The Washington Post editorial board has given Republican-backed Independent John Vihstadt its endorsement for Tuesday’s Arlington County Board election.
The Post said Vihstadt would be a “badly needed independent voice” on the otherwise all-Democratic, five-member County Board. Vihstadt was elected to the Board in April in a special election, when he defeated Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-to-41 percent margin.
Howze is again running against Vihstadt, and local prognosticators are predicting this race will be closer; former Arlington treasurer Francis O’Leary thinks Howze will win because of a greater turnout of Democratic “party line” voters. However, the Post writes, the issues that led voters to choose Vihstadt in April haven’t changed.
The editorial board writes:
… Many Democrats have accorded Mr. Vihstadt grudging respect as someone who formulates and presents his views intelligently; he is no tea party bomb thrower. Equally important, in our view, is his insistence that the county reevaluate other expensive projects, such as a proposal for a state-of-the-art aquatic center, which he regards as unaffordable.
Whether Mr. Vihstadt prevails or not, it’s important for Arlington to have the debate; without him, the board runs the risk of groupthink.
The Post writes that it supports the Columbia Pike streetcar, and praised Howze as “a very capable candidate,” but said Vihstadt’s “civil and cogent” arguments against the streetcar have earned him the chance to serve a four-year term. Vihstadt has also been endorsed by Arlington County firefighters for his commitment to public safety
In its editorial, the Post also endorses Barbara Kanninen over Audrey Clement for School Board, citing Kanninen’s experience working with children’s issues.
Arlington Spends More on Low-Income Students — Arlington Public Schools spend about $21,000 per pupil on low-income students, compared to the $12,000 it spends on more affluent students, according to data from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. [Greater Greater Washington]
Tornado Struck Alexandria Last Week — A weak EF-0 tornado struck part of Alexandria this past Wednesday. A Tornado Warning was issued for Arlington as the tornado tracked north. [National Weather Service]
Teachers Endorse Kanninen — The Arlington Education Association’s political action committee has endorsed Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The teachers group said “Barbara understands that all types of students need personal support and that teachers are important partners in making this happen.” Kanninen is running against Audrey Clement.
Arlington’s ‘Ten Commandments’ — A parody video showing “Arlington County Government’s Ten Commandments” has been created by someone calling themselves “Jim Taxpayer.” The video includes commandments like “With These Riches, Which Have Become Thine, Build A New Covenant, A Glorious Car of Street, Thy Chariot of Vanity.” [YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Va. ‘Fully Committed’ to Streetcar Funding — Despite budget cuts, the Commonwealth of Virginia is still “fully committed” to providing up to $65 million for the Columbia Pike streetcar project, according to the director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. [Washington Post]
Name Proposed for New Elementary School — “Discovery Elementary” is the name proposed by a steering committee for the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The name will be formally presented to the school board on Thursday. [InsideNova]
Firefighters Endorse Vihstadt — The Arlington County firefighters and paramedics union has endorsed John Vihstadt for reelection in the race for Arlington County Board.
Candidate Forum Tonight — The Radnor Fort Myer Heights Civic Association will hold a forum with the candidates for Congress, County Board, Treasurer and School Board tonight at 7:00 p.m. [Ode Street Tribune]
County Releases Development Report — Arlington County has issued its Development Tracking Report for the first quarter of 2014. In Q1, the County Board approved 170,834 square feet of office space, 4,280 square feet of retail, 387 apartment units, and 161 hotel rooms. [Arlington County]
Library Honors Outstanding Volunteers — Arlington Public Library has presented its annual Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awards. The awards went to Deborah Jones, who helps to manage nine book clubs, and to the Talking Books and Homebound Services team. [Arlington Public Library]
Pot Group Releases Video for Ebbin – NORML PAC, which is working to legalize marijuana in the U.S., has released a video in support of state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s run for Congress. Ebbin is one of seven candidates campaigning for the Democratic primary on June 10. In addition to marijuana advocates, Ebbin has received endorsements from County Board Chair Jay Fisette, three Arlington School Board members, and the local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Laborers’ International Union of North America. [YouTube]
Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Blaze — Firefighters from Fairfax County and Arlington battled a three alarm fire at a senior living community Friday night. The facility, Lockwood House, is located on the 600 block of N. Madison Street, just across the Arlington border in Fairfax County. The building’s nearly 100 apartments were evacuated as the fire spread from an electrical transformer to a utility room containing a diesel generator and fuel tanks. [WUSA 9]
Three More Schools to Get FLES — Updated at 1:45 p.m. — Three additional schools will be getting Arlington Public Schools’ Foreign Language in Elementary School program, starting this fall. Tuckahoe, Nottingham and Oakridge will be getting the program, which provides Spanish language education to elementary students. The program also eliminates early release Wednesdays at schools that have it. Parents have been pushing Arlington elected officials to fund FLES at all elementary schools; the school system is planning to do so, but over a period of a couple years. [InsideNova]
Beyer Endorsed By WaPo — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer has been endorsed by the Washington Post in the Democratic primary to decide who will be the party’s nominee to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. “Mr. Beyer is, simply, an excellent candidate,” the Post’s editorial board opines. “He would make a first-rate addition to this region’s unusually effective congressional delegation.” [Washington Post]
Business Soaring for Arlington Bird Seed Store — Business continues to grow for the 23-year-old Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2437 N. Harrison Street). This winter’s frigid temperatures actually resulted in a sales boom, as birds sought food sources that weren’t iced over and bird-watching customers sought seed in order to attract those birds to their backyards. The store — No. 66 of the chain’s nearly 300 stores in North America — recorded $800,000 in sales last year and is hoping to crack the $1 million mark soon. [Washington Business Journal]
H-B Parents Peeved By Document Disappearance — Some parents of H-B Woodlawn students are up in arms after three documents that questioned a proposal to move the secondary program to a new building disappeared from an Arlington Public Schools website. One parent called the removal of the documents “heavy-handed and disturbing.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Man Charged With Fairfax Sex Assault — Sloan Wilson Rappoport, a 44-year-old Arlington resident and former George W. Bush administration official, has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman he met at a Bailey’s Crossroads clothing store. Police say Rappoport invited the woman into his Mercedes-Benz, then drove to a nearby location and sexually assaulted her. [Washington Post]
Clement to Run for School Board — Perennial Green Party candidate Audrey Clement is planning on running for Arlington School Board. Currently running in the race are three candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement: Barbara Kanninen, Greg Greeley and Nancy Van Doren. [InsideNoVa]
Airline Changes at DCA — As a result of changes related to the American Airlines/US Airways merger, JetBlue, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines will all be expanding their presence at Reagan National Airport. [MWAA]
Endorsements for Howze, Vihstadt — Arlington County Board candidates Alan Howze (D) and John Vihstadt (I) have picked up notable endorsements in the past week. Howze has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, which says he has a “depth of knowledge and understanding of key environmental issues facing the County.” Vihstadt has been endorsed by the local firefighters union, which says it shares Vihstadt’s spending priorities — an emphasis on core services and opposition to projects like the streetcar and the aquatics center.
Will Arlington Regret HOT Lanes Opposition? – Writing about what may be the area’s “worst commute” — from Fredericksburg to the District via I-95 and I-395 — highway historian Earl Swift suggests that Arlington may ultimately regret its opposition to HOT lanes on I-395. Running HOT lanes from I-95 to just before Arlington on I-395 “could spawn new and fearsome jams on I-395, choking Arlington County with the exhaust of idling legions of cars,” Swift writes. “The HOT lanes could be so popular, and inspire so fierce a public demand for their extension to the Potomac, that talks between state and county resume.” [Atlantic Cities, Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Snow Leads to Numerous Accidents — Numerous accidents were reported around Arlington this morning due to snow-slickened streets. Accidents were reported on Route 50 near Carlin Springs Road, Lee Highway and Key Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, and on N. George Mason Drive across from Lubber Run Park. As of 9:00 a.m. the accident on Route 50 was still reportedly causing traffic backups.
No Tickets for Snow Removal Violations — Arlington County has not handed out any tickets or fines for violations of the county’s snow removal ordinance so far this winter. The ordinance requires home and business owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24-36 hours of the end of a snow storm. County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the County Board yesterday that it had received 118 snow removal-related complaints, but each time a property owner was notified of a violation they “took care of it.” [Sun Gazette]
Lopez Receives Local Endorsements – Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) has picked up the endorsement of some local Arlington County figures in his run for Congress. Lopez announced this morning that he has been endorsed by Arlington County School Board Member Emma Violand-Sanchez, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Mike Lieberman.
Alcova Heights Neighborhood Plan Approved — The County Board last night approved an update to the Alcova Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan calls for improving the neighborhood’s appearance while preserving its character and protecting it from speeding and cut-through traffic. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Bernick, a legal fellow for the conservative Heritage Foundation, staked his campaign on opposition to “jaw-droppingly reckless expenditures, like a million-dollar bus stop.”
In a statement this morning, Bernick says Vihstadt shares his vision of “responsible and responsive government.”
I announced my run for Arlington County Board because I wanted to make freedom work for Arlington. I believe in giving people the opportunity to make their own decisions about how to pursue and achieve their dreams and strengthen their communities.
After careful consideration, however, I’ve decided to withdraw from the race and defer to someone with both the right vision for Arlington and the right experience to realize that vision.
I know that I haven’t been in Arlington very long. And one of the candidates for office not only shares my views concerning the need for responsible and responsive government, but has decades of experience in local government. That candidate is John Vihstadt, whom I am proud to endorse in this special election.
Arlington needs someone on the Board who is willing to challenge prevailing assumptions about how the government should spend our money, is prepared to cooperate with fellow Board members, and has first-hand knowledge of what the business of local government in Arlington consists in. I think that John Vihstadt will serve our community well.
Notwithstanding my endorsement of John, I wish the best of luck to all the candidates. I think that the participation of many voices in our political process makes our community strong. I’ll be following the debates closely, and I’m excited to see the results. I hope that the election brings out the best in us.
The Arlington County Republican Committee (ACRC) has endorsed John Vihstadt to fill the County Board seat Chris Zimmerman plans to vacate this month.
Vihstadt is running as an independent against Democratic nominee Alan Howze and libertarian Evan Bernick. Perennial Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy and Stephen Holbrook, a retired FBI agent who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for the County Board last year, have also filed paperwork indicating that they are running.
Vihstadt now has the endorsement of Arlington Republicans, the Arlington Green Party and several high-profile local Democrats, including County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair (and ARLnow.com opinion columnist) Peter Rousselot.
Vihstadt opposes the Columbia Pike Streetcar and the planned Long Bridge Aquatics Center, now on hold after constructed bids came in above the allotted budget. Vihstadt said he’s a Republican when he announced his campaign in December, but chose to run as an independent with the hopes of securing the Republicans’ endorsement.
The endorsement signifies the second consecutive County Board election the Republicans have not run an official candidate. There was no Republican challenger when now-Board Chair Jay Fisette ran for re-election in 2013.
Arlington County Democratic Committee President Kip Malinosky issued a statement after Vihstadt secured the endorsement.
“Mr. Vihstadt has shown us his true Republican colors,” Malinosky said. “He has a long history of supporting conservative can
The special election to replace Zimmerman is expected to be held on April 8. The date is expected to be officially set on Tuesday, Feb. 11, a day after Zimmerman formally resigns.
Update at 1:15 p.m. – This afternoon, ACRC issued the following press release about their Vihstadt endorsement.
Yesterday, the Arlington County Republican Committee voted to endorse the Independent candidacy of John Vihstadt for the upcoming Arlington County Board special election.
At the special meeting of the Arlington GOP, Vihstadt spoke to attendees on a large number of topics, including Arlington’s fiscal health, school capacity issues, and needed improvements to the County’s economic development efforts.
Vihstadt discussed the need for fresh thinking on the County Board. The central theme of Vihstadt’s speech was that the County needs to reassess its current spending priorities, saying, “the proposed $310,000,000 Columbia Pike streetcar and $1,000,000 bus stops are imprudent expenditures that ought to be replaced with more effective and less costly alternatives.” Vihstadt continued, “In addition, the $80,000,000 Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center needs to be scaled back. In a time of economic uncertainty, surging school enrollment, and rising household taxes on working families and seniors, the County Board needs to rethink its priorities.”
Vihstadt asserted that his campaign will continue to highlight the importance of a new perspective, stating that “we need a recalibration of Arlington’s spending priorities to stress core services like public education, public safety, and infrastructure maintenance.”
While not shying away from his Republican background, Vihstadt explained to attendees that his independent candidacy allows a broad spectrum of voters an opportunity to support a candidate willing to put the needs of Arlingtonians before partisan politics.
Chairman Ian Meyeroff added after the meeting that “John’s work for Arlington Republicans is only a tiny fraction of who he is.” Meyeroff noted the Arlington GOP’s 2008 selection of Vihstadt for its Delyannis-Finta Award for Distinguished Community Involvement, attributed to Vihstadt’s decades of civic engagement in the public schools, in the neighborhoods, and across the County on various boards and commissions.
In addition to the Republican Party endorsement, Vihstadt has also been endorsed by the Arlington Green Party and prominent Arlington Democrats including County Board member Libby Garvey and Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos. The County Board special election is expected to be held on April 8, 2014.
The Arlington Green Party has voted to endorse John Vihstadt, who’s running as an independent for Arlington County Board.
The Greens are endorsing Vihstadt in lieu of nominating their own candidate for the upcoming County Board special election. The party says Vihstadt shares their “opposition to expensive vanity projects, such as the Columbia Pike trolley and the Long Bridge aquatics center.”
From a press release:
Arlington Greens voted on January 16 to endorse independent candidate John Vihstadt for Arlington County Board election to be held this spring to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Chris Zimmerman.
Arlington Green Party Chair Steve Davis noted, “The Arlington Green Party endorsement of John Vihstadt shows that people across the political spectrum can find common ground in supporting independent-minded candidates like John who have a positive, inclusive vision for Arlington’s future. We look forward to working with John on his election campaign.”
This is the first county board election in the past seven years in which the Arlington Greens have not nominated their own candidate. This year the Greens have chosen to endorse Vihstadt who shares the Greens’ opposition to expensive vanity projects, such as the Columbia Pike trolley and the Long Bridge aquatics center, at the expense of funding core county programs such as schools, safety net spending, and affordable housing.
In 2013, the Arlington Greens nominated Audrey Clement who received about 32 percent of the votes cast against Democrat Jay Fisette. The Arlington Greens also supported in 2013 the creation of a housing authority to keep more affordable rental housing in the county.
Silver Line Predictions for Arlington — A new report indicates the Silver Line will transform Reston and Tysons Corner into transit-oriented cities, similar to what occurred along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor after the arrival of the Orange Line. “Our Man in Arlington” notes the Silver Line will increase competition for businesses in Arlington, but quotes the director of Arlington Economic Development, who believes the county can hold onto its businesses. Arlington is expected to experience other changes from the Silver Line, such as changes in frequency for Orange Line trains. [Reston Now, Falls Church News-Press]
Look at Proposed Metro Changes — Metro’s recently announced proposal for a downtown loop , which would include one Arlington “super station” at the Pentagon, is getting some more in-depth looks. Plus, Metro indicates the need for another new line Northern Virginia by 2040, due to anticipated significant crowding on the Silver and Orange Lines. [Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington]
Howze Gains Endorsements — The competition is heating up among the three Democratic candidates seeking the nomination to run for the County Board seat being vacated by Chris Zimmerman. Alan Howze has picked up endorsements from Del. Bob Brink (D) and School Board member Noah Simon. Howze had already secured endorsements from County Board member Jay Fisette and Treasurer Frank O’Leary. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by wolfkann
Board Votes Against Taxi Driver Proposal — By a contentious vote of 3-2, the Arlington County Board last night voted against a proposal that would allow taxicab drivers to be issued taxi operating certificates on an individual basis. Currently, only taxi companies are granted certificates in Arlington. County Board Chair Mary Hynes, along with Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey, voted against the proposal, arguing that the current system is working well for riders. Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada took the side of a coalition of taxi drivers that has been pushing for a driver-based certificate system. [Sun Gazette]
Meetings for Noise Control Ordinance – Updated at 8:45 a.m. — The County Board last night voted unanimously to defer a scheduled hearing on a series of proposed changes to the county’s noise control ordinance. Instead, two public meetings will be held to discuss the changes, in advance of a Board vote on advertising and holding a public hearing on the revisions. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the 2012 Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Boulevard). The second will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Street). [Arlington County]
Examiner Endorses Murray — The Washington Examiner has endorsed Republican Patrick Murray in the race for Virginia’s 8th District congressional seat. The paper lauded Murray’s military experience and said he “is clearly the better choice.” Earlier this month the Washington Post endorsed Murray’s opponent, long-time incumbent Rep. Jim Moran. [Washington Examiner]
Close Call at Reagan National — Three commuter jets nearly collided at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday afternoon due to a communications failure among air traffic control personnel. The planes were about 12 seconds away from a collision when a tower controller corrected her mistake. [Washington Post]
Ebbin Endorses Krupicka — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has endorsed Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka (D) in the Sept. 4 special election to fill Del. David Englin’s former 45th District House of Delegates Seat. “[Krupicka] has been a steadfast ally in the fight for true equality, world-class education system, a cleaner environment, smart transportation solutions, and innovative policies that keep our economy strong,” Ebbin said.
Kaine to Visit Arlington Business Today — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine will be visiting Clarendon-based business GridPoint this afternoon. Kaine, who will be joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), will highlight his “Strengthening Our Economy Through Energy Innovation” plan.
Extreme Weather on the Rise in Va.? — Extreme downpours and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in Virginia compared to 65 years ago, according to a new report by Environment Virginia. The group says the finding supports the idea that global warming is changing weather patterns. “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today,” said Environment Virginia Field Organizer Laura Kate Anderson. [Environment Virginia]
County Tax Deadline Today — The deadline for paying your Arlington real estate taxes is today, Friday, June 15. Payments not postmarked by that date will be considered late.
More on the Overlee Ghost — The Washington Post’s Dan Zak takes an in-depth look at ghost stories at the Overlee Community Association pool. ARLnow.com first reported in March that construction workers at the property had spotted what was thought to be the ghost of Margaret Febrey, a girl who lived on the property and died in 1913. [Washington Post]
George Allen Gets Endorsement in Arlington — Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen was endorsed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising GOP star, at Company Flowers (2107 N. Pollard Street) in Cherrydale yesterday morning. After a press conference, Allen and Rubio both purchased flowers at the store. [Patch]
Woman Killed on Trail Had Fled Nazis — The 80-year-old woman who died after being struck by a cyclist on the Four Mile Run Trail was out for a morning walk at the time of the incident. The woman, Ita Lapina, emigrated to the United States from Russia 15 years ago, family members said. As a child, her family had fled to Siberia to escape the Nazis during World War II. [Washington Post]
Lawnmower Racing Film To Be Shown at Artomatic — An 82-minute documentary on the sport of lawn mower racing will be shown at Artomatic this weekend. The film – On Your Mark, Get Set, MOW! – will be screened at Artomatic’s “Carl Cordell Film Theater” from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 17. The documentary also examines how lawn mower racing benefits the battle against Huntington’s Disease. Artomatic is taking place at 1851 S. Bell Street in Crystal City through June 23. [Artomatic]
Arlington’s two Democratic congressional candidates — incumbent Jim Moran and challenger Bruce Shuttleworth — are racking up some endorsements ahead of the primaries on June 12.
This week, Shuttleworth received an endorsement from civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis.
“I’ve been involved in Civil Rights and the Democratic Party for over 50 years in Virginia and across America. Today, we need a Progressive Democrat like Bruce Shuttleworth to be in the Congress,” Chavis said.
“Moran has precipitated a contentious relationship with the African American community and has failed to show adequate leadership in representing the 99% over the 1% big business interests that have massively contributed to his campaign,” Chavis added. “I am wholly convinced that Bruce Shuttleworth will never compromise his values – and that is why I am supporting him. Bruce Shuttleworth is a proven ethical leader.”
Last week, Moran received an endorsement from the LGBT Democrats of America PAC.
“Congressman Moran has a long history as a champion for our cause and devoted friend of our community,” said Tiffany M. Joslyn, PAC President. “His positions on issues important to LGBT Virginians, combined with his actual record of sponsorship on and votes for legislation supporting LGBT equality, make him the clear choice for our community.”
“The fact that both candidates in this primary sought the endorsement of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia PAC is a very positive sign for both the Democratic Party and Virginia,” said Joel McDonald, PAC President-Elect. “While both Moran and Shuttleworth agreed with our positions on the issues, Moran’s longtime dedication to, and record of, fighting against discrimination was the deciding factor.”
Update at 4:40 p.m. — A spokesman for the Moran campaign says the congressman has also received endorsements this year from the Sierra Club, the International Association of Firefighters, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Mark Warner, Gov. Tim Kaine, and state Sen. Adam Ebbin. The Shuttleworth campaign has a list of endorsements on its website.