Commentary, News

The Reach: April 27-May 3, 2023

Yalowitz Exits Senate Race, Endorses Salim

Last Thursday Erika Yalowitz withdrew her name from contention in the June 20 Democratic primary to represent new VA Senate District 37, which includes Falls Church.

In an email sent to supporters, Yalowitz endorsed Saddam Salim for the nomination she is no longer seeking, referencing multiple issues on which she aligns with Salim and disagrees with “incumbent” Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), from gun reform, vocal LGBTQ+ advocacy, and advocating for public tax dollars benefitting public schools.

Sources confirm that Yalowitz has successfully removed her name from the primary ballot, for which she qualified earlier this month, so voters will only see Salim and Petersen on the ballot when voting begins May 5.

Local Senate Debate Moved West, Draws Rowdy, If Not Democrat, Petersen Supporters

This past Thursday, after a sudden move from Falls Church to Vienna just two days prior to accommodate a larger and ‘more central’ location, perhaps 40 showed up at the American Legion Post 180 for a debate between Democrats Saddam Salim and “incumbent” Sen. Chap Petersen (Fairfax), both seeking to represent the new VA Senate District 37.

Very few from Falls Church were able to make it to the new location, due to traffic jams and the short-notice (the original Falls Church location can accommodate up to 100).

Petersen Touts Support of Union-Busting “Right-To-Work” Law, Opposes Repeal

During the debate, rowdy supporters hooted and hollered whenever Petersen spoke, in particular when stating support for “at-will” employment/termination in the Commonwealth, a startling position for a Democrat, but an even more startling reaction for a crowd of alleged Democratic Primary voters.

Petersen also received praise from the crowd for opposing benefits for part-time workers, and promoted the patently false claim that the proposal, if adopted, would have resulted in people having to pay a neighborhood kid that mows your lawn “full benefits including 401k.”

Also known as “right-to-work,” this union-busting policy allows opting-out of union dues but still mandate the union provide benefits, causing them to collapse. The policy also allows broad, no-reason, no explanation termination of employment, making proving discriminatory firing nearly impossible.

An Awkward Silence After Pro-Choice Plug

Most startling was when, after Petersen said abortion ‘should be a decision left between a woman and her doctor,’ (a core value of the Democratic party, progressives, and most women overall), the statement drew no response from the otherwise raucous group of apparent Petersen supporters, including a large group of women who suddenly fell entirely silent and still even as Salim supporters clapped in support of womens’ rights regardless of the source.

Especially disappointing was the event ending before the scheduled Q&A with the audience could take place. For this reporter, the absence of LGBTQ+ issues from the conversation, and the abrupt and early dismissal, was another signal that Petersen does not want to, or is unable to, discuss LGBTQ+ rights. Salim expressed frustration over the absence and made a point to provide full-throated support for the LGBTQ+ community in his closing statements, and again after the event.

Clear Winners at FCCDC Straw Poll

On Sunday, nearly 100 Falls Church Democrats came together for their annual Potluck Dinner, which this year included the organization’s first-ever straw poll.

At the event, attendees were able to submit non-binding votes for either of the two Democratic Primary races facing Little City residents this Spring: the VA Senate District 37 race between “incumbent” Chap Petersen and challenger Saddam Salim, and the Arlington-Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney race between incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and challenger Josh Katcher.

With 58 participating, Saddam Salim won with just over 86 percent of the vote, with just 7 votes going to Sen. Petersen. Salim was in attendance. Petersen was not.

With 59 participating, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti won with just under 82 percent of the vote, with 11 votes going to Katcher. Both were in attendance.

With no polling available given the narrow election timeline, no precedent given Petersen’s incumbency has never been challenged by another Democrat (and only a couple times by a Republican), and the significant demographics shift, voter sentiment is hard to measure.

With party activists and strong progressives typically the most engaged voters during primaries, straw polls are at least an anecdotal way to see how party activists are feeling.

Salim Endorsements Roll In

We’re running out of space, but in the days following the aforementioned debate and FCCDC straw poll events, a few notable endorsements came in for Saddam Salim, including from Fairfax County/City Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, Arlington-Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, and progressive blog Blue Virginia.

Sources claim Virginia Democratic lawmakers from both chambers have all agreed to support incumbents or remain neutral unless something big happens.

Fox News: UnTuck’d

Fox News has fired Tucker Carlson! The Green M&M feels safer, as does this writer. Incendiary texts that almost certainly prompted this will likely come out at some point! Oh, and just one hour later CNN fired Don Lemon via his agent! Another dollar into the “unprecedented” jar, am I right?

What Did I Miss? What Can I Fit?

  • Joe’s running again, and this time it appears Kamala is his proper running mate!
    • clarification after print: Kamala appears to be front-and-center in this campaign, whereas over the past four years, and even during the campaign, for whatever reason, she was far less visible. TV news speculates this is because of Joe’s age, but this writer is thrilled to see more of her!
  • Abortion is essentially 100 percent illegal in North Dakota, even in cases of rape and incest.
    • clarification after print: a pregnancy’s length is measured from the first missed period (FMP). Ovulation typically occurs in the second week of a period cycle, and it isn’t abnormal for a period to be up to a week late. With a ban for abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, what they’re really saying is that abortion is illegal. What appears on paper to be a six-week window of “decision-making” opportunity is more like a week or two, in ideal circumstances.
    • additional aside: readers, please remember that, just like with trans kids, the pivot was extremely quick to come for the entire LGBTQ+ community. This “hold my [assuming no longer Bud Light] beer” legal one-upmanship of abuse of power is not something to observe in silence. The sex police are coming for contraceptives like “Plan B,” not late term abortions. They may put a number of weeks in there to make it sound like there is still choice, but there isn’t. There are people out there that think they are responsible for enforcing a moral code on others (but only for the people they don’t recognize). It’s all the same issue, and it’s all the same people.
  • Florida expanded the crazy “Don’t Say Gay” rule through grade 12.
    • clarification after print: The initial law, HB 1557, signed in late March prohibited instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade, and only allowed “age-appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate” discussion afterwards. The new bill bans it all through the end of High School.
    • additional aside: There appear to be some in society that think that, when discussing LGBTQ+ issues, people are discussing the mechanics of gay sex. The primary thing LGBTQ+ people want is to be allowed to live in peace – to be left alone. We don’t want people talking (or asking) about our sex lives. The acknowledgement of different people existing, and removing stigma and fear at an early age, is healthy for society. We evolved pattern-seeking behavior to keep ourselves safe from mountain lions and bears and snakes, or to make sure we’re not eating the poison berries. We need to be bigger than our animal brains right now and realized that, if something isn’t an actual threat to you and somebody is screaming bloody murder about it anyways… that person is the problem.