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League of Women Voters in Dust-Up with Committee for a Better Arlington

The League of Women Voters of Arlington is bristling at a snub by the Committee for a Better Arlington (CBA).

The Committee did not respond to the League’s repeated requests for information about the effects of CBA’s proposed change to Arlington’s form of government, prompting the League to issue a press release today saying it’s “concerned” about “the depth of the public dialogue” regarding the change.

The League, which has no official position on the change-of-government initiative, says it wants “an open discussion focusing on the practical implications of the proposed… changes that could greatly affect County residents.”

“Arlington voters have the right to be informed on issues of such important to our community,” League preisdent Nancy Tate said. “Any proposed changes to our government should be discussed in a concrete and practical manner.”

The Committee for a Better Arlington, meanwhile, responded today with a statement of their own.

Since this past winter, the Committee has met with numerous organizations and civic associations to speak with their membership about this referendum. The League of Women Voters was the only community organization to decline our request – on more than one occasion. Our focus continues to be educating voters and collecting signatures so Arlingtonians will have a choice at the ballot box this November.

The Committee’s request to speak to the League’s membership, referenced in the statement, may be granted after all.

“Should [the League] sponsor a public forum, which we may do, we will of course invite representatives from both sides of the issue, as we have indicated to the CBA,” Tate told ARLnow.com in a subsequent email.

The full statements from both groups, after the jump.

From the League of Women Voters:

The League of Women Voters of Arlington today expressed concerns about the depth of the public dialogue regarding proposed changes to Arlington’s form of government. League president Nancy Tate called for an open discussion focusing on the practical implications of the proposed structural, managerial, and electoral changes that could greatly affect County residents should the issue be brought before the voters.

“The League has no position about what form of government or electoral system is best. We do, however, have a long-standing commitment to providing a forum for discussion when key aspects of life in the county are impacted,” said Tate. “This proposal has the potential to impact everything from access to affordable housing and critical community services to land use and the quality of our schools.  That is why we have asked the two organizations formed around this issue to answer key questions about how the proposed changes to the County Board would impact our community.”

The League sent a letter to the Committee for a Better Arlington (CBA), which supports the proposed change of creating a County Board form, and the Coalition for Arlington Good Government (CAGG), which supports maintaining the current County Manager Plan. Despite an initial agreement to respond within the one week deadline, CBA did not do so and has not responded to further inquiries. CAGG did.  The questions, and the CAGG responses, are pasted below and available online at http://lwv-arlingtonva.org. If responses are received later from CBA, the League will publish those as well.

“Arlington voters have the right to be informed on issues of such importance to our community,” Tate concluded. “Any proposed changes to our government should be discussed in a concrete and practical manner.  We look forward to that conversation.”

From the Committee for a Better Arlington:

Like the League of Women Voters, the Committee for a Better Arlington believes it is important to educate the public about the proposed change of government referendum circulating in Arlington. Once Arlingtonians hear both sides of the issue and understand that the current form of government is not accountable or responsive to the needs of a progressive and modern Arlington, the Committee believes even more voters will want to sign the petition. Since this past winter, the Committee has met with numerous organizations and civic associations to speak with their membership about this referendum. The League of Women Voters was the only community organization to decline our request – on more than one occasion. Our focus continues to be educating voters and collecting signatures so Arlingtonians will have a choice at the ballot box this November.

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