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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — April 16, 2012 at 8:53 am 3,099 87 Comments

Man Arrested in Videotaped Beating — A 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the videotaped beating of an Arlington man in Baltimore on St. Patrick’s Day. [WUSA 9]

County Mulling Home Ownership Grants for Employees – Only about 25 percent of Arlington employees live actually in the county. To help make it easier for county employees to live here, the Arlington County Board is considering creating a $114,000 fund that would offer one-time grants to employees buying a house in Arlington. [Patch]

Library Archive Contains Lincoln Letter — Today is Emancipation Day: President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the District of Columbia exactly 150 years ago, on April 16, 1862. Meanwhile, Lincoln was assassinated 147 years ago Saturday, on April 14, 1865. A letter from Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room archives provides a personal, handwritten account of the assassination. [Arlington Public Library]

  • Parochialism, anyone?

    Why is the Board proposing to waste taxpayer dollars to pander to their own employees? By definition, these folks have stable, good paying jobs. Arlington is a small county, and while there are lots of reasons why county employees might live elsewhere, there is absolutely no reason to further distort the housing market and abdicate their fiduciary responsibility to the rest of the community!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if County employees find their way to the front of the line for the over 6,000 committed affordable units in Arlington, and there are still plenty of affordable market-rate rentals and properties available for purchase in Arlington or elsewhere.

    Chalk this up as one more example of why we sorely need change on the Board to bring some fiscal sanity.

    • Succesfull Troll

      I don’t see the problem. Surely these people will not reward the county board by voting for them?

    • novasteve

      Good luck with “change” here in Arlington.

      The Arlington way is voting for the candidate with the (D) after their name. Won’t change until the dems run out of other people’s money to spend.

  • Taxpayer Seeking Clarendon Bungalow

    I want to enjoy the “Car-Free Diet”, can I get a grant to help me purchase a home on the Orange Line?

  • Brick

    114,000$ seems like waste to me to help people buy homes here. stupid

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      If you’re saying that it’s not going to go very far, then I agree. What’s it supposed to cover, closing costs for about 15-20 people?

      • Brick

        yes, that is what i was saying. They should put that money towards otherstuff…excluding artisphere of course :-)

  • soarlslacker

    Why not require Arlington County employees making over X to live in the county? The high percentage of county employees that choose to work in Arlington, but choose not to live in Arlington these employees from having a basic understanding of what life is like for their customers–us. The “Arlington is too expensive” does not fly. The rest of us struggle to live here. Either you value what this county has to offer or you do not. Why not favor local residents of the county in hiring? People might be motivated to work harder, longer, and better if their performance impact their everyday life. I could not be less in favor of paying/funbding county employees to live here.

    • drax

      Now that’s a good counterpoint.

      • Josh S

        Not in favor of providing financial assistance so employees could live here, but in favor of mandating that employees live here?

        Let’s not have a progressive local government that attempts to make life easier for people, instead let’s have an authoritarian local government that attempts to dictate what people can and can’t do.

        Regardless of the merits of either proposal, it’s just not a very savory comparison/juxtaposiition.

    • Tobe

      You can temper your claim about “Arlington is too expensive” not flying with the often discussed “Arlington government pays less than the surrounding jurisdictions” claims.

      • South Awwwlington

        Wasting money on ridiculous pet programs rather than staff salary is NOTHING to brag about. Instead it’s a very telling sign as to just who is important to the Board and who isn’t. Perhaps stead votes vs. votes needed to expand their majority.

        Just a thought.

    • Arlwhenver

      I got a better idea. How about reduce pay by 5 percent for employees living in DC, Falls Church or Alexandria, 10 percent for Fairfax County residents, and 15 percent in PW, Loudoun or more distant environs. Look at it as kind of a Green Tax. And it would save money!

  • Jacob

    Is this housing grant some sort of union scam where the county doesn’t have to count it as a bonus or something?

    • DSS10

      May be if you are an officer who exceeds you quota on a consistent basis?

    • novasteve

      No, it’s voting scam. These people can’t vote in County elections if they don’t live here. This will just further solidify democrat control over arlington, and doing it with taxpayer money. Shameless.

      • DSS10

        Kinda like the Chicago machine….

        • Ummm

          ACDC puts Chicago to shame……they could only dream of such electoral dominance that is here in Arl Co.

          • drax

            Dominance doesn’t equal machine.

      • for shame

        yeah that would amount to a maximum of 40 extra votes, Scandal!

      • Josh S

        Even if every single one of the county employees who took advantage of this program (should it be put in place) voted for an incumbent county board member, the total number of votes involved would be lost in the normal ebb and flow of residents into and out of the county. If the fund is $114K, we’re talking maybe a dozen votes. To try to paint this as some sort of vote-buying program is just laughable.

    • drax

      Union? As if businesses and the 1 percenters never have scams like that to get out of paying taxes or living off the company expense account.

  • DSS10

    I would like it if the home ownership grants were targeted at new teachers. This could really help in the recruitment and retention of good teachers as opposed to the soul sucking, counting my days to retirement, “I really don’t like working with kids and I don’t want to be here” senior staff(1).

    (1) Yes there are some incredible exceptions to this statement with some senior teachers who have and are truly fantastic at their jobs but there are some real dogs out there…..

    • KalashniKEV

      Even with your footnote/caveat, I think you’re bought into a myth there. There are good and bad teachers at all age and experience levels. A lot of these “new teachers” are hungover every Monday morning and just want an easy job with short hours and summers off. I’m more interested in “firing bad teachers” than “rewarding young teachers.”

      • CW

        If you called teaching an “easy job with short hours” to my 60 year old mother’s face, I don’t care how much hand to hand training you have, she would kick your butt right then and there.

        • Tabs

          Sure. I’d hate to get up that early and be “on” all the time.

          But admit it, having summers off is awesome.

          • CW

            (note I didn’t include that part in my comment – yes, it is quite awesome, although I don’t think many would last more than a couple years without it)

          • Tabs

            True. Unfortunately, summer is hellishly busy in my industry so I envy people with that time off.

          • Maria

            We don’t really have summers “off”… we just don’t work for 2 months. It’s not a vacation as there is no pay.

          • Josh S

            Even factoring in the two months off during the summer months, it’s a very difficult job.

        • drax

          Kev’s only speaking from experience with his own teachers, apparently.

        • KalashniKEV

          We all face stress in our jobs. For some reason “Teacher Stress” is supposed to be some source of pity. I don’t buy it…

          • CW

            Never said other jobs weren’t hard. You, however, did say teaching was easy. That’s all.

          • KalashniKEV

            Any job is easy when you can’t be fired…

          • Maria

            Also false.

          • KalashniKEV

            They call it “tenure.”

            It was originally conceived to protect university professors from being fired for political reasons by major donors, now it protects the right of public school teachers to slack off.

          • Maria

            I know what it is. I have it. And it’s a falsity that it means teachers “can’t” be fired. It is not as easy as “you’re fired,” but it’s not something that can’t be done.

      • DSS10

        Although there is a normal distribution to just about every population I think better teachers tend to be the younger (actually more recent graduates irregardless of age). Education programs over the last 20 years have evolved from primarily “how to make a bulletin board and discipline unruly students” to a more academic (subject based) and and developmental psychology based curriculum. These programs have also gotten more academically demanding where as in the past being a gym teacher was a profession of last resort for the highly athletic but challenged academic student (1) this is really no longer an option. Lastly, with the current economic environment, there has been a flood of very highly skilled (especially in the area of mathematics and science (STEM)) teachers graduating from state programs to assist with the training, certification, and placement of new teachers.

        (1) Again a gross generalization, one of my high school coaches has a PhD from Princeton and had taught at the Sorbonne.

        • C. Malone

          “Irregardless”? Come on. “Irrespective” or “regardless”: pick one.

          • cranky crankypants

            Lighten up. S/he clearly had older teachers.

          • DSS10

            Irregardless is “Nonstandard” which means the word is a colloquialism, not “incorrect” or not a word.

          • C. Malone

            It’s a “word” that came about due to confusion, rather than an unfilled need for colorful expression. For that reason, “ain’t” is OK as a bit of colorful folksiness, but “irregardless” just advertises a gap in knowledge–like saying “nook-ya-ler.”

          • Tabs

            C. Malone is correct.

            Stop using it.

          • Smoot

            Be that as it may, it is in my American Heritage dictionary, so it is OK to use it, irregardless of what you nerds say.

          • C. Malone

            Smoot: So is every racial slur and ultra-verboten dirty word in existence.

          • drax

            Because dictionaries can’t be wrong.

          • South Awwwlington

            Irregardless is not a word.

          • drax

            You just used it though!

          • Marc

            Irregardless is a perfectly cromulent word.

          • DSS10

            “Me fail English? Unpossible!”

          • Michael H.

            Sully and Denise use it all the time. Two fine upstanding individuals there.

        • Josh S

          I think just the opposite. Teachers with more experience have had the chance to figure out things like classroom management, pacing, clarity of instructions, grading practices. Younger teachers tend to come in with a great deal of idealism and want to try all sorts of unproven things and it’s all too easy to lose sight of the managerial things that teachers must do to really stay on top of the classroom.

      • South Awwwlington

        Don’t think I have ever encountered a hungover teacher on Monday morning.

        Typically I enjoy your point of view. In this case, you are out of line.

        • Smoot

          I can think of two notorious drinkers from when I was in Arlington schools. Not naming names, but one taught math at Williamsburg, the other English at Yorktown.

      • Maria

        Short hours? We work the same standard length day as everyone else. Actually, we get PAID for the same length day as everyone else, though many of us work longer than our contract hours on most days.

    • dk

      There is (or at least there was as of 4 years ago) a grant program for teachers who purchased homes in Arlington.

  • novasteve

    That Condo featured in some magazine, featuring lofts. You know, the Worcester or whatever it’s called on Clarendon Blvd. Why should I have to be rich to afford to live there? Why won’t people subsidize me? I’ve always wanted to live in a loft!

  • Not so fast my friend…

    The county should save that money for the lawsuit brought when a kid falls off that crazy apparatus in the photo.

  • CW

    Two points:

    1) Curious as to what percentage of people who are sure to complain about the home ownership grants work for companies who pay relocation fees to their employees?

    2) It looks like the $114k is the entirety of the fund. Not a lot of money. What would the grant per employee be? Say it was $10k, nice even number. Average property tax in Arlington is like, what, $4k? So the county makes it back in 2.5 years and then turns a profit.

    • Taxpayer Seeking Clarendon Bungalow

      1) No relocation fee. When I came here from my previous job in a lower-cost-of-living area, I didn’t even get a cost of living adjustment. Net pay cut to move here.

      2) Why any payback period at all. Housing is so desired in the area, that it would be sold without the grant/stipend/handout/bonus/waste/etc.

    • John Fontain

      Regarding point #1, a private corporation’s spending on relocation fees doesn’t come from taxpayers dollars. Therefore, I don’t think this is a good analogy.

      Regarding point #2, the property (and the resulting tax collection) will be there regardless of whether the tax is paid by a county employee or someone else. So it’s not appropriate to conclude that this program would result in an incremental revenue stream that would provide a ‘return on investment.’

      • CW

        #2 is fair. I agree. In most places, where there is capacity to absorb, the additional tax revenue would be a bonus. However, here, where you and “taxpayer” have pointed out that there is 100% saturation, you’re absolutely right that it will most likely just displace.

        #1, however, I don’t understand. Why does a private company pay relocation fees? The same reason a private company gives any perks – to obtain the best employees. Why should a public sector entity not be entitled to play by the same rules? Would you rather a good employee lose out to a private sector entity with better benefits, and our county be staffed by underqualified individuals, or would you rather the county be able to draw good talent? I am just curious. I never understood the whole oft-referenced logic that the public sector should not be able to use certain common business practices just because they are spending “taxpayer dollars”.

        • John Fontain

          A private company pays relocation fees to: (a) move an existing employee from one work location to another where they need them or (b) to help attract a new, highly desired employee.

          These don’t apply in Arlington’s situation, in which it appears they want to help pay for the housing of someone who is already an employee and whose work location is not changing.

          • CW

            I was thinking in the context of b, but it does seem that the article reads more towards focusing on existing employees. It could offset the existing transit subsidy, though.

  • novasteve

    Home ownership grant for Arlington employees is just another shameless, pathetic attempt to buy more votes with taxpayer money. They can’t vote in Arlington elections if they don’t reside here, but they can if they get this handout, to even further entrench the democrats.

    • KalashniKEV

      ^ This is the reason why.

    • ArlRes

      You’re making an assumption that 100% of the county employees are democrats. What if everyone who took this grant was a republican? Would that make you feel better about it?

      • nom de guerre

        I don’t consider myself a Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. I usually vote for who I believe is the best candidate, which is usually the lesser of two evils.

        • Josh S

          Thanks for sharing. Please go on…..

      • novasteve

        You’d have to be a fool to think that most public employees are not democrats. Especially in local government. But it is cute to watch you desperately try to deny reality so that dems can futher entrench themselves by paying people to move here so they get a vote. Great use of MY tax dollars.

    • Josh S

      Do you think that repeating your assertions makes them any more reasonable?

  • KalashniKEV

    This is the kind of blatant corruption that will put somebody behind bars soon…

    • drax

      Kev, you have stated that you believe that pretty much every single part of government is corrupt. So you’ve got a credibility problem. Keep crying wolf.

  • ArlForester

    The county board is completely out of touch if they think $114k is even a reasonable number to help ONE employee afford Arlington.

  • Personsus

    WUSA9 is so sloppy. Is the perp’s name Paterson or Parsons?

  • Car-Free Diet

    You are right. If the county board are serious about subsidizing the housing of county employees who decide to live in Arlington, they should allocate at least $1 million to give this program some real juice.

    • JamesE

      The artisphere could house at least 100 county employees

      • KalashniKEV

        House them in ASPAN and let them lead area beautification details and public improvement projects in their off hours. Make the Clarendon project residents help them too. Assign them individually to mentor a homeless person.

        They will ALL be off the welfare before you know it!
        1) County Employees
        2) Views at Clarendon Residents
        3) ASPAN Residents

        Problem solved. Problem staying solved.

  • John Fontain

    Regarding the beating and robery of the Arlington man in Baltimore, here is a video of one of the assailants, Aaron Parsons, turning himself in…

    http://www.wbaltv.com/news/30891199/detail.html

    Although Parsons has pleaded not guilty, here is a video interview with him by a local news channel in which he admits he was responsible for the devastating blow to the victim.

    Shamelessly, he says he threw the punch because the Arlington man made him fear for his safety (i.e., self defense)…

    http://www.foxbaltimore.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wbff_vid_13108.shtml

    • SouthArlJD

      I watched his interview and was found his protest that he didn’t intend any harm or try to steal anything ludicrous. He obviously made the victim think he’d taken something because while that scantily clad young lady was busy thrusting her butt into the victim’s crotch he came up and distinctly put his hand in the vic’s pocket and then started walking away. Whether he took anything or not the vic certainly had the right to think he’d just been robbed or that he’d attempted robbery and he’s clearly trying to find out what it was and get it back. Mr. Parsons also offers no explanation of why he didn’t try to stop the stripping and humiliation of the victim, and his giddiness at the scene belies his complaint that he’s just been misunderstood. Disgraceful. I hope the whole lot of them are rounded up and spend a lot of time in jail.

  • South Awwwlington

    I would much prefer county employees get the funding to live here rather than creating a magnet jurisdiction were non-residents have the same access to affordable housing funds as residents.

  • Steve85

    No comments about Emancipation Day. This topic is more important than about the other morning notes. This is a very important day in American history. We should celebrate this day and give thanks to Abe Lincoln for making everyone who lives in the USA a free man. I am a Black Man and this topic isnt dicuss enough

    • Hattie McDaniel

      The Compensated Emancipation Act, which Lincoln signed and the day commemorates, freed more than 3000 slaves in the District of Columbia only. Slavery did not officially end in the rest of the United States until after the American Civil War, which lasted until 1865.

      • Nick

        You are correct. I don’t understand why it took someone so long to notice arlnow’s error. This is the anniversary of DC Emancipation Day, when a Congressional Act began freeing the slaves of DC.

        Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation wasn’t issued until September 1862; it went into effect on January 1, 1863. And, although a very important step, it had little immediate impact on slavery as it only applied to areas not under Union military/political control at that point. Only the end of the war, and the 13th Amendment in 1865, permanently and fully abolished slavery.

        • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

          Clarified the sentence to say President Lincoln freed the slaves *in the District of Columbia.*

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