What I Learned at the County Fair.

August 20, 2007

I spent 27 hours last weekend at the Arlington County Fair.  During that time I saw old friends and new friends I’ve only recently made on the campaign trail.  I said hello to thousands of people who passed by.  And, I had the opportunity to talk with many of them about my campaign.  Of those who stopped to talk, nearly all of them demonstrated what is good about people here in Northern Virginia.  Most greeted me with smiles and left with polite “thank you’s” – even from most of those who said they wouldn’t be voting for me.

 

One consistent theme from the Republicans, Independents, and yes, even many Democrats, who stopped to talk was that Democrat single party rule in Arlington wasn’t working.  They said providing some balance in the County government would be a good thing to keep the majority in check.  I agree.

 

To be honest, even with a growing dissatisfaction with Democrat monopoly rule, it’s still an uphill fight to run as a Republican in Arlington County.  But, after my time at the Fair, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s a fight worth fighting. 

 

And, that’s why I was so glad that there are still some people so committed to what they believe in that they were willing to give of their time to volunteer at the GOP booth at the Fair.  Our booth was nearly always full of volunteers and to them I say my own “Thank You!”  By working together, we can provide A New Way Forward in Arlington and the City of Falls Church.

ICYMI

August 20, 2007

I live in South Arlington near the construction at the water treatment plant.  In yesterday’s Washington Post, this article ran, outlining the health problems of one of my neighbors and one of our American heroes, Ret. General Harry Kinnard, that are being made worse by the constant pounding from the construction. 

National Night Out

August 8, 2007

Last night, my wife Keirsten, my daughter Layne and our Campaign Manager Sandy had the opportunity to visit three neighborhood National Night Out events (you can see a few photos on the website). 

First, I want to thank the kind people of Arlington who welcomed us to their events.  It’s always good to see neighbors coming together, particularly to support crime and drug prevention.  We had a nice time out – even on what seems to have been the hottest evening of the year.

Second, I want to say thank you to the police officers and fire fighters who made it out to support our neighborhoods.  And, I also want to note that our police officers deserve our thanks and respect for helping to lower the violent crime rate in Arlington to its lowest point in 40 years.

We look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail the next three months!!

Birthday Fundraiser A Success

July 27, 2007

The birthday event was scheduled from 6-8pm tonight. 

It rained in Arlington from 6-8 pm tonight. 

But, the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 62 people who we packed into our living room, basement and front entry after the backyard was rained out.

Keirsten and I are so grateful for all of your support. 

Many thank you’s are in order.  Jeff Miller and Rebecca Goodhart braved the rain to help bring things under the eaves.  Sandy Mikilia and Lisa Tutrow checked people in and got them their name tags.  I also missed the Elliots when publicly thanking the sponsors.  “Thank you.”  And, thanks Scott McGeary for his kind words of support.

We really could go on and on with the thank you’s for words of encouragement and support.  The campaign continues to build positive momentum as we look toward Election Day, November 6th.  Together, we can present the people of Arlington and the City of Falls Church with A New Way Forward.

Buried Treasure

July 20, 2007

Buried at the end of this DC Examiner Story on campaign fundraising in Arlington is the fact that of the contested races in Arlington, we are second only to Democrat Mary Hynes in cash on hand in our campaign account.  With your help, the Mark Kelly for Clerk campaign outraised the other Democrat candidate for County Board, Walter Tejada.  Also, Paul Ferguson, our opponent, raised $0.  After noting that Ferguson raised $0, the article simply said:

The figure was outpaced by Republican Mark Kelly, who raised $2,575 in June and has $8,355 on hand.  

Paul Ferguson still has some money he can move into this race from is PAC, but our campaign is building positive momentum, and we need your help to finish closing the gap.  Please visit our website at www.markkellyforclerk.com and find out how you can join the team.

Used Water Bottle “Art”

July 16, 2007

If you’ve seen the funny looking polls with water bottles on top in Rosslyn, here’s an answer as to how much that little display cost – $50,000 (according to this Washington Post story).

Normally if you lined up empty water bottles on a Rosslyn median strip, you could be fined as much as $2,500 for littering. But in one case Arlington County paid $50,000 to have hundreds of bottles arranged into a piece of public art that looks like a field of luminescent cattails.

The installation is at one of Rosslyn’s busiest intersections: the exit of Arlington Boulevard where Fairfax Drive, Fort Myer Drive and North Lynn Street all intersect. The piece consists of plastic columns on a grid, ranging in height from 5 to 13 feet and held aloft by metal reinforcing rods, with used water bottles — culled from country government offices — perched atop each stalk. At night, LED lights powered by a single solar panel illuminate the bottles — a no-emissions form of power that inspired the work’s name, “CO2LED.”

That’s right, it cost $50,000 to raid the recycling bins from county offices and perch them on poles and light them up, but hurry up and see them because the display comes back down sometime after September 1st.

The field of bottles is temporary, built to be part of the landscape of the Planet Arlington World Music Festival on Sept. 1, after which it will come down. Angela Anderson Adams, public art administrator for Arlington County Cultural Affairs, says the piece makes distinctive use of urban space. It’s also a test case of what to do with an intersection.

Cost of Living Going Up, So Is The Views at Clarendon

July 13, 2007

With the unanimous support of the Arlington County Board, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority yesterday voted to raise taxes and fees yesterday by $334.3 million. 

Fully 90% of that will make it more expensive to either buy and sell a home, or to buy and maintain a car.

  • $171 million will be raised by a 40% increase on the grantors tax charged when selling a home.
  • $64.6 million will be raised by a 1% tax on the purchase of a new car.
  • $33.2 million will be raised by a $10 regional inspection fee and a $10 regional registration fee on your car.
  • $33.2 million will be raised by a 5% sales tax on labor for your car repairs.

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In other news, an Arlington Circuit Court Judge yesterday dismissed the lawsuit of Clarendon residents opposed to Clarendon Baptist’s construction of the Views at Clarendon – 116 unit apartment building on the church’s property.  Last year, the Virginia Supreme Court struck down the Views, originally approved in 2004, for violating Arlington’s zoning, but the County Board re-approved the plan in February.  Unless a higher court intervenes, the church, child care and housing will be built over objections of the neighborhood.

Inclusion?

July 9, 2007

Arlington County Democrats unwilling to embrace inclusion or change.

The recent dust up among Democrats in Arlington over a racially charged mailing by Frank O’Leary unveils problems within the party according to the Sun Gazette. 

Party leaders are “not doing enough to represent who we say we represent,” added Krysta Jones, who was deputy campaign manager and spokesman for Bob James’ unsuccessful effort to defeat O’Leary in the primary. Jones is African-American.

So, too, is Voncille Trotter Hines, who in an interview after the meeting suggested that party leaders are taking Arlington’s historic African-American community for granted, and are unwilling to let newcomers into what she contends is their private, club-like domain.


 “You have these people who have been here for years and years – there is no room for inclusion,” Hines said. “The culture of this particular party is that they talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”

The Sun Gazette goes on to suggest that it may go beyond race and get more to the desire for power among those currently controlling the Party.

The O’Leary campaign mailing against James may ultimately have had less to do with skin hue and more with the point Hines brings up about the unwillingness of party leaders to foster healthy competition and embrace change.

Current County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson tried to explain the problem away:

 Ferguson said that part of the problem facing his party could be that newcomers, of any race or ethnicity, might not be interested in sitting through what often can be the tedium of political operations.

“It takes a special effort,” said Ferguson . . .

17 Years and Counting

July 9, 2007

Headline, Sun Gazette: County Board Members Want Quick Decision on Fire Station Location

The 17-year odyssey of the fire station’s future took another twist last month, when the Sun Gazette broke the news that county officials were considering a previously tabled option for the station.

The announcement came two years after the County Board voted to put the fire station on part of a site currently occupied by Koons Arlington Toyota along Lee Highway. Complications in making that deal happen have led county officials to reconsider a site currently occupied by the Bromptons at Cherrydale condominium development, located between North Oakland and North Pollard streets.

The citizens of Arlington passed bond issues to pay for the Cherrydale fire station in 1990 and 1994.  Yet, in 2007, the location is still very much in doubt.

County Board members say they want to make a decision on the site of the Cherrydale Fire Station quickly, then move to start construction.

“I don’t think we should drag this out,” County Board member Barbara Favola said at the board’s July 7 meeting, citing further “tension in the community” that would be created by more delays.

Most Cherrydale residents would say that 17 years of waiting = “dragging this out” quite some time ago.

Continuing to Build

June 9, 2007

 The campaign is still in its early stages, but already we’re building a good foundation.

After just 5 weeks of fundraising, the campaign filed its first campaign finance report on Monday.  With your help, we raised $7255.   There are just over 3 weeks left until the next report is due, and every dollar counts to ensure we have enough money on hand to be competitive in the fall.

I was able to meet with the Falls Church Republicans at their regular meeting this week.  They were very supportive and stand ready, willing and able to help this fall.

I will continue to work hard each day on this campaign to ensure the people of Arlington and Falls Church have a real choice this fall.