In a close caucus, J. Walter Tejada earned the Democratic nomination in the March 4 special County Board election, filling the seat of the late Charles Monroe, who died of a massive stroke during the Jan. 11 County Board meeting.

Tejada prevailed in last week’s Democratic caucuses, receiving 1,335 votes, just over a third of the 3,664 cast. It was a tight race, with Tejada besting Christian Dorsey by just 29 votes, and beating out former County Board member Al Eisenberg’s 1,023 votes.

It was something of an upset, as both Tejada and Dorsey are relative newcomers to Arlington elections.

Tejada has a history of civic activism, and worked on the victorious reelection campaign of current Board member Chris Zimmerman, while Dorsey mounted a run for the nomination that eventually went to Zimmerman. They beat out Eisenberg, who served for 15 years on the county board, and who had earned the support of some Democratic office holders in the county.

Tejada now moves on to face Republican nominee Mike Clancy in the race to serve the remainder of Monroe’s term. In some ways, the race is a revival of last November’s race, when Clancy went up against the Zimmerman campaign.

Then he was running against the County Board chair, however, and anticipated fewer obstacles in this abbreviated race.

“It’s an open seat situation – there’s no incumbent at all – and that helps level the playing field,” said Clancy. Recent history is on his side, he added: Republicans have won two of the last three special elections for the county board, the last time as recently as 1999.

The real challenge, Clancy said, was getting voters to realize that there was an election coming up. “The hard part is just to make sure this gets on people’s radar,” he said. “We have to work hard to get out the vote, to identify our base, let people know there is a special election.”

The winner of the March 4 election will hold a board seat until January 2004, when Monroe’s term would have ended.

Clancy and Tejada will face off in the Civic Federation’s candidate debate, tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Washington-Lee High School theater, 1300 N. Quincy St. Details will be posted on the Civic Federation’s Web site at

The two are also scheduled to meet at a candidate forum sponsored by the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, 7-8:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 26 at the NRECA Conference Center, 4301 Wilson Blvd. For more information, contact Bob Cassidy at


County Board members approved a set of amendments to Arlington’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.

The move, which was mandated by the Virginia state agency that maintains Bay regulations, expanded lands in the county protected by the ordinance and thereby covered by county restrictions on development.

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance is designed to protect Chesapeake Bay by reducing the impact of development near rivers and streams that ultimately flow into the Bay. Arlington’s original Bay preservation ordinance was adopted in 1992 in response to regulations issued by the state in 1991.

Board adoption of the amendments came despite some opposition by county homeowners, who said that the rules would effectively take away some of their rights to manage their own properties.