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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com December 29, 2011 at 9:09 am 3,737 80 Comments

The Curious Grape to Reopen — There will soon be two competing boutique wine and cheese stores in Shirlington. The Curious Grape, which moved out of its storefront in Shirlington Village earlier this year in order to make way for Cheesetique, just announced that it will be reopening next month in a larger storefront one block away. [Shirlington Village Blog]

Loyalty Oath for Va. GOP Primary — Voters who want to cast their ballot in the March 6 presidential primary in Virginia will be required to sign a loyalty oath. The Virginia Republican Party requested the pledge — which is perfectly legal under Virginia law — as a condition of participation in the primary. The pledge (of support for the eventual Republican presidential nominee) is intended to reduce the number of non-Republicans voting in the otherwise open primary. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Earthquake Still Affecting Local Theater Troupes — The temporary closure of the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater due to earthquake damage is still having repercussions in the local arts community. As a result of the closure, a planned Spring 2012 production of Cats has been postponed until 2013. Also, the county’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute has been moved to Washington-Lee High School. [Sun Gazette]

  • Yello

    The election rigging games have officially begun!

    • Callie

      Do you suppose Grover Norquist is behind the pledge – sort of like the no tax hike pledge he devised for GOP congress members? What a laugh. I agree – so long as the tax payers foot the bill for the primary election I’ll participate, sign the damn thing and then vote for whomever I please down the road. The so-called pledge may keep away a lot of people but I have an opinion and I’ll do what is necessary to vote. Only in Virginia!

  • SteveP

    When the parties start paying for their own primaries they should be able to restrict who votes in them. Until then, as a resident and taxpayer of VA, I find the loyalty oath insulting.

  • The Loyalty Oath will only keep the honest people from participating if they don’t intend to vote for a Republican candidate. And, as we all know, in politics there is very little honesty.

  • John Fontain

    Rainbows are beautiful, but sometimes its good to be reminded that life isn’t all peaches and cream. That’s why I appreciate today’s picture. I like seeing the unvarnished side of our town. It helps keep things in perspective.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Look at that poor man. If only someone would buy an enormously overpriced building in one of the most expensive areas of Arlington and build a year round shelter that he and people in DC could use, it would be awesome.

    • Karma

      Hi ArlingtonWay. Pleased to make your aquaintance. Have we got plals for you!

      • ArlingtonWay

        Really? Plals? You shouldn’t have. But I suppose you cant have too many plals, now can you?

      • ArlingtonWay

        I’ve heard you’re a bitch, by the way. Just saying.

        • Karma

          yes I am

          • ArlingtonWay

            Does your sloppy post mean that you criticized others’ spelling sometime in your life?

        • RosRes

          Wow. Your use of profanity really raises the bar on your opinions. Now I must be compelled to listen to you. Just saying.

          • Maria

            It’s a saying, not an insult – “Karma’s a bitch.”

          • Tabby

            Hilarious. She’s also “gonna getcha”

    • Patrick

      Chris Zimmerman likes the way you think.

  • Terry

    I still plan to vote in the GOP primary and then vote for Obama next year. I don’t view it as any more dishonest than anything the GOP has done over the past 10 years.

    • Only your choice makes you dishonest.

      • Lou

        I guess you have to appreciate Terry’s honesty about being a liar. Or, maybe we don’t.

      • brif

        The only thing dishonest about the situation is the GOP using a “loyalty oath” to prevent people from exercising their legal right to vote in the primary.

        • Zoning Victim

          You should read the law before you go around talking about what is or is not a legal right.

          • Terry

            I don’t think he meant what the GOP is doing is illegal as it clearly isn’t. I do find it a bit unethical. I would say the same thing if Democrats did it. If they don’t want others voting in their primaries, they have control of the state legislature and, I assume, have the power to change the rules to make VA closed-primary state, right?

          • I agree. What the GOP is doing here is unethical. It is being done, presumably, to curtail unethical behavior by Democratic votors who intend to taint the Republican primary. Two wrongs supporting a joke of a system.

          • brif

            i’m more than comfortable with my understand of the voting laws as applicable in this situation. you should follow your own advice.

          • Zoning Victim

            I have and what they are doing is legal and doesn’t prevent anyone from voting.

          • Joe

            How are they preventing anyone from exercising their legal rights? This pledge isn’t legally binding, so they aren’t preventing anyone from voting who wishes to do so.

            I agree though, these people are dishonest, because they are arguably trying to trick people into not voting, based on fear of repercussions for violating this pledge…

            Those Republican Hypocrites love their Constitutional Originalism when it supports undermining social services and the underclass, but in regards to Secret Ballots, not so much.

        • Lou

          Are you equally indignant that the Democrats in Arlington do it too?

          • Lou


      • Terry

        I don’t really care. Like “SteveP” said above, until the parties are reimbursing taxpayers for the primaries, I will vote when/however I please.

      • R. Griffon

        > Only your choice makes you dishonest.

        In some people’s opinion, maybe, but I think it depends on the motivation.

        I, for one, will vote in the Republican primary as I’ve been a registered Republican voter for my entire adult life. I’ll vote for the Republican candidate that I feel is best qualified, and if he doesn’t get a nomination, then I’ll re-evaluate and vote for whoever I feel best represents me in the final election. Be he Republican, Democrat, Green, or other.

        And I won’t loose a wink of sleep over it, as I feel pretty strongly that my obligation as a voting American to choose the best representation trumps any quirky state or local ordinance by a wide margin.

        So call me dishonest if you will.

        • Clarendon

          That’s how it should be, although I understand the desire of the parties to have some control over the nomination process. I guess to me it depends somewhat on how the pledge is worded.

          But, Virginia doesn’t have party registration, do we ? Do you mean you were registered in some other state ?

          • R. Griffon

            I did move from another state (many years ago). Did I loose my party affiliation when I moved? I guess I never bothered to look closely at my registration card.

        • The difference between you and Terry is that Terry said he’d vote in the Republican primary, and then vote for Obama. So, he knowingly will vote for the Republican he thinks will give Obama the best shot to win. You, on the other hand, have more honest intentions.

          • R. Griffon

            Obviously that’s a different problem. I (as I’m sure many others) think the whole election system’s broken anyhow. Maybe VA should go to registering by party, and then only being eligible to vote in primaries for your party. That seems fair enough.

            But let’s do away with the electorate already. No reason for it in the modern world that I can see.

            And while we’re at it, I’ve seen a very interesting idea about giving people a “runoff” vote or some such. The idea is that you can vote for your first pick, and then a second. If the first pick is eliminated, your second is used. I’d have to think through all of the repercussions to wholly endorse it, but the idea is that people could then be (more) free to vote for 3rd party candidates without worrying that they are “throwing their vote away.”

            The 2 parties no longer represent the majority of Americans IMHO, but they’ve got us deadlocked by an antiquated system. We desperately need a change.

          • Lou

            Doing away with the electorate seems like a pretty harsh solution.

          • Done and Done

            If that’s even a consideration, I’m never voting again and un-registering from the system. Hey, man, you want my neighbor, not me – he votes every election.

            Of course, they could do it an easier way and just turn all the voting machines into lethal tasers – but you’ll only get part of the electorate that way. Now if we could only figure out an effective way to eliminate the absentee voters 😉

          • Richard Cranium

            “but if I kill all the golfers they’ll lock me up and throw away the key”

            -Carl Spackler, Greenskeeper (Ret.)

          • R. Griffon

            D’oh! Fingers working faster than my brain.

            Get rid of the ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

          • SteveP

            I’m a fan of that system. Usually called IVF (Instant Voter Runoff). I think that it could make primaries unnecessary, though parties could still get together to select a single candidate in order to focus their resources.

            Probably not something you want to start with at the Federal level. Start with local implementations to work out the kinks. I do believe that this has been tried in a few places in the country but then stopped (if I recall correctly, due to the Repubilcan/Democratic party objections, though I don’t know the reasoning).

          • Zoning Victim

            I’m going to assume you meant the electoral college, and yes there is a reason for it in the modern world. We are a republic governed by the Constitution of the United States, and it says it will be that way in Article II Section 1 and the 12th Amendment.

          • R. Griffon

            Then it is ours to change.

          • Zoning Victim

            Good luck with that. While it is our country to ruin, I’m hoping most people are smart enough to understand that we’re the greatest nation on the planet because of the Constitution, not in spite of it.

          • Joe

            The Constitution says the President is elected by Electors, but doesn’t speak to how the electors are elected.

            I think it’s called the “National Popular Vote”, this movement to get States to agree to have their electors for the Candidate who wins the popular vote. This is something that is constitutionally feasible, but minimizes the “effects of the Electoral College.”

            Something Else that could be done, that is not-unconstitutional, is that the states could get together and pledge to send electors in proportions to the vote tallies. This is another mechanism that could be used to alter the way the elections occur.

            I don’t particularly have a real problem with the way that the Electoral College works. I think that a better way would be for the Electors representing the House Districts, to vote the way their district voted, and the Electors representing the Senators, vote the popular vote of their State. But I also think that Senators should be elected by the State Governments, the way they were intended to be, pre 17th Amendment.

          • Zoning Victim

            Joe, good point about the states being able to choose their Electors however they want. I wouldn’t want the states all agreeing to follow the national popular vote (and don’t think they ever would) because it would negate the will of the citizens of the states and circumvent the intent of the Constitution.

            There are two states, Mane and Nebraska, that use congressional district based voting, which is what you posed on splitting the House Districts and Senate votes between district popular votes and statewide popular votes. It isn’t necessarily a bad way to go, but then again, neither is the winner take all method.

            I wouldn’t have much of a problem with any way of voting so long as it was still the states individually deciding how to choose their Electors based on votes within the state (though I’d hate to see how much gerrymandering would happen if it were to be based on electoral districts).

        • Zoning Victim

          I wouldn’t say that’s dishonest if that’s the way things work out. The pledge says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” If circumstances change, then they change. That’s quite different than signing the pledge knowing you have no intention of voting for any Republican at all because you are trying to short-circuit an election.

        • bemused bystander

          If you’ve been a “registered Republican” forever, you must be voting in some other state. Virginia does not allow registration by party.

    • Zoning Victim

      A liar with an excuse is still a liar.

      I’m curious, are you going to vote for who you would want as president if Obama loses, or are you going to vote for who you think is the worst candidate in hopes that Obama will win?

      • Terry

        In all honesty I will probably just write-in. I’m not naive enough to believe that a enough Democrats are going to go out and vote and have any sway on the election but I was always taught growing up that voting, even if you just write-in, is important and keeps our democracy strong.

        • SomeGuy

          Terry, since you plan to vote in the Republican primary despite being an Obama supporter, many of us infer that you’re attempting to undermine the spirit of the process.

          I’m guessing that was not the intent of what you were “taught growing up” in terms of what “keeps our democracy strong.”

        • Just the Facts

          Virginia does not allow write-in votes on primary ballots.

          • newt


          • Tre


    • charlie

      i can sign the pledge. and then change my mind.
      no different than that teenage abstinence pledge they made me sign. HA.

      • Tabby


  • Library

    Ahhhh the Arlington Library on Quincy St. The benches and covered areas just outside the entrances are where many a homeless person call home.

    It’s close to where they work too, outside of the Ballston 7-11 panhandling.

    Now that’s living.

    • JimPB

      “Now that’s Living.” Try it. You’ll not like the conditions. And, to many who go by, you will be invisible. If you are noticed, most likely it will be with disdain. Want out of homelessness to a home, a job and recognition as a person by others? Hope for persons and entities who have the compassion and caring of the reformed Scrooge to help you find the way.

      • Library

        I’m just saying, their commute is pretty short! They have it made in that sense!

  • Shirlington

    I hope that Cheesetique and Curious Grape don’t end up really competing with one another, I like them both. Cheesetique is a cheese shop that sells wine, Curious Grape is a wine shop that sells cheese.

    The wine selection at Cheesetique is a bit overpriced and limited but if Planet Wine can coexist with them in Del Ray I don’t see a reason Curious Grape can’t either

  • demonfafa

    I’m curious as to how a loyalty oath would actually hold up in court. Seems, oh, I don’t know… unconstitutional?

    • R. Griffon

      Impossible with a secret ballot. That’s why it’s just an “oath.”

  • YTK

    I’ll patronize the Curious Grape any time– THEIR employees are friendly.

  • Marc

    I may sign it, but if I do, I’ll include a signing statement indicating that I have no obligation under this oath, as I see this oath as an attempt to subvert the intent of the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    • Clarendon

      Virginia State Code 24.2-545 explicity allows the parties to determine the requirement for participation in apresidential primary.


      “The requirements may include, but shall not be limited to, the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.”

      Theoretically, they could charge admission too. Whether they can disqualify someone who signs but caveats with a signing statement is less clear, because I believe they do have to abide by the rules they submitted to the state.

      • Zoning Victim

        Haha, I wonder how many people would pay.

        They’d have a pretty good argument that a pledge with a written in caveat is not a pledge at all. Although, it’s pretty obvious that people don’t have any obligation under the terms of the pledge to vote one way or the other in the election; it’s not a contract or an oath of office.

    • Zoning Victim

      The laws of the Commonwealth actually establish the fact that they’re allowed to compel you to sign the oath before voting in the primary; from the article:

      “Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia allows the political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary, including ‘the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.’ ”

  • NoVapologist

    Loyalty oaths are just a minor symptom of a long-broken primary system.


  • JohnB

    Loyalty pledges are voter intimidation regardless of which party institutes them. I have, and will only swear one oath; to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I have a legal right to vote in elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The reasons that I, or anyone else, choose to vote for a candidate, for or against a ballot measure, or for dog catcher have no bearing on my right to vote. In the end, you will have only four options; don’t vote, vote in the Democratic Party Primary and vote for Barack Obama, vote in the Republican Party Primary and vote for Ron Paul or Mitt Romney. No other candidates will be on the ballot and as someone already mention, write-ins are not allowed in primary elections. I hope you choose wisely.

    • Clarendon

      Yes, I think that is the whole point. To intimidate people who are not loyal to the party first to stay away. Not sure how effective it is, but it is allowed by law.

      In fact ,it seems a political party does not need to select their candidates by vote at all. They could draw names, have a selection committee, consult an astrologist or whatever.

      • You are right. It is a form of intimidation. Yet, you have to wonder why. The legal intimidation would not be needed if there was not evidence of tampering with the vote by those having no intention of voting for anyone other than the Democratic candidate in the final election (such as Terry above). It would seem there would be a way to close the door to both of these wrongs.

        • arlwhat

          Nice try cupcake, but the only confirmed (ie. put through a court of law) instances of voter intimidation any time recently have all been the doing of Republicans. It’s almost as if the only way the GOP feels they can win anything is with a tilted playing field.

          • Zoning Victim

            Since the moderator doesn’t seem to want to post my proof to the contrary, I’d love to see you provide proof of this.

    • Annie

      I hadn’t been planning on voting in the Republican primary, but hearing of this “oath” is making me pause and reconsider and I do believe that I will as my own private act of protest. No matter which party requires this, it’s ridiculous.

    • Zoning Victim

      You do not have a legal right to vote in primaries without any conditions for participation under Virginia law, US Law or either the US or Virginia Constitutions. You and many other people on here seem to be incapable of distinguishing between a nomination and an election for office. There are many states that have closed primaries, which means you can’t participate in a parties primaries unless you are a registered member of the party, and it is the right of any political party to nominate anyone they want as a candidate without allowing any public involvement at all.

      I don’t even know what in the heck your talking about with your four options; there is no Democratic primary because there is an incumbent Democratic President who is running for reelection. That’s exactly why the Republicans felt they needed to come up with this silly pledge; you’re only allowed to vote in one primary in Virginia and since Democrats will not have a primary, they will be able to vote in the Republican primary without having to skip their own.

      • Charlie

        But there is a democratic primary batman.
        Tim Kaine has a challenger for the democratic nomination for the Senate seat that is up in November.

        • Lou

          There is not a Democratic party primary for Presidential candidates.

        • Zoning Victim

          Batman? Haha…

          It’s going to be pretty hard to vote for Obama in that one since it’s not a presidential primary. From the article: “Virginia will not hold a Democratic primary in March because Obama was the only candidate who qualified.”

          • charlie

            i don’t have the attention span to read everything… sorry.

            i was just responding to your sentence:
            “there is no Democratic primary because there is an incumbent Democratic President who is running for reelection”

            there still is a democratic primary. because Obama is an incumbent doesn’t rule it out. the primary is for Senate.

            not that I’m wordsmithing you, i just only read your response.

  • Lou

    I think you are technically right, that the state party could just hold a convention and decide who they are going to nominate.

    Which illustrates a point, nobody has a right to vote in an election that is not required by law.

    • Lou

      This should have bee to Clarendon.

  • Village Genius

    Hold your hats, because the Arlington Democratic Party is attempting a much worse situation for the open Board seat. They want candidates to pledge NOT to run if the candidate is not selected by the very few people who will participate in the Democratic Party caucus.

    Why not let the VOTERS of Arlington decide who should be the next Board member?

    • Zoning Victim

      It doesn’t count when the Democrats do it, haven’t you been paying attention? haha

      In all seriousness, that’s pretty typical. You’ll see the same thing from Republicans if Ron Paul loses the nomination. They know he’ll cost them the election if he runs as an independent or on another party’s ticket. I’m not sure why the ADP really cares, though; anybody who wins will be a liberal and sympathetic to the ADP’s cause.


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