Arlington Board Candidates Discuss Issues at Forum
Patch and Arlington Independent Media hosted a forum for Democratic candidates for the County Board in Clarendon on Thursday evening.
The five Democratic candidates vying for an open seat on the Arlington County Board answered questions posed by Patch editors and readers during a forum hosted by Patch and Arlington Independent Media on Thursday.
The candidates touched on topics ranging from Metro's new Silver Line to affordable housing in Arlington County. Clarendon Patch Editor Jason Spencer moderated the hour-long event.
The forum included candidates Melissa Bondi, a member of the Arlington Economic Development Commission; Peter Fallon, a member of the Arlington Planning Commission; Libby Garvey, an Arlington School Board member; Kim Klingler, a volunteer first responder and a health care IT consultant; and Terron Sims, a West Point graduate and project coordinator for an IT government contractor.
Garvey stressed throughout the forum the need to develop a clear strategic plan for the county. "If we don't know where we want to get and we're not clear about it, we won't get there," Garvey said.
Several candidates focused on the necessity of providing affordable housing for lower- and middle-income families who struggle to keep pace with high-rent, high-density housing options within the county.
Bondi said access to safe and decent affordable housing is "crucial" for the local economy and the community.
Klingler said two-thirds of all of Arlington County's affordable housing options have vanished in recent years. It "illustrates that we really do need to review what we're doing," she said.
Klingler suggested incentivizing condo owners to offer affordable units to renters who may not otherwise satisfy income requirements.
None of the candidates agreed that cutting back Metro funding would be prudent, despite the loss of Arlington County's voting status on the Metro board.
The county has obligations to meet, Fallon said. "We will have to work harder with a non-voting seat to make sure we are heard," he said.
The candidates also discussed a proposal to install a streetcar along a stretch of Columbia Pike. Bondi outright supports the streetcar proposal, though the other candidates were more cautious.
"Nice concept, but we have other priorities that we need to take care of and I don't see the streetcar in the near future," Sims said.
These candidates will face off in a Democratic caucus later this month. All registered voters in Arlington County are allowed to participate in the caucus, which will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan 19 at Washington-Lee High School, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at Kenmore Middle School. The caucus winner will move on to the March 27 special election.
The Patch/Arlington Independent Media forum will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 69 and Verizon Channel 38:
- 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12
- 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14
- 8 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 15
- 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18