(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington has more to do to make the county friendlier to small businesses, particularly those with brick-and-mortar storefronts.
That was one of the messages sent by Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey during her State of the County talk this morning.
Garvey discussed the county’s efforts to compete economically during the talk, which is hosted by the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. While Garvey lauded the county’s push to attract large employers — particularly tech-related firms — to Arlington, she lamented that small businesses are still encountering regulatory road blocks. As an example, she cited the experience of former Democratic state delegate Rob Krupicka, who opened a Sugar Shack Donuts location along Columbia Pike in February.
Garvey noted that Krupicka — who served in the House of Delegates for four years, representing parts of Arlington and Alexandria — had been expressing frustration on Facebook with the process of opening a shop in Arlington. She later reached out to him, asking that he share his experience with county staff.
“It was a little hard as a Board member to sit there and hear it,” she said. “He had to come in six times to get approval for a sign… And this was a small business, [Rob] is the one doing it all. [He also] had to come in to pay for permits and things because you can’t pay online.”
“We need to be thinking of the big guys, going to China [to attract businesses],” said Garvey, “but we also need to be down on the very granular level and make sure people don’t have to come six times for a sign — and can pay online. We’re working on it, we’re not there yet, but we’re absolutely committed to making it work.”
Asked about his experience, Krupicka said it was “definitely easier” to open his first donut shop in Alexandria than it was to open his second in Arlington.
“Both have their issues. Both have good staff. Alexandria has put a lot of effort into streamlining and it shows,” Krupicka told ARLnow.com. “The Arlington permitting process is in need of streamlining and modernization.”
There were five areas in particular where Arlington County could improve, according to Krupicka.
- “Payments have to be made by mail or in person rather than online and for some things you can’t move forward without payment, so that means waiting in line in the planning office for hours to get your name called so you can hand a check to somebody.”
- “Planning, Zoning, Health, etc. don’t talk to each other and it appears they don’t understand where each other fits in the process. The process actually seems to assume the small business person will force that communication and coordination. That is crazy, as the small business person shouldn’t have to be an expert on government process, the process should be designed to be easy. The big guys just hire lawyers. Small businesses should not have to.”
- “Many permits need to be applied for in person. You can’t just submit them online. You have to sit in the office and wait to be called, wasting hours of time. I have spent days waiting in the county offices. I have overheard a lot of very unhappy individuals and business people. The elected officials should spend some time walking through this process.”
- “In Alexandria you only need one permit to put up a building sign. It takes 20 days or so. In Arlington, you need two permits, zoning and construction, and it takes 60 days plus. In Alexandria you can apply online and never have to go into the office. My Arlington sign had me to to the County Offices at least 5 times wasting a lot of money on parking and more importantly time.”
- “There is an online system for some things, but in my experience, it was very cumbersome and I spent hours working with tech support to get it to work. I’m hoping that is fixed now.”
“All of this could be streamlined without impacting the proper county regulatory role,” Krupicka concluded. “I was impressed the way Libby Garvey reached out to me, tried to help and then made time and organized county staff to listen to my experience in order to try and fix it. She, [County Board member John] Vihstadt and Commissioner [of Revenue] Ingrid Morroy were the three that made a real effort to help me.”
Chafee Announces Presidential Run in Va. Square — Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee announced that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for president yesterday at George Mason University’s Founders Hall in Virginia Square. This morning at 10:30 a.m., possible Democratic presidential contender and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) will be giving a foreign policy speech of his own at the Virginia Square campus. [New York Times]
More Cameras Coming to School Buses — Arlington Public Schools is moving forward with plans for a private contractor to install cameras on the “stop arms” of about 15 percent of APS school buses. The school system is also aiming to increase the percentage of school buses with interior cameras from just over 50 percent today to 100 percent within five years. [InsideNova]
Democratic Battle for Kupricka’s Seat — Five Democrats are seeking to replace Del. Rob Krupicka in the Virginia House of Delegates, but there are few policy differences among the candidates. Krupicka represents Virginia’s 45th legislative district, which is mostly Alexandria but also includes five Arlington precincts. The candidates facing off in the June 9 primary are Craig Fifer, Julie Jakopic, Mark Levine, Clarence Tong and Larry Altenburg. [Washington Post]
2015 Women of Vision Honorees — Next week the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women will honor its 2015 Women of Vision. The honorees are Karen Darner, former member of the House of Delegates; Mary-Claire Burick, executive director of the Rosslyn BID; and Sarah Summerville, head of the African American Leadership Council of Arlington. [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Del. Rob Krupicka announced in an email to his campaign’s mailing list that he would not seek re-election this fall, leaving the 45th House of Delegates District as another open race on the November ballot.
Last year, according to the Washington Post, he opened a location of Sugar Shack Donuts in Alexandria. In his announcement, he said running the business, along with his family and legislative obligations, was too much to take on.
“Between business, family, and public service, it is clear that I’m burning more candles at more ends than I can sustain,” he said in a press release. “Having spent over half of my adult life involved in public service in some way or another, it is time for me to step back from elected life to focus on my growing business and on my family. I don’t like to do anything halfway and the demands on my time make it impossible for me to be the engaged, active public servant that I have always tried to be.”
Krupicka was elected in a special election in 2012 after his predecessor, David Englin, resigned amid his admission of marital infidelity. Krupicka was re-elected in November 2013 and is retiring after just one full term.
Krupicka served as an Alexandria City Councilman and on the state Board of Education before being elected to the House of Delegates. The 45th District covers parts of southeast Arlington, a large swath of Alexandria and a portion of Fairfax County.
Before Krupicka won the 2012 special election, he lost in a Democratic primary for the seat of state Sen. Adam Ebbin in 2011. Ebbin (D-30) released a statement following Krupicka’s announcement this afternoon.
“I was surprised to learn that Delegate Rob Krupicka has decided not to run for re-election this year,” Ebbin said. “Rob’s passion for education and expertise on the benefits of pre-K and high-stakes testing have made a difference, both from his work in the House of Delegates as well as on the State Board of Education. His well-informed, collaborative nature is just what the General Assembly needs more of and will be sorely missed. Rob has been a friend for 20 years, and I understand and admire his dedication to his family.”
Krupicka’s full announcement, after the jump. (more…)
Krupicka, who represents parts of south Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax in the 45th District, introduced HB 2188 this month, requiring all taxicabs and vehicles “performing a taxicab service” to mount a digital video camera somewhere on the interior, and to keep it recording the entire time the taxi is in service.
According to the legislation — which is under review in the House Committee on Transportation — the Department of Motor Vehicles would regulate how the recordings are used. That would likely include what happens to the recordings after they are taken, assuming there has been no incident.
“This bill is meant to serve as protection for both the consumer as well as the taxicab driver,” Krupicka’s website says.
Krupicka has also introduced legislation to put a referendum on November’s ballot to incrementally increase the state minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $7.50 on Jan. 1, 2016, $8.00 on Jan. 1, 2017 and $8.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018. The bill is currently in subcommittee.
The three state senators and four delegates that represent Arlington in the Virginia General Assembly have sent a letter to state Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne in support of the Columbia Pike streetcar project.
The letter calls out County Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt for their continued opposition to the project. On Friday, Garvey laid out alternative uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local transportation funding that are being directed toward the streetcar.
“We strongly disagree with the efforts of Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt to deprive Arlington of those state funds dedicated to the streetcar project,” the letter states.
The letter also cites the return on investment study the county funded that predicted more than $3 billion in economic impact in the first 30 years of the streetcar system. It refers to the support the streetcar has already received from state officials, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The letter was signed by state Sens. Janet Howell, Adam Ebbin and Barbara Favola and Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Rob Krupicka and Rip Sullivan.
The full letter is posted, after the jump. (more…)
Church Ceiling Collapses in Nauck — On Sunday, just a few days before Christmas, part of the ceiling of the 1920s-era Lomax AME Zion church in Nauck collapsed. The collapse happened during Sunday services, forcing the choir to run for their lives, but miraculously no one was hurt. [NBC Washington, WUSA9]
Arlington Theater Makes ‘Best of 2013’ List — The AMC Courthouse movie theater, renovated in 2012, has made the Washington Post Going Out Guide’s “Best of 2013” list for “best reason to go to the movies.” The theater’s plush recliners are said to be “more comfortable than anything in your living room.” [Washington Post]
Voting By Mail in Virginia? — Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) has introduced legislation that would direct the Virginia State Board of Elections to study the feasibility of allowing voting by mail. Voting by mail is currently allowed in Oregon and Washington state. Such a system could help boost turnout in non-presidential year elections. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
This week, we asked the candidates for competitive House of Delegates races in Arlington districts to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents of their districts should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 5).
Here is the unedited response from 45th District candidate Rob Krupicka (D):
It has been an honor to represent the 45th district over the last year. I want to thank everybody that has helped me get up to speed after my special election last fall. I am proud as well of the bipartisan success I’ve already had in Richmond. In just a short time in the legislature, I’ve been able to secure funding for new mental health services as well as reduce regulations on local restaurants and non-profits. I have been in the middle of every Virginia education policy debate, leading on the need for high stakes testing reform, new early childhood services and improved access to higher education. In education, I will always make the success of our students my first priority.
In addition to a number of education measures, my legislative goals include tightening state ethics laws (check out www.VAEthicsReformNow.com), expanding clean energy, improve health care for seniors, and bolstering our local power reliability with more power line undergrounding (you can read about this effort on my blog at www.krupicka.com).
I will always work to support small businesses, veterans, and all hardworking Virginians to find employment in a changing economy. I believe Virginia’s competitiveness requires us to do all we can to attract the high tech, health and professional jobs that are projected to grow over the next decade.
I support reforming & expanding access to health care to cover 400,000 more Virginians, to create 30,000 new jobs, and to make healthcare effective and efficient.
I will always stand up for the right of women to make their own health choices.
I will fight to reduce gridlock and to support the continued expansion of our public transit system in an effort to protect our environment.
As a former local official as well as a past member of the State Board of Education, I understand the challenges involved in implementing the work of the legislature. I am committed to making sure we have a strong partnership between Richmond and our local communities. I remain firm in my belief that the best innovation most often happens at the local level.
This year is critical for Virginia’s future and our national reputation for thoughtful government. We have never had statewide elections that present such starkly different visions for our Commonwealth. After seeing the dangers of ideological extremism play out in the Federal Government shutdown, the need for commonsense and an honest willingness to find common ground has never been more important. I will work to bring a progressive, results-oriented approach to the legislature, always looking for ways to build alliances.
With 20 years of experience in our community, it is a privilege to ask for your vote on November 5th. My wife and two daughters all love this community. We are committed to our public schools, our diversity, our belief in equality and to enhancing our quality of life. I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my web site at www.krupicka.com to learn more and follow me on twitter @RobKrupicka.
Issues like the Columbia Pike streetcar and the housing authority referendum were at the forefront last night during the Arlington Civic Federation’s annual candidates’ forum.
The debate between County Board member Jay Fisette and Green Party challenger Audrey Clement was the night’s most divisive, with Clement challenging the streetcar project and the Board’s fiscal policies.
“I pledge to raise no taxes,” Clement said, “Repeal last year’s tax increase… and authorize an inspector general for the county’s budget.”
Clement again voiced her support for the referendum to create a housing authority, which Fisette and other Board members oppose. Fisette defended the Board’s actions, asserting that the tax increases were largely to pay for the increase in school enrollment and the streetcar “fulfills the vision of the revitalization of Columbia Pike.”
“I will ensure that Arlington continues to be a community that respects the differences among us,” he said. “I believe that there’s more to do, and I have more to give.”
Six races were represented during the forum: Fisette’s Board seat, James Lander’s School Board seat, and the 45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th District races for the House of Delegates. Lander and Del. Robert Brink (D-48) are running unopposed, and each gave two-minute speeches and took one question from the floor. Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) did not have an opponent to debate at the forum after it was revealed that independent candidate Jeffrey Engle was not in attendance.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) and Libertarian challenger Laura Delhomme — participating in her first debate — fielded questions about affordable housing, wind energy and their thoughts on the Republican state ticket. No Republican is running for any seat, state or local, in Arlington.
“I’m not a socially liberal Republican, I’m not a fiscally conservative Democrat,” said Delhomme, who suggested repealing the state income tax and the Virginia Marriage Amendment.
Hope advocated for transferring more of Virginia’s energy from coal and natural gas to wind power and discussed how difficult it was to make progress in the General Assembly.
“In my first four years in office, I’ve learned that change can be very difficult,” Hope said. “Getting government out of our bedrooms and our doctor’s offices has divided our state and our parties.”
In the final debate of the night, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), running in his first re-election bid, and Independent Green Party candidate Terrence Modglin, showed the starkest disagreement, particularly on abortion. Modglin supports greater restrictions on abortion.
“I think the laws and regulations enacted, the intent of them was to, regardless of what the language was, reduce the number of abortions in Virginia and I think that’s a good thing in terms of public policy,” Modglin said.
Following Modglin’s response, Lopez looked slightly taken aback. He shook his head before he responded.
“A woman’s right to choose is non-negotiable,” Lopez said. “The [transvaginal ultrasound] legislation put up…was a travesty. It made us a laughing stock on the national stage. I will definitely fight these backdoor ways of reducing a person’s access to contraception.”
Election Day is on Nov. 5. The forum, held at Virginia Hospital Center’s Hazel auditorium, is organized every year as the unofficial start to Arlington’s fall campaign season.
(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) Last night, the campy made-for-TV movie Sharknado took Twitter by storm.
In one portion of the film, a scene clearly shows an Arlington police cruiser and fire engine.
At publication time, an Arlington police spokesman couldn’t be reached to confirm whether the shot was filmed exclusively for the movie or if it was simply stock footage appropriated by the producers.
Several Arlington notables were active on Twitter during the film. Among them: NBC News correspondent and Arlington resident Chuck Todd, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rob Krupicka.
Photo courtesy @rickolivieri
Krupicka walked away with 75.7 percent of the votes. His closest competitor, Republican Tim McGhee, brought in 20.6 percent, followed by Libertarian Justin Malkin with 3.4 percent.
“Today was a victory for our community. It was a victory for everyone who believes that we should move forward together,” Krupicka posted on Twitter last night. “Thank you to everyone (and there are lots of you) who made this victory possible.”
Krupicka fills the spot vacated by Del. David Englin (D), who resigned earlier this year following his admission of marital infidelity. Englin’s official last day was last Friday, August 31. His website now shows a message directing people to Krupicka’s site.
The 45th District largely covers Alexandria, but also includes about 13,000 voters from southeast Arlington. Of the nearly 55,000 total active voters, a mere 15 percent showed up to cast ballots. 1,351 of them were from Arlington.
Last year, Adam Ebbin (D) defeated Krupicka in the state Senate Democratic primary for the 30th District. Ebbin went on to win against McGhee in the general election.
There is now a little more than a year remaining in Krupicka’s term.
Krupicka Wins Dem Caucus — Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has won the Democratic caucus for the 45th District House of Delegrates seat, which represents some parts of South Arlington. Krupicka defeated opponent Karen Gautney by a caucus vote of 1,540 to 891. He will now face Republican Tim McGhee in the Nov. 6 general election. [Patch]
County Gets New Coach Bus for Seniors — The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has invested in a new 41-seat coach-style bus. The bus will be used for the department’s travel programs for adults 55 and over. [Sun Gazette]
History of the Twilight Tattoo — There are just 4 Twilight Tattoo performances left this summer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. An article about the history of the military tradition notes that its origins date back more than 300 years. The next Twilight Tattoo will take place Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. [U.S. Army]
Photo via @Rosy1280
Close Call at Reagan National — Three commuter jets nearly collided at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday afternoon due to a communications failure among air traffic control personnel. The planes were about 12 seconds away from a collision when a tower controller corrected her mistake. [Washington Post]
Ebbin Endorses Krupicka — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has endorsed Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka (D) in the Sept. 4 special election to fill Del. David Englin’s former 45th District House of Delegates Seat. “[Krupicka] has been a steadfast ally in the fight for true equality, world-class education system, a cleaner environment, smart transportation solutions, and innovative policies that keep our economy strong,” Ebbin said.
Kaine to Visit Arlington Business Today — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine will be visiting Clarendon-based business GridPoint this afternoon. Kaine, who will be joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), will highlight his “Strengthening Our Economy Through Energy Innovation” plan.
Extreme Weather on the Rise in Va.? — Extreme downpours and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in Virginia compared to 65 years ago, according to a new report by Environment Virginia. The group says the finding supports the idea that global warming is changing weather patterns. “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today,” said Environment Virginia Field Organizer Laura Kate Anderson. [Environment Virginia]
Krupicka is seeking to replace Del. David Englin, who submitted his resignation last week. In a press release, Krupicka — who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate last year — said he’s running “to ensure that we continue to have a progressive voice in Richmond.”
Krupicka’s campaign also released a list of endorsements, which includes much of the local Democratic establishment. Krupicka is expected to face Karen Gautney — the former chairwoman of the Alexandria Commission on Human Rights, whom Englin has endorsed — in an upcoming special election. Arlington School Board Member James Lander has also announced his intention to run for the 45th District seat, which includes parts of south Arlington.
The following press release was issued by the Krupicka campaign yesterday afternoon.
Today, Rob Krupicka officially announced his entrance into the race for the Democratic nomination in the 45th House of Delegates District.
“I am running for the House of Delegates to ensure that we continue to have a progressive voice in Richmond. My experience means that I will be ready to hit the ground running on day one. With two girls in school, and as a member of the State Board of Education, I will make our children’s education my top priority. As I’ve done for the last ten years, I will work for smart environmental and transportation solutions that create jobs and conserve our natural resources, and I will fight against the right-wing extremism that has rolled back women’s rights and true equality for every Virginian. We can’t move our state forward when others are trying to tear us apart.
“As a graduate of the University of Virginia, and someone who has worked to increase the number of students ready to succeed in college, I will work to make sure our public higher education system is transparent, affordable and accessible for every resident of the Commonwealth.”
“I am honored to have the support of state and local leaders as we start this campaign. I look forward to working alongside them to deliver the progressive leadership and real results that the people of the 45th district, and of Virginia, deserve.”
Rob Krupicka lives in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood with his wife Lisa and two daughters, Gillian and Janelle. He has been an active member of the community since moving to the area in 1993. He is the past president of the Del Ray Citizens Association, founder and co-chair of the Eco-City Alexandria Green Initiative, three-term member of the Alexandria City Council and currently serves as one of Governor Kaine’s appointees to the State Board of Education.
The 45th House of Delegates District covers the east end of the City of Alexandria, parts of South Arlington and Southern Fairfax counties and has been represented for the last seven years by Delegate David Englin who announced his resignation last week.
A partial list of Krupicka’s endorsements, after the jump.
Aftershock Felt Across Region — A 4.5 magnitude aftershock jolted some residents out of bed just after 1:00 last night. The epicenter of the aftershock was five miles south of Mineral, Virginia, epicenter of Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude quake. [U.S. Geological Survey]
Arlington Was Krupicka’s Waterloo — In the three-way primary battle for the 30th District state Senate seat, Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka picked up nearly half of the vote in his hometown. But he garnered a measly 14 percent of the vote in Arlington, allowing Del. Adam Ebbin to press his local advantage and claim victory. “Ignore Arlington at your peril,” says the Sun Gazette. Meanwhile, Krupicka says his political career may be over. [Sun Gazette, Del Ray Patch]
Design Proposal for Ft. Myer Heights Playground — The design for a new playground in Ft. Myer Heights includes “nature-themed playground apparatuses,” “two picnic tables and a barbecue” and “a sand play area with a non-potable water pump.” [Ode Street Tribune]
Earlier this week, we asked the three Democratic candidates for the 30th District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Here is the unedited response from Rob Krupicka:
My name is Rob Krupicka, and I started this campaign with the simple idea that we need new ideas in Richmond. I’m tired of the politics of blame that we see everyday in Washington D.C. I’m tired of the same old finger pointing and partisan bickering that takes us backwards. I’m running for Senate because Northern Virginia deserves a leader who will reject the politics of blame, and work tirelessly to produce results.
I’m a husband, father of two daughters, lifelong Democrat and this race is deeply personal to me. I grew up in a single-parent home and was born to a teenage mother who often struggled to support my sisters and me. From my earliest years, it was impressed upon me how important hard work and education are to a person’s future. No matter where people start in life, they should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. I’ve made this principle the foundation of my public service, whether it’s my involvement in public education or my work to build a more sustainable, healthier community.
I believe it is the responsibility of individuals who are committed to a cause to stand up for it. This passion for progressive ideals is what spurred me to run for office. It has been my honor to serve on State Board of Education since 2009 and the Alexandria City Council since 2003, where I am proud of the work we have done to protect funding for our schools, to make our community more environmentally sustainable, and to find forward thinking solutions to our very real transportation problems.
In Richmond, I will work to make Virginia the best state in the country to get an education. I will give local governments the tools they need to invest in cleaner, greener technology in order to protect our environment. I will stand up for our men and women in uniform, and see that they have the support they deserve. I will fight for progressive tax reform, and true equality for everyone regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
I have proposed a series of new ideas throughout this campaign that ranges from the expansion of access to Pre-K programs across the state, to the creation of high capacity transit corridors that get cars off our roadways. I have laid out a vision of what I will do as Senator, and while I know that not everyone will agree with me on everything, there will be never be a question about where I stand.
I started my political career at the neighborhood level, and it is that on the ground experience working to solve problems that I want to take to Richmond. I know that if you bring people together and put in the time to work through a problem, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. I want to go to Richmond to do big things, and put in the work necessary to tackle the problems our region faces. I will always fight to protect and improve the quality of life of our communities, and I would be honored to have your support on August 23rd.