Editor: The Arlington Way and Ellen Bozman’s name have both come up recently in policy debates.
The Sun Gazette recently reported on the County Board public comments forum on Missing Middle including a speaker citing Ellen Bozman, a long-serving member of the County Board. As Ellen’s daughter and granddaughter, we appreciate that her memory and legacy remain in people’s thoughts – and believe she would support expanded housing options.
Ellen served on the Arlington County Board for 24 years and was a member of the League of Women Voters for all her adult life. Her public service demonstrated deep commitment to social justice as well as good government.
Affordable housing was a key concern for Ellen, both in her service on the County Board and after retirement as one of the founders of the Alliance for Housing Solutions.
As you might imagine, activism was a core value for both of us in our upbringing. We believe that civic engagement should be civil, with the overall good of the community in mind. We write to remind us all of an important truth: The Arlington Way does not mean that everyone gets everything they want.
We tend to smooth things over in our memory, and we may have forgotten in our nostalgia that other issues in Arlington’s history were not without disagreement.
The establishment of Culpepper Garden is a good example. Ahead of the 1972 vote (before Ellen’s County Board service, she had long been active in volunteer and appointed roles) which would establish Culpepper Garden as the first home in the county for seniors of low and middle income, there was contentious debate and strong disagreement within the community. In the end, the County Board vote was 3-2. Yet despite the lack of unanimity in 1972, in the years following, broad agreement developed about its benefits for our community.
The four years of public discussion the County Board has stewarded is evidence that the Arlington Way continues. We believe that additional types of housing in more parts of our community will make our community better as we welcome new neighbors to a more just and equitable Arlington.
Martha Bozman and Rosalind Reischer, Arlington