern. If you look at the County Board form of government it lists the authorized powers. All the things we’ve been talking about — affordable housing, TDRs, child care provisions, non-discrimination provisions, the civil service commission are not there. They can be found only in the section of code that is for county’s that have adopted the County Manager Plan form.

        Hope that helps.

        I think it is telling that we are offering facts and data (and if you like, can provide the actual sections of the code), while the other side (as represented here by their supporters) are largely engaging in ad hominems and not debating these points at all.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Mr. Confused:

    What you have under the current system is a UNRESPONSIVE COUNTY BOARD that could care less about the tangible everyday concerns of hardworking Arlington folks just like you. They know under the current system, they’ll all get reelected over and over again, and the annual January 1st stunt of giving the Chairmanship automatically to the person up next for reelection is another fraud.

    The goons that run the ACDC are scared of this because they know blowhards like Chris Zimmerman could never get elected in a district that only contains a small portion of Douglas Park. They also fear the fact the 2-3 minority folks could win if districts were established in Arlington.

    ACDC is trying to balme the Republicans for this. But all they need to do is look at themselves to blame.

    • Thes

      Well, Efrem, I was going to go along with the researched, cited and extensively explained views of MB and Arlington Observer. But you used all caps, so I guess we all have to admit you’re right. Oh, and by the way, in his last election, Douglas Park’s precinct voted 75% for Chris Zimmerman.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Of course Douglas Park voted 75 percent for Chris Zimmerman, they are all pro-abortion, eltitist, pro-tax hike, use Walter Tejada as a pawn, dog walking, hug Al Gore, never walk Columbia Pike at night, zombie liberals just like you.

  • Distantantennas

    In a County like Fairfax or Montgomery, Arlington would be one, maybe two districts. I’ve always found the Board members approachable when contacted. That doesn’t mean they’ll always do what you want, but the only way to get an elected representative who does *everything* you want is to run and win yourself.
    Also, there’s really three separate questions being rolled in here – districts, board size, and the power of the county manager. It’s my understanding that Arlington could go to districts or increase the board size without changing the actual form of government. Somebody correct me if that’s wrong.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Arlington would not be limited to 1-2 districts, it could be many more per the code of Virginia and one at-large Chairman.

    I see this is the lastest lie spouting from the ACDC – do not sign the change-of-government petition because we’ll end up with less County Board members than we do now.

    What this all comes down to is quite simple. The last thing the ACDC and the current County Board wants is to give up power and have to run on merit and respond to the real needs of folks by having to run in districts.

    The ACDC is spinning this as a Democrat v.s. Republican issue which it is not.

    At issue is an elitist County Board and Democrat Party that is out of touch and running scared!

  • Arlington Observer

    You know something — there’s another aspect of this that hasn’t been covered yet. Under the rural county board form of government, neighboring cities can annex adjacent territories. In other words, it is possible the City of Alexandria or Falls Church could attempt to annex Arlington against its will. How insane is that? But it is in the code.

    This became a partisan issue, Ephram, when the GOP and the Greens decided to join up and make it one. ACDC stayed out of it until now. Now that the battle is joined you can be assured the referendum, if it gets on the ballot at all, will be defeated. It’s just bad policy and the more people realize it the more embarrassing this will be for the Fire Fighters union, which didn’t even have the courtesy to even show up at the ACDC forum to present it’s side. That’s telling.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      I, for one, welcome our Blueweed overlords.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Mr. Arlington Observer:

    With all due respect, what a bunch of B.S. The last thing Alexandria would want is to annex the Peoples Republic of Arlington. Wow, you dudes are really scared about this aren’t you.

    Why shouldn’t it be a partisan issue? I thought Democrats were for the little guy. I thought liberals fight for equal rights and an equal voice for all peoples. Wasn’t that why LBJ lobbied so hard to get Congressional Republican support to pass both the Civil Right and Voting Right Acts that Democrats both filibustered? Why don’t Democrats like you want fair representation of minorities and their concerns on a County Board that represents neighborboods and their real priorities in districts? Why do you support the current at-large County Board that disenfranchises many Arlington citizens that do not support their ongoing agenda to socially engineer people to follow the doctrine of a far-left progressive junta?

    The ACDC stayed out of this until now becasue they thought they and the current County Board setup could never be challenged by the grassroots. They never thought this would ever come to fruition and indeed it has and they are running scared.

    • diane

      You know good and well this has absolutely nothing to do with “looking out for the little guy”.

  • Thes

    With all the moaning and groaning these days about Congressional earmarks for home-state projects, I find it ironic that Arlington Republicans want to start having County Board members compete to see who can bring home the bacon to their respective wards.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Dear Mr. Thes:

    How did you come up with that classic Arlington libtard thesis? Too much granola this evening while watching Chris Matthews on MSNBS pee down his leg over the oil spill in Louisiana and a Obama response that is much worse than the Katrina response?

    This is unreal. You libtard Democrats are pulling everything you can find out of the hat to defeat this. How about people wanting districts so they are fairly represented and they have a voice that is not drowned out by the current system? Isn’t equitable governance what libtard Democrats tell people they stand for, especially minorities under the fraud mantra of social justice? Oh not in this case. The current County Board system is a fraud and you know it.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Here’s a polite and genuine request, Efrem: can you dial it back a bit? There are plenty of places on the Virginia political interwebs to to go whole hog with the libtard, Democrat Party, etc. stuff. But so far, there’s just this one really really good Arlington focused space. Can you try to separate and respect the division, there? Thanks.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    The newest spin being put out by the ACDC hierarchy is the fact that with a Arlington Board of Supervisors, each board member would have more than one adiministrative assistant(as they do now) and payroll will surely increase. If you do a search of some nearby counties, this is not always true. Many current Count Supervisors only have one, or somtimes share, an administrative assistant.

  • Mike

    I see the typical garbage is being spewed vilifying the GOP instead of addressing the real issues.

    We need districts so that when CB members force an unpopular decision upon a neighborhood then those citizens can have some form of redress by holding their board member DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE.

    • Efrem Hornbostle

      Mike:

      There is another aspect here that the elitists at the ACDC fear the most:

      BREAKING NEWS – ARLINGTON SUN GAZETTE

      Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, Jr., EdD, (D) defeats Chris Zimmerman (D) and is elected to the Arlington County Board of Supervisors representing the newly created Nauck/Douglas Park District.

    • Thes

      @Mike. Your comment reminds me of the soccer player who smacks another one in the knees and then falls down screaming in “pain” and demanding the ref give the same guy a red card. What I see above is a lot of addressing the issues and little or no GOP-bashing. Plenty of Dem bashing, though. Go soak your head.

      This change in government proposal is the equivalent of demolishing and remodeling your entire kitchen because the sink drains slowly. First, it’s not even clear there’s a problem worth solving, second the “new” materials you’ve picked were designed for a trailer home, third the expense and disruption is going to be extremely painful and completely out of proportion to the “problem”, and fourth you lose all the custom features you’ve put in over the last 80 years and might never get back.

      • Efrem Hornbostle

        This change in government proposal is the equivalent of draining the elitist Democrat spectic tank and relocating the leaking drain field from the ignored working class neighborhoods of Sounth Arlington to the pompous upscale Douglas Park backyards of those that been over backwards for every special interest except the people.

        • thinkfirst

          Mr. Hornbostle,

          Please stop misrepresenting Douglas Park. I live there and on all the streets around me the neighborhood is anything but elitist white people. The majority of people on my street are not white and certainly most are working class. The same goes for the majority of the immediate neighborhood on either side of my street. Having lived previously in 20001 one of the many things I love about Douglas Park is its diversity. When you make statements like the above you automatically disenfranchise the very people you claim to want to help by ignoring the fact that they live in the neighborhood.

      • Mike

        @Thes Soak my head? No thanks I bathe. Try it for a change, because maybe you won’t smell as much as your argument does.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Thes believes liberals like Jay Fisette and Chris Zimmerman are the best answer to setting a moral standard and solving the everyday “problems” that most Arlington liberals face:

    1. Where is the recycle bin?
    2. Why doesn’t my solar panel work at midnight?
    3. Should I get my abortion on way to Tyson’s to shop?
    4. Why is my electric bill much higher since buying an electric car?
    5. Can I use food stamps to purchase a mood lamp and KY Jelly?
    6. Can the county help my Hispanic neighbor toilet train his goats?
    7. How do I convince my local firefighters to slow down if a Republican home burns?

    • thinkfirst

      Mr. Hornbostle,

      Your above list is unbelievably offensive. It is telling that you would make such extremist and obviously exaggerated statements and those who look to you for guidance should take that into consideration when reading your other “facts” and opinions. To lump any one group together and assume that all democrats (or all people in any group) think the same is simplistic and immature.

      You keep going on about how threatened the Democrats & liberals feel by this grassroots effort, but it is you who are lashing out with violent tirades like a cornered animal.

      Can’t you make your argument without being so hateful? Why have we as a people lost the most basic ability to respect our fellow man? You may very well have legitimate arguments to make, and passion is a great strength, but that is lost when you resort to name calling and bashing the other side.

    • diane

      wow. if you’re a proponent of this bill and you’re on here representing on behalf it after this comment there is no doubt in my mind there is something very disturbing about the people who support this bill and their motivations for getting it passed. you sir, have defeated yourself with your bigotry, hate and ignorance.

  • John

    Efrem you are so right. you rock keep it up

    • Efrem Hornbostle

      Mr. John:

      Thank you very much.

      Could you picture Jay Fisette riding a garbage truck for a day just to get a pulse of what a Arlington garbage collector does?

      Could you picture Barbara Favola cleaning toilets for a day at a South Arlington school where most young boys miss the “shoot” of the toilet bowl?

      Could you picture Chris Zimmerman riding a fire truck for a day and “pulling hose” just to see how much of a “in touch public servant” he is?

      Could you picture Walter Tejada at a charity pancake breakfast put on by the Boy Scouts to benefit Border Patrol agents lost in efforts to secure the border?

      Could you picture Mary Hynes donating her time to a cadre of young women that believe that abortion is wrong and a fetus is much more than a glob of tooth decay with a heartbeat?

      Could you picture Scott McCaffrey of the Arlington Sun Gazatte writing an article about the change-of-government effort that is more balanced than Nick Benton’s anti-american dogma at the Falls Church News Press?

      Times are a changing.

  • diana

    If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it! Schools, parks, business, public programs, low crime- Arlington is the only place I want to raise my children! We love it just the way it is! The current system has allowed for lots of growth and increased diversity. I stand behind it!

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