Recent Press Coverage
March 31, 2021
“Clement suggests that Arlington elected officials don’t seem to care much about the pandemic’s impact on county residents, having allowed real-estate tax bills to balloon up in 2020 and, apparently, planning the same again in 2021.”
March 22, 2021
As for the events of March 20, a veteran civic activist – Audrey Clement – said it was emblematic of the county government’s disinclination to fully address the preservation issue.
“Your contempt for Arlington’s historic legacy as well as the process for preserving it is shocking, and your treatment of Tom Dickinson is contemptible,” Clement said in an e-mail to the County Board.
“While these initiatives conform with the county’s social-justice agenda, they come at a price,” said Audrey Clement, a former and potentially future County Board candidate and veteran budget-watcher.
“Twenty vacant police and sheriff positions are to be gutted,” Clement noted after perusing the voluminous budget plan. “A host of other police-related positions will be frozen. Of particular concern are reductions in the 911 call center.”
“Clement, an independent, has run more or less continually for either County Board or (less often) School Board over the past decade. Depending on the year and the number of candidates in the race, her general-election percentage of the vote has ranged from the single digits to slightly more than 30 percent.”
“A candidate for Arlington County Board says the board’s recent actions restricting guns on county-government sites assures only that ‘future targets of gun violence are unable to defend themselves on public property.’
“’I’m afraid that the current County Board, led by my opponent Libby Garvey, is endangering the citizens it has sworn to protect,’ candidate Audrey Clement said following the vote.”
“Among the speakers was independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who said the ordinance endangers lives.
‘I’m afraid that the current County Board led by my opponent, Libby Garvey, is endangering the citizens it has sworn to protect,” she wrote in an email to supporters earlier today. “It adopted a blanket gun ban on County property and County sponsored events, thus assuring that future targets of gun violence are unable to defend themselves on public property.'”
“The state and local Democratic parties say they oppose the amendment because it doesn’t go far enough,” she said. “This argument is misleading, because without an independent redistricting commission, another partisan gerrymander is inevitable following the 2020 census – this time a Democratic gerrymander, which is evidently what they want.”
“A number of activists, including perennial County Board candidate Audrey Clement, were critical that the county government on March 13 asked, but did not require, restaurants to close in-person service as the crisis began to ramp up.”
“Will the performance of the Arlington County government addressing the COVID-19 public-health situation become fodder for November’s general election?
“A candidate who already is on the ballot is pressing the case that it should.
“Audrey Clement, who has been running campaigns for elected office for more than a decade, said last week that the County Board failed to use its powers to force restaurants to close in the earliest days of the crisis.”
“Audrey Clement has filed the necessary paperwork with county election officials to run as an independent in the Nov. 3 election.
“Clement is a perennial candidate, most often for County Board but occasionally for School Board, who has focused on issues including housing, transportation and government transparency.
“In past runs, Clement’s bids have generated varying degrees of public support. In races where she is the lone alternative on the ballot to a Democrat, she has garnered upwards of 30 percent of the vote. But other times, her vote totals have been significantly more modest.”
“’I really do support this project,” Clement said. “This is right up my alley. It does not involve the demolition of an existing property… I’m very impressed with this project, but in one respect it is not consistent with County policy, and that is the parking ratio.’”
“In 2017, the county adopted a new policy that said the parking ratio should be reduced from one space per unit to as low as 0.2 spaces per unit in certain areas near Metro stations.
“’I do believe this project would be more consistent with county policy if it reduced the number of parking spaces and what I’m particularly interested in is the surface parking. Has the developer considered replacing some or all of the surface parking with green space? This would be a benefit to the residents of this facility.’”
“Transportation Commission member Audrey Clement was more wary of the plan, saying that it calls to increase types of housing but says nothing about affordability or equity. Instead, Clement echoed concerns of some in Arlington that the plan is an effort to quietly curtail single-family zoning.
“’This is about the densification of the county and further gentrification of the county,’ Clement said. ‘Given that is implied in the goals, to implement such a plan would require upzoning. Therefore it is disingenuous to say this is not about upzoning because that’s precisely what would be required to increase housing in residential neighborhoods.’
“Clement pointed to the Veitch Street home to be replaced by several townhouses, discussed earlier in that same meeting.
“’We’re really replacing every million-dollar home with up to seven million-dollar homes on residential lots,’ Clement said. ‘That will serve the purpose of densifying the county, but it won’t provide more affordable housing and it’s a misnomer to call this a Missing Middle plan.’”
“After Audrey Clement, a frequent candidate who sought a board seat last year, complained that Dorsey had yet to repay the union donation, Arlington board Chair Libby Garvey (D) said Dorsey gives ‘incredibly good service to us.’”
“Dorsey said he realized he had neglected to disclose the union contribution to Metro after Audrey Clement, an opponent in his campaign for reelection in Arlington, criticized him for both the $10,000 ATU donation and an equally large one from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. She said the money should disqualify him from discussions or votes involving labor negotiations.”
“Audrey Clement’s perpetual County Board campaign took the offensive at last Saturday’s board meeting, attacking board chairman Christian Dorsey for accepting campaign contributions from unions that potentially could benefit from decision-making during his service on the board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.”
Overall, Clement argued that development drives up costs to build housing and that even dedicated affordable housing units come at a steep cost.
“I would characterize Arlington’s growth as growth on steroids,” said challenger Audrey Clement, portraying current County Board members as putting their heads in the sand on its ramifications while allowing “developers and builders to line their pockets.”
Clement also told ARLnow she believes she’s able to earn the support of Arlington voters now more than ever thanks to those who oppose the Board’s approval of the HQ2 deal with Amazon, which has led to rising rents and home values, and potentially higher real estate taxes. She’s pledged to fight for tax relief for those “priced out of their homes” if elected.
“For those who want to make a killing by selling their property, Amazon HQ2 was a good thing. For voters who want to stay here on fixed incomes, it may be up and out,” she said. “If so, they have Katie and Christian to thank.”
“Placing vital programs on the chopping block is the best way for County Board to push a tax increase while concealing real pork in the budget,” Clement said.
Kanninen, who won the 2014 election over Clement by a two-to-one margin, also stayed true to her own past performance: She was willing to accept her opponent’s verbal body blows during the debate, while pressing home her message that the school system is acting as responsible stewards with the public’s money.
Clement, who has run multiple times for several local offices, was having none of that argument. She promised the voters would “get more bang for the School Board’s buck” if they elected her.
“Arlington spends 2.5 times the state average for new classroom capacity,” she said at the heavily attended forum. “The additional money that Arlington is spending . . . is not resulting in better performance. We don’t have better schools.”
“It will force 9- and 10-year-olds to march up three flights of stairs several times a day,” Clement told the Board. “While this scheme furthers APS’ commitment to a more-car diet, it will impose physical hardship on students and drive up costs.”
“Had not George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – all Virginia native sons and slaveholders – greased the skids of institutionalized slavery by agreeing to write it into the U.S. Constitution, Lee would not have taken up arms against his own nation,” Clement said in a missive to supporters. “To strike Lee’s name from Washington-Lee High School without also striking Washington’s name is hypocrisy in the extreme.”
“If past track record is any indication, the odds will be overwhelmingly against Clement, who would be running to unseat incumbent Barbara Kanninen. On the other hand, uncontested elections are rarely a good thing in a democracy, and Clement has added to the civic conversation whenever she has run.”
“I say this as one who likes Clement and thinks she brings valuable points of view to the community conversation: It’s time for her to stop running for office.”