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County Board Candidates "Spar Over Merits" of AHMP

The Arlington County Civic Federation held its annual candidates forum last night. As they wrote in their September newsletter, the "annual Candidate Night Forum, is the start of the fall campaign season for those seeking public office in November. This is always one of the most popular meetings of the Civic Federation with a large number of non- members attending. It provides an opportunity for delegates and alternates of the Civic Federation to be able to interact with candidates."

By 7:30 this morning, the Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey was reporting the back-and-forth from the debate among the four candidates for the Arlington County Board. Here's a portion of his report, but it's less half of the entire report:

"County Board candidates split down the middle on support for Arlington’s affordable-housing plan during campaign season’s annual kickoff Sept. 8.

"Democratic nominees Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol backed the plan, which goes to the County Board Sept. 19, while independents Michael McMenamin and Audrey Clement attacked it as ill-conceived and a potential budget-buster.

“This is something that will bankrupt the county,” said Clement, projecting an annual cost to taxpayers of $90 million or more – about double what the county government already spends on housing, a figure already far higher, on a percentage basis, than surrounding jurisdictions.

"The four candidates squared off at the annual Arlington County Civic Federation candidate forum, held at Virginia Hospital Center. They are vying to succeed Democrats Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, who did not seek re-election.

"Clement said she feared that the public had no idea what was in the wide-ranging housing proposal, or the financial costs it would entail.

"The county government, she said, “wants to buy the plan first, then discuss how to pay for it. This is a land mine.”

"That drew a rebuke from Dorsey, criticizing “back-of-the-envelope” cost estimates and saying that if ways can be found to lower housing costs, residents will have more cash to pump into retail purchases."

Take a couple of minutes to read the entire article here. And if you're left wondering how Arlington County "will end up exclusively for the ultra-wealthy," take the time to study each of the four candidates for Arlington County Board. Candidate information is available at the Office of Voter Registration webpage.

At ARLnow.com this morning, Heather Mongillo's reporting took much the same line. However, she also pointed out that independent candidate Mike McMenamine differentiated himself from the other three County Board candidates:

"While housing affordability is an important topic, McMenamin said it is the wrong issue to be prioritizing, separating himself from the three other candidates who include affordable housing as a top platform issue.

“We’re betting everything on affordable housing when we have a school crisis,” he said, referring to the burgeoning student population, overcrowded schools and the proliferation of trailer classrooms across the county.

"Arlington also needs to focus on the commercial vacancy rate, McMenamin said, an issue all candidates agreed on.

"The county needs to work on “getting businesses back in the county,” he said. The county should focus on becoming a home for large companies like Marriott — which is considering moving from Maryland — but also provide a nurturing environment for start-ups, he said.

"The county needs to find “creative ways, like tax relief,” to make the county more attractive to business, McMenamin said."

We growled about the "Affordable Housing Master Plan" four times in June -- June 7, 2015; June 11, 2015; June 13, 2015; and, June 17, 2015.

You can access the "Affordable Housing Master Plan," and its several off-shoots at the Affordable Housing Study webpage.

And, finally, take a few minutes, and tell the Arlington County Board members your thoughts about taxpayer-subsidized housing in Arlington County. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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