A bill that would have renewed Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge failed in the Virginia House of Delegates yesterday. The bill, which was approved by the state Senate, did not get the necessary two-thirds vote to pass.
An earlier House version of the bill failed to get out of committee after it was blocked by Del. Tim Hugo. The Fairfax County Republican cited Arlington’s lawsuit against high occupancy toll lanes on I-395 as his reason for blocking the bill.
We’re awaiting word from the county on how they plan to make up for the loss of nearly $1 million in revenue. Arlington funds its Convention and Visitors Service largely through the revenue generated by the surcharge, which will expire at the end of the year.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — “I’m disappointed that it failed to pass,” said Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D), on the phone from Richmond. “[The surcharge] is beneficial to Arlington’s business community as they try to compete against the District and Maryland for tourism and tourism dollars.”
The event, “Food Carts: Regulations and Best Practices 2011,” will be held between 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. on March 9 at the Central Library auditorium (1015 North Quincy Street). Registration is free.
Among the featured speakers will be District Taco owner Osiris Hoil, who “will share his insight on how he used his food cart business to secure a retail lease in Arlington County.” Representatives from the Arlington’s health department, police department and tax office will also be on hand.
“Are you interested in learning the legal aspects of opening this type of business in Arlington County from local regulators?” Arlington Economic Development asked in its email flier for the event. “During these tough economic times, small businesses throughout the United States are launching food carts at record rates as alternatives to leasing commercial retail space.”
The event is sponsored by BizLaunch and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Once upon a time, there was a dream of local news organization that would act less as a walled castle and more as a town square. Instead of competing, it would partner. Instead of talking at, it would talk with.
This news organization would act as a hub of a local news ecosystem, a gateway through which a regional audience could be introduced to the work of independent local journalists and community blogs.
On Feb. 23, 2011, the dream died.
Rosslyn-based TBD.com is planning to lay off most of its staff, according to the Washington Business Journal. All of the site’s sports and news reporters will be let go, according to We Love DC. Among the jobs expected to be eliminated is TBD’s Arlington community reporter position, held by Rebecca A. Cooper.
Instead of reporting news, TBD will now become a niche arts and entertainment site, according to the Washington City Paper.
Two weeks ago it was revealed that TBD, which had been in operation for about six months, was to be taken over by the management of its corporate sibling, WJLA-TV (ABC 7). WJLA.com, which currently redirects to TBD, will eventually regain its status as an independently-run news web site. Some of TBD’s staff will get jobs running WJLA.com, according to the Washington Post.
The sign-up process for the Marine Corps Marathon is starting early this year.
Early registration for active duty and reserve military service members ended last night.
The marathon is now in its 36th year.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Dozens of gaffers, grips, extras and producers were hard at work filming a Capital One Bank commercial at the corner of Columbia Pike and Monroe Street this morning.
The giant “pin” of one of the company’s signature red push pins was propped up on the sidewalk next to the bank. A lone tennis ball was glued to the top, to act as a guide for 3D artists to later inset the pin’s giant red handle.
The film crew set up their gear around 6:00 this morning, and broke most of it down by 10:00. They used The Broiler, across the street from the bank, as a base of operations.
We hear the crew was heading into D.C. to film at another Capital One bank location this afternoon. That shoot, we were told, would involve Capitals star and Arlington resident Alex Ovechkin shooting pucks from the bank’s roof.
Hat tips to Johnny K., Rebecca K. and M.E. Photo (top right) courtesy Johnny K.
Garvey is running for the seat of Sen. Patsy Ticer, who announced her retirement last week. Two other Democrats, Del. Adam Ebbin and Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka, are expected to announce their candidacy soon.
Ticer’s state Senate seat is centered in Alexandria, but includes portions of Arlington and Fairfax.
Garvey said she’s running to help the state “put people and progress before these politics.”
“I’m running for Virginia Senate because it seems to me that we’ve reached a point in Virginia where finding a way forward is almost impossible due to political rhetoric,” Garvey said. “It’s clear that Richmond’s priorities have gotten out-of-sync with the real needs of Virginians, especially those here in Northern Virginia. I’m running because we need to start building a strong future for our children and grandchildren.”
Garvey’s full announcement is after the jump.
Yesterday, by a vote of 78-18, the Virginia House of Delegates approved SB 1292, a bill that will allow restaurant patrons to bring their own bottles of wines to restaurants.
If the bill is signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, as expected, any Virginia restaurant with a liquor license will be able to charge customers a “corkage” fee to open their home-brought wine and pour it at the table.
The measure had the backing of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
“RAMW supports the rights of consumers to have a choice, and we see no evil in allowing patrons to BYOB, so long as there is no restriction on a restaurant’s right to charge a service fee or so called corkage fee,” the organization said on its web site. “Not having such an option puts Virginia restaurateurs at a competitive disadvantage in locations that are in close proximity to areas that allow BYOB, thereby depriving Virginia of sales, and the attendant sales tax and revenue. The availability of this option allows restaurants to attract the high end wine aficionado who enjoys dining out, but prefers the option of bringing wine from their own collection.”
Of course, only certain restaurants will allow the practice if the bill does become law. For the inquisitive, here’s some advice on the etiquette of bringing your own wine.
Early Buds — Maybe Punxsutawney Phil was right. The photo above was taken by Flickr pooler Clio1789 near Rosslyn on Friday.
Dr. Dremo’s Site Set for Development — Construction could begin by the end of the year on the hallowed ground that once was home to Dr. Dremo’s and Taco Bell. The site, on the 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard, will house 154 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail space. Meanwhile, a development on the 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard is still awaiting financing. The project — a 107,000 square foot office building — will eventually displace the Rhodeside Grill and Il Radicchio restaurants. [DC Mud]
Westover Beer Garden Forum Planned — A public forum has been scheduled to discuss the Westover Beer Garden. The meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. on March 8, at the Westover Library. The forum will allow “all members of the community to come together to agree on common positions regarding the beer garden.” [Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association]
Neighborhood College Program Accepting Applications — Arlington County is accepting applications for its “civic leadership development program.” The Arlington Neighborhood College offers a free, seven-week introduction to Arlington civic life and community participation. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Clio1789