Statement of Jay Fisette (D)
Jay Fisette: "Good evening. My name is Jay Fisette. I believe that public service is an honor and especially if you're in our County, in Arlington County, which is the County that I happen to love. I'm running for the County Board, because I want to give something back to Arlington and I want to be a part of shaping the future because we're entering the 21st century. We have a variety of opportunities and challenges that are going to confront us in the years ahead.
I think what I like to do is use the next few minutes to just give you a sense of my values and my vision. I am a consensus builder for what coalition builder, I like to pull people together. I'm the president of the Board of the Arlington Arts Center, here in Virginia Square. I've been that president for two years. I recently chaired the revenues task force of the Arlington Arts Center. I pulled people from Ashton Heights Civic Association, from the Clarendon Alliance, from the Arts Commission, HLRB. We got together, we worked for, during the course of the year, to come to consensus on the renovation of that old historic building, second oldest brick school house in Arlington.
I'm also someone, who believes in individual responsibility, started the neighborhood watch in my own neighborhood. That has a dual advantage of enhancing the security of the people in my neighborhood, but also building the community. But we as members of this community need to participate in the solution. We can't only identify the problem, we have to help identify, and be part of the solution. I believe in learning. I'm a learner. Someone who wants to grow. I will admit to you and I probably will again later tonight, I don't have all the answers. I won't be able to answer all your questions. A lot of those solutions and answers are here in the room. But I'm committed to growing and I am committed to listening to all of them. I've been doing focus groups, I've been doing door to door, I'm a good listener.
I'm also the other guy, who I want to tell you about is compassion and caring, sense of inclusiveness that I believe in. I'm the Director of the Whitman Walker Clinic of Northern Virginia. I've dealt with people who have very serious human needs for many years. Many of those people are considered disposable, they are not disposable. My own life experience also has taught me to loathe discrimination.
On the vision side, I want to share with you a few of my priorities in terms of public policy. First, is around the budget. The budget is a living, breathing reflection of this community's values. It is not a set of numbers. It's values. I have experience in the budget side. I was at the General Accounting Office for 6 years, 5 years, 6 years. I managed the budget at the Whitman Walker Clinic of Northern Virginia, of over $1 million for many years. I've been on the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission with several members in this room, so I have a sense for the Arlington budget. The budget and the Board is a balance of taxpayers needs and enhancing or maintaining the quality of life, the infrastructure, the parks, and schools in our community. It's a balancing act.
Secondary, on public policy, is public safety and safer neighborhoods. Gangs are real. Let's admit it, we are admitting it, we're getting there. Juvenile crime is serious. Nobody has an answer to that yet. It's a nationwide issue, it's not only a community issue. But let's talk as a community and try to solve it with some combination of prevention and enhanced law enforcement, which we will have next year in the fiscal 1998 budget.
The third area is schools. I'm a private, public schools person. I'm the first in my family to have a graduate degree. I'm one of the 85% of Arlington adults that do not have a child in the public school system. But I am adamantly committed to the excellence of our public school system. That is the future of Arlington. It's not just the future of the kids, it's the future of the entire community. Without it, business won't come, new families won't come, you get the picture. It's a no brainer.
Lastly, the environment, two parts of that environment. It's big picture, green space, open space. I'm an avid environmentalist. I think most Arlingtonians are. Also, smaller picture, neighborhoods, you have to protect the sanctity, the quality, the character, and the scope of our neighborhoods, while we promote sensible business. So I have about 30 seconds left, I will tell you that building a healthy community is not a spectator sport. We need your help in this campaign, and I ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 10th. Thank you."
Statement of Barbara Favola (D)
Barbara Favola: "Good evening, I'm Barbara Favola and has always participated in the Arlington Way this evening and you'll be offered some choices. I'm running for the County Board because I believe we should continue to invest in our communities. I want to make sure not only that our investments are wise, but that we also keep a community that's tolerant, compassionate, and inclusive.
I think that when we think about our community for the 21st century, we have to think about what's really important to us. And I submit to you that the first thing which is important is our personal safety. The second thing is our children. The next thing is where we live, our neighborhoods, and our environment. And last, certainly not least, is the economic vitality of our community. Let us not forget that economic growth is closely aligned to the health and quality of the community.
Let me start first by talking about public safety. Arlington is already one of the 14th safest communities in the country per population of 100,000 or more. But I will be the first to admit we need to do better, and there are ways to do better. I think we need to promote community policing, I think we need to work our neighborhood watch groups, and I think we need to take an active prevention stand on public safety. And I'm anxious to talk about this later.
The next thing we should do is to continue to invest in our public schools. I think the most important thing a community can do is to educate its children. And as a Board member, I will continue our strong tradition of supporting public schools.
I also have spent some time thinking about the activities for youth, overall. The problem of gangs has been mentioned. I think we all admit that there are some problems. There are certainly many children at risk in our community. I think the prudent thing to do is to reach out and offer these children some alternatives. And you offer the alternatives when they're very young and able to take these alternatives before bad choices are made. I will challenge Arlington to become a model community for youth activities. I feel very strongly about this and I'm willing to work on this very hard.
The next item I want to talk about is livable neighborhoods and of course a clean environment. As many of you know, we have worked together on the Planning Commission. I served on the Planning Commission for five years. During that time, I've listened to more than 500 hours of testimony from residents in every neighborhood in the County.
And I think a couple of messages have come through loud and clear. We do want our neighborhoods to have open space, to be attractive, to be clean, and we like our neighborhood streets to be free of traffic. When I was on the Planning Commission, I consistently advocated for Traffic Management Plans when site plan developments came forward. I always requested or voted to request or require that a developer submit a Traffic Management Plan, which had a very important component of mass transit in there. It's just one of those things we have the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor. We have a fine transportation system here. We need to use it.
I also participated in the Open Space Master Plan, which I think is a very important plan for Arlington. Again, it continues to give us a visually attractive community. It helps us remember that we are going to contain our growth along the Wilson Boulevard corridors. And it helps us tell developers, what it is, we are looking for when they come forward. So as your County Board member, I will certainly work very hard to implement the Open Space Master Plan.
The last item I want to discuss is growing the economy. I made mentioned earlier that one of the most important relationships is between economic development and the quality of life. Certainly, it depressed upon me it can lead to lower quality of life, so too can uncontrolled growth. We are very fortunate in Arlington because we are a very good place to do business in. Half of our population is college educated, one out of four has a graduate degree. We are multi-cultural, multi- diversed, over 50 languages are spoken here in Arlington. And we have a first rate university system. All of these are very desirable attributes to businesses. What I think Arlington needs to do is take these assets and market them to companies we would like to move to Arlington. This could be done in a very effective way and I think we are leaning in that direction. The buzzer is going off, so I will conclude my remarks. Anything further I need to say, maybe we will have the opportunity to get your questions and answers. Thank you for your time.
Questions and Candidate Responses
After the candidates made their opening statements, people in the audience were allowed to ask them questions. The first three questions were from Association members, followed by questions from non-members or members attending the meeting. Candidate responses were limited to three minutes for each question.
Question #1, BVSCA Member (name not given): "Would you both say a little something about the master transportation question, how to combine the Ballston corridor subway system with better access to the subway and better access to town? I look out the window and see Bus #38 going by very frequently today, and I didn't know whether there was anything behind it to improve that."
Barbara Favola: "There is a transportation study currently going on in the County right now to better examine utilization groups and to better link groups that are in the County. I think there is a probally a deficiency in the north-south traffic for sure, going across the County that way, and that can be corrected, and should be corrected. If we expect people to use mass transit, it has to be efficient and it has to serve them well. It has to be effective, it has to meet their needs. So those issues are being looked at and I would encourage you to contact Jim Hamre with the County to get involved in that study. And I think there are all kinds of studies going on regarding the metro system and how you can better link the bus system to the metros. Do you have more parking? Do you reduce the metro rates? All of those are issues that I think need to be considered and encouraging use of mass transit. I don't know the specific problem on Bus Route #38. But that's where I am at on that."
Jay Fisette: "Well, I'm a strong supporter and advocate of mass transit. I think it's good for the environment and also healthy for the community if we can encourage it. I know that we do that when we have new development coming in. At times we try to provide an incentive for businesses to give an incentive to their employees. I don't know the issue of Bus Route #38, either. But the bottom line is we have a Transportation Commission that I would hope that any of these particular concerns would be brought to their attention. I believe the Chair of the Transportation Commission is in this room, so I think she may be hearing this and may pick up on it. The bigger picture is that there is an effort through out the region for division within our regional approach to mass transit in support of metro. There have been attempts and experiences where other jurisdictions have broken off and different bus routes have been privatized. I know that while I am a supporter of privatization where it is feasible and cost effective, that I have a very strong commitment to regional approaches to problems, regional solutions. Arlington you know, has about 185,000 people. We are probally going to get up to 200,000 to 210,000 over the next 10 or 15 years. As the region around us grows even faster, much faster, so that our size relative to the rest of the region will shrink. I believe that puts a greater burden on us to become leaders and creative leaders regionally to encourage regional cooperation because as the pieces break off, believe me that bus will get even less crowded."
Question #2, BVSCA President Ragland: "Our civic association conducts an annual survey. In our fourth annual survey this year, we asked a number of questions dealing with contemporary issues affecting the County, one of which was a proposed Arlington County baseball stadium. We would like to know your views; would you support a professional baseball stadium in Arlington, and why or why not?"
Jay Fisette: "I have serious concerns about that proposal. My understanding, having read quite a bit about it in the papers, that the County did not give $100,000; and, in fact, I haven't read much more about it since, so I am not sure where that process is. I know there is a movement in the General Assembly, but I have serious concerns about a baseball stadium in Arlington."
Barbara Favola: I would echo that sentiment. I don't see how the only site that's been talked about is, as you know, down near the old Marriott near Pentagon City. I don't see how a baseball stadium could possibly work. I think it's an issue where "just say no" and be done with it. It's not on the horizon, I don't think.
Question #3, Rohan Samaraweera (BVSCA): "I want to ask the same question of the two of you that I posed to the two Independent Candidates, previously. We are in a neighborhood, which is under a very serious pressure from all sides. Primarily, because of the development that has occurred here. You may have been in the room earlier when we had a presentation with the developer asking for about 90,000 square feet of bonus density on an already approved project. These are just examples. The staff came and asked to change use in this particular zoning areas, the "COA" area to a more intense commercial use than currently exists. We have traffic on Washington Boulevard and Fairfax Drive starting at 6:00 in the morning. So when these proposals come to you when you are on the County Board, which side of the community interest do you think you're likely to come down on? Your own values and gut instincts."
Barbara Favola: "That's a good question, Rohan. But that's not one that is easily answered. It's a question of balance. I think the community is certainly comprised of our neighbors, our residents; also, comprised of businesses. And I think there has to be a balance. We have tools in this community, which have helped the community discuss an issue and make a wise decision. Sometimes, not make such a wise decision. I think the important thing that we have to work towards is articulating our values in some type of format, such as a general land use plan, the sector plans which by the way we've been very effective at articulating a view for certain parts of the County, which have actually come into play, which have actually been implemented.
I think that's the first thing we do, because it's more important to send a message out to businesses what it is we will and will not accept. So we don't get stuck with these deals which are entirely preposterous. Hopefully, we get businesses in that follow these plans, and then at that point we have to start deciding where the tradeoffs are. I don't know how else I can answer that; it's a very difficult question. I do think an important component, though in addition to having a plan up front, is the citizen participation which we have used and we need to use more effectively. You know, the site plan review process, the Planning Commission, prior to that, the debates within the Civic Associations. I think all of that is valuable in coming to that decision."
Jay Fisette: "Well, I think I heard the answer that was given by the two Independents, as well. And its the "B" word balance. There's no question that, you know, if you don't have the particular proposal in front of you, it's hard to say. But the role of the Board and the role is again is one of balance. In this case, balance and economic development, knowing that the commercial sector provides 50% of their investment (including apartments) of the revenue base of this community. That's an incredible contribution that the business sector makes. At the same time, you've got the blue print already there often in large part created with community input, the general land use plan, the sector plans. Those should be abided by. If you're going to veer off from that and allow for some bonus density, allow for some exception, you better get something for it. That is a real advantage to the community and you better ask the community about it and have their input. So one of the things that I look for in a balance is socially responsible business too. Because the business community has a lot to offer us, not only for providing jobs but by being active members of the larger community. I think that's it."
Question #4, Jim Charleton: "Jim Charleton, a former planning commissioner. I am tempted to ask about Home Depot, but I rather ask a simpler and I think a more pointed question. Two weeks ago, the Arlington County Board split, in a three to two vote, to enact the budget; a higher budget favored by three members, a lower budget favored by two other members. If you had been on the Board two weeks ago, would you have voted, which side would you have voted on? Would you have cast the vote the other way, with Zimmerman and Ferguson, or would you have voted with Hunter and Eisenberg? You will be the swing voter if you're elected on the Board in these kind of circumstances, so I think the public needs to know how you would have voted, two weeks ago."
Jay Fisette: "I can't believe this question came up. Oh no, what do I say? That's a good question, Jim. I would not have supported the Ferguson-Zimmerman budget, as it was put forward. I would not. That does not mean, and I will get into more explicit discussion of that. I think there was some valuable components of that budget. I'm on the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission. We debate the budget pretty intensely, and I have done that for four years. This year was even more intensely than in past budgets. But there are certainly components that I support, and I don't begrudge the two newer Board members for putting more things on the table. In fact, next year what you will have, as a result of that experience, is you will have a different budget guideline that has already been set. Whoever sits in that seat, which I expect will be me, will be faced with a 5, each of the departments being forced to put forward options that allow for 5% reductions in each of the departments budget. That's a different starting point, it will allow for a different way of looking at some of the innards of the budget, that heretofore haven't gotten the same kind of scrutiny.
My background is one that allows for experience at the GAO. The GAO, for those of you that know it, is the General Accounting Office. It's the federal agency that deals with waste, fraud, and abuse. I'm a nonprofit director. I know that I don't waste a dollar; I don't have a dollar to waste. At the same time, I am able to come to this looking for economies and efficiencies, and we will have some opportunities to do that next year. If I can balance the budget without increasing the tax burden for Arlingtonians, I will do that. At the same time I am going to allow Arlington citizens and residents to voice their views, be heard, more things will be on the table, and then listen to what they have to say, and make my decision about the tax burden at that point."
Barbara Favola: In many respects, I echo Jay's remarks. I also would not have supported the Chris Zimmerman and Paul Ferguson budget for many reasons, but I think the tough questions need to be asked, and that is what Chris and Paul are trying to get at. I certainly am in favor of program evaluation, I'm in favor of looking critically at some programs. I'm in favor in looking critically at all programs, in a certain time frame. The budget is a very difficult question. I think the important factor that sometimes gets left out of the budget questions where they're only dealing with the expenditure side is what the benefit is to the community, and what exactly the community is willing to trade off because you don't get anything for free. There are services that are equated to those budget lines in the document and you are in fact going to have to give up something, especially if you are talking about any kind of significant savings. And I think that's something that we have to grapple with, as a community. As you know, the fiscal affairs committee proposed closing the library, the Cherrydale library. Well, I have just never seen a neighborhood so energized in quite a while. In essence, it's a small library and you know, but it is very important to that neighborhood. So that is just one example of what you have to have to examine when you are looking at the budget, and the benefit to the community is not a side which should be lightly dismissed."
Question #5, Jack Marks: "Jack Marks again, candidate for Mrs. Bozman's seat. We have some serious race relations problems in this County. I tutor calculus and I know the students at W-L, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. Groups of each fighting before school, during school, after school. The Hispanics in our community are not well served. What would each of you do to improve race relations in this County, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics?"
Barbara Favola: "Hi Jack, I remember you from my Cherrydale neighborhood. Glad to see you are back in Arlington. I think one of the key things that would help in race relations is integrating our minority communities into our public life, into our community life, and into our neighborhood life as much as possible. We're making inroads in that direction, but we're not there yet. Certainly, the school system is the first institution that many minority families first come upon and I know the schools are making a very active effort to go out and reach minority parents and get them involved. People, who find that when you work next to an individual, or when you tackle the same problem, when you discuss the same issue, when you come up with a solution together, that prejudices fall away. And I think the way you do that, again, is reaching out and integrating minority people into our community. I've always been, what should I say, a promoter of that, I've tried to practice that, it's not easy, but we need to do it. We are a community that is very tolerant and I am proud of that. We're also a community that is very inclusive and I'm very proud of that."
Jay Fisette: "I agree with Barbara's last comments about the rich tradition that we have in Arlington of being an inclusive community and celebrating our diversity, and celebrating our differences. And even this year, I think you could argue that Ellen Bozman's focus on community and community building will have a positive fallout, as we celebrate some of the neighborhoods, some of the cultural life of the community, and through that, learn more about one another. Breakdown some of the myths and stereotypes and, connect.
At Whitman Walker, my organization, we serve about 40% of the people, we serve people of color, and I have a very diverse staff as well. So that I have a lot of experience, not enough, but a lot working with differences and different cultures. I think one thing I would point to is the need to cultivate leadership within those communities in Arlington. And it's a very challenging question, challenging task. But I think the leaders of Arlington need to work with the leadership that exists now within those communities and look to cultivate folks, who will take up very significant, high visibility roles in our community similar to Frank Wilson. Frank is a supporter of mine, this campaign. I look forward to working with him down the road, and others to in fact get a candidate for the County Board again similar to Judge Newman or Charles Monroe. Cultivate that, because that's a role model for others to aspire to.
The only other thing I'll mention is when you talk about the problems. Clearly, there are problems in every community. One of the focuses of my campaign is juvenile crime and the reality of gangs. And I also believe that is something that needs enormous amount of attention, possibly some resources. But also, options to address that through volunteerism and the existing elements of our community, whether it be churches mentoring programs. These kids, often foreign born, do not have stability at home. We need to help figure out that, that problem."
Question #6, Jim Pebley: "Well, the planning commission member, I'm Jim Pebley, can ask a fiscal question, I think a fiscal guy should ask a planning question. A friend of mine, a Democrat, I have some, recently noted...The question really revolves around the Arlington Way and what's happened to it. He remarked to me that it looked to him that the Board was kind of turning this into "we will make a decision" and then let the public talk itself out. The question that I have for you is Demeter House. A lot of neighborhoods feel very threatened..."[tape was turned at this point].
Jay Fisette: "...These are painful issues that the community has dealt within the last couple of years. I will tell you that as a person, my experience in human services tells me, and I feel strongly that there is a value to having groups homes within our neighborhoods. At face that enhances the community's sense of community, teaches, learns, and breaks down barriers. At the same time, each particular instance, I'm not a rubber stamp. I'm not going to just rubber stamp or go into a decision until I have heard all the views on that issue, and to determine if there are extenuating circumstances or not. To me the biggest issue right now around Demeter House is around the process of what did and didn't happen. And I have questions when you started the question around the Arlington Way. Well, the Arlington Way means different things to different people. But, what it should mean, what it means to me, is an open process. Having information available to people from the beginning, information that they need to make an informed decision to be part of moving towards a consensus. You are never going to get everyone that agrees. And there was never going to be consensus on that decision. The Demeter House issue right now for me is the future and that would be making commitment to ensure that all the conditions that do exist are abided by all those involved."
Barbara Favola: "Another hot button issue. Let me start my remarks by saying I have served on the board of non-profit organizations, who have sought group homes in Arlington. The Arlington Community Temporary Shelter is one of the boards that I served on. So I have seen first hand the value of having group homes in Arlington and the method is divided to those individuals, who have used the group homes. I also know as a board member on TACTS that we had the nicest yard in the neighborhood. We broke our backs to make sure that everything was just polished and shiny and clean. In fact, some of our volunteers also helped other neighbors cut their lawns. We went out of our way to be a model citizen because we knew we were under scrutiny. The Demeter House, I hope, will offer residents in Barcroft the same attention and concern for the neighborhood that other group homes have managed to offer in their neighborhoods. Arlington has had a very good record with group homes. I don't know what happened in the Demeter House case. I didn't follow it. I read the newspapers. It disturbed me that the neighbors and the Demeter House did not to come to some kind of solution. In the past, through one process or another, we've managed to come to a community solution that was not painful. It may not have been completely built on consensus, but there was much more of a majority buy- in to the process and to the end result than what we have with the Demeter House. I think the process needs to change. I don't want to go through another Demeter House episode at all. So I really don't know what went awry but I hope we don't face that again."
Question #7, Henriette Warfield: "Henriette Warfield, I'm curious, I'm also on the Board of the Ballston Partnership. There's been quite a debate here in this area over the Stuart Park site. I'd be curious how, if you were on the Board, you would have handled that, the sale of that property?"
Barbara Favola: "Could you be more specific, Henriette? Was there something specific about that Stuart Park that you are referring to?
Henriette Warfield: "Are you aware of it?"
Barbara Favola: "I'm not aware of the specifics that you seem to be, maybe Jay can enlighten us on that."
Jay Fisette: "I know it was a contentious issue. I read about it in ACTA's Newsletter. I'm sure that it's a fairly unbiased source. But, I know there were questions about whether this was sold under market, whether the building was sold under market value, and the issue of some of this street was needed for a right-of-way. What's the point of your question? I'm aware generally of this issue and how certain members of the community have really challenged the County Board about the appropriateness of purchasing that building and selling it. What's the point of your question?"
Henriette Warfield: "If you haven't gotten the point through reading information, or being aware of it, the point is that there was no public notification. You know it was owned by us as taxpayers. It was owned by us and there was no public notification or opportunity for a bidding process to occur [on the County's sale of the Stuart Park property that was acquired through public condemnation], which is really counter to the role that elected officials have when they are a trustee of our money and our land. And the fact that public process did not occur, doesn't leave us, the taxpayers, with the feeling that perhaps the best deal was gotten, or it could have been sold for more money. And I certainly have met people, who personally would have paid for it. So, you can't tell me no one was interested. So, I'm just curious why the back room deal and why not the public notification. It's so borderline and questionable. I'm curious, and I'm sorry you guys don't know about it, it's very serious in this area."
Jay Fisette: "Well, okay. Thanks for the information. I was not on the Board when it happened. So, I can't speak to any back room deals, or not."
Question #8, Mitchell Dale: "My name is Mitchell Dale. I live in Barcroft and I'm sorry that neither of you chose to answer the gentlemen's question about Demeter House. We were unable to come to consensus on the issue, because there's just nothing like it. Eighteen (18) residents and a minimum of 6 staff, a parking lot for 6 cars, in the interior of a single- family neighborhood, on a lot that abuts 7 other families. But my question, to follow-up on the earlier one, has to do with the Arlington process. When we went to the Board meeting, on October 5th, there was a memo from the Deputy Chief of Police, attempting to describe the 33 police incidents, not the 3 that had been reported to the Planning Commission. On a handful of those incidents, they were described as miscellaneous public, or suspicious circumstances, no records available. After fighting with the County in court, we were able to obtain the records. Now, we expected to be called nimbies, but to those of us who live next door, who have young children, we were a little disheartened to see that these five incidents were described as miscellaneous public, involved men stalking women, men threatening to come back to Demeter House and spray the place, and so forth. My question to you is, if a situation like this occurred on a matter that you were deliberating on, as County Board members, would it upset you; and, if so, what steps would you take to clean up the process?"
Jay Fisette: "The root of this is the process and I think one of the things that I did allude to before is a commitment of mine is that when a neighborhood, when citizens in this community want to be involved in a decision there's been some notification, they need to be notified. Those most involved, need to be notified. And the earlier the better, and the information needs to be available. And I have heard complaints from people I have spoken to that the information wasn't available and that is unacceptable."
Mitchell Dale: "I'm not talking about notification about the project coming in, I'm talking about misinformation and disassembling being presented in the public record at the Board hearing."
Jay Fisette: "That's unacceptable, as well. I can't speak to whether that is true or not. I'm taking your word for it that it is. If that occurred, it's unacceptable. Unacceptable." Mitch Dale: "Would you take some measures dealing with the police?"
Jay Fisette: "You must, as a public leader. You must do that. If there is inaccuracy or the citizens are not getting full information or accurate information you have to speak out about that. First, you go to the source. You try to stop it and correct it. If it is a repetitive; then yes, of course. The other thing I mentioned earlier, which I believe very strongly, as well, is that the County Board now has a responsibility to ensure that the conditions that were set are enforced."
Barbara Favola: "I would have to say that you have to start the negotiation process with goodwill and that means having complete information on the table. I would be fairly concerned if information came in as bad, as you described, at the 11th hour."
Mitch Dale: "It never came in until we went to trial and went to court three successive Fridays, trying to get the County to give up lease records they claimed that did not exist and then claimed were privileged. It's not a question of what was revealed."
Barbara Favola: "I think perhaps Arlington has to start the process in a different way next time. I'm sure the citizens were not contacted, as early as they needed to be, and such information would have been helpful. I can only say I would take every step I could to direct the staff to do the right thing. I don't know what else I could tell you right now."
Question #9, Mr. De Pauw: "I want to just ask about relevance. A certain County Board Member the other day, said that the Republicans in this county were irrelevant. He was talking specifically about the Republican budget. I wondered if you two folks could comment on the relevance of a political party. If the Republicans are not relevant, then I would say that you folks are really supportive of a one-party Democratic machine. So, please have at it."
Barbara Favola: "I don't think that the Republican Party is irrelevant. In fact, I worked with many Republicans for several years now on the Civic Federation's Budget and Expenditures Review Committee, where I have found the debate to be very helpful. God knows, we have not always agreed. But sitting through many hours of discussion on the budget, I think its added, in my prospective, has provided me with a different way of looking at items, which I would not have looked at originally. I think the give and take helps shape your community values, so that it's not all to the left or all to the right. I think the issue is and this is the issue for the Democrats, as well, we have to remember that moderation is the road to tow. I don't claim to always come from the most moderate position, nor do I believe the Republicans come from the most moderate position. I think that it's only through the give and take process do we end up through both of us compromising. Do we wake up with a policy or decision that is best for the County? That's my view, I don't want to be ever recorded, as saying that Republicans are not relevant. I can always say, that we all have to learn to compromise a little better."
Jay Fisette: "I think that was stated by Al Eisenberg. Before some audiences I would tell people Al Eisenberg is supporting me, I won't. But the reality is that politics is partisan. But at the local level, it is the least partisan. The individuals that represent this community at its lowest level, the smallest level are members of the community and I have neighbors who are Independent, who are Democrat, who are Republican, who are apathetic, who don't vote, who come from all different walks of life, and they have the same problems with their gutters, needing mulch, as anyone else. So as a public servant at the local level in particular, you need to be able to work with everyone in the community. So to that extent, no one is, no party is, should be irrelevant. That's my belief.
My own personal experience is one of the things that I've done well all my life is to build coalitions and work with a variety of different people. I do read the ACTA Newsletter, I don't always agree with everything in it. I believe that within the Democratic Party in Arlington there is diversity, and I think that is healthy too. Finally, I guess I would say that ultimately when people go to the polls and go to the voting booth, who they should be asked to vote for and pull the lever for, is that candidate that they feel has the most experience and most agrees with their values."
The Democratic Primary is scheduled for June 10, 1997, at your regular polling place between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.