Tysons Corner, VA

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Wednesday (June 19)

  • Kiki’s Delivery Service at Angelika Film Center7 p.m. at Angelika Film Center (2911 District Avenue) — As part of their Studio Ghibli summer festival, Angelika Film Center will be screening Kiki’s Delivery Service — the anime classic about a young witch striking out on her own — on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m. Tickets are $14.50.

 Thursday (June 20)

  • The Boro Summer Kick Off — 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at The Boro — Boro Tysons is hosting a summer kick off event with food trucks, music, lawn games and “puppy therapy.”
  • Summer Reading Party 7-8 p.m. at Bards Alley (110 Church Street NW) — The Bards Alley bookstore in Vienna is hosting a summer book party with finger foods and lemonade available. Booksellers will be in attendance sharing their favorite summer reads.
  • Vienna Stories Book Talk — 7:30 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — Marie Kisner, a former public information officer for the Town of Vienna, collected newspaper stories about Vienna into a new book called “Vienna Stories 1950-2000.” Kisner is also planning a book signing at the Freeman Store on Saturday, June 22, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Friday (June 21)

  • Echosmith at Tysons Corner Center 3:30-9:30 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — HOT 99.5 and Tysons Corner Center are hosting a free concert with the band Echosmith. The show is scheduled to start for 6:30 p.m. but attendees are encouraged early to grab a seat.

Saturday (June 22)

  • Daylily Walking Tour 10:15-11:15 a.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) — The Northern Virginia Daylily Society President Janice Kennedy will lead a walking tour through the gardens showing the daylily collection including a few award-winning varieties. The tour is free and those participating in the tour will have free admission.
  • Georgia Peach Truck — 12 p.m. at Merrifield Garden Center (8132 Lee Highway) — The Georgia Peach Truck is planning to roll into Merrifield at noon on Saturday with beaches brought up from Georgia available to be purchased by the box. One 23-25 pound box is $45.

Sunday (June 23)

  • Providence Democrats Unity and Summer Solstice Celebration — 4-7 p.m. at Nouvelle Apartments (7911 Westpark Drive) — Following a crowded Democratic primary that saw Dalia Palchik voted as the Democratic nominee for the vacant Providence District Board of Supervisors seat, Providence District Democrats are hosting a buffet and silent auction fundraiser with the nominees and the other candidates. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP early.

Photo via Meadowlark Botanical Gardens/Facebook

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School Board member Dalia Palchik and Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won their Democratic primary races yesterday, marking the end to an expensive, crowded and contentious primary.

Palchik won the nomination for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors, defeating four challengers and pulling ahead of Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner by nearly 1,500 votes.

Meanwhile, McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair.

Frank Anderson, the executive director of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, told Tysons Reporter that he was surprised by how many Democratic candidates flooded the Board of Supervisors races, although the large fundraising sums weren’t unexpected.

“I was surprised by how many candidates decided to jump in,” Anderson said, adding that a race like the one for Providence District supervisor typically has two to three candidates instead of five.

With crowded races, some of the candidates’ clashing resulted in an “acrimonious” primary, Anderson said, adding, “It’s expected to be.”

The race for the board’s chair was particularly divisive — McKay faced an ethics complaint filed by a rival, while the Washington Post endorsement raised concerns about sexism.

On the Democratic Party’s end, Anderson said that the debates “got awkward,” yet the staff focused on staying “as non-partial as we can” and professional.

The primary also turned out to be expensive for several candidates.

Niedzielski-Eichner and Palchik both neared the $100,000 fundraising mark in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Every candidate for the Democratic nomination to the chair position raised over $100,000, with developer Tim Chapman raising $952,109.

Anderson said that the high fundraising amounts serve several purposes. Beyond paying for resources like campaign staff, recorded calls, glossy mailers and advertising, they also help to give the impression that a candidate has the backing of more supporters.

“When you donate to a candidate, you do it because you believe in them,” Anderson said. “You can’t know whether your dollar made the difference.”

Anderson said that potential donors can become enticed to give money if they see how much others have donated — essentially equating money with value.

Some candidates in the race received sizable checks, either from donations to themselves or from a few key supporters, like developer Tim Chapman who raised most of his $952,109 by donating to himself in the chair race and Hunter Mill candidate Maggie Parker, who received support from Comstock Companies, her employer.

“Not many voters have the time to see who is donating to the candidates,” Anderson said.

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(Updated at 10:05 p.m.) School Board member Dalia Palchik won the Democratic nomination for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Palchik defeated Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner and three other challengers in the Democratic primary.

Palchik received 39.7 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Paul Bolon in the November election.

Palchik said in her victory speech:

This is part of a movement; a movement of people who want new leadership. People who want classrooms — not trailers — and teachers who can afford to live here. They want someone who is going to fight to protect the environment, to get solar panels, who are going to work hard every day to get us out of our cars and walking, biking, getting around, with access to buses and metro, and into a community that cares and is inclusive. This is the beginning. It’s been an incredible campaign. It was scary. It was fun. We cried. We laughed. And we want to see the next phase of Providence District in Fairfax County.

Palchik celebrated her win at Settle Down Easy (2822 Fallfax Drive), a local brewery that launched in 2018. It was a trendy spot that is representative of a candidate who pulled together a coalition across a variety of demographics.

Even at the headquarters of Niedzielski-Eichner, the runner-up in the race with 23.4 percent of the vote, there was a reluctant admission that Palchik was a charismatic candidate. Several Niedzielski-Eichner supporters noted that they saw her at polls shaking hands and taking selfies with voters.

Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) said Niedzielski-Eichner relied on an older local establishment, while Palchik was able to tap into a younger, wider base of local supporters.

Linda Smyth, the current Providence District supervisor, announced in December that she wouldn’t run for reelection this year, along with several other supervisors on the 10-member board.

Shortly before 10 p.m., current Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won the Democratic nomination for the Board of Supervisors’ chair with 42 percent of the vote. McKay beat Georgetown law professor Alicia Plerhoples, who received 31 percent of the vote, and two other Democratic challengers.

For the Virginia State Senate, incumbent Barbara Favola won with 61 percent of the vote, beating Nicole Merlene for the 31st District seat, which encompasses McLean.

Incumbent Dick Saslaw narrowly beat challengers Yasmine Taeb and Karen Torrent for the 35th District seat. Saslaw received 48 percent of the vote.

In a close race, challenger Steve Descano beat incumbent Raymond Morrogh for the Democratic nomination for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax.

Catherine Moran and Vernon Miles worked on this story.

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With just a few hours left in polling, Tysons-area polls have shown a slow but steady increase in voting throughout the day, particularly in Hunter Mill.

Competitive primaries are underway for the Democratic endorsement for the Providence District, Hunter Mill District, and chairman seats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The voter turnout so far in the Providence District is 6.29 percent. The Hunter Mill District, which includes Vienna, is 7.3 percent and is the highest of any district in Fairfax. The Fairfax County average turnout is 5.36 percent.

This year’s primary, particularly the race for the chariman’s seat, has been particularly divisive. One candidate faced an ethics complaint filed by a rival while the Washington Post endorsement raised concerns about sexism.

It’s also been an expensive primary. Every candidate for the Democratic nomination to the chair position has raised over $100,000, with developer Tim Chapman raising $952,109 — mostly through funds Chapman gave to his own campaign. In Hunter Mill, candidate Maggie Parker sits at $258,225 fundraised, in large part with support from Comstock Companies. Two Providence candidates — Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner and Dalia Palchik — neared the $100,000 fundraising mark

The Democratic candidates for the Board of Supervisors are:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District:

Hunter Mill District:

Tysons-area voters will also determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls are open until 7 p.m.

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Half of the day has gone by for voting in the Democratic primaries.

For Tysons-area residents, upcoming retirements have the Hunter Mill District, Providence District and chairman seats open on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The voter turnout so far in the Providence District is slightly above 4 percent, while the Hunter Mill District is  4.6 percent — both higher than the county’s district average of roughly 3.4 percent, the county tweeted at 1:02 p.m.

Voting kicked off quietly around Tysons this morning.

“A lot of people vote absentee,” John Shivnen, the chief election officer at the Providence Committee Meeting Room polling place, told Tysons Reporter. By 10:51 a.m., 36 people had voted there (7921 Jones Branch Drive).

While Shivnen said the county is expecting a higher turnout than in previous years, he expected the day to stay slow, except during lunchtime and early evening after people get off of work.

The Democratic candidates for the Board of Supervisors are:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District:

Hunter Mill District:

Tysons-area voters will also determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls are open until 7 p.m.

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The primaries today (June 11) for Tysons-area voters will determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats; the Hunter Mill District, Providence District and chair for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Here’s a refresher on who the Democratic candidates are for each race:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District seat on the county board, which covers Tysons and Merrifield:

Hunter Mill District seat on the county board, which covers Vienna:

District 31 in the Virginia Senate, which encompasses McLean:

District 35 in the Virginia Senate, which encompasses Falls Church:

Commonwealth’s Attorney:

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Updated at 5:15 p.m. on 6/13/19 — Corrects the description of the Jefferson Village Association.

As the Fairfax County Democratic Primary winds toward the election next Tuesday (June 11), the fundraising race closes in for some but leaves others in the dust.

Edythe Kelleher, a former member of the Vienna Town Council, led fundraising in April and May with $41,849. Edythe and her husband Gary Kelleher are the leading contributors to the campaign, contributing $10,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Other backers that might be familiar to attentive readers include JDA Custom Homes, a homebuilder based in Vienna, and Douglas D’Alexander, the developer behind the planned redevelopment of the former Marco Polo lot destroyed by arson.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, a planning commissioner representing the Providence District, had previously led the candidates in fundraising. In April and May, Niedzielski-Eichner raised $35,168. Records show Jonathan Cherner, a principal at the Cherner Development Group, and Mark Lowham, CEO of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, each donated $5,000 to Niedzielski-Eichner.

Dalia Palchik, a School Board member representing the Providence District, wasn’t far behind Niedzielski-Eichner with $31,547 raised. Palchik’s leading backer was the Jefferson Village Association LP — real estate developers in Bethesda, Md. — which donated $15,000.

The first and last candidates to announce in the race both trailed behind the others. Linh Hoang didn’t enter the race until March, and in April and May, Hoang raised $18,514. Hoang’s top contributor was a person named Emily Woo, who donated $5,000.

Erika Yalowitz was the first candidate to announce in the race, but was the last in fundraising for April and May. Yalowitz’ top backer was Timothy Chapman, a candidate in the contentious Board of Supervisors chair race, who donated $5,000.

Voting takes place on June 11 from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.  A tool available online can help voters find the closest polling station.

Photo via Dalia Palchik/Twitter

 

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Different takes on the role of prosecutors in the justice system took center stage in a rare fight for the Democratic endorsement for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax last week.

While the candidates in the Board of Supervisors chair race that followed were in agreement on most issues, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine Stott — standing in for incumbent Raymond Morrogh who was out with bronchitis — and challenger Steve Descano sniped back and forth constantly last Friday (May 24) at Valo Park (7950 Jones Park Drive).

Descano’s campaign is part of a broader push across Virginia from left-leaning candidates arguing prosecutors should take an active role in things like functionally decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating cash bonds.

“That’s the main driver of this campaign,” Descano said. “Cash bonds turn this into a two-tier system of justice. Cash bail doesn’t do anything but punish people for being poor. What happens when we hold people in jail because they can’t pay means they could lose their jobs or lose their house. It drives up their recidivism rate. We’re paying $225 a day to build more crime down the road. I will instruct my prosecutors, if there’s no risk of safety or flight, get rid of cash bonds.”

But Stott said Descano’s ambitions are driven by naivety.

“[Descano] shows his inexperience with the Virginia state system,” Stott said. “There are legislative code systems that define how cash bail is used and a judicial element. In the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, we do not ask for a cash bond. Defendant appears before a magistrate, which sets bond. If they are held overnight, they see a judge the next day. We don’t ask for cash bail.”

The fight is similar to a race in neighboring Arlington and an ongoing battle between the Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney and local judges.

The two also clashed over capital punishment and marijuana enforcement — mainly over whether the commonwealth’s attorney’s office should decide an overarching policy or tackle the cases individually. Descano said he would never pursue the death penalty, while Stott said the cases have to be reviewed on an individual basis.

For small amounts of marijuana possession where there is no intention to distribute, Descano said he would move the court to dismiss the cases. Stott said Morrogh supports decriminalization of marijuana but argued it’s not up to the commonwealth’s attorney to decide that.

“Descano’s response is another example of how he crosses out of his lane,” Stott said. “[He says] that he’s a member of the executive branch and doesn’t want to enforce the law from the legislative branch. When you become a commonwealth’s attorney, you take an oath to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth, and that’s a serious oath.”

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Virginia residents have until right before midnight tonight (May 20) to register to vote for the June 11 primaries.

A total of 49 Republican and 45 Democratic primaries spanning the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia Senate and local offices will be held on June 11. For Tysons-area residents, upcoming retirements have several spots open on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The Hunter Mill District, which covers Vienna and Reston, and the Providence District, which covers Tysons and Merrifield, both have five Democrats vying for the seats. The primary will also determine which of the four Democrats in the race for the Board of Supervisors chair will face Republican Joe Galdo in the November election.

People eligible to vote can register or update their voter information in person before 5 p.m. at a local registration office — the one for Fairfax County is at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323 — or online until 11:59 p.m.

Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone

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Vienna residents elected three candidates concerned about the scale of new developments planned for Maple Avenue to the Town Council.

Yesterday’s election saw six candidates — two incumbents face off against four challengers — vie for three council seats.

According to a press release, the unofficial results of the election are:

  • Nisha Patel: 1,523
  • Howard Springsteen: 1,475
  • Steve Potter: 1,470
  • Julie Hays: 985
  • Tara Bloch: 775
  • Time Strike: 415

Incumbent Howard Springsteen has been a leading voice in opposition to new larger Maple Avenue developments, saying that the town’s commercial zones need managed growth with low-density residential zoning and modest, appropriate developments.

Local small business owner Nisha Patel has expressed concerns about the impact of high-density mixed-use developments on traffic and schools. Steve Potter is a founding member of the Vienna Citizens for Responsible Development, a group that has pushed for developments that preserve the “small-town character” on Maple Avenue.

Patel, Potter and Springsteen were all endorsed by the Vienna Citizens for Responsible Development.

Incumbent Tara Bloch, who had the second to the lowest number of votes, did not win reelection. Bloch touted the increased number of sidewalks and bike routes, as well as new commercial redevelopments, and she ran a campaign focused on pushing for a pedestrian-friendly business corridor.

Julie Hays, who ran a campaign focused on pedestrian and bicycle safety and protecting residential neighborhoods, and Tim Strike, who expressed opposition to the medium-high density developments and supported more public parking, also lost.

Vienna residents cast a total of 2,411 ballots, according to the press release.

Photos [1, 2, 3] in collage via Facebook

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