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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2014 at 8:35 am | 3,546 views | No Comments

"Sun shines through" (Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA)

H-B Parents Peeved By Document Disappearance — Some parents of H-B Woodlawn students are up in arms after three documents that questioned a proposal to move the secondary program to a new building disappeared from an Arlington Public Schools website. One parent called the removal of the documents “heavy-handed and disturbing.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington Man Charged With Fairfax Sex Assault — Sloan Wilson Rappoport, a 44-year-old Arlington resident and former George W. Bush administration official, has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman he met at a Bailey’s Crossroads clothing store. Police say Rappoport invited the woman into his Mercedes-Benz, then drove to a nearby location and sexually assaulted her. [Washington Post]

Clement to Run for School Board — Perennial Green Party candidate Audrey Clement is planning on running for Arlington School Board. Currently running in the race are three candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement: Barbara Kanninen, Greg Greeley and Nancy Van Doren. [InsideNoVa]

Airline Changes at DCA — As a result of changes related to the American Airlines/US Airways merger, JetBlue, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines will all be expanding their presence at Reagan National Airport. [MWAA]

Endorsements for Howze, Vihstadt — Arlington County Board candidates Alan Howze (D) and John Vihstadt (I) have picked up notable endorsements in the past week. Howze has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, which says he has a “depth of knowledge and understanding of key environmental issues facing the County.” Vihstadt has been endorsed by the local firefighters union, which says it shares Vihstadt’s spending priorities — an emphasis on core services and opposition to projects like the streetcar and the aquatics center.

Will Arlington Regret HOT Lanes Opposition? – Writing about what may be the area’s “worst commute” — from Fredericksburg to the District via I-95 and I-395 — highway historian Earl Swift suggests that Arlington may ultimately regret its opposition to HOT lanes on I-395. Running HOT lanes from I-95 to just before Arlington on I-395 “could spawn new and fearsome jams on I-395, choking Arlington County with the exhaust of idling legions of cars,” Swift writes. “The HOT lanes could be so popular, and inspire so fierce a public demand for their extension to the Potomac, that talks between state and county resume.” [Atlantic Cities, Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

Green Party Hits ‘Glass Ceiling’ In Election

by Ethan Rothstein | November 6, 2013 at 10:30 am | 1,432 views | No Comments

County Board candidate Audrey Clement and Green Party supporters at Westover Beer Garden 11/5/13(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) Arlington Green Party members reflected upon another Election Day defeat in the race for the County Board Tuesday night, but the mood was far from somber.

Audrey Clement, running for the County Board for the fourth straight election, lost to incumbent Democrat Jay Fisette, 66 to 31 percent. She was actually encouraged by the results, but said the 30 percent range appears to be a Green Party candidate’s best possible result.

“In our best races we seem to be hitting up against a glass ceiling of 30 percent,” she said at the Green Party’s election gathering at Westover Beer Garden. “It seems we can’t break that ceiling. I think we will when the county breaks the budget.”

Clement said she was more disappointed with the result of the redevelopment and housing authority vote than she was with her own defeat in the election, because she believes the current housing situation could lead to more homelessness. The referendum was struck down with 69 percent of the voters choosing “no.”

“A lot of people in this expensive apartments are living from paycheck to paycheck, and eventually they’re going to be displaced,” she said. “When that happens, that’s when they will change their vote.”

Clement said she felt if voters understood the issue better, then they would have voted “yes.” The sample ballot she distributed at the polls explaining the issue, however, was long and difficult to read.”

“Next time around, we have to do a better job with our literature,” she said.

Asked whether she would run again, Clement said “it remains to be seen.” She lost her job as an independent contractor in July, and although she has since secured another position, she said it’s only temporary. Since her races are largely self-funded — she spent $3,855 on her campaign this year, according to the Virginia Public Access Project  –  the status of her next campaign is up in the air.

Despite the defeat, Clement and her Green Party compatriots were not discouraged. Party Chairman Steve Davis said “30 percent is really good for the Green Party in an election.”

“My campaign was a success,” Clement said. “It’s not quite winning, but it’s not bad to get a respectable vote. I feel worse about the housing authority because people are going to be suffering as a result of their lack of interest in the issue.”

(more…)

Audrey Clement: Why You Should Vote For Me

by ARLnow.com | October 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm | 1,612 views | No Comments

Audrey ClementThis week we asked the two candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 5).

Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):

I’m nine year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST), I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound.

In 2008 and 2013 I petitioned to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to leverage more money for affordable housing. I’ve also lobbied for a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets and chain drug stores and Styrofoam in food retail outlets. A ban bag is needed because all the bag tax bills introduced in the General Assembly to date have been defeated. Unlike a bag tax, which requires legislative approval, a bag ban is legal in Virginia right now, because the Virginia Waste Management Review Board calls the shots on waste reduction measures, not the legislature.

I think Arlington needs a change in leadership because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development. Nevertheless County Board continues to award developers with more density—50% more in Crystal City and Pentagon City alone. As a result, the supply of affordable housing in this county has been cut by two-thirds in one decade. This isn’t sustainable.

To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability also requires the County Board to create a housing authority to leverage more money for affordable housing, just like all the other jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are recycled out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.

  • We don’t need an $80 million aquatic center, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
  • We don’t need a $310 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
  • We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
  • We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.

If elected to the County Board, I will promote fiscal responsibility without sacrificing the health and welfare of its residents.

I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.com. Vote Clement for County Board on November 5th.

Local Candidates Spar Over Streetcar, Housing

by Ethan Rothstein | September 4, 2013 at 11:00 am | 1,139 views | No Comments

Issues like the Columbia Pike streetcar and the housing authority referendum were at the forefront last night during the Arlington Civic Federation’s annual candidates’ forum.

The debate between County Board member Jay Fisette and Green Party challenger Audrey Clement was the night’s most divisive, with Clement challenging the streetcar project and the Board’s fiscal policies.

“I pledge to raise no taxes,” Clement said, “Repeal last year’s tax increase… and authorize an inspector general for the county’s budget.”

Clement again voiced her support for the referendum to create a housing authority, which Fisette and other Board members oppose. Fisette defended the Board’s actions, asserting that the tax increases were largely to pay for the increase in school enrollment and the streetcar “fulfills the vision of the revitalization of Columbia Pike.”

“I will ensure that Arlington continues to be a community that respects the differences among us,” he said. “I believe that there’s more to do, and I have more to give.”

Six races were represented during the forum: Fisette’s Board seat, James Lander’s School Board seat, and the 45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th District races for the House of Delegates. Lander and Del. Robert Brink (D-48) are running unopposed, and each gave two-minute speeches and took one question from the floor. Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) did not have an opponent to debate at the forum after it was revealed that independent candidate Jeffrey Engle was not in attendance.

Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) and Libertarian challenger Laura Delhomme — participating in her first debate — fielded questions about affordable housing, wind energy and their thoughts on the Republican state ticket. No Republican is running for any seat, state or local, in Arlington.

“I’m not a socially liberal Republican, I’m not a fiscally conservative Democrat,” said Delhomme, who suggested repealing the state income tax and the Virginia Marriage Amendment.

Hope advocated for transferring more of Virginia’s energy from coal and natural gas to wind power and discussed how difficult it was to make progress in the General Assembly.

“In my first four years in office, I’ve learned that change can be very difficult,” Hope said. “Getting government out of our bedrooms and our doctor’s offices has divided our state and our parties.”

In the final debate of the night, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), running in his first re-election bid, and Independent Green Party candidate Terrence Modglin, showed the starkest disagreement, particularly on abortion. Modglin supports greater restrictions on abortion.

“I think the laws and regulations enacted, the intent of them was to, regardless of what the language was, reduce the number of abortions in Virginia and I think that’s a good thing in terms of public policy,” Modglin said.

Following Modglin’s response, Lopez looked slightly taken aback. He shook his head before he responded.

“A woman’s right to choose is non-negotiable,” Lopez said. “The [transvaginal ultrasound] legislation put up…was a travesty. It made us a laughing stock on the national stage. I will definitely fight these backdoor ways of reducing a person’s access to contraception.”

Election Day is on Nov. 5. The forum, held at Virginia Hospital Center’s Hazel auditorium, is organized every year as the unofficial start to Arlington’s fall campaign season.

Housing Authority Referendum Goes To Board

by Ethan Rothstein | July 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm | 630 views | No Comments

Colonial Village apartmentsThe Arlington County Board is scheduled to approve putting an housing authority referendum on the ballot this November.

By statute, the Board must approve the referendum if 2 percent of the county’s qualified voters sign a petition. After a six-month campaign championed by the Arlington Green Party, the petition to create the authority got the necessary 2,845 signatures in June.

Approval is scheduled for the Board’s Tuesday meeting, its last meeting until September. The Board must approve the measure before it goes on its summer recess in order to meet the state-mandated deadline of August 16.

The item is not on the Board’s public agenda, which prompted a concerned email to County Board Chairman Walter Tejada from Arlington Green Party treasurer Audrey Clement earlier this week. Though Tejada assured Clement that the resolution will be brought up, she’s now worried that the county will try to influence voters into voting down the referendum, which was on the ballot but failed to pass in 2008.

At that time, a county-disseminated Q&A flyer stated that a housing authority would not produce more affordable housing, and “would only have access to the same tools and finding that the County currently uses.”

“Not only is this language non-neutral, it is false,” Clement told ARLnow.com. “Unlike the subsidies currently awarded by Arlington County to private housing corporations, a housing authority would get most of its funds not from the taxpayers but from [Department of Housing and Urban Development] guaranteed bonds issued in private capital markets.”

“In light of county government’s longstanding opposition to establishment of a housing authority, I am concerned that it will once again lobby to stop the referendum dead in its tracks by disseminating biased information about the referendum in contravention of state law,” she said.

County spokeswoman Mary Curtius said the county stands by its statements in the Q&A from 2008. The County Attorney is not aware of any legal complaint over the message.

“We reject any allegation in any way we acted improperly or illegally, then and even now,” Curtius said. “We feel that everything we said then was factual and neutral, and if we say anything this time, it will be factual and neutral.”

According to HUD’s website, there are 17 buildings that offer subsidized housing in Arlington, compared to nine in Alexandria and 42 in Fairfax County. Both of those jurisdictions have their own housing authority.

Clement Again Running for County Board

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | 303 views | No Comments

Audrey Clement at Radnor/Fort Myer Heights candidates night debateAudrey Clement is running for Arlington County Board under the Arlington Green Party banner, for the fourth time since 2011.

Clement, a long-time Arlington resident and IT consultant, will face off against incumbent Democrat Jay Fisette in November. The Arlington Green Party is urging a vote for Clement to “end one-party rule in Arlington.”

“Arlington needs new leadership,” the party said in a press release. “Jay Fisette says he is for sustainability, but the tax hikes County Board plans to impose on county residents to fund boondoggles like the Pike trolley and heated bus stops are unsustainable.”

Clement was nominated at the Greens’ April 3 meeting. She is running on a platform that includes:

  • Adopt a referendum sponsored by the Arlington Green Party to create a Housing Authority to provide more affordable housing at less cost.
  • No more tax rate increases. Repave streets. Fund schools and libraries, not wasteful projects, like million dollar bus stops on Columbia Pike.
  • Use commercial real estate tax to fund ART buses not the $250 million Pike trolley.
  • Fund school construction to ease overcrowding.
  • Open Arlington public libraries 7 days a week.
  • Retrofit public buildings with renewable energy.
  • Reduce waste. Increase recycling in apartments and businesses.
  • Ban single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam in retail stores and food outlets to reduce litter.
  • Provide free residential energy audits.

Clement received 12.9 percent of the vote in November 2012. Green Party candidate John Reeder received 32 percent of the vote when he ran against Fisette in 2009.

The Arlington County Republican Committee has set May 12 as the filing deadline for potential County Board candidates.

Don’t Remove Lingering Political Signs from Medians

by Katie Pyzyk | November 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | 4,397 views | 54 Comments

Despite the fact that the election was two weeks ago, some political signs still have been spotted in public spaces around town in recent days. That’s against county code, but residents are being told to report, not remove rogue campaign signs.

Per code, all political signs were to be removed from the public right of way (such as road medians) by the campaigns within five days after the election. Those that remain are subject to confiscation by county staff. Residents who notice lingering signs are asked not to remove them; the signs are to be removed only by the organization that originally placed them, or by county zoning staff.

The regulations are part of the larger sign ordinance, which has been revamped this year. Audrey Clement, who ran for County Board as a Green Party candidate, spoke at the Board meeting on Saturday (Nov. 17) to complain about the lack of enforcement for the sign rules. Clement pointed out that leading up to the election, no more than two signs are to be placed in a public space. She reported to have sometimes seen “six to a median.” Clement also said she went around the county to remove her own signs after the election.

“Given the level of abuse, what is the point of wasting countless hours of community and staff time to revise an ordinance that the county itself ignores?” said Clement. “If the losers uphold the law, why can’t the winners enforce it?”

Board member Jay Fisette noted that candidates at the federal level would probably be less likely to know Arlington’s ordinances, but said they should have been informed of the regulations. He said Clement’s concern was warranted.

“Whether they’re federal, state or local candidates, the county should be enforcing them,” Fisette said.

Not all signs in Arlington fall within the county’s authority, however. Campaign signs along VDOT-maintained roads are subject to enforcement and removal by the state.

County staff has been removing signs they see or that are reported along county roads. Anyone who wants to report a political sign in violation of the ordinance may call code enforcement at 703-228-3232. The county is encouraging residents who wish to dispose of a political sign on their own personal property to recycle it.

File photo

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | November 9, 2012 at 8:45 am | 3,584 views | 138 Comments

Green Party Outperforms Past Results — By pulling in 12.4 percent of the vote for County Board, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement roughly doubled the percentage of the vote Green candidates have typically received during past County Board races. The question now is can the Greens get that percentage even higher next time by better identifying who is voting for the party’s candidates? [Sun Gazette]

Miss Saigon Coming to Signature Theater — Signature Theater has secured the rights to the well known musical Miss Saigon, and will open its 2013-2014 season with a version of the production. It will be the first time a theater company in the D.C. area has taken on the show in 15 years. [Variety]

Ballot Wording Angers Aquatics Center Opponents — Voters passed all four bond referenda on the Arlington ballot on Tuesday, including one for a park bond that funds the proposed $79 million Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center. Opponents of the facility, however, say the measure only passed due to vague wording on the ballot which stated that the bond was for “various capital projects for local parks and recreation, and land acquisition for parks and open space.” [Washington Examiner]

ABBIE Voting Ends Today — Today is the final day to cast your votes for Arlington’s best businesses. The businesses in 17 categories were nominated by residents and winners are determined by popular vote. ABBIE winners will be announced at the County Board meeting on November 27.

Disclosure: The ABBIE Awards/Arlington Economic Development is an ARLnow.com advertiser

Audrey Clement: Why You Should Vote For Me

by ARLnow.com | November 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm | 2,744 views | 42 Comments

Last month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).

Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):

I’m eight year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation, I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound. VDOT went ahead with the Spot Improvement project anyhow. Yet persistent two mile backups on westbound I-66 show that I was right.

In 2008 I helped to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to realize economies of scale and leverage more money for affordable housing. Arlington County Board not only ignored the referendum, which garnered 30 percent of the vote, it had the General Assembly change the law to make it virtually impossible to get another one on the ballot. Yet the fact that two-thirds of the affordable housing in Arlington has been lost in the past decade confirms the need for a centralized housing authority.

I think Arlington needs a change in leadership, because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development; the tear down of existing modest sized homes; and construction of oversized, unsightly, runoff inducing McMansions.

To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability requires the County Board to support, not discourage construction of moderate income housing. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are gentrified out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.

  • We don’t need a $79.2 million aquatic center at an out of the way location in North Crystal City, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
  • We don’t need a $250 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
  • We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
  • We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.

I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of new infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.org.

With your help, I will work to preserve the Arlington Way. Vote Clement for County Board on November 6, 2012.

Streetcar Dominates Board Debate, Even in N. Arlington

by ARLnow.com | October 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm | 4,829 views | 66 Comments

(Updated at 7:45 p.m.) The debate venue was the Radnor / Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association candidates night, held at an apartment building just outside Rosslyn on Tuesday.

The participants were the three candidates for Arlington County Board: incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement and Republican Matt Wavro.

Despite the fact that the audience lives north of Route 50, in a neighborhood that has plenty of concerns about traffic, development, aircraft noise and other issues, the main topic of the debate was the Columbia Pike streetcar. The streetcar so dominated the first half of the debate that the moderator had to eventually ask the audience to refrain from asking about it.

It’s ironic, then, that the candidates all essentially agreed with one another.

“We need sensible transit,” said Garvey, in her opening remarks. “I have been working deliberately to gather more information about the proposed streetcar and the more I look at it the more convinced I am that what we need is a bus rapid transit system, or BRT. That is by far the best solution for us at this point.”

Wavro also advocated for enhanced bus service along Columbia Pike instead of the streetcar, but he blasted Garvey for abstaining during a vote on the streetcar in July.

“We’ve had studies, more studies, then more studies on the Columbia Pike trolley,” he said. “With that amount of information out there, [Garvey] should be able to make a decision against the trolley.”

Clement echoed Wavro’s criticism.

“Board members are elected to take stands on controversial issues, not back away from them,” she said, adding that the streetcar will absorb tax dollars that could be used for capital improvements to Arlington’s existing transportation network and service enhancements like expanded weekend ART bus service.

There was disagreement over whether the Pike streetcar is a decision that can be reversed or not. Wavro argued that a lone board member would and should not be able to reverse the community process that led to the streetcar vote this summer. Garvey said the board only approved a “transit system” and that the “vehicle” for that system is a decision that will be made “down the line.”

“I think this will probably be the most important vote that I’m going to take in my time on the Board, and I’m hoping to be on the Board for about 12 years,” she said.

In addition to speaking out about the Columbia Pike streetcar, Clement also criticized Garvey’s vote to approve the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, which she said will eliminate affordable housing and “will transform the Pike into a gentrified urban canyon.” Wavro, meanwhile, spoke of the need to preserve market rate affordable housing — housing that’s affordable without government intervention — along the Pike and throughout the county.

Wavro made fiscal responsibility a pillar of his platform, saying the Board shouldn’t need to raise property tax rates — like it did this spring — on top of increases in property assessments.

“We should be able to fund our priorities through the increased assessments,” he said. “What we’ve seen from the County Board… is a trajectory of spending on capital projects that includes a tax or rent increase for every Arlington resident each year for the next ten years in order to maintain our AAA bond rating. I think we should have a much more responsible capital spending plan.”

Clement again agreed with Wavro, but delivered a sharper attack on Garvey and the Democrat-controlled County Board.

“In the current uncertain financial climate spurred by BRAC closures and the federal deficit, I view spending for key products in the [Capital Improvement Plan], including the [Long Bridge Park] aquatic center and the trolley, as reckless and irresponsible, and will oppose them unless the county’s economic outlook improves” she said. “In addition to opposing profligate capital spending, I have a specific plan for action to promote fiscal responsibility that emphasizes funding basic needs and investment in sustainable infrastructure.”

(more…)

County Board Challengers Urge ‘No’ Vote on Streetcar

by ARLnow.com | July 23, 2012 at 10:30 am | 4,731 views | 187 Comments

The Republican and Green Party candidates for County Board have both released statements calling for the Board to vote “no” on the Columbia Pike streetcar.

The controversial vote is scheduled to take place at tonight’s County Board meeting, which will start at 6:30 p.m.

Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement — who will be facing Democratic County Board member Libby Garvey in November — both say that the streetcar is a bad idea.

“We should not hamper the ability of our community to continually improve our plans and development decisions by installing an inflexible, impractical and egregiously expensive circulator trolley that many citizens do not want,” Wavro wrote in a statement, released last week. “Instead of a circulator trolley, I would promote and support enhanced bus service from Columbia Pike and Crystal City through Pentagon City and on into Rosslyn.”

In a statement, Clement said she also supported a form of enhanced bus service on the Pike.

“In addition to its exorbitant cost I oppose the Pike trolley because it would induce demand for housing, thus accelerating gentrification of the Pike,” Clement wrote. “I prefer compact double-deck buses, like those that are being introduced into service in London, rather than articulated buses, on the Pike’s congested roadway”

County staff is recommending the Board approve the streetcar plan, saying the streetcar “will best achieve the vision for the Columbia Pike corridor as a vibrant, diverse, and pedestrian and transit oriented community.”

The full statements from Clement and Wavro, after the jump.

(more…)

Clement to Run for County Board, Again

by ARLnow.com | June 8, 2012 at 11:00 am | 2,142 views | 60 Comments

The Arlington Green Party is hoping the third time will be the charm for Audrey Clement.

Clement has been nominated as the Green Party’s candidate for County Board in this fall’s election. It’s her third County Board run in a year, after losses in the November 2011 general election and the March 2012 special election.

The Arlington Greens issued the following statement about Clement’s nomination:

The Arlington Green Party officially nominated Audrey Clement as its candidate for the Arlington County Board in the November 6, 2012 general election at its monthly meeting on June 6. Dr. Clement, who qualified for the ballot in April, has run for County Board twice before. She has pledged to make fiscal responsibility and providing for basic needs over big ticket capital spending projects the centerpiece of her campaign.

Ms. Clement said that she will vigorously oppose spending $300 million in Arlington local funds for an ill-designed trolley on Columbia Pike that will only serve to eliminate affordable housing, and waste funds urgently needed for public schools and other county projects.

Audrey is a long time Arlington resident, an IT consultant, and holds a Ph.D. in political science. She has run twice for the Arlington County Board as a Green against Democratic and Republican opponents. She is an avid bicyclist, environmentalist, and mass transit supporter. Her campaign website is: http://audreyclement.org/

The Arlington Green Party has had a candidate for Arlington county board election for the past six years; in 2009, the Green candidate received about 32 percent of the total votes cast.

Low Turnout Could Swing Election Results

by ARLnow.com | March 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm | 2,125 views | 46 Comments

All bets are off for today’s County Board special election, as a combination of a third party candidate and historically low voter turnout mean that it’s anybody’s guess who will emerge victorious.

Two out of the past three times the turnout of a County Board special election was below 19,000, a Republican ended up winning. This year, it’s looking unlikely that even 15,000 votes will be cast out of the pool of 122,882 active registered voters in Arlington.

“I think it’s probably going to end up maybe being 10 to 12 percent [turnout], and I may be overestimating that,” Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “Usually in a special election we get closer to 20 percent, but I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere near that this time.”

Though past experience would suggest that the low turnout might spell doom for Democratic candidate Libby Garvey, the fact that there’s both a Republican and a fiscally-conservative Green Party candidate in the race makes any attempts at prognostication difficult.

Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to rally more voters before the polls close at 7:00 tonight. Privately, they’re also hoping that the “anti-Democrat” vote splits between Republican Mark Kelly and Green candidate Audrey Clement.

Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman conceded that turnout is low, but said Democrats are cautiously optimistic.

“We are expecting a bit of an uptick in the afternoon, but it’s certainly going to remain low,” Lieberman said. “It’s hard to predict. When there’s very high turnout, our chances go up. When there’s low turnout, it’s much more of a question mark.”

“Certainly I think we are in for a relatively close election,” Lieberman continued. “We remain optimistic about Libby’s chances despite the low numbers.”

Candidate Essay: Audrey Clement

by ARLnow.com | March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | 2,797 views | 68 Comments

Earlier this month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why the county’s residents should vote for them during the March 27 special election.

Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (I):

I’m eight year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation, I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound. In 2008 I helped to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to leverage more money for affordable housing. I’ve lobbied to create a year round homeless shelter and ban plastic bags in supermarkets and chain drug stores and Styrofoam in food retail outlets.

I think Arlington needs a change in leadership because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development. Nevertheless County Board continues to award developers with more density — 50% more in Crystal City alone. As a result, the supply of affordable housing in this county has been cut by two-thirds in one decade. This isn’t sustainable.

To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability requires the County Board to support not discourage construction of moderate income housing. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are gentrified out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.

  • We don’t need a $50 million aquatic center, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
  • We don’t need a $250 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
  • We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
  • We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.

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County Board Candidates Address Homeless Shelter, Accountability at Forum

by Katie Pyzyk | March 14, 2012 at 9:50 am | 2,778 views | 71 Comments

The three candidates for Arlington County Board squared off last night at a forum hosted by the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association. Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, Democrat Libby Garvey and Republican Mark Kelly advanced cases for why they each should get voter support.

Garvey’s main push is for more communication and transparency in government.

“I think we’re having a little trouble keeping our priorities straight. Is it all about education, infrastructure, public safety? Or is it all about Artispheres and street cars and that sort of thing,” Garvey said. “I think we need to be very clear about our priorities and make them our core services.”

Kelly’s focus is on greater fiscal discipline. He’s also interested in getting the current board members to think outside the box.

“They talk a lot about the Arlington Way and including communities. But sometimes when the rubber meets the road, it’s a lot of talk,” said Kelly. “Someone needs to be presenting alternative plans and offering amendments even if they lose.”

Clement touted her fiscal responsibility as well. She distinguishes herself from Kelly by saying their ideologies are different, and cost reduction doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the welfare of residents. She advocates eliminating what she calls wasteful spending projects like Artisphere, the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center and the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. She said a bus system would provide the same service at one-fifth the cost of the streetcar’s estimated $250 million dollar price tag.

Kelly also stated opposition to the streetcar project. Garvey, on the other hand, wouldn’t offer a firm opinion on the idea. She did, however, express interest in examining expanded bus service instead. Like other issues raised throughout the night, the streetcar is something she said she “questions.”

“I’m not taking a stand on it right yet, but I have lots of questions about whether it makes sense for the amount of money that we need to put in,” Garvey said.

A topic referred to throughout the forum is the Board green-lighting the purchase of an office building in the Courthouse neighborhood for a homeless shelter. The candidates assert that regardless of whether or not a year-round homeless shelter a good idea, the process for approving the deal was faulty. Garvey, while again stating she has questions about the project, reiterated the need for transparency. She said although the board may have had good reasons for their decision, residents don’t like it.

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