The Arlington County Democratic Committee will use a so-called “firehouse primary” to choose a nominee to run to succeed retiring County Board chair Jay Fisette. Four candidates will be on the ballot: Peter Fallon, Erik Gutshall, Kim Klingler and Vivek Patil.
The unassembled caucus, in which any registered voter can show up, fill out a ballot and leave, will be held alongside the School Board caucus on May 9, 11 and 13 at Key Elementary School, Drew Model School and Washington-Lee High School, respectively. Candidates are ranked in order of preference by attendees.
But Maggie Davis, president of the Arlington Young Democrats, said such a system does not help more young voters get involved in the nomination process.
“It is incredibly difficult for a young person likely working multiple jobs with very little flexible free time to access the caucus,” Davis said. “There’s no in-person absentee voting, no absentee voting and the caucus only happens on certain times. And the Thursday night location [Drew Model School] is off the Metro corridor.”
“The issue is that neither system is perfect,” Malinosky said. “Obviously, we always want to see more people vote and make it easier for people to vote. On the other hand, primaries, especially when it’s just plurality, can be very negative.”
The Arlington Young Democrats introduced their resolution at the national convention to some reluctance from smaller jurisdictions, worried about the financial burden of funding a primary. But Davis said the principle of allowing as many people to vote as possible and all precinct voting stations being open won the day.
“It was generally accepted that we should have more open and transparent electoral processes,” she said.
Davis said the addition of a third day for caucus voting was a good compromise by ACDC, but that the Young Democrats still wish to see some kind of absentee voting introduced to allow as many people as possible to vote if they wish, even if they are absent on polling day.
Malinosky rejected the idea that a caucus allows the local party to who is chosen as the eventual nominee, and emphasized the need for positive campaigning. He added that the use of a caucus this year does not set a precedent for future nominating contests.
“If you look at the literature on political turnout, negative campaigning can really sink political turnout,” he said. “What we want to do as a party to influence it is have positive campaigning. But I don’t think there’s an end-all, be-all perfect answer for caucuses vs. primaries.”
Competing Convention Watch Parties — The Arlington GOP and Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans are hosting a Republican convention watch party tonight at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill in Courthouse. The Arlington Young Democrats, meanwhile, are holding their own watch party for the last night of the GOP convention. That event is being held at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon. [Facebook, Facebook]
Youth Hockey Team Profiled — As part of its “Harris’ Heroes” segment, TV station ABC 7 yesterday profiled the NOVA Cool Cats, a hockey team for youth with developmental disabilities. The team plays at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [WJLA]
Road Rage Incident in Rosslyn — A man allegedly brandished a handgun and followed two women during a road rage incident on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, after the female driver honked her horn while the man’s vehicle blocked her path. [Arlington County]
Lighting Task Force Needs More Time — A task force trying to determine whether to add lighting to the Williamsburg Middle School athletic fields says it will present its findings in January. The task force, chaired by former County Board primary challenger Erik Gutshall, was originally expected to wrap up its work in June. [InsideNova]
A near-capacity crowd packed into Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon Wednesday night for a Democratic showdown between County Board member Libby Garvey and primary challenger Erik Gutshall.
The Arlington Young Democrats-hosted debate was perhaps not the battle royale some were expecting, but there were a few pointed barbs from Gutshall and an assertive defense from Garvey of her record.
Gutshall started his line of attack before the debate even started, by CCing news outlets that morning on a letter to Garvey, questioning why former Republican Congressman Tom Davis donated $1,000 to her campaign. (In 2014, Davis also donated $1,000 to the campaign of independent County Board member John Vihstadt, who Garvey endorsed over Democrat Alan Howze.)
“I was shocked to learn that someone running to be the Democratic nominee would so openly solicit, and accept, campaign contributions from someone whose job and mission it was to defeat Democrats,” Gutshall wrote. He asked Garvey to sign a pledge to only support Democratic candidates and to reject campaign contributions from current or former Republican elected officials.
At the debate, Gutshall said it was “not acceptable” that Garvey had not signed the pledge, also citing her decision not to endorse Del. Rip Sullivan during his campaign.
“Absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent I will support the Democrat, period,” Gutshall said.
Garvey, meanwhile, declined to make any absolute promises, saying she would make decisions based on “what is the right thing for Arlington… what is best for the people I serve.”
“Generally, that’s the Democrat,” she said. Her answer was followed by a couple loud boos from the crowd.
Gutshall attempted to re-litigate the streetcar battle, saying that Garvey “has sat on the sidelines” since she and Vihstadt helped to scuttle the project, which would have brought light rail transit to Columbia Pike. (The county has said an alternative transit plan will be coming this year.)
“We don’t have the transit that’s there to meet the needs of density” along Columbia Pike, said Gutshall. “We have the right to expect more and do better.”
Garvey said that until January, when she took over the County Board chairmanship, she “did not have the votes” to push a Bus Rapid Transit plan for the Pike. With the addition of like-minded Democrats Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey this year, she said the County Board is functioning well as a team.
“Your board is a very exciting board right now,” she said. “I have done a lot since January. I would like to build on this experience and build on this work.”
Gutshall accused Garvey of abandoning the infrastructure investment mindset that led previous generations of local Democratic leaders to support, for instance, the building of the Metrorail system.
“Progress comes by investing in the future,” he said. “The main reason I’m running here is that I have heard rhetoric that we should turn and look inward and that we cannot afford to meet these challenges.”
Metro Delays This Morning — Metro is experiencing big delays on the Blue and Orange lines after reports that a teenage girl intentionally jumped onto the tracks at the Eastern Market station. The Blue and Orange line is single-tracking between Eastern Market and Federal Center, while the Silver Line is only operating between Wiehle-Reston and Ballston. [Hill Now, Twitter, Twitter]
Gondola Feasibility Study Gets Eight Responses — Eight firms have responded to a Request for Proposals to conduct a feasibility study of a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola system. The team for the study is expected to be chosen in about a month. The study is expected to be complete by the end of the year. [UrbanTurf]
Fire Danger Today — There’s an enhanced threat of brush fires today, even in Arlington. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area as low humidity and gusty winds combine for a significant fire danger. “Any fires will have the potential to spread very rapidly,” NWS says. [National Weather Service]
Parking Lots Crowded at DCA — Spring break and the Easter weekend are combining for a busy week and crowded parking lots at Reagan National Airport. As of this morning, the airport’s 2,613-space economy lot is full and there are only a few hundred spaces left in the 5,223-space Terminal B/C garages. [Twitter, Fly Reagan]
AYD Date Auction Next Week — The Arlington Young Democrats will hold their 15th annual charity date auction this coming Tuesday. Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes — along with face time with prominent elected officials — will be auctioned off to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. [Arlington Young Dems]
Pentagon City Apartment Complex Gets Financing — The Altaire, the high-end residential development at 400 Army Navy Drive, has obtained $100 million in financing from Wells Fargo and is expected to begin construction this month. The 20-story complex will have two towers with a total of 453 units. Construction is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2018. [Washington Business Journal]
History of Hall’s Hill — This year is the 150th anniversary of the historically African-American neighborhood of Hall’s Hill, also known as High View Park. An event on the community’s history last week revealed the origin of its name. Hall’s Hill is named after Bazil Hall, a white slaveholder who sold plots of land to freed slaves after the Civil War to spite his white neighbors. [InsideNova]
Arlington Real Estate Agent Invited to SOTU — Naveed Shah, an Army veteran and a Rosslyn-based real estate agent, was invited to be a guest of the White House at tonight’s State of the Union Address. Despite the fact that Shah and his family moved to the U.S. when he was two, after living in Saudi Arabia, Shah grew up in Northern Virginia and describes himself as “as American as it gets.” [Military Times, NBC Washington]
Local Immigrants Worried About ICE Raids — There’s growing fear among undocumented immigrants in Northern Virginia of stepped-up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. Advocates are advising immigrant families “to have a plan for their kids in case they’re deported.” In other news, it’s said that ICE agents “are making their presence felt and regularly hang around the Taco Bell on Little River Turnpike” in Annandale. [Annandale VA]
Arlington Young Dems, GOPers Working Together — In a show of bipartisanship during the heat of a presidential election year, the chairs of the Arlington Young Democrats and the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans met over the weekend to plan joint community service events in 2016. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Dems Debate in Ballston — The six Democratic candidates for County Board faced off in their first debate last night, before a standing-room only crowd at the NRECA conference center in Ballston. The debate was held by Arlington Young Democrats. Though knowledgable about current issues facing Arlington, candidates were light on specifics about what should be done to address those issues. [InsideNova]
Disruption Corp. Sold to 1776 — Disruption Corp., the Crystal City-based tech investment fund and office space, has been acquired by D.C.-based tech incubator 1776. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [Washington Post]
Caps Pep Rally at Elementary School — Third grade students at Carlin Springs Elementary School have won a contest to bring a Washington Capitals playoff pep rally to their school today. The rally will start at 12:30 p.m. “There won’t likely be any players, but it will be a great time for all,” a teacher tells ARLnow.com. “The kids will be getting prizes, pictures with Slapshot (the Caps’ mascot) and learning some hockey skills. The Caps are also donating equipment to the school.” [Washington Capitals]
Artisphere ‘Doomed from the Start’ — Artisphere, which is on the budgetary chopping block next week, was “doomed from the start,” according to the artistic director of a theatre company that was booted out of its space at the cultural center two years after it opened. An anonymous Artisphere employee said of the early, over-optimistic attendance and revenue projections: “All of those numbers were so completely false.” [Washington Post]
McAuliffe Signs Special Needs Bill in Arlington — On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe came to Arlington to sign the ABLE Act, which will allow individuals with special needs, and their families, to set up tax-exempt accounts that will allow them to save for future living expenses. Virginia is the first state to enact such legislation, which received the blessing of the U.S. Congress in December. [WJLA]
Security of Va. Voting Machines Blasted — The touch screen voting machines now being replaced in Arlington and elsewhere in Virginia were “so easy to hack, it will take your breath away,” according to reports. [Ars Technica, The Guardian]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Target Eyes Rosslyn — A vacant storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn may become home to the D.C. region’s first TargetExpress, a smaller, grocery-oriented version of the big box retailer’s stores. So far, Target has not confirmed the news. The storefront has previously hosted Rosslyn BID-sponsored pop-up market events. [Washington Business Journal]
Key Bridge Rehab Planned — The D.C. Department of Transportation is planning to begin a two-year rehabilitation project on the Key Bridge this spring. Most of the work will focus on the bridge’s substructure so traffic impacts will be limited. Other planned work includes new LED streetlights, stronger barriers between the road and the sidewalk, and a new paint job for the bridge’s fence. [Georgetown Dish]
Sub $2 Gas in Arlington — The average price of a gallon of regular grade gasoline in Virginia fell to $1.99 over the weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That’s the lowest statewide average price since May 2009. So far in Arlington, only one gas station is reported to have $1.99 gas: the Arlington Auto Service station at 5200 Columbia Pike. [VirginiaGasPrices]
AYD to Hold SOTU Watch Party — Arlington Young Democrats will be holding a watch party for tonight’s State of the Union address. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). President Obama’s address is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. For those looking for an ostensibly non-partisan watch party, Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (4251 S. Campbell Ave) is holding a “community watch event” starting at 8:00 p.m. [Arlington Young Democrats]
Blind Woman’s Luggage Returned Thanks to TV Station — WJLA’s “7 On Your Side” segment helped a blind Arlington resident retrieve her lost luggage at Reagan National Airport. The bag, reportedly containing all of Jessica Kyriazis’ winter clothes, was lost for several days by American Airlines due to circumstances arising from “bad weather.” [WJLA]
Taylor Gourmet Now Open at DCA — A Taylor Gourmet is now open at Reagan National Airport. It’s the latest in a line of trendy local restaurants that are opening at the airport this year, including Cava Grill, &pizza, Bracket Room, Lebanese Taverna Grill, Kapnos Taverna, and El Centro D.F. [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Graffiti Closes Powhatan Skatepark — Powhatan Springs Skatepark is temporarily closed after “graffiti containing vulgar language” was found. The park will be temporarily closed until park staff can remove the graffiti. No word yet on a reopening date.
Tejada: Three Dems on County Board — At the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner over the weekend, Walter Tejada said pointedly that he is “one of three Democratic county board members,” presumably excluding Libby Garvey. Garvey was also not listed as an “Arlington Democratic Elected Official” in the program. [Blue Virginia]
Dominion Planning New Underground Power Line — Dominion Virginia Power is planning on building an underground power transmission line from Arlington to Alexandria. The $160 million project is intended to address “a local reliability load issue… that could potentially impact neighbors by 2018.” Alexandria officials are expressing objections to the project. [Washington Post]
AYDs Eye South Arlington — Arlington Young Democrats are trying to increase their outreach to women, minorities and to residents of south Arlington. The organization has appointed a new “outreach chair and communications director” who will be in charge of recruiting individuals in targeted groups and “mak[ing] them feel welcome.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool by Brian Allen
The election was held this past Sunday. Omara-Alwala had been the YDA vice president since 2011, and her “progress” party swept the election at the YDA annual convention in San Antonio.
Omara-Alwala is a Richmond native, a 2003 graduate of the University of Virginia with a Master’s in public policy from George Mason. She worked for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) when he was governor, and currently works as a consultant and nonprofit manager.
She was elected on a platform of training young Democrats for campaigns or political office, re-establishing a “National YDA Lobbying Day” and “collaborating with targeted Democratic campaigns to increase outreach to major constituencies including women, Latinos, African Americans and labor-affiliated voters.”
New Long-Haul Service at DCA — JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines are adding new long haul service from Reagan National Airport to four cities, respectively: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Porland, Ore. [CBS News]
Meeting Tonight About Ballston Park — Planners from the county parks department will be meeting with residents tonight to discuss options for the small triangular piece of land next to the Ballston public parking garage at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. At one point a mini golf course was proposed for the tiny park. [Arlington Mercury]
Bond Sale Expected Next Month — Arlington County is expected to issue up to $110 million in new bonds next month. The bonds will help pay for school projects, parks and recreation projects, and Metro improvements. [Sun Gazette]
Recap: Entrepreneurship Event at Artisphere — An tech-oriented entrepreneurship event at Artisphere over the weekend is being called a success after attracting more than 400 attendees for panel discussions and networking. [Bisnow]
Young Dems Date Auction Tonight — The annual Arlington Young Democrats date auction kicks off at 7:00 tonight at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street). Disclosure: AYD is a current ARLnow.com advertiser.
The plan was for elected officials and other Democratic notables to get dunked while raising money for the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans. With storms in the forecast, organizers reluctantly canceled the first annual Democratic dunking. Instead, as heavy rains descended on the area, attendees had to make due with the usual formula of chili, music and conversation as they huddled inside the hot and humid Lyon Park Community Center.
Among the brave dunk tank volunteers who stayed dry last night were County Board member Mary Hynes, Del. David Englin, School Board member Sally Baird, former 31st District state Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Also on the dunk list were blogger and consultant Ben Tribbett, ACDC Chair Mike Lieberman, ACDC Finance Chair Bree Raum, Arlington Joint Campaign Co-Chair Lauren Hall, former School Board candidate Terron Sims and ACDC precinct operations chair Kip Malinosky.
County Board member Walter Tejada, who’s up for re-election, captured this year’s “best chili” crown for his “inclusive” selection of meat, mild veggie and spicy veggie chilis.
The Arlington Young Democrats are preparing for their biggest night of the year, not counting election night.
The Young Dems will be holding their 10th annual charity date auction Wednesday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street). More than 100 people have RSVPed for the event, which will feature “over twenty of Arlington’s sexiest bachelors and bachelorettes,” as well as celebrity auctionees Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Rep. Tom Perriello and former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe.
AYD has released YouTube videos featuring two of its non-celebrity auctionees. Kat, above, is a personal trainer who says she can squat 175 pounds, enough to (probably) lift her date. Be forewarned, gents: you don’t want to pay for her meal with a Groupon. Chris, seen here, will take a lucky lady on a Potomac River sailboat ride with wine and cheese. He expects to fetch at least $10 to $15 at auction.
The auction will benefit the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new pair of men’s boxer shorts — in large, XL or XXL sizes — to donate at the door for a raffle ticket.
Virginia Dems Seek to Clarify Lobbyist Rule — The Democratic Party of Virginia is seeking an independent legal opinion on whether state law bans federal lobbyists from serving as party chairman. The move comes after Brian Moran, brother of Rep. Jim Moran and a top lobbyist for for-profit colleges, decided to seek the state Democratic chairmanship. Former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Peter Rousselot is also running for the position. More from the Washington Post.
Giant Wall Projections in Rosslyn — From 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., every night through this coming Saturday, large images will be projected onto the side of an office building in Rosslyn. The photo and video projections are part of FotoWeek DC. More from the Ode Street Tribune.
Shirlington’s New Irish Bar Asks for Sign Change — Shirlington Village Blog has an image of the bright orange flyers posted around Shirlington, advertising a proposed site plan change for the future Samuel Beckett’s Gastro Irish Pub. The change would allow Beckett’s to have more signs identifying itself to the outside world. The issue will be heard by the county board this weekend; county staff is recommending that the requested change be granted.
Flickr pool photo by Team Rank
Politico is reporting that an Arlington Young Democrats-sponsored “absentee voting happy hour” last week may have broken federal election laws.
The event, at Velocity Five in Courthouse, promised free beer for anyone who showed up with a sticker proving that they voted absentee.
“In elections in which federal candidates are on the ballot, no one can offer any kind of benefit or reward for voting,” an election law professor told Politico.
AYD President Gordon Simonett said “zero people” showed up to take advantage of the group’s offer.
Forget the recession, there’s apparently a bull market for eligible Democrats. The Arlington Young Democrats raised nearly $8,000 at their ninth annual date auction last night.
The event at Clarendon Grill featured dates of all flavors: two dozen men and women; straight, gay, and bisexual. Even “pairs looking for a double date” were auctioned off.
A few other auction items brought in big bucks. The top money-getter was a lunch with former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe, which went for $650.
Over 300 people attended the event, according to organizers. In addition to the 100 pounds of canned and non-perishable food collected at the door, half of the money raised, about $4,000, will go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center, which delivers groceries to those in need.
Photos courtesy Hadley Hunter Hawks.