Beyer to Host Helicopter Noise Forum — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is hosting a forum about “excessive noise from military helicopters” at Abingdon Elementary School in the Fairlington neighborhood on Jan. 16. [Associated Press]
Arlington Buying New CNG Buses — Arlington Transit is buying 13 Xcelsior compressed natural gas (CNG) forty-foot, heavy-duty transit buses, according to a press release from Minnesota-based manufacturer New Flyer of America. [New Flyer]
Recounting Jay Fisette’s Career — “It was pure chance that led Jay Fisette to Arlington in 1983. A college friend had rented a cheap, spacious apartment in Pentagon City, and a nearby unit was available. So Fisette found a roommate among his college swimming buddies and began hoofing the ‘cow path’ — open land that would become the Pentagon City mall — and hopping the Metro to his new job downtown.” [Washington Post]
Northam Re-Appoints Two Arlington Residents — Arlingtonians Richard Holcomb and Jaime Areizaga-Soto have been re-appointed to their state posts under the incoming administration of Gov.-elect Ralph Northam. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Jackie Carter was in court on Friday for an arraignment on an assault charge. Prosecutors say they dropped the original disorderly conduct charge against her after determining that assault, also a Class 1 misdemeanor, was the “more appropriate charge.”
As we reported in January, Carter was charged with disorderly conduct following an incident on April 30, 2011, in which she booed a Bowen McCauley Dance Company performance at Kenmore Middle School.
The performance, which featured live music by a Kenmore Middle School band, included a dance number that Carter said she found to be “racist and offensive to African-Americans and African American women especially.”
“The skit involved a white child and her black mamee singing and dancing together to the song ‘Lil Rabbit where’s Ya Mamee,’” Carter wrote in a lengthy blog post. “The Mamee scene was a celebration of the many black women, enslaved and used as wet-nurses and the many other unspeakable crimes committed against their enslaved minds, souls and bodies.”
Carter said that during her protest she got into a physical confrontation with Arlington County Board member Mary Hynes and four other Bowen-McCauley staff members. The charge against her, however, accuses Carter of assaulting Jaime Areizaga-Soto, who was running for state Senate at the time of the incident.
Prosecutors were not able to release any additional details about the alleged assault. Carter’s trial date is set for June 29.
Arlington Valor Awards Held — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its annual Valor Awards presentation yesterday. More than a dozen personnel from the Arlington County Fire Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Management received awards. The event was emceed by ABC7 morning news anchor Steve Chenevey. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Sixteen Interested in School Board Seat — A total of 16 people have filed statements of interest for the School Board seat vacated by now-County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those seeking the nine month appointment are former state Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto. [Sun Gazette]
Yorktown Student Wins Optimist Essay Contest — Alina Kramer, a senior at Yorktown High School, has won the Capital/Virginia District Optimist Essay contest. Kramer will receive a $2,500 scholarship for her essay, which was based on the theme of “How My Positive Outlook Benefits the Community.” It was the first time in more than 10 years that a student from the Arlington Optimist Club won the essay contest.
New Car-Free Diet Show Episode — The fourth installment of Arlington County’s Car-Free Diet Show has been released. The episode features an interview with Chris Eatough, program manager for Bike Arlington and former professional mountain bike racer, as well as safety tips for avoiding being hit with car doors. [YouTube]
Here is the unedited response from Jaime Areizaga-Soto:
I am Jaime Areizaga Soto and I’m running to represent the 31st district in the Virginia Senate. I graduated from Georgetown and got a masters and law degree from Stanford. I’ve served our country as an Army officer for over twenty years and am currently a JAG Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard. I am an attorney with over 12 years of infrastructure experience, a former White House Fellow, a member of the Arlington County Transportation Commission, and a lifelong Democrat. Over the past two General Assembly sessions in Richmond, I served as Policy Advisor to Senator Whipple supporting and advising her on legislation and caucus-related matters. The Obama Administration appointed me to the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development – I stepped down from that position in order to be a candidate to represent you in Richmond.
I fell in love with Virginia when I was here visiting my family thirty-five years ago. My heart is in Northern Virginia for it’s progressive values, diverse communities, and our shared commitment to education, equality, and justice. I believe everyone should have the opportunity for a world-class education, the opportunity to seek justice and have a voice and the opportunity to succeed and thrive. Some people think these values should not extend to everyone.
I am running for State Senate to fight against the narrow-mindedness that threatens progress. Since 2009 we have seen abortion rights under fire, gay rights stifled and education funding slashed. Cuccinelli even sued to stop the President’s healthcare reform legislation. Enough is enough! I want to fight back against the extremism that has taken over our state. That’s why I am running for State Senate: to fight for our Democratic values and to protect our future.
I am 100% Pro Choice and always have been. NARAL Pro Choice Virginia has endorsed me. As a member of the military I am honored to serve alongside members of the LGBT community and I will fight for full equality for all Virginians; the LGBT Democrats of Virginia have also endorsed my candidacy. I will also stand up for our labor brothers and sisters and am proud to have the endorsements of the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association and of the Communications Workers of America.
My priority in the Senate will be to fight for our Northern Virginia communities and to stand up for our shared Democratic values. I will fight for progressive tax reform that cuts taxes on the middle class and small businesses, eliminating the sales tax on food and creating tax brackets so the super rich pay their fair share. It is clear that our transportation system is broken; we need to focus on moving people and goods safely and reliably instead of on moving cars. I support raising the gasoline tax to equal that of our neighboring states. I grew up with an elementary school teacher as my mother and I believe that our teachers should be paid at the average of the rest of country. I will buck any further cuts to education and fight for equitable teacher pay.
I am a native-born American citizen raised in Puerto Rico who has lived the American Dream. I am an Eagle Scout and serve as Vice President of the Dream Project, a not-for-profit that supports high school students in achieving their college goals. I will make sure every law-abiding resident is treated fairly and has opportunities to succeed by providing in-state tuition to the children of immigrants who graduate from Virginia high schools (Dream Act).
I will be a strong voice for our Democratic values in Richmond. I am ready to work for you on day one. You have my word. I will not quit or give up. We cannot stand by and watch the McDonnell/Cuccinelli agenda destroy our state and our future. I ask you for your vote. Join me. Together we can make it right.
Artisphere Supervisor Heads to N.J. — Norma Kaplan, the director of Arlington County’s Cultural Affairs division, is heading to New Brunswick, N.J. after 25 years in her current position. Kaplan, who oversaw the creation of Rosslyn’s struggling Artisphere cultural center, will serve as executive director of the New Brunswick Cultural Center. [Washington City Paper]
Sign Intrigue at Areizaga-Soto HQ? — The Jaime Areizaga-Soto campaign for state Senate has been told by several of its volunteers that someone showed up yesterday afternoon at the campaign’s Lee Highway office, took down all the Areizaga-Soto signs and replaced them with signs for his Democratic primary opponent, Barbara Favola.
Broadcaster With Arlington Connection Dies — Nat Allbright, a legendary radio broadcaster who could take simple telegraph accounts of a baseball game and spin it into an exciting play-by-play broadcast, died last month. Allbright’s New York Times obituary notes that he served as the voice of the Dodger Network, which broadcast Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodger games across the eastern U.S., from a Washington-area studio. As recently as about 10 years ago, Allbright sold advertising for the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. He died in Arlington on July 18, at the age of 87. [New York Times]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Police Searching For Serial Groper — Arlington Police are on the lookout for a man who has been assaulting women and girls by grabbing their breasts as they walk down the street. Among the victims are Eastern European women working as lifeguards and a 13-year-old girl. The attacks started in June. [WUSA9]
Virginia NOW Endorsements — The Virginia National Organization for Women PAC has endorsed four Arlington candidates for state office. Virginia NOW endorsed both Adam Ebbin and Libby Garvey in the three-way race for the 30th state Senate District (skipping over Rob Krupicka). The group also endorsed both Stephanie Clifford and Alfonso Lopez in the two-way race for the 49th House of Delegates District. [Virginia NOW]
Arlington Helps Battle Arlandria Fire — Arlington County firefighters helped Alexandria firefighters extinguish a two-alarm blaze at an apartment complex in the Arlandria section of Alexandria yesterday. The fire, across from St. Rita’s Catholic Church, forced the closure of Russell Road between Mt. Vernon Avenue and W. Glebe Road for much of the morning. [Patch]
Areizaga-Soto Funnels More Money into Campaign — State Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto has lent his campaign another $70,000, in addition to the $145,000 he already loaned to the campaign. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
In the latest round of mudslinging, Barbara Favola is being accused of making “racist comments” regarding the electability of her Democratic primary opponent, Jaime Areizaga-Soto — a charge she is calling “flat out untrue.”
Local Democratic blogger and Areizaga-Soto supporter Lowell Feld says he received a call from Favola last week in which Favola — thinking she was talking to a potential voter and not a vocal online critic — implied that Areizaga-Soto was unelectable because few Latinos live in the 31st District. Favola reportedly also noted that many of the donations to the Areizaga-Soto campaign have come from the candidate’s friends and family in Puerto Rico.
A chorus of elected Areizaga-Soto supporters condemned Favola’s reported remarks.
“I urge all Democrats — and especially my fellow Democratic elected officials — to condemn Barbara Favola’s racist statements that Jaime Areizaga-Soto cannot win or effectively represent us because of his ethnicity,” said Del. David Englin in a statement. “I expect Favola’s campaign will dismiss my comments because my wife is a paid consultant for Areizaga-Soto. However, regardless of my wife’s role in this election, racism is unacceptable, and Democratic voters, activists, and leaders should reject it.”
“It is the same thinking that drove attacks on John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama,” said Del. Scott Surovell. “To suggest that someone like Jaime Areizaga-Soto is unelectable in Northern Virginia because he is Hispanic is not just wrong, it runs counter to our experience in the House of Delegates, the broader nation, and common sense.”
“I can’t think of any justifiable reason why anyone — particularly a Democratic officeholder — would say such things about an ethnic minority candidate,” said Del. Mark Keam.
Favola’s campaign, meanwhile, is fighting back by accusing the Areizaga-Soto campaign of “sink[ing] to a new low.”
“I am deeply saddened by the latest false attacks from Jaime Areizaga-Soto and his supporters,” Favola said in a statement. “It’s an egregious assault on my character and the values I live by in my personal and public life.”
“Jaime Areizaga-Soto and his supporters have made outrageous allegations at me throughout this campaign, but these accusations of racism are flat out untrue,” Favola added. “Mr. Areizaga-Soto and his supporters have sunk to a new low in Northern Virginia Democratic politics”
Favola campaign manager Adam Scott called the accusations of racism “irresponsible.”
“This started with a local blogger — one of Jaime’s biggest supporters — who has hurled baseless accusations against Barbara throughout the campaign,” Scott said. “He admitted his account of his recent phone call with Barbara was only the best of his recollection. Now, Mr. Areizaga-Soto’s campaign sponsored website, staff, and supporters have leveled allegations based on hearsay and comments taken out of context. It’s completely irresponsible.”
Update at 2:15 p.m. — Jaime Areizaga-Soto campaign has issued a statement: “My campaign is about fighting for our entire community. I’ve lived the American dream and I’m disappointed that my opponent thinks so little of the voters of the 31st that she’d think mentioning my ethnic background would win her votes. It’s worth noting that Favola has not denied the acts, merely the interpretation. I’m grateful to the five Delegates for speaking out – including two who have not endorsed me in this race.”
You’d expect that the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance would be a friendly venue for two Democratic candidates who both have voiced a strong pro-equality, pro-LGBT message. For the most part last night, at the AGLA’s forum for primary candidates, it was. But then 31st District state Senate rivals Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto unexpectedly had some of the negativity of their campaigns thrown back at them.
“I have to say to both of you, I am disgusted and appalled by this campaign,” Betsey Wildhack, a past president of AGLA who’s active in local Democratic politics, said during the forum’s question-and-answer session.
“I don’t understand how you all can present this as the best the party has to offer, with these constant negative attacks,” Wildhack said, as heads nodded in agreement in the audience. “How in the world will any of you beat [Republican 31st District candidate] Caren Merrick when you have laid out her campaign against both of you?”
Favola responded first.
“Well, that’s a very interesting observation,” she said. “Certainly this campaign has been far more robust and lively — and some would say has had more negative a tone — than we have seen in Arlington. I don’t think this campaign has in any way damaged either of us for the general election. I think what it has done is enabled two candidates to develop strong organizations to knock on thousands of doors. We in effect had a six month trial period of really kicking into gear a first-rate campaign team, so that really has been an advantage.”
“Fortunately in Arlington, [Democrats] have a long tradition of coming together after a primary,” she added. “I’m very confident… I know that the November election will turn blue for our seat.”
Areizaga-Soto then weighed in, insisting that his negative mailers were focused on “the facts” while Favola’s focused on “smear attacks and false attacks.”
“All of a sudden I have destroyed the Amazon and destroyed the American economy by being a second-year associate in downtown law firms in D.C… I am very disappointed in the mud that has been thrown in this campaign, especially when it’s not based in facts like all the pieces that my opponent has raised,” he said. “I haven’t raised false claims against my opponent’s records, I have gone to the facts. And those facts the voters deserve to know in the primary, if not they were going to know them in the general.”
“You have a right to your own opinions, but not to your own facts… I’ve always talked to the truth. I stood to the facts,” Areizaga-Soto added. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive.”
Democratic arch-rivals Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto will both attend an Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance candidates forum tonight.
The forum, which will start at 7:00 p.m. at the NRECA building in Ballston (4301 Wilson Blvd), will give Favola, Areizaga-Soto and other Democratic candidates (there’s no contested Republican primary in Arlington this year) a chance to woo a group of largely Democratic voters just 14 days before the Aug. 23 primary.
House of Delegates candidates Stephanie Clifford and Alfonso Lopez are both expected to attend the forum. Other invited candidates include Adam Ebbin, Libby Garvey and Rob Krupicka (30th state Senate District) as well as Theo Stamos and David Deane (Commonwealth’s Attorney).
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.
Whipple sent a letter to 31st District Democrats this week belittling candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto’s work as her “policy advisor” in 2010. Whipple, who has endorsed County Board member Barbara Favola in the contentious two-way primary battle, wrote that Jaime — a Stanford law school grad — “served as an intern” and “received only a small stipend.”
“I agreed to give him the title ‘Policy Advisor'” to make up for the low pay, Whipple wrote. “Jaime’s embellishments and exaggerations of his role during his time in Richmond have bothered me for some time, and I feel compelled to set the record straight.”
However, the Areizaga-Soto campaign is now pointing out that Whipple had previously praised his work in Richmond. In a Jan. 27, 2010 column for the Falls Church News-Press, Whipple wrote that she was “fortunate to have the extra help of Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Esq.”
“I coordinate the operations (communications, coordination, and position-making) of the majority Caucus in the Senate,” Whipple wrote. “Jaime supports and advises me on legislation and Caucus-related issues.”
State Sen. John Edwards, of Roanoke, was quoted yesterday as praising the Areizaga-Soto’s work in the state Senate.
“Jaime was an important asset to the Senate Democratic Caucus and to me over the last two legislative sessions,” Edwards said.
“I’m disappointed that Senator Whipple and my opponent have decided to mislead the people of the 31st District,” Areizaga-Soto said in a statement. “Senator Whipple praised my service for her in the Falls Church News Press, and I am proud of the work I did in Richmond. I want to move past this petty distraction and offer my vision for standing up to Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme agenda for Virginia.”