Arlington Attack Politics Get Ugly

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Scan of Ringel Mailer in Arlington

If you live in Virginia, I’m sure you’re sick and tired of all of the attack ads airing for the gubernatorial race between McDonnell and Deeds. It has been a long and ugly race and many around the area are excitedly awaiting the coming of election day on Tuesday, November 3rd, so we can be done with all of this. But did you know that attack politics is hitting very, very close to home for many today? If you live in the 48th district in Virginia, which includes north-east Arlington and wraps around down to Crystal City, you may be waking up to a very nasty attack mailer compliments of Aaron Ringel, the Republican opponent of six term incumbent Democrat Bob Brink. According to Ringel, Brink wants to hurt your children.

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The mailer, which says “Paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia”, features a stereotypical picture of a scary convict in an orange jumpsuit. The reason? Ringel is trying to tell you that Bob Brink hates your children and wants convicts to hurt them. The basis for this mailer is that Del. Brink voted for HB 1481, which was proposed legislation to allow ex-felons to apply for a waiver to serve as a contractor on school grounds, as long as they had not been convicted of a violent crime or sex crime, and had waited at least 5 years from the date of the crime. This legislation failed in Richmond by a vote of 30 to 65. Why this bill ever came up and what the driver was behind it, I’m not completely sure. But read the text of the bill and the fact that 29 other delegates voted to support this and I think you can agree that this mailer is ridiculous. Talk about out of control fear mongering!

Among other ridiculous statements that Ringel should be ashamed of, the back of the mailer says Bob Brink doesn’t want our schools to be safe. Really? Do you think the Delegate wants our schools to be dangerous and for your children to be hurt? This kind of crap is what turns people off of politics completely. The GOP in Arlington, which has shown a lot of promise in the last few months with some of their recent candidates and campaign approaches, should be downright ashamed of a mailer like this. Word is that the VA GOP is supporting similar mailers around the state as a last ditch effort to attack opponents in races, trying to make HB 1481 the deciding factor.

I contacted Del. Brink to get a response to this, since we know what Ringel’s position is. This is what Brink had to say:

“My opponent grew up in the Karl Rove era of Republican politics, and apparently he thinks Rove-style personal attacks, half-truths, and fear-mongering are the way to win an election. I think he’s wrong. Having lived in Arlington for nearly 30 years, I’m confident the voters in the 48th will reject such ham-fisted smear tactics.”

Karl is a Washingtonian who lives and breathes everything that is DC. Politics, ethnic restaurants, sad sports teams, the Metro and pretty much anything in between. Karl’s life is kind of like going to a Nats’ game while eating Ethiopian food and discussing the latest legislation to pass the House. Then cramming on the Metro for a ride home. That ’bout sums it up. See why Karl loves DC or check him out on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Arlington Attack Politics Get Ugly

  1. I want to first point out that no where in this flyer does it say that sexual predators or violent felons would be allowed in schools, it just says felons. And you are right, the bill did say that those criminals would not be allowed, and that is good, but it still allowed some felons to be allowed.

    I am a firm believer in allowing criminals to integrate themselves back into society, including gaining the right to vote after a specified process and time, but I do believe that some criminals including many felons should not be allowed to be an authority figure for children at school. Felons involved in human trafficing, drug distribution, conspiracy to commit, grand larseny, grand theft, and the list could go on should not be involved in everyday involvement with children, and if you think they should, then we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Secondly, and lastly, I want to talk about your assumption that this mailer is being used throughout the state. I think that a mailer letting this known to all citizens should occur. Any delegate, Republican or Democrat, should be attacked, rightfully, on this issue. Simply put I do not want someone who has dealt is adult human trafficing, or conspiracy to commit murder to work with my children.

    I hope that your next post about this campaign will not try to lean one way, based on the fact that you only contacted one campaign for a quote. There are no quotes from Aaron on this mailer from Aaron, so you should go and get a quote from him, but you did not even contact him. Try to do a piece on the solutions that Brink has proposed for the problems facing Arlington. You will find that he has not solved, or tried to solve any problem facing Arlington today. Bob Brink and the Democrats in Arlington are the party of “no”. They say no to transportation solutions (since they tout mass transit but have not added anything significant), they say no to more benefits for our veterans to go to school, and to live in VA, they say no to solving our budget problem (unless it includes just raising taxes) and they say no to our energy problem (though they tout clean energy, they refuse to put any money into creating a grid that would allow mass amounts of clean energy to be used). So please, tell me some solutions that Brink has proposed for the problems, I would love to hear you try to walk around that.

    Just open your eyes to the reality of the problems, and try to look clearly at who has been providing solutions, weather you agree with them or not, at least Aaron has been talking about solutions.

  2. Honestly? Ads like this, I’d vote for Brink just because I don’t want to vote for someone who puts out filth like this to get himself elected. Want my vote? Campaign for what you believe and what you want to accomplish. Slander like this, I hate to think it could help someone get into public office. Shame on Ringel.

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  4. Brandon-

    Did you read the article you are commenting on? VIOLENT FELONS wouldn’t have been eligible for the waiver. So your fear-mongering about those convicted of “conspiracy to commit murder” or “human trafficking” is FALSE. They would not be eligible. Those convicted of drug offenses also would be ineligible.

    And they wouldn’t be “authority figures,” you buffoon. They are contractors working on school grounds. Plumbers, carpenters, laborers, etc., who generally have no contact with students.

    I’m not defending the bill, I’m just attacking your injection of stupidity and fear-mongering into the discussion. If you don’t like the bill or the fact that Del. Brink voted for it, fine. But oppose it on the facts, not on your made-up scenarios.

  5. Brandon,

    You are right, the flyer does not say “molesters” but it certainly implies it. It is intellectually dishonest to argue that the purpose of this flyer was not to scare parents into thinking their kids will be surrounded by child molesters, or at least violent people. The “safety” argument is a direct statement of such.

    The best part is that the bill that Brink voted for explicitly excludes large categories of individuals from even applying for a waiver to work at a school. The text reads:

    “D. Any contractor or his employee who is disqualified from providing services as a result of a felony conviction under subsection C may request from the local school board a waiver from disqualification, provided that the felony conviction occurred at least five years prior to the date of the waiver request and that such felony did not involve: (i) the sexual molestation or physical or sexual abuse or rape of a child; (ii) any crime against the person pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 18.230 et seq.) of Title 18.2; or (iii) health and safety pursuant to Article 1 (§ 18.2247 et seq.) or Article 1.1 (§ 18.2265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2.”

    That means that you CANNOT even be considered for a waiver if your felony involved basically any sort of offense against a person, any firearms offense, any offense involving violence against property, the offense of pointing a laser at a police officer, and then also any offense involving drugs (i.e. possession, not just drug trafficking).

    Thus your comments above are completely incorrect (you should read the bill (here: ) and the VA code which can be found here: (see chapters 4 and 7) — and you will see that this law explicitly prevents anyone in those above categories from even applying for a waiver.

    For those felons who are not excluded from applying for a waiver, it still requires them to apply for a waiver and for the local school board to determine whether to grant that waiver. i.e. the guy who committed mail fraud or violated an EPA regulation ten years ago, and has reformed his life, and is committed to trying to help kids not end up where he did, still may not be able to do so if the local school board (i.e. those closest to the school and the people) decides he cannot get a waiver.

    …. now why do I point this all out? To demonstrate that this flyer, on its face, is untruthful. It implies something is directly in contradiction of the truth of the bill that Brink voted for.

    We all know why this was sent out, it was sent out to scare people. It was sent out to play upon people’s fears and societal stereotypes to create an image of Brink that is clearly not true.

    I wonder whether Ringel’s campaign even read the law?

    The biggest problem with this is what is says about the candidate who sent it — why do you need to resort to lies, fear tactics, etc? If Brink and the Dems are the party of “no” then why don’t you tell us what you stand for? What you are about? What are your ideas?

    This flyer tells me alot about you — but certainly nothing positive. Sadly, for many, a flyer like this will make them not even want to vote or participate.