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