News

LPNOVA Endorses Amendment 1 for Redistricting Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 19, 2020 – LPNOVA supports voting ‘YES’ on the redistricting commission amendment (Question 1 on the November 2020 ballot).  The current redistricting system allows the party that has control of the state legislature and governor’s office to gerrymander legislative districts in a way that advantages their party and diminishes the political power of any opposition.  The proposed constitutional amendment creates a truly bipartisan commission which must compromise to come up with a redistricting plan that can get the 12/16 supermajority required to pass.  Though we would prefer that redistricting be NON-partisan rather than BI-partisan, it’s much better to force the Republicans and Democrats to come up with a compromise plan, rather than let one party have complete control.  Some, including the Virginia Democratic Party who supported this amendment before they gained full control of the state government, say that this plan isn’t perfect, and so it should be voted down.  But new districts will be drawn for 2021 that will be in place for 10 years.  This important reform must take effect before districts are redrawn. 

Summary of the redistricting amendment

  • Currently, congressional and state legislative districts are voted on by the state legislature through the normal legislative process and the governor has veto power.
  • Under the proposed constitutional amendment:
    • Districts are drawn by 16 commissioners selected by the following process:
      • Four are legislators of the majority (currently Democratic) party
      • Four are legislators of the minority (currently Republican) party
      • Four are citizens from a list created by the majority party and selected from that list by a group of retired judges
      • Four are citizens from a list created by the minority party and selected from that list by a group of retired judges
      • The retired judges who select the citizen commissioners are selected from a list compiled by the supreme court- two judges are elected by the majority party and two by the minority party
    • All meetings, records, and documents of the redistricting commission are public record.  They must have at least three hearings where they take public comments.
    • There are some fairly complex rules around the number of votes needed for the commission to propose a redistricting plan to the legislature, but in all cases, it requires at least 12/16 to vote for a plan.
    • The legislature votes on whether to approve the redistricting plan.  They aren’t allowed to make any changes and the governor has no veto power.
    • If the legislature twice rejects the redistricting commission’s plan, or if the commission fails to come up with a plan, the Virginia Supreme Court has responsibility for drawing districts

Proposed Firearm Ban Puts Vulnerable Residents at Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2020 – Arlington, VA
Contact: chair@lpnova.org


The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia (LPNOVA) opposes the adoption of an Arlington County Firearms Ordinance that prohibits the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms or ammunition in county buildings, parks, at county-permitted events, and in public rights of way adjacent to those events.

This proposed change to the Arlington code is a direct infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Arlington County residents, as well as those who work in or visit the county. Restricting the ability of citizens to carry firearms for their own self-defense not only increases the risk that they will become victims of crime, but also creates scenarios where law-abiding citizens instantly and unwittingly become criminals as they move throughout Northern Virginia.

A blanket ban on carrying firearms in public rights of way, especially parks, removes the ability of those who use those spaces, and whose tax dollars maintain them, to defend themselves from violent crime. The ban stands to disproportionately impact vulnerable communities, who are at a greater risk of being victimized while using parks. Specifically, women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionally victims of criminal acts and violence and would be most negatively impacted, because they would have fewer options for effective self-defense.

Additionally, the change makes all county-permitted events and the adjacent public rights of way gun-free zones. In Arlington, county permitted events are ubiquitous, and often quite near one another. This creates areas where residents and businesses are completely entrapped and surrounded by areas that they cannot legally traverse with firearms or ammunition. This scenario makes the county exceptionally vulnerable to lawsuits defending the Second Amendment rights of residents, a significant additional burden on taxpayers and county legal systems.

Ideally this ordinance would not be passed at all; however, if the Board feels it is absolutely necessary, LPNOVA encourages the Board to include an exemption for Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holders, including those who hold permits in other states with reciprocity agreements. This would reduce the impact of the concerns raised above by providing a legal path for trained, responsible citizens to bear arms.


The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia is the local chapter of the Libertarian Party, America’s most successful third party. Our local chapter runs candidates for political office and pushes for policy changes in the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Falls Church, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax.

The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia endorses Stevan Porter for Herndon Town Council.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2020 – Arlington, VA
Contact: chair@lpnova.org


The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia (LPNOVA) proudly endorses Mr. Stevan Porter (51) for Herndon Town Council. The Herndon Town Council is a seven-member council with a Mayor and six councilmembers. The council functions include establishing local policy, acting on resolutions and ordinances, setting tax rates and approving the annual budget, and appointing town board members. Mr. Porter is seeking one of six at-large seats on the council with elections scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Porter’s campaign priorities of responsible government spending and protecting individual freedoms are rooted in the same belief system of LPNOVA. These include objectives that promote government accountability, protect individual and property rights, and make responsible changes to criminal justice and police programming. He also is strongly committed to community engagement and finding new ways to better involve the entire community – residents, businesses, and non-profits – to implement practical and cost effective solutions that are not primarily reliant on government provided resources.

Porter has previously represented the Libertarian Party as the 2018 U.S. House candidate in Virginia’s 11th District. He has also served in local Libertarian roles, most recently as LPNOVA’s Secretary during 2018-2019. Porter has been engaged in the community through the Herndon Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and his work as a volunteer paramedic and company officer with the Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad. Porter is also a full time IT professional with 25 years of experience in the field.

Recently, LPNOVA Chair Adam Theo gave praise to Porter’s campaign and his dedication to principle. “Steve will be an incredible addition to the Town of Herndon’s governing council. He brings a fresh perspective, dedication to pursuing needed change, and openness in all of his dealings that people naturally trust.” noted Theo. “He showed complete dedication to transparency and pragmatism towards our organization’s governance during his appointment as LPNOVA’s Secretary. Steve has always displayed a strong sense of fairness and respect by talking through issues with anyone – rare qualities in politics right now, sadly. We can change that state of politics by electing Stevan Porter to help in Herndon’s Town Council.”

LPNOVA encourages people to learn more about Stevan Porter’s campaign for Herndon Town Council at www.porter4herndon.com and on Facebook @Porter4Herndon. Citizens who wish to learn more are invited to contact Porter at steve@porter4herndon.com.

A Joint Open Letter to the Arlington County Board to Drop the $23 Million Subsidy to Amazon

Dear members of the Arlington County Board: Christian Dorsey, Libby Garvey, Katie Cristol, Erik Gutshall, and Matt de Farranti;

Soon you will vote on a proposed incentives package from Arlington County to Amazon for its likely expansion into Northern Virginia. A part of this package is a $23 million subsidy to the company to be paid out over 15 years and funded from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on room stays from hotels and home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb, based on performance milestones.

This is such an important issue that two very different political organizations, the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia and Our Revolution Arlington, have come together to urge all of you to reject this proposed $23 million subsidy to Amazon at the upcoming County Board meeting, currently scheduled for March 16th.

Despite our members having very different opinions on Amazon and its expansion into Northern Virginia, with some being optimistic for it, others desiring greater guarantees and community improvements, and some being against it on principled grounds, we can all agree that paying one of the largest and wealthiest companies in the world with public money is fundamentally wrong, unethical, bad economics, and even unnecessary!

There are many reasons

Poor Governance

Five years ago, the Arlington County Board was spending recklessly on pet projects such as a lavish aquatics center, a $1 million bus stop, and a streetcar that was continuously skyrocketing over budget, among many others. There was political upheaval, and new County Board members have promised to never make the same mistake. But you are. You are now ignoring immense public feedback at every event and are preparing to rubber stamp everything that Amazon wants with no pushback or modifications to the proposal.

This process risks damaging the good relationship between the County government and its citizens. This shouldn’t be the ‘Arlington Way’.

Unethical

Arlington prides itself on being an inclusive community and welcoming to immigrants, regardless of legal status. Our public dollars should reflect our values and should not go to a corporation that makes billions working with ICE and supporting their deportation agenda.

Also, since this subsidy comes from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), a.k.a. the “Hotel and Airbnb tax”, it would force people who host through home-sharing platforms and independent motel owners to subsidize Amazon, a company that many of those taxpayers do not wish to support.

Bad Economics

Corporate subsidies for big, well-connected corporations are unfair to competitors, especially smaller local businesses that never get those kinds of benefits.

Additionally, the County faces an approximately $20 million budget shortfall for 2021. Why is the Arlington county board giving public money, which is utterly insignificant to Amazon but incredibly important for our own county budgets, for the company to do nothing more than move in?

Unnecessary

Regardless of the performance aspect of how this subsidy would be handed out to Amazon based on how much office space they occupy in the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods, the milestones that Amazon must meet to obtain these public funds are low and easily achieved. Amazon coming in and occupying office space is the entire point of their expansion into Arlington. Why are we paying them to do something they are promising to do anyway?

This amount of $23 million is less than one hour of revenue for Amazon. It’s absurd to think the company would refuse to expand into Arlington based on losing this subsidy. If they want to come, then come. If they walk away, then it shows they were not serious about being good neighbors after all.

Say ‘No’ to the $23 million Subsidy to Amazon

In addition to writing this joint open letter together, we have also begun a social media campaign to bring in voices of the public, your constituents. You’ve heard them at the various town halls, civic association meetings, and other county events, but we fear you’re ignoring them.

Therefore, these people who live or work in Arlington will be reaching out to your official political social media profiles using the hashtag #No23toAmazon in one last attempt to be heard before you rubber stamp Amazon’s deal.

Public Statement

The organizers will also be making a public statement to the Arlington County Board during its scheduled meeting this Saturday, March 16th, when the Board plans on voting on its incentives package, including this $23 million subsidy.

Who we are

This joint open letter statement is released by the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia and Our Revolution Arlington in an unprecedented joint effort. The organizers have also initiated the #No23toAmazon grassroots social media campaign to show that Arlington County constituents are also against this subsidy. The organizers can be contacted for media inquiries or community outreach about this effort during normal business hours.