81°Mostly Cloudy

by ARLnow.com — June 22, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,810 0

Rain soaks the Columbia Pike Blues Festival on Saturday (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

First Week of Summer — This is the first full week of summer and the first full week of summer break for Arlington public school students. High schools, middle schools and elementary schools let out for the summer on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, respectively. School will begin again on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. [Arlington Public Schools]

Bus Enforcement Begins on Memorial Bridge — Police will reportedly begin enforcing the 10-ton load limit on the corroding Memorial Bridge today, effectively banning “most buses.” [Patch]

Realtors: Presidential Election Will Have Little Impact — The upcoming 2016 presidential election won’t have much of an impact on the real estate market, most local realtors interviewed by the Sun Gazette said. According to one: “It affects the market some because we have turnover, but nobody leaves Washington. Those who leave office become lobbyists and buy bigger houses. If there is a change in parties, those coming to town rent.” [InsideNova]

Arlington to Reach Out to the ‘Casual’ Cyclist — Arlington County is working with a Vancouver-based communication firm on a video documentary project that will reach out to and encourage casual cycling as a means of transportation. The idea seems to be to deemphasize the Lycra-clad image of “Capital ‘C'” cycling in favor of more casual, fashionable and lower-speed cycling. However, in the comments of the linked article on the county’s Mobility Lab blog, some “lifestyle” cyclists don’t seem to like the idea of dividing cyclists into two different groups. [Mobility Lab]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,653 0

Stormy sunset over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Janitors to Rally with Candidates in Ballston — About 150 part-time janitors will rally in Ballston this afternoon for a new union contract. The rally is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in front of the National Science Foundation at 4201 Wilson Blvd. Democratic County Board candidates Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey are expected to attend the rally to lend their support, according to a press release from the 32BJ SEIU union.

Arlington Man Killed in D.C. Pedestrian Crash — An Arlington man, 31-year-old George Mina, has died several days after being struck by a car on Wisconsin Avenue NW in D.C. Mina, a pediatric phlebotomist, was struck by the driver of a Jaguar while crossing Wisconsin at Veazy Street NW on June 10. A rally for pedestrian safety was held in the area last night, with advocates calling for D.C. to implement pedestrian safety measures currently in use in Arlington. [NBC Washington]

No Opponent for Commonwealth’s Attorney — A potential independent candidate for Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney came up just a couple of verified petition signatures short of the 140 he needed to qualify for the ballot. Criminal defense attorney Frank Webb said he will drop his bid to get on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Theo Stamos is now running unopposed. [InsideNova]

WW2 Vets Boogie at DCA — Video posted on YouTube shows a group of World War II veterans, in a Reagan National Airport terminal last month awaiting their honor flight back to Kentucky, dancing to a live rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com — June 11, 2015 at 9:15 am 2,591 0

Arlington Forest Fox (Flickr pool photo)

County Slow to Approve Ballston Mall Renovation — The chair of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is asking why it has taken county staff 11 months and counting to accept a site plan for renovations to Ballston Common Mall, a process he says normally takes 60 days. In the Chamber’s latest newsletter, Kevin Shooshan asked members to publicly support the proposal. [InsideNova]

Arlington Bachelor Contestant Back on TV — Former ‘Bachelor’ contestant and Arlington resident Jillian Anderson will be back on TV Aug. 2 with the start of season 2 of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Anderson is a Fox News producer, a competitive bodybuilder and a former Redskins cheerleader. [Patch]

Constitutional Officers Unopposed — Arlington County’s constitutional officers — treasurer, commissioner of the revenue, clerk of the circuit court, sheriff and commonwealth’s attorney — will all run unopposed this year. It’s the first time in 16 years that all five are running without a challenger. The candidate filing deadline was June 9. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

by Heather Mongilio — June 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm 2,399 0

Katie Cristol and Christian DorseyHousing affordability will be the buzz word of the Arlington County Board elections.

Both Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, who received the Arlington County Democratic Committee nominations last night after a tight primary race, ran a campaign with it as one of their platforms.

ACDC Chair Kip Malinosky sees their nominations as a sign that housing affordability is becoming the trending topic in the county.

“It [Cristol and Dorsey’s nomination] really means voters were looking for a new generation of leadership,” Malinosky said, adding that school overcrowding and responsive government figure to be two other key pillars of the general election campaign.

Both candidates, who hail from South Arlington, also told ARLnow.com they would make housing affordability one of their top campaign priorities.

“It’s become a middle class issue, preserving the middle class,” Cristol said.

Arlington is one of the richest counties in the county, making housing out of reach for some who want to settle in the county. While housing affordability is often associated with subsidized housing and low-economic families, Cristol argues in her platform that it also applies to young families and millennials looking to place roots.

The vote reflected Arlington resident’s wish for more affordable housing, Dorsey said.

Cristol 2015 primary election watch party (with Dorsey)“I’m excited because I think Arlingtonians really, by their votes, I think more people are going to focus on making affordable housing a real priority,” Dorsey said. “Not just for one segment of people but really for all people because they recognize that it’s something that can benefit the whole community.”

But affordability is only one of the issues that Dorsey and Cristol plan to tackle while campaigning, they said.

“We absolutely have to get our commercial sector energized again,” Dorsey said.

In the general election, Dorsey will also be looking to promote filling empty office space, discuss school overcrowding and tackle transportation problems on Columbia Pike. Like Dorsey, Cristol will be campaigning with hopes of fixing transportation problems on Columbia Pike, which is her home. She will also look at livability in Arlington, such as issues with childcare, along wiht issues facing young people, which she said was part of her campaign strategy.

“You know a majority of Arlington County is under the age of 35 and we knew that we weren’t going to win by claiming to be the candidate of the under 35 majority,” she said. “We had to make the case that this growing population of Arlingtonians have a stake here and have something in common with our more established neighbors. And I think that’s what we saw people respond to.”

Local Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett said the primary result — and the recent election of independent County Board member John Vihstadt, driven by crossover Democratic votes — reflects a desire for a change among the Democratic electorate.

“The Arlington voters have clearly differentiated what they’ve been looking for in County Board candidates over the past two years,” Tribbett said. “They’ve been sending a message and I think the message is loud and clear that they want to have a different Board than what they had. I don’t think they wanted radical change… they just wanted to see something different than what was going on, some people who were a little more responsive.”

“Someone like Katie is a great example of that,” Tribbett continued. “She was energetic during the campaign, she went around everywhere. I don’t know how you can send a better message of ‘I’m going to be responsive as your elected official’ than what she did. It’s not by saying it, it’s the action that shows it.”

Tribbett says that precinct-level results from Tuesday night’s primary show that runners up Peter Fallon and Andrew Schneider largely split the vote in North Arlington — “they tended to vote for one and not the other” — whereas Cristol and Dorsey both made a strong showing in much of South Arlington while also picking up votes in North Arlington.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 10, 2015 at 9:55 am 1,484 0

I Voted sticker outside a polling station (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Mark Levine Wins in 45th — Talk show host and attorney Mark Levine has won the Democratic primary in the 45th House of Delegates district, which includes Alexandria and parts of South Arlington and Fairfax County. So far, Levine doesn’t have any general election opponents as he seeks to replace Del. Rob Krupicka. [Washington Blade, Patch]

Townhouse Fire on Lee Hwy — Arlington County firefighters battled a small townhouse fire on the 4300 block of Lee Highway around 4:00 p.m. Tuesday. [Twitter]

Arlington Gay Marriage Company Acquired — Arlington-based GayWeddings.com has been acquired by Chevy Chase, Md.-based WeddingWire. [Washington Business Journal]

Bistro 360 Now Serving Lunch — Bistro 360, a restaurant at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is starting weekday lunch service as of today. Lunch will be served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2015 at 7:35 pm 7,175 0

(Updated at 11:20 p.m.) Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey have captured the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board.

Cristol and Dorsey finished first and second, respectively, over fellow Democratic hopefuls Peter Fallon, Andrew Schneider, James Lander and Bruce Wiljanen.

Thanks to a spirited campaign and strong debate performances, Cristol, age 30, managed to propel herself from relative obscurity to a first place finish and a coveted spot on the Democratic ticket during a competitive primary. Her campaign highlighted issues like affordable housing, citizen engagement and diversity, government innovation, transit and economic development.

Dorsey, who lost to former in the 2002 County Board primary, was seen by many Democrats as a more moderate choice among a liberal field of candidates who often touted their progressive bonafides. During the campaign he spoke in favor of responsive government, affordable housing, adding school capacity and helping small businesses.

Both Cristol and Dorsey are South Arlington residents, while runners up Fallon and Schneider are North Arlington residents with a considerable base of supporters in their neighborhoods. Currently, the only South Arlington resident on the County Board is Libby Garvey.

“This started with the people in this room and ended with the people of Arlington,” Cristol told supporters at her election watch party at William Jeffrey’s Tavern on Columbia Pike. “I cannot wait to work with the people in this room to move my home of Columbia Pike forward. I cannot wait to work with all of you to run one heck of a general election campaign.”

Dorsey, whose campaign gathered at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington earlier in the night, joined Cristol at the bar after the final results came in.

“I feel great,” he said. “It’s always nice when something that you believe in so strongly and you find out that the people in your community are committed to you as well. It’s a tremendous feeling.”

Dorsey said he wants to “knock on five times as many doors” for the general election. If elected in November, he promised to work to provide more affordable housing and to bring down Arlington’s high office vacancy rate.

“We absolutely have to get our commercial sector energized again,” he said.

With all precincts reporting, final unofficial results are:

  • Katie Cristol: 4,498
  • Christian Dorsey: 4,420
  • Peter Fallon: 4,008
  • Andrew Schneider: 3,556
  • James Lander: 2,806
  • Bruce Wiljanen: 687

Election officials say there were no problems at Arlington’s 52 polling stations during voting hours. Light turnout was reported — but the total turnout of 10,857 voters, or 7.9 percent of the registered voters, bested the 7.2 percent turnout of a similar County Board primary in 1995.

This was the first election in which Arlington utilized its new paper ballot and optical scanning system. Some delays in vote reporting occurred as election officials worked through new processes.

Cristol and Dorsey will face two independent candidates in the November general election, for the seats being vacated by the retiring Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada.

by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm 2,213 0

It’s an election that could set the direction of Arlington County policy for years to come — and so far turnout is light.

Voters are heading to the polls today to select two Democratic nominees in the race for County Board. There are six Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination: Andrew SchneiderBruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol, James Lander, Peter Fallon, and Christian Dorsey.

While it’s a rare opportunity to fill the open seats of two retiring County Board members — Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada — the turnout has been about as low as is usually expected for a local primary.

“Overall it’s been pretty slow so far,” county General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. She said turnout has been especially sluggish along the county’s Metro corridors and along Columbia Pike.

Two areas of slightly higher turnout, according to Lindberg, have been:

Lindberg said there have been no reported problems with the county’s new paper ballot system, instituted after security issues were raised about electronic voting machines in Virginia.

“The voting has gone just fine, I’ve had no issues or complaints about the paper ballots,” she said. Asked about the potential for an evening rush of voters, Lindberg said delays at the polls are unlikely.

“There might be a slight surge around 5:00 or 6:00, but generally speaking I wouldn’t expect any lines.”

Polls close at 7:00 p.m.

The few people to be found outside the Arlington Forest and Randolph Elementary precincts this morning said they were aware of the potential importance of the race. Tonight’s two primary winners will face independent candidates Audrey Clement and Michael McMenamin in the November general election.

“Especially with these two open seats, people they elect now are going to be there for a while,” said Brandon Forester, who was supporting Dorsey outside of Randolph Elementary. “It will set tone for years to come.”

“I think this is the most important election in Arlington County for decades,” said Michael Thomas, an Arlington Forest resident.

Cori Rattleman, another Arlington Forest resident, said her top issues in this election were schools, parks and affordable housing. She said she was confident that the primary winners will go on to win in November.

“In this case, this is the election,” she said. “Whoever wins the elections, this is pretty much it.”

Heather Mongilio contributed to this report

by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,300 0

Storm clouds over Arlington and D.C. (Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen)

Arlington Expects ‘Speedy’ Election Returns — The Democratic primary for Arlington County Board and the 45th Virginia House of Delegates district is taking place today, utilizing Arlington County’s new optical scanners. The county issued a press release on Monday promising that “changes should result in speedier reporting of unofficial results on election night.” Polls close at 7:00 p.m. and the first results are expected to be reported on the county website around 7:30.

Reminder: Candidate Essays — If you haven’t cast your ballot yet, you can peruse the “why should you vote for me” essays written by the six Democratic County Board candidates: Andrew SchneiderBruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol, James Lander, Peter Fallon, Christian Dorsey.

Working Group to Discuss S. Arlington School Site — Following the County Board’s scuttling of plans for an elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, the Arlington School Board has created a working group to help decide the location for a new South Arlington elementary school. Former School Board candidate Greg Greeley was appointed chairman of the group, which is charged with creating a final report by November. The School Board is expected to take action on the new school on Dec. 15. [InsideNova]

Swimming Fundraiser Planned — The swim teams from four private clubs are coming together for a fundraiser on Sunday, June 28. Teams from Arlington Forest Club, Donaldson Run, Overlee and Washington Golf and Country Club will swim laps to raise money for the Arlington-based Marjorie Hughes Fund for Children. The fund helps low-income children obtain medical care and medications. [GoFundMe]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

by ARLnow.com — June 8, 2015 at 9:45 am 1,563 0

Escalator construction between the Pentagon City Metro station and the mall

FIFA Movie Shown in Arlington — Arlington is home to one of ten theaters nationwide that showed a biopic about Sepp Blatter, the embattled president of FIFA who last week announced that he would be stepping down from the international soccer organization. The AMC Loews Shirlington 7 grossed $161 from “United Passions” as of Friday. Nationwide the film, which cost FIFA at least $25 million to produce, grossed only $607. [Washington Post]

Crystal City Hosts Car ‘Micro-Factory’ — Crystal City is currently home to the Local Motors Mobifactory, a car factory in a shipping container. The “micro-factory” uses 3D printing technology to produce prototype vehicles. The micro-factory plans to remain at 1900 Crystal Drive for the rest of the summer. A grand opening is planned for Thursday. [Tech.co]

GGW on Tomorrow’s Primary — Greater Greater Washington weighs in on which Democratic Arlington County Board candidates would be best for smart growth, transit, walking and bicycling. The Democratic primary will be held tomorrow. [Greater Greater Washington]

CivFed Backs Affordable Housing Plan — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted 47-29 to support Arlington County’s draft Affordable Housing Master Plan. The plan sets goals for affordable housing in the county and is several years in the making. The County Board is scheduled to vote Saturday on setting a public hearing for the plan. [InsideNova]

A Note on InsideNova Links — Normally, ARLnow.com warns readers of auto-play videos in articles that we link to in the Morning Notes. We have observed that InsideNova often hosts autoplay videos, with sound on, within its ad units. Because this doesn’t happen every time we visit, however, we will not include an auto-play video warning for these links. ARLnow.com believes that advertising should be local and relevant and should not purposefully interrupt or annoy readers. We hope that users who might use AdBlock Plus to block annoying ads from other publishers would whitelist our site so that we can continue to bring you interruption-free local news content and relevant messages from local advertisers.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,639 0

Andrew Schneider

Last week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from Andrew Schneider:

When you run for office and knock on doors, you start to hear the same questions over and over.  Why are you running?  What are your priorities?  How are you different from the other candidates?

Why am I running?

I am running because Arlington is facing two concurrent challenges that must be addressed aggressively and creatively.  The first is our rapidly growing school population. Where we put these kids and how we pay for them is fundamental to the future of our County.  The second challenge is what’s happening with our economy – the high vacancy rates, the impact of BRAC, increasing regional competition, and the changing nature of office space and work.  As an Arlingtonian and as a candidate I have thought how these issues are interconnected and how I can make a difference in each of these areas.

  1. Stronger collaboration with the School Board in budgeting, school location and construction, and forecasting.
  2. To pay for schools, we must aggressively work with our partners in the business community and Arlington Economic Development to lower the vacancy rate and to invigorate the commercial sector in key areas like Rosslyn and Crystal City.
  3. To attract businesses we must have great customer service and make it easier to interact with the County.  This goes for residents as well as businesses whether it’s applying for a permit, submitting a site plan, or reporting a pothole.
  4. We can’t do any of these things if we spend our time playing “sandbox” politics.  From day one, I have focused my campaign on One Arlington, One Community.  We have to stop pitting different parts of our community against one another – Schools vs. Parks, North vs. South, Housing vs. Parks, and Business vs. Residents etc.

How am I different than other candidates?

The candidates that I am running against are all good people and we share many of the same values.  I like to answer this question through three criteria 1) Values 2) Experience and 3) Leadership style.

  1.  Regarding our values, the fact that we are all Democrats means that many of our core values are similar and, frankly, there isn’t a huge amount of policy separation between us.   This fact has been born out in nearly every policy question asked of through the campaign.
  2. Regarding experience, each of us brings different skills and experiences to the table.  Some of my colleagues argue that this is the defining differentiation.  I believe that my experience as an Arlingtonian, Civic Association President, and member of the Lee Highway revitalization effort has partially prepared me for this office.  I also believe that my MBA, work in the private sector, having run a Chamber of Commerce, and my work in the public sector has also prepared me.  I am a sum of my experienced and I believe that my resume and my record of leadership and of civic engagement have prepared me to serve our County.
  3. Regarding my leadership experience, I offer myself as a leader who listens and works to build consensus.  I will not present myself as someone who has all the answers but rather  I will work tirelessly every day to learn and act on behalf of the community that we all love so much.

From day one of this campaign, I have run as a candidate who will listen, work hard, and do what I can to address the challenges that we face as a County.  I promise to never talk down to voters, to always have an open mind, to always think creatively and innovatively, and to always reply to funny, snarky, and creative GIFs in the comment section of arlnow.com

To learn more about me, see a list of Arlingtonians who have endorsed me, and to watch my campaign videos, please visit www.andrewforarlington.com

I’d be honored to earn your vote on Tuesday.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1,250 0

Bruce WiljanenLast week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from Bruce Wiljanen:

Hello. My name is Bruce Wiljanen, and I am running for a seat on the Arlington County Board in order to bring a mature, common sense voice focused on preserving the best aspects of Arlington as we grow, the things that make Arlington a great place to live and raise a family. I am a lifelong Democrat, and have served in the Clinton Administration and with the Democratic National Committee. My wife and I have lived in the Maywood neighborhood of Arlington for over 22 years, and have raised our daughter through our excellent school system. I am running for the County Board to ensure that the Arlington we know and love will be here for our children as well.

A neighbor recently asked me a very interesting question. “Who do you think are the least well represented people in Arlington?” I had to think about that. And I’m coming to the conclusion that by far the most underrepresented group of people in Arlington is the ordinary working family. I’m referring to the great number of Arlington men and women who go to work each day, whose children are in our schools, who live busy lives during the week and spend weekends with their friends and family, maybe involved in sports leagues or church activities, but are unable to participate in the inner workings of local government. I am talking about the large majority of Arlington voters who pay their taxes without complaint and quietly wait, and hope, for a practical, unpoliticized County Board to focus on taking care of the basic needs of our community in a frugal, equitable and common sense manner. These Arlington citizens continue to wait for the County Board to stop trying to please every constituency, and to work toward developing a strategic plan to guide our growth over the coming years. I am one of these Arlingtonians.

As a candidate for the Arlington County Board, I have had the singular experience of hearing recently from almost every group of citizens who would like to influence the decisions of our county government. I’ve talked with organizations that want more affordable housing, and those which construct office buildings. I’ve been contacted by artist’s and bicyclist’s interest groups, and by folks whose concerns are for parks and community gardens. I’ve spoken with union workers’ and teacher’s government affairs committees. We have many groups working tirelessly to get their agenda heard, funded, and passed into law by the County Board. Some of us are well represented, indeed!

But the biggest group of citizens we rarely hear from, by far, is the great majority of Arlington residents who never lobby for any special treatment from the county government, who only wish that our elected Board members would work more diligently to conserve our quality of life as our population grows by protecting our excellent parks and our superb schools, and continue to provide services for those of our neighbors who may need a helping hand. We just don’t hear from the many unrepresented Arlington residents who would like to be confident the Board would focus on building an infrastructure which serves the community and fosters new business growth, and wouldn’t overextend the budget to build legacy projects of questionable utility. Our County Board should not strive for grandiosity nor austerity, but work to put in place practical solutions to our everyday problems.

When we vote for a representative on the County Board, we are choosing a person who will be entrusted to make future decisions on our behalf, and for the benefit of all Arlingtonians. We are selecting a person able to weigh new and unanticipated situations in an equitable, unbiased, and common sense manner. We should elect a person who reflects our views regarding the overall direction the county should take, and not rely on those closely involved in the mechanics of commissions and boards to envision the future. As a principled Democrat who is not entangled in the current county government, I can be the truly independent Democratic voice needed on the Arlington County Board today. I am not endorsed by any of the current members of our local power structure, but I am willing to be endorsed by you, the average Arlington voter. I’m asking for your vote on the Bottom Line of the ballot, Bruce Wiljanen for County Board, to provide the people of Arlington with a mature, common sense advocate on the Arlington County Board for the years to come.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm 2,276 0

Katie Cristol

Last week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from Katie Cristol:

Thank you to ARLnow readers for engaging with us as candidates in the June 9th Democratic primary.

I’m running for the County Board because I believe that all of Arlington benefits when all of Arlington is represented. I believe we need new perspectives on the challenges Arlington currently faces, such as the high cost of housing that makes our young families and retirees alike worry they won’t be able to stay in our community. I believe we need new ways of looking at the trends shaping Arlington, including our growing school-age population and the shrinking federal government footprint in our commercial sector.

For the past few months, I’ve campaigned largely on my ideas for addressing the housing affordability crisis in Arlington; for moving my neighborhood of Columbia Pike forward with new transportation strategies; for restoring citizen trust and creating a more representative government. It’s been an honor to learn from and shape those plans with neighbors throughout Arlington, and to receive support from a growing coalition, including The Washington Post, five leading local unions, and dozens of Arlington leaders, small business owners and community advocates.

Now, as Arlingtonians consider their decisions on June 9th, I’m making the case that I offer the right combination of experience, openness and innovation to put those ideas into practice, to serve all of Arlington and to move us forward:

Record of Service and the Skills to Do the Job. I bring a background in public policy — including my years of experience working with state and local governments on strategic planning and community engagement, and training in municipal finance and program evaluation — that will enable me to bring comparative perspectives and sound judgment to the County Board.

I also have a record of service in our community. On the Commission on the Status of Women, I have investigated and elevated issues like childcare affordability and sexual violence in Arlington. I’ve served our schools as an appointed member of the APS Advisory Council on Instruction. I know how things get done – and don’t get done – in Arlington, and I’m ready to lead effectively from my first day as a County Board member.

Openness and Innovation. Thanks to my experience, I know that Arlington is a place with tough challenges and smart people. If there were easy solutions, we’d have adopted them already. But openness and innovation – in our leaders and on the Board – is what helps us keep in check the pessimism and insularity that can accompany experience alone.

In all corners of the County, Arlingtonians are hungry for more responsiveness and greater inclusion; this requires leaders who are open to trying different things, and who have the intellectual curiosity to look for other models. And this is why I believe we all benefit when our five-member Board includes new perspectives, like the one I’m offering on June 9th.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope we’ll continue the conversation.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm 1,357 0

James LanderLast week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from James Lander:

I’ve been honored to serve as your Arlington School Board member for the past five years, most recently as chairman.

I’m running for the Arlington County Board because our community is in the midst of change, and I believe experience and forward-thinking leadership will be essential in making a difference. Our community faces a number of challenges; the decline in nonresidential tax revenue, as well as continuing growth of our population, increased demand for services, additional transportation options, and increased need for essential infrastructures.

Arlington is gaining an average of 1,000 additional students a year.  Not only must our schools have the resources to educate additional students, we must not neglect the other values that have made Arlington a top-rated, livable community.  We must continue to support and encourage safe and attractive neighborhoods, well-maintained streets and parks, libraries, and access to recreation, entertainment, and the arts.

As a leader and member of the School Board these past five years, I am strongly familiar with the importance of a collaborative working relationship between our two elected boards. As your County Board member, I will lead an effort to specifically address the challenges of Arlington’s growing populations. This effort aims to thoroughly examine the many competing priorities in order to find ways to accomplish more with limited resources. As a member of the School Board, I’ve worked to be fiscally responsible while maintaining Arlington’s outstanding school system. Within the last year, I have overseen the reduction of costs within the APS annual budget while continuing to focus on student achievement and providing pay increases to our talented teachers.  I also have ideas to explore ways to address our challenges.

One of my specific proposals for addressing the growing need for faster, safer, more efficient, and more affordable alternatives options for transportation includes two Arlington circular lines, one in South Arlington and one in North Arlington. In South Arlington, I would pursue the idea of a continuous bus route connecting Columbia Pike, Crystal City, Shirlington, and Bailey’s Crossroads. This would enable us to connect areas primed for increased development and pave the way for bringing Northern Virginia Community College into Crystal City, where we currently have eight vacant buildings. Our educated workforce needs to locate where we want our businesses. I’m also seeking to implement a workforce development pipeline in partnership with the hospitality industry; there are 10,000 hotel rooms in Crystal City that could potentially provide paid internships for our adult students and our immigrant population.

In North Arlington, I would promote establishing a circular line that connects Lee Highway, Virginia Square, Ballston, and Rosslyn. This would contribute to encouraging attractive development along Lee Highway. I propose exploring public/private partnerships with developers and academic institutions on innovative projects such as micro-unit housing for graduate students and county employees. This approach would not only keep Arlington dollars in Arlington, but also keep Arlington students and new county employees in Arlington.

Our community, diverse and inclusive, boasting a well-educated workforce, attractive neighborhoods and commercial sectors, parks and open spaces, and committed to protecting the environment and the well being of its residents, did not achieve its great quality of life quickly or by accident. Strong democratic leadership, sound fiscal policies, and investment in its residents and infrastructure are what have made Arlington such an outstanding community.

I will dedicate myself to ensuring the views and voices of our community are heard and considered as decisions move forward.  I want to look for ways to improve the county’s financial burdens, including finding ways to reduce the vacancy rate in the county’s commercial sector.  Lastly, I pledge to continue to be a dedicated steward of ensuring Arlington County is among the top communities in the country to live, work, and raise a family.

I ask for your vote for the Arlington County Board in the June 9th Democratic Primary. If you would like to visit my website to learn more about me, please go to www.jameslander.org.  Thank you.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,462 0

Peter FallonLast week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from Peter Fallon:

I have a reputation for speaking plainly. That’s why, even though the challenges facing Arlington are complex, I can sum up my solutions in just three words: transparency, accountability and communication.

I’m proud to be a Democrat. The long-term vision of Democratic leadership on the County Board has made Arlington a magnet for new residents and economic growth, and one of the finest communities in America. I should know – Arlington welcomed me when I moved here nearly 30 years ago, and I knew this would be where I raised my family.

I’ve proudly served our community for over 25 years as a Planning Commissioner, Transportation Commissioner, Civic Association President and Progressive activist. I’ve led initiatives that built six schools, three major parks and over 1,000 units of committed affordable housing in our community. I’ve had a front row seat as we’ve blossomed as a community.

It wasn’t always easy. Some of these projects weren’t popular at the time, but I fought for them because I believe a strong Arlington requires making tough, long-term decisions. Here’s how we’ll do it again.

Transparency

Good government requires transparency, both in sharing information and decision making. I support requiring a minimum of 72 hours for the release of Board documents. When voters feel the Board is acting without proper notice, it erodes the community relationship we depend on for effective governance. We can’t live up to our Arlington values when people feel they are irrelevant.

Accountability

I support the decision to create an independent audit function to provide better value for tax dollars and to keep our county programs efficient and effective. We also need firm deadlines on decision making. This will end the continual delays around tough decisions on school construction, community services and vital transportation improvements. We can no longer afford delays.

Communication

Voters often tell me they feel unheard by the County Board. Recent controversies surrounding school capacity, Reevesland and the future of the Wilson School show we must rebuild public trust in County Board operations. It’s time to get back into the community in a visible way, and that means practicing humility and owning our shortcomings in past community engagement.

Voters are eager to implement these ideas, and more.

Voters want a leader who will pay close attention to our finances, and ensuring we spend tax dollars wisely on real community priorities, and speak up when something is wrong.

Voters want to keep our schools strong and retain quality teachers. They want our children out of crowded trailers and in modern classrooms that prepare them for excellence.

Voters want a transportation plan that works for Columbia Pike and Crystal City. Just because we canceled a streetcar doesn’t mean we can dodge finding another solution. The County Board offered enhanced bus service as an alternative – now it’s time to bring residents into the conversation and act.

These best practices resonate with our leadership, too.

I’m proud to have the support of our strongest community voices, including Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Rip Sullivan, former Treasurer Frank O’Leary, The Sun Gazette, The Virginia Sierra Club and The Washington Post. But the endorsement I most seek is yours.

I hope you’ll join me in building a transparent, accountable and communicative Arlington by casting one of your two votes for me on June 9th. And I hope you’ll share your priorities with me at www.FallonforCountyBoard.org.

I can promise you this: even when we do not agree, I will always be transparent with you, and respectful of the diverse opinions that make our community strong. The County Board – our County Board – should pledge nothing less.

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm 1,611 0

Christian Dorsey

Last week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.

Here is the unedited response from Christian Dorsey:

On June 9th, voters in the Democratic primary will select their nominees for two open County Board seats. Six candidates. Two slots. I ask that you select me, Christian Dorsey, for one of them.

Serving on the County Board requires having the ability to govern paired with the temperament to provide leadership on a range of issues from unsafe sidewalks to long-term capital investments. And now, perhaps more than ever, Board members must bring practical experience, strategic thinking, a commitment to inclusive decision-making and thoughtful independence if we are to realize what I believe is our shared vision–a strong and sustainable community.

To realize that vision, we need to: make it easier for small businesses to thrive in Arlington so that homeowners do not bear a disproportionate tax burden; prudently expand affordable housing so that modest wage workers, teachers, county employees and retirees are not priced out of our community; build adequate school capacity so that schools can focus on instruction; prioritize the nuts and bolts, like fixing potholes and sidewalks and enhancing pedestrian safety; and create opportunities for growth by improving public transportation.

As a south Arlington resident, daily bus rider and parent of two school-aged children, I regularly experience the issues that we must confront as a County. My professional and civic experiences provide a solid foundation for me to find solutions to our challenges.  I have served on the Planning Commission, chaired the Tenant-Landlord Commission and was a member of the Affordable Dwelling Unit ordinance task force. I currently serve on an advisory committee to the School Board that is concerned with facilities and capital programs.

But, my experience has not been limited to providing advice. I have been the CEO of several non-profits that: delivered outstanding literacy support for low-income children; pioneered a pop-up social services center in south Arlington; and developed a model diversity education and inclusion program for students.  Additionally, I assembled a development team that built an Earthcraft certified apartment building in the Nauck neighborhood.

As Arlington now faces the fundamental question of how to accelerate economic growth and strengthen the commercial sector to alleviate the squeeze on residential taxpayers, I have a unique and unrivaled expertise to make sure we get it right.

As a senior leader at Washington’s Economic Policy Institute, I lead the development of the alternative federal budget for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I know what it takes to align a budget with strategic objectives and how to ensure that it delivers maximum value to taxpayers. Furthermore, I understand that the growth we need will be facilitated by freeing businesses from unnecessary red tape and inefficient processes.  And retail, in particular, will benefit when we succeed in making housing more affordable so that even when income growth is stagnant, residents will have more money to spend.

Arlington’s future can be bright, but it will require hard work and making smart choices. I am prepared and eager to do my part, and I ask for your vote.  To see why Delegate Patrick Hope, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, School Board Member Abby Raphael, former Delegate Karen Darner, former School Board Member Frank Wilson, the Arlington Education Association PAC, Working Families, New Virginia Majority and many of your friends and neighbors endorse my campaign, visit www.christiandorsey.org.

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