Monday, January 22, 2018
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.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
A.Y. attended Congressman Beyer's helicopter noise meeting at Abingdon School last night. We didn't see Scott McCaffrey, Editor of the Arlington Sun Gazette, or Scott Brodbeck, Publisher of ArlNow at the meeting, though they live close to the school.
The meeting was similar to Congressman Beyer's last aircraft noise meeting, held at Reagan Airport. Lots of questions, few answers from the Military and FAA. Democratic "community leaders" from Fairlington were present as facilitators. Arlington cops were there to keep "undesirables" away, e.g., Latinos. Dandy Don was his usual slick self. But he's a car dealer, right? Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt also attended.
So what's really going on? Turns out the Obama Administration greatly expanded the number of VIP helicopter flights to and from the Pentagon, Reagan Airport, Dulles Airport, Belvoir, Quantico, and elsewhere inside and outside the Beltway.
Not a huge secret. But you have to know where to look. Go to google.com then search for: These Elite Military Helicopter Units Fly Washington's Power Players
So again, what can you expect from one-party government for the past 35 years but constant lies and charades?
Monday, January 15, 2018
Thanks for your blog. Like many other Arlington residents and voters I'm sick of "development for the sake of development" in my Ballston neighborhood. Whatever County Government may say about a "No Car Diet" what it's inflicting on Ballston is a More Car / More Vehicle Trips Diet.
What the County says it wants is for everyone to take Metro if you want to go somewhere. Or ride a bicycle 24/7/365.
So why build Express Lanes? Why sell so many expensive vehicles in Ballston? Why so many more Uber and Lyft trips? The Merlex used vehicle lot on Glebe Road is full of pre-owned Mercedes and other luxury vehicles. Merlex used to sell used Nisan Sentras. Why so many big new buildings with big underground garages? Why does the County keep a dozen people on the transportation staff who commute to Arlington from 40 miles away and tell everyone to ride bicycles in the Winter?
Because this County is completely screwed up, that's why. The pols tell us so many lies they can't keep track of the lies anymore. Affordable housing means un-affordable housing. No Car Diet means More Car Diet. Urban Village means Millennial Ghetto.
Where does the County's so-called "planning" take us in 5 years? Another expensive Metro entrance and 5,000 more underground parking spaces. This neighborhood is a mess right now. I am not going to vote for any more Democrats for anything. Thanks again for your blog.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Again this year the majority of County Board members will have children or grandchildren attending Arlington Public Schools. With Jay Fisette retired and the County Board and School Board committed to jamming 70,000 more residents into the County by 2040, the School Board will be increasingly focused on giving APS parents more Taj Mahal schools with every conceivable amenity that they've historically demanded.
But providing extravagant educational infrastructure isn't sustainable, given other special interests with their extravagant wants. What to do? Keep on with "growth for the sake of growth," raise taxes every year to cover the demands of 3,500 new residents and 800 new APS students, and hope there isn't a serious recession and the Trump Administration doesn't start moving federal agencies to the Rust Belt. Also known as kicking the can down the road another year, and hoping the bubble doesn't burst on their watch.
That's why we're we're happy to learn that Dr. Audrey Clement is considering another run for School Board, against Barbara Kanninen who Audrey ran against 4 years ago. For all her supposed analytical expertise Barbara's singular accomplishment during her 3 years on the School Board has been approving construction of Taj Mahal new schools with every conceivable amenity but too few active learning spaces, aka classrooms.
Abingdon School parents (about a hundred of whom are no longer legally Arlington residents, but that's another story) are already lobbying the School Board and County Board for more brick-and-mortar classrooms, although Abingdon just received a $32 million makeover and expansion.
So A.Y. is happy that a candidate with fiscal sanity who's not addicted to Smart Growth is considering running for School Board - Dr. Audrey Clement.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
I attended the County Board's annual organizational meeting last night, followed by the County Board's work session with the Arlington Civic Federation, aka White Citizens Council. Can you spell C-H-A-R-A-D-E-S ?
County Board members spouted the usual drivel about the need for transparency, openness, fiscal responsibility, etc., after spending 2017 approving exorbitantly expensive programs and projects and secret deals (like the $1 billion corporate welfare package for Amazon). Current prohibition against citizens removing extravagant programs and projects from the consent agenda will remain. First Yupette Katie Cristol was elevated to Chair of the Politburo. First Yuppie Christian Dorsey was elevated to Vice-Chair.
What stood out from the drivel was the County Board's total commitment to its New Urbanism/Smart Growth ideology/addiction/belief system/religion and the concomitant increase of Arlington's population by 70,000 in 22 years (2040). That's why the County Board has to embrace the CivFed like Kim Jong Un embraces Dennis Rodman.
As for the CivFed, it's become less inclusive and diverse over the past several years and much like the White Citizens Council it was 100 years ago. Both the CivFed and County Board are committed to excluding non-upscale, non-trendy people from the County. Looking around the County Board Room last night it was hard to find a minority-group member who wasn't County Staff.
As usual the police were sitting in the Board Room on the lookout for "troublemakers" who the Regime's enforcers have told not to attend meetings, while County's bloated PR bureaucracy makes videos telling citizens to come to meetings. LOL. Police are also on the lookout for non-trendy homeless who have been banned from the County's Taj Mahal homeless shelter.
So look for more of the same, and worse, from the County Board this year.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
AY's contributors were asked to assess the state of County Government at the end of 2017. All of them gave the County Board, County Manager, County Staff, Civic Organizations, and Advisory Commissions negative grades and said County Government is going from "bad to worse".
Among their observations:
Transparency: Citizens are increasingly kept un-informed by County Government about all manner of decisions, ranging from what's been promised to Amazon to what's been promised to developers and special interests in closed meetings and secret meetings. Expensive programs and projects are placed on the County Board's Consent Agenda and are off-limits for discussion by citizens at County Board meetings. Residents have to file freedom of information requests to determine what's been promised, and much of the FOIA material is redacted or off-limits (attorney-client protected). Local media owners and publishers are so greedy for profits that they essentially serve as County Government boosters.
Process: Expensive and comprehensive programs and projects are either rushed to the County Board for approval without adequate time to analyze costs and benefits (e.g., housing conservation districts), or delayed for years until the desired outcomes based on "handshake deals" can be facilitated by County Staff (e.g., Four Mile Run Valley Arts District). (County Staff is currently being re-trained in advanced facilitation techniques to quell community opposition). "Community Leaders" are increasingly expected to facilitate whatever is proposed for their neighborhoods, with no regard for consequences. Advisory Commission members are appointed based on their willingness to rubber-stamp whatever is placed before them.
Inclusiveness: County Government does not reflect the social, economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the County's population, and County Government is becoming less inclusive. Although one-third of the electorate votes for Independent candidates, Independents are ignored and disparaged by Democrats who have run Arlington for more than 35 years and, decades ago, adopted New Urbanism as the County's sole planning paradigm. Committees, commissions, and civic groups are packed with persons who will do as they're told. County Staff is increasingly hired and promoted based on non-residency. Although the County Board states it wants citizens to attend County Board meetings, persons with grievances are told by Democratic ward heelers that they will be arrested if they attend and speak at meetings. County government includes an expensive and expansive public information bureaucracy that constantly promotes whatever the County Board wants. The Civic Federation and the Civfed's component civic associations are also becoming less inclusive. This year the County embarked on a program to remove all low-income residents still living in market-rate apartments by creating so-called housing conservation districts.
Fiscal Responsibility: This year the County's traditional lack of long-term fiscal responsibility reached the point where fiscally responsible Independents became alarmed. All public infrastructure is extravagant and is referred to as "Taj Mahal" (both as a noun and a verb). Schools continue to be planned with every possible amenity but too few classrooms. Spending for parks and recreation infrastructure is so extravagant the the County has become a regional provider of upscale parks and rec infrastructure on Arlington's borders. County Board members routinely use expensive projects and programs to buy votes from special interest groups.
Sustainability: County Government is committed to packing as many people into as little space as possible over the next two decades, between 50,000 and 70,000 by 2040 (depending on who one talks with at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard). There is no estimate of the cost of extravagant public infrastructure to support the increased population. The County Board allows significant amounts of impervious surfaces to be created while allowing Arlington's tree canopy to be destroyed. County Government reached a new low in renewable energy this year by approving a $67.5 million aquatics center with no renewable energy on-site. Extravagant public infrastructure is approved without thought to maintenance and replacement funding.
All this made possible by the current national state of emergency that's been ongoing for 16 years, with no end in sight, and constant warfighting in the Third World. Arlington's future appears to be the County becomes an expensive gridlocked mess during the next decade.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
I live in an older well-maintained apartment building in Westover. Watched the Limo Liberals approve so-called "Housing Conservation Districts" at the Arlington County Board meeting yesterday. What a charade.
It's obvious the primary purpose of Housing Conservation Districts is to remove "undesirables" the Limo Liberals can't stand from Arlington. Like one of my neighbors who's a part time graduate student and drives for Uber and his female roommate who's a college student who also works part time in one of the stores in Westover Village. They're barely scraping by.
On the other hand I have a good income and have been living here for a number of years. I would also be removed, primarily because the Limo Liberals aka "Progressives" want to make a lot of money expensively renovating the building where I'm living so they can obtain huge subsidies and tax breaks renting to people who earn between $55,000 and $85,000 per year. They also want to help their friends who own real estate trusts by forcing me to move to a newer and much more expensive apartment like those being constructed all over the County.
Then there's the County bureaucracy which thrives on neglect and decay and needs a steady stream of old buildings in the planning pipeline to bulldoze into new 5 story brick boxes. They can't stand a property owner renovating an older building. Any older building.
Fortunately, I have housing options that don't require me to continue to live in Arlington and be part of the ongoing charade. I hope my young neighbors won't be evicted before they graduate.