We have many mechanisms for citizen engagement in Arlington, but too often, we engage the same citizens. Our County leadership looks to citizen work groups to advise on our community’s thorniest challenges, from individual site review processes to long-range joint planning between the County and the Schools. I’ve been proud to participate in this process, serving on the Arlington Public Schools Advisory Council on Instruction and as an appointed Commissioner.

But we need all of Arlington's brainpower at these tables to help develop new solutions to perennial challenges. As a County Board member, I will fight for deliberate recruitment of new perspectives on our commissions, advisory committees, site plan review processes and work groups. And I will focus on recruiting citizen advisors from our growing ranks of retirees, to bring their talents and expertise to bear in our collective planning.

Our challenge is more than just who we ask for input; it's also about what we do with that input when we get it. Our next Board must also take up the important work of restoring citizen confidence and trust. Too many Arlingtonians feel their perspectives aren't heard, and that their concerns about major investments, in particular, are going unaddressed. I am committed to improving two-way communications both in tone and in policy.


PRIORITY #1: Combat the culture of "they don't come to our meetings." Use the lever of the Board appointment process to ensure greater representation on our standing and ad hoc advisory and review groups.Draw from the ranks and expertise of community organizations already reaching renters, young people, retirees and minorities, as well as the lessons from the programs and work groups that are currently succeeding at recruiting from these groups.

PRIORITY #2: Partner with the new independent auditor to communicate publicly what we're learning about County government, to bring further sunlight into the County's affairs and help build citizen's confidence in the stewardship of their tax dollars. Work with our auditor to adopt performance effectiveness practices, such as a standard set of project / program proposal and monitoring questions, in Board decision-making.

PRIORITY #3: Engage the community in the search for and decision regarding the next County Manager, including soliciting - and reflecting - input from diverse stakeholder groups. Make residence in Arlington a requirement for the next County Manager.


As a leader in Arlington’s Commission on the Status of Women, I’ve worked with experts and service providers in the County and region to develop a clearer picture of the lives, opportunities and challenges of women and families in the community. I will push the County Board to do more to meet the needs of all citizens and create a safe, healthy and equal community that is a model for Virginia.

Arlington can also build on its successes to create progressive proof points for the Commonwealth, in areas like inclusive zoning for women’s health centers. And while child care in Arlington sets the quality standard for Virginia, we have to address the burden its uniquely high costs place on our young families. Taking action to address the child care supply gap in the community is good for families and good for business.


PRIORITY #1: Pursue necessary partnerships to address Arlington's critical gap in justice for survivors of sexual violence: the lack of SANE, or "rape kit," services within the County's borders.

PRIORITY #2: Firmly support and monitor the brand-new Department of Human Services partnership with Doorways for Women and Families to extend the County's 24-hour domestic violence hotline services to sexual violence hotline and companion services. Ensure sufficient staffing of our Violence Intervention Program, which has become overburdened after the loss of a federal grant.

PRIORITY #3: Continue emerging collaboration with statewide reproductive choice advocates to ensure our zoning practices are friendly to women's health centers in Arlington.

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  • Katie Cristol
    published this page in ISSUES 2015-04-06 20:36:24 -0400