Wednesday, February 10, 2016

County Board Democrats Approve Secret Mega Deals


As A.Y. recently reported, we obtained copies of the desk calendars of County Board Members, and the County Manager, Economic Development Director, and Planning Division Director for October, November, and December 2015 via a FOIA request last month. After perusing 120 pages of appointments, we determined that County Board Democrats spent about 90% of their time inside and outside the County Board Offices on activities related to local politics, personal agendas, and Smart Growth deal making. We exclude Independent John Vishstadt, who works full-time and whose County Board activities can't be determined from his appointment calendar.

A substantial amount of County Board Democrats' time was spent in meetings with various Democratic facilitators appointed to the various advisory commissions, civic associations, and redevelopment committees. County Board Democrats also routinely meet with developers, and special interests with development-related agendas (e.g., housing non-profits). County Planning, Housing, Transportation, and other Staff are expected facilitate deals no matter what their objections (e.g., to million-dollar bus shelters). So are 'community leaders' ranging from advisory commission members to civic association presidents.

So-called 'Smart Growth' has become a pervasive ideology, to the extent that anyone who doen't at least condone New Urbanism is a 'nuisance', or worse. It's not suprising that County Governement is suprised by snow storms, because anything County Government might do that actually benefits everyone isn't on the decision makers' radar. Arlington's bloated Economic Development, Planning, Housing, Transportation, Zoning, etc., bureaucracies are only too happy to engage in neighborhood-by-neighborhood redevelopment.

Here are a few of the deals County Board Democrats approved last Fall:

HOT Lanes on I-395, in return for restoration of the tourism tax by the General Assembly,

A Convention Center in Potomac Yards,

Alternately, a Wegmans supermarket in Potomac Yards,

Smart Growth redevelopment of remaining large parcels that are mostly open space, (e.g., Knights of Columbus estate on Little Falls Road),

Begin mixed-use 'Clarendonization' of Lee Highway, to East Falls Church,

Fast-track mixed-use redevelopment of Westover,

Fast-track mixed-use redevelopment of Bluemont,

Fast-track luxury redevelopment of Rosslyn-Georgetown.

Stay tuned for a synopsis of the County Manager's, Economic Development Director's, and Planning Division Director's day-to-day activities.