Monday, October 23, 2017

Angry Housing Activists Complaining to HUD About APAH

Hey Yupette,

In the event you wondered what Arlington's affordable housing activists have been up to lately, they've been complaining to Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General about the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).

Arlington's housing activists, who in recent years lobbied for a Housing Authority to replace APAH and other housing non-profits, examined the County - APAH - AHIF - Arlington Presbyterian Church redevelopment deal passed by the County Board last May, with the exception of Independent County Board member John Vihstadt.

Housing activists were incensed to learn that the financing deal for Arlington Presbyterian Church redevelopment (a 498 page document) is likely to provide no housing to Arlington residents who work in low-wage restaurant and retail on the Pike, at a cost of almost $400,000 per unit for apartments that are almost all one-bedroom.

Consequently, several housing activists recently complained to HUD's IG that the Arlington Presbyterian Church deal is out and out fraud.

According to several housing activists HUD already has APAH and CPDH on a short leash because of poor accounting for HUD funds used in Arlington's housing programs.

It gets worse, because APAH is being criticized for other so-called "PTL" (Pass The Loot) redevelopment deals with non-profits recently passed by the County Board which produce negative community benefits.

Coming to an older residential neighborhood near yours, sooner than you think.

Linda, 22201

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Westover Will Be Gridlocked - Soon

Hey, Yupette,

In the event you haven't seen the latest about Westover the latest plans (discussed at the Housing Commission meeting last week) are to implement a housing conservation district in Westover and other older Arlington neighborhoods (e.g., Lee Highway corridor). A key component of the plans are to grant property owners increased density in return for preserving older apartment buildings. The legal basis for establishing Housing Conservation Districts would be implemented by the County Board soon after next month's elections and would require changes to the County's General Land Use Plan.

That would be in addition to the current densification of Westover by tear-down McMansions, accessory dwelling units of all types, and homes converted into daycare facilities. Westover will also experience many more vehicle trips in the near future by people who don't want to pay tolls on I-66 and parents dropping off and picking up students at an expanded Reed School. In line with the County's so-called Smart Growth planning Washington Boulevard, Patrick Henry Drive, and some other minor arterials are being narrowed.

Washington Boulevard is currently close to capacity at rush hours and it's a no brainer that gridlock is going to occur within another year or two, given the County's "development for the sake of development" agenda.

Thanks for your blog.

Ted - 22205

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Erik Gutshall Poised to Make Millions from Residential Neighborhood In-Fill

Hey, Yupette,

Anyone at AY checked out this week's Planning Commission meetings? More Smart Growth on Steroids on the agenda. Planning Commission Chairman / County Board Candidate Erik Gutshall and his fellow Smart Growth (also spelled $mart Growth) Democrats are going to vote to drastically increase the density of redeveloped Courthouse, including Courthouse Plaza, "Clarendon" the Kirkwood-Washington Boulevard neighborhood, and densify Arlington's residential neighborhoods with in-fill accessory dwelling units.

In anticipation of being elected to County Board Erik is significantly expanding his home improvement company, Clarendon Home Services, to include construction management.

So, if you're a Yellow Dog Dem with a McMansion you would like to become an income-producing apartment building, Erik's the guy to talk with.

Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 tonight, if anyone's interested in attending.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Army Ten Miler - Dehydration Disaster

Hey Yupette,

I sometimes run in 5K events and joined up to run the Army 10 Miler this past weekend. What a disaster. Runners and some spectators became very dehydrated and race-related injuries ranged from cardiac arrest to many, many, runners and spectators becoming very dehydrated. Ten miles is actually 16 kilometers. Not 5 kilometers. Also, temps this morning were about 80 degrees and about 80 percent humidity.

Not nearly enough hydration available along the race course. Same U.S. Army that's been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for about 16 years. Duh. Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, DC, EMS were overwhelmed. Duh.

I finished the race and realized that I wasn't feeling well. Drank down a quart of Gatorade my sister brought along and felt better. Too little hydration for 16 kilometers.

That's what happened. Thanks for your blog.

Ellen. 22207

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Proposed CivFed Modernization...Positive Changes or More of the Same?

Hey Yupette,

I'm a former Arlington Civic Federation Delegate (before being replaced by the Yellow Dog Dems who control my civic association - hint, I live in Greater Westover). I was intrigued by the CivFed's October newsletter I received in my e-mail about the CivFed's reorganizational meeting on October 3rd.

So, after first hearing statements from unopposed Yellow Dog Democrats running for re-election the CivFed will turn it's attention to a panel discussion about how the County manages its fund balances and reserves. (Someone could ask the County's financial VIPs why so much tax revenue is parked long-term with a few banks at virtually zero interest). Then CivFed Delegates and Alternates will be advised about proposed modernization of the CivFed's governance. That includes new bylaws to replace the Civfed's current bylaws which date from the CivFed's inception, a hundred years ago.

Also appears the County will pick up the tab for liability insurance for CivFed officers and the CivFed generally. In return for what? CivFed is being advised by the Bean, Kinney law firm, and as anyone who's active in development and redevelopment knows, Bean, Kinney is always on the lookout for site plan approvals from civic associations. Duh.

Anyway, it's all in the CivFed's October newsletter, which should be posted on the CivFed's Web site,, any day now.

CivFed meeting is tonight at Virginia Hospital Center. Starts at 7 PM.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Who's Responsible for the Metrorail Mess? They Are.


Nice to see members of the Regime gathered to celebrate yet another challenge to the Metrorail system they want to spend billions of dedicated tax dollars to preserve. Anyone actually believe former Governor McAuliffe is going to ride Metrorail to downtown DC next year? Nope, he's going to be chauffered from his McLean mansion to meet other VIPs like Muriel Bowser via I-66 Express Lanes to help concoct another deal where people who don't, won't, or can't use Metrorail will bail out WMATA.

Reality check: Metrorail was designed 50 years ago as a two track system with no express capability to serve a medium-density DC and low-density suburbs. Metrorail came with a number of design and construction deficiencies (like escalators and water intrusion) that took decades to fix. About 20 years ago Metrorail's infrastructure was allowed to deteriorate, to the point where life-threatening safety issues were ignored. About the same time the Region's so-called "Progressive" elected officials who served on WMATA's Board of Directors began massive gentrification of the working class and middle class out of their jurisdictions, to be replaced by Smart Growth upscale urbanization with plenty of parking under the expensive mixed-use buildings.

WMATA's Board members and their colleagues in local jurisdictions simultaneously began the transportation charade known as the "Car Free Diet" which has evolved into a transportation nightmare where more motor vehicles generate more vehicle trips, whether from Uber, Lyft, Express Lanes, Car2Go, Zip Car, massive parking garages, increased student drop-offs, more vehicles per household, and the near-complete gentrification of the middle class out of DC and adjacent urbanized suburbs.

Can't fail to mention the proliferation of bicycles and free range bicyclists (who also own one or more motor vehicles). Then there are the connector buses, like ART, that parallel Metrorail.

So, why be surprised that Metrorail lost riders? Why tax people who don't, won't and can't ride Metrorail to impress Amazon (among other large corporations DC, Arlington, and other localities want to locate or relocate in the region)?

Twenty years of an ever-growing transportation mess. Enough.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Libby Garvey is to Bicycles as the NRA is to Firearms

Hey, Yupette,

Did you read in the ArlNow blog about the County Board's giveaway to Phoenix Bikes - prime space in the Arlington Mill Community Center for $9,000 per year? Who's on the Board of Phoenix Bikes? Bicycle fanatic Libby Garvey, among others. Did Libby recuse herself from voting for the give-away deal (Consent Agenda Item 30 for the September 16th County Board meeting)? Nope. Libby was greatly annoyed that Jim Hurysz pulled the item and then read a statement to the County Board at the September 19th recessed meeting asking for a county-wide multi-modal traffic safety program, including enforcement of traffic ordinances for bicyclists and pedestrians.

This was another taxpayer-funded give-away to another pet special interest group in return for votes. Political patronage by Arlington Democrats has reached the point where it's borderline-legal, if not illegal. I can't believe the County Attorney and County Manager signed off on this.

Only what we deserve from a one-party regime that's controlled Arlington for 35 years. No way will I vote for any more "Progressives" for County Board.

Karen, 22202