County Board debate


On October seventh at the Arlington Trade Center, the county’s most pressing issues were debated by county board hopefuls at the Environmental County Board Candidates Forum.

The forum started with candidates giving two minute opening statements. Independent Mike McMeniman gave a short speech touching on his pro-business policies, the wasteful spending of the county board, the twenty-two percent business vacancy rate and how the county is no longer competitive to businesses. Democrat Christian Dorsey talked about his vision of sustainable growth,the need to boast social services and use creative thinking to balance the budget. Independent Audrey R. Clement stated her concern over Arlington’s 22 percent commercial vacancy rate and her frustration over building new office space in Rosslyn when according to her “we cannot fill the space we already have.” Democrat Katie Cristol expressed her initiative for a greener Arlington and more sustainable growth.

After opening, the first policy question was about the county’s loss of canopy due to relaxed zoning restrictions. The relaxed zoning restrictions means the ability to cut down trees during construction at your discretion. Dorsey, Clement and McMeniman displayed similar ambitions for tightening zoning restrictions, Cristol being the only candidate with a plan to make additions to houses easier making it more economic for families that need an addition like another bedroom.

On the question of Thomas Jefferson park and Lubber Run being turned into an elementary school, all candidates opposed taking away parkland for a school and supported more aggressive land acquisition on the counties part. “I don’t want to see anything but park land in park land” McMeniman said.

Candidates disagreed on issues such as the Longbridge Fitness Center with McMeniman saying “We should only have a pool, not a waterpark,” with Dorsey defending the plan saying there is demand for a pool.

McMeniman and Clement stuck to their conservative spending urging the county not to spend more on projects while Cristol and Dorsey preached the need for more social programs and commended programs already implemented in the county.