Audrey Clement: Why you should vote for me on Nov. 8, 2022

Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement (2015 file photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement.

I’m Audrey Clement, Independent candidate for Arlington County Board. As an 18-year Westover resident, long time civic activist, current member of the  Neighborhoods Advisory Committee, and past member of the Transportation Commission, I’m running for County Board because it has pushed harmful policies resulting in:

  • overcrowded schools
  • gentrification
  • loss of green space and
  • excessive taxation

Now the County is pushing “Missing Middle” up-zoning–multi-family dwellings in single family home neighborhoods. Contrary to what the County says, Missing Middle will not make housing more affordable. Instead it will inflate land values, resulting in higher housing prices, overcrowded schools, more traffic congestion, loss of tree canopy, increased runoff and more air pollution.

The County’s own data indicates that an income of $108,000 per year will be needed to afford a low-end 1 bedroom condo. In 2019 the County reported Black and Latino median household income at a fraction of that. Furthermore the County projects that 90 percent of new units built will be 1-2 bedrooms already in good supply, not the 3 bedroom units that are needed. 80% will likely be rentals, not owner occupied.

Let’s face it. The only beneficiaries of Missing Middle are the developers who are already making a killing by flipping properties in your neighborhood.

Another issue that concerns me is tax gouging.

The Board recently adopted a $1.5 billion budget that includes a 5.3 percent effective real estate tax rate increase. Nothing new here. Between 2012 and 2021 Arlington’s ten-year average annual effective real estate tax rate increase was double the rate of inflation (FY 2023 Online Budget, p. 95 [108]).

Are these over-the-top annual tax rate increases actually needed to fund the budget?

Neighboring jurisdictions have lowered real estate tax rates in the wake of rising assessments. Fairfax County recently reduced its real estate tax by 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

If elected, I pledge to:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Say YES to affordable housing and NO to “Missing Middle” up-zoning.
  • Preserve Arlington’s cultural heritage. Stop permitting the destruction of historic structures like the Rouse estate that was demolished in March, 2021.
  • Save our parks, streams and tree canopy. Stop clearcutting wooded areas along Potomac River tributaries in the name of stream resilience.
  • Say YES to real social justice reforms and NO to symbolic gestures.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Visit my website at www.AudreyClement.com
  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate to my campaign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.