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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | March 27, 2012 at 8:55 am | 3,200 views | 145 Comments

Polls Open for County Board Race — Polls are open until 7:00 p.m. for today’s Arlington County Board special election. The three candidates on the ballot are Libby Garvey (D), Mark Kelly (R) and Audrey Clement (G). See the list of polling places here.

Merrifield to Rival Arlington? — Merrifield, once best known for its drive-in movie theater, is transforming itself into a walkable urban community. Multiple apartment and townhouse developments are being built, and more are in the pipeline. Businesses like Harris Teeter, MOM’s Organic Market, Matchbox Pizza, Dolcezza gelato, Red Apron Butchery, Tayor Gourmet, and Cava Mezza are also on the way. Rep. Gerry Connolly says of the rapidly-developing Merrifield: “I think that it’s going to rival Arlington for a lot of the younger generation of workers and commuters.” [Washington Post]

Arlington’s Streetlight System, Explained — Of Arlington’s 17,000 streetlights, about 5,000 are owned by Arlington County while 12,000 are owned by Dominion Power. That dual ownership structure can sometimes cause long repair times, even after a resident reports that a traffic light has gone dark. [Greater Greater Washington]

Poverty on the Rise in Arlington — Arlington County is struggling to keep up with the needs of the growing segment of residents living under the poverty line. Currently, 1,200 people receive a county rent subsidy of just over $500, on average. But the current proposed budget for FY 2013 will leave 1,300 needy families without county assistance. Bridging that gap will likely require higher taxes, something County Board members are reportedly considering. [WAMU]

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  • Roycroft

    I think the Traffic in Merrifield will rival that of Tyson’s.

    • CW

      Well, once the silver line comes through, Tysons could be the new downtown D.C., so it’s not much of a stretch to think that Merrifield would be the new Arlington.

    • Elmer-The real progressive

      Merrifield needs a quarter-billion dollar streetcar.
      Let the games begin. After all, its only $$$.

  • nunya

    can’t rival proximity to dc. period.

    plus, we have more smartasses.

    • Stillwell87

      +1

    • drax

      If proximity to DC were all that matters, you’d be in DC.

      Merrifield may someday rival Arlington’s living expenses while still providing easy access to Metro and therefore DC.

      • nunya

        i prefer to live closer to you.

        • drax

          Are you the neighbor who is always looking into my bathroom window?

      • Arlington, Northside

        Merrifield might eventually be what Arlington is today, but not what Arlington evolves into tomorrow. Arlington is always going to have the closer in advantage. Merrifield’s best prospect will be to be known as the closer in Reston Town Center, or further out Arlington.

        • dk

          “Closer Reston.” Talk about damning with faint praise, LOL.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    Just as Arlington has done, Merrifield knocked down their old Taco Bell.

    • Swag

      Those bastards…

    • nunya

      and that freaky gingerbread house / auto shop

      • jan

        Oh, no!! That was a Virginia landmark!

      • Arlington, Northside

        I can remember looking to see what new stuff was up there everytime we drove by as a litttle kid in the 70′s.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        I miss seeing that place!

      • Greaseman

        Johnson’s Auto Body. Merrifield used to be the capital of auto body shops. Anyone remember the RCA dog that was down Lee Highway on the left towards Fairfax Circle?

    • JamesE

      The one across from Arbys on gallows?????

    • DarkHeart

      Still have one on Lee Hwy! Fake meat is yummy.

      • JamesE

        I tried the Doritos Locos Tacos, kind of disappointing. There were ok but I was expecting an actual dorito as the shell, not just flavoring.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Let the poor people can eat cupcakes.

    • outoftowner

      Let the yuppies can form logical sentences.

      • G Clifford Prout

        Sorry no coffee

  • Swag

    “Bridging that gap will likely require higher taxes, something County Board members are reportedly considering.”

    Wonder how many decades of assistance that streetcar could pay for?

  • John Fontain

    “Bridging that gap will likely require higher taxes”

    Or these people can move somewhere more affordable.

    • Burger

      Or result in more need next year as the number of people claimed the county supports grows.

      And, how does the number of people increase by over 100% in one year. I wonder if someone is playing with numbers.

      • drax

        It didn’t say the number of people increased by over 100%. It’s saying the number has grown AND the budget for the program is being cut.

        • Wayne Kubicki

          There are some inaccuracies in the WAMU story on Arlington’s Housing Grants. Here’s a link to a staff document that was presented at a CB budget work session:

          http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ManagementAndFinance/budget/file85135.pdf

          BTW, Arlington is the only local jurisdiction that has such a program – which probably explains its consistent growth.

        • Burger

          Here is the comment

          –Currently, 1,200 people receive a county rent–

          – FY 2013 will leave 1,300–

          Let’s assume the county isn’t cutting those 1200 people out. That means they are looking for the program to increase to 2500. Now, I know economics is based on math and economics is hard for you but 1200 growing to 2500 is an increase of over 100%.

          • drax

            But you’re assuming the county isn’t cutting those 1,200 people out. That’s the assumption you can’t make. Which is what I just explained to you the first time, genius.

          • Wayne Kubicki

            There are currently (Dec 2011) 1,204 HH in the program. Nobody is talking about cutting them out.

            The County is projecting 1,326 HH in 2013…NOT 1,300 new ones. 1,300 total. Growth of a little over 100HH.

          • OccasionallyAFact

            Thank you for injecting real information into the scrum.

          • drax

            Thanks for clarifying.

          • Village Idiot

            Wrong. You can assume the County doesn’t any people out. They only add people.

          • Village Idiot

            “cut”

          • Tabs

            Oh, phew. I thought the missing word was “eat.”

  • Liberal Dem

    I implore my fellow Democrats to consider voting for the Republican. I’m pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and have an embarrassing man-crush on President Obama–but County Board members don’t appoint Supreme Court justices.

    Locally, our taxes are out of control, the schools are overcrowded, the County government is unresponsive to citizens, and the all-Dem Board refuses to make any real improvements.

    I’m enthusiastically supporting the president and our Democratic members of Congress when they’re put to the vote, but at the local level, it’s time to try something different.

    • Burger

      I’ve talked with a number of people – many that complain the county board is unresponsive to the county’s needs – but the mental gymnastics they make to vote for Garvey is mindnumbing – even the reason behind the Sungazette’s endorsement are just absurd.

    • Garden City

      I wholly agree with you. I have some reservations about Kelly given some of his contributors and the Congresscritter he currently works for, but the issues that concern me there are not handled at the local level. Here I’m worried about roads, bridges, water lines, education, and public safety. And levels of taxation. I can always vote against him later if he decides to run for higher office and exhibits characteristics of the current GOP crop in the legislature.

      • Arlington, Northside

        His social conservativism won’t be able to be exercised much at the county board level, but his fiscal conservativism should be a good counter-weight. He seems to support education and Arlington Public School system with his kids attending them, so that is a bonus.

    • drax

      I did try something different, in the Democratic primary.

    • JamesE

      I expect my car to magically appreciate in value this year.

    • Josh S

      I think that your faith that the Republican will somehow magically make things better in Arlington is more than a little naive.

      Also, complaining on the one hand that taxes are too high and then on the other hand that schools are overcrowded seems a bit hard to reconcile, doesn’t it? If you somehow reduced taxes, wouldn’t that make it harder to solve school overcrowding?

      If lower taxes are really your thing, then you can certainly count on the Republican to vote that way. It’s unlikely his vote would be enough to actually change things.

      What are “real improvements,” in your eyes? I imagine that it would be quite easy for someone with a different definition of “real improvements” to come up with a long list of them that have been made by the county board over the last several years.

      Probably a similar argument can be made regarding whether the County government in responsive to citizens. I guess for every citizen who ends up feeling that the government was “unresponsive” to their concerns, you can find another citizen who feels that they are responsive.

      • arglebargle

        I’m not hoping that the R actually accomplishes any R things while in office.

        I’m hoping he brings just a little bit of gridlock.

      • Autoexec.bat

        @Josh S.:

        Simplistic.

        Taxes can be too high and citizens can still demand that school overcrowding be addressed. After all, addressing school overcrowding would be a “real improvement” in my eyes. So take all of the money used on street cars, Artispheres, splash parks, homeless shelters in prime real estate and $300,000 fences and start working on fixing school issues, then worry about the fluff later.

        • John Fontain

          “So take all of the money used on street cars, Artispheres, splash parks, homeless shelters in prime real estate and $300,000 fences”

          Yep. And let’s not forget the little wasteful expenditures like the electronic information system in Java Shack that tells customers how many BikeShare bikes are available on the bike rack right in front of the store.

          • T.G.E.0.A….

            That was privately funded IIRC.

          • John Fontain

            Sorry, but it wasn’t privately funded. Arlington County Communter Services funded it and they receive all of their funding from tax coffers.

        • drax

          Let’s assume for a moment that all that is needless “fluff.” How much would getting rid of the fluff save? Probably only a fraction of what is needed to deal with the school issue. It’s easy to just say we can cut other things and be done with it, but it’s not that easy to do.

          • John Fontain

            When it comes to living within your means, you have to start somewhere. Why not start with the fluff?

          • drax

            But living within our means isn’t the problem. We have plenty of means and we are living well within them.

          • Autoexec.bat

            If there aren’t enough slots for kids to go to school and classrooms become overcrowded, that’s not living within your means.

            If the quality of ACPS (both perceived and real) dips appreciably, it will begin to have a major effect on the desirability of living in Arlington, esp. for those who’re over 30. I know most 20-somethings think that’s unimportant but it truly matters for the long-term health of the county.

          • drax

            You’re assuming that “our means” = “our current tax revenue.”

            Cutting spending is an option, but so is raising taxes. We can afford to do that if we choose to.

            Don’t go around using “living within our means” as code for “assume no tax increases and work from there.” Our means is not how much we collect in taxes, it’s how much we can afford to pay in taxes if necessary.

          • John Fontain

            drax said: “We have plenty of means and we are living well within them.”

            How about this drax, go to the county’s website and find out how much debt our county has. If the answer is zero, I’ll come back and concede that you are right that we are living within our means.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            For many of us the “fluff” is within our means.

          • drax

            John,

            Go look up your own personal finances and tell me if you’re in debt. Do you have a mortgage?

            Debt doesn’t mean you aren’t living in your means. That’s only true if your debt is incurred year after year to cover operating expenses. That’s not the kind of debt the county has.

            And, once again, I’ll explain that “our means” is our tax base, not just our revenue. We have the means to raise taxes if need be. I’m not suggesting it, but you can’t assume that it’s not on the table.

          • Burger

            250 million dollars is fluff?

      • Burger

        Josh,

        Your post is quite amusing and filled with strawman arguments and red herrings that fills many of your posts.

        There is nothing contradictory to wanting taxes low but not overcrowded schools. It is about the efficient allocation of resources. It is about smart government and smart spending. It is not spending wantonly to the point many roads are almost undriveable because of the pot holes.

        Efficient use of precious resources are not:
        -spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a trolley line when Tuckhoe is so overcrowded they do not have a playground because it will have a trailer on it.
        -wasting millions on the Artisphere to the detriment of necessary road work
        -it is not having “quotas” on traffic tickets to the point there are a string of bank robberies, one less than 2 blocks from the police station because the cops are out generating revenue.

        The county boards unending need to spend money that is not theirs needs to be rebuked. Sending anyone other than Garvey at least demonstrates that the County Board should be responsive to what the electorate wants.

        One sided government never works just ask the communists.

        • drax

          No, that’s just you having different priorities, but labeling yours essential and others’ not.

          • John Fontain

            Children are required by law to be educated. There is no such law requiring trolley or empty art houses. So you are wrong in suggesting that it is just a matter of differing priorities.

          • Autoexec.bat

            Zing.

          • drax

            We both share the priority of educating children, even if it weren’t required by law, John. But there are more priorities to work on too.

        • nom de guerre

          Agree. Nice post.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          “There is nothing contradictory to wanting taxes low but not overcrowded schools. It is about the efficient allocation of resources. It is about smart government and smart spending. It is not spending wantonly to the point many roads are almost undriveable because of the pot holes.”

          Hmm, that sounds like a lot of personal / subjective conjecture on your part. Just saying that spending in this County is inefficeint does not actually make it so, any more than my saying the sky is purple and if everyone would use their eyes more smartly and efficiently they’d see it too.

          It’s such a vacuous argument to continually declare by divine fiat that government spending is inefficient and the root of all problems, while ignoring all other factors. Never mind that we have some of the lowest tax rates in the entire region, or that we have the highest credit rating avaiable for counties and get an A+ for government transparncey, as well as one of the most walkable areas in the region. Oh, and don’t mention that perhaps dramatic population growth, particularly among families with children might be part of the school issue.

          People need to learn that just because there’s a pea under their mattress, the world is not an abysmal place.

          • dk

            +1

          • Autoexec.bat

            Some people claim all government spending is inefficient, but thus far I don’t see that claim being made. The claim being made is that there are clear areas of needless spending (both underway and imminent) that don’t compute given the issue of overcrowded schools. How many schools could the Columbia Pike trolley pay for?

            And if the city’s own policies are encouraging greater density, and thereby causing the overcrowding, don’t they bear some responsibility for making sure that schools are a top priority? Raising taxes to pay for vanity projects is a slap in the face because if everything is a priority then nothing is.

          • Car-Free Diet

            It is pretty obvious that you do not live on Columbia Pike and do not care at all about improving the lives of the many people on the pike. No instead, you are concerned that after the $100 of millions of dollars Arlington County has sunk into those shrines to public education (including Olympic standard swimming pools) it needs to spend more to have space for all its students and maintain your precious property values.

            When talking about efficient government do you even think about whether the public schools (both their capital and operational budgets) could be run more efficiently?

          • Autoexec.bat

            I know they can! We agree on something. A school doesn’t need an Olympic-sized swimming pool! There is waste in the public school system. No shock to anyone.

            It doesn’t negate all the point I’ve made up- and down-thread about classroom sizes and overcrowding.

            That is, we agree as long as your point is not “The school system contains waste also so we should continue spending as we have in the past.”

          • Gwen

            Yorktown’s new pool is not Olympic-sized. Are the others?

          • John Snyder

            The answer to your question, “how many schools would the Columbia Pike trolley pay for” is zero. All the funding, federal, state or local, is dedicated by law to transportation only. None of it can be spent on schools.

          • Burger

            So you do not want smart government or smart spending?

            How open is the County Board when they need to disappear behind closed doors to determine how best to force WMATA to take down the sign in the Clarendon metro that they find so offensive.

            Tax rates really have no impact when you can play with the values – ask everyone who lives in Cherrydale how much their properties go up.

            It is simply asking for accountability for which the county board has none. When was the last time a sitting Democratic County Board member lost their seat in an election?

            In other words how accountable is someone that knows they can never lose their job unless they decide to retire, move to a new position (Ferguson) or move upward (Favola)?

            So, that pea, you refer to, might be more than one.

          • FrenchyB

            “Tax rates really have no impact when you can play with the values – ask everyone who lives in Cherrydale how much their properties go up.”

            Each of the past two years, I’ve researched my property assessment against the previous year’s comparable sales. Both times the assessment was within $100 of the average comps. The county isn’t “playing” with the assessed values at all.

          • Zoning Victim

            I love it when people mention how we have the lowest tax rates in the area when they know that we still pay more money in taxes than any other area around here. Who cares what the tax rate is when it still costs you more money?

          • John Fontain

            Yep, I always get a laugh of that disingenuous claim.

          • Josh S

            But it’s really the only one that matters since the rate is what the county board sets.

          • John Fontain

            josh, you realize the rate is a means to an end don’t you?

            in other words, by setting the rate, they are also setting the absolute amount of taxes.

          • Autoexec.bat

            John-
            I’ve had this argument a million times. People act like the county doesn’t start with a number they want to reach and tweak formulas to get what they need.

            Do people seriously think that the county doesn’t already know what the total amount of property taxes is going to be *before* they start doing assessments?

          • drax

            So what if the county starts with a number it wants and works from there? Its still a low rate. If you pay alot, it’s because you have alot. You are blessed with wealth, yet you pay the smallest portion of that wealth in taxes in the Nova area.

            Poor people are such “lucky duckies” for paying less in taxes, aren’t they? Don’t you wish you lived in a county where your home value was low, but your tax rate was high?

          • John Fontain

            drax said: “If you pay alot, it’s because you have alot. You are blessed with wealth”

            Let’s say someone bought their house 20 years ago for $150,000 and that house is now worth $800,000. That person works a middle class job and, therefore, doesn’t make a huge salary. But they make enough to pay the bills, save a little, and pay their mortgage.

            Unless they plan to monetize their house by selling it and moving out of the county, how do they meet your definition of being part of the wealthy class?

            “Its still a low rate.”

            Again, rates are just a means to an end and are therefore meaningless in and of themselves. For example, I’ll make a 30 year mortgage loan to you for an annual rate of just 1% (a super low rate, right?) of ten times the principle amount being borrowed. Is that “low” rate something to brag about?

          • jan

            baloney. Check out the property tax on a comparably priced home in Fairfax.

        • Josh S

          Talk about red herrings and strawmen!! (Actually, I’m not sure there are any strawmen in either yours or my original post, but it’s 21st century discourse – who needs to be logically accurate?)

          Arlington County would be responsible for building an addition on Tuckahoe. Arlington County would not be solely responsible for a streetcar, nor is its projected spending on that project anywhere close to “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

          Where is your evidence that Artisphere spending has delayed or disrupted any road work in Arlington? Also, while the Artisphere may not be politically popular around here, what percentage of the county’s budget does it represent? Is it 1%?

          Why do you blame bank robberies on traffic ticket quotas? Where is the real (as opposed to rhetorical) connection?

          What the electorate wants? Don’t you mean what you want? If the electorate was so much in an uproar, so dissatisfied, wouldn’t we know about it?

          I don’t even understand your last sentence.

          • Autoexec.bat

            The County’s own projections place the cost of the trolley project at $214-261 million.

            http://neighborhoodeffects.mercatus.org/2012/03/22/the-true-cost-of-the-columbia-pike-trolley-priceless/

          • Josh S

            Correct.

          • Burger

            Josh,

            Go look up why money is fungible. then get back to me.

          • Maria

            “I don’t even understand your last sentence.”

            Don’t you know that if you bring up the communists and socialists, every true American will magically agree with you? Duh.

            (Ignoring the fact, of course, that a *truly* communist society, not the rhetorical/”this is what it’s become” Communist government system, is the opposite of “one sided”)

          • John Fontain

            josh said: “Also, while the Artisphere may not be politically popular around here, what percentage of the county’s budget does it represent? Is it 1%?”

            I want the county to pay for a new in ground swimming pool in my back yard. I’ll let all the neighbors come over and use it, therefore, it will benefit a small portion of the county. By your “logic” (i.e., a government expenditure shouldn’t be objected to so long as it is a small percentage of the budget, even if the benefit is neglible), I assume you’ll support the county paying for my swimming pool right?

          • Josh S

            And you have the gall to put my use of the word “logical” in quotes!?!?

          • John Fontain

            Please explain where the logic in my post differs from that in yours.

      • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

        Thinking more of the same will change anything is “a lot” naive.

        • Josh S

          I think that’s sort of true by definition, right? More of the same does not equal something different. Yep, that sounds pretty solid to me.

          • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

            So then you agree that you are the one who is being naive….

          • Josh S

            Err, no since I never said that more of the same will change anything.

          • John Fontain

            Have you taken too much cough medicine today?

      • Liberal Dem

        It’s not naive; it might turn out not to be any better. But what I do know is that 20+ years of one-party domination hasn’t turned out well. Time to try something different.

        Re. taxes and schools: Your argument presumes that the apportionment of the current tax revenues is immutable and that nothing in the County budget can be cut. The County spends millions on arts promotion, large building projects, the hiring of multiple consultants–surely the funds spend on some of these items can be reduced.

        I’d like to see additional school buildings, better staffing of public parks re. cleanup, landscaping, and lea;h enforcement; and stronger restrictions on lot size and overall height of new homes. For starters.

    • Swag

      Gotta agree. Need some Republicans, or at least non-partisans, on the Board.

      Democrat: “Artisphere? Street Cars? Awesome! Let’s get ‘em!”

      Independent: “Artisphere? Street Cars? Cool, some things are worth paying for, but no way we’re spending that much on them.”

      Republican: “You want to buy what?!? For how much?!? *head explodes*”

    • Coogen

      Spend spend spend is this Board’s montra. How much more taxes are they going to shake out of us? Change and new perspectives are a good thing. It’s time for it.

      • drax

        Tax rates aren’t going up this year.

    • Car-Free Diet

      Please move to California, we need more people like you there.

    • South Awwwlington

      Me too. Tonight, Kenmore Middle School. Showdown.

    • An Arlington Resident

      Thank you, “Liberal Dem.” As a Mark Kelly supporter and a Conservative, I really appreciate that you are able to recognize that any one-party rule for this long poisons the community it tries to serve. (That goes for either side of the aisle.)

  • KalashniKEV

    This is when the pendulum starts to swing the other way- when a group of people living beyond their means start reaching into your pocket to enhance their quality of life.

    Look for a Republican on the board soon…

    • Car-Free Diet

      KEV, wishful dreaming. The odds are higher that Alexandria’s city council will have a Republican majority than Arlington electing a Republican to its County Board.

      Let’s see today’s vote totals. What are the odds that Garvey and Clement both outpoll King? Aren’t there more committed Democrats and Greens living in Arlington than Republicans, or is that just a stereotype?

  • Zoning Victim

    Approximately $8M per year being paid to people to live in one of the most expensive areas around here and the county board wants to raise taxes to double the number of people in the program?

  • Burger

    I think it is great Merrifield is transforming (well, except they are taking part of the Merrifield gardens parking lot) and I know Connolly needs to promote his constiuents but seriously he’s kidding himself. Merrifield is nearby a metro stop but not on a metroline.

    • drax

      I take Metro almost every day and my house is further away from my station than the intersection of Lee Highway and Gallows is from Dunn Loring.

    • CC Contractor

      The development’s nearest corner (i.e. right on Gallows/29)… which isn’t really “the development” is about .6 miles from the metro stop. To the heart of it- one mile. People don’t walk one mile, down sidewalks next to speeding trafic with nothing worth stopping by on that one mile walk- to go anywhere.

      But maybe it will be good for the people that live there… it just won’t attract out-of-area residents like the Arlington Orange line corridor does.

      • drax

        People will take a bus or ride a bike one mile to get to a Metro stop, especially since the alternatives are paying $600,000 for a small one-bathroom single family home or driving 2 hours each way every day.

        • It’s not that much cheaper

          Honestly, comparing the developments going up in merrifield and looking at the fact that the orange line from west falls to east falls isn’t functional half the time adding 1/2 an hour of shuttles and transition to your commute that’s already longer than being closer in, the price differences in rents don’t make up for it. There’s very little difference in the prices honestly once you factor is the “cost” of time and the higher metro fares, etc. I grew up in Arlington and loved my Vienna/Fairfax apartment complex until the recent metro construction started. I’d rather pay a little more to be closer in and not have to worry or rush to constantly get somewhere from further out with the only reliability of the system out west being that it will have some delay in effect. :-/

          • drax

            If you simply can’t afford Arlington, the small difference in price may actually be enormous. I’d rather pay more to stay close to DC too, but I can afford to choose that.

          • It’s not that much cheaper:

            I see what you’re saying, but in all honesty I grew up in Arlington and I have a very hard time affording to live here on an entry level salary, but by moving into the Westover area I am slightly further from the metro system but still able to get to it and use it without buying a car and insurance, etc., my rent is as ridiculous as it is to be in the “heart” of Arlington or as convenient as I was to transit living at Vienna/Fairfax right next to the metro, but I also couldn’t work my restaurant job on the evening and weekends without eventually spending transit money to take cabs home late in the evenings when the trains weren’t running properly and it was too late at night to wait 45 minutes when it regularly ran 15 minutes when i first moved out there.

            I do what I need to do to pay either way (I also have a full time gov. contracted position), but the rents I looked at moving “closer” including Dunn Loring/Merrifield and West Falls area, I didn’t find anything THAT much cheaper that would still allow me the privileges of getting in and out of the metro area either in a decent time or at a decent price. When I added all the cabs and things up to cover the construction and junk in the system, I could afford my Arlington apartment though my budget is an always has been tight in this area. I’m not saying my case is everyone’s but they can claim to be like Arlington and charge a ton of money if they want (and seem to be doing) but people won’t stay there long once they realize the idea is much better than the actuality.

          • drax

            When I say “you” I really mean the next generation of people who will find that they are priced out of Arlington. Merrifield may grow to be the most affordable alternative for them someday.

    • nom de guerre

      At this rate, we will have to travel to Western Fairfax to find a nursery like Merrifield Garden Center.

  • Fred

    Living pretty close to where 66/495 meet, the single best part about the new Merrifield development is the new Target, and the reduction of trips that I will have to take to the seven corners area.

    Regarding Merrifield traffic – as someone who does not travel there during rush periods, I’ve never had a problem. So I doubt the weekend shopping trips or visits to restaurants or the theater at night are going to be affected much. Have you seen how massive the Lee/Gallows intersection is going to be?

    • Roycroft

      I live in Arlington and work in Merrifield and I have watched the traffic change in both areas. What I find interesting is that every block closer to Arlington the traffic seems easier to deal with.

      The new “smart’ lanes dumping more traffic into the Merrifield area is not going to help. I have also heard there is supposed to me a smart lane on Gallows running to Tyson’s. This should make for fun when trying to get from point A to B.

      • CC Contractor

        Absolutely agree. A few years ago I had to drive from Arlington to Fairfax Hospital in evening rush. It took me 10 minutes to get from my office in Ballston to 29 (5.x miles) where it crosses the beltway. It took me 20 minutes to get from that point to the hospital… (1.5miles)…

        • drax

          That’s kind of the conundrum – the easier you make it for people to get somewhere, more will come there.

  • Arlington Cat

    Merrifield will continue to have Unique Thrift Store and the Asian grocery store in that well laid out parking lot, right?

    • nom de guerre

      Are you referring to the Great Wall Supermarket on Gallows that was featured in today’s Washington Post? The managers there are facing felony charges that they sold “illegal” fish, eels, bullfrogs, turtles, etc.

  • Stitch_Jones

    Well, since rent and housing subsidies have the real effect of keeping rents higher than would be normal…I am not surprised that we need to help more people of lesser means that have been priced out of the housing market.

    But hey, anything that raises taxes is great by me! AND – it will eventually solve the problem instead of perpetuating the problem…

    Oy.

    • Coogen

      Hey Stitch,

      Since you love taxes so much, why don’t you pay the proposed increase for everyone.

      • Ballstonian

        arcasm-say

  • T.G.E.0.A….

    While I’m voting for Kelley, I’m scared if he wins. Not because of what he would or wouldnt do, but if he does win that opens up the doors for Bondi in November.

    Would much rather have Garvey than Zimmermans Sockpuppet.

    • Burger

      That was a fear someone told me. Garvey losses almost assures a Zimmerman puppet runs in the fall. At least Garvey didn’t get the backing of any of the sitting board members.

    • Zimmerman’s Sockpuppet

      Hey lay off the insults! What did I ever do to you?

      • drax

        Darn you!

        (Think about it. You’ll get it.)

  • ArlWriter

    This is my first time contributing here, so don’t attack the newb (or n00b?). I read the comments with interest and tend to be more libertarian politically.

    Here’s my question (or maybe questions… er, a statement and a question):

    The county board is dominated by Democrats/liberals. Kelly couldn’t “magically fix” the problems or push a right-wing agenda onto the county. So, what’s the problem with electing ONE GUY to ask questions? Even if it’s just for a few months until the regular elections?

    He wouldn’t be able to stop any proposals. He wouldn’t be able to push an agenda. He’d just be there asking questions; questions many Arlingtonians have about our quality of life, safety, schools, and the role of government.

    I just don’t understand the hesitation to give one guy a seat who’ll say something different than the folks who are already on the board.

    Enlighten me, commenters!

    • dk

      In theory, I don’t disagree.

      However, that man represents everything I despise about 21st century America and (some of) her inhabitants. His concerns about safety are not mine, his views on the role of government is certainly not mine, and his ideas of “quality” of life likely are not mine either. He may be a fine, upstanding gentleman, but he associates with people and organizations that I believe to be dangerous and, yes, unAmerican.

      Next this ONE GUY will be running for state office, and I see far too many of THOSE GUYS in Richmond already. No thanks.

      This is why I agree completely with the commenter who said yesterday that the local Republican party blew it by offering us this instead of a fiscal conservative with generous and open-minded social views and values. When someone like that runs for office, let me know.

      • ArlWriter

        Certainly, and I’m not too keen on the more socially conservative aspects of the Republican Party, but Arlington overwhelmingly supports Democrats in every election. I don’t think there’s a “threat” that he’d ascend the ladder of elected office.

        Also, the county deals more with fiscal issues than hot-button social issues anyway. I don’t see where his conservative social beliefs would do much to disrupt the more progressive nature of many Arlington residents.

        • dk

          You are right, but I cannot bring myself to feed this beast in any way.

        • drax

          Let’s elect better Democrats in the primary next time. That’s the solution if you’re a Democrat.

          • Liberal Dem

            I wish that were true, but it never happens. I’m not even hugely against taxation or spending–but the Dems we seem to have running for Board are perennially so over the top in their support for spending on things that make no sense. I mean, spending on schools and roads? Fine! Spending on “community centers” and the Artisphere? When we have overcrowded schools and rising tax rates and RE assessments? Come on.

            If Kelly ever ends up running for governor, then I’ll vote against him out of party loyalty. But would that really be a big risk? And besides, the GOP is always going to nominate, well, a Republican. If he ends up rising that far within his party, he’s only displacing another GOPper.

          • drax

            Is that it? Community centers and Artisphere? Most local governments fund community centers and such. Some even fund arts, but hey, dump Artisphere if you want (I think it was supposed to be seed money before it got started on its own, but that’s not working out). Wow, you saved almost nothing.

            Yes, we need to focus on the schools. Yes, we need to keep taxes from getting out of hand – but they’re still pretty low now. Overall, the county is doing pretty well. Hardly a disaster.

          • Liberal Dem

            I said “for starters.” That was by no means a complete list.

            The county’s tax RATE may be relatively low–but they more than make up for this with high assessments.

      • Mary-Austin

        Agreed.
        Lets give someone else a chance FOR ONCE.
        We’re talking about 1 seat on the County Board for the remainder of this year.
        In the fall a Democrat will no doubt be elected to a full term down ballot from the presidential race.
        The Idea that Kelly has statewide aspirations within the GOP is a joke. To them he would be a flaming liberal.

      • Unbeeweebable

        +1

        Exactly why I could not vote for that particular Republican. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

  • chubby checkers

    any update on the proposed homeless shelter? I can not believe they are displacing an entire building of tax paying businesses while so much vacant and underdeveloped land sits up and down the RB corridor.

  • JMB

    Rep. Gerry Connolly says of the rapidly-developing Merrifield: “I think that it’s going to rival Arlington for a lot of the younger generation of workers and commuters.”

    We should invade them now, before they grow too strong.

    • Burger

      lol

    • Arlington Cat

      Until Pentagon City gets its own Unique store, and Clarendon gets a Great Wall Supermarket, we should be fine.

  • OccasionallyAFact

    Fascinating that in all the political pronouncements, nobody has pointed out that the elected School Board is in charge of planning adequate capacity for the schools … and that Garvey has been on the School Board, which has suddenly discovered a big problem … and that it’s that type of planning that Garvey claims as a big asset that she’d bring to the County.

  • brif

    i don’t remember the gallows rd./lee highway multiplex ever being a drive-in.

  • RightWingWhacko

    I voted for the Green Party because:

    (1) I am sick of Libby sending me 10,000 flyers and making 300 phone calls. Yes, that’s a stupid reason but this is over the top. I will watch to see how fast she picks up all those signs in the street.
    (2) Everyone says we need to do things differently and having someone from the Green party is going to make it possible to see things differently. It’s not throw the bums out as much as it’s let’s see if we can do this a different way instead of the usual.
    (3) No way I can support a Republican anything.

  • MC

    Regarding the rent subsidies, what isn’t clear is what kind of units the subsidies are going toward. My guess is that the County is giving households money to pay rent for units that the County is already subsidizing by paying affordable housing developers/managers to keep the rents below market rate. Bear in mind, the average County-supported afford unit gets about $150,000 in government support to keep the rents affordable. If this is the case, the County could well be paying the equivalent of about $1000 a month so that someone can live here. When we are talking about trying to bridge gaps so big, the policy really seems out of touch. Arlington is poor value for people who don’t have the income to live here, and they should be encouraged to live someplace like Prince William County where they don’t need to plead for assistance.

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