54°Clear

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

When we spot a great opportunity for Arlingtonians to save energy, we share it.

Washington Gas has a new Online Home Energy Profile tool. It takes less than five minutes and there is no sign up or personal information required.

The tool will give you an energy ranking, savings estimate and upgrade recommendations that make the most sense for your home.

Above all, if you are a Washington Gas customer, you can submit your address and have a FREE energy conservation kit sent to your home.

Free Energy Kits Include:

  • Two 1.5 GPM Shower Heads
  • Three 1 GPM Faucet Aerators
  • Self Adhesive Door Sweeps
  • One 17 ft. Roll of Weather Stripping

Sealing air leaks, lowering water and sewer bills and reducing the amount of hot water used at home for free is a no brainer. Don’t delay, get yours before they run out!

Washington Gas Online Home Energy Profile Tool
>>FREE Energy Conservation Kit<<

by Chris Teale January 19, 2018 at 5:00 pm 0

With another busy news week over, let’s take a quick look back at what happened before we leave for the weekend.

These were our most-read stories this week:

  1. Winter Weather Advisory Issued for Arlington, D.C.
  2. ‘Cajun Seafood and Sushi Lounge’ Coming to Clarendon
  3. UPDATED: Northern Virginia, D.C. on Amazon ‘Top 20’ List for HQ2
  4. Residents Launch Petition to Change Zoning Ordinance After Home Extension Denied
  5. Card Skimmer Found in Clarendon ATM

And these received the most comments:

  1. Lopez Announces Formation of Virginia Latino Caucus in General Assembly
  2. Bill Renaming Gravelly Point for Nancy Reagan Being Debated in House Committee
  3. Morning Notes (January 16)
  4. Arlington’s Congressional Delegation Blames GOP for Possible Government Shutdown
  5. UPDATED: Northern Virginia, D.C. on Amazon ‘Top 20’ List for HQ2

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

Flickr pool photo by Jim Harvard

by Chris Teale January 19, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A bill by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) banning so-called “bump stocks” in Virginia has made progress in the early days of the 2018 Virginia General Assembly legislative session.

Ebbin’s bill — S.B. 1 — passed the Senate’s Courts of Justice Committee on Monday, January 15 and then was referred to the Finance Committee.

The legislation was filed after investigators found that Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock had modified some of the semi-automatic rifles in his hotel room with “bump stocks,” an attachment that allows the guns to fire faster.

Companion legislation by in the House of Delegates by local Del. Mark Levine (D-45) is still awaiting a hearing at the committee level.

Ebbin was a co-patron on S.B. 252, a bill to “ban the box” that passed the state Senate on Friday by a 23-16 vote.

It would prevent state and local governments from asking about potential employees’ criminal histories during an initial application. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed an executive order banning the box for state government in 2015.

“This bill is important simply because it gives everyone a fair chance at employment,” Ebbin said in a statement. “Those people who have paid their debts to society should be given a second chance. Providing every Virginian the chance to work builds our workforce and puts us on a great path towards economic security. The only way to ensure that we build stronger communities is if we have a strong workforce and banning the box is a step in the right direction of achieving that goal.”

But other gun safety bills by state Sen. Barbara Favola were defeated in the state Senate’s Courts of Justice Committee earlier this week. A bill allowing local governments to prohibit the open carry of firearms in protests or demonstrations was among those killed.

Favola introduced it after the armed white supremacist protests in Charlottesville last year.

“Regarding [the bill], it was my hope that lawmakers would better understand the need for people to feel safe and be safe when they assemble,” Favola said in a statement.

And while other legislation introduced by Levine, including a bill allowing localities to set their own minimum wage and another to repeal “the crime of fornication, i.e., voluntary sexual intercourse by an unmarried person,” is still awaiting debate, he celebrated a win early in the session for his Virginia Transparency Caucus.

The caucus, co-created by Levine as a first-term Delegate alongside state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-11) in 2016, pushed for recorded votes in General Assembly committees and subcommittees and received them in the legislature’s new rules. All committee hearings will now also be live streamed and archived online for the first time.

“This is a big victory for transparency in Virginia,” Levine wrote in an email to supporters. “For four hundred years, Virginia legislators killed bills in secret behind closed doors. Not anymore. Now residents will be able to know exactly who deep-sixed a bill and who wanted to move it forward.”

But Del. Patrick Hope has run into opposition from the ACLU’s Virginia chapter for sponsoring a bill that would expand the use of “strip searches” to those under arrest for traffic crimes and suspected of carrying drugs. Currently, searches are only permitted for those carrying weapons. The bill was discussed by a subcommittee of the House of Delegates’ Courts of Justice committee on Friday.

“We really oppose any expansion of a strip search,” Charlie Schmidt, public policy counsel for ACLU Virginia, said in a video. “It’s invasive; it should only be used in situations where we’re dealing with serious crimes, not petty traffic stops.”

The ACLU of Virginia has offered support for another of Hope’s bills, which would end conversion therapy for children under 18.

by Anna Merod January 19, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

While regular batteries made of zinc carbon and alkaline can be thrown away, rechargeable batteries must be recycled, otherwise they might burn in the trash or cause ecological issues.

To prevent a possible a fire at home, rechargeable batteries along with lithium, silver oxide and mercury batteries can be dropped off at the following locations in Arlington:

  • Best Buy (Pentagon City) – 1201 S. Hayes St., Suite B
  • Fire Station 1 (Glebe Road) – 500 S. Glebe Road
  • Fire Station 2 (Ballston) – 4805 Wilson Blvd.
  • Fire Station 4 (Clarendon) – 3121 10th St. N.
  • Fire Station 5 (Jefferson District/Aurora Highlands) – 1750 S. Hayes St.
  • Fire Station 7 (Fairlington) – 3116 S. Abingdon St.
  • Fire Station 8 (Lee Highway) – 4845 Lee Highway
  • Fire Station 9 (Walter Reed) – 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
  • Fire Station 10 (Rosslyn) – 1559 Wilson Blvd.
  • Households Hazardous Material Facility – 530 31st St. S.

In order to drop off the batteries at the Household Hazardous Material Facility, an appointment must be scheduled between Monday and Friday, according to the county website. Residents can drop off materials without an appointment on Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. At the fire station, residents can just hand over their batteries to fire personnel at the building’s entrance.

Other nearby battery recycling locations, according to Call2Recycle, include Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, along with Falls Church city government headquarters at 300 Park Avenue.

by Chris Teale January 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Property values in Arlington County rose at a slower rate this year compared to last year, according to the latest tax assessments, and slower than projected by staff.

The value of all residential and commercial property rose by 1.9 percent over the past year, compared to 3 percent the previous year. Homes went up in value by 3.9 percent, compared to a rise of 2.5 percent last year.

It means the average home value in Arlington, including condominiums, townhouses and detached homes, is now $640,900, up from $617,200 last year.

“Year after year, we see through our rising residential property values that Arlington is a place people want to live,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “At the same time, we’ll have some challenging budget decisions in the months ahead, given that our overall property values did not grow as much as projected.”

While residential real estate continued to rise, the value of office buildings was down significantly.

“Office properties, which represent 17.6 percent of the County’s total property tax base, saw significant declines — down 6.9 percent since last year,” the county said in a press release. “This decrease was driven primarily by office vacancies as well as rent concessions.”

The slower growth overall will mean a budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2019, with debate on county spending levels to continue this year. Staff initially projected a 3.2 percent increase in the value of all real estate, so with actual growth of 1.9 percent the county will need to find savings to balance the budget.

Schwartz and Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy will present their respective budget proposal late next month.

The full county press release is after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

1700 Clarendon Boulevard, #121
2 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Deborah Richter
Listed: $1,445,000
Open: Sunday 12-3 p.m.

 

5219 22nd Street N.
4 bed/4.5 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Marybeth Fraser
Listed: $1,275,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1001 N. Roosevelt Street
3 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Kim Sharifi
Listed: $735,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

4727 31st Street S.
3 bed/3 bath condo
Agent: Robert Allen
Listed: $648,000
Open: Sunday 12-2 p.m.

 

1200 N. Hartford Street, #507
2 bed/2 bath condo
Agent: David Lloyd
Listed: $605,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1530 Key Boulevard, #311
1 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: John Moore
Listed: $479,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4907 30th Street S., B2
1 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: Trey Grooms
Listed: $265,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 19, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.

It is not a movie. It is not a Hallmark special event. It is simply the “Year of the Bird”. All Birds.  Any bird. But not simply a year.  It is a recognition; an awareness that birds, which dominate most of the planet, are an incredibly diverse, beautiful and important living species.  A recognition that will be observed all year long.

Four great organizations — National Geographic Society, Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Orinthology, Birdlife International — will be embarking on a yearlong effort, dedicated to celebrating and protecting birds and their habitats.  

What exactly is Year of the Bird?  That is a good question. Throughout the year, all four of these organizations, along with more than 100 other participating organizations, will be celebrating birds while raising awareness about their troubles. These organizations are calling on you to “Bird Your World”, by discovering why your backyard is an important jigsaw piece to an entire continent.

Birds are so easily dismissed.  How can that be?  Well first of all, no one looks up into the sky anymore.  Or straight ahead for that matter.  But that is where they are! There are over 10,000 species of birds on the planet. They fly.  That is reason enough to take notice. One minute they are here. Then they are gone.  But they are not gone.  

They fill our world with a musical symphony of songs.  They stimulate our eyes with majestic colors.  They confound us with aerial flights that seem impossible against the earth’s gravity.  They help control the vast insect populations.  They reseed plants from one yard to another; from one block to another; from one town to another.  

The raptor species, of birds, helps keep in check the mice, moles and other vermin in yards, parks and city alleys.  They also help cull the small bird populations that sometimes becomes overcrowded and stressed in our small ecosystems where we live.

Birds use a lot of their energy helping our planet thrive. They are the behind the scenes workers, constantly out in the rain, sleet, cold, and hot summers. They don’t ask for anything in return, but wouldn’t it be nice if they didn’t have to?

By putting up birdfeeders in your yard full of sunflower seeds, suet pellets, mealworms, and so much more, you can help them survive all of these elements. A birdbath filled with warm clean water, or cold clean water is another way to say thanks to your feathered friends. Water is an essential part of a birds’ survival any time of the year.

This year, we will focus on bringing the lives of birds into your life. We will do this with our bi-weekly blog. We will do this with live talks in our store.  We will do this by highlighting the great organizations that are promoting and educating us on the health of all birds.

Here is a link for the National Geographic Society that will get you started into this great yearlong event. Click on the count me in button to become part of the worldwide effort to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.

Next issue we will continue to discuss the efforts and effects your feeding has on the birds in the Winter months. We will also help you become involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 16 through 19, which our CEO Jim Carpenter helped to create and in which all 300 plus Wild Birds Unlimited stores sponsor and support.

by Chris Teale January 19, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

Arlington County’s representatives in Congress are blaming Republicans for the looming government shutdown, set to take effect at midnight tonight.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term continuing resolution late last night (Thursday) to keep the federal government open for another month while negotiations continue on a long-term spending deal.

A major sticking-point for Democrats is the status of immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, who were brought to the United States illegally as minors and shielded from deportation.

President Donald Trump announced he would end the program as of March, and since then Democratic legislators have pushed for a permanent solution.

Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in Congress as well as Alexandria, Falls Church and a section of Fairfax County, slammed the continuing resolution as “appalling and absurd.” It is the fourth in as many months as wrangling over the federal budget continues.

Beyer’s full statement is below:

“House Republicans are now forcing us to take our fourth vote on a short-term funding resolution in as many months. This is appalling and absurd.

Like my fellow House Democrats, I spent months imploring my Republican colleagues to take action on key priorities for the American people, including passing long term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and protecting Dreamers. But they were too busy trying to use hundreds of thousands of young people’s lives as leverage and cutting taxes for the wealthy to solve these problems.

Donald Trump claims he wants to help Dreamers, yet he keeps taking to Twitter to derail bipartisan efforts to solve a problem he created. Republicans suddenly decided this week that they cared about CHIP, but they could have passed a clean reauthorization of CHIP any time in the past few months and refused to do so.

The President keeps talking about how ‘our military needs’ this, but has he listened to them when they have said that they need long term budget certainty? The same is true of our non-defense agencies, which are having to guess again and again about when and how they will be funded as the Republicans who have complete control of government repeatedly fail to do the basic job of governing.

The federal workforce deserves better than to experience the fifth Congressional budget fight in five months in February. I do not want the government to shut down, and today introduced bipartisan legislation with my friend Congressman Rob Wittman to protect federal workers’ pay if that happens. But Congress’ refusal to live up to its basic responsibilities to the American people must end.”

Were the government to shut down, for the first time since 2013, many federal workers would be furloughed — sent home without pay. It would also represent the first time that the federal government has shut down with one political party in control of all branches of government.

And Beyer has tried to mitigate the impact on federal workers — many of whom live in his district — by introducing the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act alongside fellow Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R).

The bill, which the pair introduced last April when another shutdown threat threatened, would guarantee back pay for federal workers who are furloughed.

“We are working hard to avoid a government shutdown, but if it comes our bill would protect federal workers from the worst of the consequences,” Beyer said in a statement. “This legislation is designed to shield civil servants, who need to support their families, from the disastrous effects of Congress’ failure to agree on a budget measure. We hope it will not be needed, but time is running out.”

In a joint statement Thursday, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (both D-Va.) criticized the House’s continuing resolution. The plan appears to have significant opposition from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate.

The pair said it creates “uncertainty” to not have a long-term budget deal and to instead rely on short-term resolutions, and ignores many important issues.

“The current CR ignores key priorities — community health centers, permanent protection for Dreamers, emergency relief for Florida, Texas, western states ravaged by wildfires, Puerto Rico, the USVI, opioid treatment, and pension reform,” they said. “These issues are not going away and need to be addressed immediately.”

Kaine and Warner’s full joint statement is after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com January 19, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

More Stuff Coming to Ballston — Even more hip food-and-drink spots are on the way for Ballston. A 3,000 square foot Union Kitchen Grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, while a Compass Coffee cafe will also be opening in the mall. [Washington Business Journal]

Wheels Stolen Off the Lot at Dealership — Someone stole tires from three vehicles parked in the lot of a car dealership on Lee Highway just after midnight Wednesday. “An unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business,” police said in a crime report. There is no suspect description and no surveillance footage, we’re told. There is a Toyota dealership on the 4000 block of Lee Highway, where police said the crime occurred, but also a Honda dealership nearby. [Arlington County]

Garvey Confident About Amazon — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is optimistic about Amazon coming to the area. “I think Amazon is very likely coming here,” she said at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conference, shortly after it was announced that Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the top 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. “We have got everything here.” [Washington Business Journal]

by Christina Sturdivant January 19, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Photo by Bill

The women’s march, free burgers, New York Time’s latest food tour, and other news of the day over in the District.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 19, 2018 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Hooray! Somebody opened the inventory gates this week. Buyers were happy to have 56 new listings to choose from, and they wasted no time. They ratified 54 contracts on Arlington homes. Some 17 of those homes sold within a week, and seven sold for over $1 million.

It might be snowy outside with freezing temps, but the real estate market is in Spring season. Agents are reporting a surge in buyer showings and attendance at open houses. The days on market this week shot up to 72 due to about 15 sold homes that had been on the market over five months.

Interest rates ticked up again this week by 4 basis points. The 30-yr fixed rate is now about 4.2%, but some lenders are still offering 4% while others are at 4.3%. So be sure to shop around before locking in a rate. Freddie Mac said yesterday that we can expect to see, “upward pressure on long-term rates.”

Some great news for Arlington: We are still in the running for the new location of Amazon’s HQ2. Northern Virginia got short listed yesterday among the top 20 locations. Some 238 cities had applied.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by Chris Teale January 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm 0

Employees at Nestle’s USA headquarters are expected to finish moving into its new Rosslyn office by the end of January.

In an interview with ARLnow earlier this month, Rosslyn Business Improvement District President Mary-Claire Burick said the moving process is expected to be complete soon.

Burick noted that Nestle has worked hard to help any employees relocating from its current home of Glendale, Calif., and helped them settle into Arlington County.

“They’ve done a magnificent job with acclimating the employees, doing a resource fair and just making sure that those employees are well acclimated, not only to the neighborhood of Rosslyn but of Arlington in general,” Burick said.

Ahead of that move, Nestle has worked closely with building owner Monday Properties to prepare its new headquarters. It will include spaces for employees to collaborate, and Burick added the building will have a new open stairway to promote “walkability between floors.”

Nestle will be the first tenant in the building, which was completed in 2013 after being built “on spec” and had remained vacant since.

“I think Nestle was really creative about their office space and how it would support their culture,” she said.

And a major catering company will provide food and drinks to the new Nestle headquarters in Rosslyn, according to permit and ABC license applications.

According to applications, Compass Group, Inc. will provide the catering for Nestle’s USA headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street, on the 33rd floor. Compass serves “award-winning restaurants, corporate cafes, hospitals, schools, arenas, museums, and more,” per its website.

A county permit application notes that the new cafeteria will require an inspection by the Department of Health before it can be used.

As of the time of writing, a spokeswoman for Compass Group had not provided any further details.

Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow advertiser.

by Fatimah Waseem January 18, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

Arlington Public Library is struggling to keep up with demand for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s exposé on President Donald Trump’s White House.

With a three-week checkout policy for books, it could take weeks — even months — for patrons to get their hands on a copy.

The #1 Amazon bestseller has 458 holds on 28 copies across the library system as of this afternoon. Nearly 150 people are on the waitlist for 15 audiobook copies and 252 are on the waitlist for 25 eBooks.

But some relief could be on the way. The library has ordered 61 new copies of the book, according to the library catalog website.

By comparison, demand for the #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction, “The Woman in the Window,” is lower. There are 215 holds on 35 copies. The book by A.J. Finn follows the story of heavy drinker who witnesses a crime near her Harlem townhouse.

Wolff’s book — which generated lines at local bookstores upon its Jan. 5 release — has drawn sharp rebuke from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other Trump administration officials.

“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said at a recent press conference.

File photo

by Mark Kelly January 18, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

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

Riders suffered through another train derailment on Metro this week. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Metro was already receiving criticism for its “Back2Good” PR campaign and its expenditure on an ad that ran during the college football national championship game last week.

The ad is part of a larger $7 million marketing budget which many critics say should be spent to improve the system instead. Once escalators work and trains run safely and on time, riders will be more likely to come back, they argue.

Metro is also fighting a lawsuit brought by its union over the arbitrations proceedings for 16 track inspectors who were fired for falsifying safety reports. The falsified reports came to light after an investigation of a 2016 derailment.

According to union lawyers, the firings could not take place because they were not done fast enough. Terminations more than six months after the alleged actions took place is an apparent violation of the union contract with Metro. The lawsuit is a reminder that the union contract, and resulting labor costs, is another obstacle to reform.

Of course, the list could go on and on. The question is, at what point will everyone say enough is enough?

There have been many suggestions out there to change the trajectory of the transit agency. They range from essentially declaring bankruptcy and dissolving Metro altogether so we can start over to writing Metro a blank check for billions of dollars.

Northern Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) introduced a bill in December that represents a middle ground. Metro would receive a 50 percent increase in federal funds to be matched by the other jurisdictions.

Under the proposal, there would be no federal funds available until D.C., Maryland and Virginia agreed to the creation of a new five-member reform board.

Other conditions include reducing the size of the permanent WMATA Board to nine and creating a direct line of accountability to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It also calls for long-term reforms of the union contract, including the employee retirement system for new hires.

Whether everyone agrees with the Comstock approach, or thinks they can improve upon it, it is time for specific action on reform. This is an opportunity for the County Board to show leadership on an issue where we have a clear financial stake.

The Board should adopt a formal position on what reforms they believe need to take place in exchange for ongoing funding of Metro and include that language as part of this year’s budget process.

by Progressive Voice January 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Clara Bridges

If you lived in Arlington during the 2017 Virginia elections, you have probably been visited by canvassers a few times before the November 7 election who wanted to remind you to vote.

In fact, the number of those visits were likely closer to five than to just one. Getting out the vote volunteer numbers increased, in Arlington and beyond, as interest in local, state and federal politics has surged.

After last year’s presidential election, numerous grassroots groups sprung up throughout the country, and Arlington was no different. Whether they grew out of the call to huddle from the Women’s March on Washington, the Indivisible Guide, or a group of friends, these organizations have over the past year become a persistent facet of civic engagement and a steady source of activism.

In just the 8th Congressional District encompassing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, these groups have members in excess of 7,000 people.

Although there were initial concerns about their expected longevity, most of the groups continue to flourish and improve their operations, focusing on a few items at a time and directing their group members to take action.

Although the primary focus continues to be the on the Trump administration and its appointees, as of mid-2017 most groups also developed a cohort of individuals focused on local politics with a specific target on getting out the vote activities such as calling, texting, and canvassing as well as registering voters.

Individuals in three Arlington groups that I am aware of and participate in — Indivisible Arlington, We of Action (WofA), and HEAR Arlington — “adopted” Virginia House of Delegates candidates not just in Arlington but all over the state.

The adopted candidates had grassroots group members canvassing for them and making calls in their districts to drum up support and ensure a good turnout. We believe these efforts were a key to victories in numerous House districts across the Commonwealth as well as the statewide races for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

The 2017 election may be over, but the grassroots activists inspired to work so hard in 2017 show no sign of slowing down now that we are in 2018. Energized by the significant wins in the Virginia House of Delegates and motivated by all that has been learned, groups are mobilizing to watch and promote or oppose legislation being discussed in the 2018 Virginia legislative session.

Indivisible Arlington has hosted training sessions explaining the process by which bills become law and some of the inner workings of the committees and chambers in the General Assembly. VA PLAN (Virginia Progressive Legislative Action Network), a coalition of members from grassroots groups all over Virginia in which WofA plays an important role, has organized a legislative alert network to raise awareness of bills that promote or hurt progressive goals.

One can only assume that groups across Virginia will join those in Arlington to ensure that every bit of legislation passed in this General Assembly session will get the level of scrutiny this highly educated and well trained mass of volunteers can give.

The activism picture in Arlington is certainly a good example of what we are seeing all over the country. Groups formed primarily to fight against what they see as a Presidential Administration without respect for American values have dug their heels in and created coalitions that ensure the ongoing vitality of grassroots activism.

The focus continues to be on keeping the Trump Administration accountable and also fighting against the Administration’s policies that are hurting our County, our state, our country, and the international community.

The grassroots activists, with their electioneering and legislative work, are now on the offensive as well as playing defense. Expect to see Arlington activists pushing for or against legislation in Richmond and helping grassroots groups in other Virginia Congressional Districts with less progressive representation challenge the status quo looking toward the November 2018 elections.

If the elections in Virginia in 2017 have been any indication, this year is gearing up to be an exciting one for Arlington activists.

Clara Bridges is an Arlington resident and a member of multiple local activist groups. She works as a software architect for an Arlington based company.

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