Friday, January 30, 2015

Time for Barbara Donnellan to Retire

Hey Yupette,

So Nada Tejada is retiring. To join his bud Zimmy at Smart Growth International? Soon to be followed by Pub Crawl Mary Hynes announcing her retirement? We can only hope.And Chief of Reactive Policing Scott is retiring in March.

But the one person in County Government who should retire, right now, is County Manager Donnellan.Every County Board meeting she gets worse.This past County Board meeting it was like she was elected County Supervisor and the County Board members were appointed by her.

Then there are the poor decisions and no decisions Barbara is responsible for that make her title an oxymoron....ranging from million dollar dog parks and bus shelters to welfare for wealthy corporations and non-profits to a bloated economic development bureaucracy that's been so spectacularly unsuccessful that homeowners are bearing the increase in the cost of County Government next fiscal year. But Barbara's worst performance involves fiscal management and the County's lack thereof. I have to wonder what's going on when, with all the slush funds Barbara controls, she vehemently opposes an independent internal auditor who reports to the County Board, to the point that the County Board has to go to the General Assembly for permission to hire one.

So I thank Barbara for her many years of service to the County but it's really time for her to retire.

Pike Rider, 22204

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crystal City Streetcar "Under Active Consideration" by County Board

Hey Yupette:

In the event you missed yesterday's County Board corporate welfare giveaway for the redevelopment of 400 Army-Navy Drive (Regular Agenda Item 33) you also missed the exchange between a local activist and Board Chair Mary Hynes over references to streetcar infrastructure contained in the redevelopment staff report for 400 Army-Navy Drive.

"Pub Crawl Mary" denied that a Crystal City streetcar line is in the works at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. However, community activists who grilled the 400 Army-Navy Drive developer and County Transportation Staff have learned that a Crystal City Streetcar System, to be paid for from a number of revenue sources, is indeed under consideration by the County Board. How much will be siphoned from transportation infrastructure funds to pay for this project which could cost $300 million? Moreover, according to County Transportation Planning Staff a number of streetcar planners remain employed by the County, although the County Board stated on November 18th that all planning work on Pike and Crytstal City streetcar systems would be ended  How much is that costing taxpayers? Where's the much-improved bus service we're supposed to be obtaining as the result of streetcar planning being "ended"? Already-aggravated taxpayers want to know.

Thanks for this blog.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

APS Insiders: Arlington Public School System Wastes Tens of Millions Every Year

Hello, Yupette,

I attended the Civic Federation's monthly meeting last week and it appears that Superintendent Murphy finally has a dim realization (reinforced by pointed questions from CivFed delegates) that he and APS can't continue to spend wastefully, extravagantly, and unnecessarily. Based on what APS insiders tell me, the County won't have the revenues to keep funding the ever-increasing number of Pat Murphy's pet programs, projects, and special interests.

So, what do these include? First, there's the more than $1 million that APS has spent on the PR effort to have Murphy named America's "Schools Superintendent of the Year". Next, add the ongoing residency exemptions for County employees including at least 400 students at a cost of about $8 million. Murphy's preference for hiring new teachers with advanced degrees and at least 10 years experience costs Arlington taxpayers at least another $10 million each year....although he has no data to substantiate whether teachers with bachelors degrees and several years experience teach as well. Then there are the myriad special programs that serve a few students and cost $30,000-and-up per student per year. Then there's the open-ended invitation to enroll refugee children and young adults from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and other countries currently undergoing serious civil unrest. Three hundred refugee students were enrolled last year at a cost of about $6 million.

Then there's "More Seats for Students", Pat Murphy's ambitious program to provide an expensive brick-and-mortar classroom for every one of Arlington's students, at 22 students per classroom. Concomitant with "More Seats for Students" is "More Parking for Parents", another ambitious program to provide large new parking lots and drop-off space for parents, teachers, and staff who want to drive themselves or their children to school. This in addition to an expensive school bus transportation system that typically operates at 5% to 50% of capacity.

Also, APS is funding increasingly extravagant high school sports and activity programs. And APS is top-heavy with administrative staff.

 Have I reached $50 million per year in wasteful, extravagant, and unnecessary spending yet?

APS insiders, i.e., teachers who are truly concerned about education, mince no words about Patrick Murphy's misplaced spending priorities. As one of them recently stated to me - "the amount of money APS wastes every year could fully fund the operation of school systems in two small counties downstate."

Thank you for this blog.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcome Back to the New Arlington Way

Hello Yupette,

So the efforts of Arlington's Lexus Liberals to impose their mega zillion dollar pet projects on Arlington taxpayers only succeeded in getting taxpayers mad enough to elect a fiscal conservative to the County Board? What to do now? County Board's  Democratic majority figured it was time to revitalize The Arlington Way.

In the event you are new to Arlington and have not experienced the classic "Arlington Way" it works like this:  A special interest aligned with the Arlington Democratic Party secretly lobbies the County Board until the County Board pre-approves a program, project, whatever the special interest wants. County Staff are brought on board to facilitate. Various citizens committees, commissions,  boards, etc.,  formed from the usual Democratic Party stalwarts rubber stamp whatever is proposed, with cosmetic changes. A charade approval process is set in motion which culminates (often years later) with the County Board approving what the special interest wants with great fanfare.

So why am I not surprised that  "Pub Crawl Mary" Hynes proposed revisiting The Arlington Way and forming a citizens advisory committee to facilitate a revival. Why shouldn't they? The Arlington Way charade worked for years and made lots of Democrats (like Jay Fisette) rich. Why not again? Can you blame them?


Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Diner" -- Signature Flop Subsidized by Arlington Sheeple

Hey, Yupette,

I'm as unhappy as anyone else who's not a performing arts fanatic about the Signature bailout. In the event you missed Signature's adaptation of the 1982 film "Diner" - it's a flop. Never mind the Post's review.

Having grown up in Baltimore in the 1950's and 60's I can attest that Baltimore in 1959 was both grimy and grim. Baltimore then was a steel town and my father was a steelworker employed by Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point. There was a very long strike by steelworkers in 1959 and we went hungry for weeks. But you won't see any of that in the 1982 urban hipster film "Diner", nor the urban hipster musical adaptation currently playing at the Signature. I have to wonder whether anyone involved with producing 'Diner" at the Signature ever spent more than an afternoon in Baltimore.

My experience attending a performance of "Diner" a week ago was it felt as dated as a late Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Why anyone would put so much time, energy, and money making something so dated "work" as a musical was puzzling, until I realized that it's OUR money, and a lot of it,  that Signature is using making "Diner" ready for prime time, meaning Broadway.

The clueless County Board has yet to realize that it hasn't seen the last of the Signature. Thanks for exposing this performing arts country club for what it is. And thanks for your blog and enlightening taxpayers about who's ripping us off.

Joan 22207

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Next Signature Bailout Set for 2017

Hey, Yupette,

Thanks for the report about the massive welfare-for-the-wealthy rip off of the taxpayers to benefit the richey riches who operate the Signature.

Did you happen to read the reports about the PW County Chamber of Commerce boosters contributing major amounts to build a new baseball stadium for the Potomac Nationals? Meanwhile in Arlington, all the Chamber of Commerce can do is ask for handouts from the County Board and plan golf outings and winter gala events. Have you noticed that restaurants are closing every week in the R-B corridor?

FYI - the mega-million bailout of the Signature last week will not be the last Signature bailout. The plan is to give the Signature the old Garage building on South Four Mile Run, which the County owns and agreed last week to lease to the Signature at no cost for the next 5 years, with the County even paying the building's utilities.

The Nauck side of Shirlington is going to be redeveloped soon, so the Signature will own a valuable property. The Signature has no plans to cut expenses and will use funds obtained from naming rights to the theater to keep producing money-losing amateur theatrics to give its VIP members with acting ability stage time.

Like the forthcoming Bikeshare Bailout, the list of demands for the Signature bailouts were worked out not at 2100 Clarendon Blvd but in the living room of Jay Fisette's and Rob Rosen's mansion in Ashton Heights.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for your blog.


Friday, December 12, 2014

County Web Site Details Massive 'Welfare for the Wealthy' Giveaway to Signature Theater


In the event you haven't seen it by now, Arlington residents and taxpayers should visit Arlington County's Web site, and read the terms of the County's outrageous 'Welfare for the Wealthy" proposed giveaway to the Signature Theater.

Why outrageous? Because the Signature's Honorary Trustees, Directors, Directors Emeritus, and Signature Council are all wealthy people. At least a dozen are incredibly wealthy and have extensive backgrounds in management, finance, commercial real estate, entertainment management, public relations, and management consulting.

But don't believe A.Y. Visit the Signature's Web site: and see for yourselves.

Any ONE of the dozen incredibly wealthy people on the Signature's Board can write a check to pay off all the Signature's indebtedness. That includes County Board Chair Jay Fisette's (aka Giveaway Jay) spouse, Robert Rosen. Oh, BTW, Rosen is also owner and CEO of a successful management consulting firm named "Healthy Companies International". That leaves the rest to cough up the cash to keep the Signature's budgets in the black.

The County Board already bailed out the Signature twice, once by paying the Signature's utility bills for several years and again by paying the Signature's back taxes.

It's obvious what the Signature was, and is, and always will be...a taxpayer-subsidized party zone for the Inside-the Beltway Elite.

Signature doesn't need or deserve a dime of tax dollars, and never has.