Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Next Signature Bailout Set for 2017

Hey, Yupette,

Thanks for the report about the massive welfare-for-the-wealthy rip off of the taxpayers to benefit the richey riches who operate the Signature.

Did you happen to read the reports about the PW County Chamber of Commerce boosters contributing major amounts to build a new baseball stadium for the Potomac Nationals? Meanwhile in Arlington, all the Chamber of Commerce can do is ask for handouts from the County Board and plan golf outings and winter gala events. Have you noticed that restaurants are closing every week in the R-B corridor?

FYI - the mega-million bailout of the Signature last week will not be the last Signature bailout. The plan is to give the Signature the old Garage building on South Four Mile Run, which the County owns and agreed last week to lease to the Signature at no cost for the next 5 years, with the County even paying the building's utilities.

The Nauck side of Shirlington is going to be redeveloped soon, so the Signature will own a valuable property. The Signature has no plans to cut expenses and will use funds obtained from naming rights to the theater to keep producing money-losing amateur theatrics to give its VIP members with acting ability stage time.

Like the forthcoming Bikeshare Bailout, the list of demands for the Signature bailouts were worked out not at 2100 Clarendon Blvd but in the living room of Jay Fisette's and Rob Rosen's mansion in Ashton Heights.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for your blog.


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, arlingtonva.us 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:  www.signature-theatre.org/board-of-directors 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 arlingtonva.us.

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

John Vihstadt for Arlington County Board

A.Y. endorses John Vihstadt for re-election to the Arlington County Board.

In the six months John Vihstadt's been on the County Board there have been significant positive changes for the better in Arlington's quality of life.

The out-of-control pub crawls have been controlled. Big ticket vanity projects that were never scrutinized are being scrutinized. Spending priorities have been reversed. Basic infrastructure needs that were ignored for years - like street paving - have priority. For the first time in more than a decade someone on the County board is asking questions like 'Can we afford this?'.

As for Alan Howze, he and other Arlington Democrats are, de facto, 21st Century Rockefeller Republicans. Same tax-borrow-spend for huge vanity projects while government, corporations, and non-profits move away because taxes and the costs involved in maintaining office space here and/or doing business here are too high. We really can't afford Alan Howze and other Zimmerman Democrats on the County Board.

Another clear choice for Arlington taxpayers and voters - John Vihstadt for County Board.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Audrey Clement for Arlington School Board

A.Y. endorses Audrey Clement for School Board.

The choice could not be more clear. Barbara Kanninen makes a living from massaging 'problem data'  to make corporations, non-profits and government agencies look as good as possible. Audrey Clement makes her living turning raw data into useful information for federal agencies like the Census Bureau.

Barbara Kanninen is a product of a 30-year Arlington Democratic Party Machine, and her campaign is based largely on Democratic Party politics. Her priorities are inflicting more of the same New Urbanist ideology on us, only the APS version. That is, 'More Seats for Students' aka 'More Parking for Parents' Every school a Country Day School, latest will be Abingdon. Huge amounts of the APS budget spent on activities that have nothing to do with education. Don't believe it? Ask yourself -- how many millions did APS spend on Halloween celebrations this year?

Audrey Clement is running as an Independent and has shown that Arlington can save a lot of money for taxpayers while providing the same or better education for students. Her proposal that APS retrofit older schools with solar thermal and photovoltaic is reason enough to vote for her rather than continue unlimited spending for extravagant boutique schools, where providing increased parking for parents is a significant item in APS's capital improvement program.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Will Arlington's Elementary Schools Become Country Day Schools?

Hey Yupette,

Latest about Abingdon Elementary School is the 'More Seats for Students' architects at APS and their good bud architects who design country day schools in upscale outer suburbs are going to make-over Abingdon, and many other Arlington schools, into Country Day Schools.

What's a 'Country Day School'? Origin of Country Day Schools was in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th Century. So Country Day Schools are big on arts and crafts and other activities that don't directly relate to education (i.e., Sports). Most Country Day Schools are in the outer suburbs, or are in what were once the outer suburbs. So everyone drives to school, parents, staff, and teachers. That includes rituals like the daily drop-off and pick-up of students by parents in upscale SUVs.

Word about Abingdon is that a 1950-1970 vintage suburban elementary school that's needed a renovation for years is going to be massively made-over into an expensive boutique County Day School with lots of additional parking and a big parent drop-off and pick up area. All that will remain of the open space around the school will be a lighted multi-purpose athletic field. Most of the $28.75 million budgeted for Abingdon's renovation and expansion will go for expensive sports, recreation, and other activities.

But what else could you expect from a school system that has increasingly sacrificed trees and open space around schools to build parking lots and drop off areas for parents?

Karen, 22206

Friday, October 17, 2014

Progressive Elite Opts Out of 'New Urbanism'. Time to End 'Smart Growth'.

Hi Yupette,

I drove through Ashton Heights the other day. Home of County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and many others who belong to the Progressive Elite. No bike lanes, no car-free diet, no pub crawls, no 5K anything. Neighborhood is right out of House and Gardens. These are the people who are imposing 'New Urbanism' on me, together with their bloated County bureaucracy who live in Fairfax County, and their corporate cronies who live in some other state. And their out-of-state boutique architects who only know how to design boutique country day schools and so that's what they're designing everywhere in Arlington.

Time to end 'Smart Growth' mixed-use redevelopment and time to fix-up and renovate existing low-density and medium-density infrastructure, and replace low and medium density infrastructure with new low and medium density infrastructure. New Urbanism has done to older suburbs like Arlington what Urban Renewal did to older cities 50 years ago. Why do we allow the Progressive Elite to inflict this 'ism' on us? I have never seen any cost-benefit analysis of this religion, cult, social and economic belief system or what ever you want to call it.

Douglas Park

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Debt Service as Percent of General Government Expenditures - A Dangerous Game

Hi Yupette,

As someone who followed the Arlington County Board's 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Program deliberations over the Summer, I was often struck by the respect paid to the often-cited indicator of Arlington's fiscal health --- Debt Service as Percent of General Government Expenditures. According to County Manager Barbara Donnellan, Director of Management and Finance Michelle Cowan, and other high-level County employees the County's financial managers struggle mightily to keep the Debt Service to General Expenditures ratio around 9%.

However, if one looks at the manner funds are actually appropriated and spent, the Debt Services to General Expenditures ratio is meaningless and will never be allowed to exceed 10% because the County Manager routinely asks for, and the Count Board routinely appropriates, funds from pay-as-you-go General Fund accounts for capital projects, often via the County Board's consent agenda. For example, although the 2015-24 CIP calls for $28.8 million in funding for synthetic playing fields, as often as not synthetic playing fields are funded by paygo via the County Board's consent agenda, not from the sale of park bonds.

It gets worse, because cost overruns from capital projects are also paid from General Funds. And there are few limits on how the County Manager can move General Fund tax revenue around. So what appears to be a stable financial system is anything but stable, except when it comes to indebtedness. Bondholders can't be told they'll be paid when the County gets around to it, as you're told when you ask when your street will be repaved.

Thanks for your blog.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Legal in Virginia? Time for an Updated Statement of Economic Interests from Jay Fisette.


A.Y. sent a volunteer to the Arlington County Board Clerk's office last January to peruse County Board Members' Statements of Economic Interests. One that immediately came to her attention was County Board Chair Jay Fisette's.

Surprise, though Jay was married (in D.C.) to his long-time domestic partner, Robert Rosen, founder and CEO of executive consulting firm Healthy Companies International, Jay didn't have to report their combined income or business interests because the State of Virginia didn't recognize same-sex marriages. Legal opinion by Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos.

So now that the State does recognize same-sex marriages, will Jay file an amended Statement of Economic Interests that could show how many of Rob's corporate clients have business interests with County Government and APS? We hope so.

One of Rob's corporate clients is Boeing, and even cynical County Staff admitted the new Boeing Government Operations Headquarters was a County Board 'giveaway deal' made during the Zimmerman era.

Jay didn't get to live in his and Rob's House and Garden home in exclusive Ashton Heights based upon the $40,000 - $55,000 he's been paid for being on the County Board.

Too bad A.Y. is the only media outlet that raises questions about local elected officials' outside sources of income.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Arlington is a World Class...Dump"


I recently visited Arlington from where I live in the Seattle area to interview for a position with a tech firm located in the Ballston area. First time I've been in the D.C. metro area in about 10 years.

Whatever the promoters of Arlington County may say about Arlington being 'world class' the reality is that the corridor between Ballston and Rosslyn is a dump.

I caught a Metro train from the airport to the Westin in Ballston, where I stayed 3 days. The Metro is incredibly dirty and run-down and the train I was on was filthy. I exited the Ballston Metro station, also appeared to not have been cleaned since being constructed, and immediately encountered broken brick paving, so I took a cab to the Westin only a couple blocks away. That was Saturday afternoon.

Saturday evening I went for a walk around the Ballston neighborhood, more broken sidewalks. I didn't want to eat in the hotel restaurant so I entered Ballston Mall looking for decent food..Finding only squalor, I left and found World of Beer, which was packed with screaming and yelling urban hipsters. Finally had supper at Ted's Montana Grill.

Sunday, I took a long walk from Ballston to the Courthouse area and found all the brick sidewalks in Arlington are crumbling. It also seems that used car lots are a major, but unreported, business activity in Arlington. Oh, I was forced to repeatedly dodge urban hipsters on rental bicycles who believe they own the sidewalk. Took another filthy Metro train from the filthy Courthouse Metro station back to the beautiful Ballston Metro station.

Monday I had my interview with the tech firm's vice-president, who was effusive in his praise for Arlington and especially the Ballston-to-Rosslyn corridor. Afterwards I decided I had enough of Metro and started taking taxicabs. Took a cab to Mt. Vernon Monday afternoon, a place I had never visited.

Decided to not walk the broken sidewalks and had supper and breakfast at the Westin. Took a cab to the airport. Never received an offer from the tech firm. Doubt I would have accepted an offer if I had.

Thanks for your blog.

Mark, Seattle area

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Streetcar Design and Engineering Funding Goes to County Board

Hey, Yupette,

Streetcar design and engineering funding goes to the County Board for approval tonight. A $26 million waste of money. But first the County Board has to vote on consent agenda items - bicycles for all in Arlington 24/7/365 (still plenty of parking for non-residents who want to commute one-to-a-vehicle), and more video surveillance on everyone.

Given the experience of bicyclists in Tucson, where streetcar tracks are lethal weapons, you would think the County Board Majority would say no to streetcars and yes to ART bus service for all of Arlington neighborhoods instead. No way that will happen, since Jay Fisette, Mary Hynes, and Walter Tejada have long been infected by a virulent strain of the New Urbanism socioeconomic belief system...aka cult....aka religion which permanently and irrevocably alters the ability of adherents to think rationally.

Evening session of the County Board meeting starts at 6:30 in the County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Third Floor.

Pike Rider

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fairlington Resident to Fisette: Major League Arms Dealer Operating Out of Fairlington


AY attended last night's Fairlington monthly civic association meeting where County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was being grilled about the Pike Streetcar after doing his usual  civic association PR pitch promoting  the Pike streetcar.

Suddenly, out of the blue, a Fairlington resident asked Jay: "What can the County do about the arms dealer who is selling major league weapons out of his Fairlington townhouse/" Jay's response: "Oh we know about him, he tried to start a gun store in Nauck."

Jay then promised that he would definitely "do something" if the Fairlington resident contacted him. Consternation among the audience.

But of course County Government knows all about the arms dealer, since he has a business license from Commissioner of the Revenue Ingrid Morroy and has to pay personal property and business taxes to Ingrid and County Treasurer Carla de la Pava. Arlington Police are obviously good buds with the arms dealer, as is ATF which licenses him. An ATF Class III firearms license (machine guns) is pretty tough to get. If (as the Fairlington resident complained) the arms dealer is dealing with the Pentagon he may be dealing some serious artillery, above and beyond machine guns.

But what else could Jay say? County Board Member Libby Garvey, who despises guns, was in the audience.

Stay tuned to Saturday's County Board meeting for further developments.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuscon Accident Data - Shared Street Streetcars Are Not Compatible With Bicycles

Hey Yupette,

I visited my alma mater, University of  Arizona, last week. Arlington residents should be aware there have been a HUGE number of bicycle accidents related to streetcars and streetcar tracks along streetcar routes in Tuscon over the past two years. Most of the accidents have not been reported but of those that have been reported many were serious and involved veteran bicyclists. The data were collected by a non-profit bicyclist and pedestrian advocacy group, the Living Streets Alliance. Based on 86 reported accidents the group determined that there were several causes of accidents resulting from streetcars and streetcar tracks and bicyclists, the most common being bicyclists crossing streetcar tracks at a bad angle. Another big cause of bicyclist injures was bicyclists having to veer into streetcars or get caught in streetcar tracks while avoiding some obstacle. Latest consensus opinion among bicycle groups is that bicycles should not share streets with streetcars.

Anyway, you can see for yourself by searching "Tuscon bicycles streetcars accidents" on the Web.

Linda, 22205

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Planning Commission Votes to Protect McKinley School Trees

Hey, Yupette,

Arlington Planning Commission met last night and approval of the plans for McKinley School renovation and expansion were the first item on the agenda.

To the surprise of most in attendance the Planning Commission voted to protect a number of mature trees on-site rather than increase parking by 20 spaces.

Did not help the cause of APS and County planning staff when staffers revealed that public transit in the neighborhood is underutilized.

The Planning Commission also grilled APS's Director of Design and Construction, Scott Prisco, about the lack of capability to add floors to the school vertically (build up, not out). Since APS's Facilities and Operations Staff don't like modular construction, designing school buildings where classrooms can be added vertically within a few months is too expensive using conventional construction methods.

County Board will take up the McKinley School expansion and renovation on September 20th.

Terri, 22205

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Democratic Sock Puppets Should Not Serve on the School Board

 Hi Yupette,

I'm a parent with a child who attends Washington and Lee High School. And I am tired of the same sock puppet Democrats being nominated and elected to the School Board.

Whatever Barbara Kanninen and Nancy Van Doren say they want to do on the School Board in fact they have to go along with whatever decisions are made by the Arlington Democratic Committee behind closed doors. So, because Jay Fisette wants a new "Taj Mahal" elementary school (with lots of parking) at Thomas Jefferson Middle School they will have to facilitate that. Doesn't matter what the neighbors who live around TJ want.

It gets worse. At least three School Board members have retired or resigned in recent years because they disagreed with ACDC's agenda for APS - more strains on an already-stressed school system because of massive urbanization.

Barbara's and Nancy's performance at the Civic Federation candidates' forum last week - platitudes and promises - indicated they will do only what the Arlington Democratic Committee tells them to do. If they  serve on the School Board at some point one or both will get fed up and quit.

I ask the School Board to appoint an Independent to serve the remainder of Sally Baird's term of office. I'm voting for Independent Audrey Clement in November. Virginia's school boards are supposed to be independent of party politics. But Arlington's School Board is even more partisan than the County Board was before Chris Zimmerman left. And Barbara Kanninen and Nancy Van Dorn are a couple of Democratic sock puppets.

Linda, Cherrydale

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Independents Clement and Vihstadt Decisively Win CivFed Candidate Forums


Several Arlington residents who contribute to this blog attended the Arlington Civic Federation's annual Candidate Forum last night. Their consensus reports - Independent Candidate for School Board Audrey Clement and Independent Candidate for County Board John Vihstadt decisively defeated their Democratic opponents for County Board and School Board.

First to Audrey Clement - While her Democratic opponents Barbara Kanninen and Nancy Van Doren mouthed platitudes and promises Dr. Clement has a clear plan for improving the quality of education for Arlington K-12 students at less cost to taxpayers,

Rather than spending hundreds of millions building more Taj Mahal Post Modern schools advocated by APS's VIP architects Dr. Clement advocates adaptive re-use of office buildings and construction of modular classrooms, as Alexandria Public Schools have been doing for several years, at substantial savings to taxpayers, with the same or better quality of classroom education provided to students.

John Vihstadt kept his promises to make Arlington Government more efficient and less costly to taxpayers. Mr. Vihstadt's opponent, Alan Howze, wants to gold plate the Pike streetcar but wouldn't, or couldn't, provide estimates of how much that would cost. Mr. Howze also misstated that Mr. Vihstadt voted against Arlington's 10 year CIP when in fact Mr. Vihstadt voted for the CIP, minus funding for the Pike streetcar. It became obvious that, if elected, Alan Howze, will take Arlington Government back to the tax-borrow-spend Zimmerman era.

No contest. Anyone who's rational about County Government and APS viewed Audrey Clement and John Vihstadt as the decisive winners of their respective candidate forums.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arlington Police Facilitate 'Drive Kids to School Day'

Hi Yupette,

Received the County's 'Car Free Diet' brochure in the mail on Saturday. Just in time for the Arlington Public School System's 'Drive Your Kid to School Day' today. This year facilitated by not one but two Arlington police officers at our elementary school. Oh, no one dared to ride a bicycle to school because of the traffic.

Why do APS and County Government waste our time and money with these charades? The traffic to and from our schools is worse than ever. Only difference is.the arrival times are spread out and the cops are on the scene to keep the traffic moving.

No Howze am I going to vote for another Democrat for County Board or School Board. Every year we pay more for less because of the Democrats' Stupid Growth.

Thanks for your blog.

Karen, 22206

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Scrap the Streetcar - Use the State's $65 Million for ART Bus Service Everywhere in the County

Hey Yupette,

I just received the County's 'Car Free Diet' brochure in the mail. Produced by DES Staff who don't live in the County and commute to 2100 one-per-vehicle from their bicycle-free outer suburbs.

Like tens of thousands of Arlington residents I am never going to ride a bicycle again. For one thing, the streets and even the sidewalks in my neighborhood (Ballston) are too dangerous. Who wants to ride a bicycle in the Winter?

The Pike streetcar is a complete waste of meney, and the tracks would be dangerous to several thousand who would ride bicycles on the Pike.

Instead of spending any more for the stupid Pike streetcar, I want the $65 million the State would provide for a dozen Pike streetcars spent to extend ART Bus service everywhere in the County.

I'm sick and tired of having to cater to the wants of a bunch of Elitist Democrats and their wealthy corporate and non-profit cronies, aided and abetted by a bloated bureaucracy most of whom wouldn't live in Arlington if you gave them a million dollar home or condo here.

Thanks for your blog.

Mark, Ballston

Monday, August 25, 2014

Arlington Democrat 'Super Nimbys' Facilitating Open Space 'Repurposing' for School Infrastructure

Hey Yupette,

Latest from the Arlington County Democratic Committee is Democratic 'Super Nimbys' like Jay Fisette have begun a campaign to categorize anyone who opposes in-fill of County and APS property with school infrastructure as 'Neighborhood Nuisances'.

That includes residents who live adjacent or near Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Abingdon Elementary School. Latest about Abingdon is not only will the open space adjacent to the school be converted to a lighted synthetic surface soccer field, but many, or most, of the native species hardwoods on the wooded slope between Abingdon School and the Trades Center will be cut down to 'facilitate'; Abingdon School's expansion. Of course, Jay has excepted his own Ashton Heights neighborhood from 'New Urbanism'.. So look for the usual gang of Arlington Democratic Committee 'Super Nimby' facilitators to be coordinating APS's school expansion projects.

Fed Up Dem

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sullivan Should Disclose Why He Isn't Accepting Contributions from Dominion

Hello Yupette,

I did a comprehensive Web search on Dominion Resources, Richard C. 'Rip" Sullivan, and his law firm, Reed Smith. Dominion Resources is huge and so is Reed Smith. Dominion is constantly engaged in litigation and in legal matters that require Federal, state and local administrative review and Federal, state and local permits. It's difficult to determine Reed Smith's current legal relationship with Dominion and what legal services Mr. Sullivan has provided and is currently providing to Dominion Resources.

One major project where Dominion is heavily involved is collecting the 'wet' natural gas obtained from fracking shale in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, etc, and separating the liquid hydrocarbons from the natural gas and shipping the natural gas through Virginia via Dominion's gas transmission pipelines. Dominion is building a large natural gas liquification facility at Cove Point Maryland where liquified natural gas will be loaded onto ships and exported. Dominion's natural gas pipeline (once the hydrocarbons have been separated) that connects the collection pipelines from fracking wells to Cove Point runs through Fairfax County. The Sierra Club has had a running legal battle for several years with Dominion over Cove Point.

So, given that Mr. Sullivan has stated that he has no personal animosity towards Dominion, what are the reason or reasons he isn't accepting contributions from Dominion's PAC? Voters in the 48th District deserve to know.

Patricia  22207

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Abingdon Will Be The Next Ashlawn

Hey Yupette,

I belong to the Abingdon School PTA and actually live in the immediate neighborhood of Abingdon School. Yes, Abingdon will be the next Ashlawn. Wooded wildlife area between Abingdon School and the Trades Center will be cut down and the open space that's now used as an informal playing field will become a synthetic field dedicated to field sports (soccer). Soccer Moms and Dads want it lighted. Parking lot will be enlarged. Architecture of the school building may or may not resemble Fairlington's colonial architecture. At least half the space in the renovated and expanded school will have nothing to do with education

As of now, nearby residents will not be involved in decision-making for Abingdon School at all. Community representatives will be appointed to the Building Level Advisory Committee by the PTA and civic association. They will do as they are told by APS.

My child will be in middle school after this year, maybe in another school system, so none of this will affect her. However, our neighborhood is going to be 'Ashlawned' for sure. For sure I'm voting for Audrey Clement for School Board. Undecided if I'm going to vote for the school bonds.

Thanks for this blog.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Who are John Chadwick and Scott Prisco, and What Are They Doing in Arlington?


I wondered what all the fuss was with the County Board and School Board and their respective Capital Improvement Plans. I attended a couple of School Board and County Board CIP work sessions. Two very authoritative APS employees dominated the discussions at all the School Board's CIP work sessions. They are John Chadwick, Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations, and Scott Prisco, APS's Director of Design and Construction. So I did a Web search on John Chadwick and Scott Prisco. You should too.

Turns out Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Prisco are a couple of high-priced New Urbanist architects. Appears that Mr. Chadwick retired after a successful career designing upscale buildings in the New York and DC area and was hired in 2011 by Coach Murphy and the School Board to be Assistant Sup for Facilities and Operations.

Scott Prisco was hired (apparently on a contract) by Coach Murphy and the School Board a year ago. Upscale is not a word that can describe Mr. Prisco. He and his architecture firm, EQ Architecture, formerly The Prisco Group, have earned hundreds of millions in commissions from upscale residential, commercial and public infrastructure projects. One of his recent commissions was to design the 'High School of the Future'  in Philadelphia for Microsoft and Bill Gates. Same Bill Gates who's inflicting his 'Common Core Curriculum' educational agenda on school systems across America. So check it out on the Web. Is the 'High School of the Future' all about Microsoft software and hardware? Check out the photos of the school in operation. Does Scott Prisco's architecture merit the commissions he and his firm are paid? You decide

So what are John and Scott doing in Arlington? 'More Seats for Students', right? But what about three expensive New Urbanist projects underway since John Chadwick was hired by APS -- Williamsburg, Ashlawn, and Abingdon? Williamsburg residents were outraged to learn that Chadwick's Facilities Team (minus Prisco) targeted their single family home neighborhood for a lighted soccer complex. Chadwick's Facilities Team (minus Prisco) made a mess out of Ashlawn School renovation, and the neighbors are outraged to the point of complaining to the County Board.

Now Chadwick's Facilities Team (with Prisco) is apparently out to make Abingdon School into an elementary school version of Bill Gates's 'High School of the Future' with the kids' grass playing fields made over into a $1 million lighted field-sports complex.

As for Thomas Jefferson Middle School, the only way the New Urbanists get to cram 30,000 students into Arlington by 2021 is to build an elementary school on the TJ campus AND build expensive additions to a couple of existing elementary schools in South Arlington. Facilitated by the usual crew from the Arlington Democratic Committee. Or that's the plan as of the last School Board meeting. May change next School Board meeting.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Toronto Voters Fed Up With Streetcars

Hello, Yupette,

Just returned from a vacation in Toronto. In the event you aren't aware, there 's a mayoral election in the offing in Toronto, on October 27th. Three candidates are virtually tied in the polls. They are current Mayor, Rob Ford, and Olivia Chow and John Tory.

One campaign issue that unites all three candidates is the deep and growing dissatisfaction with Toronto's streetcars. Major complaint is streetcars are too slow and too often stuck in traffic. Same reasons streetcars were replaced by buses 50 years ago in DC. Same complaints that are heard about the new H. Street streetcars in DC now.

Anyway, you can do a Web search yourself for election news. Here's a photo of what we can expect if Arlington is so foolish as to construct a streetcar line on Columbia Pike.

Mark, 22204

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Parents Incensed by Capital Bikeshare Riders

Hi, Yupette,

What is it about Capital Bikeshare? Indeed, it's corporate motto should be "Safety Last".

Was pushing my kid's stroller down the sidewalk last week and was brushed aside by not one but three people on Capital Bikeshare bicycles. If they had been going a little faster I would not have had time to get the stroller out of their way. Of course they were not wearing helmets, I've only seen a few people riding Bikeshare bicycles who do.

What is the attraction of riding bicycles on sidewalks when there are trails and marked lanes parallel to the sidewalks, e.g., on Walter Reed Drive? Who is telling bicyclists to stay 3 feet from pedestrians? No one!

Some Bikeshare Bozo hits me when I'm walking on a sidewalk I'm suing Capital Bikeshare. BTW, I see it didn't take long for moped owners to clean up their act now that mopeds have to be licensed. Time to license bicycles, starting with Capital Bikeshare.

Julie, 22206

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fireworks Display Starts at 6:30 Tonight - County Board Room

Hey Yupette,

There's going to be a free fireworks display in the County Board Room tonight during the recessed County Board meeting.  This afternoon's County Board meeting will be a warmup for the main fireworks display starting at 6:30.

Agenda items to watch tonight are Consent Agenda item 27 (Fiscal Year 2015 Grant Agreements between the County Board and the State's Department of Rail and Public Transportation), Consent Agenda Item 29, (AHIF funding of the William Watters Apartments renovation), and Regular Hearing Item 50 (Expenditure of $58 million for additional leased office space for DHS in the Sequoia Building from FY 15 through FY 23 and extension of the lease on the space DHS already occupies in the Sequoia Building until 2030.

As always, you can watch the fireworks at home via public access television or via the arlingtonva.us Web site.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Fisette, Hynes, Tejada Agree to Stop Raiding General Fund Accounts for Streetcars

Hey Yupette,

I watched the latest County Board streetcar battle on my laptop after work last night.

So turns out that Jay Fisette, Mary Hynes, and Walter Tejada were massively raiding the General Obligation accounts to fund their streetcar activities, to the tune of (at least) hundreds of thousands of dollars. After County Manager Donnellan repeatedly stated that the County wasn't using, and wasn't going to use, a dime from the General Fund for streetcars.

After listening to Libby Garvey describe the activities of County employees who have been drafted by Barbara Donnellan for streetcar-related activities I have to wonder what kind of accounting system (if any) Barbara uses to track who does what and when in County Government. Internal Auditor? Looks like the County needs a entire division devoted to internal audits..

So, now the County Board voted 5-0 to stop spending funds from the General Fund for streetcars it will be interesting to see how the County Manager tracks the source or sources of funds that are being spent on streetcars.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christmas In July Party's Over Here on July 19th - 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Room 307, 8:30 AM

Hey, Yupette,

Anyone else take a good look at the County Board's Agenda for July 19th and 24th? It's Christmas in July, and there's something for everyone, real estate trusts, developers, streetcar boosters, bloated County bureaucracies like Parks and Rec and DHS, affordable housing for-profit non-profits, and various 'stocking stuffers' for anyone who didn't receive a big present. As usual, some of the biggest gifts are on the Consent Agenda.

This year Chairman Gerald J. 'Giveaway Jay' Fisette will play Santa. So check out the County Board's agenda at arlingtonva.us and if you believe you or your organization were left off Santa's list and deserve a present, call the County Board Office at 228-3130 and let them know as soon as possible.


Monday, July 14, 2014

No, Let Me Guess...Wayne Kubicki for County Treasurer?

Hey Yupette,

Next shoe to drop on the ACDC Regime is likely to be major league fiscally-savvy and long time Republican CivFed Revenues and Expenditures Committee member Wayne Kubicki who may (and should) run for Arlington County Treasurer..Wayne knows the entire ACDC-County Government 2015 Budget and 2015-2124 CIP in and out. Wayne does not know the extent of the County's fiscal malfeasance.

So, when Wayne gets elected County Treasurer and sees the amount and degree of ACDC-County Government malfeasance can the FBI and a Federal Grand Jury be far behind? I hope not !!

Jane, 22207

Friday, July 11, 2014

County Will Forego Federal Funding for Pike Streetcar


Press release from the County Manager's Office is on-line regarding the Pike streetcar funding decision. As discussed during a recent CIP work session County will forego federal funding and instead the Commonwealth of Virginia will provide up to $65 million to Arlington and Fairfax County ($52 and $13 million respectively) for the Pike streetcar. The latest estimated cost of the Pike streetcar is $333 million.

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan expects the remainder of the Pike streetcar's cost will be funded  through a combination of new regional transportation funding and local dedicated real estate tax revenue.

Arlington transportation officials expect that foregoing federal funding will shave at least a year off the Pike streetcar's construction time.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

De la Pava Will Continue O'Leary's Car Tax Decal Program

Hi Yupette,

Responding to questions from motor vehicle owners about recently-retired County Treasurer Frank O'Leary's car tax decal program, Arlington's new Treasurer, Carla de la Pava, stated today that she will continue O'Leary's car tax decal program and the annual decal competition. Ms. De la Pava stated that vehicle personal property tax decals are "essential for enforcement" and "it's up to the County Board" to change the County's personal property tax ordinance. 

Ms. De La Pava did not want to comment about the assertions from several Treasurer's Office employees that license plate camera enforcement has made vehicle decals obsolete and so the decal program unnecessarily generates several tons of paper and plastic waste annually.

Several Arlington residents who refused to put U.S.S. Arlington decals on their windshields last year have reported it has attracted no attention from whomever enforces the vehicle personal property tax in Arlington. Fairfax County discontinued its vehicle personal property tax decal program several years ago.

Rather than wait for ArlNow or the Sun Gazette to get around to asking Ms. De la Pava, I called her and she called me back.

As long as the annual decal competition is going to continue, here's my submission for next year.

John - 22206

Monday, July 7, 2014

APS Holds Pre-Proposal RFP Meetings at Abingdon, TJ


A group of architects, planners, and consultants filled Abingdon Elementary School's library this afternoon to hear Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations John Chadwick and Director of Design and Construction Scott Prisco describe the process for submitting a RFP for the Abingdon School addition and renovation at a cost of $28.75 million to add 136 seats, and for construction of a new elementary school on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at a cost of $50.25 million to add 725 seats. However, according to Mr. Prisco there is no guarantee that a new elementary school will be constructed on the TJ site in view of intense community opposition. The alternative to an elementary school on the TJ site is additions to two existing elementary schools.

The winning architectural teams will face tight deadlines, Abingdon School's completion date is September 2017 and the completion date for a new elementary school on the TJ site is September 2018. APS expects RFPs to be submitted as soon as possible (material related to RFPs for both projects can be found on APS's Web site). APS contemplates a lengthy community process planning both projects.

As with Williamsburg and Ashlawn, APS contemplates teaming with Arlington Parks and Recreation to replace open space at TJ and Abingdon with playing fields as 'community amenities'. How much, if any, open space remains will depend on residents of adjacent neighborhoods.

Meeting attendees were given a tour of Abingdon School by the school's principal. It became apparent during the tour that complaints by parents of the school's run down state are largely due to lack of good housekeeping, to poor storage, and to lack of interior maintenance.

After touring Abingdon School about half the attendees drove to TJ where they were encouraged to tour the TJ grounds. APS Facilities and Operations Staff want an elementary school constructed on the TJ site and consider those who oppose a new elementary school on the site to be 'neighborhood nuisances'.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tejada, Violand-Sanchez Reportedly Agree for Arlington to Accept 'Several Thousand' Unaccompanied Minors from Central America

Hey, Yupette,

Latest news about the influx of 'unaccompanied minors' from Central America is that County Board member Walter Tejada and School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez have negotiated with several Central American governments, including Guatemala, about Arlington accepting several thousand 'unaccompanied minors' and an unknown, but substantial number, of their family members.

This comes at the time when the School Board just finalized APS's 10 year CIP and Arlington County is about to finalize the County's 10 year CIP. County Manager is going to announce her plans for streetcar financing this week.

Unfortunately, it's 2014, not 1984.There is little affordable housing left in the County for anyone who earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year.Arlington's school system is already strained, as is Arlington's food assistance network.

Appears that about 50,000 unaccompanied minors have already crossed into the United States from Central America and 60,000 to 100,000 more will be entering the United States within a year.

It's unknown to what extent the County Board and School Board approved Tejada's and Violand-Sanchez's communications with Central American governments.

Pike Rider 22204

Thursday, July 3, 2014

San Antonio Residents Fight Streetcar Plans, Collect Signatures for Referendum

Hello, Yupette,

I was in San Antonio on business last month. The Arlington Yupette blog should be aware that almost the same battle is being waged there against a downtown streetcar line (at a projected cost of $280 million). Same entrenched Democratic machine committed to 'New Urbanism'. Same entrenched transportation bureaucracy. Same group of chamber of commerce and development-for-the-sake-of-development boosters. Same 'economic analysis' paid for by the City of San Antonio that 'proves' a streetcar line will generate $1.3 billion in economic benefits from development and redevelopment.

Difference between Arlington and San Antonio is that San Antonio residents are much more vocal and are collecting petition signatures to put a streetcar referendum question on the ballot in November. Same concerns about streetcar safety, traffic jams, and various costs to residents. So check it out on the Web.

Jason, 22204

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Poor and Minority Moped Owners Furious About Mandatory Registration


I am a struggling African American who works in a fast food restaurant on the Pike. Don't have much left over from my pay check for paying rent, which is why I can't afford to live in Arlington.

About 9 months every year I can commute the 8 miles from my actually affordable apartment (location I won't disclose so some yuptard developer won't make an offer the owner can't refuse) to the Pike restaurant where I work. I use an inexpensive Moped with a 50 cc engine to commute from home to work.

So, guess what our local General Assembly Democrats decided? Poor minority group members (like me) have to have our Mopeds registered and titled and display license plates by tomorrow, July 1st.

Don't want to do that? The Arlington Transportation Elite suggests we rent Bikeshare bicycles instead (per the Post article yesterday). Cost? Maybe $1,000 per year for someone like me.

NO WAY I will vote for any local PlutoCrat who calls himself or herself a 'Democrat'. They are ALL selfish and greedy. Anything they might do that benefits poor minority group working class people is purely a coincidence.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

ACDC Insiders: Del. Brink to Retire, Hynes to Replace Brink, Raphael to Replace Hynes

Hi Yupette,

Just heard from a neighbor who's an ACDC insider. Bob Brink is retiring from the House of Delegates. Mary Hynes has had enough of the County Board. Abby Raphael is tired of the School Board.

So decision was made by ACDC insiders to have Bob Brink retire from the House of Delegates and replace Bob with Mary (who would be running for re-election to the County Board next year). ACDC insiders also decided to replace Mary with Abby (who would be running for re-election to the School Board next year).

Since several strong candidates emerged during the last Democratic caucus for School Board, ACDC isn't worried about finding a strong candidate to replace Abby.

Selection of Mary continues the trend over the past decade for Democrats on the School Board  to move to the County Board and County Board Democrats to move on to the General Assembly.

Thanks for your blog.

Margaret 22207

Friday, June 27, 2014

Time to Test Bus Rapid Transit Vehicles on the Pike

Hi Yupette,

Just returned from vacationing in Europe. Visited Las Vegas last Winter.

Bus Rapid Transit vehicles have no difficulty operating on city streets in traffic and in dedicated bus lanes. In fact, that's how they usually operate.

So can we please save federal, state, and local taxpayers about $525 million and have a few test BRT vehicles operate on the Pike for a few weeks. Including a double-articulated BRTs (like the Van Hool AGG 300 which operates in Arlington's Sister City, Aachen, Germany).

I am tired of the streetcar fanatics, who are backed by the mega-infill developers, lying like cheap carpets about Bus Rapid Transit.

Check out this YouTube video about the double-articulated buses in Aachen:


Thanks for this blog.

Dennis 22204

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Donnellan Promises Streetcar Financing Plan to County Board by Mid-July

Hey, Yupette,

Another County Board-County Manager 2015-2024 CIP Work Session this afternoon. More from County Staff about VERY expensive infrastructure expenditures in the works: For Environment, Water, Wastewater, IT, Public Service.

As usual, Barbara Donnellan wasn't fazed at all. Told the County Board to have their CIP markups prepared by mid-July and she'd have her Streetcar financing plan in place the same time.

How Arlington taxpayers are going to afford a streetcar system and pay for new schools and expensive public infrastructure is something that had several County Government insiders in the County Board Room wondering. But I guess we'll find out in about 3 weeks.

2100 too

County Planning Staff, Community Leaders Meet Secretly to Plan Ethnic Cleansing in Fairlington


Based on documents a Fairlington resident pried out of Arlington County Government via a contentious Virginia Freedom of Information Act request, it's apparent that County Planning Staff has secretly worked with Fairlington's 'Community Leaders' for months to permanently remove minority residents from the redeveloped Park Shirlington apartments on South 31st Street.

According to the final submitted site plan, the redeveloped Park Shirlington Apartments will greatly increase in size from 294 to 750 units and the number of parking spaces will triple to 904. The site plans request a rezoning from a maximum of 380 townhouse units. One hundred of the new apartment units would be 'affordable'. The applicant, Home Properties, Inc, has owned the current site for years. The site plans depict an apartment complex that would attract high income yupster tenants, like those who live in Shirlington Village and Clarendon.

However, a number of Fairlington's Community Leaders have a longstanding antipathy towards the largely-Latino minority residents of Park Shirlington, and want them all removed. A number of increasingly upscale Abingdon School parents believe the presence of Latino children, who live with their families in Park Shirlington, degrades the performance of all Abingdon School students.

Consequently a 'Park Shirlington Redevelopment Advisory Committee' was formed by the Fairlington civic association and a number of the aforementioned Community Leaders have been meeting secretly for more than six months. Attendance is by invitation only. If you're not invited you may be arrested if you try to attend. To its credit, Parks and Rec won't allow them to meet in the South Fairlington Community Center so they meet in North Fairlington.

Officially, the Planning Commission's Site Plan Review Committee met for the first time last month and did a walk through and review of the site plans for Park Shirlington and was uniformly negative.

So, the Community Leaders and their secret committee and County Planning Staff will meet tonight, June 24th, in North Fairlington and reveal the secret deal or deals they've been concocting.

Sorry it took so long to get this news out but it was a struggle to obtain FOIA information from the County Manager's office.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fisette, Hynes, and Tejada Met Illegally to Map Streetcar Strategy

Hey, Yupette,

No more than two County Board members are supposed to meet at any place at any time to discuss anything. Right? Try telling the pro-Streetcar County Board Majority (Fisette, Hynes, and Tejada) who met in the County Board offices and County Manager's office (next door) several times over the past month to plan how to avoid holding a voter referendum on the Pike and Crystal City streetcars

County Board Member Libby Garvey was incapacitated  and occupied with doctors appointments as the result of her bicycle-related injury and John Vihstadt has to work for a living (unlike his predecessor, Chris Zimmerman). Select members of the pro-streetcar coalition were invited to the secret planning sessions.

Separately, the local media were told to go along with the program, or else. And nothing at this point fazes Barbara Donnellan who keeps three sets of general ledgers, one for the bond rating agencies, one for internal use, and one for public display.

Anyone who believes that, after 15 years of single party rule, Arlington's Machine Democrats are going to play by the rules is living in the New Urbanists' future dream world, Neverland on the Potomac.

Also 2100

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vihstadt and Garvey Demand, Receive Answers from County Staff About Streetcar Funding

Hello, Yupette,

County Board met with the County Manager and Transportation Staff this afternoon to discuss transportation programs related to the 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Plan.

Things went smoothly until about 45 minutes before the end of the meeting when John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey began asking Barbara Donnellan, Dennis Leach, and Transit Bureau Chief Steve Del Giudice a number of very pointed questions about Pike and Crystal City streetcar planning.

Turns out the the Federal Transit Administration could take 3 years or more to approve the County application for federal funding. Which prompted Jay Fisette to ask if it might be better to turn to other funding sources, like the State of Virginia. When queried by John Vihstadt, Leach stated that the County has a good working relationship with the State of Virginia regarding funding of capital transportation projects. That prompted both Vihstadt and Libby Garvey to ask whether state transportation funding can be used for transportation projects other than a Pike and Crystal City streetcar freeing up general obligation funds for uses like schools. (Short answer is yes).

At that point Donnellan became visibly angry and told Vihstadt that funds were already committed to the streetcar projects. Vihstadt continued, asking how much the County was spending on PR infomercials promoting the streetcar and asking whether it was fair to the two minority Board members for the County to be spending lavishly on advertising for the Board majority's position. Donnellan replied that it was appropriate to spend money informing Arlington residents about streetcars. Vihstadt then asked for an accounting of how much is being spent.

Those are the highlights. Post reporter was on hand for the entire meeting, so you may be able to read her take on what occurred tomorrow.


Monday, June 16, 2014

LEED Certification - Anti-Renewable Energy

Hey, Yupette,

Did you happen to see the presentation by the developer of the residential and office buildings at 1401 Wilson Boulevard at Saturday''s County Board meeting? What a hoot. Any bonus density gimme that could be given by County Government the developer - Monday Properties - received.

Anyone wanting proof that LEED Certification is a huge environmental charade should peruse the 2009 LEED Platinum Certification for 1401 Wilson Boulevard. The developer received 12 points for an 816 vehicle parking garage near a Metro station but would not commit to any on-site renewable energy, including solar water heating for the rooftop swimming pool on the residential building.

LEED is another corporate welfare gimme where 'certification' and massive amounts of 'bonus density' are awarded for building elements that have nothing whatsoever to do with energy efficiency.

L.N. - Rosslyn

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sierra Club Likely to Endorse Beyer

Hey, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog.

I'm a long-time member of the Sierra Club and am appalled by thousands and thousands of Land Rovers tearing up the environment around the world and destroying fragile ecosystems.

However, you have to be aware that hundreds, maybe thousands, of Sierra Club members also own Land Rovers or Range Rovers and are enthusiastic participants in off-road events - in the United States and around the World.

So, it's quite likely the Sierra Club will endorse Don Beyer for Congress. I'm only a member of the Sierra Club because of a personal (largely futile) commitment to environmental preservation. Unfortunately, Sierra Club members are mostly conservationists, not preservationists. Big difference.

Tom - 22101

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Don Beyer's Plan for the Environment -- Toss It Under the Range Rover

Hey, Yupette,

Whatever Don Beyer may SAY about his commitment towards ameliorating Global Warming / Climate Change fact is that he's done little or nothing all the time he's been in a position of wealth and power in Northern Virginia to prevent Climate Change.

I don't see any renewable energy installed at any of Don Beyer's auto dealership locations. Except for a few models of Kia, Land Rover, and Volvo vehicles, what Don's been selling for many years are luxury gas guzzlers that require premium gas. And lots of photos are on the Web of Land Rovers and Range Rovers tearing up the landscape. Like the 510 horsepower supercharged 2014 Range Rover SUV that Don is featuring right now at Land Rover of Alexandria

If Don is so bent on preventing Global Warming from occurring why wasn't he organizing Global Conferences to Prevent Global Warming in Geneva when he was Ambassador to Switzerland?

Another selection, another PlutoCrat selected. When will the Sheeple wake up?

Dennis - 22205

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pike Streetcar Referendum Unlikely

Hey Yupette,

What's the Arlington Democratic Party's strategy for more tax-borrow-spend? Downplay the current and previous extravagant spending, delay additional extravagant spending until after November's elections, ignore opponents of wasteful and extravagant spending (the Pike streetcar), and use the County's taxpayer-funded PR propaganda machine and development-for-the-sake-of-development-friendly local media (Post, ArlNow, Sun Gazette, AIM) to boost Democratic candidates whenever possible.

Once there's an all-Democrat County Board again (never mind Libby Garvey) it will be back to more of the same - a $100 million Longbridge Aquatic Center, $450 million Pike streetcar, lots of $300,000 and $500,000 gimmes on the County Board's consent agenda for the County Board's pet people and organizations.

So don't look for a Pike streetcar referendum, 'cause there's not going to be one.

Fed Up Democrat