No Choice for Arlington Readers of Wash. Post

Letter to the Editor, Submitted October 31, 2006

The Washington Post cites Chris Zimmerman’s expertise on smart growth, affordable housing, and development in its endorsement of him for Arlington County Board [“Choices in Arlington”, Tuesday, October 31, p. A20].  However, the policy failures of Chris Zimmerman and the rest of the all-Democratic Arlington County Board in these very areas are what prompted me to run for this position as the Green Party candidate.

Arlington’s so-called “smart growth” under Chris Zimmerman and the Democratic Party has led to over-development, gentrification, and transportation failure, not to mention environmental degradation. Arlington has lost more than half of its affordable housing stock over the past five years and long-time working- and middle-class residents and those on fixed incomes are being forced out of the county.  As a result, Arlington is losing its diversity: the US Census Bureau notes that Arlington’s Latino population plummeted by nearly 20% over the last half decade.

Now the County Board has set its sights on gentrifying Columbia Pike, an area which contains one of the last remaining pockets of diversity in Arlington.  Through a subsidy to the so-called Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, the County Board is providing corporate welfare to developers to refashion this part of Arlington into an exclusively upper-income community.

It is a shame that the Washington Post did not examine these issues when it endorsed Chris Zimmerman.  It is also a disservice to Arlington’s voters for the Washington Post to have elided over the fact that Arlington has a viable, alternative candidate to the pro-gentrification Democrat this election.

Josh Ruebner
Green Party Candidate
Arlington County Board

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