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Former Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka to Raise Cash for County Republican Women’s Club

Sebastian Gorka, a former aide to President Trump fired amidst mounting criticism of his anti-Muslim views, is coming to Arlington to raise money for local Republicans.

The Arlington Republican Women’s Club announced this weekend that Gorka will be a featured guest at its Sept. 23 fundraiser, to be held at the Army-Navy Country Club. Tickets run anywhere from $25 to $250 for the evening.

Long a fixture on Fox News and other right-wing news outlets, Gorka joined the Trump administration shortly after doing consulting work for the campaign on foreign policy matters. Yet he frequently courted controversy during his time in the White House, particularly after reporters discovered his ties to far-right, anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, and he was dismissed from his post last August.

Carole DeLong, the president of the Republican Women’s Club, told ARLnow that she expects Gorka “will speak to us about his time in the White House, and the interesting subjects of his books.” Gorka’s published works include “Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies — With No Apologies” and “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”

DeLong added that she recently met Gorka at an event they both attended, and quickly convinced him to come speak in Arlington.

“He is a very nice and unique person,” DeLong said. “We are all so happy that he agreed.”

Arlington Democrats are considerably less enthused about Gorka’s imminent arrival in the county.

County Democratic Committee Chair Jill Caiazzo dubbed Gorka a “far-right ideologue” in a statement, highlighting his vocal defense of Trump’s travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries, in particular. She noted that her committee happens to holding its own potluck on the same day, headlined by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District), which she sees as a clear contrast between the two parties.

“Like the races on the ballot in November, it’s not a hard choice for Arlington voters who seek to reject the extreme Trump-GOP agenda, including the discriminatory travel bans championed by Dr. Gorka,” Caiazzo said. “We look forward to seeing those voters at the potluck and the polls.”

Despite Caiazzo’s criticisms, DeLong said she had no compunctions about working with Gorka, calling him “delightful to work with.”

Gorka has made headlines in Arlington once before, prompting a brief Twitter outcry when someone spotted his distinctive Ford Mustang with the vanity plate “ART WAR” parked on a sidewalk near Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.

Photo via @SebGorka

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Morning Notes

Full Arlington Memorial Bridge Shutdown Planned — One of the main links from the county into D.C. will close entirely for the weekend of Sept. 15-17, as workers get ready to start major repair efforts. Officials are warning of rolling lane closures after that, with another full shutdown sometime this fall. [Washington Post]

County Police See a String of Wheel Thefts — Since June 1, Arlington police say they’ve seen thieves make off with the tires and rims of five different cars. Many of the thefts have been concentrated in the Pentagon City and Crystal City area, where airbags have also started vanishing. [WTOP]

Arlington GOP Mulls Position on Bond Referenda — County Republicans will decide next month on whether to take a position on the more than $230 million in bonds that will go before voters this fall. Arlingtonians haven’t rejected a local bond on the ballot since 1979. [InsideNova]

Nearby: Parking Pains Plague New Northside Social Location — The second location of the Clarendon cafe that opened in Falls Church earlier this summer has created some huge parking headaches, including a 13,000 percent increase in cars towed from nearby lots. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Hot Day Ahead — Anyone spending time outdoors today should hydrate frequently and take proper precautions. The heat index is expected to climb into the 90s or even the low 100s. An air quality alert is also in effect. [Twitter, Twitter, National Weather Service]

Energy Rebate Program Ending — Arlington’s energy rebate program, which provides rebates to homeowners who add high-efficiency HVAC or water heaters, or who perform other energy-saving work, is ending due to county budget cuts. The last day to apply is today, June 18. [Twitter, EcoAction Arlington]

Rosslyn Bus Tunnel to Open — “A long-delayed bus tunnel in Rosslyn that is expected to help ease traffic in the area and significantly speed up bus trips has now been turned over to Metro, and should formally open within weeks. Metrobus and Arlington’s ART routes are expected to begin using the street-level tunnel June 24 through a glitzy new building between N. Moore Street and N. Lynn Street.” [WTOP]

GOP Beyer Challenger Courts LGBT Voters — “Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate embarked on an uphill quest to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), is reaching out to a constituency often left untapped by local Republican candidate. ‘I proudly support the LGBT community. I firmly believe in providing equality for every American,’ Oh said as he marched with the Capital Area Young Republicans in the recent Capital Pride Parade in the District of Columbia.” [InsideNova]

County Board Approves DARPA Changes — “Citing its desire to retain DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency headquartered in Ballston, the Arlington County Board today unanimously approved adding 1,265 square feet to its building for a secure screening and visitor check-in facility.” [Arlington County]

Graduations at Arlington High Schools — Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown high schools help their respective graduation ceremonies last week. Said Wakefield’s class president: “Just because this chapter of our lives is closing, we will prevail and go on to do great. The thing is, don’t think of this as a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you later.'” [InsideNova, InsideNova, InsideNova]

Photo courtesy @TheLastFC

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Morning Notes

‘Indivisible Arlington’ Event Wracked By Division — “A town hall with local Virginia lawmakers dissolved into chaos Saturday and police were called after Latino activists confronted Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) about his previous consulting work for a private company that operates detention facilities for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

H-B Victorious at Ultimate Tourney — The H-B Woodlawn girls ultimate frisbee team won the prestigious Amherst Ultimate Invitational over the weekend. [Twitter, Greenfield Recorder]

No County Board Candidate for Arlington GOP — No one filed by the May 9 deadline to run as a Republican against incumbent County Board member John Vihstadt, the Arlington GOP announced over the weekend. Vihstadt, an independent, was endorsed by the local GOP when he first ran in 2014.

ACPD Sergeant Tapped as School Police Chief — Sean Bryson, a 20-year veteran of the Arlington County Police Department, has been named the chief of police for the Upper St. Clair School District, outside of Pittsburgh. It’s a homecoming for Bryson, who graduated from Upper St. Clair High School. In addition to his police work, Byson co-founded and has served as race director for the annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K. [Trib Live]

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Morning Notes

Beyer’s GOP Challenger Holding Arlington Event — “Republican congressional candidate Thomas Oh will host a campaign kickoff on Tuesday, April 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Spider Kelly’s, 3181 Wilson Blvd. Oh is the GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), who is seeking a third term. He was the only Republican to file for the nomination.” [InsideNova]

Local Scenes on Sale at Arts Fest — Among the artists at the upcoming Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon will be Joseph Craig English, whose “silkscreens and lithographs capture local landmarks and street corners in vivid colors,” including “an architectural juxtaposition of old buildings and new construction in Courthouse; Potomac River vistas; local murals and street signs known to commuters who’ve passed by them for years.” [Arlington Magazine]

Arlington Tourism Surtax Gets Gov’s Signature — “The Arlington County government will be able to continue collecting a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism promotion, now that Gov. Northam has signed legislation extending the measure for three more years.” [InsideNova]

Don’t Try This at Home — Per scanner traffic, police officers responding to a call yesterday afternoon were advised that “the suspect is known for using hand sanitizer as an alcoholic drink.”

Nearby: Alexandria OKs More Funding for Metro Station — “Plans to build a new Metro station at Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Virginia, took a crucial step forward Tuesday. Alexandria City Council unanimously approved raising the budget from $268 million to $320 million. The change was made in part to reflect the rising cost of materials and labor.” [WTOP]

Photo by Dwayne Stewart

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Morning Notes

Golf Course Tax Bill Passes — A bill that would provide a massive tax break to two Arlington country clubs has passed the Virginia General Assembly. The bill, if signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), would cost Arlington $1.5 million or more in tax revenue. [Washington Post]

Military Couple Fights Wife’s Deportation — The wife of a retired Army special forces veteran was to face deportation in an Arlington-based immigration court next week, but the Dept. of Homeland Security is now offering to drop the proceedings. Prior to the reversal, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called said via social media: “Military families should not be targeted like this. It’s unconscionable.” [Military Times, Twitter]

Cherry Blossom Bloom Prediction — The National Park Service expects peak bloom for the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms to take place March 17-20. [PoPville]

Beyer’s GOP Challenger — “The Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D) used a Feb. 28 meeting of the Arlington County Republican Committee to introduce himself to the county’s GOP rank-and-file. ‘I look forward to the campaign,’ said Thomas Oh… an Army veteran and currently a contractor in Falls Church.” [InsideNova]

Marymount Joins New Conference — Marymount University in Arlington and five other schools have formed the new Atlantic East Conference within NCAA Division III. [Marymount University, Twitter]

County Seeking Budget Feedback — Arlington County is seeking feedback on its proposed budget. The online survey asks residents to weigh in on various priorities, including county employee raises, economic development, Metro funding, school funding, infrastructure investment and affordable housing. [SurveyMonkey]

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Arlington GOP Wants More Info About County’s Amazon HQ2 Bid

Arlington Republicans are calling for greater transparency with regards to the county’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Jim Presswood, Chair of the Arlington GOP, issued a statement Wednesday calling for the county to release “the basic framework” of its offer, arguing that “backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.”

The full statement is below.

Arlington County needs to let its citizens know what kind of deal they are offering Amazon to lure the company’s new headquarters to our county. Its discussions with Amazon have been behind closed doors and without public input. While we appreciate Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol promising transparency, it’s time for the County to make public at least the basic framework of what it is offering. Backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.

While an Amazon headquarters would bring benefits to Arlington and the region, Arlington citizens deserve to know the cost before any deal is struck. Arlington is under great budgetary pressure from increasing school capacity needs and a broken Metro. The citizens are entitled to know if the County is offering subsidies that will ultimately result in a bill being handed to Arlington taxpayers. Creating an attractive environment for businesses and residents is a far more fair and fiscally sound approach to bring jobs to Arlington than offering sweetheart deals to specific firms.

Update at 7:40 p.m. — Katie Cristol has responded via Twitter.

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Local Republicans Criticize Favola’s ‘Evil’ Remark

The Arlington County Republican Committee led a chorus of condemnation after state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) suggested Republicans are “evil” at a rally Tuesday night.

Speaking to more than 200 supporters at an Arlington County Democratic Committee rally alongside Democratic nominee for governor Ralph Northam, lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring — who is running for re-election — and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), among others, Favola said that if Republican nominee Ed Gillespie becomes governor, it will be “dangerous.”

“My colleagues didn’t tell you how dangerous it will be if the other sides wins,” Favola said in a speech. “They’re evil, we’re the good guys… Every one of you is an angel. You’re not only fighting for yourselves, you’re fighting for hundreds of thousands of people in Virginia.”

(ACDC posted a video of the entire rally on its Facebook page. Favola’s remarks begin just before the 31:00 mark.)

The use of the word “evil” brought swift condemnation from Arlington GOP chair Jim Presswood, who pushed back on Favola’s statement.

Senator Barbara Favola crossed the line when she said that Virginia Republicans are “evil.”  This language goes well beyond the realm of civil debate and demeans the moral character of Republicans.

Senator Favola and other Arlington Democratic leaders often talk about “Arlington values.” There are indeed many values Arlingtonians across the political spectrum share, including cultural and ethnic diversity, good schools, a well-run public transit system, and the need for public parks. But Senator Favola apparently does not include ideological diversity in this list. The term “Arlington values” should not be code for Democratic values.

There are many Republicans who live in Arlington — about thirty-thousand people in the county voted for the Republican Congressional candidate last year. Senator Favola needs to remember, even during a heated political campaign, that we are her constituents too.

In a tweet, Gillespie also condemned the comment.

Photo via Facebook video.

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Arlington GOP Criticizes County Board’s Response to DACA Decision

The Arlington Republican Party is criticizing the Arlington County Board for issuing a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrants.

The County Board joined other local and statewide elected officials in condemning Trump’s decision.

Members called the decision an “act of cruelty” that will “will tear apart families, cause substantial economic damage to our nation and further divide Americans.”

But in a statement of his own on Wednesday morning, Arlington GOP chair Jim Presswood said the Board’s criticism was “misguided” and that it is up to Congress to pass immigration reform legislation.

Presswood also said he is “optimistic” that young people, known as Dreamers, can stay in the United States.

Presswood said:

The Arlington County Board’s criticism of President Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program is misguided.  The Board said in its statement released yesterday that the decision was an act of cruelty that will tear apart families.

The president, however, only passed the decision on the DACA issues back to Congress, where it rightfully belongs.  President Obama clearly overstepped his authority when he created the program in 2012 without any rational connection to a law enacted by Congress.  Congress, not the president, is the branch of government that should be making law.

Congressional Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Northern Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, support comprehensive immigration reform on issues related to DACA, border security, and enforcement.  Speaker Ryan said that he wants a permanent legislative solution for these issues “that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”

I’m optimistic a solution will be quickly found that enables these young people to stay in our country.  It’s the right thing to do.

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With House of Delegates Run, Army Vet Hopes to Continue Service to Country

Political newcomer Adam Roosevelt said he knew at the age of 13 years old that he wanted to run for the Virginia House of Delegates.

He grew up in Norfolk, Va., in what he described as a “ghetto” neighborhood that struggled with gangs and poverty.

But at 13, he was inspired after meeting a local woman named Mrs. Bell, who spent her life donating money to the needy and taking trips to Africa to feed the hungry.

The 25-year-old began by serving in the U.S. Army, which included two tours in Afghanistan and a stint at NATO. He filed to run for the 49th District of the House of Delegates earlier this year on a platform he calls “Let’s Secure Virginia,” focusing on education, transportation, small business and veterans’ affairs.

The Pentagon City resident faces the task of trying to unseat Del. Alfonso Lopez (D), a three-term incumbent who also serves as Minority Whip for the Democratic caucus. The district includes neighborhoods along Columbia Pike and near the Pentagon, as well as parts of Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners in Fairfax County.

If elected, Roosevelt said one of his major priorities would be improving education in the district. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as encouraging more students to study medicine, he said he wants to help young people be competitive in the job market.

And to help do that, Roosevelt said he would be open to adding more charter schools and vouchers, which would provide government money redeemable for tuition fees at a non-public school. He said the growth of such schools helps encourage competition.

“It forces our teachers to have to get more certifications and get more education, and we’re going to start providing a system there that by competitive nature allows for higher quality and it allows our parents to have the opportunity to say, ‘I want my son to go to that school, I like the curriculum, that school’s doing very well,'” Roosevelt said. “It forces the other schools to compete now, and I think that’s healthy.”

Roosevelt now works as a contractor in cybersecurity and intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security. He said that helping small businesses grow is another priority, by reducing the corporate tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent for small businesses and working with Arlington County to make the Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) tax less burdensome.

Also on Roosevelt’s agenda is improving transportation, which he said should be invested in wisely, and be made as reliable as possible.

“I’m big on cutting down on waste, fraud and abuse,” Roosevelt said. “Our contracting processes are causing us to purchase things that are too much money, like $1 million for a bus stop. We could have bought a few bus stops, we could have had three full-time employees under a small business and we could have had some more labor there.”

Still a U.S. Army Reservist, Roosevelt said he wants to ensure returning service personnel and their families are well taken care of. That would include more education for military spouses, as well as helping ease those who have served into civilian life with job training and opportunities.

“I want to expand the portfolio of education for our spouses that are staying behind, and I want to give them a path to success while their husbands or wives are away,” Roosevelt said. “And when the husband or wife returns homes, I want them to feel like Virginia is home for them and they are received by a community that has programs there to help them back and reintegrate into normal life.”

Lopez has a big fundraising advantage, with nearly than $25,000 on hand at the end of the latest filing period, compared to just over $1,000 for Roosevelt.

Arlington GOP chair Jim Presswood said that while the odds may be long for the only local Republican candidate on the ballot this fall, Roosevelt’s energy and ability to sell his agenda to voters will matter more than money.

“I think if you have a candidate who is energetic, who is out there, who is going to be knocking on a lot of doors and talking to a lot of people, I think money makes less of a difference,” Presswood said.

Roosevelt said if elected, he would be determined to fight for issues that concern his constituents, and even rail against party leadership in Richmond to pursue those goals.

“It has to be a bipartisan focus,” he said. “So what [voters] can expect from me is to champion their voices to the General Assembly, and if need be, I will take on any party for that matter if they stand in the way of the people. This is not about a political party. This is about a community of people who need hope and need help and they need it now.”

Editor’s note: a piece on Lopez’s re-election campaign will follow in the coming weeks.

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More Accessory Dwellings Could Help Housing Affordability, Economist Says

Eric Brescia at Arlington GOP housing talkThe County Board’s work group exploring changes to rules around accessory dwelling units could help Arlington add more affordable housing units, according to a local economist.

Rules around the units, sometimes called a “mother-in-law suite” — a second home with a kitchen, bathroom and separate entrance on a single-family lot — were approved less than a decade ago after much local debate. But in the interim, few new units have been approved.

Eric Brescia, a member of the County Housing Commission and the Arlington County Republican Committee’s policy director, said there are too many “poison pills” preventing further approvals.

If regulations are relaxed and more units come online, however, affordability could improve, he said. Brescia discussed his views on affordable housing at the monthly meeting of the Arlington GOP on Wednesday night.

"Backyard cottage" accessory dwellingHe noted that the local GOP was previously opposed to accessory dwellings, but things change over time. The plan to relax rules on accessory dwellings has also received support on the left of the political spectrum.

“I’m of the view that finding places we allow units to be built is a free market solution,” he said.

Brescia added that county staff is “playing around” with a different kind of zoning on Columbia Pike. Under the new zoning, a building would be required to occupy a certain amount of space, but the number of units contained within is not regulated.

That could allow more units to be built, as could the oft-discussed plans to turn vacant offices in Crystal City and other neighborhoods into micro-unit apartments. Brescia said discussions are continuing on that proposal.

And despite the strain on schools, roads and other infrastructure caused by more people moving into Arlington, Brescia said a balance must be struck.

“There most definitely is a trade-off and there is a stress on facilities,” he said. “But then you go to the other extreme in somewhere like San Francisco where they’re not building anything and it’s so expensive to live there.”

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Local GOP Confident Despite Lack of Candidates

Arlington GOP logo(Updated 4:35 p.m.) Even with just one candidate declared for this year’s local elections, the Arlington GOP still believes it can make a splash.

Chairman Jim Presswood said with statewide elections to come as well as last year’s election of President Donald Trump, the local party should see increased interest.

“We’re certainly feeling very good after the results of last year’s election at the federal level, and we’re looking forward to this year at the state level elections,” Presswood said. “We’re looking forward to our statewide candidates doing quite well in a very strong field, and good competition for each slot, so we’re excited to see what happens in June in the primary.”

Adam Roosevelt headshotSo far, only Adam Roosevelt has thrown his hat in the ring, challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez in the 49th District of the House of Delegates. Roosevelt’s campaign is focused on education, growing small business, supporting the military and local law enforcement and enhancing cybersecurity.

For his part, Lopez filed for re-election earlier this month after serving the district for six years. In his announcement, Lopez said he is running “because we deserve an open and welcoming Commonwealth that protects everyone and creates economic opportunity for all.”

Beyond Roosevelt, the local GOP has tried to recruit candidates for the County Board, School Board and other House of Delegates seats, to no avail as yet.

So far, Arlington’s three other House of Delegates members — all Democrats — are unopposed, while there are four Democratic candidates vying for the retiring chairman Jay Fisette’s seat as well as independent Audrey Clement.

School Board member James Lander, meanwhile, faces challenges from Maura McMahon, Monique O’Grady and Mike Webb. The latter unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination last year to challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D).

The local Republicans have not run a County Board candidate since 2012, when Mark Kelly and Matt Wavro both lost to Libby Garvey. Board Member John Vihstadt serves as an independent despite having previously identified as a Republican.

Presswood said he takes the time at every monthly meeting to encourage newcomers to step forward. Mike Lane was the last Republican to sit on the County Board after he won a special election in 1999.

“Typically, people who want to run contact us, and that’s how we’ve been working it,” he said. “We certainly are, as we notice people getting more involved in the committee, saying, ‘Hey, you should run.’ We’ve done that, but as far as this cycle goes we haven’t seen anyone really step forward yet. But hopefully they will soon.”

If candidates do step forward, Presswood said, the local party would likely hold either a so-called “firehouse primary” or a mass meeting to determine nominees.

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Arlington GOP Opposes Proposed Airbnb Regulations

Airbnb logo at MakeOffices ClarendonThe Arlington County Board is expected to vote on proposed regulations on Airbnb and other short-term rental services at its meeting this Saturday.

The regulations proposed by county staff include limits on the number of short-term renters who can stay in a given residence, depending on the number of bedrooms; it requires that the owner of a rental property use it as his or her primary residence, residing there at least 185 days of the year; and includes other provisions designed to strike a balance between those who want to generate supplemental revenue from their homes and those who don’t want to live next to a de facto hotel.

Arlington Republicans, in a press release today, said they are opposed to the regulations, which the county hustled to enact before the state legislature considers prohibiting such regulations during its January session.

The full local GOP press release is below.

Arlington GOP and Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans (AFCYRs) oppose the proposed “short-term residential rentals” regulations to be considered by the Arlington County Board this Saturday, December 10. While Arlington GOP and AFCYRs support establishing a formal legal structure for Airbnb and other short-term rentals that properly balances promoting the “sharing economy” with maintaining the character of our neighborhoods, the proposed regulations are unduly burdensome.

“Arlington County is rushing at break-neck speed to adopt regulations for Airbnb without fully understanding the impacts or gaining community consensus,” said Arlington GOP Chairman Jim Presswood.

Community Planning, Housing & Develop (CHPD) staff admitted at an Arlington County Planning Commission hearing last week that their process for developing the regulations was “atypical” and much shorter than usual. As a result, they have not done the research and community outreach that would normally be completed prior to adoption of final regulations.  CPHD is using an accelerated process because they want the regulations finalized before the next Virginia General Assembly, which is expected to consider legislation on short-term rentals.

The proposed regulations prohibit renters from doing short-term rentals even if their lease allows it, restrict food service, limit the number of contracts and days that residences may be rented, and include potentially onerous parking, inspection, permitting and fee requirements. Taken as a whole, the proposed regulations threaten to push many people out of this activity.

Arlington County should be encouraging the sharing economy in a way that maintains the quality of our community.  Benefits include providing residents income to help pay their mortgage or rent, creating additional short-term rental options for travelers, including visiting family members and friends, and enhancing our local economy when guests spend money at local restaurants and businesses.

“It would be a shame if Arlington undermines the future of the sharing economy while other jurisdictions move forward in this area,” said AFCYRs Chairman Andrew Loposser.

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Morning Notes

Local laundromat (Flickr pool photo by Drew H.)

Post-Election Harassment in Arlington — Among the incidents of “harassment and intimidation” reported across the country following the election was one in Arlington. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a woman was crossing the street when two men in a car yelled, “you better be ready because with Trump, we can grab you by the p***y even if you don’t want it.” [Independent UK, Southern Poverty Law Center]

GOP Wants Va. Electoral College Change — Following another year of Virginia being a blue state in the presidential election, state Republicans are pushing to change Virginia from a “winner take all” state to one that allocates Electoral College electors by congressional district. [InsideNova]

Heavy Traffic This Morning — With rain and fog slowing things down, heavy traffic has been reported on local highways throughout the morning rush hour. [Twitter]

Chamber Threatens to Go to Richmond on Towing — If Arlington County follows through on a proposal that would make it harder for property owners to have trespassing cars towed off their lot, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce says it may go to Richmond to lobby for a law superseding Arlington’s regulation. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Drew H.

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Local Officials React to Trump’s Election with Both Apprehension and Hope

It’s probably safe to say that “shock and horror” was the predominant reaction among local Democrats to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in Tuesday’s presidential election.

In Arlington, only 17 percent of those casting ballots voted for Trump, while 76 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. Early on, as the results just started coming in, some officials we spoke to at the Democratic victory party in Clarendon refused to even concede that there was even a possibility that Trump could be elected.

Both the surprise over the result and the fear over what a Trump presidency means for Arlington and the nation was on display at Wednesday’s Arlington County Board meeting. Each Board member weighed in with their thoughts on the election. (See video, above.)

Here’s a bit of what Christian Dorsey had to say:

The outcome of this Presidential election was not what I desired, nor what I ever thought possible. This morning, my wife Rachel and I had to tell our budding feminist, 8-year-old daughter, who just a couple of weeks ago dressed as a suffragette for Halloween and explain to her that our candidate lost. That was hard. But harder still was finding answers to her very natural follow up questions, why, how? But I have to tell you that hardest of all, were finding words of reassurance to an outcome that in my opinion has dramatic consequences for our country. I hope to be proven wrong. Tens of millions of Americans, 20,000 Arlingtonians, and for all I know, perhaps some of you in this room chose Mr. Trump. I won’t try to believe it, but I will try to accept it.

County Board Chair Libby Garvey said a Trump presidency will not change the nature of the Arlington community.

At this point, I know we need to not give into fear, we need to not give into anger, we need to not assume that we know why everybody voted the way they did. And we need to continue what we have been doing here. This is a beautiful, wonderful community and we will do everything we can to preserve it and I am hopeful that we can. The rule of law and the rule of our constitution must prevail.

Jay Fisette said he was trying his best to cope with the results and give the new president a chance.

Yesterday was likely the most consequential election in my lifetime, for our country, to our world, to our understanding of democracy, the economy and our environment. Earlier today, I watched Hillary Clinton’s poignant and gracious concession speech and I actually took to heart her advice.

Number one, to respect the orderly transition of power that which is fundamental of our constitutional democracy. Two, to work with ourselves to open our minds and give our President Elect a chance to lead. And three, to continue to believe in our vision, in our values for the community, for the country.

In each of these, the first is easy for me. Everyone must and will come together to respect and accept the election results, as that is how we work, via the example that was set by our very first president, George Washington. So congratulations, Mr. Trump.

The second will be harder for some, like me, to open my mind and give our President Elect a chance to lead, yet we must do that. After we each finish our own grieving, those that supported Mrs. Clinton, and our assessment of what happened and why it happened, we must give the President a chance.

Independent John Vihstadt, the lone non-Democrat on the Board, said he was disappointed by the slate of presidential candidates this year.

Regardless of our political perspective, everyone in the nation and across the globe is still processing the remarkable outcome of yesterday’s election. Many are jubilant, others are apprehensive, or even fearful, and many others no doubt are conflicted. In my view, all four party nominees on the Virginia ballot for President this year fell short of what our nation deserved and needed in 2016. I voted, but did not vote for any of them. Still, the American people have spoken.

I am confident that our democratic institution will heal and endure, and I hope and pray, that people of goodwill will come together, lower our voices, and work together to find common ground to advance the human condition.

I’m reminded of the statement chiseled in stone above the main door to the state capitol of my home state of Nebraska, “the salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.”

Katie Cristol said Arlington County would “navigate the coming days as we have other major economic and political events in the past” thanks to residents, county staff and prudent planning.

Cristol said the county would continue to respect the rights of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, in the face of Trump’s deportation promises.

I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm what has been a hallmark of Arlington County: inclusion and protection of our diversity and of our residents. I want to reaffirm that my commitment to the safety of our immigrant neighbors, emphasizing as this board did in 2016 that all residents and visitors to Arlington County have a right to public safety protection. That it is our longstanding policy that Arlington County law enforcement does not monitor, detain, interview or investigate people solely for the purpose of determining their integration status, and that the services we provide in Arlington County, including education, public transit, access to our parks and to our libraries are not restricted based on immigration status.

Arlington Democrats monitor the election results at Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon on Nov. 8, 2016At an Arlington Committee of 100 event Wednesday night, a number of local political figures discussed what the election meant to Arlington County.

Jim Presswood, chairman of the Arlington GOP, told ARLnow.com that “we’re a little bit unclear” on the exact ramifications of a Trump presidency on the county.

“With the new administration you’ll have new people coming in, that will be a change,” he said. “Maybe government is a bit more restrained, so that might have impacts as well.”

Presswood said a more limited government under Trump, with streamlined regulations, will create more business opportunities, which will be good for business and for the working class.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to take a look at this whole segment of our population, especially in the industrial Midwest, which has been facing lots of job losses with manufacturing going overseas,” he continued. “The key thing is jobs, especially for the working class, creating more economic opportunity for them. That’s not something that would have much effect in Arlington, I suppose, given how many folks here have advanced degrees, but there are people here that are part of the working class so that’s not to be forgotten.”

Kip Malinosky, chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, was also a speaker at last night’s event. He told ARLnow.com that he remains worried about Trump’s divisiveness.

I hope that there will be a minimal impact on Arlington, but I am worried that there could be significant harm. Arlington is a welcoming community that thrives with immigrants and residents from all over the world. Trump’s rhetoric and platform could put our diverse community in jeopardy. Furthermore, our ability to attract top businesses from around the world would likely become much more difficult. Again, I hope for the best and that Trump will leave some of his most incendiary rhetoric and policies behind, and concentrate on being President of the entire United States of America.

During our live election night broadcast, from Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon, we asked some local Democrats about a potential Trump victory, which at that point still seemed unlikely.

State Senator Adam Ebbin weighed in on what a Trump presidency might mean for Arlington by focusing on the military.

They both support a strong defense. Clinton has a sensible plan, has the experience and the advisors to do appropriate planning and make sure our military is right-sized. To hear Trump talk about it, he would just invest a lot in the military; I don’t know if he would do that haphazardly or if Congress would go along with that. I don’t know if he has a detailed or well-informed policy plan based on his own knowledge.

ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot, meanwhile, had serious reservations about Trump being elected.

If by some stretch of imagination Donald Trump is elected president, I think you would see a lot of negative reaction in the country, certainly in Arlington, a lot of bitter disappointment.

We’ve got to make sure Hillary gets elected, I hope we’ve done it. I think we would be spending the next four years trying to maintain the rule of law and our constitution, because I don’t think Trump and those supporting him really understand the Constitution, and the rule of law is what makes our nation great. Anytime you’ve got people living together you’ve got disputes. You’ve got to learn to solve them through the law, not who has got the biggest gun or the biggest fists and that’s going backwards.

More investing in our people is what I think we need to do as a nation. Investing in education, healthcare, childcare, all of those things. I think Trump is interested in investing in himself.

Additional reporting by Samantha Moore

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