Same-Sex Couples Denied Marriage Licenses — In what has become a Valentine’s Day tradition in Arlington, three same-sex couples applied for and were denied marriage licenses at the Arlington County courthouse yesterday. Arlington Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson reluctantly turned down the applications and spoke outside the courthouse in support of same-sex marriage. A similar demonstration, organized by another gay rights group, took place outside the courthouse last month. [Sun Gazette]
‘Dooring’ Bill Fails in Va. House — Legislation that would outlaw the “dooring” of bicyclists has failed in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill had passed the state Senate but failed to pass a House committee earlier this week. The bill would have made it illegal to open a car door in the immediate path of a cyclist. Virginia is one of ten states in the country that do not have such a law on the books. [Washington Post]
Questioning the ‘Female-Friendly’ Sports Bar — Is Bracket Room, the new “female-friendly” sports bar that’s coming to Clarendon, insulting to women? One Washington City Paper writer says the answer is yes. She writes of Bracket Room partner and former reality TV star Chris Bukowski: “…his 2012 appearance on Bachelor Pad, in which former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants live in a house together and compete for $250,000, suggests he may not be the most in touch with women’s preferences. Over the course of the season, the chiseled-abs, blue-eyed Bukowski became the show’s villain, hooking up with and then ditching two of the female contestants.” [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Additional Funding Request for New Elementary School Plan — On Thursday (Febraury 7), School Board members will be asked to approve additional funding for the architectural firm working on the new school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The project has gone over its expected three month time frame because of resident concerns voiced during the process of devising a concept design, so nearly $121,000 is being requested to compensate the firm for its additional two months of work. [Sun Gazette]
Move to Establish Virginia Currency — A measure advanced in the Virginia House of Delegates that could bring the state closer to adopting its own currency. Del. Robert G. Marshall proposed the idea three years ago of studying whether the state should adopt its own currency to protect it from what he believes is an out of control banking system. Although states do not have the constitutional authority to print money, Marshall suggested a loophole may exist allowing states to make silver and gold coins. [Washington Post]
Residents Concerned About Traffic Crossover — In a letter to the editor, a resident tells the Sun Gazette about safety fears regarding a traffic median on S. Walter Reed Drive. Residents of the Concord Mews Condominium say they have contacted the county about the placement and size of the median, which they say has caused many near collisions. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by wolfkann
Modeled after the federal DREAM Act, Lopez’s bill (HB 1934) would provide in-state tuition at public Virginia universities for undocumented students who graduated from a Virginia high school or GED program, provided they attest to filing an application to become a permanent U.S. resident. The bill would also requires that the student and/or a parent has filed Virginia income tax returns for at least three years.
“A number of talented immigrant students who grow up here and graduate from Virginia high schools are undocumented — through no fault of their own,” Lopez said. “At best, they may be able to take our significant investment in their K-12 education to another state. At worst, they may decide to drop out of high school because college is not a realistic goal.”
“Virginia should be joining states such as Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, New York, Washington, and Oklahoma in passing the DREAM Act and opening this narrow window of opportunity for students,” he continued. “These States understand that encouraging college access and opportunities reduces high school dropout rates and saves long term costs and public benefits spending for the community.”
Lopez introduced the legislation on Wednesday after vowing last year to introduce the bill “every year until it becomes the law of the Commonwealth.”
“I am encouraged by the prospects for HB 1934 this year,” Lopez told ARLnow.com. “More importantly, I remain strongly committed to seeing that undocumented children are given the opportunity to continue their education.”
HB 1934 is now awaiting a vote in the House of Delegates Education committee.
Students Head Back to School — Today is the first day of school for nearly 23,000 Arlington Public School students. School start times vary in Arlington, from 7:50 a.m. for middle schools to 9:24 a.m. for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary program. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy has created a back-to-school video for students and parents. Arlington County, meanwhile, is urging drivers to be especially cautious on the roads this morning.
AAA Warns of ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning of “the mother of all gridlock” today, a day the organization has dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” With students heading back to school and workers back from summer vacations, AAA expects traffic congestion to spike 26 percent compared to mid-summer. Adding to the congestion in Arlington will be the 146 yellow APS school buses on the roads. [AAA Mid-Atlantic, Bethesda Now]
Special Election Today — Voters in Virginia’s 45th House of Delegates District will head to the polls today in the special election to replace Del. David Englin, who resigned following the admission that he had an extramarital affair. The three candidates in the race are Tim McGhee (R), Rob Krupicka (D) and Justin Malkin (L). Only five electoral precincts in Arlington are included in the 45th District: Aurora Hills, Fairlington, Abingdon, Oakridge, and Shirlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
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.
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
Frida Kahlo Opening Tonight — An exhibit of 259 personal photographs of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo will go on display at Rosslyn’s Artisphere cultural center (1101 Wilson Blvd) tonight. It’s the first time the photos have been on display in the U.S. A public opening is being held tonight from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The exhibit will run through March 25. [PBS Newshour]
Kapinos Re-Ups with Steelers — NFL punter and Arlington resident Jeremy Kapinos has re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kapinos, who lives in Arlington in the off-season, is reportedly making between $600,000 and $1.26 million for the one-year deal. [Steelers Depot]
Hotel Palomar Now ‘Le Meridien’ — Rosslyn’s Hotel Palomar has been officially rebranded as a high-end, European-style ‘Le Meridien’ hotel. The restaurant in the Le Meridien Arlington, formerly known as Domasco Restaurant, has also been rebranded; it’s now being called ‘Amuse.’ The hotel is being managed by Starwood, following the purchase of the property for some $45 million by HEI Hotels and Resorts. [USA Today, Washington Business Journal]
Revised Ultrasound Bill Passed — Yesterday the Virginia House of Delegates voted for an amended bill that requires women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound, while removing the defacto requirement that the procedure for early pregnancies involve and invasive, transvaginal ultrasound. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revoked his support for the original bill following protests and national media attention. [Huffington Post]
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.
Fmr. CIA Officer Charged — Former CIA officer and current Arlington resident John Kiriakou, 47, was charged yesterday with repeatedly leaking classified information to journalists. Kiriakou is best known for his 2007 interview with ABC News in which he described the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaeda operative. [Washington Post]
Cigarette Tax Bill Dies in General Assembly — A bill proposed by Del. Patrick Hope (D) that would have raised Virginia’s cigarette tax from 30 cents to the national average of $1.45 has died a quick and unsurprising death in a House of Delegates subcommittee. [Sun Gazette]
Senator’s Arlington Condo for Sale — Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has put his swanky Arlington condo up for sale in advance of his reelection campaign. The condo, which is reportedly on the market for nearly $2 million, is located in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood and overlooks the Iwo Jima memorial. [US News & World Report]
Newly-elected delegate Alfonso Lopez (D) has introduced a bill that would provide prenatal care for recent legal immigrants.
Low-income women in their first five years of lawful residence in the United States are eligible for a number of pregnancy services under Virginia’s Medicaid system, including payment of labor and delivery costs and costs associated with the child once he or she is born. Prenatal costs, however, are not covered. Del. Lopez’s bill would change that.
“Prenatal care can reduce maternal deaths, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weights, and other preventable problems,” Lopez said in a statement. “Women who receive no prenatal care are three and a half times more likely to have a low birth weight baby and nearly three times as likely to give birth prematurely as other pregnant women.”
“For every dollar we spend on prenatal care, it is estimated that we will get back 150% of the funding due to reduced neonatal costs,” Lopez noted. “Providing this coverage is both the right thing to do and the fiscally responsible thing to do. I encourage my colleagues in the House of Delegates to join me in supporting this legislation.”
Similar legislation has been introduced by Richmond-area delegate John O’Bannon (R) and Sen Adam Ebbin (D).
Here is the unedited response from Kathy Gillette-Mallard (I):
There are some serious issues confronting the citizens of the 48th District and all Virginians but there are solutions which the incumbent has not addressed. You should vote for me because, as your delegate:
- I will seek equitable policies to resolve the crushing $20 billion dollar unfunded liability problem caused by Virginia state employees’ pension plan (VRS). I will propose a plan similar to the “Thomas Jefferson Institute of Public Policy” plan. (See “Pension Plan Reform in Virginia” at www.thomas jeffeersoninst.org). I will take on the challenge of finding ways to remove this $20 billion financial “Gorilla” from the room.
- I will work to cut spending and reduce onerous government regulations to entice new businesses and companies to invest in Virginia. A business friendly environment is the best way to attract new businesses and keep old businesses. This in turn creates jobs, expands the tax base and increases revenues in the natural cycle of the free market system. (See “Research and Development Tax Credit”).
- I will insist state programs are audited regularly. There is waste and mismanagement in our state as we learned with the nearly $1 billion fund “found” at VDOT (Performance Audit of Significant Operations of the Virginia Department of Transportation- Prepared by: Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, L.L.P.- August 2010). In addition, cost-benefit analyses should be conducted regularly by bill sponsors and patrons if spending is involved.
- I will support protection of private property rights by voting in favor of the Amendment to the Virginia Constitution to protect private property owners from government eminent domain loopholes such as “Kelo” for purposes outside proper government authority. The incumbent voted “nay” on this effort to protect private property rights ( see HJ693 Virginia Constitutional amendment; Eminent Domain Reform);
- I will encourage development of Virginia’s natural resources, primarily natural gas but oil and coal as well. New technologies offer safe and responsible development of our natural resources in a clean and responsible way. Virginia can become a leader in energy production and end our dependence on foreign sources especially from countries which use our dollars to fund terrorism;
- I will be prudent with your taxpayer dollars when it comes to “green” energy. We have learned with the Solyndra scandal that investing in “green” energy must be carefully scrutinized. Wind turbines, which the incumbent supports, destroy waterfowl and will have adverse effects on marine life. Putting a slew of wind turbines off Virginia Beach (which the incumbent proposes) is a bad idea at this stage of development because we know that wind turbines kill thousands of birds annually. In California, raptor birds in particular are prone to being killed – especially the Golden Eagle. In Pennsylvania, bat populations have been devastated by wind turbines;
- I will ensure that privacy in your home is respected and that the “smart meters” which power companies plan to install to replace regular meters are “opt in” devices not ”opt out”. Smart meters are a major invasion of privacy in our homes and pose health risks. The incumbent supports monitoring home energy consumption even if it means your privacy is compromised by these meters which emit microwave like EMF/RF frequency on a continuous basis. (See the following: www.holistichelp.net/blog/smart-meters-are-hazardous-to-your-health-and-violate-your-rights/ Jan. 2011 by Cynthia Perkins).
- I will support Virginia as a “Right to Work” state. The incumbent blamed Republicans for the Dulles Rail Phase II contract delays and in a Washington Post op ed, he grossly misrepresented the issue regarding Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). He is on record supporting PLAs with unions before the Phase II contracts have been awarded. 94% of construction workers in Virginia are non-labor and are merit shop, thus PLAs discriminate against the majority of Virginia’s construction workers. Brink is on record stating that he is on the side of big labor construction workers from out of state.
- I will support efforts to elevate the public’s awareness of “human trafficking”. 80 locations in Northern Virginia where human trafficking occurs have been identified, including Ballston Mall.
- I will work to increase the foreclosure timeline from 15 to 45 days; fight costly cap and trade green home inspections before selling or buying; and require that home titles be recorded in courthouses.
Please email me with questions at [email protected]
Here is the unedited response from incumbent Del. Bob Brink (D):
For the past 14 years it’s been my honor to represent the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I ask for your vote for my re-election on Tuesday, November 8.
I understand our priorities because I’ve been actively involved in our community for over three decades. Throughout that time, I’ve sought to provide thoughtful, effective leadership to see that these priorities are addressed. I know how much we value our public schools because my kids, now grown, attended Glebe, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. I know the importance of Virginia’s world-class higher education system because I’ve seen the contributions that Northern Virginia’s public and private higher education institutions make to our economy. With the 48th District running along the Potomac from Chain Bridge to National Airport, we’re reminded every day of our obligation to protect the environment.
In Richmond I’ve taken the lead on issues that are important to our region and the Commonwealth.
HEALTH CARE: I worked to expand the federal-state partnership that provides medical care to the children of the working poor — stepping up outreach, easing restrictive regulations, and getting more kids enrolled. And I teamed with community activists to advance programs to address the mental health needs of older Virginians.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: I know that we can maintain our region’s prosperity through uncertain economic times by building a 21st Century “Knowledge Economy” – one that’s based on research and development of intellectual capital. I led the effort to keep the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – a magnet for our region’s research community – headquartered in Arlington. I’m dedicated to helping George Mason University and Northern Virginia’s technology community achieve their potential as academic and business leaders in discovery and innovation.
TRANSPORTATION: As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I’ll continue to press for long-term solutions to our transportation gridlock rather than stopgap measures – providing adequate funding from sustainable revenue sources, supporting public transportation such as rail to Dulles, and seeking a comprehensive statewide effort that addresses the transportation needs of all Virginians.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Preserving clean air and water is our responsibility as stewards of the environment. Based on my strong support for vigorous environmental protection, the League of Conservation Voters named me a “Legislative Hero” in 2010 and 2011.
MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK BETTER: In current fiscal conditions, it’s more important than ever that government services be delivered as efficiently as possible, and that taxpayers have confidence their dollars are being spent wisely. I spearheaded the effort to establish a statewide Office of Inspector General, to examine the management and operation of state agencies and investigate cases of fraud, waste, abuse or corruption.
The progress we’ve made in Richmond has been a team effort: Arlington’s Delegates and Senators work closely together to advance our priorities. To meet the challenges we face, we need to maintain the quality of leadership that our area has enjoyed in the legislature. With the retirement of Mary Margaret Whipple and Patsy Ticer — two thoughtful and dedicated State Senators — I hope you’ll join me in supporting Barbara Favola and Adam Ebbin to succeed them. I also hope you’ll help re-elect Senator Janet Howell, whose district includes a portion of Arlington.
I appreciate the confidence the 48th District’s voters have shown in asking me to be their voice in Richmond, and I look forward to representing you in the future.
Here is the unedited response from Janet Murphy (IG):
I am Janet Murphy, the Independent Green Party Candidate for the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates. My district, the 48th, includes parts of Mclean out to the Beltway, North Arlington, Crystal City, Rosslyn. So its fun for me to get around most of this district on my bicycle, which I do. Naturally, I applaud and support expanded Arlington Bike Share. It has been an exciting pleasure from the beginning to be involved as a candidate and I recommend it.
The Election: More Candidates, Less Apathy
The legislative body I aspire to is the oldest in the USA. It was initially the House of Burgesses where George Washington served. During the Revolution it became a bicameral General Assembly. The job pays $17,640.00 per year. The assembly meets starting in January in Richmond for 1-1/2 or two months. One day per year they meet in Williamsburg. The business of the General Assembly is to decide on the commonwealth budget, and pass legislation.
Many of the incumbents run unopposed. There is no limit in Virginia to the amount of money a candidate can accept from a donor. Many companies and public utilities donate money to the candidates. www.vpap.org shows the sources of contributions to candidates. There are only two independent members of the general assembly. I call for more Independent and Green Party candidates to run for all public offices. We need more candidates, less apathy.
Transportation: More Trains, Less Traffic
We need more trains, less traffic. Cut taxpayer subsidies to auto, oil, asphalt and cement. Shift funds to dedicated passenger track for Virginia Rail Express. Install electronic signs by VRE to show next train. Build a new rail tunnel under the Potomac to cut crowding on the Orange Line. Align with the Sierra Club http://vasierraclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/NO-Virginia-Transit-Vision.pdf Transit plan for Northern Virginia, which is the product of study.
Environment: Green New Deal
We need green jobs. 100,000 new solar jobs have been created in the United States in the last two years. We can grow those green jobs and revenue from clean renewable energy in Virginia. Wind energy investment will create jobs as well as green power. Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standards to move to green clean energy. Dominion Power could and should move to over 20% RPS. We need to invest in geothermal heating and cooling systems for state buildings. We need expanded solar systems above parking lots like solar programs announced last week at Dulles Airport, and at James Madison University, and on the Redskins football stadium.
We need Home Rule for Virginia: We need to take control against environmental exploitation such as fracking or mountaintop removal. Virginia is one of only 7 states in the US still fully subject to Dillons Rule, which means that the local municipalities can be helpless to prevent environmental exploitation.
I support strong gun control. I ask for your vote on November 8. Thank you!
“Alfonso has been a leader on environmental issues that have been my passion in Richmond,” Whipple said in a statement. “[He] has a long record of fighting for our community and has the depth of knowledge on the issues that will make him an effective representative for the 49th District.”
Lopez, formerly an assistant administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Stephanie Clifford, formerly an events coordinator at the Podesta Group lobbying firm, will be facing off in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary for Virginia’s 49th District, which consists of parts of north and south Arlington.
Lopez has been endorsed by Arlington County Board Chair Chris Zimmerman, Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur, Arlington County School Board member Emma Violand Sanchez and former Virginia Lt. Gov. candidate Jody Wagner. Clifford has been endorsed by Arlington Commissioner of the Revenue Ingrid Morroy, Arlington Treasurer Frank O’Leary, former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot and former U.S. Congresswoman Leslie Bryne.
Just when it looked like the hubbub was dying down over Arlington’s failed effort to withdraw from the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, the Virginia state legislature now appears poised to stir up the immigration hornet’s nest once again.
According to the Washington Examiner, Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) has indicated that he will be introducing bills that will deny driver’s licenses and government benefits for illegal immigrants, while permitting police to check the immigration status of anyone who is taken into custody.
That last proposal is intended to mimic the controversial Arizona immigration law that quickly turned into a hot-button national news story. It would fly in the face of Arlington’s stated policy that “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”
“I hope the General Assembly will examine these measures very carefully,” said Del. Bob Brink (D), who represents part of Arlington. “I’m concerned that, in addition to their potential for stigmatizing some Virginians, they could actually make the work of law enforcement more difficult.”
Brink added that he wants to talk with Arlington’s public safety officials “to get their reaction to the proposed bills.”
Albo, meanwhile, told the Examiner that he doesn’t think his immigration bills stand much of a chance of passing the Democratic-controlled state senate, although he predicted the bills would likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
Photo via Creative Commons License