Arlington, VA

Voter turnout was low for Tuesday’s special election to secure a state delegate for the 45th District, but Democrat Rob Krupicka’s high numbers led him to victory.

Krupicka walked away with 75.7 percent of the votes. His closest competitor, Republican Tim McGhee, brought in 20.6 percent, followed by Libertarian Justin Malkin with 3.4 percent.

“Today was a victory for our community. It was a victory for everyone who believes that we should move forward together,” Krupicka posted on Twitter last night. “Thank you to everyone (and there are lots of you) who made this victory possible.”

Krupicka fills the spot vacated by Del. David Englin (D), who resigned earlier this year following his admission of marital infidelity. Englin’s official last day was last Friday, August 31. His website now shows a message directing people to Krupicka’s site.

The 45th District largely covers Alexandria, but also includes about 13,000 voters from southeast Arlington. Of the nearly 55,000 total active voters, a mere 15 percent showed up to cast ballots. 1,351 of them were from Arlington.

Last year, Adam Ebbin (D) defeated Krupicka in the state Senate Democratic primary for the 30th District. Ebbin went on to win against McGhee in the general election.

There is now a little more than a year remaining in Krupicka’s term.

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Morning Notes

Meriweather Pleads to DWI Charge — Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather has pleaded no contest to the charge of driving while intoxicated in Arlington. As part of the plea, Meriweather was assessed a fine, a driver’s license suspension, and a 180 day jail sentence — though the jail time was suspended. ARLnow.com was the first to report in April that Meriweather had been arrested for DWI following a traffic stop on I-66 in Arlington. [Washington Post]

Heat Advisory Issued — A heat advisory will be in effect from noon to 8:00 tonight. Heat index values are expected to reach around 105 degrees, which brings the risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses. [Weather Channel]

District 45 Special Election Scheduled — The special election to replace Del. David Englin, who resigned in June, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the special election date yesterday. [Virginia.gov]

Green Pig Bistro Reviewed — Washingtonian Magazine reviews Clarendon’s Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore Street) and dubs it a “hipster farmhouse.” In addition to the food, the restaurant’s staff also receives attention in the article: “That dude with the mohawk and baroque tattoos? That’s the sous chef.” [Washingtonian]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has officially announced his candidacy for the 45th District House of Delegates seat.

Krupicka is seeking to replace Del. David Englin, who submitted his resignation last week. In a press release, Krupicka — who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate last year — said he’s running “to ensure that we continue to have a progressive voice in Richmond.”

Krupicka’s campaign also released a list of endorsements, which includes much of the local Democratic establishment. Krupicka is expected to face Karen Gautney — the former chairwoman of the Alexandria Commission on Human Rights, whom Englin has endorsed — in an upcoming special election. Arlington School Board Member James Lander has also announced his intention to run for the 45th District seat, which includes parts of south Arlington.

The following press release was issued by the Krupicka campaign yesterday afternoon.

Today, Rob Krupicka officially announced his entrance into the race for the Democratic nomination in the 45th House of Delegates District.

“I am running for the House of Delegates to ensure that we continue to have a progressive voice in Richmond. My experience means that I will be ready to hit the ground running on day one. With two girls in school, and as a member of the State Board of Education, I will make our children’s education my top priority. As I’ve done for the last ten years, I will work for smart environmental and transportation solutions that create jobs and conserve our natural resources, and I will fight against the right-wing extremism that has rolled back women’s rights and true equality for every Virginian. We can’t move our state forward when others are trying to tear us apart.

“As a graduate of the University of Virginia, and someone who has worked to increase the number of students ready to succeed in college, I will work to make sure our public higher education system is transparent, affordable and accessible for every resident of the Commonwealth.”

“I am honored to have the support of state and local leaders as we start this campaign. I look forward to working alongside them to deliver the progressive leadership and real results that the people of the 45th district, and of Virginia, deserve.”

Rob Krupicka lives in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood with his wife Lisa and two daughters, Gillian and Janelle. He has been an active member of the community since moving to the area in 1993. He is the past president of the Del Ray Citizens Association, founder and co-chair of the Eco-City Alexandria Green Initiative, three-term member of the Alexandria City Council and currently serves as one of Governor Kaine’s appointees to the State Board of Education.

The 45th House of Delegates District covers the east end of the City of Alexandria, parts of South Arlington and Southern Fairfax counties and has been represented for the last seven years by Delegate David Englin who announced his resignation last week.

A partial list of Krupicka’s endorsements, after the jump.

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Del. David Englin, a Democrat who represents the part of southeast Arlington included in the 45th District, has submitted his resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates.

In April, Englin announced he would not seek reelection in 2013, after admitting to marital infidelity. At that time, he said he would take time off to work on rebuilding his marriage.

Englin’s resignation is effective as of August 31. Englin further explained his decision in a statement on his website. The following is an excerpt from that statement, including an endorsement for a successor:

In April, I announced that I would not seek another term in elected office in order to focus on rebuilding my marriage and my family. That remains my highest priority, and I have concluded that the time has come for my family and me to leave public life. Therefore, earlier today, I submitted to the House Clerk, the Speaker, and Governor McDonnell my resignation from the House of Delegates, effective August 31. To ensure the best possible stewardship of taxpayer resources, I also conveyed my hope that Governor McDonnell will schedule the special election to coincide with the general election on November 6.

Serving the people of the 45th District has been one of the great honors of my life. Shayna and I are so incredibly grateful to the many people who have supported and been a part of our political efforts over the years. We will never forget all of those Team Englin volunteers who knocked on doors or filled our home for hours on end, fighting to move Virginia forward, and we are proud of what so many of us working together were able to accomplish.

Because we have lived such a public life these past several years and invited people so freely into our home and our family, a great many people have been curious for details about our relationship, our family, and our future. While we understand the interest, we hope others understand and respect that leaving public life means living life more privately. We do appreciate the kindness and support of so many well wishers, and we want people to know that this is a glad occasion for our family, as we look forward to a happy life as private citizens.

With today’s announcement, Democrats in the 45th District will have just a few weeks to nominate my successor. As one of the most progressive communities in the Commonwealth, the 45th District should be represented by somebody who is willing to stand up without fear to the anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-immigrant extremist social agenda being foisted by House Republicans. That representative must not hesitate to voice the progressive ideals of the district in all matters before the House. Any candidate who enters this race as a stepping stone to statewide office will be too concerned with how his votes, positions, and agenda will play with future voters elsewhere who don’t share our community’s progressive values. The people of the 45th District deserve a Delegate who is totally devoted to fighting for what’s right and not distracted by future political ambitions. Karen Gautney will be that Delegate, and she has my endorsement and my unqualified support.

Gautney is expected to face Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka and Arlington School Board member James Lander in a special election at some point between now and Nov. 6.

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Morning Notes

President Obama Screens Film for W-L Students — President Obama hosted a screening of the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the White House last night. The guest list included one of the original actors from the film — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary — and a group of Washington-Lee High School students. [UPI]

Two Candidates Announce for Englin Seat — Two Democrats have announced their intention to run for the House of Delegates seat of Del. David Englin (D). Englin announced this week that he no longer intends to seek reelection in 2013. He also admitted to having an affair. So far Alexandria City Council member Rob Krupicka and Arlington County School Board member James Lander have thrown their hat into the ring to replace Englin. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Resident Indicted for CIA Leak — Former CIA officer and current Arlington resident John Kiriakou has been indicted for allegedly leaking classified information about the CIA’s waterboarding practices to journalists. Kiriakou faces one charge under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and three charges under the Espionage Act. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White

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Morning Notes

Englin Admits to Affair — Del. David Englin (D), who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax, admitted Monday night that he had been “unfaithful” in his marriage and that he’s currently separated from his wife, political consultant Shayna Englin. The four-term House of Delegates member announced he will not seek reelection in 2013. [Sun Gazette]

Va. Residents Are 60 Percent of Nats Attendance — About 60 percent of those attending Nationals baseball games are from Virginia, compared to about 25 percent from Maryland and 15 percent from the District, according to internal team numbers. Eight years ago a group tried to bring the Nationals and the team’s new stadium to Pentagon City, but ultimately objections from Arlington residents helped to sink the plan after concerns were raised about crowds and traffic. A large cluster of office buildings is now proposed for what could have been the site of the baseball stadium. [Washington Post]

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day — From 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. today, Ben & Jerry’s locations will be celebrating the company’s 34 years in business by giving away a free scoop of ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt. Unfortunately, local ice cream lovers will need to get their free scoops in D.C. or Alexandria — there are no participating Ben & Jerry’s locations in Arlington County. [Ben & Jerry’s]

New Legal Programs in Ballston — The Ballston-based Court Reporting Institute is offering four new court reporting programs for those seeking a legal career. The programs include Legal Assistant, Voice Writing, Electronic Evidence Discovery and Certified Shorthand Reporter. The accelerated 120-hour Certified Shorthand Reporter course trains students to record notes and dialogue at a rate of 225 words per minute.

Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg

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The goings-on within the Virginia General Assembly generally do not make national news, but that changed this week after legislators passed a Republican-sponsored bill requiring women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound.

Incensed by what he saw as unnecessary government intrusion into the private lives of women, Del. David Englin (D) issued a scathing statement about the bill.

“This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions,” Englin said. “This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.”

The statement apparently attracted the attention of cable news bookers. Englin, who represents parts of Arlington and Alexandria, was invited on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show last night to reiterate his point for a national audience.

Before the interview, Maddow argued that should the bill be signed as-is by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), it could hurt his chances of becoming a Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012.

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Del. David Englin (D) is sharply criticizing a Republican-supported “informed consent” bill that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion.

The bill, which passed the House of Delegates yesterday and the state Senate two weeks ago, would require an ultrasound to determine a fetus’ gestation age. It would then give the woman the option to view the ultrasound before her abortion.

Englin said the bill represents a level of government intrusion that “shocks the conscience.” According to Englin’s office:

… only an invasive transvaginal probe ultrasound can effectively determine gestation age during much of the first trimester, which is when most abortions occur. Englin offered an amendment to require the pregnant woman’s consent prior to subjecting her to a vaginal penetration ultrasound, but House Republicans rejected the amendment by a vote of 64 to 34.

Englin issued a statement in response to the bill’s passage:

This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions. This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.

I offered an amendment that would have protected women from the unwanted vaginal penetration required by this bill. House Republicans rejected that amendment. The next time Virginia Republicans speak the words ‘government intrusion’ I hope voters will remember this vote and hold them accountable for their hypocrisy.

Republicans, however, countered that the abortion itself is an invasive procedure.

“If we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have,” said bill sponsor Del. Kathy Byron (R), according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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Feel like picking up a little pot with your booze purchase? Delegate David Englin (D) has introduced a bill to examine if that should become a possibility.

As first reported by the Sun Gazette, Del. Englin has called for a study to analyze whether Virginia ABC stores should sell marijuana. Englin wants a report on the potential revenue the state could gain by such sales.

He points out that the sale and use of distilled spirits, at one time considered controversial substances, has been kept in check by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Part of the legislation reads: “As society changes, products that were deemed illegal at one time are made legal and even sold by stores that are operated by government agencies in the attempt to control the sale of the products.”

The sales of distilled spirits have generated millions of dollars that go toward Virginia’s government programs. Englin says the same might be possible with the sale of marijuana. He adds that other states are also looking into the controlled sale of the drug.

If approved, the subcommittee devised to perform the study would meet up to six times before November 30, and could not spend more than $15,040 on the study, without special approval for additional funding. Findings would be submitted by the first day of the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Englin has also proposed a resolution to request that Virginia’s governor petition the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II narcotic, the same as prescription pain medications like oxycodone. Currenty, pot is classified as a Schedule I narcotic, on the same level as heroin and LSD. Englin’s resolution notes that the governors of Rhode Island and Washington state have filed similar petitions with the DEA in recent months.

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There have been two significant endorsements this morning in the Democratic primary battle for the 31st District state Senate seat.

Jaime Areizaga-Soto has received the endorsement of Del. David Englin, a founding co-chair of the Virginia Progressive Caucus, while Barbara Favola received the endorsement of the Sun Gazette newspaper.

In its editorial, the Sun Gazette said that Favola provides “common-sense, middle-ground representation” as a County Board member, while Areizaga-Soto lacks experience.

“As newcomer Areizaga-Soto has no political track record to speak of, we can only judge him based on his platform and public pronouncements,” the paper said. “The talking points are all of the garden-variety ‘progressive’ kind that make many Northern Virginia Democrats largely irrelevant in Richmond’s corridors of power… Favola, on the other hand, does have a track record. It is hardly perfect, but it is strong enough to make her a decided favorite in our eyes.”

Englin, meanwhile, said he “can no longer remain silent” about the way he believes Areizaga-Soto has been treated by Democratic leaders.

As a progressive leader in the General Assembly, I generally do not endorse Democratic primary candidates in districts where I cannot vote, and I’ve been especially hesitant to comment on the 31st District Senate primary because my wife is a paid consultant for one of the candidates, Jaime Areizaga-Soto. However, my simmering anger at how my own party’s leaders in the Virginia Senate are handling this race has boiled over, and I can no longer remain silent.

Jaime Areizaga-Soto is a Georgetown and Stanford-educated attorney and a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, whom President Obama appointed to a high-level position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He served as a White House Fellow — one of our nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service, whose alumni include distinguished Americans like Wesley Clark, Colin Powell, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. On top of all that, he’s an Eagle Scout who is fluent in four languages. Yet the retiring incumbent, who just months ago introduced Areizaga-Soto to her constituents as a valued policy adviser, now claims he was a mere intern in her office and accuses him of inflating his resume. Since when does a 41-year-old who is an accomplished attorney, a lieutenant colonel, an Obama Administration appointee, and a White House Fellow need to inflate his resume?

The most senior Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate continue to attack and belittle Areizaga-Soto, who would be the first Latino elected to the Virginia Senate, because he has the nerve to seek his party’s nomination against their hand-picked choice. They are so incensed by his candidacy that they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attack him that could otherwise be used to defend their tenuous Democratic majority. This smacks of an earlier era of “good old boy” Virginia Democratic politics that most of us soundly rejected long ago. I have nothing against the other candidate in this race, Barbara Favola, with whom I have enjoyed working on Arlington County issues over the years. But the seat she and Areizaga-Soto seek belongs to the people of the 31st District, not to party bosses or the retiring incumbent to bequeath to the successor of their choice.

I urge Democrats in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun to vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto for Senate on August 23rd, both because he will be a thoughtful, progressive champion for our entire community, and to send a message that the Democratic Party is still the open, inclusive party of good government we have worked so hard together to build.

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Morning Notes

County Gears Up for Pothole Repairs — Arlington County and VDOT are preparing for a big spring pothole push. Crews have been out 5-6 days per week filling potholes, but as things warm up they may be able to start making more permanent repairs. You can report a pothole over the phone at 703-228-6570. [Sun Gazette]

Man Who Threatened Metro Sentenced — The Arlington View man accused of threatening to blow up Metro trains and Georgetown sidewalks has been sentenced. Awais Younis, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court to sending threatening communications. Younis, who said he never actually intended to carry out the threats, was sentenced to time served, a two-year supervised release, anger management courses and mental health counseling. [WTOP]

Rosslyn Blasting Starting Soon — The Rosslyn Metro entrance project has hit bedrock and will soon start blasting. The blasting will take place nightly between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. for several months. Arlington County says the contractor is taking steps to minimize noise and vibration from the blasting. [TBD]

Crystal City Office Building to Be Renovated — An old 1960s-era office building at 1411 Jefferson Davis Highway will be renovated into “prime Class A office space” after BRAC forces its current tenant, the National Guard, to move out at the end of the year. [Washington Business Journal]

Englin Will Seek Re-Election — Del. David Englin, whose district includes part of South Arlington, says will not be seeking higher office this year. Instead, Englin announced yesterday that he will be running for re-election.

Flickr pool photo by Rukasu1

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