Earlier this evening, the two main Arlington County Board candidates – Democrat Alan Howze debated big-time Republican donor (including to McCain/Palin, Romney/Ryan, etc.) John Vihstadt – debated in Cherrydale. Howze did an excellent job – highly knowledgeable about Arlington County at both a “vision” and “granular” level; level-headed; calm; reasonable – my only complaint being that I wish Howze had more forcefully called out Vihstadt’s numerous erroneous and misleading statements.
One whopper which Vihstadt repeated several times is that we can have Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Columbia Pike. In fact, Columbia Pike already has tons of bus service. Even more to the point, Columbia Pike DOES not and CAN not have the dedicated lanes which are crucial to having a BRT system that’s worth anything.
In addition to the Columbia Pike streetcar disinformation put out by Vihstadt, he also demagogued about the “million-dollar bus stops,” as if Alan Howze or anyone else is a fan of “million-dollar bus stops.” What a bunch of bull.
On and on it goes, including big-time Republican donor Vihstadt trying somehow to pretend that he’s not really THAT kind of Republican, but some sort of socially “moderate,” fiscally prudent person…you know, like a Democrat. Why he’s doing this is obvious: Arlington is an overwhelmingly Democratic county, and Vihstadt knows that if he’s seen as the “Republican candidate” – which he most certainly is, given his donation history and the fact that he was endorsed by the Arlington County Republican Committee – then he’ll lose badly. Which anyone who cares about the future of Arlington should hope he does.
P.S. I’ll post video as it uploads to YouTube. Here’s Alan Howze’s closing statement for now.
P.P.S. I didn’t see any other media (hello Washington/Bezos Post? Sun Gazette, which always likes to mock the “lesser media?”) covering this debate. I find that very telling, especially given the demise of the Patch newspapers (my guess is they would have sent a reporter to this).