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ARLnow: The Right Note: 2018 Is Winding Down Print

BY: Mark Kelly

Created: December 20, 2018

Tis the season of reflecting on the year that is almost behind us and looking forward to the year to come.

Here are a few things that caught my eye this week as we are rounding the corner into 2019.

Out With the Old?

The county manager this week sent a shot across the bow of the ART bus service, saying bluntly that it “stinks.” More likely than not, Mark Schwartz is just trying to get their attention, not necessarily making a threat to yank their contract next time around.

Over the past week, John Vihstadt was honored for his service on the Arlington County Board. Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey each heaped praise upon the departing Vihstadt, no doubt hoping he would not run again in 2019 when they are both on the ballot. For his part, Vihstadt left open the possibility of running again, telling his supporters not to put away their purple.

In With the New?

The County Board also welcomed its newest member this week. Matthew de Ferranti pledged in his first ceremonial speech to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and listen to all perspectives on the issues. It was nice rhetoric to hear as the County Board reverts to one-party rule once again, particularly facing the big Amazon vote as well as a tax rate increase that was telegraphed by the Board’s budget guidance. Only time will tell how serious he is about his promise.

A judge this week tossed out a lawsuit challenging the renaming process for Washington-Lee High School. There is no doubt that this process has been one of the most unpopular moves the School Board has made, particularly among the W-L alumni. But the ruling may clear the way for the School Board to vote on a new name on Jan. 10 with the most likely outcome that the school remains “W-L” with the “L” still TBD.

Meanwhile, Delegate Patrick Hope hopes to pass a bill through the General Assembly to allow for instant runoff voting in Arlington County Board elections. In such a system, if no candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote, the lowest vote getter would be eliminated. Then, those who voted for that person would have a second choice indicated on their ballot and those votes would be allocated accordingly. The process would repeat until someone reached a majority.

Hope’s goal is to prevent a fringe candidate from winning a crowded Democratic primary with just 20 percent of the vote. While there is absolutely no indication that such a move is necessary, Hope is forging ahead.


 



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