Arlington, VA

Independent County Board candidate Arron O'Dell (Image courtesy of Arron O'Dell)

Last week, we asked the four candidates seeking a seat on the Arlington County Board to write a 750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the Nov. 5 general election.

Here is the unedited response from independent incumbent County Board candidate Arron O’Dell.

A vote for O’Dell is a vote to keep Arlington, Arlington. I will fight to preserve single-family neighborhoods and push for zoning and building code changes to reduce the number of teardowns, and ensure new construction meets or exceeds our goals for a greener and more sustainable county. I will work to direct new housing to existing commercial areas where asphalt can be replaced by taller structures surrounded by green spaces. Adding people to key locations will allow more frequent buses and shuttles to transport people without cars to help Arlington reach its carbon neutral goals.

I want to see workforce housing for teachers and employees included in new county construction projects, because the people that work for Arlington should be able to afford to live here too.

I will look for ways to use our tax dollars better. We spend millions of dollars building and upgrading parks and playgrounds that are good, while spending nothing to encourage and remind people about the spaces that are already there. For less than the cost of one park upgrade, we could have events year round reminding us to visit the under-utilized spaces around the county. Markets, live music, food contest, marshmallow roasts, etc. would cost next to nothing and would bring back a sense of community that has been slowly disappearing.

I want to see better usage of libraries by introducing cafes and special event nights. Why do we not have more local writer meet and greets or book signings?

Did you know that Arlington rents office buildings at Court House? Unless the county government is planning on leaving Arlington, this is an obvious situation that must be addressed before the lease is up for renewal again. I would ask that unspent funds be set aside for the county to buy a permanent home.

If I am elected, unlike my opponents, I will make the county board my primary job. I will go and spend time in the neighborhoods, listening and learning from you. I care about Arlington ,and my only agenda is to keep it a place we can all enjoy. As an independent, I can not only vote against the rest of the board when it is the right thing to do, but I can speak up and speak out when they start talking about the next trolley before money is spent and the plans start getting drawn up.

As one fifth of the board I don’t have to be right, I just need to let you know when they are wrong.

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