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Arlington County Civic Federation

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December, 1999 - Volume 84, No. 4

December Meeting:

School Board, Awards Committee, Hospital Plans

    7:30 pm, Tuesday, December 7
    John T. Hazel Conference Center
    Arlington Hospital
    1701 N. George Mason Drive

Our December program opens with election of the Awards Committee who will select the nominees for the awards we present at our annual Banquet in the spring.

For our main program we are pleased that the members of the School Board have again accepted our invitation to speak at the December meeting. For this program the Schools Committee has suggested tp tje Board five issues that are of particular interest to the Federation. (See next column) Following the main program we will be considering a resolution calling for non-partisan School Board elections, presented by Tim Wise.

The last part of our program will be devoted to a presentation by Arlington Hospital on their plans to rebuild a major section of the hospital. We plan to end at 9:30 as usual.

Letter to the School Board

Dear Chairwoman Garvey,

The members of the Civic Federation look forward to the annual presentation from the School Board and the Superintendent at our meeting on December 7, 1999. our part of the program should start at approximately 7:45 PM. One hour has been allotted, which should include some time for questions from the audience. We encourage you to bring literature for our information table.

This year, instead of sending you a list of specific questions, the Schools Committee is requesting that you address a list of topics:

    (1) Explain the Superintendent's priority list and how it fits in with the current management plan, strategic plan and budget.

    (2) Explain how state funding for various school programs works and how your legislative package would change the funding.

    (3) Give an update on boundary changes, including the possibilities of any for next school year.

    (4) Provide feedback on how new initiatives of the last two years are fairing, for example, Comprehensive Program Budget Review, first-language support in four of our elementary schools, Thomas Jefferson High School, academic standards for Wakefield athletes, etc.

    (5) What is the current School Board position on pursuing the lawsuit dealing with the lottery.

As always, we thank you for taking the time to come and speak to our delegates, and look forward to an interesting and informative evening. Following your presentation we will be voting on whether or not the Federation should adopt a resolution calling for non-partisan School Board elections. The debate on that question promises to be interesting, and you are of course invited to observe if you would like to.

      Sincerely yours,

      Roger Meyer
      Terri Prell

Draft Resolution for
Federation Consideration

This is the resolution offered by Tim Wise for consideration at the December meeting:

Whereas the public education of Arlington's children is one of the most important functions of local government; and,

Whereas public education should transcend the political process; and,

Whereas the laws of Virginia were recently changed to allow once again the election of the Arlington School Board; and,

Whereas the laws of Virginia require that School Board members be elected in a non-partisan fashion, e.g., by not allowing nominations by political parties; and,

Whereas local political parties maintain a right to endorse School Board candidates; and,

Whereas local political parties issue sample ballots, which may contain marks, which indicate which candidates, they endorse;

Now therefore, the Arlington County Civic Federation urges all political parties in Arlington County to pledge to neither endorse any School Board candidate or to indicate in any way on their sample ballots their choice for School Board candidates.

Rebuttal to Proposed Resolution

Prepared by Herschel Kanter at the request of the Executive Committee to expedite debate.

1. The law. The law is clear. School Board elections are non-partisan. This means that candidates can get on the ballot only by petition and not by political party nomination. Partisan elections allow candidates to get the ballot by both methods. The State Board of Elections has notified all local political parties, in writing, that they cannot nominate but may endorse. Of course, any other group (with a few exceptions) may also endorse. Thus, endorsement is not some cute way around non-partisan elections, but rather the way local political parties and other organizations are expected to act if they and the candidates choose. Indeed under the First Amendment to the Constitution it could not be otherwise.

2. Actual Practice across Virginia. Republican and Democratic Parties around the Commonwealth have endorsed candidates since elected School Boards were reinstituted in 1994. This identification often constitutes the major way that candidates reach voters. Normally the endorsements process is confined to the party committee, since there are no legal restrictions on how endorsements may be made.

3. Actual practice in Arlington by political parties. The Democratic Party has endorsed candidates every year since Arlington resumed School Board elections in 1994. The Republicans would no doubt have endorsed in 1994 if they had been asked, and did formally endorse in one year, then withdrew the endorsement. This year, apparently without a formal endorsement a candidate was included in both the Republican tabloid and sample ballot. This is not a new issue and one wonders why it has been raised this year. Political parties in Arlington are exercising rights which they have under the law to tell voters which candidate they prefer.

4. Actual practice in Arlington by Candidates. In Arlington, candidates for School Board who hope to elected must contact up to 100,000 registered voters to be elected. Every successful School Board candidate has sought and used partisan support to get elected, 1994 through 1998 the formal Democratic endorsement, and in 1999 an informal Republican endorsement that placed the winner on Republican printed materials. In every one of these years, the winning candidate had the advantage of appearing in partisan printed materials including the sample ballot handed out at the polls. This year the winning candidate spent close to $60,000 to get about 17,000 votes. With all that, he might not have been elected if he had not been on the Republican sample ballot to pin down the 12,000 or 13,000 voters whose intention was to vote a straight Republican ticket. Candidates realize that reaching voters requires endorsement by political parties and other political groups such as the Arlington Education Association Political Action Committee.

5. Not Appropriate for Civic Federation. Should the Federation involve itself in this political process or single out political parties from all other political or non-political entities that might endorse School Board candidates? Is it all right for ABC to endorse, or the Sierra Club PAC or the Arlington Education Association PAC?

ACCF Veterans Day Tribute

By Patrick Smaldore

On Veterans Day Jim Pebley and I presented a wreath at the monument at Clarendon Circle in tribute to Arlingtonians who lost their lives in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

It was a moving ceremony that included wreaths presented by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and several other Veterans groups. Also in attendance were all of the current County Board Members, and several past members of the board. About fifty or more persons were present.

The ceremony was followed by a visit to American Legion Post 139 on Washington Boulevard, where a very large contingent of Coast Guardsman, including at least three flag officers (Admirals), were in attendance.

Quite an impressive day in Arlington on Veterans Day. As a Veteran, I was proud to take part in laying the ACCF wreath.

Coming Up

    December 7 - ACCF Meeting: School Board and Arlington Hospital

    December 12 - League of Women Voters Legislative Reception, 4 PM,Central Library. All Federation members invited. The League's invitation to us said:

      "This year we are placing our emphasis on the issues facing the state of Virginia. Each of our state Senators and Delegates representing the citizens of Arlington have been asked to discuss the top priorities facing the state of Virginia during the coming year. Following the presentations, time will be available for questions from the audience. We look forward to having you and the members of your organization attend the League's annual festive and informative event."

    January 4 - ACCF Meeting: County Board and Traffic Calming

You Can Receive Your Newsletter by Email!

The ACCF Executive Committee has approved the use of email delivery of this newsletter. You can get your newsletter a day earlier and save the Federation 40 cents by sending your email address to Frances Finta at ffinta@aol.com. The newsletter will be in the form of a text message, not as an attachment, so some formatting will be plainer than it is on paper. You will not receive a paper copy. You can change back to paper at any time if the email version does not work out for you. Save a tree today and send Frances your email address. This issue of the newsletter was emailed to some Federation dele-gates. It is also posted on the Federation's new page on the Barcroft Web site at www.BSCL.org/bardocs/accf.htm

(We are capitalizing the BSCL now because the lower case version--bscl--can be mistaken for bsc1, or even bsci. The initials stand for Barcroft School and Civic League, where we are posting ACCF materials pending establishment of a dedicated Federation Web site.) Proposals to Widen I-66

ACCF Committee Chairs

Jean Mostrom, Chair 532-0452
Scott McGeary, Vice Chair 968-7352

Community Relations
David Foster 276-0206 dfoster@fulbright.com

Cultural Affairs
Herschel Kanter 536-6286 hkanter@erols.com

Environmental Affairs
Patrick Smaldore 528-3935 patricksmaldore@rocketmail.com

Reid Goldstein 271-0431 rgoldstein@stratsight.com

Nancy Graham 243-4650 nagraham@msn.com

Frances Finta 528-2882 ffinta@aol.com

Parks & Recreation
Eric Buehlmann 237-0332 Eric_Buehlmann@jeffords.senate.gov

Planning & Zoning
William Gearhart 522-2276

Public Services (Co-Chairs)
Rebecca Gray 549-3277 gray-jones@erols.com
Stan Schachne 522-1358 schachne@aol.com

Revenues and Expenditures
Robert Atkins 527-8859

Schools Co-Chairs
Roger Meyer 671-3655 rdmeyer@aol.com
Terri Prell 820-3782 prellth@webtv.net

Special Events Co Chairs
Dan Krasnegor 534-4024
Tommye Morton 522-1506 TRMort@aol.com

Randy Swart 521-2080 randy@BSCL.org

ACCF Officers

President Randy Swart 521-2080 randy@BSCL.org
Vice Pres. Jim Pebley 525-0766 jimpebley@worldnet.att.net
Treasurer Frances Finta 528-2882 ffinta@aol.com
Secretary Tim Wise 243-8345 timwise@dgsys.com

Executive Committee

Chairman Jim Pebley jimpebley@worldnet.att.net
Vice Chair Rebecca Gray gray-jones@erols.com
Member Robert Atkins 527-8859
Member Darnell Carpenter 243-5188
Member Patrick Smaldore 528-3935 patricksmaldore@rocketmail.com
Member Ann Rudd 536-8270

Newsletter Editorial Committee

Editor: Randy Swart 703-521-2080
Committee: Jim Pebley, Ann Rudd
News email: civicfed@BSCL.org
Fax: 703-486-0576
Web: http://www.BSCL.org/accf.htm

This page was last revised on: December 28, 2003.
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