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Week In Arlington

Democratic Leaders Chastise O’Leary

The leadership of the Arlington County Democratic Party has rebuked embattled Treasurer Frank O’Leary (D) after a racially-charged letter angered many in the community.

The party’s steering committee passed a resolution stating that it "Will not include statements supporting the O’Leary campaign in its joint campaign materials for the 2007 general election," and "Will not include the O’Leary campaign in its joint campaign events or provide [it] access to [Democratic Party] resources."

The resolution was in response to a letter sent out by O’Leary in the final days of his primary race against local African-American attorney Bob James. It criticized James’ plan to steer county money towards minority-owned banks and warned that James was supported by "Eight minority churches."

A firestorm of criticism against O’Leary, who won the primary with 75 percent of the vote, ensued and a group of local African-American political activists called for his resignation.

However, some within the party are upset at what they feel is an overreaction against O’Leary, who has publicly apologized for the letter.

Longtime Democratic activist and O’Leary ally Susan Prokop recently resigned from the party, citing "No willingness to understand or to forgive" by the leadership.

"I cannot be a part of any organization that operates in this fashion," Prokop wrote.

But Democratic Party Chairman Peter Rousselot said that the party was undeterred in its reprimanding of O’Leary.

"Based on communications I’ve had with every member of the committee…" he said, "There is 95 percent support for resolution we have and less than 5 [percent] opposition that thinks we’re overreacting."

The resolution was passed at a meeting last week by the 30-member steering committee, which contains Deputy Treasurer Kevin Appel and O’Leary campaign chair Jim Turpin. According to Rousselot, neither Appel nor Turpin, who was Rousselot’s immediate predecessor as party chair, attended the meeting.

The O’Leary resolution will be voted on by the party as a whole at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting later this week.

— David Schultz

Police Investigate Burglaries

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a series of apartment burglaries that have been occurring in the past five months.

According to police reports, there have been approximately 30 break-ins and attempted break-ins since Jan. 31, mostly in the Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston neighborhoods. The thief has taken laptop computers, small electronics, jewelry and cash.

According to police reports, many of the burglaries have occurred during daylight hours in buildings close to Metro stations and all of the targeted apartments were unoccupied at the time. Also asccording to police reports, when successful, the thief has gained entry by prying open apartment doors.

Police are advising residents to make an extra effort to completely secure their homes by using all available locks, including secondary or deadbolt locks. In two of the cases, at separate locations, a man wearing a shoulder bag was observed entering the secure buildings by "piggybacking" behind residents. In both instances the unknown man appeared to be talking on a cell phone as he entered the building.

Anyone with information about the burglaries, potential suspects, or the identity of the pictured man is asked to contact Detective Barry Freitag at 703-228-4170 or Detective Tom Rakowski at 703-228-4164.

Connection Photo Galleries

The Connection recently launched a new feature on the Connection Newspapers’ Web site, photo galleries. Every week, Connection photographers and reporters take hundreds of photos at events around Northern Virginia. And despite taking dozens of photos at some events, often only one or two photos make it into print.

Now on our Web site, readers can find many more photos from events. It is a work in progress, but already we have posted photos from many events, including proms, graduations and community events.

The photo galleries offer a chance to see many more photos of these and other events. Readers can e-mail the images to share them, and also have the opportunity to purchase prints, digital images or other items.

See www.ConnectionNewspapers.com, and click on "Connection Photo Galleries."