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Candidate Essay: Kathy Gillette-Mallard

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | 1,669 views | 33 Comments

Last week we asked the three candidates for the 48th District Virginia House of Delegates seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Here is the unedited response from Kathy Gillette-Mallard (I):

There are some serious issues confronting the citizens of the 48th District and all Virginians but there are solutions which the incumbent has not addressed.  You should vote for me because, as your delegate:

  1. I will seek equitable policies to resolve the crushing $20 billion dollar unfunded liability problem caused by Virginia state employees’ pension plan (VRS).  I will propose a plan similar to  the “Thomas Jefferson Institute of Public Policy” plan. (See “Pension Plan Reform in Virginia” at www.thomas jeffeersoninst.org). I will take on the challenge of finding ways to remove this $20 billion financial “Gorilla” from the room.
  2. I will work to cut spending and reduce onerous government regulations to entice new businesses and companies to invest in Virginia.  A business friendly environment is the best way to attract new businesses and keep old businesses.  This in turn creates jobs, expands the tax base and increases revenues in the natural cycle of the free market system.   (See “Research and Development Tax Credit”).
  3. I will insist state programs are audited regularly.  There is waste and mismanagement in our state as we learned with the nearly $1 billion fund “found” at VDOT (Performance Audit of Significant Operations of the Virginia Department of Transportation- Prepared by:   Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, L.L.P.- August 2010).  In addition, cost-benefit analyses should be conducted regularly by bill sponsors and patrons if spending is involved.
  4. I will support protection of private property rights by voting in favor of the Amendment to the Virginia Constitution to protect private property owners from government eminent domain loopholes such as “Kelo” for purposes outside proper government authority.  The incumbent voted “nay” on this effort to protect private property rights ( see HJ693 Virginia Constitutional amendment; Eminent Domain Reform);  
  5. I will encourage development of Virginia’s natural resources, primarily natural gas but oil and coal as well.   New technologies offer safe and responsible development of our natural resources in a clean and responsible way.  Virginia can become a leader in energy production and end our dependence on foreign sources especially from countries which use our dollars to fund terrorism;
  6. I will be prudent with your taxpayer dollars when it comes to “green” energy.  We have learned with the Solyndra scandal that investing in “green” energy must be carefully scrutinized.  Wind turbines, which the incumbent supports, destroy waterfowl and will have adverse effects on marine life.  Putting a slew of wind turbines off Virginia Beach (which the incumbent proposes) is a bad idea at this stage of development because we know that wind turbines kill thousands of birds annually. In California, raptor birds in particular are prone to being killed – especially the Golden Eagle.  In Pennsylvania, bat populations have been devastated by wind turbines;
  7. I will ensure that privacy in your home is respected and that the “smart meters” which power companies plan to install to replace regular meters are “opt in” devices not ”opt out”.  Smart meters are a major invasion of privacy in our homes and pose health risks.  The incumbent supports monitoring home energy consumption even if it means your privacy is compromised by these meters which emit microwave like EMF/RF frequency on a continuous basis.  (See the following: www.holistichelp.net/blog/smart-meters-are-hazardous-to-your-health-and-violate-your-rights/ Jan. 2011 by Cynthia Perkins).
  8. I will support Virginia as a “Right to Work” state.  The incumbent blamed Republicans for the Dulles Rail Phase II contract delays and in a Washington Post op ed,   he grossly misrepresented the issue regarding Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). He is on record supporting PLAs with unions before the Phase II contracts have been awarded. 94% of construction workers in Virginia are non-labor and are merit shop, thus PLAs discriminate against the majority of Virginia’s construction workers.  Brink is on record stating that he is on the side of big labor construction workers from out of state.
  9. I will support efforts to elevate the public’s awareness of “human trafficking”.  80 locations in Northern Virginia where human trafficking occurs have been identified, including Ballston Mall.
  10. I will work to increase the foreclosure timeline from 15 to 45 days; fight costly cap and trade green home inspections before selling or buying; and require that home titles be recorded in courthouses.

Please email me with questions at KathyMallard48VAHD@hotmail.com

Candidate Essay: Del. Bob Brink

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm | 986 views | 5 Comments

Last week we asked the three candidates for the 48th District Virginia House of Delegates seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Del. Bob Brink (D):

For the past 14 years it’s been my honor to represent the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I ask for your vote for my re-election on Tuesday, November 8.

I understand our priorities because I’ve been actively involved in our community for over three decades. Throughout that time, I’ve sought to provide thoughtful, effective leadership to see that these priorities are addressed. I know how much we value our public schools because my kids, now grown, attended Glebe, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. I know the importance of Virginia’s world-class higher education system because I’ve seen the contributions that Northern Virginia’s public and private higher education institutions make to our economy. With the 48th District running along the Potomac from Chain Bridge to National Airport, we’re reminded every day of our obligation to protect the environment.

In Richmond I’ve taken the lead on issues that are important to our region and the Commonwealth.

HEALTH CARE: I worked to expand the federal-state partnership that provides medical care to the children of the working poor — stepping up outreach, easing restrictive regulations, and getting more kids enrolled. And I teamed with community activists to advance programs to address the mental health needs of older Virginians.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: I know that we can maintain our region’s prosperity through uncertain economic times by building a 21st Century “Knowledge Economy” – one that’s based on research and development of intellectual capital. I led the effort to keep the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – a magnet for our region’s research community – headquartered in Arlington. I’m dedicated to helping George Mason University and Northern Virginia’s technology community achieve their potential as academic and business leaders in discovery and innovation.

TRANSPORTATION: As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I’ll continue to press for long-term solutions to our transportation gridlock rather than stopgap measures – providing adequate funding from sustainable revenue sources, supporting public transportation such as rail to Dulles, and seeking a comprehensive statewide effort that addresses the transportation needs of all Virginians.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Preserving clean air and water is our responsibility as stewards of the environment. Based on my strong support for vigorous environmental protection, the League of Conservation Voters named me a “Legislative Hero” in 2010 and 2011.

MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK BETTER: In current fiscal conditions, it’s more important than ever that government services be delivered as efficiently as possible, and that taxpayers have confidence their dollars are being spent wisely. I spearheaded the effort to establish a statewide Office of Inspector General, to examine the management and operation of state agencies and investigate cases of fraud, waste, abuse or corruption.

The progress we’ve made in Richmond has been a team effort: Arlington’s Delegates and Senators work closely together to advance our priorities. To meet the challenges we face, we need to maintain the quality of leadership that our area has enjoyed in the legislature. With the retirement of Mary Margaret Whipple and Patsy Ticer — two thoughtful and dedicated State Senators — I hope you’ll join me in supporting Barbara Favola and Adam Ebbin to succeed them. I also hope you’ll help re-elect Senator Janet Howell, whose district includes a portion of Arlington.

I appreciate the confidence the 48th District’s voters have shown in asking me to be their voice in Richmond, and I look forward to representing you in the future.

Bob Brink

Candidate Essay: Janet Murphy

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm | 2,087 views | 5 Comments

Last week we asked the three candidates for the 48th District Virginia House of Delegates seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Here is the unedited response from Janet Murphy (IG):

I am Janet Murphy, the Independent Green Party Candidate for the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates. My district, the 48th, includes parts of Mclean out to the Beltway, North Arlington, Crystal City, Rosslyn. So its fun for me to get around most of this district on my bicycle, which I do. Naturally, I applaud and support expanded Arlington Bike Share. It has been an exciting pleasure from the beginning to be involved as a candidate and I recommend it.

The Election: More Candidates, Less Apathy

The legislative body I aspire to is the oldest in the USA. It was initially the House of Burgesses where George Washington served. During the Revolution it became a bicameral General Assembly. The job pays $17,640.00 per year. The assembly meets starting in January in Richmond for 1-1/2 or two months. One day per year they meet in Williamsburg. The business of the General Assembly is to decide on the commonwealth budget, and pass legislation.

Many of the incumbents run unopposed. There is no limit in Virginia to the amount of money a candidate can accept from a donor. Many companies and public utilities donate money to the candidates. www.vpap.org shows the sources of contributions to candidates. There are only two independent members of the general assembly. I call for more Independent and Green Party candidates to run for all public offices. We need more candidates, less apathy.

Transportation: More Trains, Less Traffic

We need more trains, less traffic. Cut taxpayer subsidies to auto, oil, asphalt and cement. Shift funds to dedicated passenger track for Virginia Rail Express. Install electronic signs by VRE to show next train. Build a new rail tunnel under the Potomac to cut crowding on the Orange Line. Align with the Sierra Club http://vasierraclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/NO-Virginia-Transit-Vision.pdf Transit plan for Northern Virginia, which is the product of study.

Environment: Green New Deal

We need green jobs. 100,000 new solar jobs have been created in the United States in the last two years. We can grow those green jobs and revenue from clean renewable energy in Virginia. Wind energy investment will create jobs as well as green power. Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standards to move to green clean energy. Dominion Power could and should move to over 20% RPS. We need to invest in geothermal heating and cooling systems for state buildings. We need expanded solar systems above parking lots like solar programs announced last week at Dulles Airport, and at James Madison University, and on the Redskins football stadium.

We need Home Rule for Virginia: We need to take control against environmental exploitation such as fracking or mountaintop removal. Virginia is one of only 7 states in the US still fully subject to Dillons Rule, which means that the local municipalities can be helpless to prevent environmental exploitation.

I support strong gun control. I ask for your vote on November 8. Thank you!

APS Students Trick-or-Treat at the White House

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | 1,884 views | 11 Comments

Over the weekend, 300 lucky Arlington elementary school students got a chance to trick-or-treat at an address that most kids could only dream of visiting some day: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Students from Abingdon, Arlington Science Focus, Campbell, Barrett, Barcroft and Key elementary schools went trick-or-treating at the White House on Saturday night. Students — including the two Key Elementary students pictured — were handed Halloween treats from none other than the President and Mrs. Obama themselves.

Photo courtesy Arlington Public Schools

Yorktown Students Make Anti-Drinking Music Video

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm | 2,963 views | 39 Comments

Yorktown High School students found a creative way to remind their classmates to avoid drinking during Homecoming: they created an original song and a corresponding music video.

“[The video] was produced as part of the school’s participation in the Choose Health campaign to reach out and work on guiding students to better, healthier choices,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. “The message to students is to stay sober and make good choices during Homecoming.”

Yorktown’s Homecoming was held earlier this month.

Frozen Yogurt Store Coming to Rosslyn

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 11:00 am | 2,878 views | 26 Comments

It looks like Rosslyn is going to be getting a new frozen yogurt restaurant next to the former Ray’s Hell Burger Too.

A sign in the window of the shuttered Santis Shipping store (1715 Wilson Blvd) in the Colonial Village Shopping Center indicates that a IceBerry froyo store is “coming soon.” So far, there’s no indication that any building permits have been issued.

IceBerry, a small D.C.-based frozen yogurt chain, serves nonfat frozen yogurt — with a variety of fresh toppings — and fruit smoothies. IceBerry has existing stores in Reston, Chantilly, and Springfield, according to its website.

Courtesy photo

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 10:00 am | 1,177 views | 5 Comments

Last week, the county’s WalkArlington program published a series of safety tips for trick-or-treaters, parents and drivers alike.

For instance, drivers should anticipate children darting out from between parked cars, while kids should make sure their costume is visible to drivers.

The tips, from WalkArlington’s Pacer email newsletter, are below. Have a safe Halloween tonight!

Tips for Parents and Children

Do a costume check. Can the child walk easily in the outfit? Make sure the masks or head gear allow the children to see clearly what is around them.

Think visibility. Wear bright colors, use retro reflective materials. Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and to help others see you.

Choose the safest routes to walk. Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separated from traffic, if possible. Look for well-lit streets with slow traffic. Remind children to watch for cars turning into or pulling out of driveways.

Plan how to cross streets. Avoid crossing busy, high-speed, or multi-lane roads. Limit the number of street crossings. Give children exiting the street room to enter the sidewalk area.

Review crossing safety rules with children. Tell kids: Always look for cars yourself – even when adults are also looking. Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again for traffic and turning cars. Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing. When crossing the street at an intersection, obey traffic signs and signals and double-check to see if cars are coming.

Walk, don’t run, across the street. Walk, don’t run, from house to house.

Choose homes that welcome Halloween visitors. Look for lights on, well-lit driveways, and walkways or paths to the front door.

Reminders for Motorists

Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.

Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where you might expect to see pedestrians trick-or-treating.

Watch for children in dark clothing. Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and that they may not be able to see your vehicle.

Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.

Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Morning Poll: Fewer Books, More Downloads?

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 9:00 am | 1,288 views | 33 Comments

As Arlington Public Library contemplates its future, one question that’s being raised is how to prioritize the library’s budget in a digital age.

With more and more library users using e-readers and other electronic means of reading books, some are wondering whether it makes sense to continue devoting such a high percentage of library resources to old-fashioned, hard copy materials (e.g. books and CDs).

Would you want more downloadable content from Arlington Public Library even if it meant less hard copy material?

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | October 31, 2011 at 7:00 am | 1,561 views | 72 Comments

Army Reservist Finishes First at MCM — Army Reserve 1st Lt. Charles Ware was the fastest finisher at Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon. With an unofficial time of 2:19:16, Ware handily bested second-place runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian, who finished at 2:23:46. Coast Guard Lt. Patrick Fernandez placed third. [Marine Corps Times]

VDOT Surveys Residents About I-66 — The Virginia Department of Transportation has sent mailers to Arlington residents who live near I-66, asking them to take an online survey. The survey is part of a multimodal study designed to find ways to reduce traffic congestion on I-66 inside the Beltway. [Washington Examiner]

School Board Wants More Autonomy — The Arlington County School Board is expected to ask the Virginia General Assembly for a degree of freedom from various state mandates. Among other items on its legislative wish list, the school board would like to have the option to start the school year before Labor Day — something that state law forbids in most cases. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil

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