July 21, 2013

The Need for Objective Information About the Housing Authority Referendum

Housing — @ 11:32 am

I’m pleased that Arlington County Board agreed to place the Green Party sponsored referendum to create a Housing Authority on the November ballot at its July 16 recessed meeting. This referendum is supported by a petition consisting of 2,845 signatures of Arlington voters, validated by the voter registrar on June 11, 2013. Nevertheless, I’m concerned about how the Board frames this issue.
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May 29, 2013

Bus on Shoulder on I-66 Inside the Beltway Might Work

Transportation — @ 11:47 am

The Washington Examiner recently reported that Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton is promoting tolled express lanes as the solution to congestion on I-66 from the Beltway to Gainesville. He wants to link them to the Beltway’s toll lanes to provide those who can pay with a seamless ride through much of northern Virginia. According to the Examiner, Connaughton isn’t currently planning to install express lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway right now because of political opposition. But it quotes him saying:

“If you don’t want us to widen the road, then we’re going to have to figure out a way to get more capacity out of the road, and I think express lanes are a way to do it.” (more…)

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May 3, 2013

A Streetcar Named Disaster

Transportation — @ 8:34 am

On May 2 Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST) apprised voters of new developments in the Columbia Pike streetcar saga. First, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) rejected Arlington’s bid for $75 million in Small Starts funding, because Arlington low balled the cost at $250 million to meet the cost cutoff for such projects. Yet according to FTA the actual cost exceeds $310 million. So the project was disqualified. (more…)

April 22, 2013

What’s Not To Like About Arlington County’s FY 2014 Budget?

Budget — @ 12:00 pm

The controversy over a $1 million bus stop on Columbia Pike has eclipsed other boondoggles that taxpayers will pay for with the 3.5 cent real estate tax increase just approved by County Board. But the bus stop on the Pike is just the tip of the iceberg. Other wasteful projects include the Artisphere, Long Bridge Park, the year round homeless shelter, the Black Box theater and a firing range 25 miles away in Dulles, Virginia. (more…)

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March 28, 2013

Seven Million Dollars for a Firing Range at Dulles Airport?

Budget — @ 1:28 pm

The Arlington County Manager’s FY14 budget touts Arlington County’s low tax rate relative to other localities. Yet the Revenue Summary shows that even before the proposed tax increase, the tax and fee burden of Arlington residents is greater than any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia except Falls Church (p. 123).

Closeout funds from excess prior year taxes will be used to fund a variety of capital projects, including:
• $1.25 million for play features for Long Bridge Park
• $4 million for a firing range at Dulles Airport; (more…)

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February 18, 2013

Why Protest Now?

Energy,Environment — @ 7:51 am

I’ve been taking a lot of heat for boycotting the February 17 Keystone XL Pipeline Protest even though I live in the DC area, because like the Punk Patriot I didn’t see the point. The Keystone XL pipeline is a done deal precisely because the organizers of the demonstration refused to take action against it when their opposition might have meant something.

The time for Sierra Club to protest was BEFORE the election of 2012 not AFTER. The least Sierra Club could have done was to withhold support for Obama until he acknowledged the threat of climate change and pledged to do something about it in the debates. (more…)

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January 20, 2013

Democratic Party Hegemony Over Arlington County Board = Dumb Growth

Development — @ 3:50 pm

A recent Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) email alert pointed out that Vornado’s plan to construct two office towers twice the size of the current zoning limit with over 2,200 parking spaces and 6,800 car trips per day adjacent to a major Metro stop isn’t smart growth. It’s stupid. Not only that but Vornado and the County have steadfastly refused to consider the community’s recommendations for making the proposed PenPlace office complex more livable–by mixing office space with residential, eliminating setbacks and creating more open space. (more…)

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December 11, 2012

EV Cabs Put on Hold

Transportation — @ 8:32 am

On December 10 County Board scuttled a plan to put 40 electric powered cabs (EVs) on Arlington streets, bowing to pressure from cab drivers who packed the County Board hearing room with gags in their mouths to signal their opposition both to the EVs and to Board Chair Mary Hynes’ decision to cut off public comment. As an inducement to approve the project EV Taxicabs had promised to install dozens of electric recharging stations around the county that would be available to the public free of charge. At first blush, EV taxis looked like a win-win for both Arlington residents and the environment. However, the Arlington Transportation Commission vetoed the project over concern whether the cabs could provide reliable service to/from Dulles Airport. (more…)

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November 18, 2012

Thomas Building Purchase, an Example of Throwing Money at a Problem

Development,Housing — @ 4:39 pm

Opponents of the County’s decision to purchase the Thomas Building in the Courthouse section of Arlington, have been portrayed as nimbies or worse—classists who spurn the presence of homeless people in their midst. It’s true that the immediate vicinity of 2020 14th Street is a well-to-do neighborhood. Luxury apartments and condos like the Palatine, Meridian, Woodbury Heights and the Odyssey surround the acquisition, making the placement of a homeless center there incongruous from a purely financial standpoint. If the real estate in this part of the county is valuable enough to warrant rents starting at $2,000 a month, then why is the County forcing the owner to sell? Why isn’t it encouraging the owner to redevelop the property in line with the rest of the neighborhood?
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October 25, 2012

A Streetcar Named BRT

Transportation — @ 11:53 am

I’m sure County Board members are squriming over the report recently released by transportation consultant and Democratic Party leader Peter Rousselot which recommends BRT (bus rapid transit) for Columbia Pike instead of the trolley. According to Rousselot, the bus alternative actually performs about as well as the trolley on a number of key criteria but costs far less, $53 million for the bus v. $250 million for the trolley. (more…)

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