Latest Gutshall for Arlington County Board Mailer Correctly Argues He’s the “Clear...

Latest Gutshall for Arlington County Board Mailer Correctly Argues He’s the “Clear Choice” for Voters on June 14


The Erik Gutshall for Arlington County Board is out with its latest mailer (see below), arguing (correctly) that Gutshall is the clear, better choice for voters on June 14. Among other reasons, the Gutshall mailer cites the fact that “Libby is divisive…only 1 of 22 current elected officials have endorsed her; None of the current County Board or School Board Members.”

Also, see below for the Gutshall campaign’s explanation of Garvey’s failure to “refute the logical conclusion from her comments from the March 17 County Board meeting that she would like to eliminate the tax exemption [for Arlington Seniors who want to continue living in their homes].

Finally, check out the Twitter exchange over today’s Kojo Nnamdi Show segment on the Arlington County Board race. Fun times! LOL



Garvey’s response to Gutshall mailer conflates the facts; video of County Board [fwd to 54:39] meeting supports Gutshall’s account of Garvey’s record on senior tax relief program.

Many of you received my mailer on Libby Garvey’s recent suggestion to eliminate the real estate tax exemption for seniors, which would make Arlington the only jurisdiction in Northern Virginia without this critical program. In response, Ms. Garvey released a statement claiming my mailer was false, conveniently deflecting the issue to taxdeferrals. She does not refute the logical conclusion from her comments from the March 17 County Board meeting that she would like to eliminate the tax exemption.

This is an important policy issue with far-reaching implications for people’s lives.  As explained to Ms. Garvey by County staff in that meeting, there is a significant difference between exemptions and deferrals to achieve the goals of the tax relief program for seniors.  County experience shows us that few seniors take advantage of the deferral program because it leaves a large tax burden for seniors’ family members.  For this reason, only 25 households participate in the deferral program, while an estimate 900 households benefit from a full or partial tax exemption.  Just as many seniors won’t consider a reverse-mortgage, if the exemption option was eliminated, many vulnerable seniors would choose to leave their homes in lieu of the deferral option.

Ms. Garvey further conflates the issue by citing a vote by the other County Board members to study this issue to justify her position.  However, she should also share that County staff presented a range of income and asset level alternates for County Board consideration, none of which included elimination of the real estate tax exemption option.  In fact, the County Manager recommends keeping the tax exemption in place. Further, though all Board members agreed to undertake a broader assessment of the program for next year, no other Board member remotely suggested support for cutting the exemption program like Ms. Garvey did.

Those who qualify for this program truly are the most vulnerable, low-income seniors, and on the County Board I’ll fight to help them stay in Arlington.

Below is the complete factual record citation for our mailer.  Decide for yourself who’s playing with the facts.



Department of Human Services and Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development
March 17, 2016

The quote we referenced takes place at 54:39“I’m very comfortable with deferral, I’m not so sure about the exemption.”

Click here for the link to the video.

In the FY17 budget review, Garvey suggested eliminating the real estate tax exemption for senior and permanently disabled homeowners, even though this was not one of the options recommended by the County Manager after a careful review of the tax relief program.  Garvey supports tax deferrals, the part of the program that currently only serves 25 households across Arlington, but does not support the means-tested tax exemptions that will serve an estimated 900 households. (See full Staff Report)



Garvey has recently twice voted against funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF):

  1. County Board FY17 Budget Work Session with the County Manager
    April 14, 2016

    Click here for the link to the video.
    At 1:23 A board majority of Members Cristol, Dorsey and Fisette all indicate their support for additional funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund.  However, at 1:45 when Garvey finally puts a motion on the table, she instructs staff to strip out $1.5M from Affordable Housing Investment Fund, saying: “If we take out the $1.5 million for AHIF…” Then, at 1:46:30 she concludes her motion by saying: “I will move that that’s what I would like to do…”
  2. County Board Meeting
    November 19, 2015

    Libby Garvey made a motion and voted to: “Reallocate $8,200,000 in attachment 1B, item 7 set aside for AHIF in FY 2017 to an unallocated contingent in FY 2017 to meet budget priorities of the County Board.”  Fortunately, her motion failed.
  • O.C.

    This post is utterly shameful. JOHN VIHSTADT has endorsed Libby Garvey. Christian Dorsey WILL endorse Libby Garvey. I know this because
    Christian owes Libby and John TREMENDOUSLY for his place on the County Board. The mailer said there was no endorsement as of 5/20/2016, but Gutshall should have predicted the future. To send out this mailer without paying an arm and a leg to pull back the mailer is SHAMEFUL.
    I am also disgusted with Gutshall’s tweeting vis-à-vis @notlarrysabato and @HopeforVirginia. So what if Libby paid @notlarrysabato to run a poll for her? That means @notlarrysabato is unfair in questioning Gutshall, running Libby talking points against him? Gutshall should follow the advice of @notlarrysabato’s past client @HopeforVirginia. Namely, stop attacking people and assuming that tough questions come from the prospect of future revenue.

    • lowkell

      Quick look back at a few of your previous predictions and comments:

      1) Abby Raphael would run for Chris Zimmerman’s seat (false)
      2) “The best part, though, was seeing John embrace Christian in these pictures. That tells us: —relax, we got our third…Christian’s one of ours (“ours?” yep, you’re a Republican)
      3) “Katie, you better support us or we’ll go all-in for McMenamin” (who’s “we?” hmmmm)
      4) “Activist types in the Democrat primary wanted to vote for Christian” (using “Democrat” as an adjective is a dead giveaway of a hard-core Republican)
      5) “The more $ you allocate to affordable housing at the high end, say through a blanket cut in the property tax, the less that’s available for APAH and VOICE types to shelter the teachers and day Laborers and police officers and dishwashers” (WTH???)
      6) “So silence means they endorse Libby. John Vihstadt and Christian Dorsey, obviously. But also Don Beyer, Jim Moran, Katie Cristol, Patrick Hope, Ingrid Morroy, James Lander, Barbara Kanninen, Nancy Van Doren, Sally Baird (former SB), Mike Lane (former CB), David Foster (former SB), Bob Brink and Rob Krupicka (both former delegates).” (WRONG on a bunch of these, particularly Bob Brink, who has endorsed Erik Gutshall and James Lander, who has endorsed EriK Gutshall)
      7) “About the middle of next week, Libby will roll out Patrick Hope’s full-throated endorsement (to join Christian of course)” (OK, we’re at “the middle of next week” now, still not seeing Christian’s or Patrick’s “full-throated endorsement” of Libby)

      Anyway, keep up the concern trolling; maybe you’ll even get a prediction right at some point. :)

      • O.C.

        Whatever. I’m a Libbytarian, and can support whomever I want. I can also oppose anything I want.

        • Owl

          And sooner or later you will lose.

        • lowkell

          Is this snark? Are you actually making fun of Libby? Or are you just trolling?

  • lowkell


  • lowkell

    Audio: Erik Gutshall Calls Into Kojo Nnamdi Show. Gutshall correctly points out that he has NOT been bringing up the streetcar in this race (as had been alleged on the show), but instead has been talking about Libby Garvey’s failure of leadership, 18 months since the streetcar was canceled, to move ahead with transit on Columbia Pike. Gutshall also notes that Garvey’s strategy for the June 14 Democratic primary is to encourage as many Republicans as possible to vote for her.

    • O.C.

      It was utterly rude and gutless for Gutshall to hijack the Kojo Nnandi show. Scott Brodbeck and Ben Tribbett expected to be pundits, and to discuss Arlington as they wished to define it. When you’re serving as a guest on a public affairs show, you have the right to present the situation as you see fit.

      In doing so, Gutshall was portrayed as supporting the streetcar’s resurrection. I don’t care that Gutshall doesn’t say that publicly, or even privately for that matter. If you deign to criticize Libby and John on transportation, then a pundit has the right to portray you BY THE PUNDIT’s DEFINITION as supporting and rehashing the streetcar. That’s just smart politics, and let me tell you it’s really effective to describe things that way when like me you’re trying to convince die-hard Republican neighbors why they should come out and vote in a Democrat primary.

      But no, Gutshall needs to be the center of attention. How embarrassing for Brodbeck and Tribbett to have Gutshall challenge their portrayal. That’s simply uncalled for as it’s completely off-script.

      Furthermore, how DARE Gutshall then tweet that Tribbett has done paid polling work for Libby. That was not supposed to be discussed. Even Tribbett’s past client Hope can recognize polling and punditry are completely separate.

      Makes you wonder what’s in a man who has the nerve to ambush guests on a public affairs radio program. The fact Gutshall was discussed is a red herring. It was rude for Gutshall to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong. But then, running against our friend Libby is rude in the first place.

      • Owl

        So, let me get this straight. They’re talking about Gutshall but he’s not allowed to call in an respond? And we can’t discuss a poll that every Arlington Democrat already knows about? Who wasn’t “supposed” to discuss it? And why?

      • lowkell

        Bizarre comment.

  • flaglerRR

    No, Gutshall isnt the clear choice. You just want a pound of flesh from Libby Garvey because she isnt polarized to the far left like the rest of wacky Arlington. Focus on the issues and let go of your hatred. I like having a little balance on the board instead of a slew of liberal rubber stampers. He commented on Blue Virginia. LOL.

  • Buddysystem

    This is what happens when you have a one sided county. You have no target to thrust your counter campaign. Get a couple republicans to run against the stale swinging door of Arlington liberals. Its healthy.

  • Kevin Cunningham

    I don’t see why making heirs pay back the taxes is such a bad thing. If you are lucky enough to live in Arlington County and benefit from its great services (and appreciation in real estate), it seems only fair that the county is duly compensated rather than granting a windfall to the heirs. I don’t see why the fact that folks choose to sell is relevant; less affluent younger folks sell because of the higher prices (and real estate taxes) all the time and move out further in Virginia, but that doesn’t mean we need to subsidise them.
    FWIW, I posted this question on Erik’s facebook page and got no answer. By contrast, Katie Cristol, who we can both agree is an excellent rep, answers everything on hers..