The three state senators and four delegates that represent Arlington in the Virginia General Assembly have sent a letter to state Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne in support of the Columbia Pike streetcar project.
The letter calls out County Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt for their continued opposition to the project. On Friday, Garvey laid out alternative uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local transportation funding that are being directed toward the streetcar.
“We strongly disagree with the efforts of Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt to deprive Arlington of those state funds dedicated to the streetcar project,” the letter states.
The letter also cites the return on investment study the county funded that predicted more than $3 billion in economic impact in the first 30 years of the streetcar system. It refers to the support the streetcar has already received from state officials, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The letter was signed by state Sens. Janet Howell, Adam Ebbin and Barbara Favola and Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Rob Krupicka and Rip Sullivan.
The full letter is posted, after the jump. (more…)
Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
On key issues like school desegregation, rights of Virginians with disabilities, providing workplace benefits and protections for LGBT Virginians, mental health treatment, women’s equality, protecting reproductive rights, and advocating for environmental protections, Arlington’s General Assembly members have fought tirelessly and effectively to overcome conservative forces that have held Virginia back from achieving its potential.
Outstanding elected officials like Mary Marshall, Mary Margaret Whipple, Ed Holland, Judy Connally, and Bob Brink are among those who have achieved progressive victories in Richmond. They have also fought harmful legislation that conservative legislators — most recently in the Republican caucus — pushed forward in response to calls for party loyalty regardless of the interests of constituents at home.
As we approach the House of Delegates 48th District Special Election on Aug. 19, I hope we will follow the example set by legislators like Bob Brink and ensure that Arlington’s interests are not sacrificed to partisan conservative interests in Richmond.
We have two candidates for the 48th District who have been longtime residents of Northern Virginia and are known as being personable, professional, civically engaged, and respectful of others.
However, I hope voters recognize that these candidates have some major policy differences on issues that will come up on a regular basis in the General Assembly.
Given that the candidates will have only weeks to communicate their legislative platforms, ideas, and perspectives with voters in the 48th District, I thought it important to highlight a few of their policy differences.
Rip Sullivan believes we can and must fix the gun show loophole, which allows certain sellers to avoid running background checks on buyers. This is how some people who shouldn’t own guns acquire them. He will fight to close the gun show loophole. His opponent, Dave Foster, said in his 2009 attorney general’s race for the Republican nomination that the gun show loophole is not a loophole.
Rip believes our national parks, like Great Falls, are sacred grounds where we should be able to run, hike, swim, and picnic without the fear of a gun discharging. Dave has said he wants to eliminate the ban on carrying firearms in national parks.
Women’s Reproductive Rights
Rip believes that reproductive health decisions should be left to a woman and her doctor, and that the government has no business interfering. Dave has said he opposes abortion and that Roe v. Wade was a case of “judges imposing their will.”
Defending the Status Quo on Testing Requirements
While serving on the Virginia State Board of Education, Dave Foster resisted SOL reform that would have made common sense adjustments to state testing requirements. Rip Sullivan supported the 2014 law reducing the number of standardized tests and providing more flexibility to localities and teachers to determine how best to ensure that students are learning the necessary curriculum.
Supporting Conservative Politicians
Dave has called Ken Cuccinelli a “great legislator,” and supported Cuccinelli for attorney general in 2009 and governor in 2013. He has endorsed and financially supported Virginia Tea Party leaders and is former chair of GOPAC-Virginia, a fundraising arm of the Republican National Committee. (more…)
The bill, SB 260, establishes a psychiatric bed registry, extends the maximum duration of temporary custody from four to 24 hours and establishes and “clarifies procedures for placement of those subject to an involuntary temporary detention order,” according to a Senate Democrats press release.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County), who police say was stabbed by his son, Austin, in the face and chest before Austin Deeds shot himself in November. Austin Deeds had undergone a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital because no bed was available.
Sen. Barbara Favola (D) was a co-patron of the bill, and announced its 38-0 passage Monday with a press release, below:
Senate Bill 260, of which Senator Favola is a co-patron, has passed the Senate today, providing a safety net for individuals suffering from mental illnesses. When an individual is evaluated under an emergency protection order and a determination is made that a temporary detention order (TDO) is needed, the bill ensures that a psychiatric bed will be available.
The bill will protect Virginia residents from the potential threats associated with mental health patients by providing sufficient time to determine the degree to which they are a threat to themselves and to others. The psychiatric bed registry will benefit these patients by guaranteeing them secure facilities in which they can be detained and will facilitate efficiency in law enforcement and crisis response services.
Furthermore, the liberty given to local community services boards to determine alternative facilities for such patients will also ensure their personalized, and therefore improved, treatment. This is filling an important hole in the mental health safety net.
Senator Favola said “Ensuring the availability of a psychiatric bed is crucial to providing much needed care.”
Under the current system, if a bed is not available a judge will not issue a TDO even if the individual needs a more comprehensive evaluation and a treatment plan.
Favola: Streamline Development Approval — State Senator and former County Board member Barbara Favola (D) is urging Arlington County to streamline its development approval process in order to make it easier for affordable housing projects to be built. At a fundraiser for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing this week, Favola and others said red tape and community resistance is making it more expensive to build affordable housing in Arlington. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington E-CARE Event This Weekend — Arlington will hold is biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event allows Arlington residents to safely dispose of household hazardous materials and to recycle items like bikes, small metal items, shoes, clothing, bed frames, etc. [Arlington County]
NSF Buyers Remorse in Alexandria? — Alexandria officials are thrilled to be taking the National Science Foundation and its more than 4,000 associated jobs from Arlington. But some are now voicing displeasure with a part of the incentive package for NSF that relieved the developer of the agency’s new headquarters from paying what would have been more than $1 million to the city’s affordable housing fund. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
West Nile Detected at Fort McNair — West Nile Virus have been detected in mosquitoes across the river from Arlington at Fort McNair. Fort McNair is part of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall; West Nile was not found in the Fort Myer portion of the base. [U.S. Army]
Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven — Today, 7/11/13, customers can get a free small Slurpee from 7-Eleven stores from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. This year, instead of 7.11 ounces, the free Slurpees have increased in size to 12 ounces. [USA Today]
ART Now on Google Maps – Google Maps now allows you to plan trips and get additional information on Arlington Transit (ART) bus routes. [Arlington Transit]
Favola Calls on McDonnell to Resign — Arlington state Senator Barbara Favola (D) is calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to resign in the wake of accusations that he and his family received a series on undisclosed gifts while in the governor’s mansion. [WAMU]
Median Sale Prices Dropping in Arlington — According to numbers from Rockville-based data firm RealEstate Business Intelligence, the median home sales price in Arlington was $535,000 in June, down 2.7 percent from one year prior. The drop comes while prices in Fairfax and Alexandria were up significantly. Meanwhile, Arlington’s median sales price is also down 0.1 percent year-to-date. Possible explanations for the drop, other than potential weakness in the real estate market, include a preponderance of condo sales this year or a raft of high-end sales last year. [Washington Post, RBI]
Flickr pool photo by Eschweik
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.