Press Club

The Right Note: Is the Streetcar Dead?

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

Mark KellyAccording to Inside Nova, Kip Malinosky, Chairman of the Arlington Democrats said he was going to try and “reverse engineer” Tuesday’s County Board loss. Malinosky told ARLnow, “…people are obviously unsatisfied about something… ”

“Something?” Not that I am opposed to allowing the Arlington Democrats to waste their time on a reverse engineering project, but I can make it simple for them: Tell the County Board to stop doing things a majority of voters oppose.

John Vihstadt is the voice of the majority in Arlington when it comes to big-ticket spending items. It used to be a quiet voice, but now it has spoken. Twice. Overwhelmingly.

By back of the envelope estimates, more than one out of every three Warner voters ignored the Democrats’ sample ballot to vote for Vihstadt. This after Democrats spun the special election result as merely being the by-product of a lower turnout.

The Board has spun, advertised, paid for friendly studies, lectured, cajoled, and decried opposition on the streetcar. It has not worked. We are not buying it. They have lost the argument. Unfortunately for the voters, the current makeup of the Board still has the votes to move forward — at least for another year.

And, it sounds like they have every intention of moving forward. This paragraph from yesterday’s ARLnow story seems to sum up just how oblivious the current trio of streetcar supporters is:

Tejada also obliquely referred to Garvey and Vihstadt’s rhetoric as “divisive,” saying many of the Board’s critics are “condensing” the issues into “sound bites.” He said he looked forward to “continue to inform details to the community, particularly factual information that it took quite a long time to get to.”

Just because someone opposes you, does not mean they are being divisive. Just because it took you a long time to make a bad decision does not mean it should not be reversed.

The streetcar trio can stay in its bubble and talk only to their supporters, or they can take the vote on Tuesday for what it was. If the Board does not reverse course before next November, we will probably be reading another story about how the “dominant” political party in the county is trying to “reverse engineer” another loss.

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

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