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.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

County Board's Agenda for Lee Highway Corridor: Total Clarendonization


Last month A.Y. obtained copies of the County Board's, County Manager's, Economic Development Director's, and Planning Division Director's daily appointment calendars for the past several months. What today's Lee Highway Corridor Redevelopment "Community Meeting" at Yorktown High School proved is that Arlington's Smart Growth decision makers decided several months ago to make-over the Lee Highway corridor into a 5-mile long Clarendon.

If you didn't need more proof, you could hear and see the County Board's out-of-state Smart Growth "Planners" Dover-Kohl, replicating and reprising the New Urbanist mess they made of Columbia Pike, five years ago.

Oh, County "Planning Staff" is already talking with the likes of Clarendon Ballroom, A-Town, and other bars and restaurants that cater to Millennials for satellite operations beneath future mixed-used redevelopment in the Lee Highway corridor.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

County Board - County Manager Held No Winter Emergency Planning Meetings During the Fall of 2015


One of the contributors to AY was able to obtain copies of the County Board's and County Manager's appointment calendars for the months of October, November, and December. Although the County Board (with the exception of John Vihstadt, who works full-time) and County Manager held plenty of personal, political, and social meetings, as well as many deal-making meetings with pet developers, the County Board and County Manager had no appointments related to winter emergency preparedness whatsoever. So whatever winter emergency plans were made for the County were made in the week leading up to the first (and most likely not the last) major snowstorm of 2016.

It's decidedly NOT true that the "the County Board doesn't listen". The County Board DOES listen, repeatedly, but only to the same 100 Arlington residents and to the same 100 non-residents. Rather than focusing on the basics, like snow removal, the County Board, County Manager, and Economic Development Director are making Arlington into a number of neighborhood-by-neighborhood 'redevelopment opportunities' without bothering to tell the neighborhoods. Whatever deals are made with developers are passed down to the Democratic Party-controlled advisory commissions and Democratic Party 'facilitators' who control almost all Arlington's civic associations.

Too bad the local media are also facilitators for the status quo. We deserve to be informed about important decisions that directly affect us and the livability of our County, not continually deluged with second-hand feel-good propaganda and warmed over press releases.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Arlington Planning Commission: Rubber Stamp for County Board-County Staff Redevelopment Deals

Hey Yupette,

In the event you missed the announcement, Arlington Planning Commission meetings are now being recorded - audio only - and are available for review on the Web site. So I listened to the Planning Commission's January 11th organizational meeting and January 13th business meeting.

What's clear from both meetings is that the Planning Commission is no longer free to show independence, or even question Smart Growth redevelopment deals reached by the County Board and County Staff with developers.

It gets worse. Civic associations, like the four in and around Crystal City, were characterized by the Commission as constantly reacting to infill urbanization rather than appreciating the benefits of redevelopment like Pentagon Row.

Although the County has collected comprehensive transportation, traffic, transit, and multi-modal data for more than a decade the data are yet to be used in a comprehensive manner, in 22202 and elsewhere in the County. During the January 13th business meeting Planning Commissioners expressed their dismay at having to approve a GLUP change and site plan for the Washington Vista condo development before the plans were heard by the Housing Commission.

Everyone can draw his or her own conclusions from the last Planning Commission meetings. But it's obvious to me that the Planning Commission has become a rubber stamp for whatever plans County Staff and the County Board approve.

Mike 22201

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thirty Five Years of Yuppies


In the event it's slipped everyone's attention, we just passed an important milestone. Yup, it's been 35 years since Ronald Reagan was first inaugurated President. Can you believe the first yuppies (including the First Yuppie, born in 1961) are eligible to join AARP this year? We're on the third generation of Yuppies, GenX, GenY (aka Millennials) and now Gen Z. Hard to believe that 35 years ago there were no McMansions, no SUVs, no epidemic of Homelessness, and we were still fighting the Cold War with the Evil Empire. Stay tuned for Gen Z hitting the streets of Arlington as summer interns this Summer. Stay warm in the meantime.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Don Beyer is Ambassador to Land Rover and Volvo in the 114th Congress

Hi, Yupette,

I also toured beautiful run down South Four Mile Run Drive last week together with the local VIP pols, including Congressman Beyer. Entire strip needed a makeover 20 years ago. Worst are the auto repair and collision shops.

So what has Congressman Beyer been doing for his district? Sponsoring limo liberal resolutions and environmental legislation in the House of Representatives. Which are bottled up in committee by the Republican Leadership.

But what Congressman Beyer is REALLY doing in Congress is acting as unofficial Ambassador to Land Rover and Volvo. Based on hundreds of hours of one-on-one deal making and diplomacy with South Carolina's Republican and Democratic Members Volvo and Land Rover will soon be manufacturing gas guzzlers in South Carolina.

Thanks to Congressman Beyer's quiet diplomacy with AB Volvo, Congressman Sanford and Congressman Clyburn will soon have a brand new Volvo manufacturing facility spread across their districts near Charleston. Congressman Beyer is also working with South Carolina's congressional delegation and the Land Rover organization to build a Land Rover manufacturing facility in South Carolina.

Meanwhile the Beyer Auto Group continues to earn tens of millions every year selling gas guzzling, environment destroying Volvo, Land Rover, and Ranger Rover SUVs, like the supercharged 510 horsepower Range Rover SVR in the photo. Congressman Beyer's many Republican friends, and some of his Limo Liberal close buds, typically use these vehicles to destroy fragile ecosystems throughout the World. But don't believe me, do a Web search on 'Range Rover off road'.

Don Beyer is a Democrat? He's more like a Country Club Republican who bought his election to Congress.

Thanks for your blog.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

WETA 'Seriously Considering' Leaving Arlington


Several Fairlington and Shirlington residents who contribute to AY attended the County Board's community walking tour of Shirlington-Nauck last Sunday afternoon. They met several WETA staff who stated WETA is 'very unhappy' with the 'grimy industrial environment' in Shirlington and along Four Mile Run, where WETA has its studios. WETA Staff cited the 'serious deterioration' of the entire area, ranging from heavy construction vehicles and ART buses parked along Four Mile Run Drive to the 'outdoor food court' that Shirlington Village has become. WETA's Board of Directors tolerated the move of the day laborers' drop-off and pick-up to next door to WETA's studios ten years ago but is increasingly unhappy that Arlington County has done next to nothing to stop the area's deterioration, especially since the County now owns many buildings in the area. Consequently, AY and others believe County Government has only itself to blame if WETA follows NSF out of Arlington.

Cindy, 22206