Arlington County has hired a lobbying firm to help facilitate a planned land swap between the county, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Defense.
As outlined in a memorandum of understanding last year, the county is planning to hand over the right-of-way for Southgate Road, near the Air Force Memorial, to the DoD, which plans to use the land — along with the former Navy Annex grounds and part of the state’s current Columbia Pike right-of-way — for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery’s burial grounds.
As revealed in a recent public disclosure, the county has hired Alexandria-based lobbying firm Congressional Strategies LLC to help move the transaction along. The land swap has already passed the House of Representatives and is now included in the under-consideration U.S. Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Brian Stout, the county’s federal liaison.
The county’s contract with Congressional Strategies calls for a $5,000 monthly retainer for all services and runs through October, with an option to be extended through June 2015, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius.
“The purpose of the lobbying contract is to facilitate and bring to closure the Navy Annex Land Exchange project,” Curtius said. “This involves advocacy in both the legislative and executive branches to supplement the efforts of County staff.”
The land swap will benefit the county in several ways.
Arlington will receive a sizable parcel of land south of Columbia Pike, on which the county hopes to build an Arlington County and Freedman’s Village history museum, additional parking and facilities for the Air Force Memorial, and other amenities that do not detract from “the dignity, honor, and solemnity of Arlington National Cemetery.”
Also, the exchange will facilitate a realignment of Columbia Pike and its intersection with S. Joyce Street. The realigned Pike will take a more direct path to S. Joyce Street, through the former Navy Annex parking lot, and will provide a better alignment for the future Columbia Pike streetcar.
In addition to an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery, the DoD plans to use some of the land in the swap, near the Pike/Joyce intersection for a future visitor center for the Pentagon Memorial. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA later this year.
(Updated at 10:00 p.m.) By a wide margin, former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer has captured the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress.
With all precincts reporting in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Beyer had 46 percent of the vote, compared to 18 and 14 percent respectively for runners up Del. Patrick Hope and state Sen. Adam Ebbin.
Rounding out the seven active candidates in the race, Alexandria mayor Bill Euille had 8 percent of the vote, lawyer and pundit Mark Levine had 7 percent, former Northern Virginia Urban League president Lavern Chatman had 5 percent, and Virginia Tech professor Derek Hyra had 1 percent.
“Tonight is the culmination of the hard work, the heartfelt values, and the shared ideas of many, many, many good people,” Beyer, 63, said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled to be your standard bearer.. Now we turn our attention to November… We must carry the Virginia ideals of integrity, community, progress, and compassion forward to all voters.”
Just past 7:40 p.m., via Twitter, Hope conceded the race.
“I just called @DonBeyerVA to congratulate him on his victory tonight,” Hope said. “Congratulations and I look forward to voting for him in November.”
Other candidates, including Ebbin and Levine, soon followed suit. Moran, who’s retiring after 12 terms, released a statement congratulating Beyer on his victory.
“Don ran a tremendous campaign,” Moran said. “He distinguished himself with a deep knowledge of foreign policy, a steadfast commitment to addressing global climate change, support for common sense gun laws, and consistently strong progressive values. He’s the leader Northern Virginia needs in Congress. I’ll be proud to be his constituent.”
Moran and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe were among the Democratic officials to attend Beyer’s victory party at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation on the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. Also spotted at the party was former candidate Bruce Shuttleworth and his family, Arlington County Board candidate Alan Howze and Del. Alfonso Lopez.
Hope, the only Arlington-based candidate in the race, performed best in his home county. Hope had 33 percent of the vote in Arlington compared to Beyer’s 39 percent.
Hope, at his election party at the Greene Turtle in Ballston, told dozens of his yellow-shirt-clad supporters that he was proud of the campaign he ran.
“None of us could keep up with Don Beyer,” he said. “A lot of Virginia Democrats see Don Beyer the way national Democrats see Al Gore. They wonder what would have been if the voters had been smart enough to vote for him for governor.”
Turnout was relatively light in Arlington. Just after polls closed, Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg said her earlier estimate of 10-12 percent voter turnout would likely prove “pretty close.” With 14,411 votes cast in Arlington, turnout was just above 10 percent.
While some north Arlington precincts reported double-digit turnout, Lindberg suggested that south Arlington turnout was comparatively lower. One Crystal City precinct reported 2-3 percent turnout, she said.
Beyer, who owns an eponymous chain of car dealerships, has long been considered a favorite in the race. He held an advantage in name recognition and led the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls in fundraising. This morning, he was featured in a New York Times article that focused on his allegiance to President Obama.
After serving as a regional finance chairman for Obama’s 2008 campaign, Beyer was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He served from 2009-2013.
In his victory declaration, Beyer channeled the president’s 2008-era slogans of hope and change, saying: ”The last few weeks, I have taken to quoting St. Augustine of Hippo, who said, ‘Hope has two beautiful daughters, Anger and Courage. Anger about the way things are. And Courage to change them.’”
Polling places around Arlington are reporting relatively light turnout so far this morning for the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.
“It’s probably a little slower at this point then we had anticipated,” Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. “Some precincts haven’t even had 50 voters yet.”
Lindberg said Arlington is on pace for 10-12 percent voter turnout, barring a late surge in voters. Two years ago, when heavily-favored incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) faced off against Bruce Shuttleworth in the Democratic primary, overall turnout was 7 percent.
Election officials at Arlington Central Library were surprised at the low turnout considering the impact of the primary. Chief Election Officer Stephanie Sanders said that at 9:05 a.m., 45 voters had come through the door, and while there is usually a rush when polls open at 6:00 a.m., she said no voters came in until 10 or 15 minutes after the doors opened.
“People just voted in April for the [Arlington County Board] special election, so there might be voting fatigue,” Sanders said. “It’s almost always busiest here in the morning, so we’ve already missed our busy period.”
Another theory: the gloomy morning may have dissuaded some voters from making the trek to their local voting stations. So far, however, there have been no reported problems at the polls, according to Lindberg.
While many elections see multiple campaign volunteers at polling places passing out flyers and sample ballots, Central Library had just one, a volunteer for Del. Patrick Hope, the only candidate based in Arlington.
“I’ve never seen nobody campaigning,” Sanders said. “We’ve had no authorized representatives come in. We thought we’d have at least a couple.”
Chester Chandler, a 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran, voted this morning, and he said he was “going to miss [Rep.] Jim Moran.”
“He was really concerned with veterans’ affairs,” he said. “I went to his office and he made sure I got my benefits.”
Chester said he noticed that he had seen former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s name more than the other candidates over the course of the campaign, adding: “you can tell who’s got the most cheese.”
“Hopefully we get some young people with some different ideas in Congress to make Arlington and this country what it should be,” he said. “I’m 60 years old and even I know something different needs to happen.”
The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination today are Don Beyer, Bill Euille, Lavern Chatman, Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Derek Hyra and Mark Levine. Three candidates withdrew from contention but are still on the ballot: Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe.
The winner will face Republican Micah Edmond in the fall. The 8th District encompasses Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County.
Ethan Rothstein and Morgan Fecto contributed to this report
Last week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.
Here is Mark Levine’s unedited response:
There is a battle going on in the Democratic Party between its establishment and progressive wings. Conventional Democrats believe the best way to “get things done” is to appease the right wing, give them half of what they want, and declare victory.
I reject this strategy as counter-productive. When Don Beyer caved in to Republicans Jim Gilmore and George Allen, he didn’t win the debate: he lost his gubernatorial election by a landslide and ended up regretfully (and unintentionally) abandoning Virginia’s poor. When President Obama caved in to the tea party in 2010, it did not moderate his right-wing opponents. It increased their obstruction.
In contrast, in 2013, when President Obama stood firm and refused to surrender, the tea party blinked. When my hero Elizabeth Warren refused to back down on consumer protection, she won both the rhetorical battle and the legislation. My former boss Barney Frank insisted on regulating Wall Street firms that were too big to fail. And although he did not get everything he wanted, Paul Volcker’s rule (requiring banks not to gamble with their clients’ money) became law.
I was a good trial lawyer and never lost a case in my home court. Because opposing counsel knew I did not fear going to trial, I settled more than 90% of my cases. My willingness to go to trial increased my chances of a good settlement.
I saw Barney do the same thing on Capitol Hill. Time and time again, Republicans gave us what we wanted because they did not want Barney calling them out in public.
I’ve been The Aggressive Progressive on radio and television for more than ten years. I enjoy facing down right-wing pundits like Bill O’Reilly, promoting liberal values with my Constitution in hand. I’m confident I can pass bipartisan legislation behind the scenes if unreasonable Republicans know that I, like Barney, am unafraid to call them out in public.
We will always have moderate Democrats. The Party is full of them. We have a big tent. But if we in the Eighth Congressional District do not elect an aggressive progressive to make our case, who will? Who will be the Elizabeth Warren counterpart in the House? Barney Frank and so many strong liberals have already left Government. Jim Moran is retiring too, and he was no shrinking violet.
To fill Jim Moran’s seat, we need someone who can work effectively both behind the scenes and in front of a TV camera. We need someone who can reach out to voters nationally so they put pressure on their local representatives to do the right thing. That way, we in the Eighth effectively get more than one vote on Capitol Hill.
I’m Mark Levine. On Tuesday June 10th, I respectfully ask for your vote. I want to be a representative who stands out in a sea of politicians, makes a real difference, and fights the big-business interests who use big money and lobbyists to buy so many of our representatives in Congress. I can’t be bought, because I’ll only be working for you.
Last week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.
Here is Del. Patrick Hope’s unedited response:
Arlington is my home. When my wife, Kristen, and I were looking for a place to raise a family, we sought out an area with strong schools, a vibrant community, and diverse neighborhoods. That’s what first drew us to Arlington County and Northern Virginia, and why we have chosen to raise our three daughters here, who attend Arlington’s public schools. I believe passionately in public service, which is why I’ve served on numerous boards and commissions trying to make our community an even better place to live. I was a Special Olympics coach for eight years, and chaired the Arlington Community Services Board for five, which dealt with mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Outside of my public service, I am a healthcare attorney, and have worked in healthcare policy for 20 years, first working on Capitol Hill and now with nonprofit doctors organizations’ to expand the access, coverage, and quality of healthcare. The Tea Party may see healthcare as a privilege, but I see it as a fundamental human right.
Since you elected me to the General Assembly in 2009, I have worked tirelessly to promote our progressive values. However, when I first arrived in Richmond, I was shocked to see even some Democrats voting for budgets that defunded our public schools and for redistricting plans that put Democrats in a permanent state of minority. That’s why I founded the Virginia Progressive Caucus — to hold Democrats voting like Republicans accountable. I have championed legislation focusing on issues ranging from disability rights to prison reform, and am now leading the fight to expand Medicaid in Virginia.
One thing I admire about Congressman Jim Moran is that we always know where he stands — I would be no different. I have outlined some of my top policy priorities below, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me personally at Patrick@HopeforCongress.com.
I pledge to:
- Support our federal workers by restoring the federal transit subsidy, advocating for a 3.3% pay increase, and never voting for a government shutdown.
- Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act by using my vast experience in healthcare policy. Even with full implementation, we will still have 20 million uninsured Americans. My first bill will be to bring those people into the healthcare system.
- Protect our environment by fighting for a progressive carbon tax and investing in renewable energy technologies to spur innovation and reverse the effects of climate change. I will also oppose the Keystone Pipeline and end big subsidies to fossil fuel producers.
- Protect our social safety net by opposing any efforts to harm our beneficiaries. This is perhaps the greatest difference between Don Beyer and myself — while then-Lieutenant Governor Beyer worked to “reform” welfare in the ’90s, I have a record of defending and protecting our most vulnerable populations, and will continue to do so in Congress.
- Partner with Senator Elizabeth Warren to allow students to refinance their student loan debt and lower student loan interest rates. I will also work with her to put predatory payday lenders out of business.
- Strengthen gun control laws by passing universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- Champion marriage equality nationwide and end workplace discrimination.
- Support people with disabilities and their families through increased funding for job placement programs, research, and human services.
- Protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions without government interference.
- Stand up for our progressive values like I have in Richmond as the founder of the Virginia Progressive Caucus. (more…)
Last week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.
Here is Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille’s unedited response:
Since I announced I was entering the race for Congress in January, I have received support and well wishes from voters in the 8th Congressional District.
In Fairfax County (Lee District, Dranesville, Mt. Vernon, and Mason) and in Falls Church City, I hear: “We’re pulling for you! You have our vote!”
In Arlington and Alexandria, it’s been: “RUN BILL, RUN !”
As we’ve campaigned across the 8th district, voters have not just cheered us on, but have asked questions about where I stand on issues of vital importance to them. I answer just like I’ve governed as mayor of Alexandria since 2003. I have the integrity, skills, honesty and humbleness to be the Congressman.
I believe that EVERYONE should have the opportunity to succeed in our society. For more than 40 years, I have served my community — working as an elected official, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. I grew up in public housing in Alexandria, then became the first in my family to attend college. I want more of our children to have the same educational opportunities I had. In Congress, I plan to continue the fight to educate our youth, pushing to make student loans more affordable and addressing the income disparities. Today, women make less than 77 cent for each dollar a man earns. I’ll also take on Tea Party Republicans who want to cut education funding.
I believe in a living wage for Northern Virginians. I passed Virginia’s first living wage law. In Congress, I will support raising the federal minimum wage above $10 per hour.
I believe in our small businesses. I’ve led efforts in Alexandria to help small businesses secure the capital they need to thrive. In Congress, I will work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help more entrepreneurs launch businesses in Virginia. I personally know the struggles of what a small business goes through. As Founder, President and CEO of William D. Euille and Associations — a contracting firm — not only did I employ people but I provided job readiness training and well as employ veterans.
I believe in and will continue to defend a woman’s right to determine her own medical care. As a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I will also work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care. I will not allow the Tea Party to undermine a woman’s right to determine what happens with her own body. She must have full control over her own reproductive rights.
I believe that everyone in our country is equal under the law. In Congress, I will push for legislation to ensure marriage equality and equal treatment for same-sex couples.
I am running for Congress to continue the great work of my life, serving my community. For more than 40 years, I have worked as a public servant, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. As mayor of Alexandria since 2003, I am the only candidate who has continuously worked to serve the entire region of Northern Virginia on issues important to all of us.
I am the candidate who is ready to represent the 8th Congressional District on Day One.
I ask for your vote on June 10th. Together, let’s work to make sure everyone is part of our success in Northern Virginia. Send me because I care. Send me to Capitol Hill because I know how to get bills passed and finally send me because we are a great diverse district whose voices will be heard in Congress by electing me.
Here is state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s unedited response:
“How do I choose between so many candidates? What makes you different from the rest of the candidates?” These are the most common questions I hear on the campaign trail. Frankly, they are the right questions to ask. In a race where our platforms are similar, how can you differentiate?
I am proud to have devoted the last 10+ years passing progressive legislation in Richmond and serving my constituents right here in Arlington as well as neighboring communities.
There are many things that set me apart from the field.
- the only candidate to have represented Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax for more than 10 years,
- the only candidate in this race to have expanded Medicaid to cover prenatal care for immigrant mothers,
- the only candidate to have increased insurance access for LGBT Virginians,
- the only candidate to expand access to solar energy, and
- the only candidate who wrote a bill to combat Ken Cuccinelli and his radical agenda,
- the only candidate to establish an Arlington/Falls Church Public Defender Office,
- the only candidate to secure major funding for the Doorways Shelter for women and children.
I am also the only candidate in this race who calls himself a LIBERAL without apology.
I am not the flashiest candidate in this race, nor am I the loudest. And throughout this campaign, I am certainly not the candidate that has made the loftiest promises. But my record speaks for itself — I know how to get things done. That is why I have been endorsed by more elected officials than any other candidate, by two major unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), by the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund and Congressman Keith Ellison, the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
I have always stood up for Arlington’s needs and values in the General Assembly and will do so in the U.S. Congress. If you support me on June 10th, I will work for you in Congress and there is no telling what we can accomplish together.
Please visit www.AdamEbbin.com for more information, or email me at Adam@adamebbin.com.
Here is Lavern Chatman’s unedited response:
I’m running for Congress to get things done for all families in the 8th District. The challenges we face demand a new type of leadership and a fresh perspective in Washington. I was born and raised in a working class family in Northern Virginia — my mom was a 30-year postal employee and my dad an automobile mechanic — where my four siblings and I learned the importance of hard work and education.
As President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, my work focused on social justice, affordable housing, youth empowerment, financial literacy, and eliminating the education achievement gap. I built collations — collaborated with businesses, churches, community leaders, and elected officials — to positively impact underserved families throughout Northern Virginia. We provided scholarships and mentoring programs to youth, retrained seniors to re-enter the workforce, and reduced the infant mortality rate among teen mothers.
I co-founded the NOVA Coalition, a group of more than 30 churches, non-profits, fraternities and sororities, focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. During the 2010 Census, we traveled to hard-to-count communities in Northern Virginia to enable all communities to increase their rightful share of federal and state funding.
My experience working in the trenches with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to find real solutions to real problems affecting our community is what I would take to Congress.
I will work to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work because closing the wage gap benefits women and working families, in addition to our economy. Women are earning 77 cents to the dollar compared to men. Minority women are earning less than that at 59 to 56 cents. In a dual-income household, if one spouse is getting paid less, that means fewer resources for the entire family.
I will support legislation to end discrimination, protect voting rights, increase access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses, and pass comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of New Americans.
I understand the challenges small businesses in the 8th District face to stay economically viable. My late husband built a company to 400 employees, incubating other companies to help them grow. In 1993, we sold the company and started the Chatman Fund at the Northern Virginia Community Foundation to support development programs for underserved children in the region.
When the government shutdown happened last year, Congressman Jim Moran called on me to bring together local businesses to identify solutions to maintain economic stability. Our group is working to strengthen federal legislation to ensure small businesses are not left out of the federal contracting process.
As your next U.S. Congresswoman, I will continue working to increase economic and educational opportunities for all. I have a proven track record of putting our progressive values into action and I ask for your vote in the Democratic primary on June 10th!
Here is former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s unedited response:
I was taught growing up that we are each put on this earth to build something larger than ourselves and to serve others. It is with this in mind that I am a candidate for Congress.
I have a proven record on many issues and across many interest groups. And if elected, I will work diligently with constituents and fellow members of Congress to make principled, constructive progress locally, nationally and internationally.
I have been a businessman in Northern Virginia for 40 years, and led the transition team for President Obama at the Department of Commerce. I was Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor for two terms and President Obama’s ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein for four years. I have a long record as a leader in many community nonprofit organizations as well. And I am also the father of four and a grandfather of two.
I want to take all of these experiences to the House of Representatives and, with your help, be an agent for change on the issues that matter most.
I will push for a progressive carbon tax, because I believe climate change is the most pressing crisis of our time. When I was ambassador, I authorized a carbon footprint assessment of the U.S. embassy, which was a first for a U.S. embassy. Then we reduced it by 40 percent. As a lifelong hiker who has hiked half of the Appalachian Trail and aspires to complete it, I will do all I can to enhance and protect our green spaces in this urban and suburban congressional district.
I will work for gun safety and stand up to the NRA, so that we can put an end to the plague of gun violence. I want to enact reasonable legislation like enhanced background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and banning high capacity magazines. I am stunned that, in the wake of so many gun deaths and tragedies, our country still has not passed such basic measures.
I will always fight for reproductive rights and to keep the government out of personal decisions. As Lieutenant Governor, I blocked parental consent bills dozens of times and I will continue that record in Congress.
I will be an advocate for federal employees, who have borne too much of the country’s budget struggles. We need to make sure they receive the pay increases they are due and get respect, rather than disdain, for their service to the public.
I will apply my business acumen and credentials toward raising the minimum wage and helping the local, as well as the broader Virginia and U.S. economies. Too many working families are falling behind. The middle class is shrinking as the gap between the wealthiest and the poor is growing. I want to do all I can to help these families.
I have spent countless hours volunteering for local and state nonprofits, and the experience informs my understanding of the needs of the most vulnerable in our region. For fourteen years, I chaired Jobs for Virginia Graduates, the state’s most successful high school dropout prevention program. I also spent nearly a decade on the board of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. And I was president for three years of Youth for Tomorrow, Joe Gibbs’ home for troubled adolescents.
Our nation was founded with the ideal that everyone deserves a fair chance. This means equal pay for equal work, the right to love whom you choose to love without discrimination, and immigration laws that keep alive the American dream. My years of service abroad representing our country inspire me to fight for the freedoms and rights that make our diverse country great.
If you elect me your next member of Congress, I will have an open door and will listen to your concerns. I ask for your vote in the June 10 primary.
Two Drop Out of Congressional Race — Del. Charniele Herring and entrepreneur Satish Korpe have dropped out of the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress. There are now eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the June 10 primary. [Washington Post]
Bike ‘Fix-It’ Stands Being Installed in Arlington — Arlington County has been installing stations where bicyclists can change a flat tire, add air, or adjust brakes and derailleurs free of charge. The stands have been installed in Clarendon and Ballston and one is coming soon to Pentagon City. [Greater Greater Washington]
School Officials Worry About Debt Ceiling — Arlington’s student body is growing by 700 students per year, but Arlington Public Schools is in danger of hitting its legal debt ceiling as it continues to build more schools and school additions to keep up with rising enrollment. Going forward, at least one School Board member is publicly hoping for more money from the county government. [InsideNova]
GMU Students Make Transportation Recommendations – In an 80 page report, graduate students from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy say that Arlington County should continue investing in transportation in order to “stay ahead of the curve.” Arlington, the students say, should “follow more of the international urban-planning trends rather than just those that are happening in other U.S. cities.” [Mobility Lab]
Fourth Grader Makes Case for Libraries — In a hand-written letter to Arlington library staff, an Arlington Traditional School fourth grader by the name of Lillian said she loves books and libraries. Despite talk of younger generations only being interested in iPads, smartphones and other electronics — instead of old-fashioned print — Lillian says she “can’t even list” all the reasons why she likes Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a policy change that would lower the maximum allowable building heights near airports, a regulation that could severely hamper future development in Arlington’s urban centers of Rosslyn and Crystal City.
On April 28, the FAA formally announced it was considering changing the regulations regarding “One Engine Inoperative” safety procedures, the rules dictating precautions that should be taken in case one engine fails on a plane during takeoff.
This afternoon, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced a bill that would require the FAA to put the policy change through “standard rulemaking procedure,” including a cost-benefit analysis by the federal Office of Management and Budget and studies by other agencies before taking effect. The FAA advertised the new rule as a “proposed policy,” which would circumvent the rulemaking procedure, Moran told ARLnow.com.
“The airlines and the airports authority are acting out of greed,” Moran said. “It’s self-centered on their part. It’s disappointing and it should be stopped in my view. I’m just asking that they go through the normal, standard rule-making procedure where you look at the real-world impact, but they don’t want to consider what the economic impact would be in surrounding communities because their stovepipe attitude is they exist for the benefit of the airlines.”
Moran said the regulations are unnecessary as it stands because, unless commercial planes are overloaded, they can ascend well enough to clear the current maximum height restrictions.
“There are millions of flights that go in and out of our airports and it never happens,” Moran, referencing the threat of a One Engine Inoperative situation that leads to a crash into a building. “The reason for this rule change is that they want to make more money by overloading the planes with cargo, passengers and fuel… They need to exercise some restraint so that if one engine was to become inoperable they could continue climbing.”
According to Moran, almost 170 structures in Virginia, largely in Crystal City and Rosslyn, would be impacted by the regulation. While the buildings that are currently built would not be affected, any redevelopment would have to come in the form of shorter buildings, meaning the property values of current buildings could plummet.
It’s unclear at this point what the new maximum height for the buildings would be, according to Moran’s office, but it’s likely buildings like 1812 N. Moore Street and the under-construction Central Place would exceed it. Crystal City especially could be hurt, Moran said, because of the vacant buildings that are in line for redevelopment after the military’s Base Realignment and Closure Act rendered many of them vacant.
“[The policy] would stop any high-rise redevelopment,” Moran said. “If you’re going to make the public investment in Metro, you’ve got to have the high-rise, high-density development around it to pay for it. This would prohibit that.”
Moran’s co-sponsors on the bill are Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). The bipartisan-supported bill could slow the regulatory process significantly if it passes, Moran said. The FAA advertisement solicits public comment for 60 days, after which it could proceed to implement it. If the bill passes, the process would likely take more than a year.
“I think we’ve got a shot at it,” Moran said. “Frankly, I think the real impact of the bill is going to be to alert FAA that there is a lot of congressional resistance to what they want, and they’ll take it into their own hands and go through the normal procedure.”
The candidates — Del. Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Bruce Shuttleworth, Satish Korpe, Lavern Chatman, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, Del. Patrick Hope, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Derek Hyra — each only had time for an opening statement, answers to two questions and a one-minute closing statement. The debate lasted two hours.
The candidates are vying to fill the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s seat in Congress. Virginia’s Eighth District is considered a deeply blue, safe Democratic seat — thus its attractiveness to a field of candidates trying to pounce on the rare political opportunity.
Moran, who’s been the 8th District’s representative since 1991, started the night with 10 minutes of remarks, touching on his service and the benefits of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He said he won’t be endorsing any of the Democrats running in the June 10 primary.
“It’s a great district, and it’s kind of a microcosm of this country,” he said. “In this district, you have far more latitude than any other district in the country, as far as I’m aware of, because the constituency in this district is well-educated, wants to understand things, is extraordinarily open-minded if you want to make a case. I’ve found that I have far more latitude than many of my colleagues.”
The candidates were asked what their first priority would be in Congress, and what their top foreign policy concern is. Many candidates touched on consensus topics among Democrats — women’s reproductive rights, climate change and economic development — while they tried to distinguish themselves from the other candidates.
“We’re all Democrats here and I respect my colleagues greatly, but we all bring different things to this race,” Beyer, who is the frontrunner in polling and fundraising, said in his opening statement. “As a businessman, lieutenant governor and ambassador, I have a proven record, the ideas and the energy to hit the ground running.”
Sitting to Beyer’s left was Hope, the top polling Arlington-based candidate, who defended the Affordable Care Act’s rollout and said the law didn’t go far enough.
“There are some people on this dais who believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws,” Hope said. “I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws, except one: it did not expand coverage to every single American. Even if Virginia and other states expand Medicaid to the poorest people in their states, we will still have 20 million Americans who do not have health insurance.”
Euille, when discussing foreign policy, touched on his foreign travels and the visitors who have come to Alexandria to ask him about politics. He said his guiding principle in foreign policy is seeking world peace.
“I will never put out troops in combat,” he said. “I will never support a war, because I think it’s the wrong thing to be doing. We need to make certain that the only time we use our troops to fight would be in defense of our own borders.”
Levine, a liberal talk radio host who reminded the capacity crowd of his penchant for pulling out his pocket U.S. Constitution, distanced himself from Euille and some of the other candidates on stage by advocating for a more aggressive military stance.
“We are an ally of NATO and countries look to us for support,” Levine said. “And when Russia is busy invading Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland are nervous, and they look to us for support. A treaty obligation is vitally important, and we should go to war, if we have to, if a NATO country is attacked.”
Carson’s website says he is a former captain in the U.S. Army and used to work as a consultant for Google before moving to Arlington in 2012 and working as a product operations manager for Asurion. He said his desire for “freedom and peace” is what led him to leave his job and run for Congress.
“The principles of freedom and peace are under attack,” Carson said in the press release announcing his candidacy. “We know it in our hearts, in our heads, and in our guts, yet we allow ourselves to be misguided by those currently in charge.”
Carson, 31, has already received the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia’s endorsement and is in the process of collecting signatures to secure his place on the ballot, according to Evan Bernick, a libertarian who most recently ran for County Board before dropping out and supporting John Vihstadt in the race.
Carson lives in Ballston and said he doesn’t see himself as a third-party, “issues” candidate, but said he believes “we’ve got a shot. I believe we can win.”
Among the policy stances that Carson lists on his website: “balance the damn budget,” “end the unconstitutional War on Drugs” and “only put our service members’ lives at risk if we absolutely must.”
Carson is hosting a campaign kickoff event at 6:00 p.m. on May 13 at Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse. His full campaign announcement, after the jump.
Congressional Candidates Weigh in on Streetcar — Several Democratic candidates for Congress are weighing in with their thoughts on the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Among those weighing in, candidate Don Beyer supports the project while Bruce Shuttleworth supports it “with reservations” and Mark Levine supports a voter referendum on the issue. [Blue Virginia]
Pot Advocates Endorse Ebbin — NORML PAC, a political action committee that supports the legalization of marijuana, has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin in the race for Congress. “NORML PAC believes strongly that Senator Ebbin has the tenacity, coalition building skills, and political acumen required to help end our country’s destructive war on marijuana consumers,” the group said in a statement. [NORML]
Juicy Couture Closing in Pentagon City — The Juicy Couture store in Pentagon City mall is reportedly closing by late June as part of a larger corporate consolidation. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) One would expect that most demonstrations outside IRS headquarters in D.C. involve calls for lower taxes. This afternoon, however, congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope (D) held a press conference outside the IRS to call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Hope, who’s one of 10 Democratic candidates running for the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), said he supports the budget put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which raises taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year and creates a new, higher tax bracket for those making more than $1 million. It would also close corporate tax loopholes and tax individuals making more than $100 million annually at 48 percent.
The budget also would eliminate the tax difference between long-term capital gains income and regular income from salaries and wages. It also would reverse the effects of the sequester, which would mean more jobs for federal workers. Hope circulated a petition trying to draw support for what he calls the “Millionaire’s Tax,” and said he gathered 33,000 signatures.
A tax hike on the wealthy “solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue,” Hope said. “Our future is at stake in the upcoming Congress. Will we pass a grand bargain that cuts our social safety net? Or will we close the loopholes and demand the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay their fair share? That’s what the 2014 election will be about all over the United States — and that is where we have our biggest differences in our primary in the 8th District.”
The higher tax rate could hit residents of the district Hope seeks to represent particularly hard. Arlington has consistently ranked among the five richest counties in America in recent years, even landing at No. 1 by some metrics. Hope’s campaign, however, argues that a relatively small number of Arlington residents are in the very high income bracket that would be impacted by the Millionaire’s Tax.
Hope, a resident of Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood, also released his tax returns and called upon his opponents in the June 10 congressional primary to do the same. Hope, who works as a healthcare attorney in addition to his part-time duties as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, earned $231,197 last year — $197,621 from work as a lobbyist for a nonprofit healthcare association, $28,176 from the Commonwealth of Virginia and $5,400 from Johns Hopkins University. He paid $38,645 in federal taxes, or 16.7 percent.
“Transparency is something that is very important in politics,” Hope said. “The people we seek to represent deserve to know everything about us.”