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Va. Gov. Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Winter Storm

by ARLnow.com | February 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 7,533 views | No Comments

Snow forecast map 2/11/14

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has declared a state of emergency ahead of the winter storm that’s expected to dump 8-10 inches of snow on Arlington tomorrow (Wednesday) night through Thursday.

The press release from McAuliffe’s office:

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency today, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth starting tomorrow.

In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia.

“Now is the time for Virginia to get ready for this storm,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This state of emergency declaration will empower the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and our electric and cable utilities to prepare for a storm that is predicted to create power outages and significant travel challenges across the Commonwealth over the next few days.

“Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations. Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out.”

To prepare for the storm:

  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center has additional response team members to coordinate the state’s response to the storm.
  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments. 
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation is treating roads in some parts of the Commonwealth, and crews will be out in full force for snow removal as the storm arrives. Roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.  VDOT has adequate supplies for this storm.  
  • The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty to support emergency response operations.  Virginia Guard personnel will be alerted to begin staging and expect to be in place Wednesday so they are able to rapidly respond if needed. 
  • The Virginia State Police will extend shifts and have additional troopers on patrol to expedite response times to traffic crashes and disabled motorists. 

Citizens should:

  • Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
  • A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
  • Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
  • Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • Only travel if absolutely necessary. Roads can become very hazardous very quickly. Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave. Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going to www.511Virginia.gov
  • Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
  • Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
  • If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit www.211virginia.org. When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
  • Get winter weather preparedness information at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 15, 2014 at 8:30 am | 1,853 views | No Comments

Dense fog in Shirlington (photo courtesy @SBDSLLC)

Church to Drop K-8 School – St. Charles Borromeo Church, near Clarendon, has announced that it will be closing its private K-8 school after this school year due to low enrollment. Only 117 students are currently enrolled at the school, about half of its capacity. “No Catholic school can survive with such low numbers,” said the church’s pastor, in a letter to parents. The church will retain its popular preschool program. [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Surge in Students With Food Allergies — Statistics from Arlington Public Schools shows that the number of students with reported food allergies has nearly doubled since the 2008-09 school year. About 1,150 students, or 5 percent of the student body, have reported food allergies to the school system. [Sun Gazette]

The Fire That Almost Destroyed Rosslyn — In 1925, a gasoline-fueled fire nearly destroyed all of Rosslyn. Firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze narrowly escaped harm when they leaped from a gasoline tank just before it exploded. [Ghosts of DC]

State Appointment for Retired Arlington Cop — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), who was sworn in over the weekend, has appointed Tonya Vincent as Deputy Secretary of Public Safety. Vincent served 22 years with the Arlington County Police Department, where she retired as a captain.

Photo courtesy @SBDSLLC

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | November 19, 2013 at 8:45 am | 802 views | No Comments

Playground equipment at Woodlawn Park

Looking at Campaign Sign Removal — Arlington County Board members may consider asking state transportation officials for authority to remove improperly placed campaign signs from state roads. Virginia law prohibits campaign signs from being placed on state roads, but it also prohibits anyone besides state officials from removing them unless the jurisdiction has a deal with the state. [Sun Gazette]

McAuliffe Adds to His Cabinet — Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) made appointments yesterday for several of his key cabinet positions. He named Paul Reagan as chief of staff, Suzette Denslow as deputy chief of staff, Ric Brown as secretary of finance and Levar Stoney as secretary of the commonwealth. Reagan had previously served as chief of staff for Rep. Jim Moran (D) and Sen. Jim Webb (D). [Washington Post]

Library Displays Rare Kennedy Newspapers — The Arlington Central Library has put on a display a number of rare newspapers from when John F. Kennedy was president. Some of the papers highlight Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago this month. The exhibit also includes papers from Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 and his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. [Arlington Public Library]

How Ballston was Named — Do you know how the Ballston neighborhood got its name? It goes back to the Ball brothers who owned more than 250 acres of land in the area back in the 1700s. [Ghosts of DC]

Gov’t Shutdown Helped Arlington Dems ‘Export Votes’

by ARLnow.com | November 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm | 730 views | No Comments

Barrett Elementary School polling placeIn the Virginia gubernatorial race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by a margin of about 56,000 votes. Arlington, meanwhile, contributed about 33,000 surplus Democratic votes to that total.

Arlington’s importance to securing Democratic victories in statewide races cannot be underestimated, county Treasurer Frank O’Leary told the party faithful at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.

“We are exporting votes that are desperately needed… throughout Virginia,” he said, lauding the party’s get-out-the-vote efforts, which helped lead to McAuliffe’s 72 percent to 22 percent shellacking over Cuccinelli in Arlington.

O’Leary said the nearly 67,000 votes cast in the governor’s race in Arlington were a record, smashing the previous record of about 57,000 and pointing to an overall upward trend in overall turnout for statewide, congressional and presidential races in Arlington. (Turnout in purely local elections — County Board, etc. — remains flat.)

Frank O'LearyEspecially important to the get-out-the-vote efforts of Arlington Democrats, O’Leary said, was absentee voting.

Arlingtonians cast about 7,250 absentee ballots this year, a record for a non-presidential year. The previous record was 7,077, set in 2006. While some of the increase can be attributed to a broader upward trend in absentee voting, O’Leary said the federal government shutdown also played a significant role.

“An interesting thing happened in early October,” O’Leary said. “A whole lot of people were furloughed… and they were mad as hell and weren’t going to talk it any more.”

“My theory that the absentee vote was swollen by angry federal workers, using their unappreciated furlough to come in and vote, may be sustained by the fact that McAuliffe received 79.5% of their vote versus 70.6% in the 52 precincts,” O’Leary said in a subsequent email. “Thus, McAuliffe garnered 650 more votes at the absentee level than might have been expected based on his performance in the precincts.”

The Libertarian candidate running for governor in Virginia, Robert Sarvis, captured about 6.5 percent of the vote statewide, and about 5.8 percent in Arlington. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of some Virginia political watchers, who argued that Sarvis largely siphoned off votes that would have otherwise gone to Cuccinelli, O’Leary said he has reason to believe Sarvis actually hurt McAuliffe in Arlington.

“In my opinion, Mr. Sarvis actually cost our gubernatorial candidates some votes,” he said.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | November 7, 2013 at 8:50 am | 566 views | No Comments

Sunset on 11/6/13 as seen from Pentagon City

County Seeks “Great Design” Nominations — Arlington County’s is accepting submissions for great design in new construction, renovations, additions or adaptive re-use projects. It’s part of the biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, which recognizes people who do design work that enhances the county’s built environment. Applications can be submitted online until 5:00 p.m. on December 2. An independent panel of architecture, urban design, historic preservation, public art and landscape design professionals will examine the nominations and select several winners. Previous winners include Northside Social, the Reed School/Westover Library, and the Gleason/Pries residence. [Arlington County]

Preservation Arlington Highlights Bruner Home — This week, Preservation Arlington looks at the Brumer house in its “Preserved and Developed” series. In 1934, Dr. Roland Bruner purchased the property at 2018 S. Glebe Road in the Nauck neigbhorhood. Only two black doctors had been practicing in Arlington at that time, so Brumer opened a private practice in his house to help serve the black community. He worked up until his death in 1978, and a historical marker now stands near his home. [Preservation Arlington]

Close Election Could Benefit VA DREAM Act — Fresh off a victory in Tuesday’s election, Del. Alfonso Lopez plans to make enactment of the DREAM Act his number one priority for the Virginia General Assembly session. It appears the narrow victories of Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) and Del. Thomas Rust (R) may help the prospects for such legislation. Lopez and Rust had combined similar pieces of legislation last year that made it through the House Committee on Education on a 17-4 vote, but stalled because the House Appropriations Committee did not act on the measure before the session ended. If the bill makes it to McAuliffe, he is expected to sign it into law. [Sun Gazette]

Rosslyn BID Collects and Donates Marine Corps Marathon Clothing — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) collected and redistributed 968 pounds of clothes to the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). The clothes were items such as hats, gloves, sweatshirts and pants that runners shed while passing through Rosslyn during the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27. The BID had the clothing cleaned and gave it to A-SPAN to distribute to people in need.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | November 5, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,343 views | No Comments

Bluemont bell

The Daily Show Takes on VA Election – Last night Jon Stewart and the folks at The Daily Show aired a segment mocking what they portrayed as slim pickings for gubernatorial choices on Virginia’s ballot. The reporter said of Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, “apparently neither candidate is fit to lead.”  [The Daily Show]

County Launches Urban Design Speaker Series – Arlington County will kick off its RoundAbouts speaker series on Wednesday, November 13. The series is hosted by the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development and is designed to facilitate discussion about thoughtful design and how to shape Arlington’s future. The first speaker will be Christopher B. Leinberger, a Brookings fellow, developer, researcher and author, who will speak on the topic ”The Urbanization of the Suburbs: Why Arlington is the National Model and Where Do We Go Next.”  [Arlington County]

MST3K Night at the Planetarium – A special Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation will take place at the David M. Brown Planeterium (1426 N. Quincy Street) on Saturday, November 16. Attendees will get to poke fun at a comet-themed “B movie” from the 1970s. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. and tickets cost $3 for children, $5 for seniors and planetarium members, and $7 for adults. [Friends of the Planetarium]

Obama Stumps for McAuliffe at Washington-Lee

by Ethan Rothstein | November 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 2,446 views | No Comments

President Barack Obama was at Washington-Lee High School this afternoon (Sunday) campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe two days before election day.

Obama, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and actress Kerry Washington, star of the TV show “Scandal,” were among the speakers. Thousands of spectators crowded the Washington-Lee gymnasium to watch the event, and the line to get in curved around N. Stafford Street onto Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street.

Obama spoke passionately for about 20 minutes, lambasting Congressional Republicans for the government shutdown and praising McAuliffe’s stances on transportation and education, but not before he came out to a roar of cheers and started his speech by exclaiming, “Hello, Washington-Lee!”

“An extreme faction of the Republican Party have shown again and again and again that they’re going to hijack the party, and the country, and the economy, and bring Congress to an absolute halt unless they get 100 percent of what they want,” Obama said. “This isn’t just speculation, this happened just last month for the first government shutdown in 17 years.”

There was no mention of the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which was the subject of most of the signs Republican demonstrators were sporting outside the high school while attendees waited in line.

Obama spoke minimally of McAulffe’s opponent, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, not mentioning him by name, simply referring to him as “the other guy,” but McAuliffe highlighted a recent interview Cuccinelli gave on Fox News, when he said he “perfectly happy” that voters in Virginia have “short memories” when it comes to the government shutdown.

“He’s saying that he wants Virginians to forget the shutdown because he wants us to forget all the things he did during the government shutdown,” McAuliffe said, “because as you know it was Ken Cuccinelli that brought Ted Cruz to Richmond. We’re not going to forget that.”

McAuliffe highlighted his policy toward reinvesting in community colleges, and attacked Cuccinelli’s position on the Silver Line.

Warner introduced McAuliffe — whom he has known for more than three decades since the two worked in the Jimmy Carter administration — and highlighted the importance of the election.

“Elections have consequences. Look where I work,” he said, before criticizing the shutdown. “Terry will fight to make sure every child in Virginia has a fair shake and a fair shot.”

Washington, a surprise appearance on the program for many in attendance, drew huge applause when she went up to speak less than 24 hours after hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing as Michelle Obama in a sketch.

“We are so blessed to live in a country where we have a voice in our government,” she said. “On Tuesday, get out there and vote. We did it last year … let’s just do it again on Tuesday.”

Moran was one of the first to speak in the program, right after Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents most of Fairfax County. He, like nearly every other speaker, implored those in the audience to volunteer for the campaign in the final days before the election. He also took the chance to skewer the Republicans for their policies.

“If you want to move forward, you shift into D for Democrat,” he said. “If you want to back up, go in reverse, you put in R for Republican. So what we’re going to do on Tuesday is to move forward, with Terry McAuliffe at the wheel and with Ralph Northam and Mark Herring sitting alongside him”

Young Republicans to Hand Out Mock Obamacare Flyer Sunday

by Ethan Rothstein | November 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | 2,118 views | No Comments

Mock Obamacare flyer Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans plan to distributeWhen President Barack Obama stumps for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Arlington Sunday, young Republicans will be handing out a mock flyer telling people their health insurance has been terminated.

The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans will be outside Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) Sunday afternoon when Obama plans to campaign with McAuliffe, two days before Election Day (Nov. 5).

The flyer, which has a red, faux-stamp “TERMINATED” at the top, warns that many Americans have had their policies cancelled or made more expensive after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It also reminds potential voters that McAuliffe has supported the healthcare law during his campaign.

Democratic groups dispute some of the claims about health insurance terminations and cost increases.

McAuliffe is the Democrats’ candidate for governor, running against Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.

The Right Note: Terry McAuliffe’s Top Nine ‘Qualifications’ for Governor

by Ethan Rothstein | October 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm | 1,005 views | No Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark Kelly

9. Dollars Before Dorothy. McAuliffe left his sobbing wife and newborn baby in the car on the way home from the hospital to attend a DNC fundraiser. But, hey, it was a million bucks.

8. Everyone Fudges Their Resume. McAuliffe pointed to Franklin Pellets as a successful green energy venture. Except the facility still sits dormant.

7. Everyone Fudges Their Resume (Part 2). McAuliffe claimed his company, GreenTech Automotive, was creating hundreds of jobs here in America under his watch. Except that it hasn’t.

6. What Didn’t He Know. . . Speaking of GreenTech, Governor Kaine’s administration rejected economic development assistance for the company because of concerns it looked like a cash-for-visas scheme. McAuliffe moved the planned plant, which has not been built, to Mississippi. The SEC began an investigation into GreenTech earlier this year as a cash-for-visas scheme. McAuliffe claims to have no knowledge of it.

5. . . . and When Didn’t He Know It. After news reports about his investment in a scheme to steal the identities of the terminally ill, McAuliffe claimed to know nothing about it.

4. Believes Money Grows on Trees. . . McAuliffe believes Medicaid expansion is free money for Virginia. Setting aside the fact that Medicaid expansion is essentially “paid for” by Medicare cuts, it is true the next governor would be able to expand Medicaid with little impact on the state budget. However, while the federal match is at 100 percent now, the state share will phase in to 10 percent beginning in 2017. In order to meet the 10 percent match, Virginia will need to raise taxes, or other priorities like education and transportation will be squeezed out of Virginia’s budget. And, with a growing $17 trillion national debt, it is unlikely the federal match will remain at 90 percent for very long.

3. . . . and Obamacare is Working as Promised. No one is a bigger cheerleader for Obamacare than the former DNC Chairman. McAuliffe ignored basic economics which undercut the law’s two big selling points: if you like your health care plan, you can keep it; and your premiums will go down. McAuliffe’s campaign website issues page still claims exchanges will “lower costs” despite all evidence to the contrary.

2. His “Expertise” on Virginia. One of McAuliffe’s transportation priorities was to build a “four lane” a highway that is already four lanes. With no experience in Virginia government, McAuliffe will need on-the-job training to be governor. Cuccinelli, on the other hand, can hit the ground running and keep doing things like this.

And the number one Terry McAuliffe qualification is . . .

1. Has a Plan for Getting Things Done. While offering no specific policy proposals, McAuliffe told the Northern Virginia TechPAC board his secret to being governor – invite everyone out for drinks. The board endorsed Cuccinelli because he actually offered serious, detail-oriented responses to their questions.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

Obama to Campaign for McAuliffe in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | October 30, 2013 at 9:35 am | 2,783 views | No Comments

President Obama addresses students and parents at Washington-Lee High School

President Obama will come to Washington-Lee High School on Sunday to campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

The rally will start early Sunday afternoon. Tickets to the event are being distributed to the public on a first-come, first-served basis starting today (Wednesday) at noon at the following locations:

  • Democratic Party of Virginia Arlington Office (2050 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 200)
  • Democratic Party of Virginia Alexandria Office (618 N Washington Street)
  • Democratic Party of Virginia Springfield Office (6354 Springfield Plaza)
  • Democratic Party of Virginia Fairfax City Office (11202 Lee Hwy)

This is not the first time President Obama has held an event at Washington-Lee. Last May, the president spoke to a more than a thousand Washington-Lee students in the school’s gymnasium while pushing Congress to act on extending federally-subsidized student loans.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, is facing Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the race for the governor’s mansion. Election day is this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5.

File photo

The Right Note: Unanswered Questions

by Mark Kelly | October 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 769 views | No Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyTerry McAuliffe finally released a summary of his 2012 tax returns. The release came on the heels of reports a company McAuliffe invested in was stealing the identities of the terminally ill.

McAuliffe claims he was a “passive investor in a life insurance annuity pool,” but the lawyer for the convicted Rhode Island estate planner Joseph Caramadre said investors knew he was exploiting a loophole to give investors a portion of the death benefit. If so, most of us would ask questions. Did you know what type of investment you had made? How and when did you become a passive investor in such a scheme? What type of people would you be connected to who would steer you to this type of shady investment?

The McAuliffe campaign did not release the sources of his $9.5 million income for 2012. So, valid questions remain about how much McAuliffe profited from the aforementioned identity theft scheme or from GreenTech Automotive. GreenTech, you may recall, is under investigation into whether it was a cash-for-visas scheme.

No one except Terry McAuliffe knows for sure how much he knew about alleged wrongdoing either situation. In GreenTech’s case, we know McAuliffe has portrayed himself as a hands on “jobs creator” — or what, in reality, turned out to be a “virtually no jobs” creator. If McAuliffe was actively involved in GreenTech as he claims, he must know a lot more than he is saying publicly.

Quite frankly, the McAuliffe campaign believes he is going to win on November 5th. And, if the polls are correct, the belief may be well-founded. So, he has clearly made a strategic decision to try and run out the clock on this storyline. But, these are serious questions about the business dealings of a man who wants to be our governor and who says he wants to create jobs.

Before election day, it would be nice to know what Terry McAuliffe did know and when did he know it? My advice: don’t hold your breath waiting for the answers.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

The Right Note: Does One Endorsement Matter?

by Mark Kelly | September 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 483 views | No Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyLate last week, Terry McAuliffe lost the endorsement of a pro-business technology PAC here in Northern Virginia. After state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32) and others tried unsuccessfully to intervene on his behalf, with what amounted to threats of retaliation, the truth came about about the rationale behind the endorsement.

According to a Washington Post report, “. . . Cuccinelli had detailed responses to questions in candidate interviews, three board members said, while McAuliffe was uninformed and superficial . . .”

The Post story continued,

“He (McAuliffe) didn’t want to get pinned down to any details. He didn’t give any details.”

And.

Two people present said that in response to a question about how he’d accomplish his goals as governor, McAuliffe told the PAC board that as an Irish Catholic he’d be adept at taking people out for drinks and doing whatever it takes to get things done.“

And.

Cuccinelli, by contrast, the person said, “was precise. He was thoughtful. He thought through all the issues. He had a clear position on all those issues, and he didn’t agree with the council on all the issues.”

To top it off, McAuliffe said, “I am not going to read every bill when I’m governor. I’m going to hire people to read them for me.”

So, to be clear, McAuliffe walked into an important interview with only vague ideas for what he wanted to do as governor. He had no clearly thought out positions on the issues that mattered to the people he was meeting with. He had no desire to read or understand legislation that would be up for his consideration. And, his fall back position was to invite people over for drinks.

Yet, his campaign was apparently shocked that he would not receive the endorsement. So much so in fact, that they made a desperate attempt to strong arm the organization to change its mind by saying they would be unwelcome in Democrat offices in Richmond.

It is fairly well established that McAuliffe’s claims about his business success with Franklin Pellets and GreenTech Automotive have little basis in reality. GreenTech is particularly egregious since McAuliffe claimed to have done so much, but when asked about why they were under SEC investigation seemed to know so little.

The bottom line is that McAuliffe’s qualifications as a “pro-business Democrat” were threatened by losing this endorsement. While one endorsement may not matter in the ultimate outcome on election day, it shows Terry McAuliffe’s “I’m not Ken Cuccinelli” campaign is starting to wear thin.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

McAuliffe, Cuccinelli to Appear at Energy Forum in Arlington

by Ethan Rothstein | August 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 684 views | No Comments

Terry McAuliffe and Ken CuccinelliVirginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will appear at George Mason University’s Arlington campus next week to discuss the future of energy policy in the Commonwealth.

The event, called the Virginia Energy and Opportunity Forum, will be held Thursday, Aug. 29 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Founders Hall (3351 N. Fairfax Drive) and is free and open to the public, as long as audience members reserve a seat. From a press release:

From the debate over offshore drilling, to the future of coal and the opportunities presented by renewable energy, Virginia’s next Governor will have a lot of important decisions to make when it comes to energy policy.

The public is invited to attend Virginia Energy & Opportunity Forum... for the chance to to hear directly from both of their gubernatorial candidates – Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) — as they lay out their respective visions for Virginia’s energy future.

This forum is sponsored by Consumer Energy Alliance. Welcome and candidate introduction by David Hart, George Mason University Acting Senior Associate Dean, School of Public Policy.

According to GMU spokeswoman Toni Andrews, the candidates will be taking questions from two different panels and will appear separately.

The Right Note: You Can Ring My Bell

by Mark Kelly | August 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm | 769 views | No Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark Kelly

Last week, my counterpart on the left wrote at length about Ken Cuccinelli (R) un-ringing a bell.

As Peter should know, the gifts Cuccinelli received were legal under Virginia law — even if ill-advised. He also should know that Cuccinelli called for an immediate special session of the General Assembly to debate and pass new ethics rules on gifts. Cuccinelli’s position is we should address this issue now.

What is Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe’s (D) position on ethics reform? McAuliffe has said he supports a $100 gift cap, but he opposes a special session on ethics — calling it a “gimmick.”

It has been widely reported that McAuliffe’s former company, GreenTech Automotive, is under SEC investigation. One question mark is what happened to $45.5 million invested in what Virginia economic development officials under Gov. Kaine were concerned was a cash-for-visas scheme? If McAuliffe did not unduly benefit, why is he refusing to match Cuccinelli’s tax return disclosures?

And, what if we take a look at the gift disclosures of our other elected officials who served in Richmond and evaluate the gifts under the “Peter’s Take” lens?

For example, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not cut a refund check to the wealthy donor who gave him the use of a Caribbean vacation home for $15,000 in 2005 when he was running for governor. It is similar to the gifts Cuccinelli received. And, Kaine can afford it, right? Will Peter take on this gift in next week’s column?

One source of gift-giving to our local delegation also sticks out like a sore thumb. You may recall that the Signature Theater recently received a taxpayer-funded, $250,000 bailout for its unpaid taxes. All the while, Signature has been handing out free tickets to our local delegation in Richmond.

From 2008 to 2012, free theater tickets for the amounts indicated were given to the following local lawmakers:

  • Adam Ebbin (D): $1,523
  • Patrick Hope (D): $860 (3 years)
  • Bob Brink (D): $795
  • Barbara Favola (D): $367 (2 years)

Under the Peter’s Take standard, should these elected officials who received free theater tickets from Signature cut a refund check to the Treasurer’s Office in Arlington? It would certainly help offset the cost of the bailout by $3,545.

And, any member of the all-Democrat County Board should probably reimburse the treasury for any free tickets they received from Signature as well, right? They can afford it, right?

Hopefully Peter will take on Democrats on gifts and ethics as well.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

Democrats Push Education, Bash GOP Ticket in Annual Fundraiser

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm | 814 views | No Comments

(Updated at 1:45 p.m.)

Arlington Democrats hosted the entire statewide Democratic ticket at their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner Saturday night.

The party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general give passionate campaign speeches. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, arrived late but closed the event with the keynote address, touching on the effects sequestration will continue to have on Virginia’s economy, noting Arlington’s place as a hub for defense jobs, in particular.

“The stakes have never been higher,” McAuliffe told the crowd of several hundred local political leaders and donors. “You want a governor who knows the ups and downs of business.”

Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman delivered the first speech of the event, held annually at the Westin in Ballston, chronicling the past 12 months in Arlington politics.

“We have had an amazing last year,” said Lieberman, who is in his final year as chair of the local party. “We went eight-for-eight in general elections on three different election days.”

The dinner — which cost $125 a plate for the general public and $250 for VIPs — is the organization’s biggest fundraising event. The Dems also raised money with a silent auction during the dinner.

Through June 30, McAuliffe has raised almost $12.7 million, compared to almost $7.7 million for his Republican opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Federal Election Commission.  Lieutenant governor candidate, state Sen. Ralph Northam, has raised more than $2 million compared to $390,683 raised by his GOP opponent, E.W. Jackson, and Attorney General candidate Sen. Mark Herring has raised $1.6 million to Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain’s $1.2 million.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) gave a fiery speech after Lieberman, lambasting the Republicans in the House of Representatives who he said have been obstructionists, hurting the country by blocking meaningful legislation.

“There’s always going to be people who want plunder villages for their own benefit,” Moran said.

Herring and Northam spoke in more tempered tones than Moran and McAuliffe, emphasizing their strongest issues — Herring on the social issues that have come to the fore in Cuccinelli’s tenure as Attorney General, Northam on the Chesapeake Bay and healthcare.

“I will be a bulwark against the radicalization of Mark Obenshain, E.W. Jackson and Ken Cuccinelli,” Herring said.

Monday afternoon, the Republican Party of Virginia issued a response to the Democrats’ speeches.

“It’s only fitting Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring all landed on the ticket together, because they support higher taxes, more spending and burdensome regulations,” said Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia. “With liberals like McAuliffe, Northam and Herring wanting to usher in a new era of job-killing tax hikes, Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican Party are advocating pro-growth economic policies that will lower taxes and create jobs for Virginians.”

McAuliffe also spent time talking about the state’s transportation issues, commending Gov. Bob McDonnell on his work to pass the state’s new transportation bill. He railed against Virginia’s low pay of teachers, and promised to opt into the Medicaid expansion clause of the Affordable Care Act.

Concluding his remarks, McAuliffe said he plans to be the one to break the Virginia’s habit, since 1977, of electing a governor from the opposite party of the President of the United States.

“I have to stop a 40-year jinx,” he said. ”Whoever wins the White House, the other party has won the governor’s race, but I’m going to break it.”

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