GOP Candidate Explains Why He’s Running for County Board

by ARLnow.com May 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm 4,594 72 Comments

It’s going to be quite the uphill climb for Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro.

Wavro will be facing Democrat Libby Garvey and perennial Green Party candidate Audrey Clement in November, following Garvey’s recent defeat of a better-known Republican candidate in a very low-turnout special election — an election that was billed as the GOP’s best chance of getting on the Board since 1999.

Wavro’s chances are especially long due to the other, higher-profile races that are on the bill for November 6 — the presidential race, a U.S. Senate race and a House of Representatives race — all of which are sure to draw droves of Democrats to the polls in Arlington.

Nonetheless Wavro, who lives in Crystal City and works as a human resources consultant, says he’s prepared to make a strong case to voters for why he should be elected. In an email to ARLnow.com, Wavro detailed some of his positions on the issues.

Like many in Arlington, I am concerned with the direction of our county. We score well in magazine surveys, but the health of our civil society and the quality of life of our neighbors is a much better measure of the performance of our political leadership. The civil and political health of our community continues to decline under the control of a single-party controlled County Board. It is the lack of any dissenting voices on the board that has allowed the County Board to continue their plans to rapidly redevelop neighborhoods and redesign our lives and our community around their ideological beliefs.

I am running for a seat on the Arlington County Board to stand up for our neighborhoods. It shouldn’t be considered part of living in Arlington that you have to regularly mobilize your neighbors to speak out against a local government action, program or plan that members of the County Board have determined does not require public input. We deserve a County Board Member who will insist on meaningful collaboration with homeowners, renters and local businesses instead of a top-down, rigid ideological approach to sidewalks, streets, zoning, permits, signs and outdoor restaurant seating.

I am running to bring active and engaged leadership to the County Board. The Arlington County Civic Federation has regularly called for an Inspector General to provide a professional and independent review of governmental operations to the County Board and the community. When elected, I will work with my colleagues to establish an Office of Inspector General to provide this much needed governance reform. If the current County Board continues their obstruction and insistence on a structural lack of accountability on tax, budget and spending issues, I will raise donations myself to fund an analogous position through a non-profit entity.

I am running to stand with our community against the wholesale redevelopment of particular neighborhoods and to develop a better plan for Columbia Pike than the trolley. I am running to prove that Arlington County government can be both effective and efficient without increasing taxes on top of already increased property-tax assessments. Lastly, I am running to appropriately prioritize projects in our county’s capital improvement program so that we can give our schools the flexibility to solve the capacity problem without another massive tax increase or an equally damaging downgrade to the County’s bond rating.

Anyone interested in more information can visit my website www.Wavro2012.com to sign up for email updates and get involved.

Photo via Facebook

  • Kate

    He makes a lot of good points that probably resonate with many open-minded residents. The problem is this County is full of federal government drones and contractors whose DNA is hard-coded against upsetting any governmental status quo. Go to work – go to eat – vote for incumbents and never upset the gravy train.

    I mean, even Mark Kelly could take some pointers from just that brief email.

    • This is the best the Repubs have?

      Way to start out negative. Really the oppressive one sided rule has resulted in the safest communities in the nation, and has developed a strong mixed use tax base. Where exactly do you find argument in that. 11% of the County’s land area (R-B) generates 1/2 of the tax revenue. The other 89% of the county is left without 8 story buildings. Not exactly over developed.

      Give it a rest. You will be lucky to receive a couple thousand votes, max.

      Fool… You are better off trying to sell ice to an Eskimo than land a seat on the County Board.

      • Elmer

        A “fool”?
        Ah, the arrogance of the Arlington Way. Must be nice to live in a black and white world and never have to think for yourself.
        Simply resort to name calling when your way of thinking is challenged.

        • TCE

          … yes and bashing government workers and contractors by calling them drones was just as bad. Ah… the hypocrisy of the right is even worse then the arrogance of the left.

      • marie antoinette

        Wow, a candidate makes a statement and you call him a Fool? Way to hide behind the internet with the name calling.

        I agree with Kate. Except that Tejada offends me more than any other local government official…upping property taxes to fund his version of social and economic justice. WAFJ.

    • drax

      Wow, someone came along and told us how other people think in the very first comment. That was quicker than usual.

  • Elmer

    If he has enough class and sufficent consideration for his constituents to not impose a tax raise on us AND give himself a pay raise at the same meeting, he’s got my vote!

    • SteamboatWillie


  • Urbanist

    so if you support the trolley, densification in RBC, bike lanes and car free diets, and any of that stuff, this guy does not want your vote? You’re an ideologue?

    • SomeGuy

      I read the part about his thinking that there might be viable alternatives to the trolley. But where did you read that other stuff, Urbanist?

      • marie antoinette

        Are we still talking about the Folly Trolley? I thought that ghastly waste of money was put to bed awhile ago? Arlington County Taxpayers are going to get hit with almost $600 million in referendums for various school projects over the next 5 years, yet the County Board is endorsing the Folly Trolley?

      • Urbanist


        ” It is the lack of any dissenting voices on the board that has allowed the County Board to continue their plans to rapidly redevelop neighborhoods and redesign our lives and our community around their ideological beliefs.”

        what else does that mean?

        • SomeGuy

          Could mean a lot of things. Sidewalk signage, policies on undocumented criminals, subsidized housing, or police quotas for all I know.

          It’s pretty vague statement, so I recognize that I simply DON’T know what he means by that. But I don’t see any specific references to “densification in RBC, bike lanes and car free diets,” so maybe you don’t know either?

          • Urbanist

            I don’t see how undocumented criminals or police quotas redevelop neighborhoods. And I don;t think subsidized housing has particularly led the redevelopment of neighborhoods, especially the “rapid” redevelopment.

            I really don’t see how rapidly redevelopment can mean anything other than densification.

            And “redesigning our lives” sounds to me like a dog whistle to the folks afraid of the “war on cars” and “agenda 21”

          • SomeGuy

            Well, if you can’t think of an alternative to what he means, then what you can think of has to be the only answer. Right?

            Or… you’re making a case for why an echo chamber of group-think ideas from a single party, regardless of which party, might not always be the best solution.

          • Urbanist

            “Well, if you can’t think of an alternative to what he means, then what you can think of has to be the only answer. Right?”

            Id say its pretty likely thats what he means. I mean it could be a reference to the war in Iraq, but I doubt it.

            “Or… you’re making a case for why an echo chamber of group-think ideas from a single party, regardless of which party, might not always be the best solution.”

            ??What? Its fine if some folks want to vote against densification, car free diets, and bike lanes. And it would also be fine if there were folks who supported such things, but opposed the Dems for other reasons. I’m just trying to clarify what this guy is all about.

          • SomeGuy

            Based on your assumptions, “its pretty likely thats what he means… it could be [something else], but I doubt it.”

            So by your own admission, you don’t know what he’s “all about.” Therefore, you’re not trying to clarify. You’re trying to speculate and label.

  • interesting

    so he’s running on an anti-development platform? yet he’s against rigid zoning etc.? or is he just against the trolley?

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      First it was zebra crossings, like they have in Europe.

      Then it was bike lanes, like they have in Europe.

      Arlington’s streets are now choked with Fiat 500s, Smart Cars and Vespa scooters.

      Trolleys are just a gateway drug to single-payer health care and European-style socialism. MARK MY WORDS.

  • Don Quixote

    I’m behind you 100%, Matt! You go!

  • Neutrino

    I agree that dissent can be beneficial, but only when I’m in the minority.

  • CW

    “The civil and political health of our community continues to decline under the control of a single-party controlled County Board.”

    I would like him to substantiate this statement with facts.

    He dismisses “magazine surveys”, and also apparently dismisses the fact that people are falling head-over-heels to live here. That’s something that I find perpetually funny – Repubs want to view government as a business (cut it, shrink it, streamline it, balance the books, etc). If you applied any of the performance metrics used in the context of a profit-and-loss private-sector business (revenues, demand, etc.), Arlington would be on the cover of Forbes. Yet these same folks say that the place is going down the tubes. If that’s so, pray tell, then why do housing prices and new construction starts continue to skyrocket?

    • JimPB

      You speak my mind.

    • AllenB


    • SomeGuy

      But as a minority on the county board, this guy would bring DIVERSITY. Don’t Democrats usually fancy that sort of thing?

      • drax

        It’s funny when a white male Republican = bringing diversity.

        • Becoming indifferent

          Many Republicans have no problem with what is referred to as “diversity.” It’s the government-mandated, quota type of diversity that is troubling.

          • drax

            And County Board elections have no quotas, so it’s all good.

        • SomeGuy

          Why is that funny? Is it because your PC definition of “diverse” tells you that white males who are presumably straight and disagree with you can’t possibly be diverse?

          • DCBuff

            For drax, pretty much.

          • marie antoinette

            lol, +1,000

      • CW

        Again, to continue the business analogy, what business would try to ideologically diversify its leadership team when in the midst of the most bullish run in its history, just for the sake of shaking things up?

        • SomeGuy

          CW, the US economy was bullish in 2004, and people were “falling head-over-heels to live here” in the United States at that time. But I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you weren’t making your same argument during the presidential election that year that you’re making here about keeping the status quo.

          • CW

            Nice try, but County Board members are much less removed from things that directly impact the local economy, which is in itself much more isolated, than Presidents are from the national economy. County Board members also do not dictate foreign policy, etc.

            Also, at that time, the sitting President had already taken actions that some of us, myself included, believed would hurt the national economy, which they did in the long run. One could say that the Artisphere and streetcar are going to run us into the ground, but the funding sources for those are a lot more concrete and established than the ones for a couple wars and tax cuts for the rich.

          • SomeGuy

            I concur with your entire first paragraph. The point was that you can’t just assume people will fall in line with you based on the argument “people want to live here,” “economy’s bullish,” and “Amazon says we read a lot.”

            I agree with most of your 2nd paragraph too. I’m pretty independent, not a party schill. And I could understand why some people thought the president’s decisions 10 years ago “would hurt the national economy.” Yep, I tried to understand why they thought that.

            What I’m objecting to is how your original comment seemed so dismissive of a guy who thinks our current county government might be making bad decisions, instead of giving pause to consider why he thinks that and how he could maybe have a point.

          • CW

            Ok, I understand where you’re coming from, and it’s fair. But the reason I was dismissive was because, well, he was dismissive himself! Look at my first statement – “I would like him to substantiate this statement with facts”. I’m not running for office. He is. I like Arlington the way it is – and a lot of other people do too. So the burden of the evidence lies on him, and he does not provide any evidence (“Our bond rating has…” or “Vacancies have gone…”), only makes blanket statements designed to fire up the antiestablishment crowd (“The trolley to hell!”).

          • bc

            There’s a pretty significant difference between local government and national government. For example, I have never seen a board official start a war or pass the “defense of marriage” act. Your analogy is irrelevant and misguided.

          • SomeGuy

            bc, if you had tried to comprehend the context of my analogy, which I took the extra step of articulating in a subsequent comment, you’d realize that your critique is “irrelevant and misguided.”

  • JimPB

    P.S. His vision for the county is likely as much ideological as that of County Board Members, just different.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      No, see, you don’t understand how this works. When YOU have principles, beliefs, etc. about how things should work, it’s a “vision.” When THE OTHER GUY has principles, beliefs, etc. about how things should work, it’s an “ideology.”

      I hope this clears things up.

      • drax

        Also, when you keep losing elections its because most of the voters are drones and puppets who don’t think.

    • Non Sequitur

      “as much ideological as that of County Board Members, just different.”

      I think that is the point…..we need to have different viewpoints on the board.

      Enough of the group-think business as usual.

      • southarlington

        Totally agree different opinions are good …it is called accountability we get into trouble when it is run by one party …

        • TCE

          … yes and we see how well that works in the US Congress when one party (don’t care which) just says NO all the time and neither is willing to compromise.

        • drax

          We have 100% accountability. Every member of the board faces the voters on a regular basis.

          • SomeGuy

            Not necessarily. 100% accountability would require 100% transparency too. I think that’s what he’s striving with the “Office of Inspector General” paragraph.

            But it sounds like you’re supportive of 100% accountability, right drax? So you’d agree with him there.

          • Non Sequitur

            If there is so much accountablity, then why did the ACDC help fund the opposition to the change of government petition ??

            And if the current form is so wonderful why would they be afraid of putting the matter before the voters ??

          • southarlington

            Also another note if we have so many issues with this board why are they still in office when so many of us complain about them why can’t get them out office …If the voters cared they would not be voting for incumbents and that would make a statement . The Board needs to listen to the voters complaints and concerns They need to be scared about elections that this maybe when they get voted out. No one wants to do this …Think about who you voted for recently did vote for ” change” or did you vote for the same old thing ….it is sad when people can not pay attention to elections and they go in and push the button for one party…if they had a clue and reallly wanted change they would be voting for what the candidate’s platform is and not what party is backing him/ her….it is called being resourceful and doing research on candidates…but no one wants to do that.

  • Pete

    An important site plan review committee meeting was held at the Aurora Hills Library on May 14th regarding Penn Place redevelopment. About 150 of Mr. Wavro’s neighbors (he lives in Crystal City) attended. Mr. Wavro did not. Neither did Democrat Libby Garvey. Green Party candidate for County Board Audrey Clement did attend. She gets it. County government must be about us, not about the total Tyson-ization of Arlington to benefit out-of-state REITs

    • Harry

      Tysons and Arlington both appear in the same urban planning presentations. Arlington is the best-case scenario, and Tysons is the nightmare scenario.

    • bemused bystander

      Last time I looked, site plan review committee meetings were just that — meetings of the committee that reviews site plans. They’re not political rallies. Why should any Board member or candidate show up, except to sit quietly and listen along with the residents who choose to attend?

  • MC

    Why is someone running as a Republican so anti-development? He sounds like an anti-growth socialist. I don’t like how the Board always wants growth to happen, but I am very wary of Republicans, Greens and Arlington-must-be-low-income Democrats who oppose renewal and transformation.

  • southarlington

    I think Republicans are worried about growth because they see the waste of money and buildings going up that county residents have said no to.The Board members have choosen not to listen to the voters and the Republicans see that a issue that they can jump on. One big example is the trolley what a waste of money that we do not have and there are cheaper ways to make Columbia Pike viable without the gimmick of the trolley. He also needs to have a different views then the Dem’s. Accountablitity is a big issue that needs to be addressed and no one on the Board wants to do that …The transformation needs to be done in a smart way and not a determinte to people that live around it .

    • CW

      What waste of money? The bonds and bills that the constituents have overwhelmingly approved?

      Who has said no to the buildings? The people paying for them, the people working in them, or the people living in them?

      Not listen to the voters? The voters that keep electing the officials in landslides, even when their track records are clear?

      Folks, this is ridiculous. People are buying what the board is selling! Arguments to the contrary are NOT substantiated by the actions of the majority in this jurisdiction.

  • terri

    Why are so many who are pro-development, no matter what the consequences to present and future Arlington residents may be, posting so freely on this blog while those who oppose ‘massive urbanization’, aka Tyson-ization, are censored?

    • neutrino

      There is nothing Tysonesque about Arlington nor about the County Board’s proposals for its development.

    • Non Sequitur

      “posting so freely on this blog while those who oppose ‘massive urbanization’, aka Tyson-ization, are censored?”

      Because they shout louder……

    • Harry

      Have you been to Tysons? You can’t go a block without having to drive, it’s a complete nightmare.

    • drax

      The fact that your comment wasn’t censored disproves it.

    • Urbanist

      actually FFX is trying to make Tysons look more like RBC

  • Dezlboy

    Wavro states he is “concerned with the direction of our county” and except for generalizations and his mention of alternatives to the trolley, he provides no substantial indication of his stands on various issues.

    Don’t bother checking his website. It has even less mumbo-jumbo than does his statement above. And, Arlington has one of the most open government structures with multitudes of public meetings. I don’t know what Wavro is complaining about, and likely, neither does he.

    • Arlwhat

      Wavro is complaining that not only is there a lack of Republican control of the county there’s not even enough of a Republican presence to obstruct. Oh, and trolley. And marxisocicommuists. And be afraid.

  • Altruist

    This guy got mad when a budget decision didn’t go his way and tried to blackmail county taxpayers through the referendum process. Luckily for us all, the petition went nowhere. Of course, we’re all familiar with the fact that others who worked with Wavro on the change of government petition were engaged in illegal and fraudulent activity.

    The reason that the Democrats win every election in Arlington is that the other parties never put up a credible candidate.

  • soarlslacker

    I can’t dislike anyone who is against the Trolley, but that does not mean I would vote for them. The “protecting of neighborhoods” seems a bit incongruent coming from a crystal city resident. Crystal City does not even have a civic association. If all politics are local, a better path to the county board might be to start a civic association in your own neighborhood and build from there.

  • Bethany

    Yes, Arlington is being ‘Tysonized’ neighborhood by neighborhood. Crystal City, for example. The people who are making the redevelopment decisions don’t live in Arlington. Many decision makers who do live in Arlington are part-time residents. County government allows our neighborhoods to deteriorate and then calls them “blighted”. Dump the entire County Board and have them go to work for the real estate trusts, where they belong.

  • Urbanist

    CC is being tysonized? They are closing the metro, adding more highways, lowering the density and adding auto dealerships?

    When did this happen?

  • Wrong Year

    Wavro’s platform would be much more compelling were he running against the hack Zimmerman or one of his drones. The jury is out on Libby Garvey (who was not endorsed by any sitting board member). She ran on a platform of questioning the other Democrats on the board. He’s really picking the wrong year to run (to say nothing of Dem turnout for Obama in Fall).

    Seems weird that the Green party opposes dense development – the single biggest thing one can do to lower their carbon footprint is to move to a dense place and take transit/walk/bike everywhere.

  • mary8

    ArlNow is a shill for county government. Allows county employees to post attacks against residents opposed to the count board’s pet projects.

  • John Andre

    As long as the GOP continues to move rightward from the national to the local level I will continue to support the Democratic Party and vote Democratic.

    Apparently Boehner and Romney support a Republican platform which takes money from the poor, middle class and us seniors–and gives the money to the Pentagon and their wealthy friends on Wall Street! Not only is this “Robin Hood in reverse”, it also makes a mockery of their stated plan to lower the public debt. The money [which we paid the Federal Govt. etc. over our working careers in order to give our parents a comfortable retirement] is taken from us and transferred to those who don’t need to worry about their retirements. In the case of the Pentagon it goes into continued adventures in Afghanistan, etc. …in other words, down the rathole! What is “austerity”??? Apparently the Greeks and the French have recently figured out! Speaking of the French…just read “Ho Chi Minh on Revolution” to find out how they mistreated the people of Vietnam and all of Indochina during their period of colonialism. The Republican Party acts just like the French colonialists by using their control over the House of Representatives to silence and “stiff” Eleanor Holmes Norton simply because the District of Columbia votes 90% Democratic. Until the Republican Party starts acting like the party of Abraham Lincoln, and not like the parties of certain historic European dictators [both on the Right and the Left], I will continue to support President Obama and the Democratic Party in national, State and local elections. We are not perfect, Obamacare is not perfect, the Columbia Pike streetcar may not be a perfect solution [the current bus could probably be converted to bus rapid transit at a third of the streetcar’s cost], but they are preferable to what the GOP has to offer…cutbacks in everything.

    • John Andre

      As for Wall Street…the recent experience at J.P. Morgan & Co. shows that they have little regard for the stewardship of the money we invest with them. In the event I disagree with the democratic plan for Arlington, I would likely vote Green, but I wouldn’t vote Republican.

  • Bluemonter

    Bluemont is solid proof that county government ignores neighborhoods then points to the neighborhoods and says they are “blighted” and “need redevelopment”. Check out the years of County Board meeting videos where problem after problem was brought directly to the County Board’s attention by a Bluemont activist.

    It’s downright despicable that county employees are allowed to trash neighborhoods from their desks at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

  • Arlington needs two things:

    a) diversity in the representation on the county board — so that all portions of Arlington are represented (rather than the entire county voiting for all members as “at large”),

    b) a person in charge that is reponsible and accountable for what going on…right now it is rule by committee. A committee can be easily manipulated by others — like the developers in Arlington.

    c) a new DHS department and court that reflects the values of community and family — and does not do to children and their families like they are currently doing with our taxpayer dollars http://arlingtonparentnews.wordpress.com


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