Home Local Politics Arlington General Assembly Delegation (Past and Present) Opposes Change of Government Resolution

Arlington General Assembly Delegation (Past and Present) Opposes Change of Government Resolution

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The following press release is from the Coalition for Arlington Good Government, a group that’s fighting an effort to change Arlington’s form of government from a County Manager to a County Board. The signatories include all of Arlington’s current General Assembly members, as well as several past members. This follows a unanimous vote by the Arlington County Democratic Committee to oppose changing Arlington’s form of government. Personally, as I’ve said previously, I am convinced that this is very bad public policy and would be a major mistake if Arlington were to move in this direction.  I’m glad to see our elected officials speaking out against it.

June 1, 2010

TO ARLINGTON COUNTY VOTERS:

Signatures are being gathered to place on the ballot a referendum that would require Arlington County to adopt a new form of government structure. Based on our experience in the General Assembly, we oppose this effort. It could significantly impair our ability to advance Arlington’s interests in Richmond.

Arlington is unique among Virginia counties and cities. We are the only jurisdiction to have adopted the “County Manager Plan” of government, and a separate section in the Code of Virginia sets out Arlington’s powers and responsibilities.

Over the years, we and our predecessors in the General Assembly have succeeded in securing special powers for Arlington that reflect both the needs of an urban, diverse population, and our values as an inclusive, forward-looking community. For instance:


*Arlington’s requirements for child day care operations are far more stringent than statewide standards in terms of staffing ratios, personnel qualifications, etc.

* Arlington’s Human Rights Ordinance uniquely gives us the power to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

* Arlington’s Affordable Dwelling Unit Ordinance enables us to expand the stock of critically needed affordable housing in the County.

These and other authorities would be placed in jeopardy if Arlington were forced to abandon its current governing structure. The referendum would require us to adopt a form of government that is used by four rural, sparsely populated counties in far southwestern Virginia — jurisdictions with which Arlington has virtually nothing in common. Any change to this new form of government would need the concurrence of those counties.

In the coming years, Arlington faces great challenges — and even greater opportunities — in Richmond. The Arlington delegation will be better able to meet those challenges and capitalize on those opportunities if we aren’t required to expend our resources trying to regain existing powers and authorities. For these reasons, we oppose the “Change of Government” referendum.

Mary Margaret Whipple

Senator, 31st District

Patsy Ticer

Senator, 30th District

Bob Brink

Delegate, 48th District

Adam Ebbin

Delegate, 49th District

David Englin

Delegate, 45th District

Patrick Hope

Delegate, 47th District

Ed Holland

Senator, 31st District

1972-1996

Judy Connally

Delegate, 48th District

1992-1998

Karen Darner

Delegate, 49th District

1991-2004

Al Eisenberg

Delegate, 47th District

2004-2010

  • Teddy Goodson

    Sounds like meddlesome Republicans up to mischief (putting what they call “The People’s Republic of Arlington” in its place, perhaps?)

  • jfontaine

    At large voting systems have long been used as a tool to disenfranchise minority communities.  Virginia’s County government options were specially created as part of Jim Crow and Arlington chose a model that resulted in disenfranchisement and dilution of minority voting powers.  Would the obliteration of the Freedmens Village or Arna Valley have turned out differently had there been a pol facing re-election every 4 years. If you want empowered local communities then you should consider this change of government concept more carefully.