Submit Content

The Right Note: Dusting Off the Memory Banks

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

Mark KellyYou may remember three years ago when there was an effort to put the question of changing from a County Manager Plan to a County Board form of government to the voters. The effort started late and ended in a giant mess of fraudulent signature gathering.

One practical effect of the change in government would have been to require our County Board to be elected differently. The county would have been divided into four districts – each electing its own representative to the Board. A fifth member would be elected at-large or county wide. All of these elections would happen every four years.

Under this method of election, four of the Board Members would be more accountable to a smaller constituency. New York City Council Members represent fewer people than each of our at-large County Board Members do. Not only does this lower the level of constituent service from a part-time board, but it creates an additional barrier to entry for those outside the Democratic Party establishment.

So, the chances that a Republican or Independent could win one of the seats would likely have increased, even if the current board was able to draw the district lines. Diversity of opinion would be a breath of fresh air to one-party rule.

South Arlington would most certainly be guaranteed at least one Member of the County Board – two if the Board drew the lines with “compactness” in mind. There is a long-standing feeling that those who live South of Route 50 get the short end of the stick when it comes to Board decisions.

The change would have put more power in the hands of the board and less in the hands of the County Administrator (no County Manager in the proposed plan). The goal was to end the ability of the board to pass the buck to county staff whenever convenient.

However, the proposed plan was by no means perfect. It would not change the fact that the chairman would not be directly elected by the voters. We would not have ended the insider process of passing it around annually between board members. The change also would have seen our School Board move back to appointed positions by the County Board. And, the biggest loss of power for the County would have been in the number of authorized agencies the Board may create.

You can compare all of the differences between the County Board and County Manager Plan here.

Love or hate the idea of changing our form of government, it is a shame that this question never made it to the people of Arlington for a vote. It represented an important debate for our community to have about how our government currently operates. Ultimately, consideration of the merits was lost in the drama surrounding the signature gathering process.

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

Recent Stories

Tour Country Club Hills to discover its lush herbage, mature trees, and the Victorian and frame houses of the area in Neighborhood Spotlight.

A soggy weekend is on tap after an otherwise pretty nice final week of September. Obviously this week’s big story was the devastation in Florida, the huge scale of which…

Share your input on the Arlington Forestry and Natural Resources Plan by October 3.

A proposed bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians between Crystal City and the Southwest Waterfront area of D.C. has received $20 million in federal funding to move forward. When complete, the…

(This Community Post was written by 9th Street Chamber Music and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts .)

9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.

[9th Street Quartet]( quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.

Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!

Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!

– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!

Submit your own Community Post here.

Vini Franchetti Wine Dinner

Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!

Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm

Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying


Subscribe to our mailing list