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.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

County Board / FC City Council - Lee Highway Will be Another Clarendon. Primary Mode of Public Transit Will be Bicycles


The Arlington County Board and Falls Church City Council held a joint meeting at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. last night. Discussion was about planning the mixed-use redevelopment of the Lee Highway corridor on the Arlington / Falls Church border.

No surprises, the planning staffs in both jurisdictions call for Lee Highway / North Washington Street to become another massive mixed-use redevelopment, like Clarendon.

Discussion was for the East Falls Church Metro Station to become a major multi-modal hub.

What was both interesting and appalling is there was no mention of public transit for the redeveloped area other than more parking garages for motor vehicles, better pedestrian safety, and bicycles, and more bicycles, in new bikeshare stations all over the area. Brought to Falls Church by the same Arlington  streetcar proponents (Fisette, Tejada, Hynes, and Planning and Transportation Staff) who tried to inflict the Pike streetcar on us.

Arlington Transportation Director Dennis Leach admitted that Bikeshare returns 70 cents for every dollar spent because few ride bicycles in Winter. Again, no mention at all of ART bus expansion.

In fact, there was no mention of any improvements of any kind to non-arterial neighborhood infrastructure for current residents, only the "vision" of the area as another urban hipster enclave.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fairfax County Decision-Makers Driving 'Public Lands for Public Good'

Hey, Yupette,

'Public Lands for Public Good' debate in Arlington? What a hoot! Who's driving 'Public Lands for Public Good'? Arlington's so-called 'decision makers' who live in beautiful suburban Fairfax County, of course! And not just Barbara Donnellan and hundreds of County and APS employees who work for her, but Fairfax County residents who belong to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 100, developers, planning consultants, lawyers, bankers, and many, many others who are packing as many people and vehicles into our tiny County as they can, with the help of Lexus Liberal New Urbanist Super Nimbys, like County Board Chairman Jay Fisette.

So what's going on where THEY live a few miles up Columbia Pike from Arlington? As you can see from the photo, life goes on, on Lake Barcroft, in Sleepy Hollow, and elsewhere off the Pike same as always.

Thanks for this blog.

Dennis, 22204

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Post, Local Media, Continue to Censor Bus Alternatives to Streetcars

Hi Yupette,

So, the County Board majority said NO to streetcars last week? Where are the information and photos about streetcar alternatives, like bus rapid transit, double deck buses, and high-capacity city buses?

Here's a short video:

And here's another:

Where are the local media? Obviously still shilling for dumb growth streetcars.

Never mind THEM. I want MY tax dollars spent on information about alternatives to streetcars on the Pike and in Crystal City. Don't see any information on the County's Web site and AVN? Call the Arlington County Board at 703-228-3130.

Pike Rider, 22204

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Time for a Transit System We Can All Live With


County Board majority (except for Walter Tejada) finally came to its senses. Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars cost way too much for way too little benefit. The long-term costs would have included hundreds of injuries every year from pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles encountering streetcars and streetcar tracks.

Now it's time for EVERYONE to become involved in bottom-up planning for a state-of-the-art transit system that serves all Arlingtonians and seamlessly connects with other local transit systems across the region. We don't need any more major decisions (transit or otherwise) made for us behind closed doors at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.

No way I and tens of thousands of other Arlington residents are going to ride bicycles in Winter, meaning from mid-November to mid-April. Tens of thousands more Arlingtonians won't and/or can't ride bicycles.  There has to be a modern transit system for everyone. The County can start with new ART bus routes (not merely lengthening current routes) to provide ART bus service to every neighborhood. Time to evaluate state-of-the-art bus rapid transit vehicles (also known as articulated buses) rather than ignoring them.

So, we're looking for more and better local bus service soon, now that County Government has a dedicated revenue stream for transit improvements unencumbered with having to fund two streetcar systems..


Friday, November 7, 2014

Homeowners Will Be Hit With Big Tax Increases in FY 2016 -- Updated


County Board and School Board met this morning in a joint work session and the topic was the Arlington Public School System and the County's and APS's FY 2016 respective budgets.

According to Arlington County Finance Director Michelle Cowan, assessments for single family homes in Arlington are rising by 8%, condominiums by 5%, apartments by 0-2%, office building assessments are declining. Other sources of revenue, like the meals tax, are flat. County Government can expect a 2% to 3% revenue growth over the next several years. Given County Government's various increasing commitments, like employee healthcare, Cowan foresees a FY 16 budget gap for County Government in "single digits".

APS predicts a budget shortfall of $28.3 million in FY 16, largely caused by an unexpected increase in student enrollment. (According to APS insiders, the jump in student enrollment was the result of more than 300 refugee children from Central America being resettled in Arlington this year). The School Board, Superintendent Murphy, and APS Facilities and Operation Staff were unable or unwilling to supply the County Manager and County Board with specific data about the demographics that are driving the increase in student population. Latest projections by APS indicate Arlington's public school enrollment will grow from 24,529 in September 2014 to 32,305 in September 2024.

Various statements made by School Board members and APS Staff indicate that APS is operating a very expensive school system and is unwilling to make any changes. For example, Superintendent Murphy revealed that APS hires few inexperienced teachers and many experienced teachers who have advanced degrees. Both the School Board and Superintendent are unwilling to cut programs or increase class size. Both are unwilling to provide data which would show what it costs to educate students in various programs.

The County Board will discuss the FY 16 budget at length at the November 18th County Board meeting, agenda items 31 and 32, which are now posted on-line at

Update - the Powerpoint presentations at the November 7th County Board / School Board joint work session are available online at:


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Big Winner in County Board Race - Libby Garvey

Hi Yupette,

I live in South Fairlington and based on what I could see during John Vihstadt's election campaign the biggest winner, besides Mr. Vihstadt, is Libby Garvey. Her common sense approach to County Government is a significant change from Chris Zimmerman, who could have cared less about anything but Chris Zimmerman.

Libby was largely responsible for helping John Vihstadt get elected. She was very active in the last weeks of the campaign in Fairlington and Abingdon precincts, which went overwhelmingly for Vihstadt, and also overwhelmingly for Beyer and Warner.

It will be interesting to see what happens early next year when candidates begin organizing for the 2015 elections. Yes, there are electable County Board candidates out there who are not Democrats. It remains to be seen whether Libby can again help a non-incumbent overcome the institutional and media bias against non-Democrats. So I guess we'll have to stay tuned until early next year.

South Fairlington