The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that people who sign referendum petitions generally can’t claim a First Amendment privilege for keeping their names secret. The ruling may affect the change-of-government petition currently circulating around Arlington.
Change-of-government critics have suggested that the names of petition signers should be made public.
In a statement, the Coalition for Arlington Good Government, which opposes the petition, lauded the Supreme Court decision.
“The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the importance of transparency and open government by ensuring public disclosure of petitions,” CAGG said in a statement. “We wish that the referendum proponents were half as committed to transparency.”
The Committee for a Better Arlington, which supports the change-of-government referendum, declined to comment.
American Flatbread, the wood-fired pizza restaurant that opened on North Fillmore Street in Clarendon last year, is fighting county officials and community associations for the right to open an outdoor patio.
In an exasperated email sent to customers this morning, restaurant management claims they were misled by building owners about the ease with which they would be able to obtain an outdoor seating permit. The email bemoans the “mixed signals, confusion and thousands in lost revenue” caused by the year-long, fruitless effort to get a permit.
The homeowner’s association president for the townhouses across the street from the restaurant “has made it his personal goal to use his new position of HOA president to attack all of our seating,” the email says. The Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association has also joined the effort to block outdoor seating, despite efforts to find a compromise, according to the email.
“I have gone to meetings of these associations and offered many compromises (close by 9pm, no music, the idea that our patrons aren’t the rowdy ones doing shots and vomiting on the sidewalk on the weekends),” a restaurant representative writes. “But the HOA president and his cohorts don’t want to compromise, they just want to flat out say no and deny you the pleasure and right to enjoy what every other restaurant in the County can offer.”
The Arlington County Board is set to take up the issue at its meeting on July 10. The Planning Commission will discuss the request on Monday. Public hearings may also be held, according to county documents.
Despite the online support, the restaurant — which specializes in organic and locally-sourced ingredients — seems to think it will lose the fight unless it can mobilize a sufficient number of people to show up in person. From the email:
We have received “off the record” information that the Arlington County Planning Division will recommend that the County Board DISALLOW our application for outdoor seating at their meeting to take place on June 28, 2010 in Room 307, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. at 7:00 P.M. Why? Because [community association opponents] spent the day last Friday leading key Planning officials around by the nose, parading around our space and characterizing you, our beloved guests and patrons as, “loud, partying, drunkards” that would disrupt their privacy. The only way to defeat these folks is to turn out enmasse on Saturday, July 10 (8:30AM) at the Board Meeting and show your support. Appreciation Party to follow at the restaurant. Thank you for your support!
It’s Friday. That means everybody is leaving work early to get ready for a weekend of beach/barbecue/cheering on Team USA/etc.
So in fairness to Group D of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest, we’re getting voting started early.
Before you run out of the office, vote for up to three of the dogs below (after the jump). It’s the perfect way to start the weekend, really.
Voting for Group D will end on Friday, July 2 at 2:00 p.m.
Here’s a reminder of what’s at stake in the final round:
- Grand Prize: Apple iPad (courtesy of Siena Park, the new pet-friendly luxury apartment community on Columbia Pike)
- Second Prize: $100 Wylie Wagg gift certificate (courtesy of Wylie Wagg in Clarendon, featuring healthy food and supplies for dogs and cats)
- Third Prize: $50 Wylie Wagg gift certificate
- All top three finishers will receive a soccer ball fetch toy from Wylie Wagg, in honor of the World Cup.
Good luck to all the contestants!
A quick public service announcement: If you’re going to file a false police report, you might want to first make sure you left the pot at home.
FALSE POLICE REPORT-ARREST 06/16/10, 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard. On June 16 at 10:45 am, a woman called police to report that she was robbed of currency. Investigation revealed that the woman actually gave the money to an acquaintance. Regena Sayles, 42, of Suitland, MD, was charged with Filing a False Police Report and Possession of Marijuana. She was held on a $3,000 bond.
The rest of this week’s Arlington County Crime Report, after the jump.
The teen program office of the Arlington parks department is looking for finance gurus who can explain to middle school-aged teens the importance of being smart with money.
Volunteers would make a presentation during a half day, teen-focused money workshop on July 15.
If you have a finance background and you’re interested in helping out, contact Mary McMullen at 703-228-4711.
About 25 police officers and SWAT team members invaded a quiet North Arlington neighborhood Thursday night for what was thought to be a barricade situation.
It started when a man who recently split with his girlfriend posted something to Facebook that made her think he might be suicidal, police said.
The man has a law enforcement background and owns numerous guns. When police were unable to reach the man on the phone, they began preparing for a possible standoff at his home, near Marymount University and Washington Golf and Country Club.
As residents returning from work drove by slowly to see what was going on, sharpshooters and SWAT team members in camouflage tactical gear began to gather at North 25th Road and Vermont Street to go over a plan for making entry into the house. An unmarked mobile command center was also brought in for the operation.
With the road closed and all personnel in place, police finally moved in toward the house. Once inside, they discovered the man was not there.
Virginia Won’t Cut Off Money to Metro — Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton says the $50 million per year the state pledges to Metro will not be cut off, after all. Connaughton had threatened to stop the annual payment unless the state were granted two seats on Metro’s Board of Directors. But after an outcry from local leaders, and a letter from Metro board members Chris Zimmerman (who’s also on the Arlington County board) and Catherine Hudgins, Connaughton and the McDonnell administration apparently had a change of heart. More from the Washington Post.
Career Center Wins State Accolade — The Arlington Career Center’s Automotive Technology Program has won the 2010 Virginia Governor’s Career and Technical Education Exemplary Standards Award. The program will receive $5,000 cash and a banner to display on the school.
Columbia Pike Utility Undergrounding to Begin Monday – If you live near Columbia Pike, enjoy the weekend while it lasts. Monday could bring significant traffic challenges, as crews begin work to relocate a gas line and put overhead utility lines underground, from South Wakefield Street to Four Mile Run. The County warns that delays are expected as a result of the Pike project, which will last well into 2011.