The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
At last week’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, party leaders stressed the importance of giving voters a positive reason to come out and support gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe in November.
You might question the sincerity of that plea since the meeting took place immediately after a “dramatic reading” of excerpts from Attorney General Cuccinelli’s book. Based on Mr. McAuliffe’s ongoing resume problems, they may actually spend a lot of time talking about the Attorney General instead.
But, what about a little farther down the ticket? What does County Board Vice Chairman Jay Fisette offer to inspire Arlingtonians to vote in 2013?
Mr. Fisette stands firmly behind the Columbia Pike trolley boondoggle. And, he has offered no indication that he would support a straight up or down vote on the issue. Yes, a vote is possible if the Board adjusts the funding mix to include a small amount from general obligation bonds.
It follows that Mr. Fisette is squarely in favor of building the 24 super bus stops on Columbia Pike as well. Yet, the first one took so long, cost so much, and was subject to such intense public ridicule, that the project has now been stopped pending review.
ARLnow ran a story on Monday on the black hole of spending known as the Artisphere. Mr. Fisette recently admitted the arts center did not meet expectations. It should not have surprised him as the Board ignored those who predicted the Artisphere’s shortcomings at the time the Board approved the project.
The Board will raise taxes yet again this year and still may not be able to fully fund our police and fire departments. Remarkably enough, fiscal responsibility and public safety are the top two issues listed on Mr. Fisette’s campaign website.
Website issues list aside, Mr. Fisette has made a “crusade” against single use water bottles — his number one pet project for the year. He announced it at the Board’s kick-off meeting January 1st and has followed through by scheduling a public forum on the topic.
Any effort to legislate on water bottles at the County level will likely go the way of efforts to regulate single use plastic bags, single use styrofoam, or even energy use in private homes — another Fisette idea. The Virginia General Assembly is unlikely to lift the Dillon Rule for Arlington to regulate these items any time soon.
However, it might make you wonder if a water bottle “crusade” was what the local Democratic leaders had in mind to inspire voter turnout.
It might be time to schedule another dramatic reading.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Yesterday the Democratic blog Blue Virginia reported that the call claimed Shuttleworth was “doing a conference call… with [Democratic National Committee] Chairwoman [Rep.] Debbie Wasserman Schultz on women’s issues.” In reality, Blue Virginia blogger Lowell Feld wrote, “this call was simply ‘one of several monthly constituency caucus calls the Chair is making this week, with several thousand total participants.’”
In response, the Shuttleworth camp released a statement it sent to to Blue Virginia.
There was no intent to misrepresent the candidate’s status on the call as anything other than a participant.
In light of the ongoing attacks on Women’s rights in this country by the political right wing, Bruce Shuttleworth is encouraged by the DNC Chair’s initiative to energize women in support of the only party which protects their rights — the Democratic Party. That you don’t think it is important to widely share this initiative is a shame.
Bruce Shuttleworth will continue to encourage the citizens of VA-8 to get active and engaged and to fight for social and economic justice for all citizens. In fact, there will be another robocall going out tonight that will encourage Latino voters to participate in the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit this weekend in the District. We think it is important to support the President and get the Latino community engaged.
The campaign also released a transcript of the call (after the jump). Shuttleworth will face incumbent Rep. Jim Moran in the Democratic primary this coming Tuesday, June 12.
State Democratic officials say an error, not corruption, was the reason why Democratic congressional challenger Bruce Shuttleworth was initially not allowed on the 8th District primary ballot.
Officials announced yesterday that Shuttleworth had, in fact, submitted the necessary number of signatures to quality for the ballot, after they determined last week that he was 18 signatures short. At a press conference today, Shuttleworth charged that his opponent, Rep. Jim Moran, was somehow behind the snafu.
In a statement, a Moran spokesman didn’t respond directly to the allegations, but said the campaign hoped that officials would “get to the bottom of the situation.” The campaign also took a shot at one of Shuttleworth’s political backers.
The Moran campaign submitted their petitions well ahead of the deadline to avoid any last minute problems. It’s a deep concern that petitions appear to have been misplaced by the Fairfax County Registrar’s Office. We urge local officials to get to the bottom of the situation to find out what really happened, to ensure the Democratic process is protected.
For our campaign, nothing has changed. We were fully preparing for a primary, and the coming attacks from the conservative, Texas oil money fueled Super PAC that has stated their intent to try defeat the congressman, who has been a champion of the environment throughout his time in Congress.
Later this afternoon, Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy explained what had happened.
Democratic 8th Congressional District Committee chairwoman Margo Horner, who was named in Shuttleworth’s federal lawsuit challenging the initial petition decision, had passed off the petition signatures to impartial local election officials in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington, in an effort to avoid the certification process becoming too “politicized,” according to Coy.
Somehow, Coy said, the Fairfax County registrar lost a number of petitions during the process. They only discovered that the petitions had been lost after Arlington County registrar Linda Lindberg notified them that there were Fairfax County signatures within her office’s stack of petitions, according to Coy.
After the error was discovered — which was after Shuttleworth had initially been denied a spot on the ballot — the lost petitions were found, counted, and yesterday afternoon it was determined that Shuttleworth had, in fact, qualified for the ballot. Coy said that correct procedures were followed and denied that there was any intentional effort to leave Shuttleworth off the ballot.
“The results of this process had nothing to do with anything other than whether or not Mr. Shuttleworth had enough signatures,” Coy said. “Any insinuation that the party lost the signatures, that they did anything other than… go above and beyond the procedures that are laid out… is inaccurate.”
Coy added that “the responsibility to certify petitions lies with our congressional district committees” – not centrally with the Democratic Party of Virginia, whose chairman is Brian Moran, the congressman’s brother.
Will Radle has dropped out of the Eight Congressional District Democratic primary and has endorsed Bruce Shuttleworth against incumbent Rep. Jim Moran.
Radle announced his candidacy for the seat in January. Previously, the Fairfax County resident had run for public office as both an independent and a Republican. Since last year, Radle’s runs for public office have been dogged by media mentions of his guilty plea on an assault charge out of Arlington in 2010.
In his endorsement, Radle made no mention of Moran, but instead lauded Shuttleworth as “a true gentleman who will represent the Democratic Party well in fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves; battling for those who too often battle for us in faraway lands and governing as an honest broker.”
Radle’s full press release, after the jump.
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.
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.
Obama to Visit Key Bridge — President Obama will make an appearance on the D.C. side of the Key Bridge tomorrow to “highlight the need for infrastructure investments.” The Key Bridge, the Memorial Bridge and the 14th Street Bridge are all structurally deficient and in need of immediate repair, according to a report released last month. [Washington Post]
CivFed Wary of A-Frame Signs — Arlington County Civic Federation delegates are wary of the county’s plan to allow A-frame — or sandwich board — signs on the sidewalks of commercial districts. The federation will vote tonight on a resolution that asks that the number of A-frame signs be limited, due to the potential for the signs to impede the mobility of the elderly and the disabled. [Sun Gazette]
Al Franken to Visit Four Courts — Updated at 9:30 a.m. — Comedian and U.S. Senator Al Franken is scheduled to appear at a Democratic fundraiser at Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse tonight. The fundraiser is reportedly off-limits to media. [Patch]
The text messages sharply criticize Democratic political candidates in Virginia. The party says the texts are unsolicited and likely illegal.
“The DPVA has reason to believe that these text messages are illegal and we are doing everything we can to determine where they are coming from,” the party said in an email. “Virginia Republicans… [have] resorted to the usual underhanded tricks trying to scare, intimidate or confuse voters.”
This morning, an ARLnow.com reader reported having received the texts. The reader called the messages “pretty dirty” and wondered who was sending them. (The texts reportedly came from the same 410 area code phone number that sends out Arlington Alert text messages.)
The readouts of the reader’s messages are as follows:
MSG:OBAMA & his VA DEMOCRAT allies want to RAISE YOUR TAXES. Send a message. DO NOT vote for VA Democrats on 11/08/11
MSG:Dave Marsden voted to allow Ffx County Schools to HIDE FROM PARENTS when they discipline kids. Ask Dave why.
The DPVA wants anybody who has received an unsolicited text message to call a hotline at 866-529-7620, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and file a complaint in small claims court.
“Please help us hold the Republicans accountable for these underhanded and illegal tricks,” the party said.
A spokesman for Republican Party of Virginia said they heard about the problem, but have no involvement with sending unsolicited texts and in no way condone the behavior.