Incumbents Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey easily won reelection to the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, defeating two independent opponents and ensuring the county will continue to be led by an all-Democratic board.
The dance between Arlington County Board members and those who want a fast, comprehensive release of information about incentives being dangled in front of Amazon continued at the March 17 County Board meeting.
“The county needs to release more information – the Arlington Way requires openness and transparency,” said Spencer Chretien, who was dispatched to the board meeting by the Arlington County Republican Committee to press for more information
A state bill targeted at helping country clubs in Arlington would cost the county more than $2 million in tax revenue, an internal county report says.
HB 1204, patroned by Fairfax and Prince William County Del. Tim Hugo (R), passed the House of Delegates last week by a vote of 65-33-1. The bill would “reserve to the Commonwealth the power to classify golf courses as land dedicated to open space for assessment and tax purposes,” according to an internal Arlington County fact sheet.
Arlington County elected Democrats Erik Gutshall to the County Board and Monique O’Grady to the School Board Tuesday, continuing their party’s decades-long dominance in this wealthy, urbanized suburb.
Complete unofficial returns showed Gutshall decisively beating independents Audrey Clement and Charles McCullough with almost 63 percent of the vote.
A well-funded Democratic political insider faces two independent candidates for an open seat on the Arlington County Board Tuesday in what has been a low-key contest compared with recent local elections.
Democrat Erik Gutshall won over three others in a party caucus in May after losing a hard-fought general election for another board seat in 2016. He has raised $159,420, including money from board chairman Jay Fisette (D) who is stepping down from the board after 20 years to create the open seat.
Democrat Libby Garvey is so confident of winning a second full term on the Arlington County Board that she hasn’t updated her campaign web site since June and didn’t raise any money in September.
Having survived a rare primary challenge this spring, she faces little opposition from independent Audrey Clement, who has run unsuccessfully for public office seven times in the last 13 years,
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey (D) said she wants to discuss raising — and possibly doubling — pay for elected board members, because the job requires “more than full time” hours.
Garvey said in an interview that she would support “something on the order” of matching board pay more closely to the median family income in the county, which is $110,900. Board members are currently paid $51,480, and the chairman receives $56,629 per year; the board last raised its own pay in 2012.
Libby Garvey ascended to the chairmanship of the Arlington County Board Jan. 1 with a firm set of goals and the stated desire of working collaboratively with a board that saw 40-percent turnover – and the loss of 20 years of institutional memory – at the start of the new year.
“We’ve got our board team together and we’re ready to go,” Garvey said at the board’s New Year’s Day organizational meeting after she was named chairman and Jay Fisette vice chairman on successive 5-0 votes. The positions traditionally rotate among members on a calendar-year basis.
The Arlington County Board, in its first 2016 meeting and with two newly elected members, signaled that its priorities in the famously progressive community may turn toward the right as new Chairman Libby Garvey set better customer service in zoning and permitting as her top goal.
Garvey (D), who spent most of her first term marginalized by a board that was more liberal, called the system of getting permits and zoning changes “so Byzantine that even employees don’t always understand it. As a board member, I also hear from large builders who find our processes frustrating and expensive. Private homeowners can find themselves totally lost.”
Arlington voters apparently got it all out of their systems last November, because Election Day 2015 largely returned to business as usual in the county.
Democrats Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol cruised to victory in the County Board race, easily defeating Republican-backed independent Michael McMenamin, who had hoped to strike paydirt by tapping into the voter disgust that helped propel independent John Vihstadt to victory last year.