Monday, April 9, 2018
Does the County Board ever listen to voters? Not apparently when it came to the County Board's FY 19 Budget. The FY 19 Budget is "balanced" by cutting popular services which are socially useful and cost little (Arlington Independent Media and monthly secure paper shredding, for example) while spending huge amounts on special interest activities and their constituencies, bicycle trails, all weather soccer fields, aquatics, Taj Mahal recreation centers and schools, and "regionalized" neighborhood parks, so-called affordable housing, and health services.
I took the photo of the monthly shredding event in the Trades Center on April 7th. Hundreds of Arlington residents stood in the cold waiting to shred old bills, tax documents, etc. The program costs $20,000 per year. Did anyone at 2100 do a cost-benefit analysis on this program and on other programs and services being cut? Why start these and other low cost programs and services (WERA-FM is another) if they're going to be cut a few years later?
But we're dealing with one-party government that's controlled the County for almost 40 years, so anything is possible. If they think I'm going to re-elect any one of them based on their party's attacks on Donald Trump, the NRA and local country clubs they're living in a Limo Liberal fantasy world.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
What's the real deal about real estate taxation of the Army-Navy County Club and Washington Golf and Country Club? Real deal is that County Government needs land the two country clubs occupy very soon for public infrastructure if Amazon decides to locate another headquarters here, and within the next several years otherwise.
As has been mentioned on this blog before, elected and appointed VIPs who run County Government and the Arlington Public School System have long been addicted to New Urbanism, commonly referred to as Smart Growth, which is mixed-use redevelopment-for-the-sake-of-redevelopment imposed upon low and medium density suburban neighborhoods. This redevelopment paradigm is also also referred to as 'more Clarendons everywhere' among Arlington's planners, few of whom choose to live in Arlington, let alone Clarendon.
Arlington has been ruled by a one political party for almost four decades. Although Arlington is controlled by self-described 'Progressives' the County is actually regressing from authoritarian government to a repressive regime, like the People's Republic of China. Not surprising given the human behavior that's been either criminalized or demonized over the past 17 years, both nationally and locally.
So Washington Golf and Country Club and the Army-Navy Club have been lumped with Donald Trump, the NRA, and a laundry list of the Regime's other "deplorables" for the purpose of forcing a sale of most or all of their open space for various types of new infrastructure, from new schools to new upscale townhouses. Assessed value of ANCC is about $157 million and WGCC about $87 million. The amount both clubs pay in real estate taxes every year is about what the County spends on "regionalizing" Arlington's neighborhood parks to provide upscale infrastructure to several local jurisdictions.
As the deal stands now, Amazon would heavily contribute to redeveloping ANCC and WGCC to provide housing and other upscale amenities for its employees while the County and APS would have at least 100 acres for new schools and regional sports and recreation infrastructure.
County Staff, Advisory Commissions, and Civic Association 'community leaders' have been trained or are being trained to facilitate the Amazon deal. Latest were the Advisory Commission Chairs at last night's secret County Board meeting.
Thanks for this blog.
Monday, March 26, 2018
Like others who either attended or viewed the March 17th and March 20th Recessed County Board Meetings we were not impressed with the "Trust Us" response by the County Board to repeated requests for information regarding the specifics of the incentive package offered to Amazon, the $35.9 million Taj Mahal makeover of 2100 Clarendon Blvd., and questions about a photograph of the Potomac above Chain Bridge acquired and hung in the County Board meeting room after the February County Board meeting.
The County Board's response to repeated requests for information about the County's give-away deal with Amazon were rebuffed, and Arlington residents were told to "Trust Us" by the County Board. The Consent Agenda item (11) about the $35.9 million to be expended renovating 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 2020 14th Street, and for other unspecified purposes was the subject of many disingenuous statements by County Staff and the County Manager.
In fact, the lobby of 2100 Clarendon Blvd could be made much more "visitor friendly" by installing a few signs clearly showing visitors where in the building they should go, rather than all manner of signs and placards advertising the County's "car free diet" (a receptionist is stationed in the lobby from 9-5 weekdays). How a lobby that's off-limits to the homeless and minorities is supposed to be converted into a vibrant visitors center at the cost of millions wasn't mentioned by the County Manager.
Which brings us to the landscape photograph recently installed on the wall of the County Board meeting room (Room 307 at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.). Despite Libby Garvey's claim that the photograph didn't cost the County a lot of money, the County paid $7,000 to the New York artist, $500 to a Rockville company for mounting and another $1968 to an Alexandria company for framing - total cost $9468. Same New York artist was paid an $2500 honorarium for showing her art on Arlington's Art Truck. Same time AIM is begging to have its funding restored and residents are begging to have the widely popular monthly paper shredding program saved.
It gets worse, because Libby is facilitating the bicycist cult's wish list for every possible bicycle infrastructure amenity, to the tune of tens of millions - all to be approved as consent agenda items at future County Board meetings.
So I don't trust County Government when it comes to Amazon, or anything else.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
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.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
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.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
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
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.