Category: Elections

The Shoe Drops on Arlington “Blue Wave” Voters

First, I want thank those of you who voted for me for your support for my recent campaign for Arlington County Board. I got 13,262 votes or 13% of the total. These results are disappointing to be sure.

Yet those who voted for me cannot possibly be as disappointed as those who voted for one of my opponents, Christian Dorsey, who withheld key information about his personal finances from the voters till after the election.

On November 7–two days after election–the Washington Post broke the story that Dorsey, who is Northern Virginia’s representative on the WMATA Board, had been sanctioned by WMATA for failing to report to it a $10,000 donation from WMATA’s biggest union, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 689. Then on November 8 it surfaced the news that Dorsey had filed for bankruptcy.

This is the same Washington Post that provided rosy pre-election coverage of incumbent Democratic County Board members Dorsey and Katie Cristol, while characterizing both my campaign and that of the other independent in the race, Aaron O’Dell, as “nominal”. In fact Arlington beat reporter Pat Sullivan devoted a column on October 31 to the futile outreach efforts of Aaron O’Dell’s underfunded campaign, while barely mentioning my own highly visible campaign that raised and spent $20,000Any voter would have scoffed at the notion of wasting their vote on an Independent for County Board after reading that hatchet job.

But the Washington Post isn’t the only media outlet contemptuous of Independent candidates. The Sun Gazette (SG) endorsed Katie Cristol on September 5, a full two months before the election. On September 26 it endorsed Christian Dorsey, a decision it would regret before the month of October was out. The effect of the SG’s early endorsements was to suck the air out of their opponents’ campaigns and scuttle any meaningful discussion of the issues.

Clearly there is no oxygen for Independent candidates as far as the media is concerned. And the Blue Wave, which is just a euphemism for undemocratic straight ticket voting, has suffocated any real prospect of getting voters to think either inside or outside the ballot box.

Under these circumstances people want to know why I continue to run for political office. The answer is simple. It’s the only legal way to demonstrate that the current corrupt two party system is completely bankrupt. In fact Christian Dorsey’s financial plight is an apt metaphor for the American electoral system.

County Board Incumbent Has Conflict of Interest

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, October 19, 2019

At an October 2 videotaped Committee of 100 candidate forum, I asked the other candidates whether incumbent Christian Dorsey should recuse himself from union business while serving on the WMATA Board, since unions have donated the bulk of his campaign contributions.

Out of $38,000 in total receipts this year, Christian Dorsey has received $10,000 alone from the Amalgamated Transit Workers (ATU 689) and $16,000 from other unions.

In view of this, I called on Dorsey to recuse himself from union business while serving on the WMATA Board.

Dorsey said that he doesn’t have to recuse himself from union matters, because the WMATA Board doesn’t handle union business.

This information was contradicted by Tom Webb, the VP for Labor Relations at WMATA. Webb told me that the WMATA Board not only votes to approve negotiated union contracts, it also provides direction to the General Manager on union negotiations.

At an October 16 Cherrydale candidate forum I again confronted Dorsey. This time Christian accused me of being misinformed or “making it up.” Yet the published minutes of the WMATA Board indicate that over the past year it took action on no less than five union agenda items, including:

  • A September 26, 2019 decision to “Amend FY2020 Budget for Fraternal Order of Police Collective Bargaining Agreement”;
  • The June 27, 2019 “Approval of IBT Local 639 Collective Bargaining Agreement”;
  • A November 1, 2018 decision to “Amend FY2018 and FY2019 Budgets for Collective Bargaining Agreements”;
  • The September 27, 2018 “Approval of OPEIU Local 2 . . . [and] ATU Local 689 Collective Bargaining Agreement”.

It’s one thing to have a conflict of interest. It’s another to deny it in the face of overwhelming evidence.

PRESS RELEASE: County Board Incumbent Misleads Voters On WMATA Board’s Union Oversight Function

At an October 2 Committee of 100 Candidate forum, I asked the other County Board candidates whether incumbent Christian Dorsey should recuse himself from union business while serving on the WMATA Board, given that unions have donated the bulk of Dorsey’s campaign contributions.

Out of $38,000 in total receipts this year, Christian Dorsey has received $10,000 alone from Amalgamated Transit Workers (ATU 689), which represents Metro transit workers. He has also received $16,000 from other unions.

In reply Dorsey indicated that he doesn’t have to recuse himself from union matters, because the WMATA Board doesn’t handle union business.

This information is clearly false, since according to Tom Webb, the VP for Labor Relations at WMATA, the WMATA Board not only votes to approve contracts negotiated with ATU 689 and other unions, it also provides direction to the WMATA General Manager in advance of those negotiations.

Given the disproportionate contributions Dorsey has received from unions, I’m sure you agree with me that he has a conflict of interest and ought to recuse himself from union business. If you are concerned that Mr. Dorsey won’t do that, then it’s time to replace him as Arlington’s representative on the WMATA BoardYou can do this by dis-electing Christian Dorsey on November 5.

If elected to County Board I will insist that Arlington’s representatives on the WMATA Board either decline contributions from major entities doing business with WMATA or recuse themselves from WMATA business involving said entities–including the ATU.

Sun Gazette Endorses My Opponent

On September 5 the Sun Gazette endorsed Katie Cristol, one of my two opponents for County Board. While the endorsement itself is unremarkable, the timing of the announcement–exactly two months before the November 5 general election–is.

True. The Sun Gazette has already endorsed several other local candidates, but they are running uncontested races. Endorsing candidates in contested races at the outset of campaign season looks to me like an ill concealed effort to cut off debate on such important issues confronting the County as:

  • densification
  • real estate assessment hikes
  • overcrowded schools
  • congested roads
  • failing storm water infrastructure
  • loss of tree canopy
  • growth of heat trapping hardscape

Yet Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey is himself disgusted with the performance of County Board on the single most important issue confronting the County, namely the budget.

In a recent editorial, he warned readers not to be “fooled by [the County’s] budget ballet.” The editorial observed that the slew of budget cuts proposed in this year’s School Board and County budgets . . .

are part of a plan to foment community outrage in order to both grease the wheels for a higher tax rate (to ‘protect’ the programs from the chopping block) and to shield from public scrutiny a host of other government operations that probably could stand a little slicing and dicing, but which top officials want to protect from the budget guillotine.

Sun Gazette Editorial, 4/11/19

The only thing I can conclude from McCaffrey’s about face is that he either has a short memory or has somehow concluded that Katie doesn’t share responsibility for the County’s “budget ballet”. Rest assured that I harbor no such illusions.
If elected, I will:

  • Say NO to more tax rate increases and a recently authorized County Board pay grab.
  • Preserve green space and emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Promote transparency by requiring publication of official documents at least 72 hours before board and commission meetings.
  • Provide a voice on County Board for all taxpayers.

As a 15-year Westover resident, long-time civic activist and current member of the Transportation Commission, I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.

Scorched Earth Tactics Are Not Progressive

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti’s upset victory over incumbent Theo Stamos for Commonwealth Attorney in the June 11 primary has the Democratic Party spinning the narrative that a “progressive” was elected Arlington County prosecutor.

I don’t think so. What is progressive about spending over $600,000 of out of state money to smear a dedicated local official?

What is progressive about doing so at the behest of a vindictive former governor with a personal agenda?

What is progressive about conducting a media blitz to discredit a fellow Democrat by distorting her record with misrepresentations, innuendo and outright lies? When it comes to malicious distortion and outright lies, Parisa outdoes Trump himself.

How Can A Prosecutor Enforce the Law When She Can’t Tell the Truth?

One of Parisa’s false claims is that in 1999 Theo Stamos prosecuted as felons two 10 year old students for putting soap in their teacher’s water bottle. The truth, though, was far from the tale that was spun:

  • Theo Stamos was not the Commonwealth’s Attorney at the time nor was she the prosecuting attorney working on the case;
  • the “soap” that adulterated the teacher’s drinking water was a chemical agent, ethyl alcohol;
  • the teacher, who sought medical treatment after drinking the contaminated water and filed criminal charges against the youths, stopped teaching as a result;
  • After a brief period of probation, the charges against the youths were dismissed entirely

Another Parisa lie–prompting an unprecedented public rebuke from the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD)–had it that an officer who sustained blunt force trauma and 60 stitches from being struck with a jagged metal pipe was guilty of police brutality for killing his assailant in self defense.

Parisa was unfazed. She responded to the ACPD rebuke by issuing another lie about Theo.

Decriminalization of Marijuana by the Courts: a Pipe Dream

If you’re looking for an impartial county prosecutor, the prospects don’t look too good right now. But not to worry. Potheads are delighted that Parisa won’t be prosecuting anyone for possession of marijuana.

Unfortunately that illusion went up in smoke when the state supreme court ruled in May against a Norfolk prosecutor seeking to dismiss charges against some defendants charged with pot possession. The result? Until the General Assembly decriminalizes pot, Parisa cannot decline to prosecute marijuana possession without the consent of the court.

An Independent Alternative to Slash/Burn Electioneering

Are you tired of the interference of national and state political leaders in local politics? Do you reject their use of PAC money from billionaires to wage smear campaigns against opponents and corrupt elections in the process? Then you should consider an Independent alternative.

If elected to County Board, you can be sure that I will advocate against outside interference in local elections.

In addition, if elected, I pledge to:

  • Seek tax relief for residents and businesses and stop the exodus of federal agencies from Arlington.
  • Preserve green space and emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Promote transparency by requiring publication of official documents at least 72 hours before board and commission meetings.
  • Provide a voice on County Board for all taxpayers.

As a 15-year Westover resident, long-time civic activist and current member of the Transportation Commission–I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.


PRESS RELEASE: Theo Stamos for Commonwealth Attorney

McAuliffe’s Vendetta Against Theo Stamos

I’m a candidate in the November election running against two Democratic County Board incumbents who are so entrenched they face no opposition in the Democratic primary on June 11.

Not so the Democratic incumbent in the Commonwealth Attorney’s race, Theo Stamos, who is fighting for her political life against a well funded opponent backed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, who only a year ago looked like a promising Democratic candidate for President, is now focused on ousting Stamos.

The cause of his vendetta? In 2016 Theo, along with several dozen other Commonwealth Attorneys of both parties, signed a friend of the court brief joining leaders of the Virginia General Assembly in opposing then Governor McAuliffe’s executive order that restored voting rights to 206,000 felons.
While Theo has always supported restoration of rights to those who have paid their debt to society, she opposed McAuliffe’s decree because of the reckless way in which it was done.

The Governor’s sweeping restoration of voting rights made it possible to restore the gun rights of many violent felons, some of whom were still on probation or parole, owed restitution to victims or were still in jail!

The Virginia Supreme Court agreed with Theo and state legislators that the Governor had overstepped his authority, and he took the appropriate steps to comply with the Court’s ruling.

More Parisa Distortions

In addition to her lies about Theo’s stance on voting rights, Theo’s opponent, Parisa Deghani-Tafti, claims that Stamos and Arlington police have selectively enforced the law, because most of those convicted of marijuana offenses are people of color.

Theo counters that many of those incarcerated in Arlington County actually reside elsewhere but are charged with crimes committed in Arlington.

She also says Parisa is picking a fight with the wrong person. If she doesn’t like the marijuana laws that are on the books, then lobby the legislature to change them. Ditto for cash bail laws that force those who can’t make bail to remain behind bars pending case resolution.

Arlington County police also believe that they have been unfairly targeted by Parisa. In a recent letter to ARLnow, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) demanded an apology from Parisa for accusing an Arlington police officer of a brutal killing when in 2015 he shot a violent individual who had assaulted him with a metal bar. The officer in question required 60 stitches and was later exonerated.

Parisa didn’t back off an inch, and she issued no apology to ACPD.

If you are unhappy with the reckless tactics and hysterical attacks leveled against a dedicated career prosecutor with a proven track record for even handed law enforcement, then join me in supporting Theo Stamos for reelection.

Visit Theo’s website, make a donation, volunteer at the polls, and most importantly vote for Theo in the June 11 Democratic primary.

PRESS RELEASE: Thanks for Your Support

First, I want to thank you for your support for my recent campaign for Arlington School Board. I got 28,666 votes or 30% of the total.

In 2014 running for the same office against the same opponent I got 18,429 votes or about 33% of the total.

While my percent of the vote went down slightly this year, the actual number of votes cast for me went up by more than 10,000. This is good considering that the uptick in Arlington turnout consisted of a wave of new voters casting a straight Democratic ticket.

Given the serious issues confronting Arlington School Board that my campaign exposed, I was actually optimistic that I might surmount the "Blue Wave" until I arrived at Arlington Central Library at 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday, November 6. For two solid hours voters from nearby high rises queued up to vote. Most of them refused to take either my sample ballot or that of defeated Independent Arlington County Board incumbent, John Vihstadt. (more…)