Join Club

The Right Note: Special Election Coming Into Focus

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 KellyChris Zimmerman’s official resignation on Monday will mark the kickoff of a two-month race to replace him. It appears the field will include five candidates.

Evan Bernick, a Libertarian. Bernick strikes familiar libertarian themes, running against County Board over-spending.

Stephen Holbrook, an Independent who ran a write-in campaign for County Board last fall on the issues of high taxes, too much spending, and a County Board that does not listen.

Alan Howze, winner of the Democrats’ firehouse primary. Howze supports building the trolley and aquatics center.

Janet Murphy of the Independent-Green Party. Murphy has previously run for the Virginia House of Delegates and the U.S. House of Representatives.

John Vihstadt, Independent, and winner of endorsements from the Republicans and Greens. Two years ago that coalition would have been enough to defeat Libby Garvey, who received less than 50 percent of the vote. Garvey is supporting Vihstadt this time around, primarily because he would join her in opposing the trolley.

The boondoggle trolley, as exemplified by the $1 million super stop, may not be stopped by ending one-party rule in this special election. However, electing a Board member opposed to the trolley makes stopping the trolley possible. A vote for Howze would be construed by the Board as a vote to continue the status quo.

The midway point of the campaign will occur at the March 4 Civic Federation debate. Howze, as the only candidate defending the Board’s plans on the big spending projects, should be prepared to defend against incoming fire from the other four candidates on both the pool and the trolley.

The sleeper issue in the race could be the growing community concerns over school enrollment, which is increasing by hundreds each year. While all parents are concerned about projected overcrowding, South Arlington residents are concerned it may be worse south of Route 50, particularly at the elementary school level; see Abingdon, Claremont and Oakridge.

When I met with the Arlington Education Association in early 2012 to discuss their special election endorsement, I asked them to consider ending the revenue sharing agreement. The current plan requires a few numbers to be plugged into what amounts to an excel spreadsheet plus a couple waves of a magic wand by the County Board. I argued that both schools and taxpayers would be better off if they came in and asked for what they needed rather than relying on a formula.

Currently, the Board claims the revenue sharing agreement covers school needs. However, if the County Board was forced to justify spending nearly $80 million on a swimming pool center versus more trailers rolling onto school campuses, they might better prioritize spending decisions.

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

Recent Stories

A man accused of going on a days-long assault, vehicle theft and property destruction spree that extended into Arlington is in custody. City of Falls Church Police said the man,…

Arlington County is the second best “city” to live in the U.S., according to a new set of rankings. The school-and-place ranking website Niche is out with the 2023 edition…

Morning Notes

Board to Address Pickleball Noise — “While pickleball may be popular in Arlington, Virginia, the noise heard by local neighbors continues to be a big point of debate. The Arlington…’s local news reporting today is supported by the Junior League of Washington’s Tossed & Found rummage sale. More on the event: You’re invited to shop at the 31st Annual…

Art House 7‘s spring session will begin on April 10th! We’re offering classes, workshops, and open studios in a wide range of art mediums for all ages, from 4 year olds to adults. We cater to different skill levels in ceramics, embroidery, drawing, and of course, painting – including watercolor, oil, and acrylics. Our Spring 2023 offerings include a Portfolio Development class for high schoolers who are considering a career in the fine arts. This class provides an opportunity to create and develop a strong portfolio for college applications.

We also have some excellent classes for younger students. The “Art and the Pre-K Reader” class is designed for 4-5 year olds, and we offer “Arts and Crafts” classes taught by teens for 2nd-4th and 3rd-5th grade students.

To view our complete class schedule, Spring workshops, open studios, and 3-week classes, please visit our website. Join us this spring to learn, create, and explore with us!

Submit your own Announcement here.

The March NAACP Arlington Branch General Membership Meeting

The March NAACP Arlington Branch General Membership Meeting is focused on Public Safety & Justice. We will hear from Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Chief Public Defender Brad Haywood, Chief of Police Andy Penn, and Deputy Chief Wayne Vincent. We encourage you to come to this community conversation prepared with questions for our speakers. Registration Required

Guest Speakers

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Singin’ in the Rain

The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted for the stage by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay. Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping

5 Tips for Buying Your Dream Home – A Free…

Are you planning to move in the next 12 months but feeling overwhelmed by the current real estate market’s low inventory and high mortgage rates? Join us for a short seminar where we’ll provide 5 tips to help you find


Subscribe to our mailing list