With the Democratic caucus to select our nominee for Arlington County Board just days away (it’s being held this Thursday evening at the Key Elementary School, and 11 am-7 pm Saturday at Kenmore Middle School), Democratic candidate Alan Howze has received an important endorsement.
The Sierra Club is pleased to announce its endorsement of Alan Howze in the Democratic Caucus on January 30 and February 1 for the the Arlington County Board.
Running in a strong field, we are endorsing Mr. Howze given his depth of knowledge and understanding of the key environmental issues facing the County, including his support of the Columbia Pike streetcar, which the Sierra Club supports as vital to the future of the growing community along Columbia Pike. In endorsing Mr. Howze, we recognize that such a significant investment in transit will require close monitoring by the County Board and its staff. We applaud Mr. Howze all the more for so clearly outlining the long-term benefits of the streetcar, which the Sierra Club views as the defining transit investment in Arlington – perhaps as significant to the County in promoting smart growth as Metrorail was to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor a few decades ago.
I’ve been trying to decide between Alan Howze and Peter Fallon for my #1 and #2 picks, as I find each of them to be impressive for different reasons (note: Arlington Democrats are using Instant Runoff Voting, so you get to rank your candidates). However, this endorsement of Howze by the Sierra Club – combined with Howze’s strong answer on his progressive values in his Patch interview – has combined with considerations of electability (I’m very concerned about the general election, and believe that Howze has shown a far greater ability than Fallon to run an effective political campaign) definitively made up my mind that I’m going to vote Howze #1 and Fallon #2.
Note that even though there are three candidates, I’m only voting for two, NOT three. There are strong reasons for this decision, namely:
*I normally am enthusiastic for new people/faces coming into the Democratic Party (e.g., Wesley Clark, Jim Webb), but Cord Thomas is automatically eliminated – and should be by all Arlington Democrats – for several reasons (see my post here for detail). First off, he has shown no history whatsoever of involvement in Arlington politics or civic life (other than working “100 hours a week” as a businessman, which is great, but not a qualification for this position per se).
Second, I’m highly disappointed that Thomas rarely even voted in Arlington, and when he did it was usually in national elections, not local ones (again, where’s the interest and/or involvement in Arlington affairs?). Sorry, but I don’t buy his excuse that he was too busy to vote. In my mind, voting is one of the most essential rights, privileges, and obligations as an American citizen, a right which millions of brave Americans have fought to defend. Unless you have some dire reason why you can’t vote, my view is you absolutely must vote. Yes, I’m a hard-a** on this one.
Third – and this is a total killer for me – Thomas voted for the raging homophobe, racist, anti-Semite, conspiracy theorist, and all-around loony tune Ron Paul in the 2012 Virginia Republican presidential primary. Just to emphasize: I utterly despise Ron Paul (and his son Rand too, while we’re at it – they’re both completely bonkers), and any vote for him (let alone one just 2 years ago, in the Republican primary for President) is sufficient, in and of itself, to be an automatic disqualifier – at least the way I look at it – for the Democratic nomination for ANY position, regardless of any other reason (and no, I don’t buy for a minute the implausible explanation by Cord Thomas that he only voted for Ron Paul to keep a dialogue going about Afghanistan). I also still haven’t heard a detailed, plausible, convincing explanation from Thomas – like the one Jim Webb gave to Josh Chernila, Lee Diamond and me in December 2005 – about how he reconciles (supposedly) being a Democrat now with his past political behavior (in Webb’s case, it involved long study of Jacksonian Democracy, along with the Republican Party lurching to the right).
For all those reasons, plus the fact that I don’t agree with Cord Thomas on his entire approach to Arlington government (as laid out in debates, literature, etc.), Thomas doesn’t get my #1, #2, or even #3 vote this coming Thursday (or Saturday). Honestly, I’m not sure why he’s running as a Democrat and not as a Libertarian or whatever.
With that, I urge all Arlington Democrats to vote either this Thursday or Saturday for Alan Howze as their first choice and Peter Fallon as their second choice. Either one would do a great job on the Arlington County Board, while the other candidate should be automatically disqualified by Democrats due to the reasons listed above.