Home Local Politics Arlington Democrats Fight Change of Government Resolution at Blues Festival

Arlington Democrats Fight Change of Government Resolution at Blues Festival


My wife and I headed down to the Columbia Pike Blues Festival yesterday afternoon, expecting to hear some good music and check out the food. We were not disappointed in either of those objectives, with excellent blues bands and spicy Pad Thai. In addition, as I wandered around the festival, I ran into Arlington Democrats hard at work, recruiting volunteers and also urging people to “decline to sign” the “change of government” petition being circulated around these days. For more on that issue, see here. In short, this is extremely bad public policy, like trying to kill a flea with a sledgehammer, but it has a chance of getting on the ballot and possibly being enacted this November, which is why Democrats are trying to nip it in the bud now.  

Anyway, great work by Kip Malinosky (photo at upper left, credit to the excellent ARLnow online newspaper), Maureen Markham, and others (I also saw Arlington County Board members Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada, but I’m not sure if they were campaigning or just enjoying the festival), out in the blistering heat yesterday working to keep Arlington one of the best places to live in the country. Looking at it another way, if this thing passes, we’ll all have the “blues.”

P.S. For photos of the Blues Festival, check out the excellent ARLnow website. I’m really glad to see this local, online newspaper up and running.  Keep up the great work, guys!

  • jfontaine

    I got there about 530.  Petition gatherers had full sheets and seemed happy.  The deems were gathered in their tent and were too wrapped up in their own conversation when I came by to get information.

    I know that many of my neihgbors were not engaged in this discussion until the last couple of weeks when a proposed library relocation got us all thinking that perhaps having an elected ward rep to know the issues in our neighborhood might be better.

    I spent the last two weeks fighting the county staff out of the blue proposal to move the Columbia Pike library after 70 years in the neihgborhood.  I tried contacting Zimmerman and the rest of the board as my neighborhood civic association prepared to meet.  I finally got an email back after the county manager canceled the plan after our association had met and voted on the issue.  Yet many are still anxious about the future of local county services.  Throughout this whole process we were left without any political leadership to reach out to the staff and understand or explain when the decisions were being made and what process had been or would be followed in the future.  The fact that the county board members are only able to talk to the staff with the consent of the manager seems dysfunctional, and the lack of local accountability is bothersome.

    After I investigated the relationship between at large voting and Jim Crow and came to understand how it has been a continual tool to disenfranchise neighborhoods and communities I found myself struggling to go with my party leaders on this one.  I’m asking my fellow Arlington members of this site to help me understand why I shouldn’t cast my vote for this.  I really think the leadership needs to come up with better answer than a few scary comments about Arlignton losing it’s special priviliges and how ward based voting will let those scary poor people corrupt our clean civic goverernment.

    On the privileges front we’ve seen that those special exemptions only last until Richmond wants to widen 66 and then we stand by and watch our neighborhoods get just be ploughed under.


  • jfontaine

    Some kind of articulate reason for why we shouldn’t have an extended debate about our form of government with the opportunity to vote on it in the fall.  Really why refuse to sign?  Rather than let the party leadership tell us what they think we should do, shouldn’t we have some reasoned discussion of pros and cons and ensure that we have the right kind of government going forward.  Perhaps we could even see some meaningful reform proposed by the board of our current system, perhaps more power for the Citizens Advisory Councils on local matters, and a more thorough oversight of the county manager.  After all the Board can dictate his privileges to hire and fire, and set various restrictions on his power. I don’t see any reason we can’t have a more open and accountable process in our current system, but so far all I’ve heard is an echo chamber of “no’s” and a refusal to acknowledge the problems we’ve faced for generations as a legacy of the changes implemented in the 1930s.