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Talk Radio Host Running For Moran’s Seat

by Ethan Rothstein | February 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm | 1,383 views | No Comments

Mark LevineLiberal talk show host Mark Levine will join this year’s crowded Democratic primary race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th Congressional District seat.

Levine, 47, hosts “The Inside Scoop,” a syndicated talk-radio program, and has previously worked as a legislative counsel to former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He also has worked as a corporate trial attorney, teacher and “Nazi hunter” for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Levine’s entrance into the race makes the field for the June Democratic primary an 11-horse race, along with Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Charniele Herring and Mark Sickles, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman, Bruce Shuttleworth and Derek Hyra. Republican Micah Edmond is also vying for the seat.

“All the people I’m running against are good Democrats, but they’re going to walk in there, cast a vote along party lines, we’ll lose [234-201] and it’ll be business as usual, back to dysfunction,” Levine told ARLnow.com. “Politics could use a lot more forceful advocacy. What I’ve done on the radio is I’ve shown how we can use discussion, rhetoric and talk to change the entire debate and not just lock our heads and vote.”

Levine filed for the race today, he said, hoping to use the seat to promote his platform of universal healthcare, expanding Social Security and Medicare, and protecting women’s rights and voting rights, among others.

“I don’t believe there’s a single federal issue of any importance that I haven’t dealt with,” he said. He’s gone on TV hundreds of times — including frequently on Fox News shows like “The O’Reilly Factor” — to defend his positions, carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket.

Levine said his time as a “Nazi hunter” came during the summer of 1990 when he was in law school, working for the Office of Special Investigations tracking down Nazi war criminals who had lied on official documents to gain entry into the country and earn citizenship. He said he personally built cases that allowed the DOJ to deport two Nazis.

Levine lives in Alexandria, where he moved in 2001 after he was hired by the Congressional Black Caucus to build the congressional challenge to the 2000 presidential election.

“I’m a true believer,” he said. “I believe in America, I believe in the constitution. I really firmly believe in this stuff. If that’s what people want, they can elect me.”

Photo courtesy Mark Levine

Bernick Withdraws from County Board Race

by ARLnow.com | February 18, 2014 at 11:00 am | 1,614 views | No Comments

Evan Bernick (photo via LinkedIn)Libertarian candidate for Arlington County Board Evan Bernick is dropping out and shifting his support to Republican- and Green-endorsed independent candidate John Vihstadt.

Bernick, a legal fellow for the conservative Heritage Foundation, staked his campaign on opposition to “jaw-droppingly reckless expenditures, like a million-dollar bus stop.”

In a statement this morning, Bernick says Vihstadt shares his vision of “responsible and responsive government.”

I announced my run for Arlington County Board because I wanted to make freedom work for Arlington. I believe in giving people the opportunity to make their own decisions about how to pursue and achieve their dreams and strengthen their communities.

After careful consideration, however, I’ve decided to withdraw from the race and defer to someone with both the right vision for Arlington and the right experience to realize that vision.

I know that I haven’t been in Arlington very long. And one of the candidates for office not only shares my views concerning the need for responsible and responsive government, but has decades of experience in local government. That candidate is John Vihstadt, whom I am proud to endorse in this special election.

Arlington needs someone on the Board who is willing to challenge prevailing assumptions about how the government should spend our money, is prepared to cooperate with fellow Board members, and has first-hand knowledge of what the business of local government in Arlington consists in. I think that John Vihstadt will serve our community well.

Notwithstanding my endorsement of John, I wish the best of luck to all the candidates. I think that the participation of many voices in our political process makes our community strong. I’ll be following the debates closely, and I’m excited to see the results. I hope that the election brings out the best in us.

Sincerely,

Evan Bernick

Lopez Announces Congressional Run

by Ethan Rothstein | February 5, 2014 at 10:30 am | 502 views | No Comments

Alfonso Lopez speaks at the Democratic victory party on Columbia PikeDel. Alfonso Lopez (D) announced this morning that he will be running for the seat in the House of Representatives being vacated by the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

Lopez is another name in a crowded Democratic field for the seat Moran has held since 1991. By running, he joins state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Virginia Democratic Party Chair Charniele Herring, Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Mark Sickles former Lieutenant Gov. Don Beyer, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Bruce Shuttleworth. The Democratic primary will be held in June.

Lopez represents the 49th District in the House of Delegates, which covers much of Arlington south of Columbia Pike, including Pentagon City, and the Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners areas of Fairfax County. He was elected to the House in 2011 and re-elected last fall.

In his campaign announcement, Lopez laid out a platform of “equal opportunity,” abortion rights and the environment. Below is his complete campaign press release:

With Congressman Jim Moran’s retirement, Northern Virginia is losing an important and effective advocate in Washington.

When it comes to continuing the fight on Capitol Hill to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans, protect a woman’s right to choose, preserve our environment and natural resources, and improve our quality of life in Northern Virginia, our next representative must be a proven fighter for our progressive values.

With more than 20 years of experience working before Congress, the federal government and at the highest levels of state government on the issues critical to the people of Virginia’s Eighth District, I have the proven track record necessary to get to work on day one.

The son of a public school teacher and an immigrant who came to this country with only $260 in his pocket, I was instilled with the values of hard work, service and that every person deserves a fair shake in life. Those values are what drive me in everything I do.

Those values are why I continue to fight for the middle class family sitting around the dinner table wondering how they’re going to pay for college; the new graduate struggling to get a job in today’s economy; the recent immigrants striving for a better life for themselves and their children; and the single mother who has to work a second job to pay the rent.

That’s why as a delegate, I championed legislation creating the Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund, fought to save critical social safety net programs like the Arlington Free Clinic, worked to preserve funding for Child Advocacy Centers that address the needs of child abuse victims, and helped expand Medicaid coverage for immigrant mothers and children.

That’s why during my time in the Small Business Administration I worked with administration officials and Congress to pass the Small Business Jobs Act, to make sure small business owners had access to the tools they needed to create jobs and lead in innovation.

There are many exciting opportunities ahead for Northern Virginia.  I hope to be your advocate in Congress so that together we can continue to make Northern Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Republicans Endorse Vihstadt for County Board

by Ethan Rothstein | February 4, 2014 at 10:30 am | 1,227 views | No Comments

John VihstadtThe Arlington County Republican Committee (ACRC) has endorsed John Vihstadt to fill the County Board seat Chris Zimmerman plans to vacate this month.

Vihstadt is running as an independent against Democratic nominee Alan Howze and libertarian Evan Bernick. Perennial Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy and Stephen Holbrook, a retired FBI agent who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for the County Board last year, have also filed paperwork indicating that they are running.

Vihstadt now has the endorsement of Arlington Republicans, the Arlington Green Party and several high-profile local Democrats, including County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair (and ARLnow.com opinion columnist) Peter Rousselot.

Vihstadt opposes the Columbia Pike Streetcar and the planned Long Bridge Aquatics Center, now on hold after constructed bids came in above the allotted budget. Vihstadt said he’s a Republican when he announced his campaign in December, but chose to run as an independent with the hopes of securing the Republicans’ endorsement.

The endorsement signifies the second consecutive County Board election the Republicans have not run an official candidate. There was no Republican challenger when now-Board Chair Jay Fisette ran for re-election in 2013.

Arlington County Democratic Committee President Kip Malinosky issued a statement after Vihstadt secured the endorsement.

“Mr. Vihstadt has shown us his true Republican colors,” Malinosky said. “He has a long history of supporting conservative candidates and now he has the Republican Party’s endorsement. Voters now have a clear choice: Alan Howze is a real progressive leader who will move Arlington forward, while Mr. Vihstadt will be another Republican obstructionist.”

The special election to replace Zimmerman is expected to be held on April 8. The date is expected to be officially set on Tuesday, Feb. 11, a day after Zimmerman formally resigns.

Update at 1:15 p.m. – This afternoon, ACRC issued the following press release about their Vihstadt endorsement.

Yesterday, the Arlington County Republican Committee voted to endorse the Independent candidacy of John Vihstadt for the upcoming Arlington County Board special election.

At the special meeting of the Arlington GOP, Vihstadt spoke to attendees on a large number of topics, including Arlington’s fiscal health, school capacity issues, and needed improvements to the County’s economic development efforts.

Vihstadt discussed the need for fresh thinking on the County Board. The central theme of Vihstadt’s speech was that the County needs to reassess its current spending priorities, saying, “the proposed $310,000,000 Columbia Pike streetcar and $1,000,000 bus stops are imprudent expenditures that ought to be replaced with more effective and less costly alternatives.” Vihstadt continued, “In addition, the $80,000,000 Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center needs to be scaled back. In a time of economic uncertainty, surging school enrollment, and rising household taxes on working families and seniors, the County Board needs to rethink its priorities.”

Vihstadt asserted that his campaign will continue to highlight the importance of a new perspective, stating that “we need a recalibration of Arlington’s spending priorities to stress core services like public education, public safety, and infrastructure maintenance.”

While not shying away from his Republican background, Vihstadt explained to attendees that his independent candidacy allows a broad spectrum of voters an opportunity to support a candidate willing to put the needs of Arlingtonians before partisan politics.

Chairman Ian Meyeroff added after the meeting that “John’s work for Arlington Republicans is only a tiny fraction of who he is.” Meyeroff noted the Arlington GOP’s 2008 selection of Vihstadt for its Delyannis-Finta Award for Distinguished Community Involvement, attributed to Vihstadt’s decades of civic engagement in the public schools, in the neighborhoods, and across the County on various boards and commissions.

In addition to the Republican Party endorsement, Vihstadt has also been endorsed by the Arlington Green Party and prominent Arlington Democrats including County Board member Libby Garvey and Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos. The County Board special election is expected to be held on April 8, 2014.

Cord Thomas: Why You Should Vote for Me

by ARLnow.com | January 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm | 1,759 views | No Comments

Democratic County Board candidate Cord ThomasThis week, we asked the Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the Democratic caucus. The caucus is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. today and from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is the unedited response from Cord Thomas:

This election is about asking several very important questions:

  1. Would Arlington benefit from a different perspective?  Or do you want the status quo (more of the same)?
  2. With a 20 percent commercial vacancy rate and dwindling tax revenue, who is the best person to improve our small business relationships, recruit new business, and support entrepreneurs? A consultant, and accountant or a small business owner and entrepreneur?
  3. Do you want a candidate who continues to spend on large, unnecessary capital projects? Or do you want a small business owner who understands how to deliver projects on time and on budget?
  4. Do you think a non-establishment candidate with strong Democratic values and business experience would be an added benefit to the board?

If you answered these questions like the majority of Arlingtonians, then please allow me to introduce myself … My name is Cord and I am running for Board!

Like the opinions of thousands of Arlingtonians, I too believe that the greatness of Arlington is in its diversity of experiences — and that is why I’m running for Board. I believe in the importance of real-life experience. At 15 years old, I had lost both of my parents; my mother to a violent crime and my father after an auto accident.  As an orphan, I had to rely on social safety nets and the kindness of a school teacher.

Nearly 10 years ago, I moved to Arlington and started enviroCAB, the nation’s first all-hybrid taxi company. EnviroCAB changed an industry proving that transportation and the environment are not mutually exclusive. I am also a founding partner of Elevation Burger’s Franchise Company. Today, Elevation Burger operates over 40 restaurants in seven different countries. Because of my experience in business, I know how to build relationships and get things done. I will bring these same skills-sets and resolve to the Arlington County Board.

Arlington is a great place to live, shop, and work. However, our communities are growing and schools face overcrowding while our tax base is shrinking. Now more than ever, we need to bring new business to Arli

ngton and focus on ensuring our tax dollars are spent wisely. I am the only Democratic Candidate that has said publicly that I lack confidence in Arlington’s ability to build the “Columbia Pike Streetcar.”  I am also the only candidate that has taken issue with the Long Bridge Aquatics Center and its outrageous costs.

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Alan Howze: Why You Should Vote for Me

by ARLnow.com | January 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,158 views | No Comments

Democratic County Board candidate Alan HowzeThis week, we asked the Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the Democratic caucus. The caucus is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. today and from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is the unedited response from Alan Howze:

I am running for the County Board to bring a new voice, fresh perspective and years of experience in business, government and community leadership to solving the challenges that we face.

I believe in progressive Democratic values that reflect Arlington’s commitment to equality, opportunity and shared prosperity. I was born and raised in Arlington, and I want to leave to my three children an Arlington that is even better tomorrow than today. I have knocked on over 2,000 doors, and there are four issues that emerge as priorities.

1) Great Schools  we must maintain Arlington’s excellent schools and respond to surging student enrollment.  I am proud to have the endorsement of Arlington’s teachers, and I am also the only candidate in the race who currently has children in Arlington Public Schools.

2) Affordable and livable community – we need an Arlington with more affordable housing; where seniors can age in place gracefully; where high-quality transit and walk/bike options are accessible.

3) Clean Environment – we need to accelerate our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and support continued Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.  I earned the endorsement of the Sierra Club for my support for the environment and expanding transit access.

4) Fiscally Responsible Government – we must provide high quality services and strong value for our tax dollars. We must also continue to invest in Arlington while keeping a close watch on our debt capacity and protecting Arlington’s AAA bond rating. I will bring innovation and a focus on making government work better to deliver high-quality, efficient services.

I bring to the race a set of experiences that prepares me to tackle the challenges we face.

My business experience with IBM has focused on bringing innovation to government and working to reduce costs and improve the delivery of government services. I will bring the same scrutiny and focus on innovation to our county government.

I know how government works – from working on Capitol Hill and serving then-Gov. Mark Warner in Richmond — and how we can make it work better.

Extensive community leadership has given me a profound respect for the diverse strengths of our community.  I serve as the President of my civic association, Vice-Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, and Board Member of the Alliance for Housing Solutions. I’m an active member of the Tuckahoe Elementary School PTA and a youth coach with the Arlington Soccer Association.

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Adam Ebbin Announces Run for Congress

by ARLnow.com | January 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 588 views | No Comments

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (left) and Del. Patrick Hope (right) with Del. Alfonso LopezUpdate at 2:50 p.m. — Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille also announced today that he’s running for Rep. Moran’s seat in Congress, according to the Washington Post.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin says he intends to run for the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran.

Ebbin, who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax, joins an increasingly crowded field of candidates for the Democratic nomination. Announced candidates for the June primary include state Democratic party chair Charniele Herring, Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Mark Sickles, former Lieutenant Gov. Don Beyer and Bruce Shuttleworth. More are expected to enter the race soon.

Ebbin’s campaign issued the following press release this afternoon.

State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) announced today that he would seek election to the U.S. House seat of retiring Congressman Jim Moran (D-8). Ebbin has filed the paperwork needed to launch his campaign committee for the June 10 Democratic Primary.

“For twenty-three years, Jim Moran has stood for the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia. I am proud to have been represented by him in Congress, and to have represented him in Richmond,” Ebbin said.

Since 2004, Ebbin has represented voters from Alexandria, Arlington County, and Fairfax County in the Virginia General Assembly, first as a member of the House of Delegates, and since 2012 as State Senator. Ebbin is the only openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly.

“Today, I am excited to announce that I will be running to succeed Congressman Moran,” said Senator Ebbin. “For over a decade in Richmond, I’ve been a strong voice for progressive values who’s gotten results. I’ve fought to end human trafficking, to strengthen protections for seniors and the disabled, to ensure LGBT equality and to expand Medicaid in Virginia.”

During his time in Richmond, Ebbin has been recognized as a proven progressive leader by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Equality Virginia, the Virginia AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and other key progressive organizations. In 2011, Ebbin authored a bill to reign in the abuses of then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

“Now, more than ever, we need effective leaders in Congress who know how to reach across the aisle to accomplish important goals while never abandoning our shared progressive values. In Congress, I will work with President Obama to protect the Affordable Care Act and ensure access to quality health care. I will protect federal workers from mean-spirited attacks. I will work alongside representatives from every state and political party to raise the minimum wage, fight climate change, and ensure that we never abandon the promise of Social Security and Medicare,” Ebbin said.

Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Ebbin served as Governor Mark Warner’s Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. He has lived in Alexandria for more than 20 years, and served on the 8th District Democratic Committee and the Virginia Democratic Party’s State Steering Committee.

Ebbin has launched a campaign website at www.AdamEbbin.com.

Peter Fallon: Why You Should Vote for Me

by ARLnow.com | January 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm | 981 views | No Comments

Arlington County Board candidate Peter FallonThis week, we asked the Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the Democratic caucus. The caucus is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. today and from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is the unedited response from Peter Fallon:

Arlington is a caring community that promotes equality, values diversity, helps those at risk, has great schools, invests in our future, and practices good government. My priorities in this campaign represent these shared values.

As I’ve reached out to voters, the message I’m hearing back has been consistent. People tell me they don’t think the County Board’s decision-making is representative of the community as a whole. I consistently hear that no one is listening to them. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m listening, and I want to be your voice on the County Board.

I work as a tax accountant and small business advisor. I understand the struggles entrepreneurs face working to make their dream a reality. I also understand that Arlington must reposition itself to attract quality employers to fill our vacant office buildings and maintain our commercial tax base. As an accountant and former auditor, I know when the numbers “don’t add up right.” I pledge to bring a new focus on both transparency and fiscal accountability to Arlington’s decision-making. We must rebuild the public’s confidence in the County’s ability to manage large capital projects both on-time and on-budget.

Arlington has long held a reputation for good government, grounded in the tradition of electing county board members with deep roots in our community and years of service on our advisory commissions. I share this tradition.

My family and I have called Arlington home for more than 27 years. In 1991, we purchased our first home in the Donaldson Run neighborhood where we still live today. Our children attend a local preschool and our eldest will enter Taylor Elementary in September.

I started out as a community advocate, as the President of the Donaldson Run Civic Association for 11 years and represented my neighborhood on the Civic Federation and Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) for over a decade.

I’ve been privileged to serve on the County Planning Commission, the Housing Commission and the Transportation Commission. Over the years, I’ve acquired direct experience across all major areas of responsibility of the County Board from affordable housing to zoning and long range planning. I have a record of working with the community and respecting the diversity of opinion that accompanies all issues in Arlington.

I have been part of the smart growth story that has made Arlington successful, while preserving our established neighborhoods and protecting our high quality of life.

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Fisette: Not Interested in Joining ‘Dysfunctional’ Congress

by ARLnow.com | January 23, 2014 at 10:00 am | 890 views | No Comments

County Board Vice Chair Jay FisetteArlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette says he will not make a run for Congress.

In a statement, Fisette said a major decision point for him was “the contrast between the dysfunctional climate on Capitol Hill and the can-do atmosphere in Arlington.”

So far, those who have said they’ll run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D) are Democrats Bruce Shuttleworth and Del. Patrick Hope, and Republican Micah Edmond.

Fisette’s statement:

Congressman Jim Moran recently announced that he will not seek re-election. He deserves our heartfelt thanks for twenty-four years of strong, principled service to all of us in Northern Virginia. His voice and experience in Congress will be missed.

Many friends and colleagues have asked of my interest in running for this seat and have encouraged me to run. While appreciative of those comments, I have decided that I will not seek this position.

One reason for my decision is the contrast between the dysfunctional climate on Capitol Hill and the can-do atmosphere in Arlington. The state of politics at the national level is disheartening, with the outsized influence of shrill, well-financed forces and the disintegration of sincere efforts to forge compromise, respect one’s colleagues and realize the potential of government to make people’s lives better. The distorted effects of re-districting and the demands of a relatively small band of conservative extremists have hijacked the House in particular for the moment.

Arlington is different. This community continues to take policy deliberations seriously, engage widely and with civility, and put our progressive values into action. As a result, we have achieved amazing things together and are in a strong position to continue moving forward. Here, diverse people with good will and good ideas can and do make a difference. Having just been re-elected by the voters and tapped by my colleagues to lead the County Board this year, I will be staying to continue my work in our wonderful community.

There are many qualified Democrats who could represent the Eighth District very capably. I will work with our party’s nominee to secure a victory in the November election and keep the Eighth District in the progressive ranks.

Greens Endorse Vihstadt for County Board

by ARLnow.com | January 18, 2014 at 10:00 am | 487 views | No Comments

The Arlington Green Party has voted to endorse John Vihstadt, who’s running as an independent for Arlington County Board.

The Greens are endorsing Vihstadt in lieu of nominating their own candidate for the upcoming County Board special election. The party says Vihstadt shares their “opposition to expensive vanity projects, such as the Columbia Pike trolley and the Long Bridge aquatics center.”

From a press release:

Arlington Greens voted on January 16 to endorse independent candidate John Vihstadt for Arlington County Board election to be held this spring to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Chris Zimmerman.

Arlington Green Party Chair Steve Davis noted, “The Arlington Green Party endorsement of John Vihstadt shows that people across the political spectrum can find common ground in supporting independent-minded candidates like John who have a positive, inclusive vision for Arlington’s future. We look forward to working with John on his election campaign.”

This is the first county board election in the past seven years in which the Arlington Greens have not nominated their own candidate. This year the Greens have chosen to endorse Vihstadt who shares the Greens’ opposition to expensive vanity projects, such as the Columbia Pike trolley and the Long Bridge aquatics center, at the expense of funding core county programs such as schools, safety net spending, and affordable housing.

In 2013, the Arlington Greens nominated Audrey Clement who received about 32 percent of the votes cast against Democrat Jay Fisette. The Arlington Greens also supported in 2013 the creation of a housing authority to keep more affordable rental housing in the county.

County Board Candidates Push Economic Development, Transit in Debate

by Ethan Rothstein | January 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm | 1,166 views | No Comments

From left, Peter Fallon, Cord Thomas and Alan Howze at the Arlington Young Democrats County Board debateEncouraging young professionals to stay in Arlington and future transit options were prime topics for the three Democratic Arlington County Board candidates during their second debate of the month.

Alan Howze, Cord Thomas and Peter Fallon debated for an hour and a half in front of a standing-room only crowd of Arlington Young Democrats in Ballston Wednesday night. AYD President Max Burns told ARLnow.com that it was the largest crowd at an AYD meeting he could remember.

Howze and Fallon advocated for the Columbia Pike streetcar as an economic engine and as a long-term, visionary transit plan while Thomas, who in the first debate said he was “not a fan of the Columbia Pike streetcar,” advocated for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) instead.

“We need to focus on a robust BRT system like our neighbors in Fairfax and Alexandria,” Thomas, 31, and a co-founder of EnviroCab, said. “At the end of the day, people just want to get where they’re going. If you can have something that’s state of the art, at one-fifth of the cost, why wouldn’t you choose that?”

Democratic County Board candidate Cord ThomasHowze — an Arlington native who said he remembers when the Orange and Blue lines were built — said that despite the up-front costs, the streetcar is a sound financial investment.

“If you go back and look at the conversation from 40 years ago, you hear echoes from this debate today,” Howze said. “When you look at the life cycle cost, there’s a strong argument to be made that streetcar is cheaper than buses in the long term.”

Fallon, in addition to speaking out in support of the streetcar, said the county needs more north-south transportation options and says the ART bus’ schedule should be expanded for later service. His primary focus during the debate was on affordable housing; he was touting his record as a planning commissioner in creating more than 1,000 units of designated affordable housing.

“The price of admission to Arlington is very high,” Fallon said. “The people who are here, you end up losing them, unless you’re able to capture them.”

Arlington County Board candidate Peter FallonFallon said he wants to re-examine Arlington’s incentive policies for asking developers for affordable housing units or funding. Fallon believes developers should be asked to contribute more than they already are, saying, “we need to get more bang for our buck so we have more of these units available.”

Moderator Gordon Simonett asked the candidates if they were worried about Arlington’s young population moving to cheaper, neighboring communities like Falls Church and Fairfax. All three candidates answered “yes,” but with varying degrees of concern. Thomas said there’s a reason so many young people are in Arlington in the first place.

“My friends constantly talk about moving somewhere” less expensive, Thomas said, but “Arlington’s a terrific place to be when you’re young.”

“There’s definitely a wonderful sense of young people, entrepreneurs and really young professionals here,” he said. “That’s why when I got here, it was really the place for me. Falls Church might be a little bit cheaper, but it doesn’t have what Arlington has.” (more…)

Bruce Shuttleworth Tosses Hat in Ring for Moran’s Seat

by ARLnow.com | January 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm | 1,551 views | No Comments

Democratic congressional candidate Bruce Shuttleworth with wife Divonne SmoyerNorth Arlington resident Bruce Shuttleworth is again running for Congress.

Shuttleworth, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the 2012 Democratic primary, announced tonight that he’s running in this year’s sure-to-be crowded Democratic primary. The announcement follows the news Wednesday morning that the 12-term Congressman is not running for reelection.

Shuttleworth, a 48-year-old Navy veteran, has declared himself a “diversity candidate” and said in a statement that he is “a fighter pilot and a feminist.”

“I don’t think that women have been treated equally throughout history,” he told ARLnow.com. “I think we’d be in much better position if we did treat women more equally and if more women were in positions of power.”

“I’m completely for equal rights in all things, no one is more pro-choice than I am,” he said, adding that he would fight for equal pay for women if elected to Congress.

On issues like sexual assault in the military, Shuttleworth said ”it’s going to be the men who have to take a decisive, bold leadership role in making sure people know it’s not okay to mistreat any minority, most especially women.”

“I will be the loudest voice in the land for equal rights for all minorities to include our transgender brothers and sisters,” he said in the statement. ”I cannot be more committed to being anti-bullying.”

Shuttleworth said he himself was bullied while a student leader at the Naval Academy. The bullying stemmed from a time at when he reported classmates having a drinking party in a room next door, a serious offense at the school. After that, Shuttleworth said, he was “threatened with bodily harm,” broken light bulbs were placed in his bed and his car was vandalized. The bullying  followed him “for years,” even while in naval service, but Shuttleworth said he would do it all over again because it was the right thing to do.

“[I] take ethics and integrity incredibly seriously, and that’s the same kind of integrity i’m going to bring to the United States Congress,” he said, later calling Congress “an institution that has failed America.”

The full statement from Shuttleworth, after the jump.

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UPDATED: Rep. Moran Announces His Retirement

by ARLnow.com | January 15, 2014 at 9:05 am | 2,960 views | No Comments

Rep. Jim Moran speaks at a ribbon cutting for S. Joyce Street renovations(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) announced this morning that he will not seek reelection.

In a statement (after the jump), Moran lamented the sorry state of the budget process in Washington, but said he was hopeful that with the recent bipartisan budget deal, things are getting back on track.

“I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation,” he said.

The announcement puts Moran’s long-held Congressional seat — representing Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County — up for grabs. Already, electoral prognosticators are weighing in on what will likely be a political free-for-all among local Democrats.

Ben Tribbett, of the Not Larry Sabato blog, opined that the theoretical front runners in this year’s race to replace Moran include Del. Patrick Hope, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley, Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Sickles and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay. Other names circulating around Twitter include Alexandria mayor Bill Euille, Del. Rob Krupicka and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Aneesh Chopra.

2012 Arlington County Democratic Committee chili cook-off and pie-eating contestMoran, now in his 12th term in the House of Representatives, has been an outspoken advocate and an effective budget appropriator for his constituents and the causes he supported, including federal employees, transportation infrastructure, immigration reform, gay marriage, gun control, and animal rights. Moran’s Congressional tenure has also been marred by occasional controversies.

In 1995 he engaged in a “physical confrontation” with Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.). In 2000 he was accused of attacking an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot. In 2006 he said he would “earmark the shit out of” his House appropriations subcommittee post to steer federal money to Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. In 2010 he said his Republican challenger, a retired Army officer, hadn’t “served or performed in any kind of public service.” In 2011 he was accused in a book of “insider trading” (but never prosecuted). In 2012 his son, Patrick, resigned from Moran’s campaign after being caught on hidden camera seemingly going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.

Despite the controversies, Moran’s Capitol Hill staffers say he is a man truly dedicated to public service, who speaks his mind and does what he thinks is right.

Rep. Jim Moran visits the Phoenix House treatment center near Ballston“He is exactly what you want in your local representative — he loves the people of the 8th District and is in politics for the right reasons,” said Anne Hughes, a former press secretary. “Moran is a fierce advocate for Northern Virginia and I know will be remembered not only for his contributions to the region, but also for being on the right side of history — from Iraq War to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — and speaking out loudly for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

“I have enormous respect for Moran, he leaves giant shoes to fill,” Hughes added. “And I will especially miss watching his raucous floor speeches.”

State Sen. Ebbin said in a statement that Moran “has represented the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia.”

“He has been an advocate for our environment, a fighter for equality, and a strong champion of universal health care and the Affordable Care Act,” Ebbin said. “Northern Virginia is a better place to live and work because of Jim Moran’s leadership. I am proud to have been represented by him in Congress, and to have represented him in Richmond. After his decades of service to our community, I wish him a long and happy retirement.”

The full statement from Moran’s office about the Congressman’s retirement, and a statement from President Obama, after the jump.

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Greeley Would Be First Openly Gay Man on Arlington School Board

by Ethan Rothstein | January 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm | 2,184 views | No Comments

School Board candidate Greg Greeley

Greg Greeley is not your typical suburban School Board candidate. A single gay man, a father of two adopted boys, and an Air Force veteran, Greeley breaks the mold in more ways than one.

This might be big news elsewhere in the country. In Arlington, however, Greeley is just running to succeed another mold-breaker.

Greeley, a Douglas Park resident, filed to run to replace Sally Baird on the School Board earlier this month. If elected, Greeley would be Arlington’s first openly gay male School Board member, replacing Baird, Virginia’s first openly lesbian elected official. (Like Greeley, Baird also has two sons.)

Greeley has served as chair of the “Planning and Capacity Subcommittee of the Advisory Council on School Facilities and Capital Programs” and as treasurer of the Randolph Elementary School PTA, among other volunteer positions with school organizations.

The 49-year-old Democrat has already received endorsements from state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) and is prepping for a door-knocking campaign before the Democratic caucus in May. Greeley, a federal government contractor and project manager, is primarily focused on capacity and facility issues — building and renovating schools to keep up with Arlington’s burgeoning student population — since it’s where he thinks the School Board needs the most improvement.

Greg Greeley and his sons (courtesy photo)“I want us to make better decisions about how to deal with the capacity crunch,” he told ARLnow.com this morning. “The tipping point [in my decision to run] was last summer when the North Arlington elementary schools were dealing with boundary changes. It was really a painful public process.”

As a member of the capacity subcommittee, and the boundary liaison to Nottingham Elementary School during the process, he said he kept seeing reasons to run for the Board.

“As I got more involved in the facilities,” he said, “I saw more things I wanted to change.”

Greeley has never run for office before, but he has experience in helping change happen. He served four years in the Air Force — which he called “a great experience” — before applying for discharge because, as he put it, “I was too out to stay in.”

“I’ve always wanted to lead the life I wanted to live,” he said. He explained that that’s why, in 2002, he adopted his first son, Kolya, from the Ukraine as an 18 month old. “I hit my mid-30s and decided I wanted to have a family.”

Greeley doesn’t worry about convincing voters that he’s a capable, qualified School Board candidate despite his status as a gay single parent.

“That’s why I like living here,” he said. “People here are open and accepting. It wasn’t always this way. There was lots of pushback in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and we weren’t welcome in the political scene. Now we’re just part of the community.”

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Kanninen, Van Doren Announce School Board Candidacy

by ARLnow.com | January 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm | 554 views | No Comments

School Board candidates Nancy Van Doren (L) and Barbara Kanninen (R)Two Arlington School Board hopefuls have formally announced their candidacy.

Barbara Kanninen, Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley are running for the Democratic endorsement for school board, hoping to replace the retiring Sally Baird. The endorsement caucus will be held on May 15 and 17. Kanninen and Van Doren announced their candidacies over the weekend.

Van Doren, a mother of four and an Arlington Public Schools volunteer, says her experience “is deep and broad and it is exactly what the school board needs at this time.”

From a campaign mailer:

For ten years, Nancy has volunteered extensively in Arlington Public Schools to ensure the educational success of all children from all backgrounds.

Nancy focuses on the student. She always asks: What does the student need to succeed? What can I do to ensure each and every child is successful? She maintains this focus and works for demonstrable improvement at the student, school, and county level.

Nancy follows through and gets the job done. When it comes to educating students, collaboration, good communication, and community engagement are keys to success. Nancy has a very collaborative style, which she uses effectively to build coalitions to get projects done.

Van Doren, whose children attend Jefferson Middle School and Washington-Lee High School, is holding a campaign kick-off event from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, at the Lyon Park Community House (414 N. Fillmore Street).

Kanninen, an economist and author who unsuccessfully ran for school board last year, says the school system should improve its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs while also investing in the arts.

The press release from Kanninen’s campaign, after the jump.

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