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The Right Note: Quick Hits

by Mark Kelly February 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Mark KellyThe 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.

Arlington schools have called in an outside consultant to evaluate their enrollment projections. No matter who makes them, projections outside of the next one to two years are extremely difficult to make. Nowhere was this more evident than Washington-Lee High School which was built too small because of bad projections in the other direction.

The Arlington School Board should continue to proceed with caution in the efforts to create more seats for more students.

School Board members are also apparently contemplating the option of refusing federal funds to avoid federal education mandates from new Secretary DeVos. The story is a reminder of just how small a percentage of local school budgets come from the federal government despite producing so many of the mandates — roughly 2% in Arlington, but more in other places.

Based on DeVos’ testimony, it seems her goal is to return even more power to local school districts, resulting in fewer federal mandates, not more. Only time will tell.

Political parties in Virginia have the right to select nominees as they see fit. Over the years Virginia Democrats have often piled on the criticism of Republicans for selecting nominees in a closed process using a so-called “loyalty oath.”

So what did Arlington Democrats do this past week? They opted to hold a closed Democrat caucus with a loyalty oath to determine their County Board nominee. In order to vote, you will be required to pledge to support Democrat nominees in the fall.

Yes, Arlington Democrats, who often try to draw Independents to their cause by ridiculing Republicans for closing their nominating process, are now doing the same thing. I guess you can file this turn of events alongside their newfound discovery of the separation of powers and 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

Speaking of finding the 10th Amendment, Attorney General Mark Herring this week was in the news defending the lawsuits against the Trump Administration’s temporary travel ban. Regardless of your view of the policies surrounding the ban, the plain language of federal law authorizing the President to implement such a ban is clear. In fact, President Obama implemented a similar ban under the law without so much as a peep from Herring. But Herring said he opposes the law based on states’ rights now.

Herring’s record is full of partisanship just like this. Voters should remember this when he promises to uphold the law on the campaign trail this year.

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