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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,810 35 Comments

Snowy Evening Commute Expected — Forecasters warn that light-to-moderate snowfall may make for a slick evening commute tonight. Still, above-freezing temperatures will mean that we in Arlington will likely see less than an inch of accumulation. [Capital Weather Gang]

County Saves Money Through Bond Issue — Arlington County has taken advantage of very low interest rates, along with its triple-AAA bond rating, to issue $106 million of refunding bonds. The move will save the county more than $9 million over the life of the bonds, officials say. [Arlington County]

Spring Soccer Registration Open — Registration is now open for youth soccer players in Arlington. Arlington Soccer Association’s spring registration started on Jan. 25 and will close on March 13. A late registration fee will be assessed after March 13. [Arlington Soccer Association]

Moran Criticized for TV Appearance — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is facing criticism from Republicans for comments he made on MSNBC last week. Moran said that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who is black, “is not representative of the African American community.” Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin called that remark and others by Moran during the course of the MSNBC interview “racist.” [Human Events, Breitbart.tv]

  • JimPB

    ARLCo’s Refunding — the 4th such action in the past 3 years. Very smart to in effect refinance at very low interest rates (2.15% for the most recent refunding) and smart mucho dollars in bond interest payments.

    I wonder who is buying these and other such instruments at interest rates that, net of inflation, have a zero or slightly negative rate of return.
    There is demand for sure as T-bills are selling briskly with a net negative interest rate — T-bond buyers are paying the Federal government to take their money.

    • Patrick

      The federal reserve. Who then takes the money they are paid in interest on the bonds by treasury and returns it back to treasury. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    • John Fontain

      Kudos to Arlington for refinancing some of our debt at lower interest rates.

      Arlington County – Next time, please try to explain this in plain English rather than using terms like ‘refunding bonds’ without explaining what it means. Most of the citizens of Arlington are not municiple bond experts.

    • Lauren

      So by refinancing the bonds they can avoid having to raise the Ballston parking garage rates, right? Right?

    • R. Griffon

      > I wonder who is buying these and other such instruments at interest rates
      > that, net of inflation, have a zero or slightly negative rate of return.

      People who expect another major calamity ahead, and are looking for safe havens with a slightly better return than cash. The fact that bonds are selling at such extraordinarily low rates is a function of their demand. LOTS of people are looking for safe investments right now, so bond issuers don’t have to lure buyers in with high yields.

      By way of comparison, Greek gov’t bonds (which may well be on their way to default) are currently promising yields of over 30%. Why? Because that’s how much you have to offer in interest to take bonds that may be worthless a year from now.

      I doubt that the sale of bonds coming right after ARLCo’s AAA rating was re-affirmed is purely coincidental.

      • Thes

        Um, wasn’t the re-affirmation of the AAA rating specifically *generated by* this re-financing? In other words, when the County refinances, doesn’t it get its rating updated for the proposed bond (re-)issuance? I assumed this was the case and that the bond rating agencies didn’t often update Arlington’s rating just for the sake of it.

        • Jason

          Correct

        • JFriess

          Correct

        • Zoning Victim

          Yes, the article on a ARL now back on the 2nd or 3rd about Fitch giving Arlington the AAA rating said it was in advance of this bond offering. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to pay to get rated, too, but I’m not sure if that is the case.

          • Southeast Jerome

            Yes- there is a fee to be rated however for the majority of investors that buy Arlington County’s bonds, they have requirements for being rated. Thus it is just a cost of doing business

          • Zoning Victim

            That’s pretty much what I figured. I can’t imagine anyone investing in unrated bonds any more than I could imagine a bank making a loan on an house without an appraisal.

    • Burger

      The problem with your view is that eventually the bonds need to be paid back. If you keep rolling them over eventually you will end up paying more when interest rise.

      So, if the plan is to roll over the bonds at a lower rate, pay them off and not seek new bonds for old projects – then great. But, that’s not what municipalities do.

      See, the NY/NJ Port Authority that is still paying off Meadowlands stadium bonds years after they were due to be paid off and the stadium is just a parking lot now.

      • Jason

        These bonds did not extend the maturities of the old bonds, they only refinanced the old ones at lower rates keeping with the original debt schedule.

      • Jason

        The maturities of the original bonds were not extended in the sale. They were replaced with new lower interest debt that matches the original debt schedule.

      • Jason

        There was no extension of maturities. The original debt was refunded with new lower interest debt keeping in line with the original debt schedule.

        • drax

          What? Could you repeat that?

          • Jason

            :P Sorry. For some reason they wouldn’t post, but half an hour later they did.

      • Southeast Jerome

        Just like that mortgage your took out for your house and that auto loan for your car need to be paid back. Debt is debt. No need for being insensical here. Arlington is a prime credit that gets super cheap money via the debt markets. They would be foolish to not be borrowing as much as they need to.

  • bobco85

    (on the Moran comment): So the left-wing claims that Rep. Allen West does not represent the African American community, and the right-wing claims this is racist. Both make the mistake of assuming that all black people are so similar that they can be represented by a single person (like Allen West or Barack Obama). Allen West does in fact represent some black people, while at the same time he does not represent other black people. Moran gets off track by making an analogy to the play “The Lion King” while arguing that Allen West is somehow trying to stop other blacks from succeeding (forgetting that there are many blacks who are succeeding without government assistance). Moran is right in stating that Allen West does not represent all black Americans, but for the wrong reasons.

    (regarding the punditry around this issue): The stupid. It hurts!

    • Zoning Victim

      Yeah, this whole thing is stupid; of course he doesn’t represent all black Americans. He doesn’t even represent all Americans; he’s a politician, from Florida. All he represents is what the majority of his constituents could stomach. If they meant he isn’t “representative” (as in “typical”) of black Americans, again, true, but he’s not representative of all Americans, either. In fact, I can’t think of a single politician (or person for that matter) who represents all of anybody no matter how you slice and dice groups of people into categories. It’s no wonder why we’re all so disappointed in American politics; it seems that politicians and the political pundits think that we’re just an amalgamation of classifications. Well, incase any of those idiots are reading this, we’re people, dammit!

  • Patrick

    Rep. Moran continues to amaze me with his blatently racist remarks. Why is it that Rep. West “is not representative of the african american community”? Is it because he is a conservative and doesn’t fit into Mr. Moran narrow definition of what “an african american” should be? Please Rep. Moran do explain exactly how you believe all “african americans” should act. The people of this district that continue to support this man should be completely ashamed of themselves.

    • Ren

      Out of curiosity, I looked up Rep. Moran’s Wikipedia bio on seeing the video. I realize the bio itself can be tilted for political reasons (and factor that in), but there seems to be a long, well documented string of controversies and dust-ups for this guy.

      Politics and this dispute over Allen West aside, can’t we consider a new voice for the district? If voters still want a Democrat after 22 years, how about a different one?

      • thecharlesriver

        I’m not a big Moran fan but I must say, do you really want people who are never controversial? I mean, being controversial and having “dust-ups” in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I want my leaders to be controversial to some degree. If not, they aren’t leading. That said, he does have a lot of balls saying anything about who West represents. Moran doesn’t represent all blacks either and I’m getting pretty tired of these alleged “liberals” who seem to think they have a monopoly on defining these kind of issues.

  • John Andre

    News note: It appears that Gottaswing is cancelling their rather popular Tuesday night swing dances at the Clarendon Ballroom after Feb. 28 and moving the Tuesday night classes to the Carlyle Club in Alexandria. This will be bad for me since the Clarendon Ballroom is very convenient on the ART 41 bus and Metro and the Carlyle Club is NOT convenient for me on weekingths–I’m not even sure if they are close to Metro…and of course Metro is beset with continual late-night trackwork issues for 3+ years. The only place in Arlington with convenient dancing-on weekends only-seems to be the Dance Factory at 954 N. Monroe St. Yhe Salsa Room on Columbia Pike has dancing–but also bouncers [an indication of late-night trouble risk]. In addition the Clarendon Ballroom has reapplied for a renewal of its dance-hall permit–but their weekend dances have also been a bit on the rowdy side. Perhaps the owner of the Clarendon Ballroom may be considering a shutdown–or expansion of Spider Kelly’s.

    • South Arlington

      Aren’t bouncers basically required after a certain hour to check IDs and ensure minors don’t get into bars? Pretty much every bar has them – it doesn’t really indicate “late-night trouble risk”.

    • nunya

      looks like you can hoof it from king st. metro. maybe even rumba/chachacha there.

      or take a taxi.

      or zipcar.

      • Richard Cranium

        bikeshare?

        • FunnyMunny

          Streetcar?

      • drax

        A dancer using his legs for transportation? Perish the thought.

    • Glebe Roader

      Snore.

  • What A Guy

    So now Moran gets a pass from the media on his insider stock trading deals? Ironic that our own poster boy for that abuse of position and ethics has the unmitgated gall to pronounce who is qualified to represent another’s district.

  • DarkHeart

    Feds are now offering early leave option.

  • BlueLoom

    Just in case no one noticed, Moran now has a primary opponent: Bruce Shuttleworth. Since the 8th dist is overwhelmingly Dem, this is our chance to get someone other than Moran to represent us. The primary is currently scheduled for June 12, but that may change b/c of court challenges to redistricting. Keep your ears & eyes open; we don’t often get a chance to vote against Moran.

    [I’m not connected to the Shuttleworth campaign organization in any way. I just resent the fact that no one seems to have the guts to run against Moran. Even most Repubs won’t take him on.}

  • Elmer

    On the Moran/Shuttleworth primary, do you have to sign a party loyalty pledge to support and vote for the primary winner (no matter who it is) before you can vote?

    • BlueLoom

      Probably, but they don’t send the primary police after you to check on your vote in the general election. There’s lots of crossover voting in primaries in Virginia.

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