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The Right Note: It’s One Party Rule in Arlington


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.

The Progressive Voice opined this week that it may be time to take measures that rein in growth.

It is slightly ironic that the growth in high rise housing has helped give Democrats a virtual lock on local elections is also causing consternation among “progressives.” It is also amusing that progressives complain about traffic and parking while many of them are advocating for eliminating travel lanes on already congested streets, stopping scooter rentals and eliminating parking spaces.

Growth is just one of the things Democrats have been fighting with each other about in Arlington.

Also on the list, whether to provide subsidies to big corporations like Amazon; the debate over preserving neighborhood schools when redrawing boundaries versus making diversity the priority when setting new lines; whether a strong, experience prosecutor is more important than an unknown and unproven Commonwealth Attorney who promises to reform the office; disagreements over whether accessory dwelling units were bad for neighborhoods; and changing the name of Washington-Lee to Washington-Liberty high school.

The anti-Trump sentiment that drove Democrats to the polls in 2018 overshadowed the issues facing the county as well as the check to one-party rule that having an independent voice on the County Board provided.

The Board read the results differently. They went on a post-Vihstadt spending spree, including millions to build more bus stops on Columbia Pike. They voted to raise their own pay by as much as 60%. Yet things like ongoing water main breaks and the recent flooding reminded voters that basic local governance decisions on things like infrastructure have often not received enough attention.

There is undoubtedly continued discontent with how our elected officials are making decisions. One option is for Democrats to run more candidates in primary contests against incumbents in future years. But there is tremendous opportunity to partner with the Independents and Republicans who want to see our county run well and in a fiscally responsible manner.

It might even be time for the community to come together and back a write-in campaign for John Vihstadt. And since it’s a two seat County Board year, maybe a Vihstadt-Stamos write-in ticket? If Vihstadt’s win in 2014 sent a shock wave through the establishment, imagine if it happened again without his name appearing on the ballot.

Mark Kelly is a 19-year Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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