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by ARLnow.com — November 21, 2016 at 10:05 am 0

Congressman Don Beyer delivers a speech at the Arlington Jobs and Infrastructure Press Conference outside of Courthouse Metro StationRep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says president-elect Donald Trump’s appointments thus far are an abdication of his duty to lead responsibly.

Beyer says the appointments of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, and Steve Bannon as Chief White House Strategist represent a “divisive course” and should be withdrawn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington on Capitol Hill, was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential race. The congressman’s office issued the following press release.

“I do not expect to agree with President-elect Trump on most issues, but I do expect him to lead responsibly. By appointing Senator Sessions and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to key positions on his administration’s national security team, he has abdicated that duty. His chosen advisors have expressed views attacking women, African Americans, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics and Latinos, immigrants and new Americans, and numerous other groups. I urge him to reconsider this divisive course and withdraw these appointments.”

Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, publicly stated that “fear of Muslims is rational.” Flynn’s financial ties to Russia and Turkey represent a significant potential conflict of interest as he leads the National Security Council. He also said just a month ago that “the Muslim faith itself” is a “political ideology, not a religion,” which is the source of an “existential threat on a global scale.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, nominated to be Attorney General, defended Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States in an interview during which he also defended Trump’s attacks on the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan. Sessions once referred to an African American attorney as “boy,” and said that civil rights groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference were “un-American” and were attempting to “force civil rights down the throats of people.” As Attorney General, Sessions – who has criticized the Voting Rights Act – would be in charge of enforcing civil rights laws and investigating police departments for incidents of racial profiling and race-based-violence. Sessions has also made his stance on immigration – which borders on nativism – the focus of many public statements.

Representative Beyer previously signed the letter led by Rep. David Cicilline urging President-elect Trump to reconsider his appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon to the position of Chief White House Strategist.

He is the sponsor of a House resolution, H. Res. 569, “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” He also proposed the Freedom of Religion Act, a bill which would bar the President from using religious beliefs to prevent travelers, refugees, or immigrants from entering the United States. The bill enjoys bipartisan support in the House as well as the backing of a coalition of civil liberties organizations and groups representing a broad spectrum of religious faiths.

by ARLnow.com — November 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

(Updated at 6 p.m.) Local high school students have been spreading messages of love to counter an otherwise gloomy post-election atmosphere in deep-blue, multicultural Arlington County.

During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump made statements that many felt were hurtful and threatening to immigrants, Muslims, people of color and, perhaps to a lesser extent, LGBT individuals — communities that are well-represented in Arlington. In response, students have their own message.

“Love and respect all life,” “stronger together,” “united not divided,” “forever forward,” and “love trumps hate,” are a few of the messages Washington-Lee High School students have written in chalk on the Stafford Street bridge near the school. There are also quotes from Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela.

Elsewhere in Arlington, a message to students at H-B Woodlawn (below) has gone viral on social media.

The message of reassurance, to women and minority communities, has spread on social media and received nearly a quarter million likes after pop star Lady Gaga posted it on her Instagram account.

At Wakefield High School, chalk messages outside the school entrance today included affirmations like “smile,” “you matter” and “be the change.”

Post-it notes on the school’s doors (below) also offered positive, personal messages for students, who were encouraged to take one on their way into school.

https://twitter.com/MrBurnsWHS/status/798139316551766016

https://twitter.com/whssuperfans/status/798149528679579648

Arlington was not totally immune to a national wave of hateful messages, however. In the wake of the election there were some isolated reports of racist (confirmed by police; link is NSFW), anti-gay (not confirmed by police; link is NSFW) and anti-Trump graffiti around Arlington.

The following graffiti incidents have been reported since last Tuesday’s election, according to an Arlington County Police spokeswoman.

GRAFFITI, 2016-11090173, 2700 block of S. Nelson Street. On November 9 at approximately 2:16 PM, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located a delivery truck vandalized with black spray paint but the words were not clearly written and officers could not determine what the graffiti stated. There are no suspect(s) descriptions.

GRAFFITI, 2016-11110113, 6600 block of Little Falls Road. On November 11 at approximately 11:34 AM, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located the words “Truck Frump,” “Bet,” “LMOA” and an obscenity spray painted on the football field. There are no suspect(s) descriptions.

GRAFFITI, 2016-11120136, W&OD Trail – Rt. 66 at N. Ohio Street. On November 12 at approximately 11:33 AM, police were dispatched to Bluemont Park for the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located numerous graffiti markings including the words “Trump,” “U.S. Border,” “Caution huge,” and a derogatory term spray painted on the pavement and wall. There are no suspect(s) description.

by ARLnow.com — November 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

It’s probably safe to say that “shock and horror” was the predominant reaction among local Democrats to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in Tuesday’s presidential election.

In Arlington, only 17 percent of those casting ballots voted for Trump, while 76 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. Early on, as the results just started coming in, some officials we spoke to at the Democratic victory party in Clarendon refused to even concede that there was even a possibility that Trump could be elected.

Both the surprise over the result and the fear over what a Trump presidency means for Arlington and the nation was on display at Wednesday’s Arlington County Board meeting. Each Board member weighed in with their thoughts on the election. (See video, above.)

Here’s a bit of what Christian Dorsey had to say:

The outcome of this Presidential election was not what I desired, nor what I ever thought possible. This morning, my wife Rachel and I had to tell our budding feminist, 8-year-old daughter, who just a couple of weeks ago dressed as a suffragette for Halloween and explain to her that our candidate lost. That was hard. But harder still was finding answers to her very natural follow up questions, why, how? But I have to tell you that hardest of all, were finding words of reassurance to an outcome that in my opinion has dramatic consequences for our country. I hope to be proven wrong. Tens of millions of Americans, 20,000 Arlingtonians, and for all I know, perhaps some of you in this room chose Mr. Trump. I won’t try to believe it, but I will try to accept it.

County Board Chair Libby Garvey said a Trump presidency will not change the nature of the Arlington community.

At this point, I know we need to not give into fear, we need to not give into anger, we need to not assume that we know why everybody voted the way they did. And we need to continue what we have been doing here. This is a beautiful, wonderful community and we will do everything we can to preserve it and I am hopeful that we can. The rule of law and the rule of our constitution must prevail.

Jay Fisette said he was trying his best to cope with the results and give the new president a chance.

Yesterday was likely the most consequential election in my lifetime, for our country, to our world, to our understanding of democracy, the economy and our environment. Earlier today, I watched Hillary Clinton’s poignant and gracious concession speech and I actually took to heart her advice.

Number one, to respect the orderly transition of power that which is fundamental of our constitutional democracy. Two, to work with ourselves to open our minds and give our President Elect a chance to lead. And three, to continue to believe in our vision, in our values for the community, for the country.

In each of these, the first is easy for me. Everyone must and will come together to respect and accept the election results, as that is how we work, via the example that was set by our very first president, George Washington. So congratulations, Mr. Trump.

The second will be harder for some, like me, to open my mind and give our President Elect a chance to lead, yet we must do that. After we each finish our own grieving, those that supported Mrs. Clinton, and our assessment of what happened and why it happened, we must give the President a chance.

Independent John Vihstadt, the lone non-Democrat on the Board, said he was disappointed by the slate of presidential candidates this year.

Regardless of our political perspective, everyone in the nation and across the globe is still processing the remarkable outcome of yesterday’s election. Many are jubilant, others are apprehensive, or even fearful, and many others no doubt are conflicted. In my view, all four party nominees on the Virginia ballot for President this year fell short of what our nation deserved and needed in 2016. I voted, but did not vote for any of them. Still, the American people have spoken.

I am confident that our democratic institution will heal and endure, and I hope and pray, that people of goodwill will come together, lower our voices, and work together to find common ground to advance the human condition.

I’m reminded of the statement chiseled in stone above the main door to the state capitol of my home state of Nebraska, “the salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.”

Katie Cristol said Arlington County would “navigate the coming days as we have other major economic and political events in the past” thanks to residents, county staff and prudent planning.

Cristol said the county would continue to respect the rights of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, in the face of Trump’s deportation promises.

I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm what has been a hallmark of Arlington County: inclusion and protection of our diversity and of our residents. I want to reaffirm that my commitment to the safety of our immigrant neighbors, emphasizing as this board did in 2016 that all residents and visitors to Arlington County have a right to public safety protection. That it is our longstanding policy that Arlington County law enforcement does not monitor, detain, interview or investigate people solely for the purpose of determining their integration status, and that the services we provide in Arlington County, including education, public transit, access to our parks and to our libraries are not restricted based on immigration status.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — November 9, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

Campaign signs outside of a polling station in FairlingtonA record number of votes were cast in Arlington last night, though overall turnout did not set a record.

“Unofficial turnout was a record high of 121,807 but because of population increases, that represents just 82 percent of our 148,154 registered voters, falling a little short of the 85 percent turnout record set in 1992,” said Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg.

That mirrors the 2012 election, in which numerical turnout set a record in Arlington but percentage-wise the turnout was just short of the record.

Voting at Fire Station 10Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey won re-election last night. Her swearing-in ceremony has not yet been scheduled but “will likely take place next month,” a county press release (below) noted.

Garvey applauded Arlington voters for approving all four bond issues on the ballot.

“On behalf of County leadership, I want to thank our residents for supporting every bond measure on the ballot, making that commitment to better, safer roads, parks, community centers, fire stations and schools in Arlington,” she said in a statement. “We will work hard to make sure these funds will be invested wisely and managed carefully as a public trust in our shared future.”

For additional election results, see our updated election coverage.

Arlington voters on Tuesday re-elected Libby Garvey to the County Board as she concludes her year as Board Chair. Garvey won 70.11 percent of ballots cast with 72,542 votes in the Nov. 8 election according to 100 percent of results posted this morning by the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Garvey was first elected to the Board in March 2012 in a special election to complete the term of now-state Senator Barbara Favola. Garvey won a full four-year term that fall and now has been re-elected to serve through 2020. Her current year-long role as Board Chair concludes next month with the job traditionally taken up by another member in the new year.

“Thank you Arlington voters for once again taking to the polls in such large numbers and for continuing to place your trust in me,” Garvey said. “Most importantly, on behalf of County leadership, I want to thank our residents for supporting every bond measure on the ballot, making that commitment to better, safer roads, parks, community centers, fire stations and schools in Arlington. We will work hard to make sure these funds will be invested wisely and managed carefully as a public trust in our shared future.”

All bond referenda approved

Voters approved all four bond referenda on the ballot, representing $315,775,000 in investment to fund transportation, infrastructure, parks and Arlington Public Schools projects.

The bond referenda were:

Metro and Transportation: $58.79 million (passed with 78 percent of the vote)

Projects include: Arlington’s share of Metro’s capital program, street paving, bridge renovations, bike and walking safety enhancements, streetlight maintenance and conversions, transportation system and signal upgrades and neighborhood curb and gutter improvements.

Local Parks and Recreation: $19.31 million (passed with 76 percent of the vote)

Projects include: Park maintenance, land acquisition and open space, trail modernization, improvement work for Jennie Dean Park and Tyrol Hills Park.

Community Infrastructure: $98.85 million (passed with 75 percent of the vote)

Projects include: Replacement of old Lubber Run Community Center building, underground parking to expand Lubber Run green space, ADA upgrades for Lubber Run courts and playground areas, parking deck for Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, increased neighborhood conservation support, facilities maintenance, Courthouse Complex renovations and infrastructure, Nauck Town Square and infrastructure, Barcroft gymnastics expansion, expanded childcare for County employees, critical systems infrastructure and replacement of Fire Station 8 facility.

Arlington Public Schools: $138.83 million (passed with 79 percent of the vote)

Projects include: an addition at the Stratford building to add 339 seats, the new school at the Wilson site to add an estimated 775 seats, renovation of the Career Center/Arlington Tech to add 300 seats, planning and design to build an additional 1300 secondary seats at locations to be determined, and HVAC, roofing and other infrastructure improvement projects at existing APS buildings.

 

by Katie Pyzyk — November 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm 0

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Local candidates celebrated victories Tuesday night while shocked Democrats watched the presidential election slip out of their grasp.

County Board Chair Libby Garvey will serve another term after defeating independent Audrey Clement. With all absentee ballots counted, Garvey and Clement have 71 and 27 percent of the vote, respectively.

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey gives a speech on election night 2016“I’d like to give a shout-out to my opponent, Audrey Clement,” said Garvey in a speech at the Democratic victory party at Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. It’s important for all voices to be heard in a democracy, Garvey said.

Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren, who both ran unopposed, have won seats on the Arlington County School Board.

Arlingtonians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of all four bond referenda. Metro and transportation has 78 percent approval, parks and recreation has 75 percent, community infrastructure has 75 percent and the Arlington Public Schools bond has 80 percent.

Like Virginia voters statewide, Arlington County voters rejected a “right-to-work” state constitutional amendment while approving an amendment providing property tax relief to the spouses of fallen first responders.

Arlington County voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. In that race, Clinton has 76 percent, Trump has 17 percent, Gary Johnson has 3 percent, Jill Stein has 1 percent and Evan McMullin has 2 percent.

Clinton’s net 71,724 vote victory over Trump in Arlington contributed significantly to her 182,954 vote margin over Trump statewide.

An initially optimistic mood at the Democratic event at Sehkraft gave way to anxiety over the results of the presidential race. At 10:40 p.m., CNN called Virginia for Hillary Clinton, lightening the mood a bit. Early Wednesday morning, however, the race was called for Donald Trump, raising questions about how Arlington might fare under a Trump administration.

In the 8th congressional district race, Arlington County voters gave a large margin of victory to incumbent Democrat Rep. Don Beyer, with 71 percent of the vote over Republican opponent Charles Hernick with 25 percent. That margin, however, was narrower than Clinton’s 76-17 margin over Trump in Arlington.

Beyer won the district as a whole 68 percent to 27 percent for Hernick.

Voting at Lyon Village Community HallCounty election officials did not receive reports of any major local voting issues. They say there were no lines at any of the county polling places within the last half hour of voting, indicating most residents who intended to vote already had. There were long lines at many polling places this morning, but they largely died down after 9 a.m.

Before the evening rush, Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg had said most precincts reported about 50 percent voter turnout, while another 25 percent or so voted absentee.

Lindberg expects final numbers to be close to those from 2012, when Arlington experienced 83 percent voter turnout. About 118,000 ballots were cast at that time, which was a county record.

ARLnow conducted a live video broadcast tonight from Sehkraft from 7:30-9:30 p.m., in which editor Scott Brodbeck spoke with elected officials including County Board Chair Libby Garvey, County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Virginia state senator Adam Ebbin. The video from the broadcast is available above.

by ARLnow.com — November 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

As of 3:45 p.m., nearly 75 percent of active registered voters in Arlington have cast a ballot in today’s election, according to election officials.

Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg said most precincts are reporting about 50 percent turnout ahead of the evening rush, while another 25 percent or so voted absentee.

Few problems were reported at the polls, said Lindberg. The biggest issue, she said, was related to the pens used to fill out the paper ballots.

“Voters were walking off with our pens,” Lindberg said. “We’ve had to deliver more pens out to our polling places, that was our biggest problem this morning during the rush.”

Long lines were reported at many polling stations early this morning, though the lines gave way to a steady trickle of voters after 8-9 a.m., as most headed to work. The longest line reported to the county elections office was about one hour long — well below the two-hour-long lines reported during the 2012 presidential election.

That election saw 83 percent voter turnout and about 118,000 ballots cast, the latter of which was a record for Arlington County. Lindberg expects this year’s election to come close to both figures, perhaps exceeding the number of ballots cast since the county’s population has continued to grow.

“It’s hard to say,” Lindberg said. “We should at least come very close to that number if not exceed it.”

A shift to all paper ballots from the mix of paper ballots and voting machines in 2012 may have helped to keep lines down despite, potentially, more voters at the polls.

“I think it moved voters through faster because there were more polling stations,” said Lindberg.

Should there be a larger-than-expected rush of voters after work, roving election officials have more ballots on hand to deliver to polling stations and prevent them from running out.

Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m., though anybody in line at that time will be allowed to vote. Early returns are expected to start posting around 7:30 tonight.

Photos by Samantha Moore

by ARLnow.com — November 8, 2016 at 10:35 am 0

If early morning lines at polling stations are any indication, today’s voting turnout is looking as high as expected in Arlington.

In Fairlington this morning, about 30 voters were lined up a half hour before polls opened. By the time those voters cast their ballots, the line was a hundred-plus people long.

The same story played out elsewhere in the county, from north to south. The lines have since thinned out, but are expected to get longer again during the lunch and after-work rushes.

Here are some reports from the polls around Arlington this morning, via Twitter:

by ARLnow.com — November 8, 2016 at 6:00 am 0

A woman walks out of the Walter Reed Recreation Center after voting (file photo)

It’s Election Day and, as of 6 a.m., the polls are open in Arlington and throughout Virginia.

Polling places will remain open through 7 p.m. tonight. There are 52 electoral precincts in Arlington County, including three that have changed voting locations since the last election:

  • Crystal City (voting at Crystal Place, 1801 Crystal Drive)
  • Wilson (voting at Art Atrium at Bennett Park, 1601 Clarendon Blvd)
  • Abingdon (voting at Fairlington Villages Community Center, 3005 S. Abingdon Street)

Some voters may have received incorrect information about their voting location last month, before a correction was mailed out.

If you’re heading out to vote, remember that voters in Virginia must present photo ID in order to be eligible to cast a ballot. Those who forget to bring their IDs may cast a provisional ballot that will only be counted if you can provide a copy of your ID to elections officials before noon on Friday.

The following will be on the ballot in Arlington:

President and Vice President

  • Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
  • Republicans Donald Trump and Michael Pence
  • Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld
  • Greens Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka
  • Independents Evan McMullin and Nathan Johnson

House of Representatives for Virginia’s 8th District

Arlington County Board 

Arlington School Board

Referenda 

  • Four local bond issues (article)
  • Two state constitutional amendments (article)

High voter turnout is expected today, following a long, controversy-filled presidential election campaign. Arlington election officials say they’re prepared for the crowds.

ARLnow.com will have a mid-day update of voter turnout in Arlington, followed by live election results coverage later tonight.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Charles Hernick (photo via LinkedIn)Last week we asked the two candidates for Congress in the Eighth District of Virginia to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from Republican candidate Charles Hernick:

Dear Neighbor,

I got into this race because I was frustrated with status quo politics. I expect more from my elected officials and I expect more from Congress. I’m not a millionaire career politician, I’m your neighbor. I have a proven track record of getting results for my clients and I would bring the same work ethic and resolve to Congress. My campaign has gained local, national, and international media attention because of my distinguished, multi-cultural background and my plans to:

  • Improve conditions for small businesses through lower taxes and fair regulations. We need to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent (the OECD average) so that our businesses are not at a disadvantage when competing abroad. We also must simplify tax filings for small businesses. We can grow the economy by improving conditions for small business–they are the engines/innovation centers of the economy. We must lower regulatory hurdles for small businesses and simplify taxes so that they can hire and grow — Don Beyer favors tax increases on individuals and corporations

  • Improve national security by taking care of our troops and Veterans and focusing more on cyber-security and radical Islamic terror. I understand that Congress has the unique constitutional authority and obligation to define our enemies abroad. I understand the threat from radical Islamic terrorist groups and I know how to work with our Muslim allies in other countries to defeat a common threat — Don Beyer doesn’t think ISIS poses a serious threat to the US

  • Make government more efficient and responsive to it’s employees and taxpayers through better Information Technology and systems to reward innovation and top performance. We need to manage our debt and entitlement obligations so that essential government functions are never jeopardized. We need to empower Federal employees to save taxpayer money by flagging unnecessary spending and establish systems that reward innovation and top performance — Don Beyer is comfortable with the status quo in government

Finally, I have proposed a market-based framework for addressing climate change that would link state and regional efforts through standardization. My proposal is the most actionable proposal by ANY candidate of ANY party in this election — Don Beyer has proposed a carbon tax that has gained ZERO traction in his first two years in Congress

If we haven’t met in person: I am an ecologist and economist. I have worked as a US Federal Government consultant across the United States and in over a dozen countries in Latin America and Africa. I grew up in a bilingual household and I am fluent in Spanish. I entered the workforce at the age of 15 cleaning hotel rooms. I worked my way through school and earned a B.S. in Ecology and an M.A. in International Relations. If we have met at the farmers market or at a neighborhood event you know that I’ve campaigned tirelessly in English and in Spanish in every part of our community.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 8th. I have the experience and urgency to act. Let’s change the status quo — every vote counts.

Sincerely,
Charles A. Hernick

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm 0

Congressman Don Beyer delivers a speech at the Arlington Jobs and Infrastructure Press Conference outside of Courthouse Metro StationLast week we asked the two candidates for Congress in the Eighth District of Virginia to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is Democratic candidate Don Beyer’s unedited response:

I ask you to re-elect me as your Congressman on November 8th so that I can continue to serve you, and to work on many issues that are critical to our neighborhoods, to Virginia, and to the country.

For those of you who do not know me, I am a small business owner in northern Virginia, with a now-43-year-old family auto business.   I was Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor for two terms in the 1990s, served as President Obama’s transition director at the Department of Commerce, and then was appointed Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013.

Being your Congressman is the most interesting and satisfying job I have yet held, because I can touch all of the issues of our time in some way, and work to forge relationships and make incremental progress on problems large and small.

One of my primary motivations for running for Congress was and remains a desire to find solutions to climate change, both through a carbon tax that returns revenues to every American, and through smarter renewable energy policies.

I am dedicated to equality and civil rights for all, from greater economic empowerment for women, to a continuation of our great progress on equality for the LGBT community, to comprehensive immigration reform and restoring voting rights to ex-offenders.

Like so many of you, I am deeply disturbed by the 30,000 annual deaths from gun violence in our nation, and am working to find reasonable solutions. We will not give up.

Federal workers and federal contractors remain the backbone of this congressional district, and their needs and concerns will always be a priority.

We must address the infrastructure needs of this country, starting here at home with Metro safety and reliability, and the needed repairs to Memorial Bridge. In addition to focusing on these matters, my staff and I stand ready to help constituents with myriad issues, such as problems with federal health insurance, veterans’ benefits, and immigration and passport problems.

As a freshman legislator in the minority, I know that I must work diligently to make inroads. I am pleased that I introduced four pieces of legislation that passed the House, one of which became law and two others that stand poised to do so.

I have an open door to all constituents, and look forward to continued conversations with you, the residents of one of the nation’s most educated and sophisticated congressional districts.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

County Board member Libby Garvey

Last week we asked the two candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Libby Garvey (D):

“What an exciting time to be in Arlington!” I said at our January meeting. Ten months on, my excitement about our community’s future has only grown. We have highly educated and incredibly talented people; diversity, which brings much of the world’s experience together in just 26 square miles; beautiful and safe neighborhoods; an outstanding school system; a strong safety net to protect the most vulnerable; and a committed and talented business community.

With our resources, we can solve just about any problem we face. And we’ve solved many. It has been a real privilege to serve you on the County Board for the past four-and-a-half years, and on the School Board for fifteen years before that. This is a wonderful community, but we have challenges. I am running for reelection to the County Board because I know that together we will continue to meet our challenges, and I want to help Arlington achieve our potential.

We must make sure our services work well for residents. We have taken steps this year, such as e-filing of building permit applications, but there is more to do. We must embrace new tools, but innovation and service delivery isn’t only about technology. I will continue to encourage our staff to try new processes to make using public services simple and straightforward.

I will continue my work to help us get around. The Transit Development Plan we approved this summer was a start toward realizing premium bus service on Columbia Pike and throughout the county, but we need to continue to update our transit services so they get riders where they want to go. The crisis with Metro reminds us that we must also deepen our cooperation around the region. I will continue to work with leaders around the region both to improve Metro and to build new regional transit options.

We must make sure that every Arlingtonian can participate in our community processes. We made a good start this year by webcasting and recording County Board work sessions and meetings of the Planning and Transportation Commissions, but we need to expand these webcasts to all commission meetings. I will continue to push for more online tools that both inform residents about what’s happening and allow them to provide feedback to their government. Traditional, time-intensive methods, which often don’t account for family and work commitments, cannot be a bar to resident participation in our community and government.

Arlington must be a place where everyone feels that she or he can contribute. This year, I helped bring people together on different sides of issues like Fire Station 8 and the Stratford school driveway to discuss the options openly before moving forward. Everyone can’t have his or her preferred outcome, and I did not have mine on every issue. But when we have an open dialogue and focus on speaking with – and listening to – each other, we make sure that everyone can contribute to the ultimate decision in some way.

We still need a strategic plan to unify all of our issue-specific master plans. Coming up with an overall strategic plan will take time and must include the whole community so that we hear everyone’s voice. We started down this path this year, and I look forward to building on it in my next term.

Arlington County is a place where residents, business, and government all work to bring out the best in our community. I ask for your vote on Tuesday to continue serving you as we work together to realize our full potential.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Audrey Clement

Last week we asked the two candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (I):

Millions of people are turned off by this year’s presidential election. In fact so unhappy is the public with the major party presidential candidates that psychologists have come up with a new diagnosis–Election Stress Disorder (ESD)–characterized by anxiety over the prospect of electing them! If you’re an Arlington resident suffering from ESD, a cure is in sight. No. I’m not running for President. But as an Independent candidate for Arlington County Board, I offer local voters a change from business as usual to real reform.

Never have Arlington residents been more in need of this remedy. Consider that when I recently complained to County Board about some questionable numbers that appear in Arlington Public Schools’ (APS) 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) documents, I was told by my opponent, County Board Chair Libby Garvey, that County Board couldn’t address the issue. I should direct my complaint to the School Board instead.

Come again? County Board is responsible for approving not only the School Board’s operating budget, but also its CIP. That responsibility includes reviewing the School Board’s budget documents. By insisting that it has no such responsibility, Arlington County Board is abdicating its duty to oversight the School Board budget. Why is this important? At $565 million, the School Board operating budget accounts for 36% of Arlington government annual expenditures and almost 50 percent of local tax revenue. At $510 million, APS outlays account for 15% of Arlington’s ten year capital budget.

Not only has the current County Board given the School Board carte blanche to adopt whatever budgets it wants, it also routinely rubberstamps major development projects, ignoring their impacts on streets, schools, parks and public safety.

Consider the Rosslyn Plaza Phased Development Site Plan (PDSP) between Kent Street and Arlington Ridge Road that will house 500 new housing units, 200 new hotel rooms, 1.8 million square feet of office space and 2,168 parking spaces. In approving the PDSP, not only did County Board ignore the impact of additional traffic on the Rosslyn community, it also ignored the joint appeal of the Metropolitan Washington Airlines Committee, Airports Authority, American Airlines, Airlines for America, and the Airline Pilots Association to defer approval of the Rosslyn Plaza project until FAA has decided whether to amend its regulations to consider the hazard of constructing office towers so close to White House prohibited airspace. This project will not only further congest Rosslyn, it will also jeopardize the safety of Rosslyn residents.

If elected, I plan to seek a fiscal impact analysis of every major site plan development to assure that the project actually benefits the County and that its impacts are adequately addressed. In addition, I plan to:

  • Seek tax relief for residents and businesses and stop the exodus of federal agencies from Arlington.
  • Preserve green space and emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Promote transparency by requiring publication of official documents at least 72 hours before board and commission meetings.
  • Provide a voice on County Board for all taxpayers.

As a 12-year Westover resident and long-time civic activist–with a Ph.D. in political science and service as a Congressional Fellow–I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.

To find out more about my campaign, visit:
www.AudreyClement.com [http://www.AudreyClement.com]

You can make a difference! Boost my campaign for Arlington County Board by:

  • volunteering for an hour at your polling place on Election Day;
  • donating time or money;
  • planting a yard sign in your yard or window;
  • spreading the word via your PTA, civic association, listserv or blog.

Together we can make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.

Sincerely,
Audrey Clement, Ph.D.
Independent Candidate, Arlington County Board
www.AudreyClement.com [http://www.audreyclement.com]

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Tannia TalentoLast week we asked the two candidates for Arlington School Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from Tannia Talento (D), who along with Nancy Van Doren is running unopposed:

Thank you to ARLnow.com for the chance to engage Arlington voters before the election on Tuesday.

I decided to run for Arlington County School Board because I believe that every student, regardless of their circumstances, should have equitable access to a quality education and I have been advocating for this throughout my life. My focus as a member of our school board will be to expand mental health education and resources for all of our students, eliminate the achievement/opportunity gap, and address our capacity needs with transparent and robust community engagement.

We have strong community involvement in our schools. Many of our stakeholders work very hard to make our school system the best it can be, but there are stakeholders in our community who are underrepresented, who should be involved in the process. I will advocate for these communities and bring everyone to the table. As a first-generation American to immigrant parents, I know how hard it can be to get involved in the school system and have a voice if you are an immigrant, a working parent, a minority, or face a language barrier. I will make sure to bring these perspectives to our Board.

Arlington Public Schools is making slow progress to improve our mental health support systems and as a board member, I will ensure that we make mental health a priority in APS’ Whole Child Initiative. According to a recent NPR Ed Series on mental health, 1 in 5 students has symptoms of a mental health disorder in any given year. We need to work harder to address the mental health needs of our students. I will make sure we continue to focus on this issue and to bring awareness and education to our students, parents, and community on how this silent epidemic is affecting Arlington students.

Arlington’s school challenges are community-wide challenges that can only be faced with the support and input of every stakeholder in the county. Our achievement/opportunity gap can be eliminated, but only if we have every stakeholder at the table working towards the common goal of creating an education system that works for every student, not just most students. One of the ways I will address this is to review our data at a granular level to truly understand the reasons for the gap so that we work together to serve our students as individuals and not as statistical blocks. We have the passion, commitment, and resources in our schools and community to make this happen but we cannot serve our students if we do not understand their needs as an individual.

Finally, I plan to address our capacity needs with transparent and robust community engagement. Again, we will have to work together to come up with creative solutions that support the new Virginia Board of Education’s Profile of a Graduate initiative and the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Both of these new measures will affect how we prepare our students to be 21st-century learners and ensure they are college and career ready students that can enter our colleges and workforce prepared and with choices for life-long success.

Since the Democratic Caucus in May, I have continued the work on advancing these goals and advocating for every student. This summer and fall, my focus has been on meeting with numerous parent and community groups on how to share my goals and vision and to learn about their priorities and concerns. I have also been meeting with our existing School Board members and County Board members to ensure that I am informed, prepared and ready to start working on day one if elected.

I look forward to serving this community and working hard to make Arlington, not one of the best school systems in the country, but rather, the best school system in the country. I humbly ask for your vote on November 8th. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my candidacy and my vision for our schools. For more information about me and my campaign, please visit my website at www.tanniatalento.org.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

Nancy Van Doren

Last week we asked the two candidates for Arlington School Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Nancy Van Doren (D):

I am seeking re-election to the Arlington School Board and ask for your vote on November 8, 2016. I also ask that you vote for our “Stronger Together” Democratic team, including Tannia Talento, Libby Garvey, Don Beyer, Tim Kaine, and Hillary Clinton. Please vote “Yes” on the School and other County Bond Referenda.

Since joining the Board in 2014, I have brought family and community voices to the table to ensure that APS maintains the highest educational standards while expanding capacity for its growing student population. In recognition of this work, I have been endorsed by A-PAC, the political action committee of the Arlington Education Association.

As a member and now Chair of the School Board, I have maintained my focus on instruction and educational excellence. My primary goal is to prepare every student to be successful in our 21st century economy. To this end, I have ensured an increase in specialized interventions for struggling readers, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities to succeed alongside non-disabled peers, ensured high expectations for English language learners, and supported the expansion of foreign language classes at all elementary schools. I continue to support APS’ digital learning initiative, which provides all students with access to technology to strengthen their learning. I fully support the launch of Arlington Tech, a new STEM-centered high school program that includes hands-on learning, industry credentialing, and dual enrollment classes for college credit.

To meet APS’ growing capacity needs, I supported the internal renovation project at Washington-Lee High School that added 300 seats. I support similar projects at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools as well as the recent renovation of the Fenwick building, which now houses an additional 300 seats for Arlington Community High School. I voted for additions and renovations at Stratford, Abingdon and McKinley Schools as well as for a new secondary school in Rosslyn and elementary school in South Arlington to be built and opened by fall 2019. I served as the School Board liaison to the APS/County Community Facilities Study and am working to implement its recommendations to better coordinate County and School facility resources. I strongly support funding in APS’ 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to complete needed current and future projects on time and within budget. I will continue to advocate for funds to increase high school and elementary school capacity as soon as possible, so APS can meet the needs of what will be a 30,000-student school system by 2022.

Today, my priorities remain clear:  maintaining a keen focus on educational excellence for all our students while building a strong infrastructure to meet the needs of our expanding school system.

Before joining the School Board, I volunteered on various APS committees covering instruction, transportation, and special education.   I served as Jefferson Middle School PTA president, founded the ArlingtonADHD and ArlingtonReading parent support groups, and co-founded the Arlington Latino Network.

Prior to moving to Arlington, I lived overseas with my husband, Jack Zetkulic, in Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland. We have lived in Ashton Heights with our four children since 2004.  In addition to my Arlington school system experience, I had previously worked in business and communications. I spent 12 years in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, and The Hartford Courant in Hartford, CT. and then at Newsday in New York. I am a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and have a Masters in Management from The Hartford Graduate Center/ Rensselaer. I lived in Spain and Nicaragua and am fluent in Spanish.

by ARLnow.com — November 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Polling place volunteers work with voters at Arlington Traditional School

Who should you call should you suspect election fraud or voting rights abuse at the polls on Election Day next week?

The regional U.S. Attorney’s Office says to give them a call.

In a press release, prosecutors say that such complaints on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 8) will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis, who can be reached at 703-299-3700.

For more mundane problems at the polls that don’t rise to the level of a federal offense, voters can notify one of the poll workers or call the Arlington County elections office at 703-228-3456. Officials say Arlington is well-prepared for the anticipated crush of voters during a particularly contentious presidential election year.

The full U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, after the jump.

File photo

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