Video: Arlington Dems Call Out Republican John Vihstadt’s Distortions, Inaccuracies, Negativity

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    At tonight’s Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) meeting, Clerk of the Courts Paul Ferguson and ACDC Chair Kip Malinosky strongly called out Republican John Vihstadt for his numerous inaccuracies, distortions, misrepesentations, etc. Here’s Kip Malinosky noting that Vihstadt “recused himself” on affordable housing; voted AGAINST the capital improvement plan that would have put more money towards schools and road maintenance (including things like fixing potholes). As Malinosky put it, “I want somebody representing me on the County Board who is FOR something…and [Democrat] Alan Howze is that candidate,” NOT Republican John Vihstadt.

    Next (on the “flip”), Arlington County Clerk of the Courts Paul Ferguson also takes on Vihstadt’s  “distorting what the facts actually are.”

    The three issues that [Republican John Vihstadt’s] running on primarily are the street car – being against it of course, the aquatic center – being against that of course, and continuing to talk about this quote mmillion-dollar bus stop, that he is of course against. Against against against, do you hear the pattern?

    Let me start with the aquatic center, because this is the easiest one that just completely makes no sense. The Arlington voters approved a $50 million bond saying that we want an aquatic center here in the county. Well, it costs a little bit more than we thought…so what did the county board do, they pulled back…put this on hold…John Vihstadt…wants to use this as an issue in his campaign, so it’s politics rather than policy.

    Then we talk about this quote million-dollar bus stop. This was through federal stimulus funding, and it was run by WMATA, not Arlington County…[the board is] making sure that future bus stops will not cost this amount. But to try to pin this on Arlington County or on Alan Howze as some sort of example of financial mismanagement is really deceptive and is incorrect.

    Then finally about the streetcar, good people can disagree on this issue. However…as far as the funding differential goes…this is all dedicated transit money, so it’s NOT as if you can use this money by not doing the streetcar for something like schools…John Vihstadt doesn’t say that, but he keeps saying here’s what the priorities are, why is the county spending $500 million – I don’t know where he gets that money- on a streetcar when they have all kinds of other needs out there? Well, the truth of that matter is it’s dedicated transportation funding…it’s certainly an incorrect [implication] to say that you could use the money for something else…Every study that’s been done…have showed that it’s a multipler on investment…Good people could differ on this, but I think it’s unfortunate that the facts are being distorted in this race.

    • fendertweed

      The Aquatic Center is fair game as an issue IMO.   Bad judgment doesn’t go away just because you later pull the plug or postpone the bad decision due to intervening financial developments.  I think it is fair to criticize as a spending priority in the first place.

      The votes on affordable housing and maintenance and capital improvements may be two mistakes since, as noted, what one is for may matter as much or more than what one’s against.  And at least the latter issue affects all residents and is a clear need (the former is more discretionary, albeit important).

      On the other hand … even if Vihstadt retains his seat, there is still a 3-2 or 4-1 solid split on the Board.  It’s hard to think of a single issue on which having a divergent voice in the debate (Vihstadt) will actually change the result.

      Those who are tired of the circle-jerk echo chamber on the Board may still fail to see the practical downside to Vihstadt remaining, or why it’s so important to pad the 4-1/ 3-2 solid core with Mr. Howze.

      Many will also agree to continue to disagree on the merits of the streetcar, no matter where the funds come from.  I’m not sure I’ve seen & heard funding as the only objection (far from it, traffic logistics, growth patterns, etc., are all part of that conversation as I read it).

      The Arl. Co. Board seems to be ready enough to go negative when there is criticism of their own pet projects.  The theme that they know better and those of us who are paying for them just don’t get it has recurred.  I recall various condescending statements from Messrs. Fisette and Zimmerman, and Ms. Favola in that regard.