Saturday, September 3, 2016
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
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.