Post #695: Town of Vienna Election Day

Posted on May 19, 2020

Source:  CBS news article on voting in the 1918 pandemic.

For those of you who have lost track of time under the stay-at-home order, today is Election Day this year in the Town of Vienna.  You may vote at the Community Center, or you may drop off your absentee ballot in the absentee ballot drop-off box at the Fairfax Government Center.

Source:  Facebook page for ViennaVotes.

If you ordered an absentee ballot, and now have decided to vote in person, take that ballot with you when you go to the Community Center to vote.

The County will be doing what it can to make this safe, including the standard social distancing measures, giving each person a new pen (instead of re-using), and having the persons running the polls in masks and gloves.  For your part, you’d be well-advised to wear a mask.  As I understand it, the County cannot require that, and will not provide disposable courtesy masks on-site.

FYI, the turnout so far (from returned absentee ballots) is slightly higher than the turnout from the 2019 election.  Based on that, my guess is that there isn’t going to be much of a crowd if you want to vote in person.  In all likelihood, more-or-less anyone who has wanted to vote, already has.

My endorsement

Which makes this last bit almost superflous:  I already offered my endorsement, and why (Post #658):  Majdi, Dahl, Patariu, and Wright. 

Let me just give an ongoing example of why I’ve voted for them.

If you’ve read this site, you know I really objected to MAC zoning.  The Town is now preparing to eliminate MAC zoning.  And yet, I am not celebrating.  Why?  Because they aren’t really doing any such thing.

They’ve left it, in all but name, in the Comprehensive Plan, they’ve hired a consultant to rewrite the zoning in accord with the Comprehensive Plan.  Town staff are now having closed monthly meetings with local builders, regarding the rewrite of the Town building codes.

Basically, Town staff are in the process of making MAC-like construction by-right construction along Maple.  The only thing that has changed is that this is all being done by Town Staff, out of the public eye.  

And the only person who has even so much as questioned any of that, on Town Council, has been Majdi.  (Ah, and I guess Patel, a bit.)

I hope you can see the logic here.  Townspeople were, on average, so irked at MAC that they voted some Town Council members out.  Several other pro-MAC Town Council members decided not to run for re-election, both last year and this year.  The result is that just one of the original pro-MAC Town Council is still in the running:  Councilmember Colbert, now running for Mayor.  And despite that fairly clear set of will-of-the-people moments, Town staff , with cooperation of some current Town Council members, continue to press the MAC agenda.  They’re simply keeping it out of the public view.

And exactly one (ah, maybe two, I think I Councilmember Patel also raised her voice) members of current Town Council even bothered to question any aspect of that.

Majdi dared to question it, in public.  And for behavior like that, he’s been ostracized on Town Council.  Whereas I think we need more of that, and less of the Town’s work done behind closed doors, in private meetings with developers, and so on.

Our Planning Commission, under former chair Gelb, added a clause to their by-laws, that private meetings with developers have to be reported, in Planning Commission meetings, after-the fact.  Current Town Council can’t even see its way to doing that.  Instead, meetings between Town Staff who are developing regulations, and the builders who will benefit from those regulations, have been made a regular part of the process.  Cozy, I guess that’s the term.  If you think that’s going to lead to a pro-resident set of regulations, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.  All that, with only one voice objecting.

So, for that at least, he’s got my vote.