62°Overcast

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is weighing in on the widening scandal over fired FBI director James Comey’s memo, which alleged that President Trump asked him to end the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in Congress, is calling for a special prosecutor in the larger investigation into Trump and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.

He issued the following statement this afternoon.

Congress must seek answers and all available evidence of reports that Donald Trump dissuaded former FBI Director James Comey from pursuing an investigation into Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. We also urgently need a special prosecutor to find the truth of the larger Trump-Russia story.

What tapes of the exchange detailed in the Comey memo exist? Who at the Department of Justice, including AG Sessions, knew of the memo and possible obstruction attempt? What are the contents of the conversations with Donald Trump detailed in the other Comey memos which are reported to exist? These are questions we must ask, and the public has a right to the answers.

If Donald Trump did indeed ask James Comey to “let” the Flynn investigation “go,” that would be a clear case of obstruction of justice. The FBI is not the President’s personal police force, and his reported request that the FBI “lock up” journalists should underscore the deep peril facing our democracy if he is allowed to treat it as such.

Comey has been invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week.

by Chris Teale — May 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm 0

(Updated 10:25 p.m.) Erik Gutshall and Monique O’Grady were victorious at the Arlington County Democratic Committee caucus, winning the County Board nominee and School Board endorsement, respectively.

The final turnout of 5,972 votes is a record for a Democratic caucus held in the county, beating the previous high of 4,951 in the 1993 caucus for County Board. Voters cast ballots across three days at Francis Scott Key Elementary School on Tuesday, Drew Model School on Thursday and Washington-Lee High School Saturday.

Gutshall earned 3,209 votes to finish ahead of Kim Klingler with 1,416, Vivek Patil with 1,189 and Peter Fallon with 945. O’Grady got 3,441 votes, ahead of seven-year incumbent School Board member James Lander’s 2,336 votes and Maura McMahon’s 965.

“I think Arlington is definitely ready to move forward and make sure that we’re focused on the future,” Gutshall said. “That’s what I ran on, and I look forward to fulfilling everything that we’ve talked about in this campaign.”

O’Grady said she wants to repay her supporters’ faith in the November general election and beyond, if she wins a seat on the School Board.

“I want them to know I’m going to work very hard to follow everything that I’ve laid out in this campaign,” she said. “I’ve heard them, I will continue to listen to them and will continue to work so hard for our students. I will listen to them, I will listen to our students, I will listen to our parents as we continue to try to figure out how to handle some of the issues we’re dealing with in Arlington.”

For Gutshall, who came into the three-day caucus with a slew of endorsements from current and former elected officials, it represents a redemption of sorts after he lost the 2016 primary to Libby Garvey.

Gutshall said despite the defeat, he was determined for his vision to be heard at the highest levels of county government.

“It’s knowing that the future of Arlington matters, and that we are this great progressive success story that I want to see continue,” he said. “I have roots here. I’ve got my business here, I’ve got my family here, this is where I’m meant to be and it’s a great place to be and a great community and I want to make sure we keep moving forward into the future.”

Defeated County Board candidates Klingler and Patil congratulated Gutshall on a positive campaign, and said they were positive about the county’s future direction.

“Hopefully some of my messaging and priorities resonated throughout the campaign, because that’s what’s important to me,” Klingler said. “I hope we will carry those messages forward.”

“What I’m really happy about is the amazing campaign we ran,” Patil said. “I’m very proud of the ideas we brought to the race, the stories we told. I’m going to do this. I said on my first day, if I’m going to lose, it doesn’t matter, because I have actually won a lot of faith and support in the community for our ideas and our vision.”

The high turnout, albeit lower than for primary elections in the past, gave Democratic leaders cause for optimism ahead of June’s primary elections and November’s votes for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and the House of Delegates.

“Turnout is high and people are excited, so it’s a win for the Democrats,” said School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen.

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is “outrageous” and comparable to President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” firing of a special prosecutor during Watergate.

Eschewing the usual written statement and press release, Beyer released a video statement (above) via social media Wednesday morning, followed by additional tweets expressing his misgivings about the timing of the firing. The FBI is currently investigating Russian ties among key Trump campaign and administration figures.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, acknowledged that many Democrats disapproved of Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the presidential campaign, but said that Trump’s explanation of the firing was “flimsy.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Monique O’Grady:

Arlington Public Schools is at a crossroads. APS is short on seats, short on money, and short on the time to fix these problems before they reach a crisis level.  It’s time to bring new ideas with a fresh perspective built on years of experience.

As a former PTA president, community volunteer, schools advocate, and parent of three children who attended five public schools in Arlington, I will bring my 19 years of experience advocating for our schools to bear on the challenges facing Arlington Public Schools.

I firmly believe our children should not just like school, but develop a lifelong love of learning.  Our kids go through the school system only once; they only get one shot at success.  We owe it to them to fight for our schools–and all too often our School Board hasn’t been up to the task. We can and must do better, by focusing on the ABCs:

Academics

We need a renewed focus on academics, putting as much emphasis on school instruction as we do on school construction, and a real strategic plan that ensures our teachers have the training and resources needed to help all children succeed.

We must balance using technology to foster innovative ways of learning with tried-and-true teacher-student personal interaction.  Finally, we can’t keep “teaching to the test” and expect our students to learn and grow; rather, we must ensure each child receives the comprehensive education she deserves.

Boundaries

School boundary decisions should respect communities while also embracing diversity.  Our students won’t take an SOL in multiculturalism; that test will come in life and those who learn in diverse settings will be best prepared to succeed in a multicultural world.

Our schools must be open and welcoming to all students, and it is imperative that we ensure that every child under our care feels safe and secure.

Capacity & Communication

Arlington is growing fast, and our public schools are facing a capacity crisis.  For too long, the School Board and APS have failed to get in front of this challenge, resulting in overcrowded schools and a series of band-aids when we really need solutions.

The answer is not, however, to create a “mega high school” that crams 4,000+ students into Washington-Lee, as some on the School Board have suggested.

Rather, we need a fourth comprehensive high school, whose students can enjoy the same amenities and opportunities to learn as those enrolled in the other three. We need creative solutions that don’t overburden neighborhoods or existing schools.

But we can’t stop there. We must find innovative ways to make use of our community’s limited resources and space while still maintaining the high educational standards Arlington families expect and deserve.

As a leader on the South Arlington Working Group to site a new elementary school, I did just that: my creative proposal, adopted by APS, leveraged the building of a new elementary school while also addressing several other capacity challenges.  It is just this new, outside-the-box thinking that we need if we are to finally get in front of the capacity crisis.

Lastly, we must rebuild trust between the School Board and parents, students and teachers.  We must communicate better, with data and enrollment projections we can rely on, an open door policy for constructive criticism, and commitments kept when made.

Arlington Public Schools is indeed at a crossroads, but our challenges are not insurmountable.  I will fight every day to meet them head on, and to ensure a love of learning for all Arlington children.  I hope I will earn your vote for Arlington School Board on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Maura McMahon:

My husband, Michael, and I chose to live in Arlington largely due to the reputation and quality of Arlington schools. We have a daughter in the 4th grade at Barcroft Elementary and a son in the 6th grade at Jefferson Middle School.

My school and community involvement has grown over the past seven years and has fueled my passion for education in Arlington – particularly for the future of Arlington Public Schools.  We have much to be proud of, from our awarding-winning schools to our innovative instructional programs. But we are also facing considerable challenges.

I have served as PTA Vice President, as Odyssey of the Mind Coordinator and in other volunteer roles, and as representative to the County Council of PTAs – for which I currently serve on the executive board.  I also have had the privilege to be part of both the Thomas Jefferson and South Arlington Working Groups.  These experiences have given me a deep appreciation for the diverse needs of our community, the strength of collaboration, and the need for fresh, innovative solutions and long-range planning.

I am the only candidate or board member with the point of view of a current elementary school parent – a valuable perspective absent from the Board and missing in its decision-making.  I know our problems first-hand. I am focused on the future and how we can maintain the quality of all of our schools as we continue to grow.

I will bring focus to the broader issues challenging our schools today: educational equality and opportunity, ways to foster diversity beyond “choice” and boundaries, and County policies as they impact APS’ needs and ability to serve its students–housing, transportation, development.  My advocacy efforts in our community are evident in the County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan and in a number of policy recommendations currently being considered as the School Board revises APS’ admissions and transfer policies.

I will provide the leadership APS needs to:

  • implement a vision for instruction, but focus on managing the infrastructure, resources, and tools our teachers need to engage students in the joys of learning;
  • solve our capacity crisis cost-effectively through long-range planning, including a 4th comprehensive high school, and thoughtful growth of option programs to maintain students’ access to opportunities;
  • develop a network with County departments, community groups, and businesses to increase available resources and streamline services in ways that mutually benefit APS and the broader community;
  • establish an Academic Partner School program that brings students of different backgrounds and abilities together to understand the benefits of diversity firsthand rather than learn about diversity from books and special presentations;
  • foster PTA collaborations for joint-programming, fundraising, and advocacy efforts.

I will be a strong advocate for our school system by:

  • making sure our County leaders understand how their decisions impact APS;
  • ensuring schools are an integral component of the community’s overall planning;
  • pushing the County to resolve existing traffic and student safety problems along Carlin Springs Road and in other places to enable the most efficient use of APS properties;
  • working with the County now to plan for the additional facilities we expect to need and how we are going to pay for them.

As our school system continues to grow and evolve, our leadership needs to adapt to our changing needs.  Our past ways of thinking and problem-solving no longer fit APS today.  We need a new voice, a fresh perspective, and a different approach.

I have stepped outside my comfort zone as a parent and advocate to run for school board because I feel so passionately about the critical issues our schools face today.

I appreciate the contributions each of my fellow candidates has made to our community over the years.  But I will bring the fresh perspective, proactive thinking, and the voice our schools need today.

Please join me by making me your first-choice candidate in next week’s caucus.  For more information, visit mauramcmahon.org and follow me at facebook.com/mcmahonforarlington.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent James Lander:

I’ve been honored to serve as your Arlington School Board member for the past seven years. I am seeking reelection to ensure that Arlington Public Schools will continue to provide a world-class education that empowers every child to succeed, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, language, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Arlington Public Schools needs an experienced, seasoned leader. I am that leader. It’s no secret that our schools are growing. We have averaged 1000 new students a year during my seven years on the School Board. The challenges in meeting the needs of this rapidly expanding school system are many, including: changing the landscape of instruction to meet the needs of all students; implementing plans to address our enrollment growth; and continued successful collaboration with the County Board on a long-term strategy to ensure every student has a seat to learn while maximizing our limited resources in ways that benefit the whole community.

I am passionate about educating our children; it is the key to everything. My work on the school board has prioritized quality instruction, high expectations for all students, and educating the whole child. Working with you to provide our children with the resources and tools they need to be successful in life will continue to be my sole focus.

As your School Board member, I have successfully completed eight budget cycles to fully fund the school system, implemented the 2011-2017 APS Strategic Plan, and oversaw more than $600M in Capital Improvement Projects, including award winning designs for sustainability. While serving as Chair, I lowered the cost per pupil spending by hundreds of dollars, redesigned the School/County revenue sharing agreement, and provided salary increases for teachers and staff in each of the past seven years. I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the AEA-PAC representing Arlington’s educators, for my work on the school board.

I offer to you my School Board service as evidence that I am best situated to lead continued Arlington Public School progress. Finally, I have been a responsive, engaged, thoughtful voice on the school board. This is the type of leadership that has made Arlington Public Schools an outstanding school system that attracts diverse families and remains a foundational driver of our local economy.

You have honored me with your trust on two previous occasions and I thank you for your support and encouragement along this journey. I ask you now for your support and your vote to continue my elected service to our wonderful community.

Voting begins, Tuesday, May 9th from 7p-9p at Key Elementary School, Thursday, May 11th from 7p-9p at Drew Elementary School, and Saturday, May 13th from 11a-7p at Washington-Lee High School.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Vivek Patil:

My name is Vivek Patil and I am an engineer, entrepreneur, and community builder. As a leader at a global life science company and founder of two biotech startups, I have consistently faced seemingly impossible ideas requiring innovative thinking and persistence to make a reality. I’ve put this perspective into practice since my appointment to Arlington’s Economic Development commission, where I lead an advisory group exploring innovative and disruptive economic development ideas with the potential to transform Arlington.

In my experience, an equitable economy cannot be built without buy-in from all stakeholders. That is one of the reasons why I co-founded Building Bridges, a community outreach group that has built meaningful relationships with communities across Arlington. Our mission has been to reintegrate the diverse voices and visions of community stakeholders into our political and community processes through persistent outreach, listening, and engagement. In conversation, I have heard wonderful things about our progressive values, our inclusive and welcoming community, and Arlington’s remarkable livability. However, I have also heard stories of fading economic opportunity and housing affordability, a growing divide in incomes as well as our community issues and interests. I felt compelled to run for County Board to incorporate these voices into our ‘Arlington Way,’ and facilitate civic engagement that seeks out our community’s broad range of perspectives and collectively addresses school capacity, housing affordability, transportation infrastructure, and the fostering of economic opportunity.

This campaign is about re-imagining a bold, new economic vision for Arlington; one that transforms our community by creating a green and clean tech innovation economy. While nurturing our current business infrastructure, Arlington possesses the ingredients to build a green energy innovation hub rivaling Boston’s biotech space or Silicon Valley’s information technology economy. This new economy emphasizes our region’s talent, expertise, geography, and financial and strategic resources and it speaks to our progressive values of compassionate capitalism, equitable economic opportunity, and environmental protection.

Constructing this economy will require a regional DMV-area partnership that leverages our globally competitive green tech anchor companies and federal energy expertise to attract new entrepreneurs and startups. It will require strengthening of our university consortium along Fairfax drive and creating high-tech incubators to house and nurture new technologies and innovators. Older buildings in Crystal City and the metro corridors could be redeveloped through creative financing and cooperative investment models to house new companies as well as future entrepreneurs, employees, and families.

The green and clean tech sector is unique in that it requires an innovate-build-manufacture economy, utilizing both skilled and unskilled labor at each step of the way. A skilled workforce of engineers can design the next generation batteries or solar panels and trained workers can build them in facilities in Arlington or across the Commonwealth. It creates an economic opportunity continuum, bridging divisions between Virginia’s counties by advancing prosperous yet equitable growth.

Our schools and universities are indispensable to this economic transformation. I propose stronger collaboration between the County and School Board focused on preparing our children to be globally competitive in this innovation economy. Programs like Arlington Tech that offer project-based learning can partner with universities and employers, providing an applied learning construct with career opportunities for our high-school, career center, community college, and four-year university graduates. After all, Arlington only succeeds when all Arlingtonians succeed.

If elected to the County Board, I will act expeditiously and decisively to facilitate this bold new vision, well aware that it will require strategic collaboration, community engagement, and patience. A more sustainable, equitable, and diversified economy will help us generate the wealth necessary to fund our 21st century multi-modal transportation system, develop globally competitive schools, nurture our burgeoning arts infrastructure, and create a more biophilic and energy-efficient urban infrastructure. Arlington is uniquely qualified to lead this sector and I stand ready to lead our community in meeting this challenge. I hope you join me in achieving this innovative vision and I ask for your vote at the Democratic caucus on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Editor’s Note: A county employee listed as someone who endorsed Klingler has requested that his name and job title be removed from this post. ARLnow.com has honored that request. Below is the otherwise unedited response from Kim Klingler.

Arlington is a great place to live, and that is why I have grown roots here and have been a volunteer and leader in our community for the past 15 years.

Arlington is experiencing a time of transition, growth, and constrained budgets. We can no longer rely upon many of the things we have relied on in the past: from being able to live in an affordable manner, to Metro reliability and sustained funding, and having enough seats and qualified teachers in our schools.

Yes, Arlington is changing, but our values continue to remain the same.

And that is why I am running to ensure we keep Arlington safe, diverse, and forward thinking.

Having served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT and as the current Chair of Arlington’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission (EPAC), I know first-hand that Arlington needs more highly trained paramedics and emergency radios that work in all County buildings and schools. We must ensure our county has the technology and resources so that when you or a loved one dials 911, emergency services arrive and are ready to respond in 4 minutes or less.  As our density and our population continue to grow, our public safety needs grow too and we must keep up.

The Arlington chapter of the International Association of Firefighters (Local 2800) have honored me with their endorsement in recognition of my boots-on-the-ground experience and policy leadership. My background also gives me with a unique perspective to understand the community’s needs. I will use this perspective as I examine and develop future policies that address public safety and also inform how we plan for density, how we protect our school children, and how we enable our seniors to age in place.

I have stayed in Arlington because I love our diversity in all of its forms.  However, our diversity is at risk.  We have schools in Arlington where 2% of students receive free or reduced lunch and we have schools where almost 80% do.  These statistics keenly demonstrate that we are not distributing affordable housing around the county, which is essential if we truly value our diversity.  We are also struggling to maintain and develop housing that meets the needs of those who make more than 60% of area median income, and don’t qualify for committed affordable housing, but not enough to afford Arlington’s market rate housing.

This isn’t just about housing, it is about attracting and maintaining residents who are professionals, young families, seniors on fixed incomes, or public servants.  As a member of the Lee Highway Alliance, I support taking action to reinstate and deploy the Middle Income Purchasing Assistance Program (MIPAP), putting more emphasis on “Live Where you Work” programs, and updating and balancing our zoning decisions to allow for mid-range housing options, e.g. – townhomes, duplexes, multiplexes, etc. along Lee Highway, Columbia Pike, and other non-Metro thoroughfares. This is my challenge, too, because I went into a business partnership with friends to buy a townhome so we could afford to live in Arlington. We are now looking to go our separate ways, and like many Arlingtonians, I seek more options to remain in the community I love.

I am incredibly proud to have received the endorsements of Ingrid Morroy (Commissioner of the Revenue), Theo Stamos (Commonwealth’s Attorney), Cord Thomas (local entrepreneur and small business owner), and [redacted]. These leaders have endorsed me because of my community and civic leadership and my proven professional background in strategic planning, organizational and change management. I am committed to listening, understanding everyone’s needs, and then working collaboratively on forward-thinking solutions. I will build partnerships in Arlington and across our region to meet shared goals.

As a member of the County Board, I will continue my mission of keeping Arlington safe, diverse and forward-thinking. I will work to keep us safe by making sure our first responders have the resources they need. I will prioritize keeping Arlington economically and culturally diverse through smart zoning decisions. I will advocate for creative, forward-thinking business solutions so Arlington can be more competitive in attracting entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to set up shop here. I ask you to help me on this mission, starting with your vote in the caucus on May 9th, 11th or 13th! For more information about my campaign, and where to vote, please visit www.kim4arlington.com

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Erik Gutshall:

I’m Erik Gutshall, I’m focused on the future, and I’m asking for your support to be the next member of the Arlington County Board.  There are four strong Democrats running for the board, but I believe that I have the perspective and experience that uniquely qualify me to get the job done.  When my wife and I moved to Lyon Park in 1995, we didn’t expect to stay long, but like many of you, we quickly fell in love with our new community.  Impressed by what Arlington and its schools had to offer, we put down roots, and are raising our three wonderful daughters here.  We learned that Arlington’s success story was written by ordinary citizens, with shared values, working together to tackle the challenges of their day.  Wanting to give back, I volunteered with my civic association, a local family shelter, and eventually our planning and transportation commissions.  I have met so many great people that I know we can tackle the challenges of tomorrow if we work together.

In 2003, I saw an opportunity, and took a risk to start my own business with only a supportive wife, a savings account, and my own determination to rely on.  Fourteen years later, I’m proud to say that with hard work, great employees, and more than a few sleepless nights, I’ve built an award winning small business that clients can depend on, and provides for my family and employees.  This experience is why I know down to my very core that if you don’t innovate, you stagnate.  Our values haven’t changed, but our solutions have to.

While my perspective will be unique on the board, my story is not.  It is shared by thousands in our County and if we are going to build an economy that works for all, we must empower our innovators and entrepreneurs to grow and thrive.  I will demand a “Get to Yes” customer service culture so that our small businesses – the heart and soul of our community – can spend more time on their customers and less time dealing with frustrating bureaucracy.  I know our county government can do this, but they need a leader on the board who will make it a priority.  I will be that leader.

As a parent of three APS students, I know how important solving the capacity crisis is to Arlington’s future.  Last year I lobbied for the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JAFC) because the School Board and County Board must work together to squeeze the most out of our limited space and dollars.  On the board, I will champion the JFAC’s work to develop creative solutions that consider every opportunity, whether school, county, or commercially-owned, to build the schools and multi-purpose facilities we need.

I also know the anxiety of a parent who wonders if his daughters will be able to afford to start their families here.  I will use my experience as Chair of the Planning Commission to create neighborhood-scale “Missing Middle” housing along our transportation corridors.  Modernizing our old-fashioned zoning code will allow private investors to create this housing without taxpayer money to help young families starting out, empty nesters, and everyone in between from being priced out of Arlington.

Being a part of Arlington’s civic dialog has been an honor and a privilege, and facilitating that conversation is a deep expression of my progressive values.  Ensuring that all parties have a seat at the table isn’t a box-checking exercise; it is the antidote to divisive issues that can pit neighbors against each other.  That consensus-building process is the only way we can hammer out a plan that balances the needs of schools, parks and open space, and community facilities while redeveloping our transportation corridors to provide “missing middle” housing.  I know we can stop bouncing from one ad-hoc decision to the next because I’ve been working with you to solve complex challenges for the last 15 years.  With your support, I’ll be honored to do it for the next four as your board member.  To learn more about what I’m focused on for the future of Arlington, visit Erik4Arlington.com and please vote on May 9, 11, or 13.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Peter Fallon:

I am running to get things done for the people of Arlington, just as I have for 25 years as an active member of my community. I am running because in this crucial time for our county, we need someone with the knowledge, experience and reputation for action to meet this moment.

There are many things I believe that make me different. First of which, I am a parent of two children in APS. My daughter Alexandra is finishing up second grade this year, and my son Andrew will be starting kindergarten in the fall. With more than a decade of schooling ahead of us, you bet that the future of our school system weighs heavily on my mind. I share the concerns of many of my fellow parents about overcrowding and maintaining a high quality learning experience with small class sizes. That’s why I am so committed to working with our School Board to build new schools, including a fourth comprehensive high school, which I think is needed urgently.

The second thing that makes me different is that sense of urgency. Arlington is beset by two large, seemingly intractable problems that threaten our prosperity and great quality of life. Those issues are Metro and the rising price of housing. Arlington staked its future on Metro decades ago and it has paid off tremendously. Our unique blend of walkability, city and suburban feel, and attractiveness to employers depends on Metro. However, Metro is no longer safe and reliable. This is a regional issue that affects Arlington directly. We need to take the lead on solving this problem. We need more people on the board who will work with our regional bodies to get Metro fixed and back on track.

It is Arlington’s attractiveness that is pushing the cost of living higher every day. We need County Board members who are committed to protecting and growing our affordable housing stock. As the Planning Commission’s liaison to the Housing Commission, I was able to make this happen. I played a significant role in creating over 1,000 units of affordable housing for our residents. How do you did I do it? You have to stand I stood firm in negotiations with developers. As well, my background in accounting helped me get the maximum return for every tax dollar. I believe we have to aid our citizens at every stage of life deal with this affordability issue. That means helping families get affordable childcare as well as helping our seniors age-in-place. These are citizens who contribute so much to our community, and it is wrong for them to be priced out of the home they love. As a County Board member I will fight to expand programs that help our seniors, families, first-time home buyers and young people stay in this great community.

The final thing I believe makes me different is my way of doing things. I am a “listen, engage, decide, get it done” type of person. If you and I talk, you’ll see. You’ll get 100% of my attention because I want to hear you. I want to understand your issue, and once I do, I make it mine. I ask a lot of questions, but that just means I care enough to fully grasp what’s going on. Once I’ve decided to support your cause, rest assured I am with you until the end. My parents ingrained in me at a young age the importance of speaking up for the little guy and sticking your neck out there to do the right thing. As your County Board member, you’ll always have a friendly ear on the board, no matter who you are or where you live. I do this because I believe in action and getting results for the people of Arlington.

For more information about my campaign you can visit my website, FallonforCountyBoard.org. I would be honored to be your first choice vote on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

President Donald Trump tweeted this morning that the government needs “a good ‘shutdown'” in September.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who counts some 77,000 federal employees among his Northern Virginia constituents, wasted no time in responding. Beyer issued the following statement shortly after the president’s tweet.

There is nothing ‘good’ about a government shutdown that would furlough 800,000 federal employees indefinitely, including nearly 70,000 in Northern Virginia. The federal government does not turn on and off like a light switch. Critical medical and scientific research is put on hold; shipping container inspections at our ports are halted; Social Security and Medicare benefits are delayed and mortgages are missed.

I can think of no worse example of leadership than to call and hope for such an unmitigated disaster. President Trump might think this is the art of the deal, but it is not how government functions, not what the American people demand of their political leaders, and not what this country asked for in November.

Beyer represents more federal workers than any other member of Congress, according to his office.

by ARLnow.com — April 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

Didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s Arlington Chamber of Commerce candidate forum? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Four candidates — independent Audrey Clement and Democrats Kim Klingler, Peter Fallon and Erik Gutshall — participated in the forum, fielding questions about issues of particular importance to the local business community. (Democrat Vivek Patil was unable to attend.)

Listen below, in this week’s episode of the 26 Square Miles podcast, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

by Chris Teale — April 27, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Four of the five candidates for County Board argued that county government must be easier for small businesses to navigate in order to better encourage economic growth.

With less than two weeks to go until the start of the local Democratic Party’s caucus to determine its nominee, tax relief and helping new businesses were high on the agenda at a forum hosted last night by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at Synetic Theater in Crystal City.

Peter Fallon said county staff must be less “zealous” in enforcing rules and become more focused on customer service, while Erik Gutshall argued for a wider culture change in county government.

“When you’re that zealous, you don’t have the flexibility of thinking about what you’re trying to do,” Fallon said.

“The culture of ‘get to yes’ doesn’t exist because it doesn’t have a champion,” said Gutshall. “And I want to be that champion.”

Independent Audrey Clement, on the campaign trail ahead of November’s general election in the race to replace retiring Board chair Jay Fisette, said the best way to help small business is to cut taxes.

She criticized the recent 1.5-cent hike in property taxes, and accused the County Board of “basically hoarding money” by keeping tens of millions of dollars in cash reserves.

Clement added that the Board was “bamboozled” on raising taxes by County Manager Mark Schwartz, who was directed to provide a series of budget cuts to halve his proposed tax rate increase from two cents to one.

The cuts to a variety of neighborhood and other programs brought out droves of local residents to oppose them, and the County Board backed off.

Kim Klingler, a Democratic candidate, said putting those 24 projects on the table for cuts was a mistake given their direct impacts on the community.

“That makes it really hard when you have 24 lightning-rods on the table, and then have to talk about cutting taxes,” she said.

Candidates also said that the County Board should do a better job of ensuring residents’ concerns about development are heard, and that decisions on new projects are not, as Gutshall put it, “baked in.”

“If residents are going to participate in the ‘Arlington Way,’ we need to make sure they are heard, and they have clear expectations set for them,” said Klingler.

In Vivek Patil’s absence, his campaign manager Nathan Saxman read a prepared statement arguing for a “green and clean tech economy” focused on innovation and new industries.

“This is an economic model that places Arlington at the epicenter of job creation in the commonwealth,” said Saxman.

The four Democratic candidates will debate next Wednesday at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting, ahead of May’s caucus.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) With two weeks to go until the start of the local Democratic party’s caucus for its County Board nominee, Erik Gutshall leads the way in fundraising and endorsements from elected officials.

Gutshall is one of four candidates for the nomination in early May’s caucus, and has racked up backings from current and former County Board members as well as General Assembly representatives.

Throwing their support behind Gutshall are current Democratic Dels. Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan, as well as state Sen. Barbara Favola (D).

Favola is one of several former County Board members to support Gutshall, alongside Mary Hynes, Chris Zimmerman, John Milliken, Mary Margaret Whipple and Joe Wholey. Former School Board members Elaine Furlow, Ed Fendley, Margaret Lampe, Michael Timpane and Richard Barton endorsed Gutshall, as well as numerous former members and chairs of the planning commission.

Retiring Board chair Jay Fisette endorsed Gutshall shortly after he announced his candidacy on March 1. Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson has also endorsed Gutshall, a small business owner who came up short in his primary challenge to Libby Garvey last year.

“Erik Gutshall has the experience, passion, and progressive values that Arlingtonians deserve from their County Board members,” said Lopez in a statement. “Erik’s extensive experience in transportation, planning and entrepreneurship will bring a unique voice to the County Board, and I trust Erik to fight every day for all Arlingtonians.”

At a candidate forum last week, Gutshall rejected the notion that these endorsements mean he is a so-called “party insider.”

Gutshall also has a fundraising advantage. As of the last filing deadline for declaring donations, Gutshall had raised $22,513, with $13,700 left in hand.

Of the other candidates, Vivek Patil has raised $20,320 and Kim Klingler has raised $14,352. Peter Fallon reported $51,129 in contributions, but that included $41,100 in “in-kind” contributions from himself. And ahead of November’s general election, independent Audrey Clement has raised $17,517.

But other candidates have racked up the endorsements too. Patil’s candidacy received an early boost with the backing of County Board vice chair Katie Cristol, who praised his innovative approach.

“We need a perspective like Vivek’s at the table: creative, open-minded and optimistic, with deep experience in the innovation economy and a real dedication to Arlington’s traditions of community engagement,” Cristol said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, Fallon picked up the early endorsement of School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen, who introduced him when he formally announced his candidacy at this month’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.

And Kim Klingler’s website touts a long list of endorsements from local activists and business leaders, as well as Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and IAFF Local 2800, the county’s firefighter and paramedic union.

“The rapidly growing landscape of Arlington County requires a leader who understands the need for the best trained and fairly compensated first responders to provide a safe environment for the residents and visitors of Arlington County,” the organization wrote in a statement. “Kim Klingler has pledged her support of these vital issues as well as the ‘live where you work’ program which assists Arlington County public servants to establish long-term residence within Arlington County.”

The candidates will face off in a forum Wednesday hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at Synetic Theater, then again on May 3 at ACDC’s monthly meeting. The caucus is set for May 9, 11 and 13 at Key Elementary, Drew Model School and Washington-Lee High School, respectively.

by Chris Teale — April 20, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The four Democratic candidates for County Board may hold differing positions on a number of issues, but they agree on one thing: Arlington’s subsidy to lure Nestle might have been better spent elsewhere.

At a forum last night hosted by the Arlington Young Democrats, less than three weeks before the local party’s caucus, the four Democrats running for the Arlington County Board said the package of $12 million in state and local performance-based funds could have better served the local community.

“This is good for Arlington, good for filling our office space, but I would rather have seen some of that money go towards child care in Crystal City and Rosslyn, for example,” said Erik Gutshall.

“At the end of the day, we have to consider who is getting a subsidy and if they deserve it,” said Peter Fallon, who added that given the competition between jurisdictions for such moves, incentives can play a role in the right situations.

Both Kim Klingler and Vivek Patil drew a comparison to the small businesses throughout the county, and asked if they could have been assisted like multinational Nestle was, in particular through the building of a website showing all that Arlington has to offer.

“If we can stand up a website for Nestle [employees that showcases the county] in three weeks, imagine what we can do for our small businesses in three weeks,” Klingler said.

“That red carpet should be rolled out for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Patil agreed.

In addition to general questions about the county’s tax rate, business community and the environment, each candidate faced questions specific to their campaigns and backgrounds from moderator Michael Lee Pope, a reporter with Virginia Public Radio.

Gutshall was asked if he is a so-called “party insider” due to the endorsements he has received from a slew of former County Board members and current chair Jay Fisette, who will retire at year’s end.

“I think it speaks to the fact that I have worked alongside these people for a number of years,” Gutshall said.

Fallon spoke about what he learned from his time on the planning commission and said that the county’s comprehensive planning at times has failed to keep up with the demand of county services.

Patil reiterated his call for a “green and clean tech economy” to encourage innovation and new industries in the county. “There is no city or state that owns that right now,” he said.

Following her run in 2012, Klingler said she was inspired to run again by the results of last year’s presidential election.

The candidates will be joined by independent Audrey Clement at a forum next Wednesday hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at Synetic Theater, then they will debate again the following Wednesday at ACDC’s monthly general meeting.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list