Thursday, January 21, 2021
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Video: Alicia Plerhoples Kicks Off Campaign for Fairfax County Board Chair,...

I just got back from the well-attended (200+ people, I'd estimate) campaign kickoff for Alicia Plerhoples, who announced her candidate for Fairfax County Board...

Class Warfare in Chesapeake: Good Schools are for Homeowners Only

Chesapeake City HallNeighborhood opposition has killed a plan to build 260 apartments in Chesapeake and instead only 30 to 40 single-family homes will be built:
[NIMBY activist Miguel] Walker also says the quality of Hickory schools would draw families with school-age children to the Chapel Hill Apartments.

"I couldn't blame anybody who would want to," he said. "But it also comes down to renters. I don't know if this sounds terrible: Renters aren't really going to be invested in the community."

A similar saga played out last month in Western Branch, but on a larger scale, when City Council killed the massive Breckinridge development. Walker said he's expecting a call from John Arthur, who spearheaded the fight against Breckinridge, but he also has picked up pointers about the Western Branch efforts from reading newspaper accounts.

That Breckinridge development would've brought 1,500 new living spaces and millions more in economic development to an area in decline, but Chesapeake blocked it anyway, again citing concerns about new students. As Matt Yglesias points out, "'the schools here are good and people will want to send their children to them' operating as a reason to not let people move to a neighborhood has a particularly toxic impact on educational equity and effectiveness."

You often hear people say that Americans must want sprawling suburban lifestyles, because otherwise more people would live in dense developments and any attempt to say otherwise is a secret UN socialist plot. But here we have two very real examples of existing single-family homeowners preventing new apartments from being built, forcing hundreds of people to live further out.  

Do Arlington Board Candidates Only Like Smart Growth in Theory?

UPDATE 1/10: Read more on the positions of Melissa Bondi, Libby Garvey & Kim Klingler on these issues in their Greater Greater Washington questionnaire responses (Peter Fallon & Terron Sims did not respond).

Every Democratic candidate running for Arlington County Board claims to support smart growth. But when smart growth runs up against single-family homeowners' interests, are they willing to make tough choices? At a recent forum, statements from most candidates weren't promising.

The board has an open seat since Barbara Favola was elected to the state senate in November. Arlington Democrats will select a party nominee (who's almost certain to then win the official special election) at 2 caucuses on Thursday, January 19th and Saturday, January 21.

Wednesday night, the Arlington County Democratic Committee hosted a forum with the candidates. The forum spotlighted the paradoxical views of Arlington Democratic voters: They want candidates to express concern about things like smart growth, affordable housing, and transportation, but may be reluctant to support the density increases, transit projects or higher taxes to pay for affordable housing programs that may actually deliver it.