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Del. Patrick Hope Falls, Breaks Rib

by Ethan Rothstein | May 27, 2014 at 10:00 am | 1,561 views | No Comments

Del. Patrick Hope (D) calls for higher taxes on the wealthy in front of the D.C. IRS headquartersDel. Patrick Hope, one of seven candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress, fell down stairs while campaigning this weekend and sustained fractured ribs.

According to his campaign, Hope was canvassing Sunday morning in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Fairfax County when he fell. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center and diagnosed with one broken rib, multiple fractured ribs and some “ugly bruising,” his campaign said in a press release.

“I am resting comfortably at home in Arlington now,” Hope said in the release. ”I’ve knocked on 13,000 doors in the last five years, and dealt with a few misjudged stairs, a dog bite and a couple of ankle sprains and never missed a beat. A rib break will cause me to miss some time on the campaign trail however.”

Hope is the only remaining candidate in the Democratic race who lives in Arlington. His six opponents in the June 10 primary — Don Beyer, Lavern Chatman, Bill Euille, Adam Ebbin, Mark Levine and Derek Hyra — all live in Alexandria. Hope had previously planned to visit every precinct in the 8th District, which covers all of Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, but he announced those plans will have to change.

“I am committing today to personally call voters in those precincts I am unable to visit,” Hope said. “When I thought about those who are uninsured and need our help — I decided that the campaign will go on.”

Hope is a healthcare attorney who works as the senior director of legislative policy for the American College of Cardiology, and he has vowed that, if elected, his first actions in Congress would be to defend Obamacare and to try to institute universal healthcare.

Mark Levine Releases TV Ad

by ARLnow.com | May 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm | 644 views | No Comments

Mark Levine, one of the seven remaining Democratic candidates competing to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), has released a new television ad.

In the ad, he calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “my role model” and pledges to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and reverse the Citizens United decision “to reduce the impact of big money corruption in politics.” Levine, an attorney and liberal talk show host, says he’ll be “a strong voice that stands out in the crowd.”

Levine’s campaign says it will be “placing a six-figure media buy on broadcast, cable, and radio” — including “a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars over the next three weeks on TV alone” – to help get the ad and the message of Levine’s “experience with national issues and progressive agenda” out. The Democratic congressional primary will be held June 10.

Levine isn’t the only candidate to release a TV ad. Former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer released a commercial last month that featured an endorsement from former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.

“The 30-second spot is about reproductive rights, equal pay and paid maternity leave, and opens with Whipple, who is the Beyer campaign Treasurer,” the Beyer campaign said in a press release, which touted a “six-figure” media buy for the ad.

Kanninen Wins Democratic Nod for School Board

by Ethan Rothstein | May 19, 2014 at 11:00 am | 1,159 views | No Comments

Barbara Kanninen votes for herself in the 2014 School Board Democratic caucus (Flickr pool photo by wolfkann)(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Barbara Kanninen won the Democratic endorsement for the Arlington School Board this weekend, a narrow victory in the caucus over Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley.

Kanninen, who narrowly lost to School Board member James Lander in last year’s Democratic endorsement caucus, defeated Nancy Van Doren by a similar margin this year, with 1,812 votes to Van Doren’s 1,794. Before an instant runoff was conducted, and Greeley’s votes were distributed to voters’ “second choice” candidates, the margin was a bit wider: Kanninen received 1,549 votes, Van Doren 1,329 and Greeley received 839.

Kanninen campaigned for reduced standardized testing among Arlington Public Schools students and said she was “uncomfortable” when Arlington was announced as the top-spending school system in the state. She also said that one way to solve APS’ growing capacity issue was flexible spending during a debate among the three candidates last month.

Kanninen, an economist and children’s book author, said through working on advisory boards for both the School Board and County Board over the years, as well as with children in Arlington and D.C., she has the experience needed to be a productive Board member.

“Our schools are important to all of us, whether we are parents, teachers, homeowners, or citizens who want to live in a community that values education,” she wrote in her candidate essay for ARLnow.com this month. “Collectively, we have the energy, the brains, and the will to do great things for our kids and our community.”

Kanninen told ARLnow.com in an email Monday afternoon that she enjoyed “the many lively and informative discussions” she’s had with the community during what she called “a vigorous campaign that highlighted Arlingtonians’ deep commitment to making our schools the best they can be.”

Van Doren announced after the caucus results were counted that she would be throwing her support behind Kanninen for the general election in November, for which Kanninen now becomes the odds-on favorite. She will run to fill the seat left vacant by retiring School Board member Sally Baird.

“I wholeheartedly support Barbara in the upcoming general election as she faces the challenges in our school system,” Van Doren said in a press release. “Our community needs to work together to face the challenge of continuing to improve educational outcomes while working with the county to find space for our growing student population.”

Greeley, in an email to ARLnow.com, also congratulated Kanninen, saying the campaign was a chance to have “a great discussion about the future of our schools.”

“Barbara ran a strong campaign,” Greeley wrote. “She had the experience and organization from her campaign last year. Last year’s campaign also provided a degree of name recognition that ultimately proved decisive this year. I look forward to working with her to address the important issues our school system faces, most notably our looming capacity crisis.”

Flickr pool photo by wolfkann

Candidate Essay: Greg Greeley

by ARLnow.com | May 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 966 views | No Comments

Greg Greeley in the 4/22/14 School Board debateLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Greg Greeley:

Over coffees and breakfasts, and outside the more than 1,000 doors I’ve knocked on since December, I’ve had great conversations about how to make our good schools even better.  It’s been a chance to listen and learn and to share my own vision for our schools.

I’m so grateful to have earned the support of Sally Baird, Karen Darner, Ingrid Morroy, Patrick Hope, Adam Ebbin and so many other community leaders.  The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Past PTA Presidents from across Arlington have endorsed me, as have even the Wakefield High School Young Democrats.  Now I’m asking you for your support.  I hope you will agree that I am the best choice to serve on the Arlington School Board right now.

Why should you vote for me?  Here are four reasons:

I’m the only candidate who lives in South Arlington.  A 27-year resident of Columbia Pike, my son attended Randolph Elementary School, a Title 1 school that has struggled to meet the needs of its diverse learners.  There I worked closely with families, staff, school administration, and neighbors to build a stronger neighborhood school.  My son now attends Jefferson Middle School and will attend Wakefield High School.  With a perspective shaped by my experience in South Arlington schools, I will bring a critical balance to the School Board.   I will work to meet the needs of all school communities.

I’m the only candidate working on our school system’s crowding problem.  As a member of the Arlington Public Schools (APS) Facilities Advisory Council (FAC) and chair of its Projections and Capacity Subcommittee, I have been immersed in the most critical issue facing our school system–our capacity crisis.  Over 7,000 additional students will enter APS in the next decade.  I am already working to ensure that APS provides sufficient resources to meet the needs of all our children in the best way possible.  I am also working to ensure that our solutions are constructive and positive, serving the needs of all students.  The School Board named me an “Honored Citizen” for my service to our public schools on this important issue.

I am the only candidate with more than 25 years of professional leadership experience.  An Air Force veteran and business professional, I have managed budgets and staff and know how to address our community’s needs in fiscally responsible ways.  Working with the County Board (which funds our schools), I will guarantee that we plan smartly, use our resources wisely, and ensure our school system’s current and future needs are met.

Finally, I am the only candidate who is the parent of an English language learner.  As a foster parent and the parent of an English language learner who is now a Dream Project scholar, I know we can do better for our kids with special needs.  We must serve all of our children with special needs, be they students with language and ability needs or students with gifted needs.  I will work to ensure that all of our learners with special needs get the early intervention and consistent, effective support they need to succeed in school and in life.

To learn more, please visit my campaign web site at www.gregreeley.com.  Thank you for your support on May 15th or 17th!

Candidate Essay: Barbara Kanninen

by ARLnow.com | May 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm | 736 views | No Comments

School Board candidate Barbara KanninenLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Barbara Kanninen:

I am Barbara Kanninen, and I am running for Arlington County School Board because I believe that together we can make Arlington Public Schools the best that they can be.

We’re facing complicated issues that span many dimensions–from budgeting and meeting capacity needs to optimizing classroom instruction–and I bring an equally expansive set of experiences to the table. I have volunteered in schools and worked with children in Arlington and DC for over 20 years.

I have served on School Board and County Board advisory committees, and I’m a professional economist, children’s book author, and long-time Democratic activist. These experiences have given me a deep familiarity with data analysis, hundreds of hours with kids and teachers in classrooms, and a history of working at the community level on grassroots organizing and engagement.

Here are my priorities for our schools:

  • Promote critical thinking over standardized testingI believe our kids spend too much time in class prepping for and taking tests, and teachers have told me they feel this way too. We need to take a hard look at the testing schedule and process to see which tests are essential to classroom learning.
  • Tackle overcrowding with strong leadership and constructive community engagement. As we work to catch up with the growth in our school population, we need to create a long-term plan that considers instructional needs and programs first. We need to work closely with citizens and the County Board to bring a whole-community mindset to the issue, and we must maintain flexibility so that we can adapt, over time, to our changing population and needs.
  • Give teachers the support they deserveTo create an environment in which every child can excel, teachers need support and resources. They also need the flexibility to adjust their teaching approach and pacing to their students’ needs as well as avenues for providing feedback to school principals and county administrators.
  • Support children with mentorsAn adult mentor is a developmental asset that contributes to kids’ problem solving, self-esteem, and achievement. I’d like every student in Arlington to know that there is at least one adult in school who knows them, whom they can go to with problems, and who believes in them, exactly as they are.
  • Continue investing in the arts and strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs.
 We should strengthen STEM skills through, for example, more hands-on science programs in all elementary schools and more accessible STEM programs across all schools, including the Arlington Career Center. At the same time, students need opportunities to express themselves creatively, so we need to give students at all levels access to a variety of art forms.
  • Be budget-minded by prioritizing funding for teachers and classroom learning. In this time of tight budgets, we need to be both disciplined and principled about spending decisions. My number-one principle is the need to focus on the day-to-day classroom experience and teacher-student relationships, so my budget priorities will be teachers and the resources they need.

Our schools are important to all of us, whether we are parents, teachers, homeowners, or citizens who want to live in a community that values education. Collectively, we have the energy, the brains, and the will to do great things for our kids and our community. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I would be honored to have your vote.

You can vote on either Thursday, May 15th from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street South) or Saturday, May 17th from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 North Stafford Street).

Candidate Essay: Nancy Van Doren

by ARLnow.com | May 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 694 views | No Comments

Nancy Van Doren in the 4/22/14 School Board debateLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Nancy Van Doren:

Arlington Public Schools are at a critical juncture: We must continue to improve educational outcomes for all our students while also finding space for over 700 new students each year. This challenge requires a leader who has a deep understanding of our students and schools. I am that leader. I ask for your support and vote on May 15 and 17 at the Democratic School Board endorsement caucus.

For the last decade I have dedicated myself to working with scores of parents, students, and teachers across Arlington to ensure APS is responsive to individual student needs. I am the only candidate with such extensive experience at the operational level in our schools. I am also the only candidate with hands-on experience at the school and system level in multiple areas, including facilities improvement, transportation, instruction, special education, family engagement and diversity. I am also fluent in Spanish and helped to found the Arlington Latino Network. This experience and knowledge is essential to ensure student, parent and teacher voices are heard at the Board table while critical decisions are made related to facilities and student achievement.

I work collaboratively and build coalitions to fix problems and find solutions. This track record of “getting the job done” is my hallmark. For example, as Jefferson Middle School PTA President, I worked with civic associations, feeder schools, parents, and staff to get Jefferson and its playing fields renovated cost-effectively; I also ensured families from all backgrounds were supported and welcomed in school. I lead the effort and successfully secured Jefferson’s designation as a County-wide school, which enables students from across Arlington to attend the school and receive bus service.

When APS disrupted its transportation system, I stepped up, served on the Multi-Modal Transportation Committee, and worked to issue recommendations to get students safely to school. I lead the successful effort to obtain school bus service to dozens of students along the Columbia Pike Corridor attending Kenmore and Jefferson Middle Schools.

As Chair of the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, I spearheaded an effort to have special needs services evaluated, resulting in a blueprint for improved services and instruction. I also created support groups for families and advocated on their behalf, ensuring students got what they needed to succeed in school.
These concrete accomplishments in leadership positions over the past ten years at the school and county level set me apart from the other candidates.

I am education advocate with extensive business and international experience. I spent 12 years in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, The Hartford Courant and Newsday. I am fluent in Spanish and lived in Nicaragua and Spain. I spent eight years overseas with my husband Jack Zetkulic, a Foreign Service Officer, and my family living in Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. For the last decade, my family and I have lived in Ashton Heights and my children attend Jefferson Middle School and W-L High School). I served on and/or Chaired the following Committees in APS: Multi-Modal Student Safety Special Services Committee, Arlington Career Center Parent Advisory Committee, Family and Community Engagement Working Group, Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, ADHD Task Force, Advisory Council on Instruction, County Council of PTAs, Jefferson Middle School PTA President, Washington-Lee Crew Boosters and Fundraising, Arlington Latino Network (Founding Member), ArlingtonADHD and ArlingtonReading Parent Support Groups (Founder).

To read more about my candidacy, please visit my website www.nancyvandoren.org. I can also be found on Facebook at Nancy Van Doren for School Board.

ACDC Newsletter: Vihstadt Won Because of Perceived County Board ‘Arrogance’

by Ethan Rothstein | May 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm | 2,295 views | No Comments

Alan Howze speaks at the Democrat's election party 4/8/14(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The latest edition of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly newsletter, The Voice, indicates that many Democrats feel the Arlington County Board is to blame for the results of last month’s special election.

New County Board member John Vihstadt defeated Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-41 percent margin, becoming the first non-Democrat elected to the Board since 1999.

“The overriding conclusion of Democrats who campaigned long and hard was that voters were ticked off at what they perceived as ‘arrogrance’ by the County Board,” The Voice, written by Editor-in-Chief Warren L. Nelson and Deputy Editor Eric Wiener, said in a front page story. “What was most remarkable, however, was that this concern about arrogance was not just voiced by those who voted for John Vihstadt but by legions of voters who stuck by the Democratic candidate, Alan Howze.”

“The overriding issue of the special election was the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar,” the newsletter noted.

The Voice wrote that ACDC President Kip Malinosky addressed the local party’s Steering Committee and asked for assessments. The committee members, the Voice writes, “disagreed strongly” with the voters’ claims of Board arrogance, but “found it prevalent as they campaigned and talked with voters.”

“This election wasn’t about Alan or John or the ACDC,” one Steering Committee member wrote, “it was about the current ruling coalition on the County Board, and their aloofness, hubris and tone-deaf attitude toward their constituents.”

“I believe real changes need to be made about the way Arlington is run,” another Steering Committee member said, “and about the specific policies the Board has committed to without obtaining citizen approval… Real changes need to be made to show Arlingtonians we have absorbed the lessons of [the special election].”

The newsletter also argued that Vihstadt may not be as much of an underdog in the upcoming November rematch against Howze as some Democrats like to think.

Many around the party argued that this was only a special election with a small voter turnout — the typical scenario where the GOP does well–and that things will be different in November. But that was not the view that prevailed among those party workers who were most active in contacting voters.

The turnout was large for a special election, a record, in fact. ACDC’s ground campaign effort was widely seen as very effective in getting out the Democratic vote. But as one campaigner said, “Many of them then voted for Vihstadt.”

The newsletter, released this week, comes on the heels of County Board member Libby Garvey, who supported and donated to Vihstadt’s campaign, resigning from the ACDC after Malinosky called for a hearing to potentially remove her.

Garvey spoke to ARLnow.com after she resigned, saying she hopes the party will become stronger in the long run after it “figures out what the real questions and issues are.”

“I’m not the problem,” she said after her resignation, “I’m a symptom.”

Ten Democratic Candidates Share Stage in First Debate

by Ethan Rothstein | May 6, 2014 at 11:15 am | 1,188 views | No Comments

8th District Democratic Debate 5/5/14The stage at Founder’s Hall in George Mason University’s Arlington campus could barely fit all 10 Democratic Congressional candidates at their first debate last night.

The candidates — Del. Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Bruce Shuttleworth, Satish Korpe, Lavern Chatman, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, Del. Patrick Hope, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Derek Hyra — each only had time for an opening statement, answers to two questions and a one-minute closing statement. The debate lasted two hours.

The candidates are vying to fill the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s seat in Congress. Virginia’s Eighth District is considered a deeply blue, safe Democratic seat — thus its attractiveness to a field of candidates trying to pounce on the rare political opportunity.

Moran, who’s been the 8th District’s representative since 1991, started the night with 10 minutes of remarks, touching on his service and the benefits of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He said he won’t be endorsing any of the Democrats running in the June 10 primary.

“It’s a great district, and it’s kind of a microcosm of this country,” he said. “In this district, you have far more latitude than any other district in the country, as far as I’m aware of, because the constituency in this district is well-educated, wants to understand things, is extraordinarily open-minded if you want to make a case. I’ve found that I have far more latitude than many of my colleagues.”

The candidates were asked what their first priority would be in Congress, and what their top foreign policy concern is. Many candidates touched on consensus topics among Democrats — women’s reproductive rights, climate change and economic development — while they tried to distinguish themselves from the other candidates.

Don Beyer at the 8th District candidates forum, 5/5/14“We’re all Democrats here and I respect my colleagues greatly, but we all bring different things to this race,” Beyer, who is the frontrunner in polling and fundraising, said in his opening statement. “As a businessman, lieutenant governor and ambassador, I have a proven record, the ideas and the energy to hit the ground running.”

Sitting to Beyer’s left was Hope, the top polling Arlington-based candidate, who defended the Affordable Care Act’s rollout and said the law didn’t go far enough.

“There are some people on this dais who believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws,” Hope said. “I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws, except one: it did not expand coverage to every single American. Even if Virginia and other states expand Medicaid to the poorest people in their states, we will still have 20 million Americans who do not have health insurance.”

Euille, when discussing foreign policy, touched on his foreign travels and the visitors who have come to Alexandria to ask him about politics. He said his guiding principle in foreign policy is seeking world peace.

“I will never put out troops in combat,” he said. “I will never support a war, because I think it’s the wrong thing to be doing. We need to make certain that the only time we use our troops to fight would be in defense of our own borders.”

Levine, a liberal talk radio host who reminded the capacity crowd of his penchant for pulling out his pocket U.S. Constitution, distanced himself from Euille and some of the other candidates on stage by advocating for a more aggressive military stance.

“We are an ally of NATO and countries look to us for support,” Levine said. “And when Russia is busy invading Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland are nervous, and they look to us for support. A treaty obligation is vitally important, and we should go to war, if we have to, if a NATO country is attacked.”

(more…)

Libertarian Throws Hat Into 8th District Race

by Ethan Rothstein | May 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm | 3,383 views | No Comments

Jeffrey CarsonThe race to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress became even more crowded today, with the announcement that libertarian Jeffrey Carson is seeking a slot on the ballot.

Carson’s website says he is a former captain in the U.S. Army and used to work as a consultant for Google before moving to Arlington in 2012 and working as a product operations manager for Asurion. He said his desire for “freedom and peace” is what led him to leave his job and run for Congress.

“The principles of freedom and peace are under attack,” Carson said in the press release announcing his candidacy. “We know it in our hearts, in our heads, and in our guts, yet we allow ourselves to be misguided by those currently in charge.”

Carson, 31, has already received the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia’s endorsement and is in the process of collecting signatures to secure his place on the ballot, according to Evan Bernick, a libertarian who most recently ran for County Board before dropping out and supporting John Vihstadt in the race.

Carson lives in Ballston and said he doesn’t see himself as a third-party, “issues” candidate, but said he believes “we’ve got a shot. I believe we can win.”

Among the policy stances that Carson lists on his website: “balance the damn budget,” “end the unconstitutional War on Drugs” and “only put our service members’ lives at risk if we absolutely must.”

The Democratic Party for the 8th District race is on June 10. Outside of the 10 Democratic candidates, Carson joins Republican Micah Edmond in the race for Moran’s seat.

Carson is hosting a campaign kickoff event at 6:00 p.m. on May 13 at Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse. His full campaign announcement, after the jump.

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Hope, Howze Call For Streetcar Referendum

by ARLnow.com | May 2, 2014 at 10:15 am | 2,028 views | No Comments

Columbia Pike streetcar rendering(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) Del. Patrick Hope, Democratic candidate for Congress, and Alan Howze, Democratic nominee for Arlington County Board, joined forces yesterday to call for a voter referendum on the Columbia Pike streetcar.

Hope and Howze are both streetcar supporters, but they said the controversial issue should be put to a referendum so that “we can put the streetcar debate to rest.”

Arlington County in the past has said that a referendum could not be legally held since it’s not planning on funding the streetcar via bonds. Hope and Howze, however, point out that an advisory or binding referendum could be held if approved by the Virginia General Assembly.

The candidates released the following statement on their referendum push yesterday afternoon.

Delegate Patrick Hope (D-47 and candidate for VA-08) and Alan Howze (Democratic Nominee for Arlington County Board) joined together to call for the Arlington Streetcar project to be put to a public referendum. Both Hope and Howze have been on the record supporting the streetcar- and continue to do so- but believe the citizens of Arlington need to have a referendum to make the final decision.

“This issue has clearly divided the Arlington community”, Patrick Hope said. “It’s time to move forward and have a public referendum to settle this issue. I represent parts of Columbia Pike in the General Assembly and I support major transportation investments in that corridor that will ease congestion and stimulate job creation and economic development. We need to move forward quickly with those improvements and I believe a referendum on the streetcar is the only way to settle this issue once and for all. The time has come for a full public debate on this issue and we need to respect whatever the public decides.”

“As we have done with Metro, Schools, the Water Pollution Control Plant, and other important community investments, we should give voters the final decision through a public referendum vote”, Alan Howze noted. “I continue to support the streetcar project because of the broad transportation, economic and environmental benefits it will provide for our community. I heard the concerns expressed by voters in the recent special election, and we can put the streetcar debate to rest and ensure public confidence by allowing a referendum vote.”

There are multiple options for the Arlington County Board to consider regarding a referendum and both Hope and Howze are open to whichever one the Board decides would be the best way for voters to weigh in on the streetcar. These include voting on the streetcar in the 2014 general election through the County’s transportation bond or an advisory referendum that may need General Assembly approval.

Democrat Mark Levine, who is also running to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress, said last week that he supports a voter referendum on the Columbia Pike streetcar.

Howze’s opponent in the November Arlington County Board election, meanwhile, released a statement that lauded the referendum idea but took a shot at Howze’s streetcar support.

Independent County Board member John Vihstadt, whose election was considered by some to itself be a referendum on the streetcar, is pushing for the county to halt all spending on the streetcar. He says that any referendum on the issue should be clearly worded.

I am pleased to see that Alan Howze now agrees that Arlington taxpayers should have a voice regarding the County Board’s misguided proposal to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to install streetcars in Arlington. I regret that Mr. Howze still believes that streetcars are a good investment for Arlington. Many people have already stated that my election on April 8 with 57 percent of the vote was referendum enough on the wisdom of Arlington streetcars. Yet, if a further specific streetcar voter referendum is to be truly meaningful and anything beyond a gimmick or a political tactic, it is imperative that the County Board direct the County Manager immediately to cease all County expenditures relating to streetcars, as I attempted to do at our April 16 County Board work session. Not a penny more of taxpayer dollars should be spent on promoting, planning for, or in any way implementing Arlington streetcars until such a referendum is held and Arlington voters have had their say once again.

Accordingly, I call on Delegate Hope and Candidate Howze, as well as my Board colleagues, to support my and colleague Libby Garvey’s efforts to ensure that (a) no funds shall be expended in the FY 2014 or FY 2015 operating budgets for the purpose of furthering a streetcar on Columbia Pike or anywhere else in Arlington, except to the extent that such expenditures are required to meet contractual or other legal obligations entered into by the County prior to the date of this motion; (b) no funds be included in the FY 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for similar purposes and that (c) any referendum question on streetcars to be included on the general election ballot in Arlington in 2014:

  • be clearly worded to specify in detail the estimated total costs for all proposed Arlington streetcars,
  • detail the proposed financing plan for all of them, and
  • not combine streetcar financing with any other project so that it is clear to voters precisely on what subject they are voting.

County Board Chair Jay Fisette told the Washington Post that he wasn’t sure a streetcar referendum was such a good idea.

“I lived in California for a while when we had 100-plus referenda on the ballot,” Fisette told the paper. “I became very disillusioned about the use of selective referenda on public policy issues.”

Garvey Pre-Empts Removal, Resigns From ACDC

by Ethan Rothstein | April 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 3,396 views | No Comments

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey at the John Vihstadt victory party 4/8/14(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey resigned from the Arlington County Democratic Committee last night, pre-empting a planned vote on whether to remove her.

Garvey read a 15-minute statement to the committee before handing in her resignation at the ACDC’s meeting last night, which was closed to the media.

Garvey told ARLnow.com she said the ACDC needs to evaluate why Republican-endorsed independent John Vihstadt won the April 8 special election over Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-41 margin.

“The party’s got some thinking to do about what’s going on,” she said. “The decision they have is make is if they go ahead and continue to support elected officials who it seems pretty clearly are not representing what people want. Are we going to talk about local issues or just go lockstep with what a few elected officials say we should be doing? I hope they take some time to talk and think about it. They need to figure out what the real questions and issues are, why John won, and figure out what that’s going to mean moving forward.”

Garvey supported Vihstadt, gave $1,000 to his campaign and called his election “a victory for good government.” She has also irked rank-and-file Democrats with her outspoken opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar.

Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey, who stood outside the 45-minute, closed ACDC meeting Monday night, reported that some attendees “seemed dazed by the experience and stunned by the vehemence of Garvey’s comments.”

ACDC Chairman Kip Malinosky, who called for the hearing to remove Garvey after he reportedly received numerous complaints about her conduct, said there’s a general “sense of relief” around the committee after they weren’t forced to vote on Garvey’s future.

“People still got along with each other, people still cracked jokes,” he said. “They just realized it was one of the things we had to do. The thing is, all she had to do was endorse a Democratic primary candidate. The Arlington Democrats are not the County Board. When [streetcar opponent Democrat] Cord Thomas said he was going to run against Alan Howze, I said, ‘Welcome, come on.’”

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey at the John Vihstadt victory party 4/8/14Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos — who also supported Vihstadt, a longtime friend, and plans to do so again when he runs against Howze in November’s general election — also agreed to no longer attend ACDC meetings or vote in hearings, but said she had made that decision informally in December after Vihstadt decided to run.

“[My decision] wasn’t tied to the committee’s actions against Libby,” Stamos told ARLnow.com. “I had numerous conversations with Kip, all perfectly equitable and we agreed this was the appropriate thing to do.”

Garvey said she didn’t decide to be a committee member, but all Democrat elected officials become committee members by default, once they’re elected, giving them access to ACDC data and resources. Malinosky said he’ll welcome Stamos and Garvey back after the November election if they decide to support only Democrat candidates.

Garvey said she’d be happy to come back, if the ACDC takes her, and said she only requested the meeting for the good of the Democratic Party.

“I want to be helpful to ACDC,” she said. “I understand that I violated the bylaws. I get that… There were some things I think the ACDC needed to hear. I’m not the problem, I’m a symptom. I didn’t want to make them go through [the voting process], I wanted to be helpful.”

Arlington Dems Move to Boot Garvey

by Ethan Rothstein | April 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 5,401 views | No Comments

Vihstadt and Garvey(Updated 3:45 p.m.) The Arlington County Democratic Committee is taking steps to boot streetcar critic and Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey out of the organization.

Local Democrats are upset with Garvey over her outspoken opposition to the streetcar and her support of Republican-endorsed independent John Vihstadt in the County Board special election. Vihstadt defeated Democratic nominee Alan Howze earlier this month. Garvey was elected in 2012 on the Democratic ticket and now in her first full term on the County Board, following a decade and a half on the School Board.

At the committee’s meeting Monday night, Garvey will have a hearing where she can defend her decision to support a non-Democrat and appeal to stay a member of the Arlington Democrats. The hearing will be heard by a special committee made up largely of the ACDC leadership, according to ACDC Chairman Kip Malinosky. Malinosky said he will be presenting the case against Garvey, so he recused himself from the committee.

Malinosky said he’s received more than a dozen complaints about Garvey’s activity — which include a $1,000 donation from her campaign committee and regular emails to her campaign mailing list supporting Vihstadt — and added that he asked her to voluntarily remove herself from the ACDC during the campaign, which she declined.

“It’s crazy to have a voting member of our organization actively working against the purpose of the organization,” Malinosky told ARLnow.com. “You can do anything you want as a Democratic committee member. You can take any position on the streetcar or other issues, but the one thing you cannot do as a member is to endorse, support and assist a non-Democrat against a Democratic nominee. That’s the only thing you can’t do.”

Garvey said that even if she is removed from her position, she will still consider herself a Democrat and, if nothing were to change, would run for re-election in three years as a Democrat without the ACDC’s endorsement.

“We all wear different hats in life,” Garvey told ARLnow.com this morning. “I’m in an odd position because the only reason I’m on the committee is because I’m an elected official and a Democrat. I found myself in a spot where I had two loyalties. I am a member of ACDC and an elected official of Arlington County and I have to represent the voters. I made the decision in the best interest of the voters as I needed to do to fulfill my responsibility to them.”

Garvey said she wanted to have a hearing to explain her rationale for supporting and donating to Vihstadt’s campaign. She said she didn’t want to simply accept leaving the ACDC because she “didn’t want anyone to think that I want to leave ACDC.”

“It’s like in a family, you can have disagreements with members of your family, but you don’t leave your family,” she said. “I’m hoping all of this in the end will make ACDC stronger. I hope it’ll be a healthy thing for all of us. I really have the best interests of ACDC at heart.”

Malinosky said if Garvey wants to stay a member of the ACDC, she’ll have to change course and throw her support behind Howze for the November general election rematch against Vihstadt.

“I would love her to say ‘I’m willing to support Alan Howze and all the Democrats,’” Malinosky said. “If she says that, then welcome back.”

After the jump is the email Malinosky sent to ACDC members:  (more…)

Beyer, Chatman Lead Fundraising in Congressional Race

by Ethan Rothstein | April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 588 views | No Comments

Don Beyer (photo via Friends of Don Beyer)  Lavern Chatman (photo via Facebook

Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman are the early leaders in fundraising in the June 10 Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D).

Beyer, the former Virginia lieutenant governor, has a sizable lead over the rest of the field. Beyer has raised $668,497 in contributions so far, spending $218,617 and holding onto $449,636 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filing records. Separately, Beyer said he plans to follow fellow Democratic candidate Del. Patrick Hope’s lead in releasing his most recent tax return, on May 15.

Chatman, the former director of the Northern Virginia Urban League, has raised $278,197 in contributions — thanks in part to a fundraiser with talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey — and spent $84,729, leaving her with $213,467 cash on hand. Another Alexandria-based candidate, Mayor Bill Euille, is in third place in fundraising, with $214,571 in contributions, $41,062 spent and $173,509 cash on hand.

The Arlington-based candidates are led by Sen. Adam Ebbin, whose district includes parts of Arlington and Alexandria, with $178,591 in donations and $62,943 in expenditures. He has $114,878 on hand.

“The funds we have raised will enable us to wage the kind of grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that has won Adam multi-candidate Democratic primaries before,” said Michael Beckendorf, Ebbin’s campaign manager, in a statement.

Hope is fifth in fundraising, having raised $176,534, spent $47,800, and has $138,733 on hand.

Among the other five candidates — Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, Derek Hyra, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe — only Levine and Shuttleworth have more than $100,000 cash on hand, thanks to loans of $250,000 and $275,000 respectively.

“This is a people powered campaign,” Levine, a liberal talk radio host, said in a press release. “People from across the district and across the country are excited about my candidacy. Voters want an aggressive progressive voice that will stand up for progressive principles in the House.”

Korpe, the last Democrat to enter the race, has not filed any campaign finance reports with the FEC.

Photos via Friends of Don Beyer and Facebook

Howard Dean to Campaign for Don Beyer in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | April 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm | 1,002 views | No Comments

Howard Dean (photo by Matt Wright via Wikipedia)Former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean will be coming to Arlington tomorrow (Tuesday) to campaign for congressional candidate Don Beyer.

Dean is scheduled to attend a “spring picnic” for Beyer at the Overlee Community Association clubhouse (6020 Lee Highway) from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free but RSVPs are requested.

Dean is one of two nationally-known Democrats who have endorsed Beyer, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and U.S. ambassador. Over the weekend Beyer’s campaign announced that he had received the endorsement of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Beyer is among a field of 10 Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran.

Photo by Matt Wright via Wikipedia

Hope Calls for Higher Taxes on the Wealthy

by Ethan Rothstein | April 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm | 1,911 views | No Comments

Del. Patrick Hope (D) calls for higher taxes on the wealthy in front of the D.C. IRS headquarters(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) One would expect that most demonstrations outside IRS headquarters in D.C. involve calls for lower taxes. This afternoon, however, congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope (D) held a press conference outside the IRS to call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Hope, who’s one of 10 Democratic candidates running for the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), said he supports the budget put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which raises taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year and creates a new, higher tax bracket for those making more than $1 million. It would also close corporate tax loopholes and tax individuals making more than $100 million annually at 48 percent.

The budget also would eliminate the tax difference between long-term capital gains income and regular income from salaries and wages. It also would reverse the effects of the sequester, which would mean more jobs for federal workers. Hope circulated a petition trying to draw support for what he calls the “Millionaire’s Tax,” and said he gathered 33,000 signatures.

A tax hike on the wealthy “solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue,” Hope said. “Our future is at stake in the upcoming Congress. Will we pass a grand bargain that cuts our social safety net? Or will we close the loopholes and demand the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay their fair share? That’s what the 2014 election will be about all over the United States — and that is where we have our biggest differences in our primary in the 8th District.”

The higher tax rate could hit residents of the district Hope seeks to represent particularly hard. Arlington has consistently ranked among the five richest counties in America in recent years, even landing at No. 1 by some metrics. Hope’s campaign, however, argues that a relatively small number of Arlington residents are in the very high income bracket that would be impacted by the Millionaire’s Tax.

Hope, a resident of Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood, also released his tax returns and called upon his opponents in the June 10 congressional primary to do the same. Hope, who works as a healthcare attorney in addition to his part-time duties as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, earned $231,197 last year — $197,621 from work as a lobbyist for a nonprofit healthcare association, $28,176 from the Commonwealth of Virginia and $5,400 from Johns Hopkins University. He paid $38,645 in federal taxes, or 16.7 percent.

“Transparency is something that is very important in politics,” Hope said. “The people we seek to represent deserve to know everything about us.”

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