Barbara Favola Gets $2.5k Donation, Votes 5 Days Later to Give Towing Industry $250k More per Year

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    I could have sworn that Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola, now a candidate for the 31st Senate District Democratic nomination, has been telling people that she doesn’t take money from interests with business before the Arlington County Board. As we know, of course, Favola’s campaign is being heavily funded by Arlington real estate interests, on whose projects Favola has voted multiple times in the past, and very well could vote again in the future.

    But be that as it may; we’ve been over that real estate example again and again, and we’re probably all getting tired of it by now.

    So, let’s move on to a different example: this one in which Barbara Favola received a significant sum ($2,500) of money from an industry (towing) and specifically from a company – Advanced Towing Company, which apparently is not fined for violations in Arlington County) – just 5 days before a crucial vote on an important change in fees and other rules governing that industry and to that company.

    Please click to “embiggen” both images. First is a screen shot of the $2,500 donation from Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill to Barbara Favola on April 21, 2011.

    Next is a screenshot of Barbara Favola’s “aye” vote – actually, she seconded the motion – 5 days after the donation, on April 26, 2011, for the changes in towing fees and rules.



    More information on this vote is listed here. Details on the new towing fees and other regulations that were adopted, 3-2, by the Arlington County Board on April 26, 2011, are available here.

    Finally, see here for a detailed story on the vote, including the fascinating detail that “the local towing industry will pocket about a quarter-million dollars in additional revenue each year.” The article also has a quote from Walter Tejada, who voted no, calling this “‘a very significant hit’ for those on fixed incomes.”

    So, bottom line: Barbara Favola received $2,500 from a towing company, then 5 days later voted for changes in Arlington County fees that netted that company a significant chunk of “about a quarter-million dollars in additional revenue each year.”  Can we say, “the appearance of impropriety?” Can we say, “this is EXACTLY why Arlington County board members aren’t supposed to take donations like this?” Argh.

    UPDATE: Just to get an idea of what people in Arlington think of Advanced Towing, check out Yelp. Typical comment: “Let me join hands with the other wronged souls who pledge alligiance to an eternal vow of justified hatred of the evil enterprise otherwise known as Advanced Towing.”

    • mrg.uva

      predatory towing, check out Charlottesville sometime.  It’s an art form.  It’s so bad, when I was school there, I had to get a job just to get my car out of the impound lot.  I spent more money on tows one semester than I did on textbooks.

    • LyonParkVoter

      If one had more time to research, I’m sure there are plenty more conflicts.  Isn’t there an Ombudsman that investigates ethics violations?  I’m sure she will claim again that it was an error, will blame someone else for not reviewing, etc.. But, ultimately she is responsible and the excuses are getting old.  However, based on her position on all the contributions she has received from special interests, I am sure that she still doesn’t think there is anything wrong with this or other contributions.  She tried to excuse away the Shooshan one by saying the example given was from 3 years ago, however, there are other more recent examples that Favola has approved led by Shooshan such as http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/… in December 2010.  Or the $32.6MM JBG project that she approved in October 2010 http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/… .  Again, I’m sure there are more we can find in the past and of course other matters for these contributors will continue to come before the Board.

    • JimWebster

      “… and we’re probably all getting tired of it by now.”

      Especially since I just put 2 absentee votes for Barbara in the mailbox this morning.

    • Favola Violates Arlington County Code of Ethics

      Areizaga-Soto renews calls for resignation after Favola takes a $2,500 donation from Advance Towing and five days later votes to increase towing fees

      ARLINGTON, VA. – New information has surfaced revealing that Barbara Favola took a $2,500 donation from Advance Towing and voted five days later to increase towing fees. Favola was the deciding vote on the increase that will generate hundreds of thousands of additional dollars for Advance Towing.

      The Arlington County Code of Ethics requires public officials to “adhere to conflict-of-interest rules and avoid activities with real or perceived conflicts of interest.”

      Barbara Favola has violated the Arlington County Code of Ethics,” said Areizaga-Soto. “It is time for Barbara Favola to resign from the County Board and quit using her public position for political gain, this is the worst of politics and shows disrespect for the values that Democrats believe in and fight for.”

    • Jeff Barnett

      Favola voted to raise the Arlington County towing fee to a level consistent with what bordering counties allow. The new rate is also consistent with inflation (the previous rate was instituted in 2008).