Campaign updates from Letty – Oct 9 edition

Dear Friends,
Election season is in full swing, with 3 debates and candidate forums and canvassing over 550 houses in the past week. There are only 25 days until Election Day, November 3rd! Lots of good info in this newsletter, including an issue I care deeply about but not widely discussed – affordability – and I spoke about it at last night’s debate.
**EARLY/ABSENTEE VOTING is a great option if you think there’s a risk you will not be able to make it to the polls. Below is information on how to easily vote in-person absentee. Besides weekday hours, there are two Saturdays 10/24 and 10/31 where you can absentee vote at City Hall!**
Local elections matter more to our day-to-day lives than presidential elections, and we need everyone to vote! Voter turnout will be key in this important election, and I need your help starting now to remind friends and neighbors about the candidates you support and getting to the polls! 
What’s Happening:
League of Women Voters / VPIS Debate – if you couldn’t attend last Thursday’s LWV and VPIS debate, the video is available on YouTube
–> As expected, mixed use development was the hot topic. I did want to highlight one of the questions I drew – “do you think apartment and condo dwellers are full fledged citizens?” I am unsure if it was meant to be facetious, but I found the question to be unnecessarily divisive. We are all one community! Many of our apartment and condo residents are empty nesters who once raised their families in the City and have since downsized, young families establishing their roots, young professionals who fill a needed demographic gap, or local workers who are a key part of our City’s business community. I think economic and generational diversity is important in any successful, thriving city, and I would love to see more efforts to preserve and protect that in ours.
Community Issues Forum #2 – like the LWV/VPIS debate, last night’s was a packed house and standing room only. When the YouTube video link is available, I will share.
–> Again, most of the City Council’s questions were about mixed use development and several other thoughtful, important topics. At the end, I also had the opportunity to ask myself a question that was not asked. I chose to speak about an issue that I am passionate about and think we should be paying more attention to: affordabilityin the Little City. It really does encapsulate all of these key issues this election year – school growth, how we develop and maintain our character, how we keep taxes reasonable, and how we want to shape the future of our city. I blogged about it this morning and invite you to read my thoughts. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas too!
Letty‘s Listen & Learn – this week’s Listen & Learn will be at tomorrow’s Farm Day and the Fire Dept Open House. Again, a key priority of mine is to to get more voices in the community heard and represented. I want use more creative means for outreach and engagement to achieve that goal. Both events are part of my family’s fall traditions, so I’m looking forward to being there with my kids and hope to see you too. Look for me in my blue campaign t-shirt! I will be at Farm Day from10 am-12 pm and then the Fire Department Open House from 12 pm-2 pm tomorrow.
Sierra Club Endorsement – if you didn’t see it on Facebook already, I am proud to have received an endorsement from the Sierra Club.
Transform I-66 Project – there was a public meeting this past Tuesday evening on the VDOT proposal to change I-66 both inside and outside the Beltway. Traffic is a regional concern for everyone – especially as our area continues to urbanize – and I believe the proposed I-66 changes could have an even bigger impact on our day-to-day lives than any of our local developments. I blogged a summary of the proposed changes and my thoughts.
Mason Row Update – the submission is currently being reviewed by Boards and Commissions. I attended the EDA and Parks and Rec Advisory Board meetings this week where Mason Row was discussed. There is an updated draft of the voluntary concessions/proffers (VCs), but not yet posted online. One of the highlights is that the developers will now meet the 6% minimum number of affordable dwelling units (ADUs) in Mason Row, which is based on area median household income (AMI). Rent is still pretty pricey though – even adjusted, a 1 bedroom will be around $1700/month and $2200/month for a 2 bedroom unit.

Important Voting Dates 
  • Last day to register to vote is next Tuesday, Oct 13!!
  • Absentee voting is available in person or via mail between now and October 31st, at City Hall, weekdays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays, October 24 and 31, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • With changes to the law, many people are now eligible for in-person absentee voting. Reasons for voting absentee include: being out of town on Nov 3 for vacation or work, having a spouse or dependent in active service, working 11+ hours outside of the county you vote in, and many other reasons
  • Last Day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 27 at 5 p.m
  • Sample Ballot
  • On Tuesday, November 3rd, the polls will be open from 6am to 7pm.
  • New voter ID laws are in effect. The list of accepted forms of ID and other related information can be found here.
Farm Day @ Cherry Hill – The 23rd Annual Farm Day will be held this Saturday, October 10 from 10AM-3PM in Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Avenue). Features blacksmith demonstrations, hayrides, pumpkin painting, pony rides, cider pressing, scarecrow making, a petting zoo, live music, and food trucks. 
Fire Prevention Week & Fire Dept Open House – City Council declared October 4-10 to be Fire Prevention Week. Fire Station 6 will hold an Open House on Saturday, October 10 and will feature free food and games, a chance to meet Sparky the Fire Dog and climb on fire trucks, demonstrations, and more!
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West End Park Grand Re-opening – this Sunday Oct 11, Parks and Rec is hosting a re-opening of West End Park (1048 West Broad Street) 
  • 3:45-4:15PM Bicycle & Skateboard Safety Workshop, Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department
  • 4:30-5:15PM Official Grand Reopening Ceremony and Remarks
  • 5:15-5:30PM Skateboard & BMX Bicycle Demonstrations 
LWV and VPS School Board Candidate Forum – Thursday Oct 15 @ 7 pm – VPIS, LWV, and the GMHS PTSA will co-host a School Board Candidate only Forum at the GMHS Auditorium. Evening will begin at 7pm in the foyer for a 20 minute “Meet and Greet” with the candidates, followed by the Forum from 7:30 – 9pm in the Auditorium.
2nd GM/MEH Visioning Session – There will be a second visioning forum on Saturday Oct 17, 9 am-12 pm to solicit input from everyone in the community on the GM/MEH re-development. RSVP here. If you can’t attend, you can still use the form to send input.
Cookies with Candidates @ Pearson Square – Saturday Oct 17 4-5 pm. If you live in Pearson Square or know of friends who live there, help spread the word! Erin Gill, School Board candidate, and I will be meeting residents of Pearson Square from 4-5 pm in the party room. Stop by for an afternoon snack and share what’s on your mind.
Yard Signs – I ran out of yard signs (a good problem to have!) and my second batch is here! If you don’t have a sign yet and would like one, just reply with your address and I’ll get one out to you this weekend.
Please reach out with thoughts and questions and feel free to pass this email to friends. Have a wonderful weekend – see you on the campaign trail.