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 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.