(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Three Arlington School Board candidates are officially vying for the endorsement of the local Democratic party.
The candidates are Erin Freas-Smith, Miranda Turner and Angelo Cocchiaro, the Arlington County Democratic Committee announced today (Friday). They are running in a party caucus to determine who will advance to the general election and represent the party, though party affiliation is not shown on the ballot for School Board races.
Their filing deadline was earlier this week.
Freas-Smith and Turner, who has run for this office before, are mothers to school-aged children in Arlington Public Schools and are active in Parent-Teacher Associations. Cocchiaro is active in local and state politics.
Cherrydale resident Freas-Smith is a mother of three children, who attend Key Elementary School and Dorothy Hamm Middle School. She has spent many years working in the PTAs, serving as the Escuela Key PTA president during the pandemic and currently as a substitute teacher.
“As a substitute teacher and volunteer within APS schools I have seen first hand the crisis of this moment,” she says on her website, listing her policy positions and campaign promises.
“Students are acting out, falling behind educationally, and teachers/in-school staff are at their breaking point,” she continues. “We must commit to our students by supporting teachers, providing avenues for advancement, and listening to the needs of families.”
An acquisitions librarian for the Library of Congress, and thus a federal employee in the legislative branch, she says she can pursue public office as a Democrat without violating the Hatch Act. This conflict led former candidate Symone Walker to drop out and run as an independent.
Since her first bid for School Board, Turner has been focused on reversing learning loss she says stems from virtual instruction during Covid. Other top priorities include improving communication between the School Board and the community as well as mental health for students and teachers.
“We have students in our schools now who need more from APS. High expectations and equitable support are a must,” she said. “Mental health and safety in schools for our students and teachers is an urgent priority. We need a community-wide response with better coordination with the county.”
Turner is a lawyer who lives in Green Valley with her husband and three kids. She was a founding member of the Drew PTA and is involved with the Montessori Public School of Arlington PTA as well as the Early Childhood Education Committee for the Advisory Council on Teaching & Learning.
Cocchiaro describes himself as a Gen Z “former student organizer and free school lunch kid,” as well as a youth advocate. His résumé includes working for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and was a convention delegate for the 2020 Democratic National Convention to elect President Joe Biden.
He tells ARLnow he plans to announce next Wednesday, March 1, the day of the next Arlington Dems meeting at the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive).
“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our students and our schools are at the epicenter of multiple swirling crises,” he said in a statement to ARLnow. “We need a plan. The place is here and the time is now for a generational change in perspective in school policymaking. I’ve spent the last six years as a student organizer, mobilizing peers on issues affecting us and fighting for progressive education values. I am prepared to advocate in just the same spirit for students now, to meet this moment and deliver the change that’s overdue.”
The three candidates will have opportunities to debate each other over the coming months, before the endorsement caucus, comprised of three days of voting in early May.
A realtor who says she has doubts about the current Missing Middle proposal has emerged as an Arlington County Board candidate.
Realtor Natalie Roy, founder of the Bicycling Realty Group, is vying for one of two seats on the County Board that will be left open after Katie Cristol and Chair Christian Dorsey step down. She is running for the Democratic nomination in the party’s June primary.
Roy is the second Democrat to launch a campaign this week, following Tony Weaver, a local businessman and an Arlington County Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission member.
The two will face off against three others who have already announced their bids: Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr.; Maureen Coffey; and Jonathan Dromgoole.
She tells ARLnow her tagline is “I would love to be your Bicycling Board member,” as she bikes everywhere for her business. She is a 32-year resident of Arlington, where she and her husband raised three daughters.
Roy says she believes “the Board needs an energetic and experienced community activist who will serve the entire county.”
In listing her key issues, below, she said she supports “a more community-supported, planning-oriented approach” to housing than the “sweeping” Missing Middle proposal, which is up for an initial vote this weekend.
- Protecting our environment, by increasing green space, bringing back glass recycling, and protecting Arlington’s tree canopy;
- Promoting affordability and diversity in our neighborhoods through a more community-supported, planning-oriented approach than the County Board’s current sweeping proposal;
- Forging new partnerships between the Board, the school board and APS;
- Improving public transit throughout the County and creating more protected bike- and pedestrian-friendly routes;
- Enhancing Arlington’s fiscal sustainability and economic vitality; and
- Promoting our health and well-being by providing exercise opportunities for everyone, from the most focused competitor on the soccer field and pickleball court to the casual stroller.
Before starting her real estate career 10 years ago, Roy says she worked for ran and worked for various national and state organizations, advocating for clean water, pollution prevention, clean beaches, recycling and gun control.
She has served on and led the PTAs of the local public schools her daughters attended and recently retired from a 17-year stint coaching varsity tennis at Yorktown High School. She is active in the Lyon Park Civic Association and the Lyon Park Board of Governors, which manages the Lyon Park Community Center, owned and maintained by the neighborhood.
Roy graduated from the county’s civic leadership program, Neighborhood College, and served on the Arlington Sports Commission as well as the county’s Complete Vaccine Committee.
For several years, she played on an Arlington mature women’s soccer team, the Speed Bumps, whose motto was “We might not beat you, but we will slow you down.”
Roy will officially launch her campaign for a seat on the Arlington County Board tomorrow (Friday).
(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) All three candidates looking to replace Sheriff Beth Arthur, who retired at the end of last year, say they have ideas for changing how the jail is run.
They each say their ideas could help save the lives of those detained in jail, which is overseen by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.
In the last seven years, seven men have died while in jail, six of whom were Black, which led the Arlington branch of the NAACP to begin pushing for greater transparency from the office as well as changes to jail operations.
In most cases, the cause of death was ruled to be a “natural cause” — such as heart disease caused by high blood pressure — although opiate withdrawal was a complicating factor in one such case. One man died because of a mix of drugs in his system and another died by suicide.
“I’m concerned because the status quo is not working,” candidate Wanda Younger, who recently retired from the Sheriff’s Office after 31 years of service, said when she announced her campaign to the Arlington County Democratic Committee last week. “I will work with the County Board and state legislators to ensure there is 24-hour mental health and medical care for those detained.”
She later told ARLnow that outcomes would improve at the jail with this 24/7 supervision, as well as new leadership and more deputies on staff. The Sheriff’s Office, like the Arlington County Police Department, has been experiencing attrition that has made it harder for the department to perform basic duties, she says.
“I am committed to changing the lives of the staff, changing the lives of the detainees and changing your lives,” she said in her speech.
Jose Quiroz, who took over as the interim Sheriff yesterday (Monday) after Beth Arthur retired, says he wants to implement biometric screening — something the Sheriff’s Office has been discussing but has yet to purchase.
Inmates in the jail’s infirmary, which consists of 12 beds, would wear devices to monitor their vital signs , notifying staff of a medical emergency such as a substance use withdrawal. Depending on funding, he says, he would eventually like all inmates to wear such devices.
“We’re in 2023, technology is advanced — let’s use that to our advantage,” he tells ARLnow, adding that jails in some less urban, less wealthy jurisdictions from Alabama to Montana are already using this technology.
James Herring, a police officer with Arlington County, says the county should bring medical care in house. He suggested staffing the jail with psychiatrists and therapists who report to the county as well.
“We need to shift from a system that only treats people when something goes wrong to a system that” identifies problems before they arise, he said, adding that the jail should conduct baseline physicals and mental health checks, Herring told us after announcing his candidacy last week.
That may be more expensive, but it would give the Sheriff’s Office “full control and full knowledge” over what’s going on.
“Ms. Arthur started as a budget analyst,” he said. “We got what you’d expect to get when a budget analyst takes over.”
Three Arlington County Board hopefuls announced their candidacies to a packed house of local Democrats last night.
They are former NAACP Arlington Branch president Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. researcher and Center for American Progress policy analyst Maureen Coffey and Jonathan Dromgoole, who facilitates LGBT appointments within the Biden administration for the LGBTQ Victory Institute.
Last night (Wednesday) at the Lubber Run Community Center, more than a half dozen people told Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting attendees about their intentions to run for the County Board, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney and seats in the state legislature.
The three County Board candidates are vying for the two seats that immediate past Chair Katie Cristol and current Chair Christian Dorsey will vacate at the end of this year. In June, the candidates will participate in a party primary to see which voters will get to run with a “D” by their name in the November election.
Coffey bills herself as a Millennial renter with expertise in housing discrimination and child welfare policy. Jonathan is also a Millennial renter who leads the official Latino caucus for Virginia Democrats. Spain is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has, at times, challenged the Arlington County Democratic Committee on its influence over local politics.
Coffey says she has seen first-hand how hard work is sometimes not enough to overcome life circumstances such as drug addiction and incarceration. She pledged to prioritize the most vulnerable in Arlington and more clearly articulate the County Board’s long-term vision for the county:
I’ve worked to become an expert on young children, and families and the adults that support them, which provides an understanding of almost every policy area that families come in contact with in their daily lives. This work has taught me to see every part of our lives as interdependent and woven into one. That’s the vision I want to bring to the County Board. Arlington has been a leader and a model for good policy for a very long time, but I have to ask myself, ‘Where are we going?’ We know we don’t have enough affordable housing, we know we don’t have enough child care, and we know we don’t have enough mental healthcare. We need a plan to meet these needs and, at the same time, protect what we love about Arlington: safety, parks, a sense of community.
Dromgoole introduced himself as a proud immigrant from Mexico and a proud product of public schools and teenage parents who came to America for a better life.
From a young age, he acted as the family interpreter for everything from doctors visits to navigating the education system and the family budget. He says Latino residents need that voice on the County Board.
We need to have conversations that will re-engage and inspire our neighbors to be part of the solution rather than feel left out because they weren’t part of a board and feel their voice doesn’t matter. Some in our community aren’t asking for much: Some want streets to be safer for their kids by investing in street lights, reducing speed limits and improving roads. Some are asking for their voices to be heard and policies to be explained in a language they understand. Some want the County Board to be reflective of their lived experiences as someone who has chosen to call Arlington home but fear they may never have the opportunity to buy into that American Dream.
Spain told the audience that what voters need on the County Board is experience — “personable and inclusive leadership.”
I believe that every child who grows up in Arlington should be able to live here as an adult and that means prioritizing affordable housing. I believe we should try to ensure that every corner of our community prospers and that means providing access to job training, ensuring living wages and supporting workers’ rights. With one in five Americans suffering mental illness, I believe that we should fully address the mental health crisis in our comm, and that means ensuring our gov has resources to support everyone with support services. I believe that means everyone should be able to live in Arlington without fear, that means standing with public safety officials while also assuring appropriate oversight and accountability. It is our duty to protect the environment and that means prioritizing sustainability and reinforcing our infrastructure.
(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) Candidates are starting to emerge in the races to replace two retiring, long-time local elected officials.
Last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting featured candidate announcements from Jose Quiroz, who is running for Arlington County Sheriff, and Kim Klingler, who is running for Commissioner of Revenue.
Quiroz, a 21-year veteran of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office who would be the county’s first Latino sheriff, has the endorsement of retiring sheriff Beth Arthur.
More from a press release:
Tonight, Jose Quiroz announced his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for Arlington County Sheriff before the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Jose has served the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office for over 21 years, rising through the ranks of the office and gaining experience in virtually every division.
“As Sheriff, I am committed to running a safe and progressive jail focused on rehabilitation and refocusing lives.” said Jose, “As part of this commitment I will explore eliminating phone and video call fees from the jail so that people in jail are able to maintain contact with their friends and family, which will make it easier for them to rejoin the community after incarceration.”
Additionally, current Sheriff Beth Arthur announced her early retirement this evening. As Chief Deputy, Jose will succeed Sheriff Arthur in January 2023. “I am incredibly thankful to have the support of Sheriff Arthur, a true leader and trailblazer as the first female Sheriff in Arlington County. I wish her well in her retirement after nearly 36 years with the office.”
On assuming the office, Jose will be the first Latino Sheriff in Arlington County. More about his platform and experience can be found at his campaign website: joseforsheriff.us
In Arlington County, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for running the jail, providing courtroom security, transporting prisoners, serving summonses and assisting with traffic enforcement.
Also announcing a run for public office last night was Kim Klingler, a local civic figure who currently runs the Columbia Pike Partnership. Klingler is running for Commissioner of Revenue — the elected head of the local tax collection office — and would replace Ingrid Morroy.
Morroy, who first took office in 2004, announced her retirement and endorsed Klingler, according to a press release from the Columbia Pike Partnership.
Last night during the Arlington Democrats monthly meeting, Ingrid Morroy announced her retirement as Commissioner of Revenue for Arlington County and endorsed Kim Klingler, Columbia Pike Partnership Executive Director as her successor.
The Columbia Pike Partnership supports Kim’s decision to run for Commissioner of Revenue. “We’re excited about this opportunity for Kim. During the campaign and months ahead, Kim, the staff, and the board will remain focused on our mission and work in the community,” says Columbia Pike Partnership Board Chair Shannon Bailey.
The Columbia Pike Partnership does not endorse any political candidate in the 2023 election.
Klingler has twice unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for County Board, in 2012 and 2017.
Morroy and Arthur have both been relatively popular in their respective roles, re-elected with more than 95% of vote in 2019 after running unopposed.
More recently, Arthur has faced scrutiny after a series of deaths at the jail, primarily among Black men. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Arthur and the Sheriff’s Office earlier this year by the family of one of the men who died. The jail has since updated some of its medical protocols.
More candidate announcements are expected in the coming weeks and months. Two County Board seats will be on next year’s ballot and at least one will be open, with County Board Chair Katie Cristol not seeking reelection.
“We’ll have a lot more candidates announcing,” Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Steve Baker told the Sun Gazette. “Next year will be a busy year.”
Next year’s Democratic primary will be held in June and will feature a ranked-choice voting system.
Arlington Rents Continue to Rise — “Apartment rents in Arlington keep on moving upward, maintaining their position as most expensive in the D.C. area and are now well above pre-pandemic rates, according to new data. With a median rental of $2,063 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,469 for two bedrooms, Arlington’s rental rate grew a whopping 2.8 percent from May to June, the sixth highest increase among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Group Donating Thousands of Socks — “The Nursing Professional Development Council at VHC Health decided to have a ‘Sock Hop’ – not a dance party but a sock collection benefiting ‘Doorways,’ an Arlington non-profit helping people out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal was set at 1,940 pairs – 1940 was the year the Sock Hop started but the generous nurses and staff at VHC Health tripled that number. It’s the biggest sock donation the group has ever received.” [WJLA]
Dems Resuming Breakfasts — “In another sign that life is getting back to normal(ish) – or at least adopting a ‘live with COVID’ practicality – the Arlington County Democratic Committee is resurrecting its monthly in-person breakfasts. The return engagement – the first since early 2020 – will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and others will discuss gun issues.” [Sun Gazette]
Cleanup Event Saturday Morning — “WalkArlington & BikeArlington partner to clean up a part of the W&OD Trail on Saturday, July 9. We will make our way down the W&OD, starting near the Barcroft Community Center, setting up our tent on the W&OD Trail at the intersection of a small road named ‘Barcroft Center’ and Four Mile Run Drive. We will pick up trash that accumulates alongside the trail. We will provide trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, drinks and some snacks. We will also have Bike and Walk giveaways.” [WalkArlington]
Metro Seeking Feedback on EFC Project — “Metro is seeking public input on the proposed bus loop expansion and pedestrian improvements at East Falls Church Station. The station currently has four bus bays that are operating at maximum capacity. In coordination with Metro, Arlington County seeks to expand the footprint of the existing bus loop, upgrade the existing bus shelters, and add three bus bays with shelters at the station.” [WMATA]
Flood Watch This Afternoon — “Multiple rounds of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and tonight. The most likely time period for thunderstorms producing heavy rain and potential flash flooding is this evening, but thunderstorms could develop as early as this afternoon, and may linger well into the night. Several inches of rain is possible in a short period of time, which would cause rapid rises of water.” [National Weather Service]
It’s Wednesday — Heavy rain starting in the afternoon. High of 86 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]
Water Main Break in Rosslyn — Updated at 7:50 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crew working on 8-inch main at [Fairfax Drive and N. Lynn Street]. Some 100 customers could be affected.” [Twitter]
New Va. Laws Taking Effect Today — “Several new laws become effective across Virginia on July 1. This includes legislation pertaining to health care, transportation, economic development and law enforcement.” [Arlington County, FFXnow, ARLnow]
Local Dems Set Up Roe Page — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee has created an online resource to provide information on abortion and the political implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling sending the matter back to states.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Brothers Write Birding Book — “Maxwell and Danté Julius stealthily slip through a dirt path that cuts a serpentine route through Arlington County’s Long Branch Park and Nature Center. They’re equipped with binoculars, cameras and a permeating curiosity about the native birds of their home county. Together, the high school brothers have created a ‘Guide to the Birds of Arlington, VA.’ But it’s much more.” [WUSA 9]
County Looking for Tree Adopters — “Arlington is home to approximately 750,000 trees – or three for every resident – and the local government is asking the public’s help in supporting them. The county government’s Adopt-a-Tree program is designed to help trees make it through dry seasons.” [Sun Gazette]
New Contract for Arlington-Based Raytheon — “The U.S. Army announced Tuesday its effort for a next-generation, software-centric ground system is transitioning to another phase. The service awarded $36 million each to software company Palantir Technologies and defense firm Raytheon Technologies for work on the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node, which is currently under development. TITAN is expected to help connect sensors with users in the field to support beyond-line-of-sight targeting.” [C4ISRNET]
Missing Middle Piques Interest in F.C. — “It has become a very contentious issue in Arlington, with scores of citizens showing up at public meetings to weigh in, as Clark reported. It is clear to us that, despite smokescreen issues like trees and other environmental factors, the zoning change is feared most for its perceived potentially negative impact on home values, as well as for the issue of population diversity. The Arlington board will have a work session on the subject with the county manager on July 12 and is set to take a vote in the fall. Falls Church leaders should play close attention.” [Falls Church News-Press]
It’s July — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:48 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) The ballot for the general election has been set, with three races to be decided by local voters.
Multiple candidates for Arlington County Board, School Board and the 8th Congressional District have qualified for the ballot. The first day of in-person early voting is Friday, Sept. 23 and the last day to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 17, according to Arlington’s election office.
8th Congressional District
In the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary, incumbent Rep. Don Beyer overcame challenger Victoria Virasingh. Beyer goes on to the general election to face the GOP nominee, Arlington resident Karina A. Lipsman, and independent candidate Teddy Fikre.
The seat for the 8th District, which encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, has been held by a Democrat for decades. Beyer won a crowded primary for former Congressman Jim Moran’s seat in 2014 and the general election later that year.
I am grateful to voters in Northern Virginia for again making me their Democratic nominee to represent Virginia’s 8th District. Their trust in me is humbling, and I will continue to do all I can to earn it. pic.twitter.com/dZ34jFSyvW
— Don Beyer (@DonBeyerVA) June 21, 2022
Lipsman was nominated “to take on the progressive establishment,” said an email from the Arlington GOP after the nomination.
Lipsman, who is originally from Ukraine, outlines priorities such as supporting law enforcement, opposing tax increases, stopping illegal immigration and her stance against abortion on her website. She says she supports school choice and community colleges, technical schools and vocational training programs.
Among issues Beyer lists on his campaign website are climate change, housing, immigration, gun violence prevention, the federal workforce and others.
Fikre’s website says he is an IT project manager with an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, cares about inclusive justice and “implementing policies that restore fairness in America and enacting laws that are rooted in love.” Among issues he’s focused on are making taxes voluntary for the working, middle and upper-middle-class, as well as forgiving all student loans.
Arlington County Board
Three familiar names are up for consideration for a County Board seat. Incumbent Matt de Ferranti was not challenged for the Democratic nomination.
During his tenure on the board, de Ferranti says he has focused on Covid response, racial equity and priorities like affordable housing, hunger, climate change and school funding.
Two independent candidates will also be on the ballot — and not for their first time — seeking a seat.
Independent Adam Theo, who is vice president of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, is running on a platform of expanding government accountability, prioritizing public safety and making housing affordable. Theo describes himself as “a fierce non-partisan free-thinking ‘progressive libertarian.'” He was previously deployed to eastern Afghanistan while serving in the Air Force Reserve as a civil engineer.
This is Theo’s second time running for the County Board in as many years. Last year, he ran in a crowded County Board race for the seat that Democrat Takis Karantonis occupies.
Civic activist Audrey Clement is also running as an independent, seeking to reduce taxes, stop up-zoning, and preserve parks, trees and historic places. She said on her website she’s running “because the Board has pushed harmful policies resulting in: overcrowded schools, gentrification, loss of green space, and a 10 year average annual effective tax rate increase that is twice the rate of inflation.”
The Westover resident has been a perennial candidate over the last decade or so and says she believes once people realize the ‘Missing Middle’ housing push will rezone some neighborhoods, they will support a candidate like her.
Arlington School Board
After some commotion surrounding the Democratic endorsement for the School Board seat up for grabs, only two names will be on the ballot: James Vell Rives and Bethany Sutton.
Poll: D.C. Residents Prefer Alexandria — A poll on Twitter with more than 1,000 respondents shows D.C. residents saying they’re prefer to live in Alexandria over Arlington, if they had to choose, by a ratio of nearly 2:1. [Twitter]
ACPD Lays Wreaths at Memorial — “Following the Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day, ACPD’s Honor Guard laid wreaths at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in recognition of Arlington’s seven heroic officers who have died in the line of duty. The memorial features the names of more than 22,000 federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation. We are committed to never forgetting their sacrifices in service to their communities.” [Facebook]
Roads in Rosslyn Closing for Police 5K — “The 2022 National Police Week 5k will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2022. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures to accommodate the event.” [ACPD]
Reminder: Expect Police Motorcades — “Police Week is scheduled from Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17. Most of the scheduled activities will take place Thursday through Sunday, though the arrival of families of fallen officers on Wednesday and Thursday will prompt many of the motorcades and rolling road closures.” [ARLnow]
Dems Honor Longtime Volunteer — “The recipient of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s highest accolade for longtime service says she is pleased that the party continues to expand in both size and scope. ‘With more people doing more things, our organization is more complex than ever,’ Inta Malis said during a May 10 online event sponsored by Arlington Senior Democrats.” [Sun Gazette]
TV Station Honors Arlington Nurses — “As 7News celebrates the third day of Nurses Week, we salute the men and women of VHC Health in Northern Virginia. The community hospital in Arlington is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and is a designated Magnet hospital, one of the highest group honors for a hospital.” [WJLA]
Startup Founder Helping Refugees — “As the clock struck 11 p.m. on March 19, Yulia Yaani gathered a group of Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border. She stepped onto the bus that night, alongside roughly 50 women and children, and they traveled to Denmark for the next 17 hours — to escape the war with Russia… Yaani is co-founder and CEO of Arlington fintech [company] RealAtom, a 5-year-old startup.” [Washington Business Journal]
Kiwanis Donate to Ukraine Efforts — “The Kiwanis Club of Arlington has donated $5,000 to the World Central Kitchen (WCK) to assist with relief efforts in Ukraine. Proceeds from the club’s fund-raising activities, including its annual blueberry sale, are being used to support the WCK with their meals programs on the ground in Ukraine and in surrounding countries.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy and cool throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain. High of 68 and low of 58. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]
Bye, Bye Bank Building — “A new residential development is on the boards for Columbia Pike. Marcus Partners filed plans late last week with Arlington County for a new 250-unit residential development at the site of the Bank of America office building at 3401 Columbia Pike. The six-story building will have ground floor retail, a central courtyard and 287 parking spaces on 2.5 below grade levels.” [UrbanTurf]
It’s Official: No Caucus — From Blue Virginia: “The @arlingtondems announce that their School Board Endorsement Vote process is canceled, as there is only one candidate (Bethany Zecher Sutton) left after the other withdrew.” [Twitter]
Rents Still Rising — “The median Arlington apartment rent in April was up 16.8 percent from a year before, the third highest growth rate among the nation’s 100 large urban areas, according to new data. The median monthly rental for an apartment in the county last month was $1,999 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,420 for two bedrooms, according to data reported by Apartment List.” [Sun Gazette]
Truck Crash Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Just happened. 3rd crash in as many days on I-395S at Exit 8C/Rt 1. It appears the red car didn’t stop & no other cars struck. @VSPPIO has all lanes open.” [Twitter]
Protest Outside DEA HQ in Pentagon City — “I’m outside DEA headquarters in Arlington, where protests have gathered to draw attention to terminally ill patients’ rights to try experimental drugs like psilocybin.” [Twitter, The Hill]
WaPo Reporter Rappels Down Hotel — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [Washington Post]
Boeing HQ May Draw More Companies — “Even without a sizable addition of jobs or expansion, Northern Virginia landing another major corporate headquarters has strategic ‘marketing value,’ Terry Clower, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, said in an interview. The presence of a headquarters attracts the attention of other corporations, as well as site-selection consultants who advise companies where to locate new facilities. ‘Nothing draws a crowd like a lot of people,’ Clower said.” [Washington Business Journal]
Metro: Ridership Rebounding — “Metro ridership is outpacing projections through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022 by nearly 40 percent. Through March, ridership has exceeded the initial forecast by 28 million passenger trips as more people chose bus and rail for travel throughout the region. Metrobus leads the way, accounting for 60 percent of overall Metro ridership, compared to about 40 percent for rail.” [WMATA]
It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]
A candidate for the Arlington School Board has withdrawn his name from the Democratic endorsement process.
Brandon Clark, a teacher at Gunston Middle School, said he decided to remove himself from consideration this week so he could run independent of party affiliation. He realized the partisan process did not align with his beliefs, he said.
“The more I thought about it, the more I was like, wait, this shouldn’t be part of the process,” he told ARLnow. “Education shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
The caucus “represents a small microcosm of Arlington County,” Clark said. ‘It’s not up to the Arlington Democrats to decide who the School Board member’s going to be.”
The Arlington County Democratic Committee will now vote in June on whether to endorse Bethany Sutton, the only remaining candidate seeking the party’s endorsement, ACDC Chair Steve Baker said.
Clark had been steered in the direction of going through the Democratic Committee’s voting process when he decided to run in the otherwise nonpartisan election, he said.
“Because as a family, both of us being teachers, we don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on a campaign, so I was told this is the only way you’re going to win,” he said. “It shouldn’t have this air of like, ‘this is the process where you win the race.’ No, the people need to decide and that happens on Election Day.”
Clark thanked the volunteers who began to lay the groundwork for the four-day caucus that will no longer take place.
James Vell Rives IV is also running without a party affiliation. Rives and Clark are the only two candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot so far, according to the Arlington elections office.
The Democratic endorsement process has been scrutinized for its overrepresentation of white, affluent Arlington residents, and discouraging participation in the general election while potentially making nonpartisan officials beholden to a political party, among other concerns. Calls for reform were ultimately defeated.
Clark said he hadn’t realized there were groups criticizing the caucus until he started going through the process.
“But I’m seeing now why these organizations have the grievances that they do,” he said. “In my opinion, it seems like a very insider kind of process.
This past weekend, before he pulled his name from endorsement consideration, he criticized local Democrats for selling a “Russian named vodka” at their Blue Victory Dinner, saying it “speaks to being out of touch on what our community might regard as tasteless and, although seemingly insignificant to others, [and] represents tacit support for Russia.”
He said as a teacher, he encourages his students to look at all sides of an issue to make well-informed decisions, so he didn’t think it was appropriate to align himself with a political party.
“In the future, I hope this process is more inclusive and more open and that there is a support for individuals who are trying to run,” Clark said.