Maybe we’re all just getting old, gray and crabby, but when we speak with some of those who have given a lifetime of service (or significant portion therein) to Arlington Democratic politics, they tend to bemoan the current state of affairs, largely on the County Board.
’Tis true: Current board members, though individually conscientious and no doubt well-meaning in their own way, are pale shadows of some who came before them. If the names Ellen Bozman, Al Eisenberg, Chris Zimmerman and Jay Fisette are not familiar to you, they are some from the not-too-distant past who actually led the community dialogue and pushed their policies, rather than (as today’s County Board seems inclined to do) follow the lead of staff, many of whom don’t even live in Arlington and are merely filling time until another gig comes along.
Alas, there’s not going to be much of a battle for County Board in November. The field is now set: Democratic incumbent Matt de Ferranti – pleasant and thoughtful yet one who has not once in our reckoning rocked the boat during nearly four years in office – is being challenged by perennial candidate Audrey Clement and independent Adam Theo, who ran last year for the first time, finishing at the bottom of the pack.
Clement and Theo may indeed score some points during debate season. But neither has shown the desire to raise enough money – or even more than a symbolic amount – that is required to actually inform the public that there are alternatives available.
Republicans, meanwhile, once again failed to field a County Board candidate; after an online post from the Sun Gazette’s editor whacked them around for the shortcoming, the GOP’s communications chair publicly agreed that the party needed to do better in candidate recruitment. Indeed: A political party that doesn’t field candidates is a debating society, nothing more. C’mon, local GOP: You’re supposed to be Republi-cans, not Republi-can’ts.
Given the state of affairs, we’ll play along and cover the upcoming County Board race, but with no illusions about the end result. This race was over before it began.
Next year, however, there are two board seats up for grabs and, according to the rumor-cum-innuendo mill, incumbents Democrats Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey each will be hanging it up after two terms. (However, having teed up big pay raises for themselves, one wonders if they won’t keep on truckin’ in office.)
Assuming Cristol and Dorsey don’t run, it will be fascinating to see which Democrats might bubble up to seek seats on the County Board, which at one time was a stepping-stone to future political success but for more than a decade has been a political graveyard. And it will be fascinating to see if any noteworthy non-Democrats, ones who can raise some cash and cobble together coalitions, will be cajoled to enter the fray.
The time to start planning for 2023 is right now.