Archive for December, 2014

Arlington Grieves: Selfish Negative Victory? No!

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

How sad it is to be an Arlingtonian now; to have witnessed our first negative, single-issue Board campaign since the Reagan era.

This fire first struck on January 4, 2013, with an unexpected burst of lengthy, anti-Columbia Pike streetcar rhetoric from behind the dais, at the traditional and, heretofore, cordial and pro-forma New Year’s Day, Board Meeting.

(Interestingly, at the Dec. 17 swearing-in ceremony — only 18 days earlier — this new Board member spoke not one word of the streetcar.)

The person behind this ire had turned sharply against the Democratic party from which she sought and received its 2012 County Board nomination, and — just weeks before — was elected under the label, Democrat.

Then began a campaign crafted to split our County’s sound and consensus-building leadership.

She used her Board status and media-savvy persona to construct a negative, single-issue strategy, which appeared to be opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar project.

This strategy — call it the “Party of No” — viewed in the wake of last month’s election, now seems to have had, as its ultimate goal, the election of a candidate in direct opposition to this Board member’s Democratic party.

And on Nov. 4th a small minority — 21 percent of registered (scroll down to page 10) Arlingtonians — voted for her winning candidate.

They were voters who:

- could afford to take time-off to vote on election day,

- had the means to get to the polls,

- had the ability to obtain the requisite photo-i.d. cards, and

- heard and believed the negative clank of the “No Party.”

However, “No,” centered on one person and her electoral scion, has no deepened roots.

Those who’ve seen Columbia Pike traffic, and those who live and work along The Pike, know that the centuries-old thoroughfare is a more vehicle-strained transportation corridor than Wilson Boulevard, and has been strained long before Metro planners created the “Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.”

We in North Arlington have that fast-paced Metro — tunneled beneath Wilson, under the “corridor” — around which new merchants have blossomed and ever more residents thrive at every station stop.

With its snap, post-election decision to cancel all streetcar contracts, has our Board again made solid mass transit for South Arlington but a pipe dream?

These post-election days have been a sad, sad time for citizens and fair-minded policymakers, alike, in Arlington County, Virginia.

We cannot allow our County to be overcome by the dark clouds of the single-issue “No Party,” which, as is written in Ecclesiastes, has used its campaign as a “time to tear down.”

Arlingtonians have always had pride for our Arlington Way: propose, discuss, listen, cooperate and reach thoughtful consensus.

Now is the time to prepare for a New Year, a new “time to build up.”

Choose YES for those who have devoted years of open, all-inclusive meetings, planning sessions, budget talks — formal and informal — to prepare this well-designed mass transit project for the Pike.

YES for unity.

Let’s build a positive campaign for action.

Let’s re-cultivate for 2015.

Let’s ALL restore the bloom of hope for all of Arlington.