A redistricting effort by Republicans in the Virginia Senate, which would have resulted in Arlington losing much of its legislative clout in that body, has been defeated.
The state Senate passed the surprise redistricting plan on Jan. 21 by a party-line vote of 20-19, thanks to the absence of Democratic Senator Henry Marsh, a civil rights lawyer who was attending President Obama’s inauguration that day. The unexpected vote drew strong criticism from Democrats and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
The redistricting plan would have benefited Republicans, turning several Democratic-held districts heavily Republican. It would also have reduced Arlington’s legislative influence, moving veteran state Senator Janet Howell’s district back out of Arlington (she represents part of north Arlington as a result of the 2011 redistricting) and reducing state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s portion of Arlington to a small sliver of south Arlington.
Arlington’s interests would have been represented in the state Senate primarily by Sen. Barbara Favola, the former Arlington County Board member who was elected to the state legislature in 2011.
The redistricting plan, which was tacked on to a bill that was supposed to make small technical changes to House of Delegates districts, was ruled not germane by Republican House Speaker Bill Howell on Wednesday, defeating it.
The legislation defines the term “bullying” and requires school boards to prohibit students and school employees from engaging in any actions that fall under the definition. The bill also requires local school boards to implement policies and procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing acts of bullying.
The part of the bill defining bullying reads:
“Bullying” means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. “Bullying” includes behavior motivated by a real or perceived differentiating characteristic of the victim and cyber bullying. “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.
The legislation requires each of the school boards around the state to add a portion to its code of student conduct addressing bullying by July 1, 2014. This would prohibit bullying in classrooms, on a school bus, on school property and at school-sponsored activities.
Each code of conduct must also be updated with provisions to protect students and school employees who come forward to report instances of bullying, and must allow the reporting individuals to remain anonymous. School administrators or their designees would be required to promptly investigate every credible report of bullying.
“Sen. Favola patroned this bill because she believes it is an important message to put language in the law to protect our children and create safe learning environments,” said Legislative Assistant Arlene Spinelli. “Studies demonstrate that when bullying takes place in the school environment, academic performance is impacted and suffers. This issue is a priority of the Virginia Education Association.”
The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the state Senate Education and Health Committee.
Defibrillator’s Batteries Weren’t Charged — Metro General Manager Richard Sarles has ordered a review of the agency’s automated external defibrillator (AED) program after it was revealed that the AED used to try to revive a man suffering a heart attack at the Pentagon Metro station on Monday had “insufficient battery charge.” The man later died. [Dr. Gridlock]
Favola Gets Top Business Rating — State Sen. Barbara Favola was the most “business-friendly” member of the Arlington legislative delegation in 2012, according to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. During her recent campaign Favola was criticizing for taking big donations from real estate developers. [Sun Gazette]
Clock Ticking for River Place Owners — It may be 40 years away, but owners of the 1,720 co-ops and apartments at River Place in Rosslyn may no longer have a home after 2052. That’s because the sprawling residential complex sits on land that the River Place Owner’s Association doesn’t own, but rather leases from an estate. [UrbanTurf]
Man Chases iPad Thief at Airport Metro Station — An alleged 18-year-old thief was eventually apprehended after he reportedly stole an iPad from an auxiliary police officer on a Metro train at Reagan National Airport. The auxiliary cop, whose day job is at the Pentagon, chased the thief and was able to get his iPad back. [Washington Post]
Teen Job Fair This Weekend — The 16th annual Arlington Teen Summer Expo is being held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event brings Arlington teens, businesses and non-profits together to help teens find ”the perfect summer job or volunteer experience.” [Arlington Teen Summer Expo]
Romney Wins Va. Primary — Mitt Romney won Virginia’s Republican presidential primary yesterday, capturing 59.5 percent of the vote statewide. The only other candidate who qualified for the ballot, Ron Paul, received 40.5 percent of the vote. In Arlington, Romney received 64.6 percent of the vote to 35.4 percent for Ron Paul. Voter turnout was light, as expected. A total of 7,623 votes were cast in Arlington, representing 5 percent of registered voters and 6.3 percent of active voters.
County Board Candidates Square Off at Forum — The three candidates for County Board squared off last night at a candidates forum organized by the Arlington County Civic Federation. Democrat Libby Garvey was flanked by Republican Mark Kelly and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, who together called for less spending and for the creation of an independent inspector general to monitor county spending. Kelly and Clement also took turns bashing the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. [Sun Gazette, Sun Gazette]
Republicans Blast Favola — Freshman state Senator Barbara Favola (D) has now been the subject of two critical press releases from the Republican Party of Virginia. The latest press release digs up an eight-year-old letter Favola signed, urging then-governor Mark Warner to avoid delays in adopting a budget. Favola is one of 20 Democrats who have voted against two Republican budget proposals in the state Senate. [Washington Post]
Clarendon: Hot Office Market — Bisnow says Clarendon is one of the region’s five hottest office submarkets. “If a company depends on young employees, it’s probably looking for space in Clarendon,” the online real estate publication wrote. [Bisnow]
Marine Corps Marathon Registration Opens Today — General registration for the 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon kicks off today at 3:00 p.m. Last year the marathon experienced a “record registration sell out” of 30,000 spots in a mere 28 hours. Registration costs $92 and includes a t-shirt and a finisher’s medal. [Marine Corps Marathon]
Senate Dems Defeat HPV Immunization Repeal — State Senate Democrats are taking credit for killing a bill that would have repealed the 2007 law that requires sixth grade girls be immunized from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Said Arlington’s Sen. Barbara Favola (D), in a statement: “The best way to eradicate cervical cancer is widespread HPV vaccination. In the past, the most successful immunization programs, such as those for smallpox or polio, required universal vaccination. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, but with this vaccination, there is hope for ending the suffering caused by cervical cancer.” [Washington Post]
Favola Criticized for Skipping Budget Vote — State Sen. Barbara Favola is being criticized by Republicans for skipping a vote on the state budget in favor of making a TV appearance. Favola appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ while votes were being taken on the Republican-supported budget plan. In the end, however, her vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome — the budget didn’t pass. [Sun Gazette]
Cat Enters Va. Senate Race — A cat is running for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. The “Hank for Senate” campaign has launched, amid a flurry of publicity, with a campaign TV ad and the campaign slogan “Milk in every bowl.” Hank has quite the personal story — including being saved from euthanization by an animal rescue group. [WTOP]
Cherrydale Library Book — The 50-year history of the cozy Cherrydale branch library has been documented in a new book. “Fifty Years of Cherrydale Library,” by Greg Embree, is available online (for free) and in print. [Blurb]
Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are on a “values crusade,” newly-elected state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) told a press conference last week.
Favola accused Republican lawmakers of focusing on various red-meat social issues while neglecting issues like education.
“The so-called party of small government is rushing bills through the Senate that interfere in the most intimate, personal details of people’s lives,” Favola said. “Virginia’s families want a crusade to improve public schools across the Commonwealth. We need to educate a workforce for the 21st century.”
Among the bills Democrats have opposed during the current legislative session are:
- A bill that would consider unborn children at every stage of development a “person” under Virginia law
- A “conscience clause” bill allowing faith-based adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with gay couples
- A bill eliminating Virginia’s one handgun purchase per month limit
- A bill requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound
- A bill eliminating the state’s requirement that girls receive a HPV vaccine
- A bill requiring certain welfare recipients to be screened for drugs
Republicans, however, say that Democrats are the ones in Richmond obsessed with ‘values’ legislation
“While our Democrat colleagues remain singularly focused on a small number of social issues, we are enacting the reforms necessary to move Virginia forward,” Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax) told the Washington Post.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has proposed cutting the $455,000 program, which funds sex education and birth control for teens in seven areas with some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. McDonnell says the program has not worked.
In a statement, Favola said the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) helps teens make healthier decisions.
This is a recipe for unintended pregnancies and significant health risks to young women. Teens need good information to make healthy decisions, but not all of Virginia’s youth are receiving medically accurate information from trusted sources.
The prevention of teen pregnancy is a critical issue in Virginia. In 2010, 367,752 children were born to girls 15-19, nationally. That’s a rate of 34.3 pregnancies per 1000 women. In 2010, 10,970 of those teen pregnancies were in Virginia. That’s a rate of 21.1 pregnancies per 1000 women. Though Virginia’s teen pregnancy rate is below the national average, 28 cities and counties in the Commonwealth are above the national average, and the TPPI program targets areas that are most vulnerable.
TPPI has been a key part of Virginia’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts since 1994. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. TPPI’s goal is for teens to receive medically accurate information, make healthy choices, and provide pregnancy prevention resources. TPPI aims to reduce teenage pregnancy through life skills training, education, health services, and awareness.
The program provides essential services to teenage girls in high-risk areas. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. Not all parents feel comfortable having ‘the talk’ or discussing other topics important for our youth’s health and safety. The only way to ensure teen pregnancy rates continue on their long-term downward trend is to provide teens with the necessary education and resources so they are empowered to make healthy decisions. TPPI helps to inform teens with medically accurate information so they can make safe and responsible decisions.
The governor’s decision to eliminate TPPI’s funding does a great disservice to Virginia’s teens. His proposed budget cut will deprive teenage girls in the most high-risk areas of the state of the critical services and education necessary to make responsible and healthy life decisions.
Favola Endorses Garvey — State Senator-elect Barbara Favola has endorsed School Board member Libby Garvey in the special election race to fill her former County Board seat. Calling Garvey “a proven leader,” Favola said in a statement that Garvey had the skills, experience and values to be an effective County Board member. “Libby will work to protect our core services including human services, affordable housing, and public schools as we continue to grow and change as a community,” Favola said.
Moran to Face Primary Challenge — Rep. Jim Moran (D) is facing a potential primary challenge this year. Fairfax County resident Will Radle says he will challenge the long-time incumbent in this year’s Democratic primary. One reason Radle cited for challenging Moran: “the congressman’s ineffectiveness securing more take-home pay for federal employees.” (On Friday, however, Moran issued a statement calling for federal employees to receive a larger cost-of-living increase than the 0.5 percent raise proposed by the Obama administration.) Radle has previously run for office as an Independent Green and a Republican. [Alexandria Times]
Clinic Director Named ‘Washingtonian of the Year’ — Nancy Pallesen, the executive director of the Arlington Free Clinic, has been named one of Washingtonian magazine’s “Washingtonians of the Year” for 2012. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
The election is being held to fill the seat vacated by Barbara Favola, who defeated Caren Merrick in the race for Virginia Senate last month. The date could not be set until Favola formally resigned from the County Board.
Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg said the County Electoral Board will meet on Wednesday to determine candidate filing deadlines for the special election. Candidates could not officially file to run until the special election date was released. Until now, they were required file as if they were running in the November 2012 election, and then amend the request once the special election date was official. So far, there are six Democrats who have expressed intent to run, but no Republicans.
Whoever claims victory in the special election still must run again for the seat in November.
In an announcement that surprised no one — given the predictable rhythm of such decisions — newly reelected Arlington County Board member Mary Hynes has been named the future County Board chairman for 2012.
Hynes and Board member Walter Tejada were sworn in for new four-year terms yesterday, after both winning reelection in November. The swearing-in ceremony was held in between County Board sessions last night.
Hynes will outline her priorities as chairman for 2012 at the Board’s annual organizational meeting on Monday, Jan. 2. Hynes has served as a County Board member since 2008. She was previously an Arlington School Board member from 1995 to 2006.
Separately, Barbara Favola took what may be her last vote as a County Board member last night. Favola, who was elected to the Virginia Senate in November, submitted her resignation — effective Dec. 31 — last Thursday. The resignation will allow election officials to choose a firm date for the special election that will be held to find Favola’s replacement.
The special election date is expected to be revealed by the end of the week, according to Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Health care advocate and Democratic activist Kim Klingler (right) announced her candidacy for County Board this afternoon, bringing the already-crowded field of
Democrats candidates hoping to replace state Senator-elect Barbara Favola to six.
In her announcement, Klingler said she’s running because she wants to “serve and represent our community.”
“I want to continue to work on putting people first,” she wrote. “I want to do this in a fiscally responsible way, promoting efficiency, transparency, and our values.”
Klingler also posted a YouTube video to accompany the campaign announcement.
The field of announced County Board candidates now includes Klingler, nonprofit project manager Melissa Bondi, Arlington County Planning Commission member Peter Fallon, Iraq war vet Terron Sims II, Arlington NAACP president Elmer Lowe, and — as of last night — school board member Libby Garvey.
The candidates will face off in a special election next year. The exact timing of the special election depends on when Favola formally resigns her County Board seat.
Arlington Republicans are calling on state Senator-elect Barbara Favola to resign her County Board seat by Nov. 26, so that the seat can be filled in a special election in January.
From an Arlington County Republican Committee press release:
Ms. Favola was elected to the State Senate on Tuesday, and will take her Senate seat in Richmond on Jan. 11, 2012 . Under Virginia election law, if Senator-elect Favola does not resign from the County Board by Nov. 26, 2011, then the special election to fill her seat cannot take place until April 17, 2012.
“Leaving this County Board seat vacant for 100 days is simply not in the best interest of Arlingtonians,” said Mark Kelly, Chairman of the Arlington GOP. “We congratulate Barbara on her election to the State Senate and wish her well down in Richmond. Senator-elect Favola can demonstrate her commitment to the best interests of her constituents by ensuring that the people of Arlington will have a full complement of County Board Members during the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 budget season.”
Aringtonians are encouraged to contact Senator-elect Favola and ask her to resign immediately in order to facilitate a County Board Special Election in January.
Now that we know Barbara Favola is moving on to the Virginia Senate, the question becomes what happens to her soon-to-be vacated position on the Arlington County Board?
Even though her Senate victory last night is public knowledge, a special election process cannot move forward until Favola formally resigns from the County Board. She can do that any time between now and her January swearing-in. After that, the courts will issue an order for a special election.
But timing really is everything, considering next year’s already bustling election schedule. A special election cannot be held within 55 days of a primary or general election, making it a challenge to fit it in between the presidential primary on March 6 and the U.S. Senate primary on June 12. Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg said if Favola resigns immediately, voters would likely head to the polls in early January. If she waits until the end of this year, the special election would be closer to mid-April.
“It looks like it’s going to be a busy election year for us next year,” Lindberg said.
The candidates’ filing deadline is typically 40 to 45 days before the special election. Lindberg said so far only two people have started the ball rolling for a potential 2012 County Board run: Terron Sims and Melissa Bondi. That number is expected to grow now that Favola’s future is known. Potential candidates legally cannot file until a special election is announced. They can, however, still file for campaign accounts for the November 2012 election, and amend the request when a special election is called.
The Sun Gazette also lists
Alan Howze, Peter Owen, Libby Garvey, Peter Fallon, Stacey Whyte and Kim Klingler as possible Democratic contenders. Klingler, who spent last night getting in a final push for votes for Favola, told us she wanted to wait until after last night’s election to make her final decision.
“I am highly considering running for County Board,” Klingler said. “It’s going to be a very crowded field. I’m highly aware of that.”
She said there are some final logistics to work out and a formal announcement is coming soon.
Green Party County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who lost to Democrats Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada last night, said she’s also considering running. However, Clement said her candidacy hinges on whether she receives the endorsement of her local party. If she doesn’t receive the endorsement, she’ll be reluctant to run.
Republicans may also be interested in nominating a contender. While no Republicans challenged incumbents Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada this year, history suggests that a special election may be the party’s best chance of gaining a toe-hold on the Board. The last Republican to serve as an Arlington County Board member was Mike Lane, who won a special election in 1999 (but then promptly lost in the general election several months later).
Once voters choose the new board member in a special election, things move pretty quickly. The winner has to submit a final financial report, and the election must be certified. Lindberg said that usually happens within 24 to 48 hours.
“We really want to get them sworn in and seated right away,” Lindberg said. “The process is pretty straightforward like every other other election, it’s just more condensed as far as the timing.”
(Updated at 2:05 a.m.) It was a joyous election night for local Democrats, who are claiming victory in all 14 races run in Arlington.
Democrat Barbara Favola has won a decisive victory over Republican businesswoman Caren Merrick in the race for state Senate in the 31st District — one of the most closely-watched races in Northern Virginia. With all precincts reporting, Favola had 58 percent of the vote to Merrick’s 42 percent. Favola, who has spent 14 years on the Arlington County Board, was ebullient over the hard-fought win.
“It’s exhilarating, it’s humbling, it’s exciting,” she said of having the race called in her favor. Favola credited her campaign staff and volunteers — who knocked on 51,000 doors and made 125,000 phone calls — for bringing home the win.
“We have the best field team in the state,” Favola declared.
Favola said her first action in Richmond will be securing funds for Northern Virginia Community College. Arlington political watchers can now look forward to a special election process in 2012 to fill her soon-to-be-vacant County Board seat.
Incumbent Democratic State Senator Janet Howell has emerged victorious over Republican challenger Patrick Forrest. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Howell has 60 percent of the vote to Forrest’s 40 percent of the vote. Howell serves the 32nd state Senate District, which now includes part of Arlington as a result of redistricting this year.
Democratic Del. Adam Ebbin will be moving to the state Senate. Ebbin has easily defeated Republican Tim McGhee in the race for the state Senate’s 30th District. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ebbin has 66 percent of the vote to McGhee’s 34 percent. Ebbin, the first openly gay member of the House of Delegates, will now become the first openly gay member of the Virginia Senate.
Democrats Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada will be back on the Arlington County Board for another four years. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Hynes and Tejada have 42 percent and 40 percent of the vote, respectively, to Green Party candidate Audrey Clement’s 17 percent.
“It is a pleasure to serve you, and it will be a pleasure to serve you for the next four years,” Tejada told an assembled crowd of 100+ supporters at a joint Democratic victory party at Bailey’s in Ballston.
Del. Bob Brink, meanwhile, has won handily against his two challengers and will serve another two years in the Virginia House of Delegates. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Brink has 69 percent of the vote to 24 percent for independent candidate Kathy Gillette-Mallard and 7 percent for Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy. Brink represents Virginia’s 48th District, which includes parts of north Arlington and McLean.
Elsewhere around Arlington, unopposed Democratic candidates cruised to victory.
Incumbent Del. David Englin will return to his 45th District seat, which includes parts of south Arlington. Del. Patrick Hope will also return to his 47th District seat.
Alfonso Lopez will become one of the first Latinos elected to the Virginia General Assembly, after running unopposed for the House of Delegates in the 49th District. Lopez pledged that Arlington Democrats will “wear our progressive values on our sleeves in Richmond.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos now has the shorter title of Commonwealth’s Attorney. Stamos is replacing the long-serving Dick Trodden as Arlington’s top prosecutor.
Other winners include Sheriff Beth Arthur, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, Treasurer Frank O’Leary and Arlington School Board Member Abby Raphael, all of whom were re-elected.
Rep. Jim Moran (D) said Democrats won for three reasons.
“It’s good organization, very good candidates and the right politics,” Moran told ARLnow.com. “Northern Virginia and Arlington want to move forward, not backward. They don’t want to fight the old cultural wars of the last century.”
Moran said that Favola also prevailed due to her experience on the County Board.
“Barbara has devoted her whole life to the community,” Moran said. “People like Barbara Favola are going to be working for everyone, whether they’re rich or poor or whatever demographic.”
“I’m delighted,” Moran said of the Democratic sweep in Arlington. “These are the people I’m looking forward to working with.”
The Arlington County Democratic Committee, with its well-honed precinct and get-out-the-vote operations, was another factor that helped propel Democrats to victory in Arlington.
ACDC Chair Mike Lieberman said party activists made a total of 40,000 phone calls and knocked on 12,000 doors in Arlington during the general election cycle.
Update at 6:30 p.m. — Merrick’s survey has been released.
A group of gun control advocates is calling on Republican state Senate candidate Caren Merrick to make good on her pledge to release the survey that earned her an ‘A-’ rating from the National Rifle Association.
Merrick made the pledge at a candidates forum in Cherrydale last month, after being pressed on gun control issues by two residents. One of the residents was Omar Samaha, whose sister was killed in the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. Samaha is part of a group called Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws, which seeks to further restrict gun sales and ownership in Virginia.
“These candidates are all interviewing for a job to represent us,” Samaha said in a statement today. “We believe the candidates owe it to their future constituents to make a full and complete disclosure of where they stand on these issues that will affect our safety.”
Merrick promised on Oct. 19 to release the survey before voters head to the polls on Election Day. Her campaign said this afternoon that copies of the survey will be made available for pickup from the campaign office at 5:00 tonight.
Merrick’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Favola, earned an ‘F’ rating from the NRA because, she said, she declined to fill out the survey the group mails to candidates.
Favola has made gun control a key campaign issue, while Merrick has shrugged off the significance of her NRA rating, noting that Democratic U.S. senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb both have received ‘A’ ratings.