Last month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).
Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):
I’m eight year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation, I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound. VDOT went ahead with the Spot Improvement project anyhow. Yet persistent two mile backups on westbound I-66 show that I was right.
In 2008 I helped to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to realize economies of scale and leverage more money for affordable housing. Arlington County Board not only ignored the referendum, which garnered 30 percent of the vote, it had the General Assembly change the law to make it virtually impossible to get another one on the ballot. Yet the fact that two-thirds of the affordable housing in Arlington has been lost in the past decade confirms the need for a centralized housing authority.
I think Arlington needs a change in leadership, because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development; the tear down of existing modest sized homes; and construction of oversized, unsightly, runoff inducing McMansions.
To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability requires the County Board to support, not discourage construction of moderate income housing. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are gentrified out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.
We don’t need a $79.2 million aquatic center at an out of the way location in North Crystal City, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
We don’t need a $250 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.
I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of new infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.org.
With your help, I will work to preserve the Arlington Way. Vote Clement for County Board on November 6, 2012.