Video: Arlington County Board Candidates Rip Board on Reeves Farmhouse Decision


    Here’s video of last night’s Arlington County Board Democratic debate (candidates attending were Peter Fallon, Christian Dorsey, Bruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol and Andrew Schneider; James Lander was at a School Board meeting so did not participate in the debate). We’ll start with the candidates criticizing the County Board for its decision to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse property. See the comments section for more video, including a question on widening I-66 inside the Beltway (all candidates said that was a very bad idea); one on the qualities the County Manager should have (basically, perfect in every way – lol), another on County Board transparency (yes!), opening and closing statements. Worth noting: Andrew Schneider was endorsed by 2014 Demoratic County Board nominee Alan Howze. Schneider also made a very strong statement about why he’s a liberal Democrat, and why “I don’t think you can be an elected Democratic leader and not support our party and our nominees.” I strongly agree with Schneider, simply would change the word “can be” to “should not be.”

    P.S. I asked Christian Dorsey after the debate what he thought about the Arlington County Board resolution urging the Washington NFL team to change its (racist) name. Dorsey said he thought that passing resolutions was a break in precedent for the Board, and that if they’re doing to do that, it should be on something urgent/pressing. I asked him how he would have voted: yes, no, or abstain, and he basically didn’t like any of the options, said he might have been “not present” or something like that. I’d be interested in what other County Board candidates think on the question of: a) whether the Arlington County Board should be in the business of passing resolutions; and b) what they think of this specific resolution and how they would have voted.

    UPDATE: Andrew Schneider says he “didn’t support the resolution – even if I have personal qualms about the name…I would have voted with John  [Vihstadt] and Libby [Garvey] and abstained.”

    • Statement read for James Lander, who was not present because he was at a School Board meeting.

    • Christian Dorsey says he’s very “disappointed” with the County Board for any softening or weakening on this issue, calling it a “capitulation…of epic proportions…a departure from where Arlington has been;” Katie Cristol opposes it as a poor public policy strategy, but says that Arlington does need to listen to/communicate/work with surrounding jurisdictions on solving this problem.

    • All were supportive in various ways.

    • Cristol: Community engagement, broadening the voices listened to, “getting to yes”

      Schneider: “customer service-centric focus,” experience running large organizations, command presence, loves Arlington and is a great advocate for Arlington.

      Fallon: Finding the “right fit,” somebody who can lead and “motivate an organization of 3,500 employees,” diverse senior management team, work collaboratively with schools superintendent, record of results, record of successful public engagement.

      Dorsey: Competence in working in a Dillon Rule state, things that we CAN do to move towards our values; sufficiently motivated staff; honest partner to help take us to the next level.

      Wiljanen: County Board should set the agenda, direction, but County Manager is only interface between Board and staff, so needs to communicate the County Board’s instructions to the staff in a way that the path set forth is followed.

    • Fallon: County Board “needs to get out a lot more;” “move the meetings around different parts of the county;” “walking town meetings.”

      Dorsey: Need to strengthen commercial sector in county, help small entrepreneurs get a foothold; our “entire public participation process is absolutely broken, until we acknowlege it we’re going to fail.”

      Wiljanen: Expand the County Board communications office and professionalize it so citizens understand the intent of County Board votes and what they think the results of their votes…this would mean an executive summary after meetings.

      Cristol: Use the lever of the Board’s appointment process to ensure that they really represent all of Arlington (e.g., include renters, young families); child care affordability needs to be improved.

      Schneider:  Think about school capacity situation holistically; do not underfund Arlington economic development, “you do not grow your economy by cutting.”

    • Aneesh is busy today! LOL

      Arlington, VA – Today, former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced his endorsement of Andrew Schneider for the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board.  

      Mr. Chopra, an Arlington resident, was appointed the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States by President Barack Obama in 2009. He previously served as Virginia Secretary of Technology under Governor Tim Kaine and is currently Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Hunch Analytics and recent author of The Innovative State. Chopra cited Andrew’s commitment to innovative thinking and his passion for Arlington as the motivations for his endorsement.

      “Since meeting Andrew I have been consistently impressed with his grasp of the issues, his embracing of thinking of new ways of doing things, and his commitment to our community.  As a fellow Leadership Arlington graduate and parents of children in Arlington Public Schools, I am confident Andrew has the worldview and the skills to lead our community.  Andrew is an eloquent leader who is passionate about taking Arlington to even greater heights,” said Chopra.

      “Aneesh Chopra practically and literally wrote the book on utilizing innovation and technology to make our government work better, cheaper, with greater transparency and efficiency – ideas that we can deploy in Arlington right now at minimal cost.  I’ve been a fan of Aneesh since he was working with Governor Kaine and helping lead the nation in thinking outside the box.  As a County Board member I look forward to continuing to rely on Aneesh’s counsel and am so thankful for his support,” said Schneider.