Editor: Contrary to the piece in a recent Gazette regarding County Board member Takis Karantonis’ assertion that Arlington voters are generally satisfied with the performance of the County Board, I must respectfully disagree.
Recall that Karantonis ascended to the board in the 2020 special election (with under 250 Democratic Committee electors voting) for Erik Gutshall’s seat thanks arguably to the endorsement of former board members Fisette, Hynes, Tejada and Zimmerman. Since that time, Karantonis has been the quintessential Democratic insider, touting his support of the County Board’s agenda.
While Karantonis may be satisfied with his own performance and reasonable people, like me, do quibble, it does not automatically equate, as he asserts, to overall County Board satisfaction in the eyes, mind and heart of the electorate.
Several cases in point: sustained and unbridled development; crowded schools; destruction of trees, resulting in increased flooding due to decreasing permeable land (replaced with more concrete) available for absorption when we experience heavy rain; the lack of respect for small businesses like Good Company; and, last but not least, increasing lack of availability of low-income housing causing sustained displacement of families, seniors and the developmentally challenged to anywhere but here.
I believe that our county manager lacks accountability to the County Board, the board lacks accountability to the community, and in the vacuum, county staff and big builders have their way.
Conversely, as a 42-year Arlington resident, I have been impressed with the caliber of leadership demonstrated by the likes of Ellen Bozman, Walter Frankland, Dorothy Grotos, Jim Hunter and Mary Margaret Whipple (amongst many others) – community leaders who articulated their vision and fought for it. Agree or disagree, you knew where they stood.
I encourage our current board members to do the same – find thy spine and stand up for what you believe and fight for it, whether or not in lock step with “Blue Arlington.”
Mark Riley, Arlington