Why I’ve Been Running for Arlington County Board
I’ve run for County Board several times because I want to provide a voice for county residents like me who are concerned about the gentrification and green washing of the county. County Board promotes itself as a leader in Smart Growth. But skyrocketing rents and home prices coupled with the strains of rapid development on Metro and the school system point to anything but. I am also concerned that County Board portrays itself as a leader in promoting conservation and renewable energy, when half the population can’t recycle because the county won’t make landlords comply with the recycling code. The county is also dragging its feet on installing even minimal renewable energy facilities like solar thermal panels on public buildings.
If elected I plan to place the Greening of Arlington County at the center of County Board’s agenda. That means limited growth consonant with the county’s ability to absorb additional population; a comprehensive recycling program for multi-family dwellings; an aggressive program to insulate and retrofit county owned buildings with renewable energy components; and consolidation of the county’s housing programs under one umbrella agency that will leverage more funds for affordable housing. Finally I will put a halt to wasteful capital spending projects like the Columbia Pike Trolley that have seriously compromised the County’s ability to maintain schools, libraries, streets public safety and social services.
I’m a eight year resident of Arlington County. I spent the last twenty-five years in the Washington, D.C. area including a year on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Fellow for the 100th Congress. In 1993 I received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Temple University with a specialization in American voting behavior. So I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve on Arlington County Board.
As a longstanding member of the Arlington Coalition on Sensible Transportion, I filed suit in federal district court in 2009 to stop the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. I sought to enjoin construction of the I-66 Spot Improvement project until VDOT produced an environmental assessment that studied alternatives to road widening. I also argued that the project violated the 1977 Coleman Decision authorizing construction of I-66, which limited the road width to two lanes in each direction.
The suit was dismissed in federal district court and subsequently quashed by the Fourth Circuit of Appeals. But I’m certain that the only long term solution to congestion on I-66 is mass transit, including express bus in a dedicated third lane and/or additional Metrorail track in the median of I-66.
I am also concerned about the gentrification of Arlington under the guise of Smart Growth and participated in campaigns organized by the Arlington Green Party in 2008 and 2009 to place housing authority referendums on the ballot. The first referendum garnered 33 percent of the vote in 2008. The second referendum petition was quashed by an Arlington County circuit court after State Delegate Bob Brink (D-48) sponsored legislation enacted by the General Assembly to dramatically reduce the right of citizens to place such referenda on the ballot.
I currently advocate eliminating both plastic bags and Styrofoam from retail outlets in Arlington County, noting that the legislation currently sponsored by Democrats to impose a statewide plastic bag tax has been defeated by the Republican controlled General Assembly.
Finally I seek to expand recycling in Arlington, noting that the county lags behind other jurisdictions in the percent of solid waste that’s kept out of landfills, because only 10 percent of the refuse from multi-family dwellings is recycled.