The Board followed county staff’s recommendation in endorsing the streetcar over enhanced or articulated bus service. Many speakers, including Pike residents plus Republican and Green Party members, urged the Board to consider enhanced or articulated bus service as a cheaper alternative to increasing transit capacity along the Pike.
“I do not believe in the trolley because I just don’t think we have the money,” said resident Paulette Gray. “When you lose your income you don’t keep the cable and you don’t build the big addition.”
Other streetcar opponents said bus service would be more reliable, since it doesn’t rely on rails that could be blocked by accidents or electricity that would get cut off during storms.
“Can’t we come up with something much more inventive for our transportation, other than a trolley?” asked resident Antonios Perros, who recounted how streetcars in D.C. in the 1950s would get stranded during big storms. “It just doesn’t seem feasible that we should have a trolley in the 21st century.”
Other speakers, including residents, real estate developers, business boosters, and county transportation committee members, stated their support for the streetcar, saying it would bring needed development and revitalization to the Columbia Pike corridor.
“We think it is critical to expand Arlington’s core transit options for the future,” said Mitch Bonanno, an executive with Vornado/Charles E. Smith.
“Small businesses [along Columbia Pike] feel that what they are lacking today is enough customer traffic,” said Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Executive Director Takis Karantonis, who argued the streetcar would bring additional restaurant and retail customers to the Pike.
In addition to the development potential of fixed rail infrastructure, other arguments for the streetcar include increased travel capacity, ease of boarding, and the regional connectivity to Fairfax County. The Pike streetcar line is expected to extend five miles from the Skyline area of Fairfax County in the west to the Pentagon City Metro station in the east.
Some streetcar skeptics weren’t convinced of the economic development potential of streetcars versus buses. Others weren’t convinced that new development was necessarily a good thing.
“It is clear that the County Board’s goal here is not to put efficient transit on the Pike, your goal is to completely and massively redevelop the Pike,” said perennial county government critic Jim Hurysz.
“News flash folks, we could CUT commercial property taxes to invigorate the local economy rather than pay for a trolley,” said former Republican County Board candidate Mark Kelly, on Twitter.
By our count, there were 11 speakers in favor of the streetcar, and 12 against. The speeches went into the early morning hours, and the Board’s ultimate vote on the matter didn’t take place until around 1:30 a.m.
The Board voted 4-0 in favor of the streetcar. Libby Garvey, who’s been on the Board for about 4 months following a special election earlier this year, abstained. In announcing her abstention — saying she “didn’t have enough time” to fully consider the matter – Garvey stated she had significant reservations about the streetcar.
“I cannot see how a streetcar is anything more than a bus with tracks and overhead wires,” she said. “At the moment my common sense is telling me modern bus transit systems are actually better.”
In the end, other Board members disagreed, and voted essentially the same way they did in 2006, when the Board first approved a streetcar system for Columbia Pike.
“I see the… streetcar as the next generation of a regional rail system,” said Jay Fisette. ”To me this is an investment.”
The streetcar project is expected to cost $250 million. Of those costs, Arlington County will be responsible for 80 percent, while Fairfax County will be on the hook for 20 percent. Of Arlington’s share, officials are hoping successful grant applications will result in 30 percent being paid for by the federal government, with another 14 percent being paid by the state. Arlington County commercial and industrial taxpayers are expected to pay 56 percent of the costs.
Annual operating costs are estimated at between $22 and $26 million.
County staff said the cost of the streetcar line could be recouped via additional tax revenues attributable to streetcar-fueled development along the Pike. A “conservative estimate” of the tax boost suggests the county could collect $291 million in additional revenue over 30 years.
The Board’s vote — to accept an Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Assessment and adopt the streetcar as the preferred alternative — will pave the way for the County Manager to apply for federal New Starts/Small Starts transit funding. The application process is expected to begin in September.
Before considering the streetcar, the Board approved the sweeping Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, which is expected to bring more development and affordable housing to the Columbia Pike corridor.
It’s an important matter for Garvey, whose husband of 34 years died suddenly from a heart attack in 2008. Some of his tissue was donated, and Garvey says knowing he helped others in need helped her deal with the grief from his passing.
“It went to dozens of surgeries in many states across the nation and helped around 100 people… and it’s very good to know what a difference that makes,” Garvey said.
Garvey also mentioned how the relationship she developed with the Washington Regional Transplant Community helped her family “through a very difficult time.”
She then read the following proclamation on behalf of the board:
“WHEREAS nearly 2,000 people in the Washington, DC metropolitan area are currently waiting for a life saving organ transplant, and thousands more need a tissue transplant this year; and
WHEREAS every day 18 of the more than 112,000 Americans awaiting an organ transplant will die before they receive a second chance at life; and
WHEREAS, the Washington Regional Transplant Community is observing more than 25 years of educating Arlington County citizens about saying yes to donation, thereby giving the gift of live through organ, eye and tissue recovery; and
WHEREAS, Arlington County citizens can make their donation decision by either designating donation on their drivers licenses, or signing up at www.donatelifevirginia.org; and
WHEREAS, during Donate Life Month we honor our county’s eye, organ and tissue donors and their families, whose decision to share the gift of life through America’s donor program serves as a positive example for all our citizens.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mary Hughes Hynes, Chair of the Arlington County Board, Virginia, do hereby proclaim April 2012 as DONATE LIFE MONTH in Arlington County, and urge all citizens to sign up as organ, eye and tissue donors, to inform their family of their decision, and raise awareness of the important need for organ, eye and tissue donation in our community.
Libby Garvey officially resigned from the Arlington School Board this morning following her election to the Arlington County Board yesterday. That opens up Garvey’s seat to an appointee to be named by the School Board.
Per Virginia law, anybody interested in replacing Garvey on the School Board must be a qualified Arlington voter and must not be a School Board employee. Interested parties are asked to submit a resume and a letter of interest to the School Board by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11.
A public hearing on the School Board vacancy will be held on the evening of April 17. The appointment itself is scheduled to take place during the School Board meeting on April 26. The appointee won’t be in the unelected office for very long — Garvey’s term is up at the end of December and the seat will be up for grabs in November’s general election.
Garvey is set to be sworn in as a County Board member at 5:00 tonight. Like her appointed School Board successor, Garvey will have to run to keep her seat in the November general election.
Two out of the past three times the turnout of a County Board special election was below 19,000, a Republican ended up winning. This year, it’s looking unlikely that even 15,000 votes will be cast out of the pool of 122,882 active registered voters in Arlington.
“I think it’s probably going to end up maybe being 10 to 12 percent [turnout], and I may be overestimating that,” Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “Usually in a special election we get closer to 20 percent, but I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere near that this time.”
Though past experience would suggest that the low turnout might spell doom for Democratic candidate Libby Garvey, the fact that there’s both a Republican and a fiscally-conservative Green Party candidate in the race makes any attempts at prognostication difficult.
Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to rally more voters before the polls close at 7:00 tonight. Privately, they’re also hoping that the “anti-Democrat” vote splits between Republican Mark Kelly and Green candidate Audrey Clement.
Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman conceded that turnout is low, but said Democrats are cautiously optimistic.
“We are expecting a bit of an uptick in the afternoon, but it’s certainly going to remain low,” Lieberman said. “It’s hard to predict. When there’s very high turnout, our chances go up. When there’s low turnout, it’s much more of a question mark.”
“Certainly I think we are in for a relatively close election,” Lieberman continued. “We remain optimistic about Libby’s chances despite the low numbers.”
Here is the unedited response from Libby Garvey (D):
Like many ArlNow readers, I believe this is a pivotal time in Arlington. We are a vibrant, energetic community – without a doubt, Arlington is a great place to live and do business. But the years ahead present very real challenges and opportunities for our community as well as some very significant decision points for our community’s leaders.
The candidate who wins the March 27 special election will play a crucial role serving on the Board when Arlington faces critical decisions about how we manage change and opportunity in a time of limited resources. Our County Board must be clear about Arlington’s priorities and stay grounded in the fact that it serves you — the Arlington citizen. Our County Board’s priorities must be reflective of our community’s priorities.
While others make promises about improving our County, I have a record of accomplishment. My role in improving our public schools clearly demonstrates my ability to work effectively on an elected board to accomplish defined, measurable goals and objectives. As readers likely know, I have served the Arlington County School Board for more than 15 years, including five terms as Chair. I am proud of my School Board leadership and the work the Board has done to anticipate and adapt to the County’s changing landscape.
When I came to the Board in 1997, our capital program was a mess. Now, we have renovated and rebuilt almost every one of our schools, largely on time and on budget. Because projects were shovel-ready when the recession began in 2008, the Wakefield High School reconstruction project began earlier than initially thought possible, saving taxpayers nearly $30M. When completed in 2013, Wakefield will serve not only as a high school, but also as a valuable – and much needed — community resource.
The three candidates for Arlington County Board squared off last night at a forum hosted by the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association. Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, Democrat Libby Garvey and Republican Mark Kelly advanced cases for why they each should get voter support.
Garvey’s main push is for more communication and transparency in government.
“I think we’re having a little trouble keeping our priorities straight. Is it all about education, infrastructure, public safety? Or is it all about Artispheres and street cars and that sort of thing,” Garvey said. “I think we need to be very clear about our priorities and make them our core services.”
Kelly’s focus is on greater fiscal discipline. He’s also interested in getting the current board members to think outside the box.
“They talk a lot about the Arlington Way and including communities. But sometimes when the rubber meets the road, it’s a lot of talk,” said Kelly. “Someone needs to be presenting alternative plans and offering amendments even if they lose.”
Clement touted her fiscal responsibility as well. She distinguishes herself from Kelly by saying their ideologies are different, and cost reduction doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the welfare of residents. She advocates eliminating what she calls wasteful spending projects like Artisphere, the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center and the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. She said a bus system would provide the same service at one-fifth the cost of the streetcar’s estimated $250 million dollar price tag.
Kelly also stated opposition to the streetcar project. Garvey, on the other hand, wouldn’t offer a firm opinion on the idea. She did, however, express interest in examining expanded bus service instead. Like other issues raised throughout the night, the streetcar is something she said she “questions.”
“I’m not taking a stand on it right yet, but I have lots of questions about whether it makes sense for the amount of money that we need to put in,” Garvey said.
A topic referred to throughout the forum is the Board green-lighting the purchase of an office building in the Courthouse neighborhood for a homeless shelter. The candidates assert that regardless of whether or not a year-round homeless shelter a good idea, the process for approving the deal was faulty. Garvey, while again stating she has questions about the project, reiterated the need for transparency. She said although the board may have had good reasons for their decision, residents don’t like it.
The caucuses were held on Thursday and Saturday. Out of the 4,314 votes cast, 1,915 were cast for Garvey — more than twice the vote count of her closest opponent. In an email, Garvey expressed gratitude to her supporters and to the other candidates in the race.
“I’d like to thank the Arlington elected officials who endorsed me in this race: Senators Barbara Favola, Mary Margaret Whipple, and Patsy Ticer and School Board Members Abby Raphael and Emma Violand-Sanchez. Their assistance was critical in securing this victory,” she wrote. “I would especially like to thank the other candidates. It was a race between five well-qualified Arlington Democrats, and I’m particularly thankful for the kindness they showed me on the campaign trail.”
Garvey will now be the official Democratic nominee for Arlington County Board in the special election that’s being held on March 27. She will face Green Party candidate Audrey Clement and Republican Mark Kelly, who just announced his candidacy this past week.
“This County Board contest was one of the hardest fought in recent memory, featuring five great candidates from various constituencies in Arlington,” Arlington Democratic Chair Mike Lieberman said in a statement announcing the caucus results. “We are proud that Libby Garvey emerged from this caucus as our nominee. She has been an outstanding School Board Member, and we know she will make an excellent County Board Member as well. We look forward to committing our full party resources behind getting Libby elected on March 27.”
The final vote count, as reported by the Arlington County Democratic Committee:
- Libby Garvey — 1,915 votes
- Melissa Bondi — 966 votes
- Terron Sims — 922 votes
- Kim Klingler — 333 votes
- Peter Fallon — 178 votes
WaPo Endorses Garvey — The Washington Post has endorsed Arlington School Board member Libby Garvey in the Democratic County Board caucuses being held tonight and Saturday. The Post said Garvey and Melissa Bondi “stand out” in the five-way race, but lauded Garvey as “cool, competent and a quick study” while expressing reservations about Bondi’s tax troubles. [Washington Post]
Bondi Statement on Accusations — County Board candidate Melissa Bondi has responded to new allegations against her. The accusations, largely spread by anonymous blog commenters, insinuate that Bondi illegally voted twice in recent elections — once in Virginia and once in Ohio, where she used to live. Bondi says the basis of the accusations — Ohio voting records referencing someone with her exact full name and middle initial — is a result of the fact that her mother is also named Melissa M. Bondi. [Bondi for County Board]
D.C. United Practices at Long Bridge Park — D.C. United held its first outdoor practice of training camp yesterday on the synthetic turf soccer fields at Long Bridge Park. The team practiced at the new county park, near Crystal City, due to poor turf conditions at RFK Stadium. [Washington Post]
Moran Statement on Pipeline Decision — Rep. Jim Moran (D) is reacting to the Obama administration’s decision to reject the a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline. Moran said, in a statement: “I applaud President Obama’s decision to deny the application for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Our collective national interests, whether economic, environmental, or national security, would be better served by reducing our addiction to fossil fuels… Building a pipeline to tap one of the dirtiest sources of fuel and the few temporary jobs it might create are not in our nation’s best long term interests.” [Office of Rep. Jim Moran]
Donna Gets Job in Arizona — Disgraced local chef Roberto Donna is trying to turn over a new leaf in Arizona. The 50-year-old has taken a job as a chef at an Italian restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office, which is trying to collect more than $150,000 in back restaurant taxes from Donna, has asked the Commonwealth’s Attorney to look into whether the new gig would pay enough to allow Donna to increase his court-ordered payments on the debt. [Washington Post]
Favola Endorses Garvey — State Senator-elect Barbara Favola has endorsed School Board member Libby Garvey in the special election race to fill her former County Board seat. Calling Garvey “a proven leader,” Favola said in a statement that Garvey had the skills, experience and values to be an effective County Board member. “Libby will work to protect our core services including human services, affordable housing, and public schools as we continue to grow and change as a community,” Favola said.
Moran to Face Primary Challenge — Rep. Jim Moran (D) is facing a potential primary challenge this year. Fairfax County resident Will Radle says he will challenge the long-time incumbent in this year’s Democratic primary. One reason Radle cited for challenging Moran: “the congressman’s ineffectiveness securing more take-home pay for federal employees.” (On Friday, however, Moran issued a statement calling for federal employees to receive a larger cost-of-living increase than the 0.5 percent raise proposed by the Obama administration.) Radle has previously run for office as an Independent Green and a Republican. [Alexandria Times]
Clinic Director Named ‘Washingtonian of the Year’ — Nancy Pallesen, the executive director of the Arlington Free Clinic, has been named one of Washingtonian magazine’s “Washingtonians of the Year” for 2012. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
Garvey Announces For County Board — Arlington school board member Libby Garvey, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate earlier this year, will formally announce next month that she’s running for Senator-elect Barbara Favola’s old seat on the County Board. In an email to supporters, Garvey also said that she will not run for re-election to the school board when her term is up in 2012.
Pike Streetcar Project Moves Forward — The Columbia Pike streetcar project is still on track. “We’re on a schedule to try to get a project going, and we don’t want this to take as long as Dulles rail,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman told WAMU.
Arlington Buildings Recognized — The Northern Virginia chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, held its annual awards ceremony yesterday. Among the Arlington winners was the 900 North Glebe Road building in Ballston, which won for “Best Building, 4 Stories and Above;” George Mason University Founders Hall in Virginia Square, which won for “Best Building, Institutional Facility over $20 Million;” and 2800 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, which won for “Best Interiors, Tenant Space 15,000-49,999 square feet.”
Lawyer: Bullying Led to Hawaii Shooting — The lawyer for an Christopher Deedy, a State Department special agent who lives in Arlington, said that Deedy was protecting others when he fatally shot a 23-year-old man in a Waikiki McDonald’s. [Associated Press]
Earlier this week, we asked the three Democratic candidates for the 30th District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Here is the unedited response from Libby Garvey:
Why You Should Vote for Libby Garvey:
- Actions speak louder than words. All three of us candidates say pretty much the same things, but here’s the difference: while they’ve talked about getting things done, I’m the only one to have repeatedly turned those values into action. My entire life has been about public service, from serving in the Peace Corps in the early ‘70’s to my past 14 years on the Arlington County School Board. On the school board, I’ve helped make Arlington Public Schools one of the top-ranked school systems in the country. We’ve also closed the achievement gap significantly, will soon establish access to pre-school for all at-risk children, and rebuilt or renovated our schools on time and on budget. I’ve also served on the regional Council of Governments and played key roles on many statewide councils and group, two of which I was appointed to by Governors Warner and Kaine.
- Life experience. I have learned many hard lessons in my 60 years. But I’ve spent my life helping others, first as a waitress to help my family during lean times and later after college as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. Today, as a cancer survivor, grandmother, and widow, I’m more ready than ever to serve as state senator. There is a wisdom and understanding that can only be gained through time and experience. If all our legislators had such wisdom, we’d have a better government.
- An independent, true Progressive voice. I am truly independent and beholden to no one but my voters and continuing Senator Patsy Ticer’s legacy. While my campaign raised the most money in the last quarter, I have received no money from the lobbyists or corporations who normally fund campaigns in Virginia. That means we will owe this seat to no one but ourselves. Only then will we be able to have the true progressive voice we need in Richmond to fight back against the extreme right-wing priorities of Ken Cuccinelli and Wisconsin-style labor policies, uranium mining, car title lenders and other corporate interests that seek to undermine our community.
- Some endorsements really matter. I am honored to have many endorsements, but the support and endorsement of Senator Patsy Ticer and Supervisor Gerry Hyland mean the most to me. Senator Ticer and Supervisor Hyland know the 30th District better than just about anyone. They have cared for and well served the citizens of this district for decades. They know all the candidates well. They support me. I hope you will too.
- Finally, we need more women in Richmond. Gender shouldn’t be a deciding point, but everyone should be concerned about the lack of women at all levels of government. Women are over 50% of the population in Virginia, yet only about 17% of the delegates in Virginia’s House are women. With the retirement of Senator Ticer and Senator Whipple, we could be down to 7 or fewer women out of 40 senators depending on this election. While Republicans in Virginia are consistently waging their war on women’s rights, we need more women in Richmond to shape the debate and ensure that our rights are upheld. We need to worry less about scoring political points and focus on getting things done.
Your reason? If this doesn’t convince you to vote for me on the 23rd and you’d like to talk about my campaign or an issue that concerns you, please call my office at 571-312-7260 or send an email to email@example.com. Talking with voters about issues is what I most enjoy and I look forward to doing just that for many years to come.
Local Real Estate Market Lags — While the average home sales price in Arlington was up 4.6 percent for the first half of 2011, the total volume of sales was down 19 percent compared to 2010. [Sun Gazette]
Garvey ‘Home’ in Alexandria, Arlington — State Senate candidate and Arlington School Board member Libby Garvey is trying to play up her local chops to both Arlington and Alexandria Democrats. “Garvey, a resident of Fairlington, considers Alexandria to be her neighborhood,” the Huntington-Belle Haven Patch reported yesterday. Meanwhile, Garvey told the Arlington County Democratic Committee last night that after debates in Fairfax and Alexandria, “it’s really nice to be home tonight.”
Shirlington Jazz Festival Starts Tonight — Shirlington’s outdoor summer jazz festival starts tonight. Local jazz group The Oscillators will perform at the Village at Shirlington Plaza from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The festival runs on Thursday nights through August 25. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Shirlington Hilton Garden Inn Gets a Chef — The Shirlington Hilton Garden Inn (4271 Campbell Avenue), which has been trying to lure local diners to its Great American Grill restaurant, recently hired a new chef. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Libby Garvey and Del. Adam Ebbin, both trailing Rob Krupicka in fundraising, picked up some endorsements yesterday in the Democratic primary battle for the 30th District state Senate seat.
Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County School Board, received the endorsement of Fairfax County School Board member Dan Storck and Fairfax County Mt. Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland.
“Libby Garvey offers a unique combination of vision and a proven track record of getting things done,” Hyland said in a statement. “Libby is exactly the style of leader we need working for us in Richmond.”
Ebbin, meanwhile picked up endorsements from three Arlington County officials: County Board member Jay Fisette, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and Treasurer Frank O’Leary.
“When Arlington needed a public defender’s office to ensure the fairness of our judicial system, we turned to Adam Ebbin to help us secure the funding,” Fisette said in a statement. “When we needed him, he delivered, and will continue to do so in the Senate.”
Krupicka, an Alexandria City Councilman, has previously received endorsements from Alexandria officials like Mayor Bill Euille.
Krupicka’s biggest donor is businessman Robert Henry Duggar, who contributed $5,000 to his campaign. Ebbin’s biggest donor is the pro-immigrant-rights Laborers’ International Union of North America, which also contributed $5,000. Garvey’s biggest donor is the campaign fund of Sen. Patsy Ticer, who is retiring after 16 years of representing the 30th District. Ticer for Virginia Senate has contributed $10,000 to Garvey’s campaign.
On the Republican side, Alexandria businessman Michael Maibach
appears to be gearing up for a run (see below). Maibach told us he was thinking about entering the race, but so far hasn’t formally announced his candidacy. Nonetheless, “Mike Maibach for Senate” has $10,000 cash on hand after floating a large campaign loan. Meanwhile, a web site — mikemaibach.com — is currently under construction.
The 30th District currently includes much of South Arlington, as well as most of Alexandria and a portion of Fairfax County, although state legislators are still in the process of drawing new district boundaries. See the fundraising totals for local House of Delegates races on the Blue Virginia blog.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — Maibach says he is no longer planning on running, but notes that he has not made a final decision on the matter.
“As of right now my intention is not to be a candidate,” he told ARLnow.com. “I’m hoping the party will find somebody else.”
Yesterday Arlington School Board Chair Libby Garvey sent out an email blasting opponent Rob Krupicka, an Alexandria City Council member, for the Council’s stance on the relocation of thousands of military jobs to the Mark Center development on I-395. In a letter dated August 13, 2008, posted on Garvey’s web site, an Alexandria official writes that the Council supports what was then still a proposal for the military to use the Mark Center site.
Garvey argues that the lack of Metro accessibility and the likelihood of traffic congestion at the site makes for “a terrible situation.”
“I join with Sen. Webb, Sen. Warner, Rep. Moran and Rep. Connolly in their request to the Defense Department that they delay fully staffing the [Mark Center] facility until traffic mitigation efforts are completed,” Garvey wrote. She then pounced on Kupricka.
“I believe strongly that we should judge public officials by the decisions they make,” she said. “In this case, Rob Krupicka, one of my opponents for the Senate seat currently held by Patsy Ticer, made a terrible decision by giving the DOD a green light to locate the BRAC building at the Mark Center site. His candidacy for the Virginia Senate, like that of all of us running for that important position, should be evaluated according to the quality of our decisions.”
Garvey, Krupicka and Del. Adam Ebbin are running for Ticer’s 30th District state Senate seat.
Krupicka responded with an email of his own, accusing Garvey of “distorting” his “record of leadership on transit and transportation for our community.” The email’s subject line: “Today this race got nasty.”
“This is a race between three good Democrats,” Krupicka wrote. “We’ve worked together over the years, and I’ve considered both opponents friends. So I’m disappointed that Libby decided to go negative.”
The email concludes with a call to action: “P.S. Let’s not let mudslinging stop us from making our community stronger. Can you contribute $25, $50, $100 or $250 today to help us bring new ideas to move us forward today?”