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by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm 1,128 5 Comments

Last week we asked the three candidates for the 48th District Virginia House of Delegates seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Del. Bob Brink (D):

For the past 14 years it’s been my honor to represent the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I ask for your vote for my re-election on Tuesday, November 8.

I understand our priorities because I’ve been actively involved in our community for over three decades. Throughout that time, I’ve sought to provide thoughtful, effective leadership to see that these priorities are addressed. I know how much we value our public schools because my kids, now grown, attended Glebe, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. I know the importance of Virginia’s world-class higher education system because I’ve seen the contributions that Northern Virginia’s public and private higher education institutions make to our economy. With the 48th District running along the Potomac from Chain Bridge to National Airport, we’re reminded every day of our obligation to protect the environment.

In Richmond I’ve taken the lead on issues that are important to our region and the Commonwealth.

HEALTH CARE: I worked to expand the federal-state partnership that provides medical care to the children of the working poor — stepping up outreach, easing restrictive regulations, and getting more kids enrolled. And I teamed with community activists to advance programs to address the mental health needs of older Virginians.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: I know that we can maintain our region’s prosperity through uncertain economic times by building a 21st Century “Knowledge Economy” – one that’s based on research and development of intellectual capital. I led the effort to keep the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – a magnet for our region’s research community – headquartered in Arlington. I’m dedicated to helping George Mason University and Northern Virginia’s technology community achieve their potential as academic and business leaders in discovery and innovation.

TRANSPORTATION: As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I’ll continue to press for long-term solutions to our transportation gridlock rather than stopgap measures – providing adequate funding from sustainable revenue sources, supporting public transportation such as rail to Dulles, and seeking a comprehensive statewide effort that addresses the transportation needs of all Virginians.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Preserving clean air and water is our responsibility as stewards of the environment. Based on my strong support for vigorous environmental protection, the League of Conservation Voters named me a “Legislative Hero” in 2010 and 2011.

MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK BETTER: In current fiscal conditions, it’s more important than ever that government services be delivered as efficiently as possible, and that taxpayers have confidence their dollars are being spent wisely. I spearheaded the effort to establish a statewide Office of Inspector General, to examine the management and operation of state agencies and investigate cases of fraud, waste, abuse or corruption.

The progress we’ve made in Richmond has been a team effort: Arlington’s Delegates and Senators work closely together to advance our priorities. To meet the challenges we face, we need to maintain the quality of leadership that our area has enjoyed in the legislature. With the retirement of Mary Margaret Whipple and Patsy Ticer — two thoughtful and dedicated State Senators — I hope you’ll join me in supporting Barbara Favola and Adam Ebbin to succeed them. I also hope you’ll help re-elect Senator Janet Howell, whose district includes a portion of Arlington.

I appreciate the confidence the 48th District’s voters have shown in asking me to be their voice in Richmond, and I look forward to representing you in the future.

Bob Brink

by ARLnow.com — August 26, 2011 at 8:30 am 2,914 44 Comments

Storm Shopping Clears Shelves — Residents are taking the advice of emergency officials and shopping for essential items in advance of Hurricane Irene. At the Potomac Yard Target store last night, shopping carts were at a premium, milk was running low and bottled water was completely sold out.

Two Candidates Challenge Brink — Del. Bob Brink will have to work a bit harder to keep his 48th District House of Delegates seat. Brink is facing general election challenges from Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy and from McLean resident Kathleen Gillette Mallard, who has ties to the Tea Party. [Sun Gazette]

Major Crystal City Employer Purchased — Bloomberg LP has purchased the Bureau of National Affairs, a specialized industry reporting outfit headquartered in Crystal City. Bloomberg says it plans to run BNA, which has more than 600 employees, as a “stand-alone subsidiary.” [Washington Post]

Office of Emergency Management Video — Rest assured that Arlington County is ready for Hurricane Irene. But be a bit worried about the county’s ability to properly operate a video camera. [YouTube]

Fairfax Times Rips Off ARLnow.com Quote — The Washington Post-owned Fairfax Times has copied, verbatim, a quote from an ARLnow.com article on the 31st District state Senate primary without proper attribution. The quote from Betsy Wildhack only appeared on ARLnow.com — we were the only news outlet there at the time — but yet now appears at the end of a Fairfax Times article without any sort of credit or acknowledgement.

by ARLnow.com — July 8, 2011 at 10:32 am 3,031 51 Comments

Two fellow Democrats are taking state Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto to task for campaign mailers sharply critical of his opponent, County Board member Barbara Favola.

The latest mailer shows Favola between Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli with the headline “These politicians have a lot in common” — a reference to the fact that all three have accepted donations from local real estate developer, philanthropist and Republican political donor Preston Caruthers. (Favolva accepted a $5,000 donation from Caruthers.)

“I’m disappointed that my friend Jaime Areizaga-Soto has been persuaded that victory in the primary can be achieved through slick negative campaign mailings,” Del. Bob Brink said in a statement said in a statement last night.

Brink, who intended to stay neutral in the race, said he’s now endorsing Favola because of Areizaga-Soto’s negative mailers.

“Voters in our region have shown repeatedly that they want their public officials to talk about the issues that touch their daily lives, and that they have little tolerance for Karl Rove-style mudslinging,” he said. “Any candidate who doesn’t understand that is unqualified to represent us.”

Technology consultant and Not Larry Sabato blogger Ben Tribbett, who was once considering a run in the 31st District state Senate race, took particular exception with Areizaga-Soto’s accusation that Favola “sold her vote” to developers.

“We have so many voters in Arlington who are national political people, they’re too savvy to be misled like that,” Tribbett said. “I agree with Jaime, I don’t think that Barbara should be accepting donations from developers. It creates the appearance of impropriety. But she’s not doing anything illegal and she certainly has not sold her vote. If she sold her vote she would be in prison… Making an accusation like that really crosses the line.”

“I think a hard-nosed primary campaign on legitimate issues would be welcome,” Tribbett added. “That being said, I think the mailings are way too negative, they’re not factually accurate… and I think that Jaime loses a lot of credibility when he overstates his case.”

Favola has been fighting back against the Areizaga-Soto campaign’s allegations.

“My opponent has decided that the only way he can win is to peddle untruths, distort the facts and use personal attacks,” Favola said last month. “I have always been transparent on where I stand on the issues and I have always been loyal to my values. I have never sold my vote to anyone, ever.”

The comparison to McDonnell and Cuccinelli, meanwhile, is a serious allegation in a Democratic primary. In a debate at Wednesday’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, Areizaga-Soto repeatedly referenced the two Republicans, calling their agenda “the biggest threat for the well-being and for the future of our Commonwealth.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — March 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm 849 8 Comments

The battle lines are still being drawn in the race to replace state Sen. Patsy Ticer.

In the battle of endorsements, the current divisions among Democratic candidates are quite clear. Del. Adam Ebbin has the support of fellow state delegates. Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has the support of fellow Alexandria officials. And Arlington School Board Chair Libby Garvey has the endorsement of Ticer herself.

Ebbin officially announced the endorsement of ten members of the House of Delegates from Northern Virginia this morning. Those supporting him include local Dels. Bob Brink and Patrick Hope.

“Adam Ebbin is ready to be the next Senator from District 30,” Brink said today in a statement. “With his experience in the House, he will be prepared to hit the ground running on day one.”

“A founding member of the Progressive Caucus, Adam Ebbin has a record that speaks for itself,” said Hope. “He’s a leader Northern Virginians will be able to count on in the Senate.”

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2011 at 8:22 am 551 7 Comments

Del. Bob Brink, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the state Senate seat of the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, announced this morning that he will not be seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat.

Brink released the following statement regarding his decision this morning.

In the days since Senator Mary Margaret Whipple announced her intention to retire from the General Assembly, I have been weighing the possibility of running for the seat she has held with such distinction since 1996. I am gratified that many people have encouraged me to seek the Senate nomination, and it would be a tremendous honor to succeed Mary Margaret in the Senate. However, I have decided that I can best serve Arlingtonians by remaining in the House of Delegates.

This has been a tough year for Arlington in Richmond. Despite the unified efforts of Arlington’s General Assembly delegation, important measures that were aimed at bolstering the County’s economy, protecting its interests, and upholding its values, met a hostile reception. Next year the entire Arlington delegation, including the new Senator from the 31st District, must be prepared to work at restoring the trust and respect for the County that it deserves and that so many have sought to achieve.

Eyes now turn to Del. Patrick Hope, another possible candidate who was expected to defer to Brink should he have decided to run. Hope would face county board member Barbara Favola in the Democratic primary.

by ARLnow.com — March 3, 2011 at 10:44 am 1,727 24 Comments

It was ladies night at the Lyon Park Community House last night. A capacity crowd that included most of the local political establishment applauded as four Democratic women announced their candidacy for public office.

Stephanie Clifford, a Democratic precinct captain and a new Green Valley (Nauck) homeowner, was the closest thing to a surprise. Clifford announced that she is running for the 49th District House of Delegates seat currently held by Del. Adam Ebbin, who’s running for state Senate.

“I’m sure a number of you are surprised to see me up here,” she said. “But I found a reason to serve and thought I’d step up.”

Former Arlington County Young Democrats President Gordon Simonett introduced Clifford.

“One thing that is clear when you meet Stephanie is that she has a true commitment to community values and progressive values,” he said.

School Board Chair Libby Garvey announced that she will be seeking the nomination for the state Senate seat held by the retiring Sen. Patsy Ticer.

“No work gives me greater satisfaction then public service,” Garvey said. “But there are things i want to do for you now that I really can’t do as a school board member.”

“We’re in trouble as a nation and a state,” Garvey continued. “We’re digging ourselves into a hole. We’re not investing like we need to. Education, transportation, infrastructure, the environment, the health and welfare of our citizens — we need to invest in the future. That’s why I want to be a state Senator.”

Ebbin, who is also running for Ticer’s seat, attended the meeting but did not give a speech. Instead, supporters did the talking by wearing “Ebbin for State Senate” stickers and distributing fliers that beckoned Democrats to “join the A-Team.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am 1,109 55 Comments

The newly-minted Progressive Caucus of the Virginia General Assembly includes the entire Arlington delegation to the House of Delegates.

Dels. Bob Brink, Adam Ebbin, David Englin and Patrick Hope are all listed as members of the group.

“Progressive values are Virginia values,” Hope said in a press release announcing the caucus’ formation. “The Progressive Caucus serves to fight for the interests of the average citizen and to educate the public on Progressive issues.”

“While Virginia can be slow to change, we have to keep pace with the times when it comes to issues like stem cell research, global warming and society’s attitudes towards gays and lesbians,” said Ebbin. “As progressives, it is important that we stand together as we work to move Virginia forward.”

“It’s time for progressive legislators to organize and work together to advance the progressive values that we share, so we can keep our Commonwealth moving toward that day when every person – including the poor, the elderly, the week, the dispossessed – has a fair shake and an equal shot at the American dream,” Englin said.

Conspicuously absent from the group is Arlington’s state senator, Mary Margaret Whipple.

by ARLnow.com — February 24, 2011 at 6:00 am 1,788 51 Comments

Lee Highway McDonald’s Remains Closed – The McDonald’s at 4834 Lee Highway was still closed yesterday. An electrical fire broke out in the restaurant’s basement Saturday morning.

Arlington’s Most Accident-Prone Intersections — Following up on our Arlington’s Most Dangerous On-Ramps article, TBD has come out with a list of Arlington’s Most Dangerous Intersections, courtesy of data from the police department. The most dangerous intersection? Route 50 and Southbound Washington Boulevard, with 113 accidents. [TBD]

Brink Wins Passage of Inspector General Bill — An anti-fraud bill co-sponsored by Arlington Del. Bob Brink has won final approval in the Virginia legislature. The bill, HB 2076, will establish a statewide Office of Inspector General “to combat fraud, waste, abuse or corruption in state-funded agencies.” It must now be signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell. [Richmond Sunlight]

Cuccinelli Examines Fraud Case Against Donor — A man who gave $55,000 to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s 2009 campaign may be prosecuted by Cuccinelli for fraud. An investigation by Virginia’s consumer services department determined that the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, which has been accused of diverting money intended for veterans charities, solicited $2 million from Virginians under false pretenses. The head of the group, who donated to Cuccinelli’s campaign, is currently at large. Retiring state Sen. Patsy Ticer sponsored legislation intended to help the group last year, then urged Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto it after she read about the fraud allegations.  [Washington Post]

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm 1,003 30 Comments

Arlington’s top legislative priority is on life support in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

As expected, the renewal of a hotel tax surcharge that is responsible for generating Arlington’s nearly $1 million per year tourism promotion budget was all-but-killed in a House subcommittee this morning. The bill, introduced by Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D), was passed by indefinitely — meaning the House version dead unless a member who voted against it changes his or her mind.

An identical bill introduced by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple passed the Senate last week, however, meaning that the tax renewal will get another shot in House committee. It’s yet to be seen whether the outcome will be any different.

Other bills by Arlington lawmakers have met with mixed results.

A bill from Del. Patrick Hope (D) that would have banned guns in Virginia’s Capitol building and the General Assembly Building has been passed by indefinitely.

Another bill from Hope, which would have dramatically raised the state tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, has also failed.

Two bills introduced by Del. Brink have managed to pass the Republican-controlled House, however. The bills “address the irregularities discovered during the signature gathering process” for last year’s failed effort to change Arlington’s form of government.

One bill, HB 1646, calls for the name and address of a petition signature gatherer to be present on both sides of the petition form. The other bill, HB 1670, says that “a notary shall not perform any notarial act… that presents a conflict between his personal interest and his official duty.”

One bill passed unanimously, the other passed with only one ‘no’ vote. They will now be taken up by the Democratic-controlled state Senate.

by ARLnow.com — January 19, 2011 at 8:46 am 688 22 Comments

Del. Bob Brink (D) has introduced two bills in the House of Delegates that attempt to “address the irregularities discovered during the signature gathering process” for last year’s failed effort to change Arlington’s form of government.

One bill, HB 1646, calls for the name and address of a petition signature gatherer to be present on both sides of the petition form. The bill is in response to “numerous reports where the description of the person who signed the forms as petition circulator didn’t match the description of the individual actually gathering the signatures.”

So far, HB 1646 is still awaiting a subcommittee vote.

Brink’s other bill, HB 1670, is broader piece of legislation. The bill addresses an alleged conflict of interest — that the campaign manager for the change-of-government effort was also the notary public that certified the now-disqualified petition sheets.

The bill, which passed a subcommittee on Monday, says that “a notary shall not perform any notarial act with respect to any document, writing, or electronic document that presents a conflict between his personal interest and his official duty.”

On Brink’s web site, at least one constituent worried that bill may be “over-inclusive” and could affect real estate transactions where an attorney is also acting as a notary.

Brink says the legislation is necessary to “improve the voter referendum petition process” and “prevent fraud.”

“Last year’s referendum effort in Arlington taught us valuable lessons about weaknesses in the petition signature gathering process,” Brink said in a statement. “Learning from that experience and passing this corrective legislation will help protect the integrity of voter referenda.”

by ARLnow.com — November 15, 2010 at 3:57 pm 1,392 31 Comments

Just when it looked like the hubbub was dying down over Arlington’s failed effort to withdraw from the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, the Virginia state legislature now appears poised to stir up the immigration hornet’s nest once again.

According to the Washington Examiner, Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) has indicated that he will be introducing bills that will deny driver’s licenses and government benefits for illegal immigrants, while permitting police to check the immigration status of anyone who is taken into custody.

That last proposal is intended to mimic the controversial Arizona immigration law that quickly turned into a hot-button national news story. It would fly in the face of Arlington’s stated policy that “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”

“I hope the General Assembly will examine these measures very carefully,” said Del. Bob Brink (D), who represents part of Arlington. “I’m concerned that, in addition to their potential for stigmatizing some Virginians, they could actually make the work of law enforcement more difficult.”

Brink added that he wants to talk with Arlington’s public safety officials “to get their reaction to the proposed bills.”

Albo, meanwhile, told the Examiner that he doesn’t think his immigration bills stand much of a chance of passing the Democratic-controlled state senate, although he predicted the bills would likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.

Photo via Creative Commons License

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2010 at 8:00 am 674 2 Comments

Governor Robert McDonnell has appointed two Arlington lawmakers to his government reform panel.

State Delegate Bob Brink and state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, both Democrats, will join 29 other appointees on the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.

“The Commission members will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s agencies, programs, and services to find out how we can make our state government work better for its owners, the people of Virginia,” Gov. McDonnell said while announcing his selections for the panel. “I look forward to working with these reform-minded leaders to examine how Virginia can better serve the taxpayers.”

In addition to Del. Brink and Sen. Whipple, several top government reform thinkers who live or work in Arlington were appointed to the commission.

One appointee, Bill Eggers, is a government reform expert, a global director for Deloitte Research and the brother of author Dave Eggers.

Maurice P. McTigue, a distinguished visiting scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, and Geoffrey Segal, director of privatization and  government reform at the Reason Foundation, were also named to the governor’s commission.

Commission members will hold their first meeting next month.

by ARLnow.com — March 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm 506 0

Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is hailing the passage of a bill that would create a pro-choice “Trust Women / Respect Choice” license plate option for Virginia drivers. The bill passed the Virginia House and the Senate over the weekend by votes of 64-30 and 22-15 respectively.

Brink, who introduced the original House version of the bill, called the vote “a victory both for reproductive rights and First Amendment principles.”

Brink says the bill will allow the state to “give equal treatment to the pro-choice position,” given last year’s creation of a “Choose Life” license plate.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has said he doesn’t support Planned Parenthood, the organization that would receive revenue from the sale of the plates.

by ARLnow.com — February 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm 384 0

Almost missed this one. While we were in the midst of yesterday’s blizzard, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would ban the forced implantation of microchips in people.

RFID chips are already being implanted in humans voluntarily for use as portable health records. Some groups have objected to the use of implantable microchips due to privacy concerns. But some fundamentalist Christians — and at least two Virginia lawmakers – believe that the microchips may be used as the antichrist’s “mark of the beast,” from the Book of Revelations.

The House bill will ban companies from requiring their customers or employees to implant the chips. So far, there have been no reported cases of a forced microchip implantation, leading some to question the necessity of the bill.

Arlington’s own Del. Bob Brink had the line of the day during the debate over the bill. From the Washington Post:

Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) said on the House floor that he did not find many voters demanding microchip legislation when he was campaigning last fall: “I didn’t hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities’ sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings.”

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