Arlington, VA

(Updated on 07/12/19) A new independent candidate has thrown his hat in the ring to challenge Del. Alfonso Lopez’s bid for re-election this year.

Terry Modglin is former non-profit organization executive who also served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam for four years. He’s now running against the Democratic incumbent to represent parts of Arlington and Fairfax County in the Virginia House of Delegates. This is the second candidate to run against Lopez, who recently defeated Democratic challenger Julius “JD” Spain, Sr. in the primary election.

Modglin’s campaign platform is centered around green energy, public transportation, and opposing expanded access to abortion.

Modglin said he supports the Independent Green message of “More trains, less traffic.” He’s also calling for new Orange or Silver Metrorail stations at Seven Corners and Skyline, advocating for more walkable and bikeable communities, and tax incentives for solar and wind power.

Modglin has run before with the Independent Green Party of Virginia in 2015 for the Virginia state Senate and as a Green Party candidate for the House of Delegates in 2013He clarified that this time around he is running as an independent.

Modglin told ARLnow one of the main reasons he decided to run was because of Lopez’s support for House Bill 2491, also known as the Repeal Act.

The bill would remove Virginia’s requirement that women undergo an ultrasound before they’re allowed to undergo an abortion and would make it easier for women to obtain a third-trimester abortion if their doctor found the women’s life was in danger. President Donald Trump criticized the bill in a rally earlier this year, focusing on the regulations around third-trimester abortions, which he and others have called “late-term abortions.”

The Repeal Act was tabled during the most recent legislative session.

When asked whether his anti-abortion stance could hurt his chances among Arlington voters, Modglin acknowledged the majority vote progressive but said he was convinced “voters in the 49th District do not favor late-term abortions. Mr. Lopez and I have a difference there.”  

One area both candidates agree on is the need for greater gun control in Virginia. Modglin said he supports the ream of reforms from Gov. Ralph Northam, which include universal background checks, protective orders, and bans on bump stocks and large-capacity magazines.

(The GOP-led state Senate adjourned yesterday before votes could be taken on gun control bills during a special legislative session called by Northam.)

Modglin said he has a personal connection to calls for gun reform. When he was serving in Vietnam, his 13-year-old brother accidentally shot himself in the face with a friend’s gun. 

“He would have died from choking on his own blood except for the tracheotomy given him by the EMTs,” said Modglin. “I asked him a few years later what happened with that gun. He said the young owner a few years later pulled over to the side of the road and shot himself through the head.”

Lopez has served in Richmond since 2012 and has racked up several endorsements from labor groups for his bid for reelection. He’s also raised a sizable war chest from green energy proponents after dropping campaign contributions from Dominion Energy.

Earlier, Lopez told ARLnow that his biggest accomplishments this year were increasing funding for affordable housing, ending a driver license suspension policy some say punished poor people, and mandating the state notify veterans whose military identification information was stolen. He’s since pledged to continue increasing affordable housing funding and countering “far right legislation” such as bills restricting access to reproductive health care.

Modglin will face off against Lopez in the general election on Nov. 5. Virginia residents can check their voter registration status here.

Image 1 via Facebook

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Anti-abortion protesters took over the Clarendon Metro Plaza for about two hours Thursday morning (May 10), greeting pedestrians with graphic images of aborted fetuses.

“We are raising awareness about the destruction of children in the womb and we are calling the community to support women to help and make a choice for life for their children,” said Jeanne Miller, one of the protesters.

The protest was a part of a day-long event to honor the late George Yourishin, described by the Baltimore-based organization Defend Life as a “pro-life hero.” Miller said there was no real reason for choosing Clarendon to protest besides the fact that demonstrators were planning to visit Yourishin’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery later that day, after mass at nearby St. Charles Catholic Church.

She added that most of the signs were provided by Defend Life to show what an abortion looks like. The practice of protesters displaying gruesome photos of fetuses in public places has been hotly debated in several court cases nationwide; some courts have ruled that the images are too disturbing to be shown in public, while others have defended the practice as one protected by the First Amendment.

Miller said she had a lot of positive interactions with passersby, but had one man who became very upset and shouted epithets at her.

Anti-abortion protesters have demonstrated in Arlington before, gathering outside the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in 2016 and Washington-Lee High School in 2012.

Photos by Anna Merod

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Arlington Public School officials are considering unblocking the website of Planned Parenthood on APS computers.

The site for the nonprofit organization that provides reproductive care healthcare is currently blocked on all student computers because it is considered sex education, according to the school system.

After ARLnow contacted the school system about the ban, a school spokesman said the county was considering plans to lift the content filter.

Frank Bellavia, the school system’s communications coordinator, said a decision is expected within the next week. The school system began reconsidering the block after receiving several inquiries, he said.

“Part of the determination is determining if we do unblock across all grade levels,” Bellavia said. “We are still evaluating the site for age appropriateness and for instructional content.”

One parent who contacted ARLnow.com pointed out that Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services, is blocked while the website of anti-abortion group National Right to Life was not blocked.

The block has been in effect “for quite some time,” according to Bellavia. The school system contracts an external provider that filters content on student computers.

Update at 11:40 a.m. — Bellavia says National Right to Life has now been blocked. “Because it was brought to our attention previously, IT staff blocked that site,” he said.

Anna Merod contributed reporting.

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Morning Notes

Board Votes for Housing Conservation District — The Arlington County Board on Saturday voted 4-1 in favor of the creation of Housing Conservations Districts, which will make it more difficult for property owners to convert multifamily buildings into single-family homes. The Board says there is an urgent need to preserve market-rate affordable apartments, though critics charged that the Board rushed a decision that will restrict the rights of private property owners. [Washington Post]

Volunteers Place 245K Wreaths at ANC — “The weather was chilly but that didn’t stop huge crowds from heading to Arlington National Cemetery to help out with the annual wreath laying Saturday. Traffic was jammed and sidewalks were packed with long lines of volunteers.” [WTOP, Twitter]

New Fire Station 8 Moving Forward — The County Board approved a zoning change that will allow the creation of a new Fire Station #8 on Lee Highway to move forward. [InsideNova]

Doctor Charged With Spiking Drink with Abortion Pill — A doctor who had recently moved to Arlington was arrested in May and charged with spiking his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with an abortion pill, which then caused her to lose the baby. He’s currently being held at the Arlington County jail, awaiting trial. [Fox News]

Bridging the Biking Gender Gap in Arlington — “Despite overall growth in the number of people biking to work, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed by cities, organizations, and employers for more women to bike more often.” [BikeArlington]

Children Visit Incarcerated Parents — Children of inmates at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse were able to visit and play with their incarcerated parents during the jail’s annual holiday party. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Phil

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Terry McAuliffe campaigns at Washington-Lee High SchoolVirginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to be in Clarendon tomorrow night for the seventh annual NARAL Virginia “Power of Choice” event.

The gala and awards presentation will honor “those who have made an outstanding impact” on NARAL’s “work to protect and advance reproductive freedom in Virginia.”

The event is taking place at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Boulevard) and is also expected to be attended by Attorney General Mark Herring and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who is currently running for governor.

Tickets for the event range from $40 for students to $150 for general admission. Sponsorships of the gala range from $500-5,000.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Aerial view of Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Wardian Dominating Global Marathon Event — Arlington resident and running superhero Michael Wardian has won the first two races in the World Marathon Challenge. Wardian, 42, posted a time of 2:54:54 in Antarctica, the fastest marathon ever run on the continent, and a time of 2:45:42 this morning in Punta Arenas, the South American leg of the seven day, seven continent and seven marathon event. Wardian is trying to break the event’s record average race time of 3:32:25. [Facebook, Twitter, Washington Post, Runner’s World]

APS Projected to Keep Growing — Arlington Public Schools is bursting at the seams, building new schools to keep up with rising enrollment — and that enrollment is expected to keep growing over the next decade. According to projections presented at a School Board meeting last week, the APS student body is expected to rise from around 27,000 now to 32,500 by the fall of 2026. In terms of per-student costs, the added 5,500 students could add more than $100 million to the school system’s current $600 million annual budget. [InsideNova]

Northern Va. Restaurant Week Coming in March — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce and other regional business organizations are teaming up for the second year in a row to organize Northern Virginia Restaurant Week. The week of dining discounts and discovery is scheduled from March 20-27. [Arlington Chamber]

Extra Metro Trains for Pro-Life March — Metro says it will run extra trains during mid-day Friday in order to accommodate crowds for the 2017 March for Life in the District. In a press release, Metro also said it “will run more 8-car trains (the longest train length possible), all midday track work will be cancelled, and additional staff will be on hand to assist visitors.” [WMATA]

Nearby: Car Stolen With Baby Inside — Two men stole a car that had been left running near a bank ATM, then abandoned it, apparently after discovering a baby inside. The incident happened Monday afternoon at the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, across from Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood. The child was unharmed. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Supreme Court building file photoArlington’s elected officials are speaking out in favor of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion.

Rep. Don Beyer, County Board member Katie Kristol and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine — all Democrats — today praised the Supreme Court’s 5-3 decision to strike down a Texas law that greatly restricted abortion providers there.

Beyer called the decision a victory for “common sense and justice for women” in a statement:

Common sense and justice for women and families prevailed at the Supreme Court today. This decision once again affirms our nation’s longstanding policy that women have the right to an abortion until viability, and that efforts by anti-choice forces to deny that right through lack of access imposes an undue burden. Anti-choice forces in Virginia apply the same tactics, and have also failed.  We will continue every effort to maintain and expand women’s healthcare access in Virginia.

Cristol echoed Beyer’s praise in a tweet:

Warner also released a statement praising the decision:

Today the Supreme Court sent a clear message that all women have the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, no matter where they live. This is a victory for women’s health in Texas, in Virginia, and across the country.

As did Kaine:

I applaud the Supreme Court for seeing the Texas law for what it is – an attempt to effectively ban abortion and undermine a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. This ruling is a major win for women and families across the country, as well as the fight to expand reproductive freedom for all.

The Texas law is quite similar to arbitrary and unnecessary rules that were imposed on Virginia women after I left office as Governor. I’m proud that we were able to successfully fight off such “TRAP” regulations during my time in state office. I have always believed these sort of rules are an unwarranted effort to deprive women of their constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.

File photo of Supreme Court

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HB Woodlawn Secondary School (via Arlington Public Schools)A group of anti-abortion protesters conducted an unannounced demonstration outside of the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program Thursday afternoon.

The group “had graphic signs, they filmed students, parents and staff members, attempted to distribute flyers and to engage students in discussion,” according to the following letter to parents, sent by the school’s principal.

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This afternoon, at dismissal, members of an anti-abortion group appeared in the auditorium parking lot and then on bus loop sidewalk in front of H-B Woodlawn. No advance notice was given to Arlington Public Schools or to H-B Woodlawn and this was not an approved event. HBW administrators and the Arlington police asked the group to move off of school property, but they claimed that they were in the public domain on a public sidewalk.

They had graphic signs, they filmed students, parents and staff members, attempted to distribute flyers and to engage students in discussion. It is unfortunate that they chose that type of confrontational method to express their views to students who are mostly ages 11-18. Please be assured it is not anything we would ever approve of or encourage, and we regret that the events took place. We will continue to have conversations here amongst staff and students about our procedures should they return.

Sincerely,

Casey Robinson
Principal

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Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter Rousselot

Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently announced the appointments of five new members to the state Board of Health. He directed the Board to review controversial regulations it adopted to regulate all Virginia women’s health clinics at which first trimester abortions are performed.

Gov. McAuliffe made the right decision.

Background

In 2011, Virginia passed a new law authorizing the Board of Health to adopt stricter regulations for these women’s health clinics. The regulations require the clinics to comply with construction standards used for inpatient hospitals. They force the clinics to have hallways that are of specific widths, provide locker rooms for staff members, new ventilation systems and larger parking lots.

Recognizing that the regulations would cost millions to implement, the Board initially grandfathered existing women’s health clinics from their applicability. The Board’s initial decision was wise when you consider that the new law and regulations do not cover other outpatient facilities, such as those performing oral or plastic surgery, even though the latter facilities engage in medical procedures of comparable risk.

After the Board’s initial decision, the Board came under intense pressure from then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to reverse it. Cuccinelli wrote to Board members, telling them that they had exceeded their authority, and warning them that if they persisted in their decision to grandfather existing clinics, he would not defend them in any subsequent lawsuits. He also warned them that they might be personally liable in any such suits.

Faced with these pressures, the Board reversed itself, and proclaimed that existing clinics would be subject to its new regulations. If the Board sticks to this course, most or all existing clinics are likely to shut down. Five have already closed. When clinics close, women are also denied access to other services, such as testing for sexually transmitted infections and cancer screenings, or they are forced to travel longer distances to get these services.

Cuccinelli’s goal from the beginning was to shut down as many of these clinics as possible.

What’s Next?

The Board could simply vote to re-affirm that no existing clinics are grandfathered. In that case, the clinics and their patients are no worse off than now. The Board could vote to go back to its original decision to grandfather existing clinics. Those who believe the Board lacks power to do that could challenge the Board in court. If such a challenge succeeds, the clinics and their patients again are no worse off than now. But, if such a challenge fails, then the clinics and their patients will be much better off than they are now.

Gov. McAuliffe deserves credit for standing up for women’s health and reproductive choice in Virginia.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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Protesters lined N. Courthouse Road this morning (Wednesday) to speak out against the new state regulations on abortion clinics this year.

Falls Church Healthcare Center filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Board of Health and the Virginia Department of Health in Arlington Circuit Court, and doctors and administrators from the practice spoke before a crowd of several dozen before the case was set to be heard in court for the first time.

“Because of these regulations, two women’s health centers have already been forced to close,” said Margaretha Netherton, a registered nurse with FCHC. “Patients want healthcare performed by doctors and nurses, not lawyers.”

In April, the Virginia Board of Health voted to implement regulations that require centers that perform five or more abortions a month to have building requirements, including construction outlines like width of hallways of hospitals and nursing homes. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a motion to dismiss the FCHC’s lawsuit in Arlington Circuit Court. Just after 11:00 a.m., the court dismissed the state’s motion against FCHC’s suit.

Those in attendance chanted “Virginia women deserve more” and held signs with slogans like “Stop the War on Virginia’s Women,” “Keep Abortion Legal,” and “I Oppose Illegal Abortion.” The speakers said if the abortion clinics are forced to close, women will be forced to resort to illegal or self-abortions.

“[Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers] laws do not protect the women of Virginia,” Sara Imershein, an OB/GYN with FCHC, told the crowd. “They put them in danger.”

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Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter RousselotRepublican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants to be elected Virginia Governor this year. If he succeeds, the values on which he has built his political career ensure that he would exploit every opportunity to set Virginia’s women back 60 years to an era in which they were “stuck in the drudgery of domestic servitude.”

You think I’m exaggerating? Cuccinelli supports a “personhood amendment” to Virginia’s Constitution.

The practical effect of enacting a personhood law in Virginia would be to end or cripple a series of personal rights and private decisions that Virginia’s women have enjoyed for decades, such as:

  • Birth control
  • Fertility treatment
  • Management of a miscarriage
  • Access to safe and legal abortions

Cuccinelli is also the godfather of the effort to drive all abortion clinics in Virginia out of business. In 2011, the Virginia legislature passed a law that classified abortion clinics that perform more than 5 first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals rather than doctor’s offices. The intent of the law, candidly admitted by many of its sponsors, was to drive these clinics out of business entirely because of the expense of compliance.

This 2011 abortion clinic law was patterned after an earlier bill that Cuccinelli had sponsored when he was in the Virginia State Senate. In his current role as Attorney General, Cuccinelli has fought every step of the way to be sure that this abortion clinic law is harshly and mercilessly applied to wipe these clinics out.

Further cementing his role as a champion of setting women’s rights back decades, Cuccinelli recently welcomed a $1.5 million pledge to his campaign for Governor from the Susan B. Anthony List — “a national organization known for its extreme stance on women’s health care.”

A Virginia governed by Ken Cuccinelli would be a 21st century real-life version of Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Cuccinelli’s views on the proper role of women in our society are central to his values and the way in which he would govern our state.

This is not science fiction — this is all too real. We can’t afford to take a risk like this.

Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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