Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bicycle Eating Potholes Invade Libby Garvey's Neighborhood

Hey, Yupette,

It's nice that County Board Chair Libby Garvey is so infatuated with bicycles, to he extent she wants County residents to bicycle 24/7/365. But she could at least show some concern for her bicycle buddy neighbors in South Fairlington. A few months ago my and Libby's neighborhood only had serious cracks in the pavement. Now we're being invaded by bicycle eating potholes. You would think that Libby could take some time off from fast-tracking the Rosslyn-Georgetown Gondola to at least survey which streets need immediate repaving, but I guess not.

Fairlington's First Hipster, Scott Brodbeck, is staking out a raccoon den off South 31st Street and Nanny Newsie Scott McCaffrey is out covering affordable housing galas. So they're no help.

Since Libby went head over handlebars after hitting a pothole on South Buchanan Street several years ago, we decided to warn her of potholes ahead in her neighborhood.

Libby's opponent, Audrey Clement, has been riding a bicycle for decades and Audrey HAS promised to make street repaving a priority when she's on the County Board.

Thanks for your blog.

Larry, S 36th St.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Westover Tenants Protest Gentrification, Call for Westover Tenants Organization

Hello, Yupette,

I live on North 10th Road in Westover and have become quite familiar with the affordable workforce apartments gentrification saga. Latest news is that two more apartment buildings in my neighborhood will be torn down for luxury townhomes.

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is no longer interested in buying older apartment buildings like those in my neighborhood. APAH is very interested in expensive and complex mixed-use redevelopment deals, like the Arlington Prysbeterian Church redevelopment. APAH's President and CEO is Nina Janopaul and the Chair of APAH's Board of Directors is John Milliken. Look them up on the Web. Majority of APAH's Board of Directors (working and retired) have major-league experience with expensive mixed-use redevelopment.

APAH has announced that APAH will purchase 8 apartment buildings in Westover for renovation. Deal is going to the Housing Commission this week. That ONLY occurred because of the anger over the apartment teardowns in my neighborhood several months ago.

It gets worse. The owner of the Westover apartment buildings that were torn down and the apartment buildings that will be torn down for luxury townhohouses offered to sell all his Westover real estate holdings to APAH in early Spring. APAH refused his offer. Moreover, APAH never bothered to approach other Westover apartment building owners with so-called "first refusal offers" so APAH has the right of first refusal when owners want to sell.

It gets evern worse. When APAH buys and expensively renovates older apartment buildings not only do rents typically increase by $200 per month but only people with a narrow range of incomes (typically $50,000 to $65,000) are allowed to live in APAH's renovated apartments

I looked at the historic designation proposal and that's another part of this big charade. County Government (i.e., the Arlington Democratic Party) wants to see our neighborhood gentrified and historic designation is how they divide the community between homeowners and renters. That's what we get from having one-party government for 35 years.

So I attended the Westover Community Meeting in Westover Park yesterday. Needless to say, no County Board member bothered attending, but I left before the event ended. Green Party was there. So I and other Westover tenants absolutely want to form a Westover Tenenat's Organization, for people who rent apartments, condos, and single family homes. That's something like 60% of Westover's population.

I also want the County's Independent Auditor to audit the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) to see where the money is going that's supposed to build affordable housing. I also want the HUD Inspector General to audit APAH. It's also time for Ms. Janopaul, Mr. Milliken and others who want to make APAH into a REIT to be replaced by people who want to build affordable workforce housing, not gentrification housing and millennial housing.

Thanks for your blog.

N. 10th Road Resident

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Audrey Clement Wins CivFed County Board Debate


Two AY contributors attended last night's Arlington Civic Federation Candidate Forum. They both took good notes and both stated that Independent Audrey Clement clearly won her debate with Born Again Democrat Libby Garvey.

Although Libby Garvey was glib and rattled off both accomplishments and future possibilities if she is re-elected, it's clear that those accomplishments and possibilities depended and will depend on John Vihstadt (who Libby was instrumental in electing) continuing to serve on County Board. In the year before Chris Zimmerman resigned and John Vihstadt was elected Libby said little during County Board meetings. And things like a 72 Hour Transparency Rule, which both Libby and Audrey say they want implemented, could be postponed indefinitely if Libby is reelected, in deference to the Democratic Old Guard. Much of Libby's agenda appears to be based on being able to finesse reforms past Old Guard Democrats over a number of years. And Libby has to be held partly responsible for significant problems with school and public infrastructure that have occurred over the past decade. After reviewing Libby's presentation we had to ask "What would she be saying if Chris Zimmerman were still on the County Board"?

Audrey Clement is committed to changing County Government for the better - and soon. Her message is succinct. Needs first. No more back room deals. Hands off scarce park land. Put renewable energy on all public buildings. Require a financial impact statement for all major site plans. Reduce taxes for residents and businesses. No more expensive vanity projects - build schools first.

So we have a clear choice for County Board, someone who will spend years finessing projects and programs through the County Board so as not to offend VIP Democrats, or someone who will help us obtain what we need when we need it from County Government.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

County Board Democrats to 'Repurpose' Residential Streets Into Parks to Benefit VIP Dems and Developers

Hi, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog. The Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola wasn't the only "done deal" presented to the Transportation Commission on September 1st. The Commission also heard a presentation by County Staff about amemdments to the County's Master Transportation Plan (Streets Element) to go to the County Board on September 24th.

The amendmants would create two new types of streets - "Pedestrian and Bicycle Priority or Shared Streets" where motor vehicle operation would be severely restricted, and "Pedestrian Streets" where motor vehicles would be banned.

The proposed new street types would help alleviate the demand for open space by repurposing streets into parks, would allow developers to forego dedicating land for open space on redeveloped sites, using neighborhood streets instead, and would allow VIP Democrats like those who live in Jay Fisette's and Libby Garvey's neighborhoods to opt out of through traffic. There was no discussion about what would occur across an entire neighborhood, like Ashton Heights, if traffic were blocked, where residents would park their cars, and who would use the new parks. Arlington Democrats have been discussing whose upscale neighborhoods will get the "Pedestrian Streets" for several months.

So check the County Board's Consent Agenda for Septmber 24th in 10 days, when it's posted on-line.

John at 2100

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola - Another Mendelson-Mitten Production

Hey Yupette,

I wondered what's going on behind the scenes with the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola. Is it another 'done deal' or what? Whose idea was it and who's promoting the Gondola?

Insofar as I can determine from Web searches, speaking with County Staff, and reviewing the presentation made at the last Arlington Transportation Commission meeting, the idea for the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola came from DC City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson working with the Georgetown business community. In Arlington, the Gondola is being promoted by Deputy Arlington County Manager Carol Mitten and Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins. Victor Hoskins lives in Georgetown. Carol Mitten also lives in DC, with Phil Mendelson.

So how did Carol Mitten get to be Arlington's Deputy County Manager, with DES (e.g., Planning Division) and Economic Development reporting to her? She was hired by Barbara Donnellan (another non-resident) shortly before Barbara retired as County Manager. You can do a search on 'Carol Mitten Phil Mendelson' and you will find that there was a huge conflict-of-interest scandal two years ago involving Carol facilitating the construction of a $300 million soccer stadium for DC United for Phil. Then Carol was hired by the Department of Homeland Security for a short time before being hired by Barbara. BTW, Carol was a long-time DC Government executive, with an expertise in real estate appraisal, who worked closely with Phil politically for many years.

So what occurred at the Arlington Transportation Commission meeting on September 1st? A Georgetown business development group made a short presentation together with its team of gondola consultants. No information about safety, costs, alternatives, anything. What the presenters did disclose was that they are obtaining approvals from 22 state, federal, and local agencies needed to start construction of the Gondola. And the Gondola would likely cost $40 million. They will return to the Transportation Commission late this month after the County Board meeting.

Fire-Aim-Ready Done Deal or what? Another expensive vanity project the County Board has pre-approved, or what? It will get worse. Stay tuned for the announcement of the $250 million Potomac Yards Convention Center sometime after Election Day.


Monday, August 29, 2016

APS 'Ashlawns' Abingdon School Neighbors

Hello, Yupette,

I and my neighbors have nothing against Abingdon School being renovated and expanded. That should have happened 15 years ago. We do have major league issues with our neighborhoods being gridlocked so parents, teachers, staff, and construction workers can access Abingdon School while the school is under construction.

Last September 21st Libby Garvey and the County Board debated Abingdon School's use permit conditions at length. Whatever Libby Garvey may have promised a year ago insofar as APS listening to community concerns, fact is that APS's construction contractors almost immediately gridlocked South 29th Street with traffic and on-street parking at the commencement of construction.

Abingdon's School's immediate neighbors aren't only concerned that we will be gridlocked from our getting to work. We and Abingdon School students will likely be completely gridlocked in once school starts on September 6th.

So far all APS seems to care about is how many parent SUVs can be squeezed into our neighborhood once school starts. I wondered why our neighborhood hired its own land use, planning, and zoning attorney, why our neighborhood invited John Vihstadt to attend neighborhood meetings, why our neighborhood is so hostile to Fairlington's civic association 'facilitating' anything and everything APS does or plans to do. So now I know.

BTW, Nanny Newsies Scott McCaffrey and Scott Brodbeck live in our neighborhood but are never seen here. Neither is Libby Garvey except when there's an election.

So, I guess like the Ashlawn School neighbors we have to look forward to 18 months or more of having to go to the County Board to make APS adhere to the use permit condidtions APS agreed to last year.

Thanks for this blog.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Replace Rosslyn's Crumbling Sidewalks With NC Funds

Hi Yupette,

I'm a Rosslyn resident and I've had it with Rosslyn's deteriorated brick sidewalks and streetlights. Also with Wilson Blvd, which needed repaving years ago. I'm walking with a LED flashlight at night so I don't trip and fall. Some of my neighbors also walk at night with LED flashlights. You would think that the people who produce the ArlNow blog and the people who work at WJLA would say something about the state Rosslyn' sidewalks are in, since they are tripping too. But no, they're too busy with homeless guy steals food from convenience store, scaring mommies, and producing more vibrant smart growth stories.

I have to agree with both former Arlington Republican Committee Chair Mark Kelly and former Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot that it's time to end Arlington's Neighborhood Conservation Program, which funds whatever pet projects the little groups that control civic associations want. If you don't have a civic association your neighborhood doesn't get NC funds. Is that legal?

My civic association is feuding over where a temporary fire station will be located so it's no good talking with them.

The Neighborhood Conservation Program has to be replaced with a 'needs first' agenda for public infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. Apparently the only people who are standing in the way of that are the Democrat ward heeler civic association presidents.

Thanks for your blog.

Dan in Rosslyn