Housing Remains Arlington’s No. 1 Problem

Arlington Sun Gazette
Housing Remains Arlington’s No. 1 Problem

(Created: Monday, August 20, 2007 1:45 PM EDT)

Editor: In his Editor’s Notebook blog entry of Aug. 16 [“Time for a New Political Game Plan”], Scott McCaffrey challenges me to “shake up” my campaign platform by de-emphasizing the issue of affordable housing and to “lay out a concise, coherent agenda” at next month’s Arlington County Civic Federation candidates’ forum.

I disagree on the former suggestion and agree with the latter.

Resolving the affordable-housing crisis is still the number-one priority facing our community. Since 2001, Arlington has lost about 12,000 market-rate affordable housing units while the county government has been able to secure only 1,700 committed-affordable housing units to replace them.

During last year’s campaign, I admittedly did little more than criticize the County Board for its inadequate response to the crisis; this year I am offering a concrete policy alternative to increase Arlington’s stock of affordable housing.

The Green Party has collected signatures, which have been certified by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, to place a referendum on the ballot this fall to establish a public housing authority in Arlington.

Such an authority would be empowered to own and operate affordable housing and issue bonds to finance large-scale affordable-housing projects, which would be repaid over a long stretch of time.

While advocating for more affordable housing will continue to be the centerpiece of my campaign this year, it is by no means the only issue with which I am concerned.

My electoral platform also proposes to slow Arlington’s over-development and gentrification; to promote diversity, economic and racial justice; to increase recycling opportunities and further decrease carbon emissions; to advocate for sensible transportation planning and much more.

Josh Ruebner

Ruebner is the Green Party candidate for County Board.

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