• Next Meeting--Thursday, Dec. 4, 7:00 PM at the Community Room of the Ballston Firehouse Station (located at Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive). Special guest speaker will be John Vihstadt, recently re-elected Arlington County Board member.

October 6, 2014

Arlington Greens Vote to Oppose All Four Arlington Bond Questions on the November Ballot

Arlington Greens Vote to Oppose All Four Arlington Bond Questions on the November Ballot

October 6, 2014

The Arlington Greens voted unanimously at their October 2nd meeting to ask Arlington voters to deny the four bonds on the ballot on November 4: the four bonds total $218 million, the largest being $106 million for Arlington Public Schools.

The Greens indicated that the bond questions on the ballot for voter approval or denial were too broad and non-specific, and were essentially blank checks to the Arlington School Board and to the Arlington County Board to spend money for undefined purposes and without any cost or engineering plans.

John Reeder the Arlington Greens chairman said, “Arlington parents distrust the school board, and many feel duped by the School Board’s failure to approve a detailed CIP (Capital Improvement Plan). South Arlington parents were promised years ago a new elementary school, now proposed to be built on scarce parkland next to TJ Middle School.” He added, “Arlington parents should remember that critical on-going school programs were put on the chopping block in the past spring; and now a confused school board and a superintendent propose to rush spending $106 million on plans that are less than educationally optimal for our students.”

Reeder said the County Board similarly failed to specify for its three bond questions exactly where and how it will spend $61 million on transportation infrastructure, $13 million for local parks and recreation, and $39 million on “county facilities, information technology, and infrastructure.” He said, “voters should be wary of allowing the county board to spend over $100 million without detailed engineering and vetted plans because of these past abuses.”

Reeder added, “This county board built a million dollar bus stop on Columbia Pike, diverted many millions of park bond dollars approved by voters for park land acquisition to remodeling a failed Artisphere, and now proposes to spend over $300 million on a doomed trolley.”

The Arlington Green Party has run candidates for the Arlington County Board for the past 8 years. This year it has endorsed, independent county board member John Vihstadt for election in the November election.

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June 13, 2014

Don Beyer buys (“wins”) the 8th Congressional Democratic primary with $1.1 million with 17,700 votes at a cost of $62 per vote

political campaigns — @ 4:11 pm

The Democratic Party’s primary on June 10 proved once again that money talks and hot air walks: Don Beyer the Volvo dealer owner and millionaire spent over a million dollars to get about 17,800 votes (46 percent of 38,000 votes cast). The total votes cast were less than 10 percent of active registered voters in the 8th Congressional district that includes all of Arlington, the City of Alexandria, and a portion of Fairfax County. The eight leading candidates spent $4 million or $105 per vote cast to market themselves to voters. http://electionresults.virginia.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=CON&map=CTY

http://www.fec.gov/disclosurehs/HSCandList.do

Beyer spent $61.80 per vote cast for him. He blanketed households of known Democratic-leaning voters with slick brochures, telemarketing calls, and extensive paid telemarketing campaign like he was selling a new Volvo sedan. Beyer’s nearest Democratic competitors were Arlington state delegate Patrick Hope who spent $268,000 and got 7,092 votes ($35 per vote received) and Alexandria state senator Adam Ebbin raised $291,000 and got 5,262 votes at $48 per vote received. The highest spending candidate per vote received was Laverne Chatman who spent $192 per vote received.

According to press reports, Beyer used his ties to Obama campaign donors to raise the big bucks as well as loaning his campaign $200,000 from his own pocket. Don Beyer may be a good businessman and nice man, but he is a multimillionaire, and a member of the top 1%, and his mind set and interests inevitably reflect the interests of that group. Most of us living here in Northern Virginia are working and middle class people, highly education with good incomes but clearly not millionaires and wealthy businessmen.

Will Beyer if he wins the general election understand the concerns of the bottom 99%–such as lack of middle class jobs and middle class income and help for young and unemployed people facing a bleak job market with heavy student debts? Will Beyer champion higher taxes on the upper 1% and middle class persons concerns that conflict with the rich and the corporations who got us into this economic mess? Will Beyer advocate for a higher carbon tax that will cut sales of Volvos, SUVs, and vehicles?

Candidates of the U.S. Green Party refuse to accept corporate or PAC funds. It will take the rise of an independent and progressive political party like the Greens with many successful candidates to begin to reform our corrupt political process. The Democratic and Republican Parties are essentially business organizations that rich people use to rise to power in order to protect the interests of the 1%.
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April 9, 2014

Green endorsed independent Vihstadt wins county board seat

John Vihstadt, an independent candidate for Arlington County Board, won election to an open seat in a special election held on Tuesday, April 8. The Arlington Green Party endorsed John in January, and provided volunteers and other help to him in an effort to get him elected as the first non-Democrat on the county board in 15 years.

Vihstadt was called a “fusion candidate” since he received support from the Arlington Greens, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and independents. Arlington Greens felt that he championed some of their local policy issues, in particular ending two huge proposed wasteful vanity projects, a trolley up Columbia Pike scheduled to cost taxpayers more than $300 million, and an aquatics center in Crystal City projected at more than $60 million in taxpayer funds.

Arlington Greens chairman John Reeder said he and other Greens enthusiastically supported Vihstadt, and believe that his election may bring in more transparency and fiscal accountability in Arlington where the Democratic Party till now had a monopoly on all elected positions. Reeder said that Arlington has more pressing needs for public funds, particularly for building more affordable rental housing, more school classrooms, and fixing aging public infrastructure in Arlington. Greens supported a public housing authority referendum last year in Arlington in an effort to finance more affordable rental housing.

For more information, read Patricia Sullivan’s article in the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/polls-open-in-arlington-for-election-to-fill-chris-zimmerman-vacancy-on-county-board/2014/04/07/8537211a-be87-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html

John Reeder
chairman the Arlington Green Party

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April 4, 2014

Vote for John Vihstadt on Tuesday, April 8 for Arlington County Board

Arlington Greens endorsed independent John Vihstadt for election to the vacant seat on the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, April 8. We urge all Arlington voters to support John: we feel he supports many of the same issues that Greens have for many years and will be a welcome addition to a county board with only Democrats.

Early Voting
If you are not going to be able to make it to the polls on Tuesday, April 8th, or even if you work outside the County, you can vote absentee early now. You can go to 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 320, Arlington, VA 22201 and vote 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. today, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. tomorrow or 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday. There is NO early voting this upcoming Monday. This will be a close, low turnout, special election, so every vote matters a lot.

It’s now less than a week out – remember to vote Tues., April 8th at your normal polling place, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m

For more information on John Vihstadt, go to www.voteforvihstadt.com

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November 19, 2013

Arlington housing authority fails again–the empire strikes back again

Arlington Greens and their community supporters enthusiastically supported the housing authority referendum in 2013, but were unable to overcome propaganda from the two major parties, particularly the Democrats, and some voters adversion to public housing for lower and working class people in Arlington.

The approval share of votes cast in 2013 was very close to the share in the prior referendum in 2008 (a Presidential election year), about 31 percent:
2008 2013
Votes Percentage Votes Percentage
Yes 32,808 33.1% 19,726 30.8%
No 66,235 66.9% 44,305 69.2%

The Republicans and the Democrats both urged voters to vote no, and distributed sample ballots indicating this.

The Democrats further circulated a mistake prone and misleading document to voters with factual errors. Their most amazing claim is that they really want to keep Arlington a diverse community, “where individuals from all walks of life can afford to live.” What a joke–this is totally at odds to the 11 percent drop in Latinos living in Arlington over the past 13 years and a drop in the number of black residents as well, all or mostly because of higher rents, and the Democratic ruling Party’s failure to have an effective housing program to just maintain the number of lower income minorities living in Arlington!

Working income people of all types simply cannot live in Arlington today. Arlington today does not have anywhere near the number of people from all walks of life living here. Fewer than 10% of Arlington firefighters live here; fewer than 80% of police, and fewer than 40% of public school teachers. Arlington firefighters union supported the housing authority because it could then offer as does the Fairfax Housing Authority today subsidized rental housing for lower earning firefighters as well as teachers, police, county employees and nurses and critical medical staff working at the Va Hospital Center.

Some factual Pinnochio statements on the Arlington County Democratic Committee sheet on the housing authority:

It (a housing authority) would not bring any new tools, authority, or funding for affordable housing.”Totally wrong on all three points. An authority under Virginia law can underwrite and issue its own housing bonds at low interest rates (something Arlington cannot do today); it can own land and directly operate rental housing (something Arlington County cannot do today), and it can secure HUD funding and HUD credit guarantees for its housing bonds issued, and automatically obtain Federal tax credits. Obviously, a “housing authority” brings new authority powers as elaborated under longtime Virginia law. There are about 22 Virginia jurisdictions with a housing authority today.

“Arlington is creating and preserving more affordable housing units per 1,000 people than any other county in Northern Virginia
Over the past 13 years, Arlington has lost an average of 1,200 affordable rental units offered by private owners and added only 300 affordable subsidized units, a net loss annually of 900 units annually. Arlington is not creating any affordable units, it is losing nearly 1,000 units a year. Fairfax, Falls Church and every other jurisdiction in Northern Virginia (except for the City of Alexandria) has kept more affordable units than Arlington, and remain more affordable than Arlington. DC is now more affordable than Arlington.

The county already allocates more than $20 million annually for affordable housing development. Since 1996, Arlington County has spent $132.6 million for housing.” Arlington County spends about $6 million annually for affordable housing development, under the so-called AHIF (Arlington Housing Investment Fund). It does not spend $20 million annually. With those $6 million, the county adds about 300 subsidized apartments (CAFs) annually at a very high cost per unit. The most recent CAFs added at Arlington Mill cost about $250,000 each (with free public land), more than twice what the Fairfax Housing Authority spends per unit.

What is really important is not how much Arlington County spends, but what its results are: the county actually spends annually of its own funds over $30 million for all types of housing assistance including rent subsidies, low income homeowner tax defferal, etc. But its program is very expensive per person helped and ineffective because it has failed to meet nearly every goal set to preserve rental housing. Its high costs mean that mostly the subsidized units do not serve lower income people, but only those making $60,000 and above. Its program is fractured, ineffective and expensive mainly benefiting the developers and contractors who get the county funding.

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February 13, 2013

Arlington Greens Elect Steve Davis as Their New Chairman

Arlington Greens Elect Steve Davis as Their New Chairman

Arlington Greens at their February 12th meeting at the Clarendon Silver Diner elected Steve Davis, a longtime Arlington resident and an environmental activist, as their chairman for 2013. Davis was an aviation analyst for several decades with the U.S. Department of Transportation until his retirement in 2004, and is a graduate of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland where he has served with several alumni groups. He was the Arlington Greens liaison with the Arlington Community Energy Taskforce during 2010-11. He also worked extensively on on the Greens green jobs initiative for homeless and unemployed people in Arlington during 2009-10 and has testified on the need for a year-round emergency shelter. Davis is married and lives in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood, and previously in Fairlington Villages. He attends Fairlington United Methodist Church.

Former Arlington Greens chair John Reeder stepped down after three years, and now is the 2013 co-chairman of the Virginia Green Party. The Arlington Greens have fielded candidates for local office since 2006, most recently Audrey Clement for county board in 2012. Arlington Greens meet every first Wednesday of the month in the community room of the Ballston Fire House.

Audrey Clement was also re-elected as the treasurer of the Arlington Greens for 2013.

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January 9, 2013

Housing authority: Ten good reasons to support it in Arlington County in 2013

Why Arlington Needs a Housing Authority

Virginia law provides housing authorities with unique powers to help preserve affordable housing. Unlike Alexandria and Fairfax County, Arlington doesn’t have one. Please sign the petition to place a referendum on the ballot next November asking Arlington voters to approve a housing authority. Here’s why:

1. Preserve Existing Affordable Units
Since 2000 more than two-thirds of Arlington’s affordable rental units have disappeared. The Arlington Housing Authority will reverse this trend by purchasing rental properties and keeping them affordable.

2. Provide Housing for Public Employees
Most Arlington firefighters, police and teachers can’t afford to live here. The Housing Authority will set aside housing for public employees to buy or rent. This will make Arlington a better place to live and work.

3. Leverage Money for Affordable Housing
The Housing Authority will leverage money for affordable housing by issuing long-term tax-exempt bonds to finance low income housing.

4. Act as a Land Trust
The Housing Authority will preserve historic apartment complexes and their surroundings.

5. Operate Subsidized Housing Units
The Housing Authority will receive federal funding to build and operate subsidized housing.

6. Consolidate Low Income Housing Programs
County housing staff are now scattered among a lot of agencies. Under the Housing Authority, staff will report to one voluntary board of directors appointed by County Board. This will assure a unified approach to public housing.

7. Condemn Substandard Housing
The Arlington Housing Authority can condemn, acquire and renovate substandard properties slated for demolition or redevelopment, saving paying tenants from eviction.

8. Qualify for HUD Loans and Grants
The Housing Authority will qualify for federal loans and grants not available to Arlington’s existing non-profit housing providers. HUD provides extensive funds for U.S. housing authorities.house_sketch

9. Provide Economies of Scale
The Housing Authority will either contract directly or negotiate with existing non-profits to purchase and/or renovate properties at the most affordable price.
10. Advocate for Affordable Housing
The Arlington Housing Authority will advocate for affordable housing on a par with schools, recreation centers and libraries.

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Arlington Greens call for Voter Referendum on a Housing Authority in Arlington

Arlington Greens at their December and January meetings voted to support a voters referendum to allow a new housing authority to operate in Arlington County, as authorized under Virginia law. In 2008, Greens got a similar referendum on the ballot and about two-thirds of voters approved the housing group, despite vigorous opposition from Democrats and Republicans.

The loss of affordable housing has reached epic proportions. The Arlington County Board acknowledges that roughly two-thirds of the affordable rental units in the county have been lost to gentrification and redevelopment over the past ten years, and that the county has failed to meet its own adopted goals.

It’s been five years since the last referendum, and Arlington Greens have decided to go at it again. The recent acrimonious split among the five current board members over designating a fixed portion of higher tax revenues from the Columbia Pike redevelopment area to affordable housing shows new policy tools are needed. It’s time for Arlington voters to have a say in this matter: that is what democracy is all about.

It is going to be difficult to get the nearly 3,000 signatures required (versus for example fewer than 200 required to run for most local offices). However, we believe that majority of Arlington residents support affordable housing programs and want better outcomes than our current pattern of gentrification, and want a robust debate for better ideas for better programs that a housing authority referendum would bring.

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December 1, 2012

Our November election: This Isn’t What Democracy Looks Like, by Robert W. McChesney

Robert W. McChesney, professor at the University of Illinois, has written in the Monthly Review magazine (available on line) a cogent analysis of the last election in context of the U.S. economic and political system which explains in part the problems that U.S. Greens have faced in proposing an alternative vision to the American people. Excerpted below (with permission of the publisher) are three paragraphs of McChesney’s article that summarize the relationship of the corrupted political system in the U.S. to the interests of the economic elites. Readers are urged to read the full article on the Monthly Review website: http://monthlyreview.org

This Isn’t Waht Democracy Looks Like, by Robert W. McChesney, Monthly Reivew November 2012, On the brink of the 2012 presidential election, and without considering that electoral contest itself, it is useful to comment on the state of U.S. democracy. The most striking lesson from contemporary U.S. election campaigns is how vast and growing the distance is between the rhetoric and pronouncements of the politicians and pundits and the actual deepening, immense, and largely ignored problems that afflict the people of the United States. The trillion dollars spent annually on militarism and war is off-limits to public review and debate.1 Likewise the corporate control of the economy, and the government itself, gets barely a nod. Stagnation, the class structure, growing poverty, and collapsing social services are mostly a given, except for the usual meaningless drivel candidates say to get votes. The billions spent (often by billionaires) on dubious and manipulative advertisements—rivaled for idiocy only by what remains of “news” media campaign coverage—serve primarily to insult the intelligence of sentient beings. Mainstream politics seem increasingly irrelevant to the real problems the nation faces; or, perhaps more accurately, mainstream politics is a major contributing factor to the real problems the nation faces.
…..
Depoliticization” is the term to describe this phenomenon; it means making political activity unattractive and unproductive for the bulk of the citizenry. This is, to varying degrees, an important and underappreciated issue for all democratic societies where there are pronounced economic inequalities. It moved to the fore when all the great battles over suffrage were won and there was universal adult suffrage. Scholars have pointed out that some, perhaps much, of the impetus for the creation of the field of “public relations” a century ago was to lessen popular understanding of and opposition to corporate power, and to discourage informed popular participation in politics. The idea was to “take the risk out of democracy” in a society where the majority of potential voters may not be sympathetic to the idea that government’s job was first and foremost to serve the needs of big business and the wealthy few.59 An omnipresent commercial culture that emphasizes consumption over civic values, and a lack of organized political power, go a long way toward greasing the wheels for depoliticization. Twentieth-century voting turnout among eligible adults in the United States has been low compared to much of the rest of the world and its own nineteenth-century standard. It has been a generally depoliticized society, even before Dollarocracy.

…..
The United States of the past generation is a classic example of a depoliticized society: most people know little or nothing about politics and are estranged from it except at a superficial level. Young people are constantly reminded it is not “cool” to be political, and the point of life is to take care of number one. The evidence suggests that most people, especially working-class and poor people, have no influence over politicians and policy, so to the extent people understand their real status they will lose incentive to participate. Regardless of which party wins it seems like nothing ever changes that much, at least for the better; elections are often fought over symbolic issues only loosely related to actual policies or actual political values. It is a game played by and for elites, where tangible issues of import can be in play. But it is a spectator event for others, who are seen by the elites as objects to be manipulated. http://monthlyreview.org/2012/11/01/this-isnt-what-democracy-looks-like

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November 19, 2012

Arlington Sun Gazette article: “GREEN PARTY GETS A BOOST FROM [Arlington] VOTERS, BUT CAN IT GO HIGHER?”

Arlington Sun Gazette, November 15, 2012 Political Notes……………….(part of a larger article)

http://www.sungazette.net/arlington/news/political-notes-edition/article_be320002-2d9c-11e2-90a8-001a4bcf887a.html

GREEN PARTY GETS A BOOST FROM VOTERS, BUT CAN IT GO HIGHER?
Green Party County Board candidate Audrey Clement wasn’t catapulted into office on Nov. 6, but her double-digit showing in the race did raise the bar for future Green candidates.

While Clement’s 12.4-percent share of the vote was well below Democrat Libby Garvey (58.2 percent) and Republican Matt Wavro (28 percent), it roughly doubled the percentage of the vote Green candidates have received in previous County Board races when both Democrats and Republicans were on the ballot.

The better-than-before results for the Greens lead to two questions: Who is voting for the party’s candidates, and can the Greens take that vote percentage higher?

Conventional wisdom suggests that, barring some anomaly in a given race, Democrats in Arlington usually can count on between 57 and 63 percent of the vote in general elections, with other parties splitting the rest.

Garvey’s victory was on the lower end of that spectrum, so some of Clement’s votes probably came from disaffected Democrats. But with Republicans held to less than 30 percent of the vote in the race, Greens also may have picked up votes there, too.

“Clearly, most of my votes came from independents rather than Democrats, as Libby Garvey actually increased her margin of victory by 9 percentage points over the March special election,” said Clement, who was making her third bid in 12 months for County Board.

“I believe most of my vote came from those who are unhappy with the status quo, specifically the county’s reckless and irresponsible capital-spending program. So the question is, why the independents didn’t vote for Wavro?”

Clement said. “I think the answer lies in the uneasiness of many voters over the lack of affordable housing, and their general agreement with me that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are addressing the issue adequately.”

While their candidates’ fortunes have been trending upward, challenges facing the Arlington Green Party include the lack of significant political infrastructure and lack of “bench strength” from which the party could draw future candidates.

The Arlington Green Party largely has focused its efforts on County Board races; when there have been no Republicans challenging Democratic County Board candidates, the Green Party has won up to 32 percent of the vote. The party occasionally has supported candidates for School Board and House of Delegates.

The national Green Party did have a presidential candidate on the ballot in Virginia, but Jill Stein received just 0.23 percent of the vote statewide and just 0.31 percent in Arlington. The vote for Stein in Arlington was about one-third the total received for Libertarian Gary Johnson, representing a party that doesn’t have a significant local presence in Northern Virginia.

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