Tuesday, March 13, 2018

County Office Bldg. to Receive Taj Mahal Makeover

Hey, Yupette,

The Democrats who've controlled Arlington for more than 35 years constantly complain about the Trump Administration and the Republicans who control the Virginia General Assembly but behave the same in Arlington.

Latest extravagant waste of tax dollars by the Democratic Leadership is their proposed $35.9 million Taj Mahal makeover of the County Office Building (now referred to as the Bozman Building after the late "Queen Ellen" Bozman), for completion of renovations to the office building the County owns at 2020 14th Street, and for miscellaneous other purposes.

The County Office Building last received a major renovation in 2006 and has received many expensive upgrades over the past 12 years.

As has become the usual practice, the County Board's Democratic Leadership put this on the Consent Agenda and made it off limits for public discussion. Item 11, due to be rubber-stamp approved on March 17th, will appropriate $2.6 million for architecture, design, and construction management services related to the $35.9 makeover(s). Since the Staff Report for this item is only two pages it's unknown where the $35.9 million will actually be obtained and used for.

According to the Staff Report the $35.9 million cost of the Taj Mahal makeover will come (among other sources) from a so-called "tenant improvement allowance","brokerage fee reimbursement", and "free rent" from the building's landlord, JBG, which has come before the County Board on many occasions seeking and receiving approval for major redevelopment projects. Is this deal even legal?

Meanwhile, Public Safety employees bitterly complained during the County Board's "Open Door Monday" yesterday about being under-strength, over-stressed, and under-compensated. Next fiscal year's budget will be balanced by increasing taxes and fees for residents and businesses and reducing and eliminating services.

Obvious to me, and many others, that "transparency" has joined the list of County Government oxymora, together with "car-free diet", "affordable housing", "smart growth". and "urban village".

Thanks for publishing this blog.

B.H., 22205

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gutshall Facilitated Ballston NVR Deal

Hey Yupette,

I watched most of last Saturday's County Board meeting, including all of the upzoning of 11th and Vermont, to the consternation of the neighborhood.

Why was this windfall redevelopment deal for another religious congregation approved by the County Board's Democratic Majority over the complete and vocal opposition by the affected neighborhood? Because County Board Member and former Planning Commission Chair Eric Gutshall facilitated the religious congregation's windfall deal from the time the General Land Use Plan change was first publically proposed after the County Board's Democratic Majority secretly approved a deal with NVR, the 11th and Vermont developer.

Why would Erik do that? Because Erik owns an up-and-coming regional home services and home improvement corporation and, as everyone knows, NVR is a major league residential construction corporation.

So whatever Erik, Christian, Katie, and Libby said last Saturday about "lack of communication" with 11th and Vermont neighbors, there was perfect communication with NVR by County Planning Staff and the Planning Commission, led by Erik until he joined the County Board.

Stay tuned for more County Board infill done-deals facilitated by Erik when he was Chair of the Planning Commission to reach County Member Erik over the next year or two.

Thanks for this blog.

J.G., Ballston

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Work Continues on APS - Abingdon Taj Mahal Crosswalk

Hey Yupette,

What's the latest in waste and mismanagement by the Arlington Public School System? It's not what you might suspect, the multi-million dollar interior makeover of recently-constructed Yorktown High School, approved by the School Board last Thursday.

No, latest APS Taj Mahal project is the crosswalk under construction on South Abingdon Street near Abingdon elementary School, which is on-track to cost between $100,000 and $200,000 when completed sometime this Spring. Work has yet to commence on the raised portion of the crosswalk across South Abingdon Street, which may cost another $50,000, or more.

Neighborhood residents, who are still fuming over the number of use permit condition violations that were allowed to occur during Abingdon School's renovation and expansion, never wanted a Taj Mahal crosswalk, which will only be used an hour in the morning and in the afternoon, but wanted a crossing guard on Abingdon Street at 29th at the vehicle entrance to the school. Fairlington's NannyCrat civic association and Abingdon PTA didn't want parents to be slowed down dropping their kids off and picking them up at the school, so they decided to go with an extravagant crosswalk down the street instead.

Neither of Arlington's two news bloggers, Nanny Scott McCaffrey and Scott-the-Bro Brodbeck (both live close to Abingdon School) is going to write a word about this huge waste of money, so thanks in advance for running a feature and publishing a photo.

L.D. South 29th Street

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Public Safety Employees Getting Out of Dodge


I work for the County in Public Safety and I can't wait to leave County employment. Have resumes in 4 counties and a couple cities in NoVa. I'm not uniformed. Work in admin. What's the problem with Arlington's Public Safety employees? We're under-compensated and over-worked. Hiring hasn't kept pace with population growth for two decades. Police Department and Fire Department are way under-strength for the work load and population growth.

Yeah, lots of Arlington cops are a$$holes. They're really stressed, like the firefighters and paramedics. Too many calls for service. Too many complaints. Too much overtime required because the County really doesn't want to hire any more uniformed employees. Pols and the people they appoint keep telling us to "suck it up". That sucks.

It's always the same old problems, only more every year. Altercations at convenience stores, shoplifting in the malls, thousands of complaints against african americans, latinos, and homeless persons, parking lot fender-benders, domestic disputes, and suspicious person complaints by anyone about anyone else. The Fire Department is stressed by an increase in medical emergencies caused by an aging population.

If you're wondering why there's no community policing in the County, that's why. Everything in Public Safety is reactive, except for the employees who plan for events that will never occur.

So I'm looking forward to working in a less stressful environment in the near future.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Cristol Seeks Extravagant County Board Room Makeover

Hi Yupette,

What's going on with the County Board, besides the usual secret meetings, closed meetings, and handshake deals made over lunch at local restaurants? Well, Chair Katie is dissatisfied with the appearance of the County Board Room (i.e., Room 307 at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.) and has ordered a makeover. Makeover will include a new LCD screen or screens and advanced technology AV equipment, a completely new lighting system which will allow natural light to steam in through new window treatments, and makeover of bench seating and the dias where the County Board and County Government VIPs sit. And a laundry list of other stuff. Oh, and some hush hush biometric security improvements.

I can go with a new LCD screen and letting natural light into the room, but why go beyond that? Fewer and fewer residents attend County Board and other local government meetings (e.g., Planning Commission). Many times County employees are the majority of those present. Not surprising with County Staff (like me) being trained to treat residents as neighborhood nuisances and facilitate done deals with selected community leaders.

Thanks for your blog and letting us post comments about the unpleasant reality of County Government. Like many others here I'm counting down the months until I can retire.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Capacity Audience Hears Garvey, DeLa Pava, Davis Endorse Vihstadt


A Y sent a contributor to cover County Board Member John Vihstadt's kickoff re-election campaign event at the Lyon Village Community Center this afternoon.

The event did not disappoint. The number of Vihstadt supporters who attended reached the capacity of the Communty Center. Leaders of same coalition that elected Mr. Vihstadt 4 years ago attended the event together with many new Vihstadt supporters - Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians. Democrats Libby Garvey and Carmen De La Pava endorsed Mr. Vihstadt. So did former Republican Congressman Tom Davis.

It appears that whatever advantages the Arlington Democratic Regime may have against the Regime's usual County Board opponents may well be again negated this next election.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Arlington Amazon HQ Would Cost Taxpayers $3 Billion +

Hi Yupette,

I'm a long time Arlington resident and my significant other is employed in an administrative capacity at the County's Economic Development Office on Glebe Road.

If you wondered why Chair Katie is being coy about the total cost of the secret corporate welfare giveaway to Amazon it's because the deal will cost Arlington taxpayers more than $3 billion.

Succinctly, here's what Amazon's getting from the County: a $500 million direct corporate welfare stipend from the County, another $500 million in tax breaks, and at least $2 billion in new infrastructure (e.g., schools) to serve the needs and wants of 50,000 new residents who would live in Arlington by 2025 associated in some way with Amazon.

Amazon is looking to build a second headquarters every bit as as extravagant as Amazon's Seattle Headquarters. So you can kiss the "urban village" goodbye if the County Board and Economic Development succeed in bribing Amazon to locate another headquarters here. Here's a photo of Amazon's Seattle HQ, in the event you've never seen it.

Thanks for your blog.

Ted 22205