Press Club

The Right Note: A Good Reason to Vote?

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyAt last week’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, party leaders stressed the importance of giving voters a positive reason to come out and support gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe in November.

You might question the sincerity of that plea since the meeting took place immediately after a “dramatic reading” of excerpts from Attorney General Cuccinelli’s book. Based on Mr. McAuliffe’s ongoing resume problems, they may actually spend a lot of time talking about the Attorney General instead.

But, what about a little farther down the ticket? What does County Board Vice Chairman Jay Fisette offer to inspire Arlingtonians to vote in 2013?

Mr. Fisette stands firmly behind the Columbia Pike trolley boondoggle. And, he has offered no indication that he would support a straight up or down vote on the issue. Yes, a vote is possible if the Board adjusts the funding mix to include a small amount from general obligation bonds.

It follows that Mr. Fisette is squarely in favor of building the 24 super bus stops on Columbia Pike as well. Yet, the first one took so long, cost so much, and was subject to such intense public ridicule, that the project has now been stopped pending review.

ARLnow ran a story on Monday on the black hole of spending known as the Artisphere. Mr. Fisette recently admitted the arts center did not meet expectations. It should not have surprised him as the Board ignored those who predicted the Artisphere’s shortcomings at the time the Board approved the project.

The Board will raise taxes yet again this year and still may not be able to fully fund our police and fire departments. Remarkably enough, fiscal responsibility and public safety are the top two issues listed on Mr. Fisette’s campaign website.

Website issues list aside, Mr. Fisette has made a “crusade” against single use water bottles — his number one pet project for the year. He announced it at the Board’s kick-off meeting January 1st and has followed through by scheduling a public forum on the topic.

Any effort to legislate on water bottles at the County level will likely go the way of efforts to regulate single use plastic bags, single use styrofoam, or even energy use in private homes — another Fisette idea. The Virginia General Assembly is unlikely to lift the Dillon Rule for Arlington to regulate these items any time soon.

However, it might make you wonder if a water bottle “crusade” was what the local Democratic leaders had in mind to inspire voter turnout.

It might be time to schedule another dramatic reading.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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