Northern Virginia Democrats struggle with power now that they have it.
When they were in the minority, Democrats were mostly united in their views about everything from gun control and reproductive rights to the Equal Rights Amendment. Now that they’ve seized power, though, members of the newly minted majority are hearing from opposite sides on everything from gerrymandering and labor rights.
City often forgives delinquent taxpayers rather than going after them.
In the last decade, Alexandria has written off more than $100,000 in uncollected tax balances. The annual write-off happens every November, just as City Council members are appearing with a giant turkey at City Hall to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Income disparity is highest in Arlandria, which trails the city in median household income.
Taylor Run is about three miles from Arlandria. But it might as well be on the other side of the planet in terms of median household income. Census records show that the leafy suburban Taylor Run neighborhood, which is just behind the George Washington Masonic Memorial, has the highest median household income in Alexandria, more than $180,000 a year. The low-income neighborhood of Latino residents near the border with Arlington, on the other hand, has the lowest, less than $55,000 a year.
City Council considers extending dockless mobility pilot program.
Alexandria is bitterly divided over scooters, and a recent survey showed that the city is just about evenly split between people who hate the dockless mobility program and people who love it. That’s the backdrop for members of the Alexandria City Council, who are now considering extending the pilot into next year. A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Dec. 14.
Special-interest groups seek power and influence.
A look at campaign-finance documents from the 2019 election cycle reveals an intricate web of special-interest money, everything from Dominion and Verizon to casino developers and car-title lenders. Members of the Alexandria delegation took money from lobbyists and associations who have pending business during the upcoming two-month General Assembly session, when lawmakers will be forbidden from taking campaign cash.
Transforming a suburban strip mall into an Innovation District.
The strip mall at Potomac Yard is a placeholder, a temporary solution to a thorny question about the relationship between density and traffic.
Foreign-born population attracted by government contracting and tech jobs.
Virginia’s foreign-born population is more educated and better paid, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. The Richmond-based think tank points out more than 40 percent of immigrants in Virginia have a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s a significantly higher level of education than the United States as a whole, and it’s even a bit higher than native-born Virginians.
Del Ray has more voters than Old Town, and it carries more clout.
Del Ray can boast that it’s the center of power in Alexandria, the home of both Mayor Justin Wilson and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne. Old Town, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many voters or as much clout.
Democrats take General Assembly, sweep Fairfax School Board; Republicans hold Springfield.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Northern Virginia had its own breed of Republicanism. People like U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11), U.S. Sen. John Warner and Del. Dave Albo (R-42). Now, after a series of stunning defeats since the election of Donald Trump to the White House, Northern Virginia Republicans are a dying breed, with moderates bowing out or being voted out.
Millennials and Gen X now outnumber older voters. So why do Baby Boomers dominate?
Millennials and Gen Xers now outnumber Baby Boomers and older voters in Virginia, according to data from the Census Bureau. But that doesn’t mean they have as much influence. Census numbers also show another trend: People over the age of 45 vote at much higher rates.
Money from Alexandria will help shape Election 2019.
More than $3.5 million in campaign cash has an Alexandria mailing address this election cycle, a spending spree that reflects the stakes this year’s election. Control of the House of Delegates and state Senate is at stake, and partisans on both sides are trying to influence the outcome.
Eight Alexandria city officials pull in more than $200,000 a year.
.Alexandria does not have the top-paid government officials in the region. But it certainly doesn’t have the poorest, either. According to information received in a Freedom of Information Act request, Alexandria’s City Manager, Mark Jinks, pulls in a cool $288,000 a year. That’s at the top end of the range for local government chief appointed managers and administrators who oversee governments with a population of 100,000 or more, according to an annual survey conducted by the International City/County Management Association.
Labor shortage and housing shortfall lead to affordability crisis.
The number of jobs in the region is on the rise, a trend that will only be exacerbated when Amazon brings 25,000 new jobs to town. Meanwhile, unemployment in Alexandria is at about 2 percent, so low that it’s essentially full employment.
Schools are bursting at the seams while trying to do more with less.
.Enrollment is up, and funding is down. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, which looked at funding and staffing trends at every school division in Virginia.
Lenders of last resort in Alexandria try to buy influence in Richmond.
Alexandria has eight car-title lending locations and two payday lenders, plus a growing number of companies offering online loans at nosebleed interest rates. It’s an industry that’s been under fire in recent years, and now campaign-finance disclosures show these companies are spreading their money around to Democrats and Republicans in an effort to influence the next General Assembly.
Arlandria is home to one of the largest Salvadoran communities in the country.
Construction permits are down and unemployment claims are up, raising red flags for economists.
Could you survive without your iPhone? Do you have an evacuation kit? Are you really prepared for the worst?
Spain criticizes Lopez's work on immigration, relationship with governor, presence in community.
If Democrats seize control of the House this November, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49) is poised to be in a leadership position helping to guide the agenda of a party that has not been in power since the 1990s. But that’s only if he makes it through the primary.
Senator’s consulting business takes center stage in primary campaign.
Is two-term Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) a rising star, poised to become chairwoman of a Senate committee if Democrats seize control of the Senate? Or is she an opportunist capitalizing on insider influence for personal gain? That’s a question for voters this June in a primary that pits Favola against challenger Nicole Merlene, who says Favola’s consulting business is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong about Virginia politics.
Dick Saslaw hasn’t had a primary challenge since the 1970s; now he has two.
The last time Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw had a primary opponent, Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Bee Gees were at the top of the charts. This year, for the first time since 1979, Saslaw has primary opposition. Not just one opponent, but two.
Broken promises and missed deadlines plague Eco-City Alexandria.
Alexandria adopted its Eco-City charter with great fanfare in 2008 along with a promise: The charter would be renewed in a decade. That deadline has now come and gone with no plans to update it. In 2009, members of the City Council approved an Eco-City action plan along with another promise: It would be renewed in five years. Once again, city officials breezed through that deadline.
Uncovering the secret past in the Town of Potomac.
Gambling. Corruption, Racism. Greed. These are all part of a little-known narrative from the Del Ray's long-ago past, a time when progressive leaders closed a corrupt racetrack and formed the Town of Potomac, only to see an unwanted attempt by Alexandria City Hall to steal the land in a controversial annexation.
Democrats enter the new year with a fresh victory and a full head of steam.
.Virginia’s 33rd state Senate District was once a solidly Republican seat, a place where conservative voters repeatedly rewarded Bill Mims for opposing same-sex marriage and championing homeschooling. But ever since Mims resigned to take a job in the McDonnell administration, the seat has been held by a succession of Democrats on their way to bigger and better things.
Constituents tell lawmakers to increase teacher pay; ERA, $15 minimum wage and more.
Teachers deserve a pay raise, and Virginia desperately needs to hire more school counselors. These were two of the most prevalent concerns voiced by constituents to members of the Fairfax County legislative delegation, the largest in the Virginia General Assembly.
January special election to fill seat vacated by Jennifer Wexton features two familiar faces.
The first election of 2019 might end up being a harbinger of things to come for Republicans, who have seen their presence all but evaporate in Northern Virginia. It could also test the limits of the blue wave that washed over Virginia since Donald Trump was elected president.
Region once had its own brand of Republicanism; now that seems almost extinct.
The loss of two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (D-10) means Republicans are down to one lone elected official in Northern Virginia, Del. Tim Hugo (R-40). The blue wave that started last year unseating Republicans like Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67) and Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) continued this year, when state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-10) was able to flip a seat that had been in Republican hands since a young military lawyer named Frank Wolf beat incumbent Democrat Joe Fisher back in 1980.
Kaine and Stewart both played key roles in 2016; now they’re at the top of the ballot this year.
Elections rarely get do-overs. Winners make victory speeches, and losers slink away to become consultants. But this year’s election for U.S. Senate features two key players in the 2016 presidential election that upended American politics.
City moves from rehabilitating old apartment buildings to developing new affordable units.
Alexandria is falling behind its affordable housing goal, creating or preserving about half of the units that were anticipated five years ago. But now that that restaurant diners will be chipping in an extra $5 million a year, city officials are poised to move forward with an aggressive new slate of affordable housing development. Gone are the days when city officials could get their hands on a few 1940s garden apartments here and there to rehabilitate. These days the thinking at City Hall is developing new units as part of a grand strategy to build their way out of an affordable housing crisis.
Corey Stewart to lead Republican ticket this fall.
Conservative firebrand Corey Stewart was denied an opportunity to be the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013. And then he came within striking distance of being the party’s standard-bearer in the gubernatorial campaign last year. Now, finally, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors has secured a spot at the top of the ticket, bringing his brand of anti-immigrant, pro-Confederate Trumpism to the race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine.
Moderate state senator did not get pulled to the left in primary.
State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33) made a name for herself in Northern Virginia as a tough-as-nails prosecutor, including one case that grabbed national headlines involving a woman who persuaded her boyfriend to kill her father with a samurai sword. During her campaign for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, she never lost that sense of law-and-order grit, refusing to be pulled to the left as other candidates were calling for President Trump to be impeached.
Six Democrats vying for Democratic nomination to face Barbara Comstock.
Democrats are so eager to take on two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10), some of them have actually moved to the district specifically to run against her.
State slashes funds to fix city’s combined sewer system.
Alexandria’s plan to fix its raw sewage problem may be going down the drain, at least this year. Leaders in the House and Senate money committees slashed $20 million out of the budget that was supposed to help the city fix its antiquated combined sewer system, which floods the Potomac River with raw sewage whenever there is as little as 0.03 inches of rain.
Lawmakers poised to leave town without passing budget.
Budget showdowns are rare in Virginia, but not unprecedented. Back in 2004, Gov. Mark Warner clashed with Republicans over a sales tax increase. Then in 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe engaged in brinkmanship over expanding Medicaid. Now lawmakers are poised to end the session once again without passing a budget.
Increased availability behind bars, but no tax breaks during back-to-school week.
Several lawmakers from Northern Virginia arrived in Richmond this year hoping to push a cause known as menstrual equity — making sure that feminine hygiene products are affordable, safe and available. But success has been mixed.