For Change in Arlington

Saturday, October 27, 2007

ARLINGTON COUNTY is the bluest of blue counties. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) won it with more than 67 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election. The five-member County Board has been a Democratic Party club since 1999. Arlington voters should shake things up by filling two board seats with Republican Michael T. McMenamin along with Democratic incumbent Vice Chairman J. Walter Tejada.

All five candidates are passionate boosters of the county who are anxious about development and its impact on transportation and the character of Arlington. Green Party candidate Joshua Ruebner, who ran last year, raises valid concerns about gentrification and the dwindling supply of affordable housing.

Joseph J. Warren (R), a member of the County Transit Advisory Committee, is almost exclusively concerned about transportation issues. Like Mr. Ruebner, he opposes the controversial Columbia Pike trolley project. Former School Board member Mary H. Hynes (D) supports the Columbia Pike plan but joins Mr. Ruebner and Mr. Warren in their concern about maintaining the socioeconomic diversity of the county.

Before Mr. Tejada was elected to the County Board in a special election in 2003, he was a community leader focused on immigrants and affordable housing. His accomplishments on the board are many. The resolution that the board unanimously passed last month in support of the county's immigrants is a positive contrast to the counterproductive actions other jurisdictions have taken. Because current board Chairman Paul Ferguson is running for clerk of the court, Mr. Tejada, if reelected, is poised to replace him.

Mr. Tejada has been running on a ticket with Ms. Hynes. But a better partner would be Mr. McMenamin. While we didn't endorse him last year in his race against then-Chairman Chris Zimmerman (D), we urged the board not to ignore the concerns Mr.

McMenamin raised about Arlington's finances. Those concerns remain. The Oct. 22 vote to raise taxes on businesses to pay for transportation improvements with little comment from the board illustrates perfectly why Mr. McMenamin is needed on the all-Democratic body. With his impressive knowledge of issues large and small, Mr. McMenamin would push the board to think through its decisions.

In a separate race for sheriff, voters should reelect Elizabeth F. "Beth" Arthur (D). Her experience and knowledge of the office after seven years in the post make her a clear choice over her opponent.

Other endorsements can be found at

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