Did you know Arlington Democrats narrowly escaped nominating a House of Delegates member with some very serious ethical questions? That’s right – they could’ve nominated someone who missed a car tax payment. Imagine what a field day the Republican & Green Party candidates would’ve had with that!
That candidate was … me. (Cue Shayna Englin: “Narrowly?” OK, I needed to make it sound more dramatic.) After moving to Virginia in 2002, the first I learned of the personal property tax & Arlington decal fee was a form letter from Treasurer Frank O’Leary’s office telling me it was overdue. I emailed O’Leary promising to pay but pleading ignorance & hoping to get the late fee waived. “It is each taxpayer’s duty to know when taxes are due,” came the terse reply. Welcome to Arlington.
I tell the story because anonymous emailers are now shopping some similar stories about Arlington County Board candidate Melissa Bondi & claiming they make her unfit for office. I will not relate the details because not only do I not reward smears, the attempted smears in question are incredibly boring. I’m sure the people pushing the smears will disagree and be all SURELY YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS and WHY WON’T THE MEDIA COVER THIS SERIOUSNESS and that is what the comments section is for, so go to town making anonymous handles under which to file your complaints. To me, the real questions I’d like answered are about how the anonymous people first learned of the issues, whether they were tipped off by anyone on the Arlington County payroll, and how someone obtained creepy/stalker-ish photos of Bondi’s car from way back in 2006.
The very anonymity of the attacks is telling. If you won’t put your name behind your incredibly dull & grammatical error-ridden attacks, you’re just making your opponent look formidable. What you’re saying is that you or the candidate you support have nothing positive to run on, are terrified you’re going to lose, and have nothing substantive to attack Bondi with. I’ve already heard from several people who say these desperate smears only make them more likely to support Bondi. (If you’re wondering, I’d vote for Bondi, but I don’t live in Arlington, so who cares.)
Finally, a challenge to the candidates to shake up the race the right way: Say something interesting for once. Aside from Bondi’s pro-Columbia Pike streetcar stance, you’d think all five candidates thought they had the race locked up & just needed to avoid standing out.
And don’t forget to vote in the Arlington Democrats County Board caucuses on January 19th and January 21st.