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Audrey Clement: Why You Should Vote For Me

by ARLnow.com November 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm 4,004 42 Comments

Last month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).

Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):

I’m eight year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation, I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound. VDOT went ahead with the Spot Improvement project anyhow. Yet persistent two mile backups on westbound I-66 show that I was right.

In 2008 I helped to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to realize economies of scale and leverage more money for affordable housing. Arlington County Board not only ignored the referendum, which garnered 30 percent of the vote, it had the General Assembly change the law to make it virtually impossible to get another one on the ballot. Yet the fact that two-thirds of the affordable housing in Arlington has been lost in the past decade confirms the need for a centralized housing authority.

I think Arlington needs a change in leadership, because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development; the tear down of existing modest sized homes; and construction of oversized, unsightly, runoff inducing McMansions.

To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability requires the County Board to support, not discourage construction of moderate income housing. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are gentrified out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.

  • We don’t need a $79.2 million aquatic center at an out of the way location in North Crystal City, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
  • We don’t need a $250 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
  • We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
  • We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.

I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of new infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.org.

With your help, I will work to preserve the Arlington Way. Vote Clement for County Board on November 6, 2012.

  • Rick

    She had a whole month to write that? Yikes.

  • Why I will not be voting for Clements

    She is a nut job.

    • Captain_Obvious

      what makes her a nut job ?

      • Quoth the Raven

        The typo in the very first sentence doesn’t help!

        • Skeptical

          The same one that was in her last essay. Sorry to see it because I like to see the Board challenged from the left, but good grief, proofread.

  • JimPB

    Like her advocating for our keeping the wads of Green (bucks) that the luxury pool, deluxe public transit (trolley) and lush school buildings will yank out of wallets.

    • drax

      A trolley is deluxe now? What’s Metro, gold-plated?

  • A Voter

    I’m usually one of the last to buy into “Green” candidates’ thought processes, but I agree with Dr. Clement on every one of her bulleted points. Too bad I already wrote myself in for County Board on my absentee ballot.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    I’m kinda sorry I voted for her after reading this. Couldn’t bring myself to vote Republican, and Libby is just so stone cold mmmmm cold. Not a lot to choose from I must say.

  • confused

    “We don’t need a $79.2 million aquatic center at an out of the way location in North Crystal City,”

    crystal city is out of the way? Huh?

    and where would she put it instead?

    • Captain_Obvious

      Her backyard.

    • GC_Now

      The question is do we really need another pool, especially at this expense? That money could to a lot more good spent elsewhere; I’d be happy to support the P&R bond if the money were better allocated. We could always kill two birds with one stone by replacing the Artisphere with a pool!

      But overall, Clements continues to tilt at windmills. Did she really start her essay highlighting two losses? She wants both affordable AND low density housing? Has she ever heard of the “Law of Supply and Demand”???

  • Ballstonian

    I like her ideas except for the “affordable housing” planks. The county is a desirable place for companies and their workers want to live here. Those who move here and drive up rents are affording housing.

    I can’t see an objective reason why we should subsidize lower-income people to live in Arlington if they can’t afford to live here at market prices.

    • South Awwlington

      In one word: diversity. We wouldn’t have any. We’d have to re-write the county mission statement and use ‘robust” and “vibrant” less often.

      • Ballstonian

        I know that’s facetious, but I can imagine that “diversity” is an argument they make. My question is whether “diversity” benefits those not “diverse” among us? Or is it just a handout solely for the benefit of the “diverse”?

        • South Awwlington

          Well, frankly, it’s more difficult to brag about how wonderful your community is on “world-stage” if your community is 100% WASPS.

          We are victims of our success…everyone wants to live here and have their kids attend our schools. At only 26 sq miles, not everyone can afford to live here and at some point in the not-so-distant future, Arlington will be 100% built out and will have a wait list to turn over properties that have yet again been up-zoned.

          The only hope we have of releasing this housing pressure will be through adding housing stock and helping to make the region as a whole more desirable to live in. IE, better public schools in Alex, better transit in FFX, etc.

          • drax

            True. And we already have a pretty diverse county.

          • Moof

            Hrm, your community could be completely homogenous and still be “world-stage.” It depends on your contributions, not your demographics, right????

    • Josh S

      It’s questionable whether everyone living here is “affording” their housing. People should not have to pay half their take home pay for a standard apartment / house. Not even in Arlington.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Why not? When given the choice between renting here and renting someplace else, they choose here. They’re choosing to pay that amount. Who are we to criticize that choice?

        • Josh S

          I’m not sure that the “choice” is always as free and easy as choosing which shirt to put on in the morning.

          When your job is here, or your loved ones are here, or there are other circumstances that provide powerful incentives to live in Arlington, why should you not have options that don’t involve paying half your salary for decent housing? Or enduring an expensive and exhausting commute?

          If you are paying 40-50% of income for housing, you are compromising in other areas of your life, including quite likely saving anything. For any reason. If you’re not saving, it’s going to be very difficult for you or any children you may have to look forward to any kind of improving life.

          I’m not saying that the county, or the state, or the feds should provide luxury accommodations for anyone who wants them. But I do think that an affordable housing program makes sense to help those who need it.

          • South Awwlington

            Didn’t we have this argument a year ago regarding wanting to live in Manhattan or Hawaii or any place that is beyond our means in terms of affordability? There are always going to be places we can’t afford.

            Artificially subsidized housing for certain income levels does nothing but piss of those who work two jobs to be able to afford their market rate abodes.

            Hell, half of my family is in PA and I work in DC. I would like to have a home in both in addition to mine in VA. I don’t because I can’t afford it.

            Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

      • drax

        I shouldn’t have to pay 1/2 my pay to live in a 12-room mansion, but I would (more than half, actually). So instead, I live in a smaller home, in a more affordable location.

  • Hugh

    Does she live in the woods? Every time I see her she’s got some giant pack on her back.

  • FedUp

    She’s an intelligent person. If she ever runs again, she should find herself a campaign manager who doesn’t turn people off.

  • Paul

    She would bring some modesty to a county board that’s become too enthralled with grandiose projects (streetcar, Aquatics Center). But, sadly, she probably won’t break into double digits.

  • Just Me

    Not my vote.

  • Arlingtonian

    She lost me at “doctorate in Political Science.” Like it’s a good thing.

    • drax

      Better she know nothing.

  • JimPB

    The high price of land in ARLCo virtually precludes new affordable housing for moderate and low income individuals and families.

    Construction of high (very high) rise, small size housing units without parking (no lot, no garage — this then requires the availability of a large number of public parking spaces) but with construction features that minimize operating costs, e.g., energy efficiency, long-lasting materials.

    Reliable, available public transportation can be a meaningful way to bridge the distance between affordable housing and jobs in a high cost area.

    Either way, a public investment (taxpayer funds) is required.

    • Why I will not be voting for Clements

      If Arlington County wants affordable housing they can start by waiving their fees of $50,000 per new single family home built. Which they will not do. So, affordable housing as long as the developer is picking up the bill I guess.

  • Ted

    Good Grief. Almost the same polemic she issued a year ago.

    BTW, she IS a nut case, but the Arlington Green Party being the little club it is you won’t hear what a nut case she is from THEM.

  • JnA

    Audrey’s too busy getting the Green Party’s candidate for President, Jill Stein, elected to bother making a real effort in Arlington though Jill Stein did not campaign in Virginia and spent almost all her campaign time visiting her fellow Green Elitists in college and university towns around the USA.

    The Greens talk like Limo Liberals but act like their Miser Mentor, Ralph Nader.

  • barry

    Audrey does have a campaign manager who allows Audrey to recycle the same Arlington Green Party drivel, campaign after campaign. Her name is Audrey Clement.

    Oh, the big backpack? It’s where Audrey carries her food supply, you know, the food she eats that everyone else stores in their cupboards, refrigerators, etc.

  • At least do some homework….

    Taj mahal high schools?..ugh. I would hardly call modern, more energy and space efficient schools with lower operating costs taj mahal high schools. Replacing musty, dark old schools, one of which started as an elementary school. Does she know Yorktown’s new “taj majal gym” doesn’t allow bleachers on both side to fully expand without covering the basketball court?

  • CD

    W-L is a an environmental disaster of a school. A school designed with 20-30-40 foot ceilings and acres of glass windows. For what the stupid looking ornamental ironwork cost the school system could have installed solar panels on the roof and at least heated the water for the bathrooms and swimming pool.

    • Really?

      I guess the fact that it is Leadership In Energy and Environmental Certified Gold by the US Green Building Council is meaningless. I doubt the previous school built over 50 years ago was. Check the APSVA website. I didnt see tall ceilings in unexpected places. The joint school/county use pool, auditorium and gym and some surrounding have tall ceilings, but that is not out of the ordinary. I’m sure the neighbors appreciate architecture that blends into the surroundings with some ornamentation and glass versus a plain ugly, cinderblock building.

      • Josh S

        Well, the proof is in the pudding. Unless you both have access to utility bills, etc, both of you are simply guessing.

        As far as the aesthetics go, I think I tend to agree with CD – way too much use of ornamental metal trimming in new buildings these days. If you want to go new-fangled go the way the new Bob Peck Chevrolet building went – fancy glass treatment, curved surfaces, etc. Looks fabulous.

      • DCBuff

        Actually, LEED is fairly meaningless. It is a particular set of standards that are promoted by USGBC, but not accepted by the entire AEC industry, and those standards ignore certain other relevant and related issues, such as the environmental impacts of tearing down an existing structure.

        • Whatever


  • chris

    I was surprized that Audrey and the green party position in Arlington is very close to the GOP position.

    • Josh S

      They’re opposed to some of the same things, but for very, very different reasons.


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