A.Y. contributors attended last evening's County Board Candidate Forum, sponsored by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Event was held at the Rosslyn Hyatt and moderated by Scott Brodbeck, who publishes the ArlNow blog.
The clear winner was Independent candidate Audrey Clement, the only candidate who articulated what she would specifically do when elected to County Board, attend to basic public infrastructure first, provide immediate tax relief, preserve existing affordable housing by having the County directly intervene to save affordable apartment buildings like those being demolished in Westover.
County Board Chair Libby Garvey essentially asked for another 4 years on the County Board to "get it right this time". Whatever problems occurred in the past were the fault of the previous County Board majority (Tejada, Hynes and Fisette). As an example of what the County Board is doing right, Libby pointed to last Saturday's County Board meeting when, after hours of discussion, the County Board approved a driveway rather than a grassy pervious surface for Stratford School. In fact, the County Board caved to pressure from upscale well-organized SUV soccer parents who want to drive their kids to and from Stratford.
The other Democratic candidate, Erik Gutshall, was positively scary with his prescriptions for fixing the "missing middle" between single family homes and high rise apartments and condos. These consist of tearing down existing single-family homes along arterials (including Westover Village) and replacing them with in-fill condominiums and apartment buildings on small parcels of land. He also encourages the "repurposing" of single family homes into boarding houses. Like his supporters, Chris Zimmerman, Paulie Ferguson, and others who live in exclusive neighborhoods, Erik's own Lyon Park neighborhood is off-limits to missing middle re-purposing.
We looked for a report about the forum in ArlNow this morning and were surprised when we didn't see one. Maybe it's just as well, because at least a hundred nasty comments would have also appeared about Audrey.