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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Arlington County Board

The five-member County Board is the governing body of Arlington vested with its legislative powers. Members are elected at-large for staggered four year terms, and the Chairmanship rotates annually.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Audrey R. Clement Programmer

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    Erik Gutshall Small Business Owner, Clarendon Home Services

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    Charles A. McCullough II Business Advisor / Attorney

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Biographical Information

Short biography

1. What is your strategy for improving transportation within Arlington County, particularly along Columbia Pike, Lee Highway and north-south links?

2. How will you improve support and coordination with the School Board to meet the needs resulting from continued growth in the student population?

3. What steps will you take to implement the Affordable Housing Master Plan?

4. What are the top two concerns you think the County Board must address and what data supports these concerns?

Campaign Phone (571) 830-8889
Mailing address 5709 10th Rd N Apt A Arlington, VA 22205
Longtime community activist, thirteen year resident of Arlington, graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. in Political Science, Temple University. As a dedicated environmentalist and fiscal hawk, actively promotes: fiscal responsibility, preservation of parks, green space and affordable housing, renewable energy, more recycling, and local tax abatement.
Arlington's transit network is among the best in Northern Virginia, with excellent bus routes serving Metro stations along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Pentagon and Crystal Cities. However, recent Metrobus service cutbacks and reduced Metro hours on weekends have impacted Arlington residents. ART bus needs to pick up the slack by providing more bus service on weekends and running buses where Metro bus service was eliminated last June.

Arlington actually provides excellent north-south service with the 41, 42, 43, and 45 buses. So the question isn't whether but how much more the County can invest in additional bus service. I recommend an advertising campaign to get people out of their cars and onto buses to accompany any major overhaul of the system, since there's no point in running buses empty during off peak hours.

I understand that Metro is considering overhauling bus service along Columbia Pike, and I support that effort.
I am concerned about the present County Board's hands off approach to Arlington Public Schools (APS). For example, last year when I urged County Board to exercise more oversight of APS' capital budget, I was told that my concerns about the numbers in the APS capital budget should be addressed to the School Board, not County Board.

This is wrong both from an administrative and legal standpoint, since by law Arlington County must approve APS budgets. It follows that County Board should exercise that authority by scrutinizing APS capital and operating budgets and make sure that the numbers add up. The need for additional oversight is all the more glaring, given Arlington's enrollment crisis, with on average 1,000 additional students per year and approximately 4,000 students in trailers.
If the situation on the ground in Westover Village is any indication, the Affordable Housing Master Plan is not worth the paper it is written on. Since 2013 nine market rate garden apartments in Westover Village alone have been demolished to make way for luxury town homes.

True, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) purchased eight Westover apartments in 2016 to stave off demolitions. But in the process it evicted half the tenants. Meanwhile the Arlington Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board (AHALRB) has been sitting on a petition for local historic designation for the remainder of the neighborhood, evidently concerned about opposition from nearby homeowners to preserving the apartments.

If elected to County Board, I will ask AHALRB to expedite any and all petitions for local historic designation it has received. I will also see what the County can do to encourage coop conversion of buildings slated for redevelopment.
My top two concerns are: 1) intensive development without regard to impacts on streets, schools, parks and public safety; 2) lack of transparency.

Between the beginning of 2016 and now the County has rubber stamped a dozen major development projects throughout the county encompassing more than 3,400 additional housing units and 5,600 additional parking spaces. The staff reports on these projects routinely dismiss the impacts on school enrollment and traffic, as well as the loss or lack of open space.

In many cases, residents of the communities where site plan developments have been approved have complained about the lack of consultation. For example, plans for West Rosslyn were finalized in a secret agreement in 2013 long before a community task force was assembled in 2014 to evaluate the plans. When criticism is received, it is routinely dismissed by staff as irrelevant or otherwise misinformed. If elected, I plan to treat community members with the respect they deserve.
Campaign Phone (703) 489-3680
Mailing address 800 N Highland St Arlington, VA 22201
Erik Gutshall is a longtime community activist in Arlington, a lifelong progressive, and an award-winning small business owner. He also serves as Chair of the Planning Commission and liaison to the Economic Development Commission. His volunteer experience over the past 16 years includes several neighborhood-planning projects, president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association, and non-profit board member for Doorways for Women and Families.

Erik received his BS in Political Science from James Madison University and met his wife, Renee, while earning his MA in Environmental Resource Policy from George Washington University. They settled in central Arlington 22 years ago where they are raising their three daughters who attend Arlington Public Schools.

Erik launched Clarendon Home Services in 2003, growing the company to a team of 10 dedicated professionals and winning numerous awards, including the Chamber of Commerce Best Service Business of the Year in 2012.
In addition to securing Metro, our future demands a 21st Century transportation network that offers every Arlingtonian the broadest range of choices possible. On our Transportation Commission, I worked to ensure our Master Transportation Plan addressed both commuting through and moving within Arlington following the 3 C’s: Capacity, Connectivity, and Comfort.

As a County Board member, I will double-down on transit-oriented development and push relentlessly for significant investment on Columbia Pike to fully implement the envisioned Premium Transit Network; champion a new generation of transit options on Lee Highway; advance “last-mile” multi-modal solutions to increase transit ridership and connectivity in our community; and engage the private sector to explore autonomous vehicles for short-distance routes.

I will also include neighborhoods in the early review and discussion of the transportation projects included in the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
Excellent public schools are the bedrock of our community and economic success. With three daughters in our school system, I am committed to finding the space our students need by working with the School Board and Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) to build consensus on a long-term county-wide solution so we can stop bouncing from one ad-hoc decision to the next. I will be a fully engaged partner with the School Board; exploring every county property, every school property, every land deal, every commercial property, every possible opportunity to make the new schools we need a reality.

I will use the CIP and strategic planning processes to squeeze the most out of our limited land and financial resources to find innovative ways our schools, fire stations, parks, libraries, and senior centers will fit together. We can re-imagine an empty office building as a school on the lower floors and a senior center above.
Housing affordability may well be the defining issue of our era as I firmly believe the Arlington my family loves to call home cannot exist without a thriving solid middle class. On the County Board, I will continue to be a stalwart advocate for our Affordable Housing Master Plan and will promote the creation of “missing middle” neighborhood-scale housing along our transportation corridors. We can preserve the character of single-family neighborhoods as we unleash the market to create appealing homes that fit the budgets of young families starting out, empty-nesters and everyone in between.

I also favor modernizing our zoning ordinance to enable home sharing and make it easier for seniors to age in place; partnering with nonprofits to leverage Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) for greatest impact; and working with our state delegation to lower the tax-burden for affordable housing properties.
Arlington is a great progressive success story, but we’re at a turning point. With my deep civic commitment and entrepreneurial success, I will be a voice on the County Board with the right experience to connect the dots and champion innovative solutions that address school capacity, keep Arlington affordable, and ensure our long-term prosperity.

As documented in the Affordable Housing Master Plan, Arlington is projected to add 5,500 middle-income households by 2040. Understanding we can never subsidize our way to mass affordability, my “Missing Middle” housing policy tackles housing affordability head on.

Second, our small businesses are the heart and soul of Arlington, but according to the 2016 Arlington Business Survey, 28% of business leaders cite “bureaucratic challenges” as Arlington’s greatest weakness as a business location. I will develop a “Get to Yes!” culture of customer service to help our entrepreneurs and innovators grow and diversify our economy.
Campaign Phone (703) 598-6591
Mailing address Vote McCullough, PO Box 2694, Arlington, VA 22202
Charles McCullough is a small business owner and attorney who has lived in South Arlington for ten years. He has advocated at the local, national, and international levels for progressive government policies that address the needs of hardworking people and families. As an attorney, he led a multimillion-dollar Gates Foundation funded initiative. As a pareducator, he worked with teachers and parents to design student-specific learning plans. As an embassy staffer, he helped forge partnerships between startups and Fortune 500s.

Charles has been a voice of inclusion on multiple boards and commissions in education, finance, and social services. Nationally he was chair of US Postal Service Federal Credit Union advocating for financial literacy and creating more affordable student loans. In Arlington he served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Commission and the South Arlington Working Group.

Charles earned an MA in Higher Education and a JD from Boston College.
I am frustrated by Metrorail’s cost, crowding, and constant service failures. Metrobus and ART are stymied by service gaps in areas along Columbia Pike, Lee Hwy, Jefferson Davis Hwy, and Wilson Blvd. Arlington drivers have one of the longest commutes in the nation.

My strategy for improving walking, biking, driving, and riding Metro/ART is done in a “People First” manner that does not displace the residents, local businesses, and green spaces that make our communities unique. This includes requiring safety and service accountability measures for WMATA to get dedicated funding; restoring voting power to Arlington's WMATA Board member so we have a stronger voice; providing a premium rapid-bus service on Columbia Pike as a first step to increasing access; pricing ART so fares do not always rise with Metrobus; expanding Capital Bikeshare and bike-lane networks to create multimodal connections; and prioritizing intersections for remediation that have a high percentage of accidents.
As a member of the APS South Arlington Working Group and observer/attendee of the Arlington Community Facilities Study Committee, I know we can redevelop vacant office space into schools or design new school buildings with more levels and useable rooftop space. We can achieve cost savings by including more joint facilities and joint programming options in the new APS 6-year strategic plan. The Joint Facilities Advisory Commission must stress closer long-term land-acquisition planning by the county and APS.

Having served on a school board and as a paraeducator, I know that a growing student population requires a stronger focus on improving student learning and achievement. I support expanding early-childhood resources for pregnant women and parents of children ages 0-5 so students start school ready to learn. I support additional resources for teachers in all disciplines to help them better prepare students for career and college success.
The Affordable Housing Master Plan must equitably address the concerns of those in need and those in the middle class also struggling to make ends meet. The progressive approach I propose offers an effective solution to provide certified affordable housing for those in need and pioneer ways to keep Arlington homes affordable for the rest us.

This includes funding housing affordability programs by increasing the zoning fees charged to developers forgoing affordable units, which shifts this cost from the general taxpayer; shifting housing-assistance funds to direct-housing grants to assist more seniors, disabled persons, and working families; expanding homeowner and rental-assistance programs for teachers, first responders, and other qualifying residents; supporting market rate affordable homeowner models using community land trusts and low-equity housing coops; and reviewing all subsidized-housing programs to verify subsidies reach the intended recipients in a cost-effective manner.
The Arlington Way is broken. I will lead the County Board to improve housing affordability and support local business.

Housing costs in Arlington are rising at an unsustainable rate. Only 3% of housing units are affordable to residents earning 60% of the median income. Only 44% of residents own, compared to 66% nationally. In June 2017, the average apartment rent in Arlington was $2403. As baby boomers retire on a fixed income, many will realize they can't afford to stay in Arlington. My progressive platform "Puts People First" through more inclusive policymaking to address these issues.

Local business has faced the same struggles. The county gives away millions of our hard-earned dollars chasing multinational companies and large commercial developers, yet Arlington still has a high 20% commercial vacancy rate. Each 1% is $3.4M lost. My platform offers practical and economically sustainable solutions to ease local business regulations, attract new enterprises, and incubate startups.

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