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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 25, 2012 at 9:24 am | 3,227 views | 57 Comments

Ovechkin Buys New House — Capitals star Alex Ovechkin may be ditching his $1.6 million home in Arlington’s Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood for some tonier digs. Ovechkin recently bought a $4.2 million, 11,000 square foot house in Fairfax County. He’ll have some extra time to get settled — the Capitals captain just decided to skip the NHL All-Star game after being suspended for three games. [ProHockeyTalk]

Grocery Store Bike Parking Guide — Need to do some grocery shopping, but worried about where to park your bike while you’re in the store? If so, the BikeArlington web site has just the resource for you: a complete guide to bike parking at 16 Arlington grocery stories. [BikeArlington]

Live Music Comes to Melody Tavern — Live music has come to Melody Tavern (3650 S. Glebe Road), a recently-opened music-themed restaurant/lounge near Potomac Yard in south Arlington. Live jazz and blues performances will start at Melody Tavern tonight, and will continue on nearly every night except Mondays through the end of February. The restaurant will also be holding a grand opening event from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m on Feb. 3. Arlington County granted Melody Tavern a live entertainment permit over the weekend. [Facebook]

Homeless Count Underway — An effort to provide a count of the number of homeless individuals living in Arlington County started at 4:00 this morning and will continue through midnight. The annual volunteer effort is being organized by the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. “This local count is part of a nation-wide count that occurs during the last ten days in January in order to collect accurate data, understand trends, justify requests for federal funding, and measure community progress towards preventing and ending homelessness,” A-SPAN said.

Flickr pool photo by Alex

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  • G Clifford Prout

    Blue skies
    Smiling at me
    Nothing but blue skies
    Do I see

    Bluebirds
    Singing a song
    Nothing but bluebirds
    All day long

  • vasq

    A-Span consistently gives away food to people that are obviously not in need or homeless (there’s one guy with two cell phones that gets food every day from them). As I watch this lack of oversight, it makes me think twice about support for A-Span.

    If A-Span would stop providing free fodd everyday near the VA Square metro, we’d probably stop attracting so many homeless people to Arlington. I’m in favor of helping homeless, but not with free handouts at parks by an organization that has no management oversight.

    • Josh S

      Please conduct an oversight audit and get back to us with your results. Until then, your comments are purely speculative.

      • Billums

        He saw it with his own eyes, and his account sounds believable to me. Someone making up something in order to besmirch A-SPAN would’ve come up with something more extreme and posted with more vitriol. What’s with the knee-jerk reaction?

        • Josh S

          1. “obviously not in need” – How does he know? What is “obvious”?
          2. “(obviously) not homeless” – How does he know?
          3. “two cell phones” – What does this have to do with being homeless or in need? There are poor people in India that have cell phones – in the 21st century, hardly an automatic indicator of wealth.
          4. “lack of oversight” – Based on what does he make this conclusion? Because he saw a guy who he didn’t think deserved the food? Even if the guy did slip through the cracks, it’s a leap to conclude there is no oversight. You’d need a lot more evidence to make such a determination.
          5. ASPAN providing free food attracts homeless people to Arlington. Please provide the evidence of this. There are lots of organizations around the region that provide free food at set locations at set times. McPherson Square in DC comes to mind. Besides, isn’t this the mission of ASPAN?
          6. Favor of helping the homeless, but not by helping the homeless. How does this make sense?
          7. Again with the organization that “has no management oversight” How does making a casual observation on a street corner qualify anyone to determine whether an organization has management oversight?

          Not trying to imply that anyone made anything up. Just that the conclusions being reached based on the evidence provided are shaky, at best.

          • D’oh

            Logic, critical thinking, and evidence-based reasoning? Step away from the interwebs, sir! There’s no place for that here.

          • flux

            Actually, this type of myopic thinking rules the internets and thrives here.

            It does nothing to counter someone’s real-world experience though.

          • CourthouseChris

            You say “Actually” as if you are going to counter with a reasoned argument, then you come out with this bizarre characterization of his thinking as “myopic”. If any thinking is near-sighted here it is the overreliance on a single eyewitness observation of questionable accuracy and uncertain meaning.

          • flux

            No, it is myopic to dismiss out-of-hand someone’s observations and demand more proof. That is the biggest cop out around.

            No one is asking you to condemn the entire operation of A-span, but you might want to just consider someone else’s experience, rather than immediately disbelieve it.

            Just a thought.

          • Thes

            Here are some interesting links to articles that discuss the use of cell phones by homeless people. Cell phones (even smart phones with a subscription) are much cheaper than rent and can make it much easier for a destitute person to survive and climb out of poverty. So I’m not at all surprised to find hungry people with cell phones.

            Homeless Teens Say Cell Phones as Important as Food

            Use of cell phones by DC homeless

    • SimplyDusty

      As a regular donor to A-SPAN, I am intrigued by your comments and would love to see a shred of non-anecdotal evidence to support your claim about no management oversight and supporting people that are obviously not in need. I am awaiting your expose.

      • flux

        Eyewitness observations is not really anecdotal. It is just a small sample size. Perhaps you have contradictory evidence that refutes @vasq’s statement?

        • drax

          Eyewitness observations aren’t 100% reliable though.

          • flux

            It is the most reliable statement we have here. Do you have evidence that every person receiving the free meals from A-span volunteers meet the needs? Can you explain their vetting process? Are there applications? Could I dress up like I have been living on the streets and stand in line for a free meal?

            Kindly broaden your mind.

          • Josh S

            Why is it reliable? And even if it is reliable, so what? Some guy made an observation one day on a street corner. From that, we can make sweeping conclusions about an organization?

          • flux

            It seems more reliable than you sitting behind your keyboard arguing for the sake of argument. What observations have you made about the lines at A-span trucks?

          • CourthouseChris

            Hah, your faux-intellectual smugness is like seeing a dog wear a hat… it’s cute, but it doesn’t make it a person.

        • CourthouseChris

          You say “just a small sample size” as if that legitimizes it. There’s nothing to refute in Vasq’s little story – a person who may have up to 2 cell phones (of undetermined functional status) may be receiving food support from A-Span – this is what passes for evidence in your mind?

        • Josh S

          No, no, no. The first guy (vasq) made the accusation. He is the one who has to provide the evidence to support it. No one else has to provide evidence to the contrary.

      • vasq

        Walk by Oakland Park for a few days in a row around 5:00. When the A-SPAN van shows up, the needy start lining up for the free food. You’ll see many who are truely homeless and need the food. You’ll also see many people who are obviously not homeless. It is very apparent who should not be receiving the free handouts.

        I’m not an expert in social services, so I don’t have a solution. But, I would expect A-SPAN to be experts who do have better ways to distribute food to the homeless in an effecient way that minimizes waste (e.g. giving food to those who are not homeless).

        • SimplyDusty

          I’m wondering how you know that they are “obviously not homeless”? Is it because they’re dressed for work? It might surprise you that most of Arlington’s homeless are not jobless. Their job just doesn’t pay well enough to afford shelter.

          • CourthouseChris

            Obviously they are living in a palace of phones.

          • Ed

            I volunteered at a food shelf for awhile, saw maybe 1% to 5% of the clients who I guessed did not absolutely need the free food, and decided, well, no big deal; we are a wealthy nation, and it’s only food, for crying out loud — if they think they need it, no big deal. I’d hate to miss the other 95% of people because I worried too much about the 5%.

            Likewise when I volunteered in a homeless shelter for 3 years. For example there was one client who maybe could have moved in with his mother, who was 20 miles away. But 90%+ of the clients needed the roof over their heads.

            It can be inefficient to hand out food and shelter, but it is even more inefficient to let people go hungry and sleep in the rain. Letting people go hungry and sleep in the rain is an inefficient use of our abundant food and shelter.

          • CourthouseChris

            Now this is some “real-world experience” worth considering – Thanks Ed. More experienced testimony and less man-on-the-street “I saw some dude with two phones getting a sandwich”.

          • flux

            I think he proves the point that they are supporting a small percentage of people who do not need it, AND they do not care.

            But his proof is pretty anecdotal, if you ask me. ;)

        • Josh S

          Kindly provide the source of your expertise (plus references, please) that allows you to determine whether someone is “obviously” homeless or not.

          • Kelli

            I will believe the shelter volunteer who says they sometimes help people who do not need it and turn the other way. Stop criticizing everyone’s qualifications and listen to FACTS.

      • bringmetheyuppies

        as a never a dime contributor to aspan the reason is because I see this crap everyday. No one NEEDS a phone. They NEED food. so when they beg that buck at the corner they should spend it on food for survival, not cell phone service and certainely not 2 cell phone service. Head over to some section 8 housing and check out the cars in the lots sometime. Many nicer than mine for sure.

    • jackson

      “If they would just do air drops of food supplies in the middle of the Shenandoah, all the homeless people would go there instead.”

    • drax

      You witnessed a guy with two cell phones getting food?

      Next time go ask him why he has two phones but gets food. Perhaps there’s more to the story than you know. Maybe he’s an ASPAN staffer, for instance. Or who knows? Maybe he’s mentally ill and pretending to talk on the phones.

      Sometimes a story is so out there that it makes you wonder about its credibility instead of being outraged.

  • CourthouseChris

    At first I thought it was odd to have a picture of the St. Louis Gateway Arch on Arlnow… then I realized half of it was missing :-)

    • dtagg

      Actually 2/3 of the Air Force Memorial are missing ;)

  • bobco85

    Wow, I had no idea the Harris Teeter in Ballston even had a bike rack! It’s around the corner past the rear entrance of the store, you know, where nobody might be able to see it.

    I like the idea of showing bicycle parking in the county, and I can see how expanding it to general shopping would be a great resource for cyclists in our area. Of course, it would end the “make up your own bike rack” game that cyclists are forced to play in certain areas.

  • ArlingtonWay

    I wonder if they will count the obviously NOT homeless teams of pan handler grifters who work around the East Falls Church Metro, Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive, and from time to time Seven Corners Intersection.

    • home detector

      Curious to know how you know they are not homeless. Do you follow them to their mcMansions?

      • ArlingtonWay

        No, but thanks for asking. Actually I regularly see several of the “homeless” panhandlers being dropped off and picked up by the same van driver, who distributes the gang at the intersections i have mentioned. He actually does pickup and dropoff so that they are working in shifts throuout the day The guy who works the Sycamore, Washington Blvd intersection tries to hide the fact that he is listening to an Ipod touch as he begs most days. The woman reads Marie Clare magazine behind her cardboard “homeless artist” sign. (Con artist, obviously). It is clearly an organized gang, that i suspect makes pretty good money. Why do i care? Because the money they are getting is not going to actual homeless people or people that are unable to work.

        • Yup

          For over 10 years I’ve seen the same “family” rotating corners it seems from the 66 exit for lee hwy (69) up to sycamore right at EFC and then into Ballston at Glebe and Fairfax or Glebe and Washington, depending… it’s pretty frustrating because I’ve also been out at odd hours growing up here and have seen them get in and out of a small red sports car often parked in the econo lodge parking lot, they actually throw dirt on themselves before separating for their stations. It’s often at an hour when only maybe 1 or 2 other people are on the road and they can set up with too much attention being called, but of my friends in this area I’m not the only one who has seen this clan in various “stages” of prep for their daily shift.

    • CourthouseChris

      I’ll go out on a limb here and say if they are indeed “obviously NOT homeless” then I suspect they would not fit the criteria for a homeless census.

    • drax

      They panhandle to supplement the regular income they use to pay their mortgages? Is that your thinking?

      To me, standing outside all day begging for money is so pathetic and difficult and low-paying that it’s pretty good evidence that you have no other choice.

    • Ballston

      One of the pan handlers at Glebe Rd and Fairfax Dr used to carry a walker under his arm from the metro to the corner and then push it up and down the median pretending to need it. He now has a jazzy that he parks on the median and walks with a sign claiming he’s disabled. Seems tough to be homeless and afford a scooter, and Medicare won’t give you one if you can clearly walk fine.

      More and more pan handlers are coming to that intersection every week, so they must be making out pretty well. The other day there was a different one at all 4 corners of the intersection. They even have a system set up where if a new one shows up, the other guy peacefully leaves, almost like they’re pulling shift work. Finally, I’ve seen several of them talking on their cell phones on more than one occasion, so ArlingtonWay’s description as “obviously NOT homeless teams of pan handler grifters” is spot on.

      • CourthouseChris

        Those damn grifters, riding around like KINGS on their motorized thrones, tricking all of us into funding their life of luxury.

      • Josh S

        Yeah, I don’t see how anything that you describe provides a shred of evidence that the people begging for money don’t need it or have feasible alternatives.

        I also suspect sometimes that folks exaggerate limps and whatnot. But so what? I still believe that these folks are down on their luck and doing what they can to scrape by.

        • John Fontain

          If there was ever an example of someone who doesn’t believe in Occam’s Razor, it is you Josh.

          • CourthouseChris

            So what is the simpler explanation here? That people who are well-off are begging for money on the street or that those people that are begging for money are indeed down on their luck? Because, by your statement, it seems you are arguing that the well-off are begging for money.

          • John Fontain

            One poster sees a beggar walk just fine and only use the walker during ‘showtime.’ Another poster, whose judgment we have no reason to doubt, describes seeing people who show signs of not being down on their luck receiving free food along with the obviously homeless.

            Josh’s response to both is to assume that there must be some legitimate, more complicated explanation to both of these things rather than seeing them for what they likely are. But his more complicated conclusions necessarily rely adding and inserting other assumptions for which he has no basis. By definition, this is a logical fallacy.

          • John Fontain

            should say “rely [on] adding”

          • ArlingtonWay

            My theory is just what I said: they are an organized band of grifters who are not homeless and who are taking money from those who actually derserve or need it. If you have 10 people, each bringing in $300 a week, obviously without any taxes taken out, it become easy to see how it is lucrative enough for someone to organize it. I do not think this is most people, just the specific group I have personally observed at those intersections. They are not homeless.

          • jackson

            Congratulations. You just described the plot of Oliver Twist.

  • bob

    Serious question here: what should you do when you hear gunfire in Arlington.

    Going to sleep last night in Rosslyn Heights, I heard a pop. Then another. My GF and I joked about a car backfiring, but there wasn’t any cars on Scott St. Then one more, very clearly a gunshot.

    Does APD want to know — or is it hassle.

    Thanks to the paper thin walls, I coudl hear other people mvoing around after hearing the shots as well.

    • Marc

      Bob, if you are serious, you should always report gunfire in Arlington. As far as I know, there are no public ranges, and especially no public outdoor ranges anywhere in Arlington.

      I once called 911 to report gunfire. Turned out that it was an Federal undercover drug buy gone bad and local police had not be informed of the operation. The undercover officer was wounded and my call was the only call reporting the event.

    • ACPD PIO

      Bob:

      If you or any resident believes that gunfire has occurred, please do not hesitate to call 911, as ACPD will investigate the legitimacy of the report.

    • bringmetheyuppies

      There are no guns in arlington. Certainely you were mistaken sir!

  • Chris M.

    While being well intentioned, I’m not sure I would trust A-SPAN to collect “accurate data.” They have a direct incentive to inflate the numbers.

  • novasteve

    Live music is always loud and loud music causes hearing damage. It must be banned. Think of the children! I shouldn’t have to choose to avoid a bar because it plays loud music!

    • CourthouseChris

      Wait, what are you doing with children at a bar?

  • Always Right

    A sure way to become a Republican is to volunteer at one of the homeless shelters/soup kitchens. They won’t even pick up their trash.

  • John Andre

    Gosh…I thought Ovie was planning to scrap Arlington for Potomac!!!

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