The year was 1979. Margaret Thatcher became the British prime minister. Americans were taken hostage in Iran. And, just two days after the Iranian hostage crisis began, two bond issues were rejected in Arlington County.
It was the last time Arlington voters would say no on a county bond referendum.
With less than three weeks to go before absentee voting begins in Arlington, it seems highly unlikely that the trend will reverse itself this year.
There is one important parallel to be drawn, however.
In 1979, like today, there was economic turmoil that had voters on edge about new spending. (Witness: the Glenn Beck rally that took Arlington hotels by storm over the weekend.)
The difference is that in 1979 interest rates were sky-high, making the cost of borrowing money prohibitively expensive. Now, interest rates are close to all-time lows.
In 1979, there were four bond issues on the referendum, including a $4 million local parks bond, a $1.7 million regional parks bond, a $4.7 million roads bond and a $2 million sewer bond. Both park bonds were rejected after the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and a group called the Committee of Concerned Citizens came out against them. The other bonds were approved.
The park bonds, which would have been used to maintain open space and beautify the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, were supported by the county board and the League of Women Voters.
“We don’t want another Rosslyn,” the League’s Judy Sibert told the Washington Post a week before voters went to the polls. “We want the [Rosslyn-Ballston corridor] to be an attractive place to work in.”
The park bonds attracted less than 40 percent of the vote.
This year, there are four bonds up for voter approval: a $34 million Metro and transportation bond, a $6 million local park and recreation bond, a $18 million community infrastructure bond and a $103 million school bond (primarily to fund the construction of a new Wakefield High School).
The Arlington County Democratic Committee is supporting all four bond referenda. The Arlington County Republican Committee and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce will likely decide which side to take next month.
Election turnout is expected to be light this year.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 14680 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today…
Police issued a traffic ticket every six minutes, on average, during an enforcement effort in front of Nottingham Elementary on Thursday afternoon.
Police swarmed the Rosslyn neighborhood after an alleged thief led an officer on a brief foot pursuit.
It’s holiday time and the lights are coming on in Arlington. Over the next several weeks, a slew of tree lightings, Santa visits, markets, and holiday celebrations are happening around…
Join us December 10 & 11 for our Annual Handmade Holiday Workshop Series. We have a myriad of fun and festive programs from linoleum block wrapping paper printing and buttonhole book making workshops led by Eliza Clifford to a meditative grid workshop and Calligraphy Card Making with Anjelika Deogirikar. Join these wonderful artists and get creative this holiday season!
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Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!
Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration
Experience the festival of lights!!
*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah