From Matt de Ferranti <[email protected]>
Subject House Explosion, Saturday's Meeting, Election Report, Spanberger, and Cragg Hines
Date December 18, 2023 1:09 AM
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Dear Friends,

The explosion of the home at 808 N. Buchanan here in Arlington and the news that Monumental Sports is planning to move to Alexandria have been the two major events since I last wrote you at the end of November. We also swore in the incoming Board Members, Maureen Coffey and Susan Cunningham, who will take office on January 1st, and we took several key actions at Saturday's Board Meeting.

I also have a report to you regarding the election and news regarding Abigail Spanberger below.
I shared thoughts regarding the passage of the Langston Boulevard Plan on November 30th
The explosion of the home at 808 N. Buchanan in the Bluemont neighborhood is a reminder that keeping Arlington residents safe is not inevitable and must be prioritized. The Board issued a statement: Arlington County Board Statement on Home Explosion – Official Website of Arlington County Virginia Government ( ([link removed]) that includes links to the Arlington County Police Department's statement and a press conference regarding this tragedy. Our police and fire departments did excellent work responding and the families impacted are being served by several different parts of our County government. The work to respond continues and we are all troubled by this terrible tragedy.

The other big news from this past week: Monumental Sports plans to move the Wizards and the Capitals to Alexandria. The economic benefits for Arlington would be significant, since the area is adjacent to Arlington in Potomac Yard/Crystal City. Our office vacancy rate continues to be high due in part to the paradigm shift post COVID. The deal is moving forward but is not yet final as it has to be approved in more detail by the Virginia Legislature and the Alexandria City Council. Further, the impact on Arlington's transportation system is likely to be significant, so advocacy by the Board will be needed as this moves forward. I understand you may have questions--the County Board does not have approval authority on this, but we will need to engage. More to come on this.
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To watch the Swearing in of Maureen Coffey and Susan Cunnigham, our two incoming County Board Members, click above.
On Saturday, the County Board approved a housing finance plan for the Barcroft apartments that includes homes for Arlington residents earning less than 30% of the area median income, which is $45,600 for a family of four. Our action was the first time we have added a significant number of units that are affordable to this income level, with 134 homes guaranteed to be affordable for 99 years.

Our action was a significant step forward. Our typical affordable housing projects to this point have been affordable for those with slightly higher incomes--60% and 80% of Area Median Income. I supported this greater commitment to our neighbors in need. Advocates asked for more, hoping for aspirational language to get to 255 units affordable to those earning 30% or less of Area Median Income at Barcroft. Due to the length of this commitment being longer than usual--99 years as opposed to 30 or 60 years--I felt compelled to take the step forward with 134 units and work to achieve more in future phases at Barcroft and in future projects.

The Board also passed our Forestry and Natural Resources Plan update, approved a new stormwater utility, approved a good faith resolution with our newest official union partner, the American Federation of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and voted to complete a second elevator at Pentagon City.

Last but not least, Virginia received a $729 million grant to help with Long Bridge that will transform rail across the Commonwealth and make a difference for Arlington. The Washington Post conveys well how critical this is: Virginia gets federal boost for Potomac rail bridge, other projects - The Washington Post ([link removed])
With Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger this past summer at the Arlington Blue Families Picnic
I promised an election report when I wrote you at the end of November. By my count, I asked you to support 12 races this past year. Because of you, we won 8 of them and raised over $10K in critical grassroots donations. We also helped Beyond Arlington knock on doors. The consequences for Arlington are immense on reproductive rights, common sense gun safety, and voting rights. Over the coming year metro funding, education funding, and so many other issues will also be easier to make a difference on because we helped deliver majorities in the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.

On Friday, I endorsed Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger for Governor.

Abigail Spanberger is a leader who listens and focuses on what matters most — delivering results for everyone she serves. I’m confident that as Governor, Ms. Spanberger will be a transformational leader for Arlington and Virginia as a whole. Ms. Spanberger’s record shows the leader she’ll be: she made a critical argument at a pivotal moment to help pass the infrastructure bill, which has resulted in investments in transportation that will transform rail across Virginia, made a difference on climate change by persuading allies one might not expect, and passed legislation to address drug addiction, an issue important to Arlington and all Virginians.

Based both on her record of leadership and the issues that lead me to serve Arlington — education, economic opportunity for all, reproductive rights, climate change, common sense gun safety, child hunger, and housing — Abigail Spanberger will be the leader we need. I am honored to endorse Ms. Spanberger to be our next Governor and to lead Virginia forward.

Finally, we lost our dear friend Cragg Hines on Saturday. Cragg was smart, funny, thoughtful, and an extraordinary champion for the ideas you and I care about. I am one of many who will miss him tremendously.

Thank you for reading and for your commitment to the ideas we share,


Authorized by Matt for Arlington

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