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Matt Wavro: Why You Should Vote For Me

Last month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).

Here is the unedited response from Matt Wavro (R):

I am running for the Arlington County Board because we need to elect a new voice to make sure that all voices are heard. Arlington residents deserve a County Board Member who will stand up and ensure their concerns are fully considered by the County Board. Arlington faces significant challenges and I will work to make sure that everyone has a voice in local government and not narrowly rely on a one-party echo chamber to guide governmental decisions that have a wide ranging impact on our community’s future.

I am an Eagle Scout, 100 Homes for the Homeless Survey volunteer and a Junior Achievement volunteer instructor. I am an active member of the community and am running to be the County Board Member that brings people together on the tough issues and fights for everyone to be heard. I will build a consensus around common-sense and ensure a level of governmental accountability that allows for meaningful public engagement and planning processes that are responsive to specific and practical community concerns.

Leadership, in my view, means providing a voice for residents. Leadership isn’t a matter of taking to the bully pulpit and arguing with elected officials. Rather, it is about including and applying a different perspective to the public policy process that makes sure the information important to the community is included in the decisions instead of the current practice of only including the information that confirms the decision that members of the County Board seek to make from the outset.

I am the only candidate in this race who has a plan to move the County Board to a better plan for Columbia Pike than the trolley. I will re-engage the public process by hosting town halls, building the case for a better plan, and convincing all the members of the board that the Columbia Pike Trolley project is not what is best for Arlington. Re-engaging the public input process is even more important after a current County Board member, having taken the untenable position of abstaining from voting on the trolley, walked away from the public process that included the efforts of citizens to respond within the formal comment process, attend the Alternatives Analysis meetings, and provide additional public comments at the County Board meeting.

I firmly believe that residents deserve a voice for fiscal responsibility. In previous years the County Board has increased tax rates on top of increased assessments. In doing this the board raised taxes on top of already increasing tax bills, spending more and more while providing the average tax-payer less and less value for their tax dollar. And renters shouldn’t think they are exempt from these property tax increases. Every year that the County Board increases property tax rates, renters see the increase as part of the next year’s rent increase on top of the rent increase from the current year. Included in any fiscally responsible approach to county taxes would be the use of close-out funds from this year to provide tax relief in the next year.

Part of electing a voice for fiscal responsibility means having a county board member who stands up against a capital spending plan that locks the county into raising additional revenues through ever increasing taxes each year for the next ten years, leaving little room for tax relief and the ability to respond to legitimate community needs as they arise. I would pursue a more responsible approach, funding more Neighborhood Conservation Fund projects and synthetic field conversions that cost less, but do more to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Improving our neighborhoods is a much better investment than the exorbitantly priced luxury aquatics center.

Active and engaged leadership includes providing a professional and independent review of governmental operations to the County Board and the community. When elected, I will work to establish an Office of Inspector General to provide this much needed governance reform. If the current County Board continues their insistence on a structural lack of accountability on tax, budget and spending issues, I will raise donations myself to fund an analogous position via a non-profit entity.

Arlington County faces fiscal, development, transportation and management challenges. I will work to meet our challenges in ways that best serve the entire community. I love Arlington and am proud to call it home. I want to see Arlington and all of us that call Arlington home prosper. Thank you for your consideration in this election. I ask for your vote on November 6th.

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Morning Poll: Tax Rebates for Arlington Property Owners?

Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro has an idea for the millions of dollars of unspent tax revenue typically left over at the end of the county’s fiscal year.

Instead of simply finding a way to spend the money or putting the money in reserve, as Arlington County does now, Wavro wants to see the “close-out funds” returned to county residential and commercial property holders in the form of a tax rebate. As the Sun Gazette reports, Wavro presented the idea at the County Board meeting on Saturday, saying that the county should provide tax relief after years of tax rate increases.

How do you think excess county tax revenue should be used?

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Morning Notes

IAFF: Only We Fight Fires in Arlington — IAFF Local 2800, Arlington’s firefighter union, wants residents to know that their members are the only ones who fight fires in Arlington. The union is trying to draw attention to a web page set up to clarify the differences between professional Arlington County firefighters and members of local volunteer firefighting organizations, who have been soliciting donations. “You may be wondering ‘are my fire and rescue services provided by volunteer firefighters?'” the union wrote. “The answer is no.” [IAFF Local 2800]

Wag More Dogs Gets New Mural — Wag More Dogs, the Shirlington dog grooming business that had to whitewash its doggy mural after losing a legal battle over signage restrictions with Arlington County, has a new mural that no one will interpret as a form of advertising this time around. The mural, painted by itinerant artists Zack Weaver and Rob Fogle, depicts two birds sitting in a hot tub on a tree. During the two weeks it took to create the mural, Weaver and Fogle lived in their truck (dubbed the “Art Cream Truck” and decorated with a painting of a well-endowed green-skinned woman) which they parked outside the dog park. [Huffington Post]

GOP Candidate Goes Against Chamber-Supported Tax — Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement have both come out against a 12.5 cent per $100 commercial property tax surcharge levied by Arlington County. The surcharge, which is used to fund transportation improvements, is supported by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. [Sun Gazette]

Post Endorses Kaine — The Washington Post editorial board has endorsed Democrat Tim Kaine over Republican George Allen in the race for U.S. Senate in Virginia. [Washington Post]

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Streetcar Dominates Board Debate, Even in N. Arlington

(Updated at 7:45 p.m.) The debate venue was the Radnor / Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association candidates night, held at an apartment building just outside Rosslyn on Tuesday.

The participants were the three candidates for Arlington County Board: incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement and Republican Matt Wavro.

Despite the fact that the audience lives north of Route 50, in a neighborhood that has plenty of concerns about traffic, development, aircraft noise and other issues, the main topic of the debate was the Columbia Pike streetcar. The streetcar so dominated the first half of the debate that the moderator had to eventually ask the audience to refrain from asking about it.

It’s ironic, then, that the candidates all essentially agreed with one another.

“We need sensible transit,” said Garvey, in her opening remarks. “I have been working deliberately to gather more information about the proposed streetcar and the more I look at it the more convinced I am that what we need is a bus rapid transit system, or BRT. That is by far the best solution for us at this point.”

Wavro also advocated for enhanced bus service along Columbia Pike instead of the streetcar, but he blasted Garvey for abstaining during a vote on the streetcar in July.

“We’ve had studies, more studies, then more studies on the Columbia Pike trolley,” he said. “With that amount of information out there, [Garvey] should be able to make a decision against the trolley.”

Clement echoed Wavro’s criticism.

“Board members are elected to take stands on controversial issues, not back away from them,” she said, adding that the streetcar will absorb tax dollars that could be used for capital improvements to Arlington’s existing transportation network and service enhancements like expanded weekend ART bus service.

There was disagreement over whether the Pike streetcar is a decision that can be reversed or not. Wavro argued that a lone board member would and should not be able to reverse the community process that led to the streetcar vote this summer. Garvey said the board only approved a “transit system” and that the “vehicle” for that system is a decision that will be made “down the line.”

“I think this will probably be the most important vote that I’m going to take in my time on the Board, and I’m hoping to be on the Board for about 12 years,” she said.

In addition to speaking out about the Columbia Pike streetcar, Clement also criticized Garvey’s vote to approve the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, which she said will eliminate affordable housing and “will transform the Pike into a gentrified urban canyon.” Wavro, meanwhile, spoke of the need to preserve market rate affordable housing — housing that’s affordable without government intervention — along the Pike and throughout the county.

Wavro made fiscal responsibility a pillar of his platform, saying the Board shouldn’t need to raise property tax rates — like it did this spring — on top of increases in property assessments.

“We should be able to fund our priorities through the increased assessments,” he said. “What we’ve seen from the County Board… is a trajectory of spending on capital projects that includes a tax or rent increase for every Arlington resident each year for the next ten years in order to maintain our AAA bond rating. I think we should have a much more responsible capital spending plan.”

Clement again agreed with Wavro, but delivered a sharper attack on Garvey and the Democrat-controlled County Board.

“In the current uncertain financial climate spurred by BRAC closures and the federal deficit, I view spending for key products in the [Capital Improvement Plan], including the [Long Bridge Park] aquatic center and the trolley, as reckless and irresponsible, and will oppose them unless the county’s economic outlook improves” she said. “In addition to opposing profligate capital spending, I have a specific plan for action to promote fiscal responsibility that emphasizes funding basic needs and investment in sustainable infrastructure.”

If elected, Clement pledged to oppose any tax rate increase and to try to repeal this year’s tax increase. Clement, along with Wavro, also proposed the hiring of an independent inspector general to audit and analyze the county’s budget.

Garvey, for her part, also promised a degree of fiscal responsibility.

“We need to set our priorities strategically,” she said. “This is a very privileged community that’s used to having a lot… [but] we cannot do everything. We need to focus on core services, schools, transit, education and a strong social safety net.”

Garvey questioned the decision to fund the Artisphere in Rosslyn the same year the County Board declined to raise police pay, and questioned the need to keep building new theaters.

“I’m thinking maybe we have enough black box theaters,” she said. “I’m not against theaters, I love theater, but our schools have theaters.”

She said Arlington is facing challenges that will require “strong leadership.”

“Things are changing,” she said. “Every year it’s more expensive to live here. Meanwhile, the federal government — a mainstay of our economy — is shrinking. And all around us our neighbors are working on their own smart growth policies. Soon Tysons will have its own Metro line. In short we’re starting to lose our competitive advantage.”

On the topic of traffic, Wavro skewered the county’s practice of reconfiguring streets to make them narrower. The goal of such “road diets,” in his view, is to “make it more frustrating for people [who] drive their cars.”

Wavro said the county should be focused on making forms of transportation more convenient.

“The number one thing is getting people where they need to go in the least amount of time,” he said. “People in Arlington have important things to do and of course places to go, and we ought to help them get there as County Board members.”

Clement said she supports greater investment in transportation and transit, but not in streetcar systems. She also suggested that there’s a limit to how “car free” Arlington could be.

“I’m extremely cynical of other county’s citizens, in so far as I don’t think they want to get out of their cars,” she said. “But I don’t hold the same view of Arlington residents. I do believe Arlington residents are ready for mass transit, but it’s not there yet and the Pike trolley will make it even more difficult to get there.”

In response to the question about traffic, Garvey again reiterated her support for a bus rapid transit system, and floated the idea of a regional BRT system — and that stemmed, she said, from conversations with the leaders of other local jurisdictions, like Montgomery County and Fairfax County.

Later in the debate, Clement made the case for more citizen involvement with county decisions. She cited the case of Tuckahoe Elementary School parents who were upset about a plan to place trailers on the school’s blacktop, but failed to show up at a County Board meeting to voice their concerns.

“Stop being uncritical of the County Board,” she said. “If County Board doesn’t hear your concerns, obviously they’re not going to do anything about it.”

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County Board Challengers Urge ‘No’ Vote on Streetcar

The Republican and Green Party candidates for County Board have both released statements calling for the Board to vote “no” on the Columbia Pike streetcar.

The controversial vote is scheduled to take place at tonight’s County Board meeting, which will start at 6:30 p.m.

Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement — who will be facing Democratic County Board member Libby Garvey in November — both say that the streetcar is a bad idea.

“We should not hamper the ability of our community to continually improve our plans and development decisions by installing an inflexible, impractical and egregiously expensive circulator trolley that many citizens do not want,” Wavro wrote in a statement, released last week. “Instead of a circulator trolley, I would promote and support enhanced bus service from Columbia Pike and Crystal City through Pentagon City and on into Rosslyn.”

In a statement, Clement said she also supported a form of enhanced bus service on the Pike.

“In addition to its exorbitant cost I oppose the Pike trolley because it would induce demand for housing, thus accelerating gentrification of the Pike,” Clement wrote. “I prefer compact double-deck buses, like those that are being introduced into service in London, rather than articulated buses, on the Pike’s congested roadway”

County staff is recommending the Board approve the streetcar plan, saying the streetcar “will best achieve the vision for the Columbia Pike corridor as a vibrant, diverse, and pedestrian and transit oriented community.”

The full statements from Clement and Wavro, after the jump.

From Republican candidate Matt Wavro:

The residents of Columbia Pike and Crystal City deserve a better plan for the future of our community than a blind rush toward the vanity project that is the planned circulator trolley. The current plan to spend what could end up being nearly half a billion dollars installing two trolleys is not the right plan for Columbia Pike, Crystal City or the region.

I think we all support the goal of a pedestrian friendly Main Street on Columbia Pike and an active, accessible Crystal City. The guidelines in place for such development – the Form Based Code on Columbia Pike and the Crystal City Sector Plan in Crystal City – are starting to change the development dynamic in these neighborhoods. Many, including me, did not agree with all of the underlying decisions of these plans, and we have all started to see the effects of these development guidelines. Some have even started to build ideas on how we can improve upon the current plans as the full effects of development are known.

Development in these areas will indeed have a significant impact on how residents, commuters and visitors traverse these communities. We should not hamper the ability of our community to continually improve our plans and development decisions by installing an inflexible, impractical and egregiously expensive circulator trolley that many citizens do not want.

The current adjustments to Metro rail – known formally as “rush plus” but often referenced as “rush minus,” especially by Blue Line riders – have undermined and complicated current transportation demand management efforts. This calls into question the extent to which any development in South Arlington can continue to be called transit-oriented development.

The vote that our current County Board members will cast on the issue of the Columbia Pike Trolley on July 23, will represent a stark choice. If the Board votes to approve the Trolley, we may lose the best opportunity we have had since the planning and construction of the Metro to better connect residents in South Arlington to the regional transit system. Approval by the County Board is widely expected. Arlingtonians should know that, were I a Member of the County Board, I would focus on transit projects and planning strategies that would support better transit connections and smarter development over vanity projects that don’t address regional issues.

Instead of a circulator trolley, I would promote and support enhanced bus service from Columbia Pike and Crystal City through Pentagon City and on into Rosslyn. This plan would address the mobility challenges of local residents without committing the taxpayers of Arlington to unnecessary future outlays of commercial property tax surcharges for a project that is not part of the solution to our regional transit problems.

For between a fifth and a quarter of the cost of the trolley projects, we can connect thousands of current and future residents to more transit options and maintain a funding source to continue to address transportation challenges throughout the county.

Connecting Columbia Pike and Crystal City to the Rosslyn Metro Station necessitates enhancing the current bus service by using articulated buses – those buses that appear to have an accordion in the middle – express service, and super stops to increase transit capacity and extend the bus service north to Rosslyn, a valuable connection to our regional transit system that no trolley can accomplish. These investments are needed even more after the June 18th service cuts to Blue Line circulation, which have reduced the mobility of South Arlington residents that move north and south along the Potomac to connect with other transit lines.

The $300 Million that the County Board would have Arlington taxpayers spend on vanity development projects such as the Columbia Pike trolley, combined with Metro rail service cuts that will already be in effect before the first shovel would hit the pavement, will set back worthy transportation projects across the whole county.

The loss of the South Arlington’s connection to transit due to Blue Line cuts and the current plan to install circulator trolley’s is bad transportation policy and an ineffective use of local, state and federal funds.

I invite Arlingtonians to stand up with me against the trolley and insist that we make smart development investments that will establish the connections necessary to create a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly main street on Columbia Pike and in Crystal City without putting an undue financial burden on the taxpayers of Arlington.

The residents of Columbia Pike and Crystal City deserve a better plan for the future of our community. E-mail the County Board at [email protected] to politely remind them that you expect a better plan and a better policy than the trolley.

From Green Party candidate Audrey Clement:

I agree with my Republican opponent, Matt Wavro, on the need to scrap the Pike trolley in favor of upgraded bus service. However, I prefer compact double-deck buses, like those that are being introduced into service in London, rather than articulated buses, on the Pike’s congested roadway. Moreover, in addition to its exorbitant cost I oppose the Pike trolley because it would induce demand for housing, thus accelerating gentrification of the Pike. What’s the point of transit subsidies in the form of the commercial real estate tax surcharge when they would be used to evict low income families from the Pike? That’s not only unfair to those earning less than the median income it’s also inflationary, and that can’t be good for the economy.

I am also concerned by numerous reports from other cities regarding the hazards posed by streetcars to bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles. Streetcars are an inflexible mode of transportation, whereas buses designed in the 21st Century are both highly flexible and increasingly attractive to tourists and residents alike.

Expanding circulator bus service across Arlington County and providing increased bus service to and from the District to augment Metrorail should be our transit priorities. We don’t need, and can’t afford, an expensive vanity project that duplicates already good Metrobus and ART bus service.

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Aquatics Center Takes Center Stage at CIP Hearing

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Opponents and supporters of the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center spoke out at Tuesday’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) hearing.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY 2013-2022 CIP describes the center as a “one-of-a-kind recreational, fitness, and competition asset [that] will provide long-term value to our community and attract people regionally to the unique combination of assets that is Arlington — to work, to play, to live.”

While supporters say Arlington County “can afford… world-class facilities” like the aquatics center (see statement from Nathaniel Giddings, after the jump), detractors — like fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki and GOP County Board candidate Matt Wavro — say that the county actually can’t afford such “vanity projects.”

Kubicki, chair of the Arlington County Civic Federation’s Revenues and Expenditures Committee, said in a statement (excerpt below) that the aquatics center will impose a long-term fiscal burden on taxpayers, who are already faced with a rising county budget.

Donnellan has proposed including $42.5 million worth of the aquatic center’s $70+ million cost included in a larger park bond, to be considered by county voters in November. The Civic Federation has called for the aquatics center to appear on the ballot as a separate bond item.

Kubicki made the following personal remarks to the County Board at Tuesday’s hearing.

The CIP projects 3% annual revenue growth for FY14 through 16….

Combining just the operating costs for new items such as Arlington Mill ($3.3M) and the Silver Line (our first year cost is $1.7M), and increased debt service costs, our FY14 budget already needs over $14M in growth – before increasing anything.

Funding the proposed CIP will necessitate major revenue growth, well over 3%, and unlike the past two fiscal years, where the burden of increased spending fell mostly on our commercial sector, the next several years will more heavily fall on homeowners. Commercial assessments are very unlikely to jump a third straight year.

There is one prime candidate for controlling some of this – the Long Bridge pools building, with its $73M price tag.

With our admittedly deteriorating infrastructure, and pressing school capital & operating needs if enrollment growth continues, coupled with uncertain future revenues and the over $7M in annual operating subsidies for the two streetcar lines upcoming, is Long Bridge really a priority? Can it seriously be called a “need”?

Combining proposed debt service, including the $20M interim non-bond borrowing, with its projected operating subsidy, Long Bridge’s annual cost is nearly $7M per year. That’s over one cent on the current tax rate- for one single building, that most residents will never use, and that many would have trouble finding, even if you gave them a map.

The Long Bridge project raises the term “vanity project” to a new level, and fiscally has the potential to be the Artisphere on steroids.

If Long Bridge is on the fall ballot, it should be as a separate, stand-alone referendum, with nothing else attached to it, as the Civic Federation strongly recommended to you. The fiscal ramifications of this project deserve separate discussion and a separate vote.

Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for County Board, said that the funds proposed for the aquatics center should instead be used for neighborhood projects and for the maintenance of existing recreational facilities. (Excerpt of his remarks, after the jump.)

Good Evening. My name is Matt Wavro. I live in Crystal City and am happy to be a neighbor to Long Bridge Park.

In the State of the County Arlingtonians heard from County Board Chairman Mary Hynes that “We have depended on a growing federal government, [and] we all know it could change, Federal spending could decline significantly. We need to be prepared.”

And just yesterday morning we heard from an Arlington based company Politico that “Lockheed Martin is likely to notify the ’vast majority’ of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off.” The story went on to inform us that “Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor and a bellwether of the industry, won’t be alone. Other defense contractors have also signaled they’re considering sending out notices before November.”

Given our dependence on Federal spending and the potential negative ramifications of sequestration, this CIP is the time and place to refocus our fiscal plans so that we better invest in our neighborhoods throughout the County instead of embarking on large spending projects that could impair our ability to address the challenges that we all agree will have a negative impact on the fiscal situation of our community.

This CIP Plan puts our local government on a continuing path of significant and sustained increases in revenues collected from our community. What does that mean the average Arlingtonian?

That means the required additional revenues described in this CIP will require increases to the already high tax burden on homeowners and a concurrent increase in rents as the underlying costs of property taxes rise for proprietors of rental properties. That means tax and rent increases for the next ten years.

Instead of the flexibility that the members of the County Board talked about during the budget process, a distinct lack of flexibility is available to our community in this CIP. Residents will have to face significant tax increases through increased assessments or increased tax rates to meet the assumptions of the plan and the factors that determine our ability to keep our AAA bond rating.

The solution I propose is to reduce the total debt burden in the CIP allocated to the Aquatic center and repurpose the balance we can afford to make significant investments in our neighborhoods.

Instead of spending $50 Million on an Aquatics Center, we should focus these bond funds on projects that can more broadly address quality of life issues in our neighborhoods by increasing Neighborhood Conservation Fund Funding.

Instead of spending $50 Million on an Aquatics Center that will charge expensive user-fees to residents and non-residents who want to access what is purported to be a public project, we should improve access to the county’s most used recreation assets and fund additional synthetic turf conversion projects at the front end of the 10 year program.

I propose that we repurpose the funds included in the CIP for a very expensive aquatics center to projects and purposes that serve the entire community and start to make the appropriate investments in our community before reductions in federal spending and possible sequestration that could reduce the fiscal flexibility for our community so much so that we are locked into vanity projects that prevent investments in our neighborhoods that directly affect resident’s quality of life throughout the entire community.

If the board moves forward to include the Aquatics Center as part of the bonds on the Fall ballot, I urge the County Board to follow the recommendation of the Civic Federation and make it a clean and direct referendum without any attachments.

Nathaniel Giddings, a representative of the Friends of Long Bridge Park group, said Arlington residents “deserve… having [the aquatics and fitness center] right next-door.” The following is an excerpt of his statement to the County Board.

My name is Nathaniel Giddings. I am an Arlington County resident and a frequent user of Long Bridge Park. I am here on behalf of the Friends of Long Bridge Park. I am also an attorney with Hausfeld LLP, which is assisting the Friends obtain 501(c)(3) status.

I would first like to thank the County Manager for recommending the construction of Phase 2 – the aquatics and fitness facility – of Long Bridge Park. This recommendation recognizes that the County can afford the proposed, world-class facilities and that Arlington’s citizens, in fact, deserve, having these types of facilities right next-door.

At a minimum, this Board should adopt the Manager’s recommendation and include the proposed funds for the Park in the bond referendum this November.

In addition, the Friends urge this Board to support the full vision for the Park. This Board should adopt, as part of this CIP, the ten-year plan for the completion of these remaining Park features.

As the Board can see, many of this County’s constituents support completion of the Park. You will hear from many more of them tonight.

Not only do we have the support of those here tonight, but I would also like to present the Board with the signatures of 2,250 individuals who support Completing and Connecting the Park.

In short, there is overwhelming community support for the completion of the Park, the County can afford to complete the Park – including the future phases – and the citizens of this County should have the opportunity to vote, in November’s bond referendum, for the funds necessary to construct the aquatics and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

110 Comments

GOP Candidate Explains Why He’s Running for County Board

It’s going to be quite the uphill climb for Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro.

Wavro will be facing Democrat Libby Garvey and perennial Green Party candidate Audrey Clement in November, following Garvey’s recent defeat of a better-known Republican candidate in a very low-turnout special election — an election that was billed as the GOP’s best chance of getting on the Board since 1999.

Wavro’s chances are especially long due to the other, higher-profile races that are on the bill for November 6 — the presidential race, a U.S. Senate race and a House of Representatives race — all of which are sure to draw droves of Democrats to the polls in Arlington.

Nonetheless Wavro, who lives in Crystal City and works as a human resources consultant, says he’s prepared to make a strong case to voters for why he should be elected. In an email to ARLnow.com, Wavro detailed some of his positions on the issues.

Like many in Arlington, I am concerned with the direction of our county. We score well in magazine surveys, but the health of our civil society and the quality of life of our neighbors is a much better measure of the performance of our political leadership. The civil and political health of our community continues to decline under the control of a single-party controlled County Board. It is the lack of any dissenting voices on the board that has allowed the County Board to continue their plans to rapidly redevelop neighborhoods and redesign our lives and our community around their ideological beliefs.

I am running for a seat on the Arlington County Board to stand up for our neighborhoods. It shouldn’t be considered part of living in Arlington that you have to regularly mobilize your neighbors to speak out against a local government action, program or plan that members of the County Board have determined does not require public input. We deserve a County Board Member who will insist on meaningful collaboration with homeowners, renters and local businesses instead of a top-down, rigid ideological approach to sidewalks, streets, zoning, permits, signs and outdoor restaurant seating.

I am running to bring active and engaged leadership to the County Board. The Arlington County Civic Federation has regularly called for an Inspector General to provide a professional and independent review of governmental operations to the County Board and the community. When elected, I will work with my colleagues to establish an Office of Inspector General to provide this much needed governance reform. If the current County Board continues their obstruction and insistence on a structural lack of accountability on tax, budget and spending issues, I will raise donations myself to fund an analogous position through a non-profit entity.

I am running to stand with our community against the wholesale redevelopment of particular neighborhoods and to develop a better plan for Columbia Pike than the trolley. I am running to prove that Arlington County government can be both effective and efficient without increasing taxes on top of already increased property-tax assessments. Lastly, I am running to appropriately prioritize projects in our county’s capital improvement program so that we can give our schools the flexibility to solve the capacity problem without another massive tax increase or an equally damaging downgrade to the County’s bond rating.

Anyone interested in more information can visit my website www.Wavro2012.com to sign up for email updates and get involved.

Photo via Facebook

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