Along George Mason Drive near the hospital Thursday morning, bare metal frames were almost as ubiquitous as the undamaged political signs still standing in the median.
Reports of widespread political sign vandalism earlier this month have seemingly not deterred the vandal or vandals. Newly ripped, trampled or discarded signs can still be seen along Arlington’s main roads. Many, if not most, are those supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.
“We continue to have widespread and sustained destruction and vandalism of campaign signs we’ve lawfully erected,” Arlington County Democratic Committee spokeswoman Rebecca Theim told ARLnow yesterday afternoon. “Our program chair, Carol Burnett, estimates that fewer than 25 of the 780 Biden-Harris signs Arlington Democrats volunteers placed on Oct. 3 remain undamaged. Although we’ve replaced many, most of the original signs simply disappeared; those that remained have been shredded.”
“More than half of our Arlington Democrats Joint Campaign signs titled ‘Vote Democrats’ are also gone or vandalized, including 30 such signs just last night along Wilson Boulevard,” Theim added. “The majority of signs supporting the re-election of Sen. Warner also have been removed or vandalized… There’s been some vandalism of the other signs, but for the most part, signs about the proposed state constitutional referendums and School Boards races have remained untouched.”
Arlington Democrats took the rare step of putting out a press release about the sign destruction on Oct. 4. Isolated incidents of signs being vandalized happen every election cycle, but 2020 seems to be different, local Democrats say.
“I have done median signs for a dozen elections in Arlington, and have never seen vandalism this rampant,” said Burnett, who heads ACDC’s sign program. “Usually, a few signs go missing, but I’ve never seen this kind of destruction, where signs are shredded or torn in half. And I’ve not seen entire streets with signs in a dozen medians vandalized, like has happened this year.”
“There are also many more reports of residents having their ‘Dump Trump’ and Biden-Harris signs stolen from their yards,” she continued. “One resident who lives on 23rd Street in Aurora Hills has had 6 signs stolen. He now takes his signs inside at night.”
On Nextdoor this week, Arlington residents have also reported numerous missing or damaged signs supporting President Trump.
Arlington GOP Chair Andrew Loposser previously told ARLnow that sign vandalism is a common occurrence.
“Nearly every candidate’s signs — regardless of political party — get vandalized at some point during the campaign, usually by bored high school kids,” he said earlier this month. “Let me be clear: Vandalism of any kind is unacceptable.”
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow that as of Thursday, the department has received more than a dozen reports of political sign theft and damage in recent months.
“Since July, ACPD has taken 13 reports for damaged, destroyed or stolen political signs,” Savage said. “These incidents have been reported in areas throughout the County.”
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Nicole Merlene, a Democrat challenging state Senator Barbara Favola (D), has become embroiled in a war of words with a self-described political meme account on Twitter.
The incident started with Merlene’s introduction at an Arlington Young Democrats forum.
“As a renter, as someone who completely relies on public transportation because they can’t afford a car, as someone who had to pay out of state tuition for college, as someone who has a very small prospect of owning a home in Northern Virginia unless I get married,” Merlene said in her opening remarks, “when I think about the future, our environment comes to mind. Have we taken the action needed to put us on a sustainable path forward? Do we have leadership in Richmond willing to stand up to Dominion?”
Accusing Favola of conflicts of interest and calling to ban political contributions from Dominion Energy — which has contributed $9,500 to Favola’s campaigns — have been some of the more vocal talking points from Merlene’s campaign.
But an anonymous Twitter account called Virginia Political Memes attacked Merlene over the comments and derided the candidate’s financial status as a “poor personal decision.”
.@NicoleMerleneVA's remarks on why she's running (is a renter, can't afford a house in NOVA, paid out of state tution, etc.) sound more like poor personal decision making than a platform. I mean she says she can't afford a car–how is she going to get to Richmond? #VApolitics https://t.co/7y5gBtqN3E
— Virginia Political Memes (@VApoliticalmeme) April 18, 2019
One of the most fundamental parts of being a Democrat is that no matter your socioeconomic status, your religion, your gender identity, your race — is that you’re provided an opportunity to succeed and you’re given a level playing field… To write off an entire segment of our population as “poor” because they have to rent or because they have to use public transportation is despicable.
I have a platform prioritizing transportation & affordability bc these are some of the regions biggest challenges. It is what we are talking about in every debate bc it resonates and is finally being brought as a priority. Jeering on trolls making fun of my income isnt leadership pic.twitter.com/IuM6KNBsUM
— Nicole Merlene for Virginia State Senate (@NicoleMerleneVA) April 19, 2019
Favola waded into the fight as well and said that Merlene “should take her own advice” when it comes to elevating the political discussion.
I’m very proud of the positive pragmatic and progressive campaign I’ve run and my over twenty years of public service. Maybe @NicoleMerleneVA should take her own advice.
— Barbara Favola (@BarbaraFavola) April 19, 2019
The argument escalated to threats of a physical confrontation from Merlene’s brother — a threat lampooned in the responses — for which Merlene took to Twitter to apologize.
I apologize, this should have never happened. pic.twitter.com/9caeYBGgZZ
— Nicole Merlene for Virginia State Senate (@NicoleMerleneVA) April 19, 2019
Arlington’s primary election be held on June 11 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Billionaire Tom Steyer is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting in Arlington tomorrow (March 20) about the “need to impeach” President Donald Trump.
The Tuesday event is part of a nationwide event series that Steyer has launched since Trump took office, in which he makes what he calls “the patriotic case for impeachment.”
Town hall attendees can ask questions during the program as Steyer details how “to support the resistance against Trump’s administration” and calls on Maryland and Virginia lawmakers to act, according to a press release. A second town hall is planned tomorrow in Prince George’s County, Md.
More via a press release:
Arlington residents are heavily concentrated in Virginia’s 8th district, which has a strong Democratic majority. Yet Congressmember Don Beyer voted against impeachment in two separate floor votes despite clear support for impeachment from his constituents. In Prince George’s County, Congressmember Anthony Brown represents Maryland’s deeply Democratic 4th district. Even with calls to action from his constituents, Brown has also voted against impeachment in both floor votes. The town halls will gather local voters demanding explanations from Beyer and Brown on their decisions not to back Trump’s impeachment.
“Donald Trump has put our entire country at risk, and America needs strong leaders who will stand up to him,” said Steyer. “Those who condemn Trump but do nothing to back their words with action are enabling the damage he is inflicting on our people and our democracy. Both Congressmembers Don Beyer and Anthony Brown have repeatedly ignored their constituents’ voices by voting no on impeachment. Since the only thing Beyer and Brown should be contemplating is their constituents’ well-being and best interests, we need to know why. The people deserve representatives who refuse to back down on our shared principles, and we will ensure their voices are heard.”
Steyer launched the Need to Impeach campaign on October 20, 2017 through national television and social media ads. More than 5 million people have since signed on to support the campaign, creating a digital army that several political strategists call one of the most powerful political tools in the Democratic party. So far, six national commercials have aired, reaching more than 2 billion viewers through television and more than 454 million through social media. A seventh commercial — the first in Spanish — will begin airing nationwide this week.
The press release did not note where nor exactly when the events will take place. Attendees are asked to RSVP in order to find out additional event details.
Photo via Need to Impeach
Judging by the multiple Washington Post articles about it this year (and another from last year), it seems that some sizable percentage of the population is dreading their Thanksgiving dinner conversation following Donald Trump’s election.
Especially when the family is divided politically, such conversations can apparently go downhill fast.
Are you among those who cringe at the idea of Uncle Bob passing along his political views with the gravy and stuffing? Or is that not a concern for you?
A political organization “focused on educating young Americans on the benefits of a free society” is scheduled to educate young Arlington residents about the apparent inefficiency of Social Security during a free event in Clarendon tonight.
The informational session will take place at Clarendon Grill (1101 N Highland Street) this evening at 5 p.m., according to an event page.
Join our Virginia Team to learn more about how we’re banding together to Claim Our Future. Young Americans know we are not going to benefit from Social Security. Our generation is paying the government to address a problem we’ve already solved. Millennials are saving for retirement 13 years earlier than previous generations, saving more, and have specific savings goals. We, not government, should be in control of our money, our savings, our retirement, and our financial futures. Social Security is outdated, going bankrupt, and doesn’t work for the 21st century.
The event will also include complimentary appetizers despite the group’s disdain for “free stuff.”
Image via Generation Opportunity Institute
Happy St. Patrick’s Day — Looking for a place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today? Take a look at the list of Arlington Irish bars we compiled last month. [ARLnow]
Ted Cruz in Arlington Tonight — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is scheduled to make an appearance tonight at an event at Sobe Bar and Bistro in Clarendon. The event is being hosted by former Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, former lieutenant governor candidate Pete Snyder and the Alexandria-based Disruptor Fund. [Facebook]
NYT On Arlington’s Streetcar Cancellation — The New York Times interviewed Arlington County Board members Jay Fisette and John Vihstadt for an article today entitled “Streetcar Revival Is Wavering in Some Cities.” In addition to Arlington’s streetcar cancellation, the article examines D.C.’s troubles in getting its streetcar line operational. [New York Times]
WeWork Revises Crystal City Plan — The coworking office company WeWork, which has been planning to open microunit apartments in an older Crystal City office building, as part of its new WeLive brand, has revised its plan. WeWork and building owner Vornado are now seeking county permission to build two floors of offices in the building. [Washington Business Journal]
Concept for Abingdon Elementary Revealed — Arlington Public Schools staff have presented plans for a 27,000 square foot expansion of Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. The project is expected to cost $29 million and be complete in time for the 2017-2018 school year. [InsideNova]
Rosslyn: Hub of Hillary Intrigue — Rosslyn is home to an organization devoted to helping Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects, an organization that spends much of its time trying to dig up dirt on Hillary, and a news organization that is covering the 2016 presidential race. This has created some awkward moments at Rosslyn’s few after-work watering holes. Concludes a magazine article: “The epicenter of the country’s great Hillary debate remains a small, charm-deficient enclave across the river from D.C.” [National Journal]
State Legislators Pass Uber Bill — Both houses of the Virginia General Assembly have passed a bill that would allow ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the Commonwealth. [Washington Business Journal]
Bachelor Contestant Is From Arlington — Jillian Anderson, a now-former contestant on this season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” is an Arlington resident. Anderson, 25, is described as a competitive weightlifter and an “outspoken gym junkie.” [WJLA]
Crystal City: City of the Future? — Paul Singh, founder of Crystal City-based Disruption Corporation and its Crystal Tech Fund, says he wants to model a “sustainable model for an American city of the future” in Crystal City. “Our efforts in the city should be a 100-year legacy,” he said. [Technically DC]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
Despite the fact that the election was two weeks ago, some political signs still have been spotted in public spaces around town in recent days. That’s against county code, but residents are being told to report, not remove rogue campaign signs.
Per code, all political signs were to be removed from the public right of way (such as road medians) by the campaigns within five days after the election. Those that remain are subject to confiscation by county staff. Residents who notice lingering signs are asked not to remove them; the signs are to be removed only by the organization that originally placed them, or by county zoning staff.
The regulations are part of the larger sign ordinance, which has been revamped this year. Audrey Clement, who ran for County Board as a Green Party candidate, spoke at the Board meeting on Saturday (Nov. 17) to complain about the lack of enforcement for the sign rules. Clement pointed out that leading up to the election, no more than two signs are to be placed in a public space. She reported to have sometimes seen “six to a median.” Clement also said she went around the county to remove her own signs after the election.
“Given the level of abuse, what is the point of wasting countless hours of community and staff time to revise an ordinance that the county itself ignores?” said Clement. “If the losers uphold the law, why can’t the winners enforce it?”
Board member Jay Fisette noted that candidates at the federal level would probably be less likely to know Arlington’s ordinances, but said they should have been informed of the regulations. He said Clement’s concern was warranted.
“Whether they’re federal, state or local candidates, the county should be enforcing them,” Fisette said.
Not all signs in Arlington fall within the county’s authority, however. Campaign signs along VDOT-maintained roads are subject to enforcement and removal by the state.
County staff has been removing signs they see or that are reported along county roads. Anyone who wants to report a political sign in violation of the ordinance may call code enforcement at 703-228-3232. The county is encouraging residents who wish to dispose of a political sign on their own personal property to recycle it.