The following background information was provided by the candidates at the Association's request to assist you in learning more about the candidates and their views. The Association asked that the candidate responses be limited to 500 words or less.
Statement of Statement of Amy Jones-Baskaran (I)
Candidate for Arlington County Board
I'm running for County Board because I want to make a positive change for Arlington. I want to ensure that Arlington remains a place for families to put down roots, grow, and participate in our shared community goals -- not just a place to sleep at night. I want to be sure businesses are encouraged to invest here and create good jobs.
To achieve these goals, Arlington's highest priorities must be school quality, public safety, and balanced development. But for too long, the Board has neglected these basics in order to fund its pet programs. For example, we have unchecked growth in the Human Services budget without any moderation in sight -- quadrupling from $11 million in 1986 to $45 million in 1997 -- when our population increased only 10%.
We have a plan to nearly double subsidized housing by the year 2000, but where is the plan to deal with the impact on children and their families? Where is the plan to redress understaffing in our police and fire departments? Or the substandard pension plan that invites seasoned police and firefighters to leave Arlington? Or skyrocketing juvenile arrests and the growth of gangs that threaten our children, neighborhoods and businesses?
My plan is not to slash and burn the budget and dismantle human services; we should help the most needy in our county. But the County's current priorities and direction are not sustainable. My plan is to make Arlington's top budget priorities good schools, safe neighborhoods and streets, protecting our natural and human resources, and attracting and retaining good businesses. This can and must be done within the context of holding the line on taxes, and I pledge to work with the newest Board members in their reasonable efforts to achieve that goal.
My opponent says he would have voted to raise taxes this last spring -- the sixth such increase in as many years. Over the last 10 years or so, taxes have risen at twice the rate of inflation. This trend is not sustainable. Our middle class will evaporate, and businesses will follow.
I pledge to a strong voice of realism on the Board -- a voice for common sense to help Arlington achieve the best it can be within realistic fiscal constraints. As part of this, I will work for creating an Office of Inspector General, to ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse, such as that seen in the County's outrageous abuse of taxpayers in the Stuart Park land giveaway -- which my opponent defends.
On the Board, I will be a strong, independent voice with an open door. I will work with you to balance Arlington's priorities for the long-term health of our community. I am not beholden to any special interest group, and will not engage in back room deals -- as my opponent has already done -- lobbying for "domestic partners" benefits, which Arlington simply announced as a done deal with no public debate.
Every vote is very important in this race. Please vote Amy for Arlington on Tuesday, November 4th.
Amy for Arlington Campaign to Elect Amy Jones-Baskaran
Independent Candidate for Arlington County Board, 3038 Military Road North, Arlington, VA 22207-4134
Tel. 703-522-3587, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Common Sense ... For a Change"
Statement of Jay Fisette (D)
Candidate for Arlington County Board
From the beginning of my campaign, I have consistently spoken of my five priority issues: (1) protecting Arlington taxpayers; (2) ensuring safer neighborhoods, targeting juvenile crime; (3) sustaining the excellence of our public schools; (4) balancing economic development with protection of our neighborhoods; and (5) preserving our environment. All the issues are interconnected. I believe my long history of civic involvement in Arlington and my professional experience will be valuable to the County Board.
I have served as an auditor at the U.S. General Accounting Office, a staff consultant on the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, and the Director of a large Arlington-based, non-profit human service agency. I manage a $1.5 million budget, 25 employees and over 400 volunteers. I also served for four years on the County's Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission and am committed to keeping tax burdens low and maintaining Arlington's AAA/Aaa bond rating.
I support true "community policing" with law enforcement officials working closely with neighborhoods, and to working with local organizations and the faith community to develop after-hours and mentoring programs for young people and at-risk youth. I favor the establishment of a Youth Services Commission to coordinate youth services and identify gaps in those services.
Nothing is more important to our community's future than top-quality public education for all Arlington youth. I support expanded cooperation between county agencies and schools to make the best and wisest use of public funds and facilities. I will promote the joint use of facilities and the consolidation of certain administrative services now performed separately. I have been endorsed by the Arlington Education Association's political action committee.
Having walked door-to-door to over 2,200 households, I understand that cut-through traffic and in-fill development are real concerns and I am ready to seek expanded options in addressing these issues. Simultaneously, I will work to implement Arlington's economic development plan, attract targeted private investment that fits into county plans, and to retain existing businesses. I support the Arlington's public-private partnerships, including the Ballston Partnership.
And finally, I want to protect our parks, trails and streams, and I support implementation of the Open Space Master Plan. As an avid cyclist, I understand the importance of Arlington's recreational outlets, bikeways and neighborhood parks. I have been endorsed by the Sierra Club.
I live in Ashton Heights, adjacent to Virginia Square. I am also the President of the Board of the Arlington Arts Center, which is a cultural asset to the Rosslyn-Virginia Square neighborhood. I pledge to preserve the best of Arlington's traditions, while ushering in responsible and thoughtful change. I am committed to encouraging the widest participation possible in meeting the challenges of the future and working to ensure that Arlington becomes an even healthier community than we are today. I would welcome your support.