Merrick started out the night with a stump speech that focused on her background as a successful businesswoman and on her desire “streamline regulation and taxation so we can unleash the entrepreneurial spirit.” During the speech Merrick, a McLean resident, tried to strike a bipartisan tone.
“I am not running as a partisan, I’m running to represent every one in this district,” she said. “I am not running on social issues.”
Alas, social issues quickly entered the conversation as questions from the audience focused on more divisive subjects.
“How will you stand up for my daughter’s right to choose?” one man asked.
“There are millions of good people on both sides of this issue,” Merrick replied. “I am pro-life and I am pro-woman.”
Merrick’s Democratic opponent, Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola, then answered and drew loud applause as she declared herself “100 percent pro-choice.” She went on to argue that if Merrick was elected, Republicans in the Virginia legislature would have a better shot at passing laws that restrict abortion rights and the rights of immigrants.
“I am very troubled by this social agenda,” she said of state Republicans.
Later, Merrick was asked about the A- rating she received from the National Rifle Association. The man asking about it was Omar Samaha, a three-year Cherrydale resident whose sister was killed in the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. Samaha asked if the candidates supported background checks on private gun sales.
“I’ve been around guns all my life, but in a safe way… a responsible way,” said Merrick, whose father was a Marine. Pressed on whether she thinks background checks should be required for all gun sales, Merrick said yes.
“I do think we should have a background check,” she said.
Favola was again unequivocal, saying she was proud of the ‘F’ she received from the NRA
“I feel very strongly that we have too many gun sales in this country, to people who are not mentally stable and should not be having access to guns,” Favola said. She went on to question why guns are allowed in Virginia’s bars and why localities like Arlington don’t have more power to regulate guns.
Another resident asked Favola and Merrick whether they’d release their answers to the survey the NRA sends to candidates. Favola said she, in fact, did not respond to the survey. Merrick said she would release the survey before the election, and then commented on the question itself.
“I have to say, these questions tonight have not been representative of what I’ve been asked as I’ve knocked on doors around the district,” she said.
“I am running on jobs and the economy,” said Merrick. “We need to diversify our economy. That is the most important issue.”
In her closing remarks, Favola said there’s “a definite choice” between herself and Merrick, adding that Merrick was listed on a Northern Virginia Tea Party website. Merrick, who earlier criticized the “rancor” on Capitol Hill, took the bait. She responded by saying that Favola “knows nothing about” bipartisanship.
“I’m not a member of the Tea Party, I don’t know how my picture got up there,” she said tersely. “Barbara Favola is not looking to solve problems, she’s looking to start a fight.”
More than 3,600 Dominion customers in North Arlington are without power this afternoon.
Yorktown High School and Williamsburg Middle School were reported to be among the buildings that lost power. Traffic signals were reported to be dark at the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street N.
No word on what caused the power outage or when power might be restored.
Trader Joe’s has been interviewing potential employees all week to help fill positions at its new Clarendon store.
A “now hiring” sign outside the store advises interested job seekers to apply at the Arlington Employment Center, at 2100 Washington Boulevard. The employment center’s blog indicates that hourly wages start at $10 per hour.
Interior construction on the store, located at 1109 N. Highland Street, seems to be progressing swiftly. The company’s signature blue walls and wood-accented aisles are visible through the large front windows.
Last we checked, Trader Joe’s is planning to open the store at some point next month.
During his closing remarks at the group’s candidates forum in Ballston, McGhee started opining about the relationship between gays, lesbians and God.
“Each and every one of you is a uniquely valuable human being created for a purpose,” McGhee told the group, according to an audio recording and transcript on the Not Larry Sabato blog. “Some of you are beyond frustrated with God right now. Some of you refuse to believe in him altogether. You’ve asked the question or perhaps given up asking a long time ago ‘Why? Why would God make me who I am and then tell me that’s wrong?’”
Needless to say, some AGLA members took exception to the implication that being gay is “wrong” — or that a discussion of God and morality was appropriate during a local political debate.
“Sitting in that room while the above was happening was insanely awkward,” wrote one Not Larry Sabato commenter.
McGhee, however, defended his remarks when asked about them by the Del Ray Patch.
“It was a personal view… It was meant to be an added perspective on who God is and his mercy,” said McGhee, a database administrator for The Falls Church.
McGhee’s opponent in the race for the 30th District state Senate seat is Del. Adam Ebbin, a Democrat who was the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly.
A man in a wheelchair was struck by a car on Lee Highway in Cherrydale last night.
The accident happened around 9:40 p.m., as a political debate was letting out at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department. The man’s injuries were not reported to be serious or life-threatening.
The following was sent to members of the Cherrydale neighborhood listserv early this morning.
Right after the debate, around 9:40 PM a disabled neighbor from the Cherrydale Rehabilitation Center was struck while wheeling across Lee hwy. He was conscious and not bleeding when we arrived.
Of note, it was dark, raining, 2 street lights were out (on either corner between the hardware store and Safeway), the victim was wearing dark clothes, in a dark red wheelchair, and he was crossing where there was no cross walk, i.e. from the NW backside of Safeway crossing to Oakland, which works out a little diagonal. He was struck by a car heading west. It does not appear she was speeding.
I believe [REDACTED] and others have complained to the County that this is not a safe crossing area.
It is simply human to take the shortest distance whenever possible. The victim was heading home from 7/11. He could have crossed at the official cross walk by the firestation but that’s a long light. So it seems to me we need to recognize the human need to travel the shortest distance. Put in another crosswalk. Keep it well lighted. Probably other good ideas are out there as well.
I put in a call to Shannon Flanagan Watson at the County Manager’s office. I’m sure she’ll get back to us shortly and I’ll keep you posted.
Our own Cherrydale Vol Fire Dept volunteers were first on the scene. Cherrydale Rehab employees were very supportive. I’ll keep you all posted on how he is doing.
It’s not every day that someone wearing Mickey Mouse clothing is a) out past midnight in Clarendon, b) in her 20s, and c) punching someone in the face. So the following item from this week’s Arlington County crime report is a bit unique.
ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 10/15/11, 1100 block of N. Highland Street. On October 15 at 12:10 am, a woman punched another woman in the face. The suspect is and Asian female in her late 20’s, 5’4” and 130 lbs. She was wearing red and white scrubs with a “Mickey Mouse” design.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
Examiner: It’s All Zimmerman’s Fault– In an editorial, the Washington Examiner encourages drivers stuck on I-66 to “call or tweet Arlington Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman” to complain, since “he’s one of the most vocal opponents of widening I-66 inside the Beltway.” Regarding local opposition to adding a third lane to I-66, the paper concludes: “This whole scenario is beyond short-sighted and incompetent. This is insane.” [Washington Examiner]
Flat Fare Could Cost Arlington Metro Riders — Arlington transit riders take, on average, the shortest trips of any local residents on the Metrorail system. As a result, county officials warn that Arlington riders will pay more if Metro ever switches to a flat fare system — as has been proposed as a way to simplify the agency’s fare system. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington’s First Female K-9 — The Arlington County Police Department recently received its first female police dog. Roxy, a Belgian Malinois, graduated from an intense, 15-week K-9 patrol school in June. Roxy and handler Cpl. Thorpe Lichtenberg are one of Arlington’s nine K-9 teams. [Examiner]
Exchange Students Arrive — Arlington fifth graders will be waiting at the airport today to greet 44 sixth graders from Aachen, Germany, as they arrive with their parents for “a whirlwind week in the D.C. area.” The German students will stay with the families of fifth graders who attend Nottingham, Tuckahoe and Arlington Traditional elementary schools. In addition to attending classes, they will visit memorials and museums, go on hikes and attend sporting events. Aachen is Arlington’s sister city, and the exchange is being organized by the Arlington Sister Cities Association.