I seek your support for my independent candidacy because Arlington faces a critical crossroad with this election. Spending priorities are unbalanced and real property tax rates have increased each year since 1991 -- up 30 percent. Arlington's government spending has grown nearly 90 percent in the last 10 years -- although our population has increased very little. During the same period, relative social services spending increased an astonishing 236 percent above that 90 percent level.
At the same time, relative spending on public works and public safety has been dramatically lower (35-50%) than the general budget growth rate. Our fire department has not grown in 25 years, and fire trucks are understaffed. Crime has increased, but police staffing has not kept pace.
We must choose the road of common sense and sustainable quality of life by increasing funding for public safety, education, and public works. This will strengthen neighborhoods, create a strong tax base, and make Arlington a more attractive place to live and invest.
To help change the current course and balance the budget without increasing taxes, I support improving the system of accountability, including formal performance reviews for county programs, and hiring an Inspector General to ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse. I support getting more value for our educational dollars by eliminating duplicative functions of the county and the school board, and increasing oversight. I will vote against a local income tax, and protect your right to a referendum--unlike the County Board on the meals tax.
To protect our quality of life, I will support our parks and infrastructure, and work with other jurisdictions to ensure quality drinking water. I oppose projects with detrimental effects on the community, e.g., the Baseball Stadium (bad for Arlington's high quality urban environment), Home Depot at the Clarendon metro stop (bad for urban village concept), Demeter House in a single-family residential neighborhood (bad for neighborhood character), and questionable county decisions like Stuart Park and the Maywood historic designation (bad for private property rights).
While we are a compassionate community that provides many services, we must seek balance in spending limited fiscal resources, and consider spending consequences. I believe the county's unreasonable aggressive pursuit of more subsidized rental housing adversely affects schools, county services, and overall economic development. While neighboring jurisdictions support increased home ownership and holding the line on subsidized rental housing, Arlington is going the opposite direction, disregarding the likely negative long-term economic consequences. As past president of the Volunteers for an Independent Arlington Coalition, I have provided leadership for fiscal responsibility. I have spearheaded successful initiatives for accountable government, such as getting General Assembly proceedings, the Code, and the Virginia Supreme and Appeals Court decisions, on the Internet. As a member of Arlington's Visitors Commission since 1993, I have worked with Democrats and Republicans to enhance Arlington's economic development. As an attorney, I will ask the hard questions. As the former campaign manager for Ben Winslow in 1993, I know what it takes to win. Vote for Amy Jones-Baskaran, 3038 Military Road North, Arlington 22207; Tel. 522-3587; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authorized by Amy Jones-Baskaran, Candidate for the Arlington County Board