Update at 4:30 p.m. — Gutshall’s campaign has published an explanation of its claims here.
Libby Garvey says she’s not “threatening the ability of our most vulnerable seniors to live in Arlington,” as alleged in a mailer from the campaign of County Board challenger Erik Gutshall.
The mailer, sent in advance of the June 14 Democratic primary, said that Garvey “wants to eliminate tax exemptions for seniors” and “repeatedly voted against funding for affordable housing.”
(Another Gutshall mailer alleged that Garvey, who formerly served on the School Board, did not act quickly enough to address the capacity crunch at Arlington Public Schools.)
Garvey is firing back at the “putting Arlington’s seniors at risk” mailer, posting a response on her website entitled “Setting the record straight: I want seniors to afford their homes.”
Here’s what Garvey wrote:
I work hard for an Arlington that provides affordable living options for all people, of many income levels and at all stages in their lives. We face many challenges in realizing this vision, and one particularly acute one is how to help seniors whose property tax bills are rising beyond their ability to pay because of the ever increasing value of their property. We need to make sure that they can remain in the homes where they built their lives and helped build our community.
My opponent in this election recently sent a flyer claiming that I am “threatening the ability of our most vulnerable seniors to live in Arlington.” I assure you that this claim is false.
Arlington has two major programs for senior tax relief. One defers taxes until the house is sold, at which time the back taxes are paid from the proceeds of the sale. I believe that we probably should lower the qualification levels for this program so that it is available to more seniors. The second program forgives the taxes entirely. Under this second program, when the home is sold, whoever sells — whether the senior or the beneficiaries after the senior’s passing — keeps the entire proceeds of the sale and never pays the taxes. This can provide quite a windfall to the beneficiaries.
I, along with the entire County Board by a 5-0 vote, asked our staff to study these programs to see if we are publicizing them adequately. We did this to ensure that everyone who needs them is benefiting from them. We also asked our staff to review the criteria for appropriateness to see who is truly benefiting from them. Among the questions we asked our staff to consider is the possibility of eliminating that portion of the tax forgiveness that goes only to beneficiaries, because the program was never meant to benefit beneficiaries — it is meant to benefit seniors. I want our staff to explore whether making this change will free up more money to enable us to expand both programs for our most vulnerable seniors.
Family: We’re Being Evicted Because Our Disabled Son Is Too Loud — A family of a disabled boy says they’re being evicted from the Oakland Apartments on Columbia Pike because the 10-year-old boy makes too much noise. Local tenant advocates Bravo and Bu-Gata have taken up the cause of the Diaz family and held a press conference yesterday. [Washington Post, NBC Washington]
Arlington County Ready for Winter Weather — While there’s been little evidence of winter so far, given the procession of record warm temperatures, Arlington County says it’s ready to do battle with snow and ice when the time comes. The county says it has reviewed its operations, reinforced its training and acquired an additional 1,200 tons of salt compared to last year. [Arlington County]
View of Rosslyn Skyline in 1964 — The Key Bridge looked pretty much the same, but downtown Rosslyn looked a lot different in 1964. A historical photo shows only a handful of mid-rise office buildings and at least one of the River Place co-op buildings — but none of the towering buildings that characterize the modern Rosslyn skyline. [Twitter]
Webb Books Clinton’s Spiritual Advisor — Mike Webb, the Republican who hopes to challenge Rep. Don Beyer in next year’s election, says he’s booked Bill Clinton’s former spiritual advisor to speak at a campaign-sponsored prayer breakfast next month. The press release also pokes fun at Beyer’s Taylor Swift ticket fundraiser and notes that “earlier press releases from Webb published in ARL Now were met with derision.” [PDF]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
McMenamin Leads Cash Race — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Michael McMenamin has the most cash on hand of the four candidates in the race. McMenamin’s campaign reported $13,699 on hand as of Aug. 31, compared to $10,127 for Democrat Katie Cristol, $8,853 for Democrat Christian Dorsey and $1,657 for independent Audrey Clement. Dorsey has thus far spent the most on his campaign: $55,048, compared to McMenamin’s spending of $2,050. [InsideNova]
‘Demolition Derby’ for Old Houses — All over Arlington, older, more modest homes are being torn down and much larger, more lavish homes are being built in their place. The actual number of homes destroyed is low relative to Arlington’s population — the county reported 124 demolition permits for the first six months of 2015 — but it still worries long-time residents. “Can middle-income people in their 30s, first-time buyers, still live in Arlington?” asked one woman. [Falls Church News-Press]
Local Youth Pilgrimage to Philly — Six hundred teenagers from around Northern Virginia, plus 185 students from Arlington’s Bishop O’Connell High School, will be making a pilgrimage to Philadelphia for the visit of Pope Francis. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Death Nears for Man Who Raped, Killed in Arlington — A man suspected of raping and killing a woman in Arlington in 1988 is scheduled to be executed in Virginia in two weeks. Alfredo Prieto has also been convicted of or is suspected in a number of other murders and rape cases in Virginia and California. [Los Angeles Times]
Grants for Serving Those with Disabilities — Arlington County has $111,910 available for grants to groups that provide services to Arlington residents with physical and sensory disabilities. The deadline for grant applications is Oct. 30. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
In a press release, the Democrat said he would seek to terminate TitleMax’s lease at 5265 Lee Highway, should that building be included in a land swap between its owner, Virginia Hospital Center, and Arlington County.
Dorsey has also launched an online petition, asking residents to support him in his call to “do all we can to protect Arlingtonians from predatory lending practices.”
The press release from Dorsey’s campaign:
Christian Dorsey, a Democratic nominee for the Arlington County Board, attended a public forum on Wednesday at the Virginia Hospital Center discussing the process for a potential deal between Arlington County and the hospital for County-owned land adjacent to the hospital’s property. One potential deal includes a land swap, where Arlington County would acquire property currently owned by the hospital on the corner of Lee Highway and North George Mason Drive. That property is currently being leased by TitleMax, Inc., a predatory vehicle title lender.
Should Arlington acquire the property, Dorsey committed to opposing any lease renewal for TitleMax. He went further by promising to explore all possible ways to terminate the lease early in the case that Arlington becomes the owner of the property.
“Predatory lenders charge desperate families up to 264% interest on loans,” said Dorsey. “Arlington County should not be in the business of profiting off of those that prey on our most vulnerable populations. That’s why I will oppose any extension of the lease to TitleMax should Arlington acquire the property. Further, I will pursue all avenues that would allow us to terminate that lease upon acquisition of the land.”
“Predatory lending runs counter to our values here in Arlington,” continued Dorsey. “Richmond should be ashamed that they allow these businesses to operate with so little regulation. Charging over 260% interest on a car title loan should not be permissible under any circumstances, and I’ll do everything in my power to stop these businesses from preying on Arlington’s vulnerable working families.”
Two Democratic state legislators who represent parts of north Arlington, Dels. Rip Sullivan and Patrick Hope, have endorsed Fallon, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 9 Democratic primary.
Fallon placed a distant third in last year’s County Board primary, picking up 18 percent of the vote compared to 52 percent for Democratic nominee Alan Howze and 30 percent for Cord Thomas. Neither Howze nor Thomas are running this year.
In an election cycle notable for a slate of younger candidates calling for change, Sullivan and Hope both cite Fallon’s long track record of community involvement, including his recent service on the Arlington Planning Commission, as a reason to vote for him.
“Peter Fallon lives and breathes Arlington,” Sullivan said, in a statement. “He has a record of deep commitment and significant contribution to the Arlington community. A long track record of community involvement and leadership. He’ll make a terrific addition to the County Board.”
“Arlington is losing a lot of experience on the County Board this year,” said Hope. “Peter Fallon has the planning expertise that the Board will need. He knows this community well, and that’s why I support Peter’s campaign and strongly encourage Arlington voters to give him one of their two votes for County Board this year.”
Hope has also endorsed Christian Dorsey in the race. Two County Board seats are open this year due to the impending retirement of Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada.
State Sen. Barbara Favola, who endorsed Fallon in 2014 and is quoted on his campaign website, said today via Twitter that she is “giving all 5 candidates for Arlington County Board a chance to present themselves [to] voters” before making any endorsements.
Gillespie is behind by double-digits in statewide polls, but he sees an opportunity in Arlington to connect with young voters frustrated by the lagging economic recovery.
“We enjoy a lot of strong support here from a lot of young professionals,” he said. “There’s big numbers here, and we have to get our numbers up. It’s an important part of the Commonwealth. I want to be a servant leader for all Virginians, that means taking your message everywhere, including places that I know historically, in the voting patterns, aren’t Republican strongholds. But that doesn’t matter to me. I think it’s important to take your message everywhere.”
Gillespie served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee and counsel to President George W. Bush, and started his own lobbying and consulting firms. His consulting firm, Ed Gillespie Strategies, closed in Old Town Alexandria earlier this year to allow Gillespie to focus on his campaign.
Gillespie is against same-sex marriage, but said he prefers to let the states legislate their own marriage laws.
Gillespie lives in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, and said “there was a time when I used to play golf,” but he spend most of his time on the campaign trail or with family nowadays. The time he spends in Arlington, he said, is either campaigning or making the occasional trip to the Pentagon City mall. Gillespie visited Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices last week and sat down with ARLnow.com for an interview.
Around his favorite Arlington hangout, office vacancies have skyrocketed in the years since the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure plan that moved thousands of defense jobs out of Arlington. Gillespie said he doesn’t think the BRAC process needs to be changed, but admitted “it has made mistakes.”
“We’ve cut about $986 billion from our military and our defense since Sen. Warner took office, $500 billion through the sequester, which is a random, arbitrary and deep cut,” he said. “I would work to restore those cuts because I think our military does need to be a higher priority than it is under this administration. ”
Gillespie wants to replace the Affordable Care Act and “supports oil, coal and natural gas production, including deep sea drilling.” He also said he advocates widening I-66, both inside and outside the Beltway.
Gillespie said he realizes Arlington “has got a set of priorities” — county leaders have repeatedly opposed proposals to widen the Arlington stretch of I-66 — but thinks the highway should be widened regardless.
Del. Patrick Hope, one of seven candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress, fell down stairs while campaigning this weekend and sustained fractured ribs.
According to his campaign, Hope was canvassing Sunday morning in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Fairfax County when he fell. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center and diagnosed with one broken rib, multiple fractured ribs and some “ugly bruising,” his campaign said in a press release.
“I am resting comfortably at home in Arlington now,” Hope said in the release. “I’ve knocked on 13,000 doors in the last five years, and dealt with a few misjudged stairs, a dog bite and a couple of ankle sprains and never missed a beat. A rib break will cause me to miss some time on the campaign trail however.”
Hope is the only remaining candidate in the Democratic race who lives in Arlington. His six opponents in the June 10 primary — Don Beyer, Lavern Chatman, Bill Euille, Adam Ebbin, Mark Levine and Derek Hyra — all live in Alexandria. Hope had previously planned to visit every precinct in the 8th District, which covers all of Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, but he announced those plans will have to change.
“I am committing today to personally call voters in those precincts I am unable to visit,” Hope said. “When I thought about those who are uninsured and need our help — I decided that the campaign will go on.”
Hope is a healthcare attorney who works as the senior director of legislative policy for the American College of Cardiology, and he has vowed that, if elected, his first actions in Congress would be to defend Obamacare and to try to institute universal healthcare.
Carson’s website says he is a former captain in the U.S. Army and used to work as a consultant for Google before moving to Arlington in 2012 and working as a product operations manager for Asurion. He said his desire for “freedom and peace” is what led him to leave his job and run for Congress.
“The principles of freedom and peace are under attack,” Carson said in the press release announcing his candidacy. “We know it in our hearts, in our heads, and in our guts, yet we allow ourselves to be misguided by those currently in charge.”
Carson, 31, has already received the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia’s endorsement and is in the process of collecting signatures to secure his place on the ballot, according to Evan Bernick, a libertarian who most recently ran for County Board before dropping out and supporting John Vihstadt in the race.
Carson lives in Ballston and said he doesn’t see himself as a third-party, “issues” candidate, but said he believes “we’ve got a shot. I believe we can win.”
Among the policy stances that Carson lists on his website: “balance the damn budget,” “end the unconstitutional War on Drugs” and “only put our service members’ lives at risk if we absolutely must.”
Carson is hosting a campaign kickoff event at 6:00 p.m. on May 13 at Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse. His full campaign announcement, after the jump.
Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman are the early leaders in fundraising in the June 10 Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D).
Beyer, the former Virginia lieutenant governor, has a sizable lead over the rest of the field. Beyer has raised $668,497 in contributions so far, spending $218,617 and holding onto $449,636 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filing records. Separately, Beyer said he plans to follow fellow Democratic candidate Del. Patrick Hope’s lead in releasing his most recent tax return, on May 15.
Chatman, the former director of the Northern Virginia Urban League, has raised $278,197 in contributions — thanks in part to a fundraiser with talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey — and spent $84,729, leaving her with $213,467 cash on hand. Another Alexandria-based candidate, Mayor Bill Euille, is in third place in fundraising, with $214,571 in contributions, $41,062 spent and $173,509 cash on hand.
The Arlington-based candidates are led by Sen. Adam Ebbin, whose district includes parts of Arlington and Alexandria, with $178,591 in donations and $62,943 in expenditures. He has $114,878 on hand.
“The funds we have raised will enable us to wage the kind of grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that has won Adam multi-candidate Democratic primaries before,” said Michael Beckendorf, Ebbin’s campaign manager, in a statement.
Hope is fifth in fundraising, having raised $176,534, spent $47,800, and has $138,733 on hand.
Among the other five candidates — Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, Derek Hyra, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe — only Levine and Shuttleworth have more than $100,000 cash on hand, thanks to loans of $250,000 and $275,000 respectively.
“This is a people powered campaign,” Levine, a liberal talk radio host, said in a press release. “People from across the district and across the country are excited about my candidacy. Voters want an aggressive progressive voice that will stand up for progressive principles in the House.”
Korpe, the last Democrat to enter the race, has not filed any campaign finance reports with the FEC.
Dean is scheduled to attend a “spring picnic” for Beyer at the Overlee Community Association clubhouse (6020 Lee Highway) from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free but RSVPs are requested.
Dean is one of two nationally-known Democrats who have endorsed Beyer, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and U.S. ambassador. Over the weekend Beyer’s campaign announced that he had received the endorsement of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
Beyer is among a field of 10 Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran.
Photo by Matt Wright via Wikipedia
Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, one of the nearly dozen Democrats running for the congressional seat of Rep. Jim Moran (D), will be holding a campaign kickoff event this weekend.
In advance of the event, Beyer’s campaign released a music video — a campaign song based on the Anna Kendrick hit “Cups.” Performed in the video by middle schoolers Mae and John Keating, the children of friends of the Beyer family, the “Blue Cup Song” will also be performed live at Beyer’s kickoff event.
The event is being held at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. It will launch a procession of 100 campaign events Beyer is scheduled to hold between now and the June 10 Democratic primary.
Beyer served as Lieutenant Governor from 1990-1998, served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009-2013, and is the co-owner of the eponymous Beyer car dealership chain.
The headquarters for the Ready for Hillary Political Action Committee are cluttered.
One room is filled nearly to capacity with envelopes stuffed with t-shirts, bumper stickers and other merchandise. The hallways are minefields of postal and cardboard boxes, and rooms used as both office and storage space. In their space on the fifth floor of Rosslyn Plaza D on N. Kent Street, no square foot goes unused.
The clutter signifies the rapid growth at the office of one of the key political groups preparing for the 2016 presidential election. Ready for Hillary, an independent super PAC raising money to support a potential presidential run by former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has grown from two volunteers in January to 15 current employees, with a handful more starting in January.
Executive Director Adam Parkhomenko starting working for Clinton immediately upon graduating from Washington-Lee High School in 2003 after, as a 17 year old, he started a website dedicated to convincing Clinton to run for president in 2004.
Growing up in Arlington, Parkhomenko, now 28, said it was impossible not to get involved in politics “since there’s an election every year.” He was best friends with the son of former Del. Al Eisenberg (D-47) and, when he was 23 and had worked in politics for half a decade, ran for Eisenberg’s seat when he retired in 2009.
Parkhomeko came in third place in the Democratic primary to eventual winner Patrick Hope and current Arlington County Board candidate Alan Howze. He said his campaign “did things a little differently” than the typical House of Delegates campaign, opening up a campaign office and starting a direct mail campaign.
“If I had won I would have been the youngest person elected since Thomas Jefferson, I think,” he said. “I thought I had something to offer and I thought I could win.”
After the campaign, Parkhomenko left politics for a while to go to college. Now, he’s back in politics trying, once again, to convince Hillary Clinton to run for president.
“This group has her best intentions at heart,” he said. “Half of us have worked for her for years. Others worked on President Obama’s last campaign, and others have worked for other Democratic campaigns. We’re here to tell her if she’s ready, we’re ready.”
On Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Parkhomenko served as executive aide to the campaign director. After working for Clinton for more than six years, he’s now running a political group that, for legal reasons, wouldn’t be able to have contact with her if she ran for president.
“She was kind of like a second mom to me when I worked for her,” he said. “She was always asking me about finishing school.”
Since Clinton is not currently a candidate, the laws around super PACs are murky, but Parkhomenko said Ready for Hillary hasn’t had contact with Clinton or her staff. The restrictions are worth it to give Clinton a boost, he said, and Ready for Hillary is already amassing impressive finances: Back in July, it crossed the $1 million donation threshold. So far there have been more than 30,000 donors and more come in every day.
“For me, starting this was really important because I don’t want to look back and wonder what we could have done to give her an edge,” he said. “We support and echo everything she does, but make sure not to get out in front of her.”
Clinton’s campaign headquarters for her campaign in 2008 were in Ballston, but Parkhomenko said the fact that Ready for Hillary’s office is also in Arlington is merely a coincidence; Rosslyn just happens to be “at the center of everything,” which is why the super PAC moved there in September.
Parkhomenko fields one question about Ready for Hillary more than any other: if Clinton decides not to run, where will the money go?
“We’re not creating a campaign war chest,” Parkhomenko says. The group caps donations at $25,000. “We don’t need large checks because we don’t need large ad buys. We spend what we take in, other than overhead expenses, to identify supporters around the country. That way, if she does announce, we’ll be ready to go on time.”
Looking at Campaign Sign Removal — Arlington County Board members may consider asking state transportation officials for authority to remove improperly placed campaign signs from state roads. Virginia law prohibits campaign signs from being placed on state roads, but it also prohibits anyone besides state officials from removing them unless the jurisdiction has a deal with the state. [Sun Gazette]
McAuliffe Adds to His Cabinet — Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) made appointments yesterday for several of his key cabinet positions. He named Paul Reagan as chief of staff, Suzette Denslow as deputy chief of staff, Ric Brown as secretary of finance and Levar Stoney as secretary of the commonwealth. Reagan had previously served as chief of staff for Rep. Jim Moran (D) and Sen. Jim Webb (D). [Washington Post]
Library Displays Rare Kennedy Newspapers — The Arlington Central Library has put on a display a number of rare newspapers from when John F. Kennedy was president. Some of the papers highlight Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago this month. The exhibit also includes papers from Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 and his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. [Arlington Public Library]
How Ballston was Named — Do you know how the Ballston neighborhood got its name? It goes back to the Ball brothers who owned more than 250 acres of land in the area back in the 1700s. [Ghosts of DC]
Election Day is tomorrow, and there are four local, contested races in addition to the housing authority referendum and the statewide campaigns.
Polls open in Arlington at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. You can find a list of polling places on the county’s election website, which was revamped last week.
Below are the races you will find on the ballot:
- Governor: Ken Cuccinelli (Republican), Terry McAuliffe (Democrat), Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)
- Lieutenant Governor: E.W. Jackson (R), Ralph Northam (D)
- Attorney General: Mark Herring (D), Mark Obenshain (R)
- County Board: Jay Fisette (D), Audrey Clement (Green)
- School Board: James Lander (D)
- House of Delegates, 45th District: Rob Krupicka (D), Jeffrey Engle (Independent)
- House of Delegates, 47th District: Patrick Hope (D), Laura Delhomme (L)
- House of Delegates, 48th District: Bob Brink (D)
- House of Delegates, 49th District: Alfonso Lopez (D), Terrence Modglin (Independent Green)
President Barack Obama was at Washington-Lee High School this afternoon (Sunday) campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe two days before election day.
Obama, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and actress Kerry Washington, star of the TV show “Scandal,” were among the speakers. Thousands of spectators crowded the Washington-Lee gymnasium to watch the event, and the line to get in curved around N. Stafford Street onto Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street.
Obama spoke passionately for about 20 minutes, lambasting Congressional Republicans for the government shutdown and praising McAuliffe’s stances on transportation and education, but not before he came out to a roar of cheers and started his speech by exclaiming, “Hello, Washington-Lee!”
“An extreme faction of the Republican Party have shown again and again and again that they’re going to hijack the party, and the country, and the economy, and bring Congress to an absolute halt unless they get 100 percent of what they want,” Obama said. “This isn’t just speculation, this happened just last month for the first government shutdown in 17 years.”
There was no mention of the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which was the subject of most of the signs Republican demonstrators were sporting outside the high school while attendees waited in line.
Obama spoke minimally of McAulffe’s opponent, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, not mentioning him by name, simply referring to him as “the other guy,” but McAuliffe highlighted a recent interview Cuccinelli gave on Fox News, when he said he “perfectly happy” that voters in Virginia have “short memories” when it comes to the government shutdown.
“He’s saying that he wants Virginians to forget the shutdown because he wants us to forget all the things he did during the government shutdown,” McAuliffe said, “because as you know it was Ken Cuccinelli that brought Ted Cruz to Richmond. We’re not going to forget that.”
McAuliffe highlighted his policy toward reinvesting in community colleges, and attacked Cuccinelli’s position on the Silver Line.
Warner introduced McAuliffe — whom he has known for more than three decades since the two worked in the Jimmy Carter administration — and highlighted the importance of the election.
“Elections have consequences. Look where I work,” he said, before criticizing the shutdown. “Terry will fight to make sure every child in Virginia has a fair shake and a fair shot.”
Washington, a surprise appearance on the program for many in attendance, drew huge applause when she went up to speak less than 24 hours after hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing as Michelle Obama in a sketch.
“We are so blessed to live in a country where we have a voice in our government,” she said. “On Tuesday, get out there and vote. We did it last year … let’s just do it again on Tuesday.”
Moran was one of the first to speak in the program, right after Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents most of Fairfax County. He, like nearly every other speaker, implored those in the audience to volunteer for the campaign in the final days before the election. He also took the chance to skewer the Republicans for their policies.
“If you want to move forward, you shift into D for Democrat,” he said. “If you want to back up, go in reverse, you put in R for Republican. So what we’re going to do on Tuesday is to move forward, with Terry McAuliffe at the wheel and with Ralph Northam and Mark Herring sitting alongside him”