77°Scattered Clouds

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — June 7, 2012 at 8:50 am 2,569 130 Comments

CivFed Wants Separate Vote on Aquatics Center – The Arlington County Civic Federation would like the County Board to make the $42.5 million Long Bridge Park aquatics center project a standalone bond vote in November. County Manager Barbara Donnellan had proposed that that the project be included in a larger park bond that will go to Arlington voter on Nov. 6. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Garbage Survey — The Arlington County Solid Waste Bureau is seeking feedback on its trash and recycling collection services. From an email: “The County would like your input on trash and recycling services. We invite you to take this ten minute Trash and Recycling Survey and help us determine the best way to meet the County’s waste management needs. Results will be used to assess our current services and offerings.” [Survey Monkey]

Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Tomorrow — The Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner tomorrow (Friday). The keynote speaker at the event is former Virginia First Lady Anne Holton, wife of current U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine. Tickets to the event, held at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Ballston, are $125. [Arlington Democrats]

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  • wockney canker

    That survey was rubbish

  • BreakPause02

    I hate those circles in Arlington. Not because they are circles, but because the way Arlington designs them.

    The landscaping blocks visibility, making it dangerous and the stop signs are against the spirit of a circle, where all traffic entering should yield to existing traffic in circle, thus making it safer and quicker for all.

    • LVGuy

      The circles are maintained by members of the community. In this case, a sweet man who lives nearby who probably went a little far and has made the circle dangerous. That being said, drivers who use the circle can make it safer by going more slowly, but they’re not entirely to blame.

      I’d be all for trimming down the circles, but I have a feeling the same people who are freaking out about how they’re a serious threat to safety would be the same ones that would get angry about Arlington County destroying a local tax-paying citizen’s effort to beautify a neighborhood.

      The good news is that there hasn’t been an accident in the 15 or so years since the traffic circles were erected, compared to a time when there were often-serious accidents at these intersections every other month. I don’t live there anymore, but I have a very distinct memory of playing in my front lawn as a kid, only to have an accident where a car wound up exactly where I had been playing and under my dining room only five minutes later. More often than not, we weren’t allowed to play in our front yards for this reason. Another memory of another accident when I was a bit older is seeing someone’s eyeball out of it’s socket because he flew threw the windshield and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Overall, better times now despite the dangers imposed by the tall plants.

      • BreakPause02

        I think the bigger safety issue is that two entrances to the circle have a stop sign and the other two do not.

        All four entrances having a yield sign would be far safer for all.

      • Vikram

        Serious accidents at Harrison and 15th? What alternate universe were you living in?

        • LVGuy

          This is along Key Blvd, at the intersections between Highland and Veitch. No alternate universe needed, buddy.

          • CW

            I am just curious – how did going from a straight road with clear visibility and two stop signs on the side street to a straight road with a circle in the middle, entirely obscured visibility, and two stop signs on the side street reduce the number of accidents?

          • speonjosh

            Probably up there with how did the dinosaurs die in terms of deep mysteries…..

          • HamDil

            He’s probably not counting the people who run into the traffic circle.

          • LVGuy

            No clue, but it happened here and it happens elsewhere. None of them are particularly large enough to make people slow down below 25 mph, but maybe it’s something psychological.

          • LVGuy

            another strange change is that there is more traffic there now than there was in the past.

          • drax

            It’s not designed to reduce accidents, it’s designed to slow traffic. Though that does reduce accidents.

            The visibility thing is a problem though.

      • LVGuy

        *through

    • Josh S

      Didn’t like them at first, but like them now. They are attractive and way better than a four-way stop.

  • SoArl2

    know how I can tell that’s a North Arlington traffic circle?

    • nom de guerre

      The same way the rest of us can tell-hover the mouse pointer over the picture and see that it is labeled “traffic circle on Key Blvd.”

      • JamesE

        witchcraft!

      • SoArl2

        You are GOOD!!!

    • Swag

      Because you can’t see the cars across from you, obviously.

    • Kate

      Because it runs counter-clockwise?

      • thegreatGU

        +1

  • JimPB

    Kudos to the ARLCo Solid Waste Management for its continuous improvement efforts; most immediately, by seeking survey feedback on current services, e.g., size of trash and recycling containers, and possible new services, e.g., collection of food wastes (there’s a lot!) for composting (yea, a big step in progress to zero trash).

    • Arlington, Northside

      Great idea, but I really don’t look forward to a third can to drag to the curb in my underware at 6am every Tuesday morning as the trucks wake me up and I realize I forgot to set them out the night before.

    • AH

      I’m pretty sure that neighbors’ composting food waste (and we are guilty as charged, with veggies only though) is one reason why there are voles (polite word for field rats) and rabbits in our neighborhood.

      • drax

        I doubt it.

        • Washingtony

          THANKS FOR THAT

  • John Fontain

    “Voters have not turned down a county bond referendum in three decades.”

    A testament – in part – to the sly way in which the referendums aren’t written in plain English. I’d love to see the results if the wording were changed to: “Should we go into $xx million of debt to build xyz?”

    • Andy

      +1 (or +42.5 million in this case)

    • Joan Fountain

      So in other words you think the majority of voters in Arlington are too stupid to know what they are doing inside the voting booth.

      • CW

        Yes, he’s implying that our population – 60% of which has a college degree and 30% of which has a postgraduate degree, in which the average household brings in over 100k, AND where many, if not most, members of which work in or around government – is too stupid to understand complex sentences.

        • Clarendon

          It’s not really that complex of a sentence.

          Shall Arlington County contract a debt and issue its general obligation bonds in the maximum amount of XXX to do XXX.

          • John Fontain

            The sentence is not complex, but the wording in it is not plain English. Why not write it in a more straight-forward way to ensure that a higher percentage of voters understand it?

          • JamesE

            It should have been worded “Should Arlington spend $1.6 million on a god damn dog park in Clarendon so Buffy has a shiny new place to take her purse dog?”

          • Ballston

            You’re not saying it be presented in “more plain English”. You’re just proposing using a more loaded way of saying it rather than the completely neutral way it’s presented now. You’re looking for more voters to reject it becase “go into debt” automatically comes with negative connotations in people’s minds.

          • Josh S

            Bingo.

          • John Fontain

            You are projecting what you think I’m thinking into my posts and you aren’t correct. For example, I would actually support building the acquatics center.

            To be clear, I don’t care what words are chosen – it could say “Should we borrow money to…”, for example – so long as the wording is in plain English and is very straight-forward. I just want to ensure that everyone easily understands what they are voting for. I’m surprised that is so controversial.

          • speonjosh

            If your intentions are so innocent, why do you bring this up every time and why do you use language like “the sly way in which the referendums aren’t written in plain English.” You’re practically accusing the County of attempting to get one over on the public.

          • John Fontain

            speonjosh, you’re right in that I don’t know whether it is intentional or not.

          • Clarendon

            We will have to agree to disagree. I think the sentence is well formed, plain and simple English that conveys the amount of the debt, the type of debt instrument and the use of the debt-derived funds. I agree that more background information should be sought for anyone who wants to make a well-informed decision but the place for that is not on the ballot IMO.

          • sunflower

            “contract a debt”. seems straightforward to me. not to mention “$xxx”

          • John Fontain

            When you are sitting around the house with your spouse or family and are discussing buying a house or a car or taking a home equity line to do some renovations, do you say, “Honey, should we contract a debt?”

            I’m guessing the answer is no. So why use that language in a bond referendum and risk that some people may not fully understand the wording?

          • drax

            The documents you sign to take out a loan say “contract a debt” and all that stuff though. Probably because it needs to follow specific legal language.

          • John Fontain

            “The documents you sign to take out a loan say “contract a debt” and all that stuff though.”

            Nope.

          • drax

            Go ahead and suggest the exact plain English wording you think would work, John.

          • drax

            Wait, John, are you claiming that legal documents for taking out a loan are all in plain English? Really?

        • Elmer

          CW. Your population demographic explains where those 99% of the Americans who are so oppressed by the 1% live. They live in Arlington.

        • drax

          And he’s implying that he is not stupid, since he is here explaining what the language means, yet everyone else is.

        • John Fontain

          CW, I normally view your posts as being ‘the voice of reason’, so I’m disappointed in this post of yours. I’m sorry if you read into my post something that wasn’t there, but I in no way think our population is ‘too stupid’ and I’m not sure how you concluded that based on my view on the wording of referendums.

          To me, this is simply a matter of not writing the referendums in a way that could potentially be hard to understand by less sophisticated voters. I don’t see how the sophisticated voters would be harmed by having the language be more plain English and I do see how the less sophisticated voters would be helped. Given that, I’m not sure why anyone would object to making the wording more straight-forward.

          • CW

            Gotcha – nothing wrong with plain English. I agree with that. It’s just that I do think that our largely educated population can understand the current wording on a couple read-throughs, and the suggested language you proposed was indeed loaded as pointed out above. But it’s all good – I understand your intent and do not disagree with it. But what I did disagree with was your intimation that voters were being tricked into passing the bonds by means of complex wording.

          • John Fontain

            I do believe that many voters don’t fully understand what these referendums entail. I think many people read them as “Would you like a new pool?” simply because the wording is so poor.

            Not everyone in Arlington is highly educated and even some who are are not financially sophisticated. If we have a choice in wording, I see no harm in wanting to ensure the language isn’t potentially confusing. Sorry if you think my original wording was “loaded” cause i didn’t intend it to be that way.

          • CW

            Understood and agreed.

          • drax

            He’s not the only one who read it that way.

            The problem is that you claimed a cause-effect relationship between the voting and wording. You claimed people might vote differently with different wording, as if they didn’t understand what they were voting for.

          • John Fontain

            Yes, exactly. But that doesn’t mean I think people are dumb for doing so.

          • Zoning Victim

            According to a 2011 Gallup poll: 23% of Democrats say they’re either conservative or very conservative. 4% of Republicans say they’re either liberal or very liberal. 2% of the people say they have no opinion on where they fall in the very conservative to very liberal scale. I’m thinking a lot of people don’t understand what they’re voting for…

          • speonjosh

            I’m not sure how the first three sentences of your post have anything to do with the last.

            That said, I agree with you – a lot of people don’t understand what they’re voting for. But you could pass a law that all ballot initiatives must be written using only a list of the simplest 100 words in the English language, and still a lot of people wouldn’t understand what they are voting for. It might be for different reasons, though…..

        • Andrew

          I know many, many people who have post-graduate degrees and make over $100k a year that are complete idiots.

          • AH

            That perfectly describes me.

            I agree that the ballot initiatives should be written in plain English. I received A’s in every English or related class I’ve ever taken; I review and draft complex documents for a living; I earn what would be a lovely salary if we lived in any place with a lower cost of living than North Arlington – and I still have difficulty interpreting the ballot initiatives. So I must be an idiot.

            I would love plain English ballot initiatives. An example might be, “Should the county incur $xxx in debt in order to fund [Y infrastructure]?” or even “Should the County contract $xxx in debt and issue bonds to fund [Y infrastructure]?” Although such a sentence was paraphrased by another commenter defending the current sort of wording, I have never seen a ballot initiative phrased that clearly.

      • Plain English Please

        Uninformed does not mean stupid. The suggestion was to provide an accurate and simple statement, which does not appear to be controversial if one believes that governments should be truthful and honest when communicating to citizens.

        I would like the statement on the ballot to include additional information about the total outstanding debt so that the voter would know that they are adding $XXX debt to the existing $xxx,xxx,xxx debt. Whenever I have to make a major purchase using debt, I need to know how much other debt I have — the same should happen when the government is asking for more debt. Obviously every voter can take time to dig through the government’s website in hopes of finding the same information, but a simple sentence on the ballot would be most helpful.

        • drax

          I agree that the language should be simple.

          But to imply that most voters vote a certain way because it’s not simple is insulting.

        • Josh S

          The existing statement is accurate and simple. It is not dishonest. Nor could you argue that wording of the statement somehow attempts to obscure anything.

          With that as a starting point, the question would be why add the proposed sentences? And if you add those sentences, why not add other sentences? Who decides what the magical “complete picture” is?

          If states with more complicated referenda, like California, can somehow manage, I think we can manage with maintaining a simple and concise ballot. It is part of the responsibility of voting to educate yourself on the issues.

          • John Fontain

            Josh S., maybe it would be helpful if you could explain the harm you see in putting the wording into plain English, namely, writing it in a way that the average person would speak about the matter when discussing it with a friend or family member. I doubt most people would use the wording “contract a debt” when talking about borrowing money.

          • brif

            When people talk about borrowing money, they will use the wording “take out a loan.” When a county talks about borrowing money, it will use the wording “contracting a debt and issue general obligation bonds.” Your idea of “plain English” is a disservice to the community because it does not explain the manner in which the county will borrow money.

          • John Fontain

            “Your idea of “plain English” is a disservice to the community because it does not explain the manner in which the county will borrow money.”

            What good does it to do explain the technical manner in which we will borrow the money if some voters don’t even understand that we are borrowing money in the first place?

            And why can’t they explain how the money will be borrowed in plain English as well? For example: “Should we borrow $xx to build xyz? The money we borrow would be through debt called abc-type bonds, which means…..”

          • drax

            This is legal stuff, John. You can’t just use plain English all the time. If it said “take out a loan” that might mean the county can go get a loan at a local bank, but not sell bonds.

          • brif

            voters can understand the meaning of the words borrow, debt, and bonds just fine. Every voter has borrowed at some point in their lives and the language in a loan, mortgage, lease, credit application, contract, etc. is a lot more complex than the language in a bond referendum.

          • John Fontain

            drax said: “This is legal stuff, John. You can’t just use plain English all the time. If it said “take out a loan” that might mean the county can go get a loan at a local bank, but not sell bonds.”

            Sounds like you don’t think county employees are bright enough to figure out a way to explain the manner in which the county would borrow money in plain English. I think they can and should.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “voters can understand the meaning of the words borrow, debt, and bonds just fine.”

            I guess that’s your way of saying you don’t want to answer the two simple questions I posed to you?

          • brif

            i did answer your two questions by rejecting your premise that voters don’t understand that money is being borrowed.

          • drax

            John, you still don’t get it.

            You can’t substitute legal language for plain language sometimes, even if you want to. Legal language has specific meaning. If you don’t use the magic words, you can’t get what you want, legally.

            It’s not about whether we could, it’s about the fact that we are voting on a law, in effect, and that law must be precise and use the proper legal terms to have the intended effect.

            You’ve signed papers full of legalese, John, you know what I mean.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “i did answer your two questions”

            ok, brif. sure you did.

          • brif

            Fine.

            “What good does it to do explain the technical manner in which we will borrow the money if some voters don’t even understand that we are borrowing money in the first place?”

            VOTERS DO UNDERSTAND THAT MONEY IS BEING BORROWED.

            “And why can’t they explain how the money will be borrowed in plain English as well?”

            THE EXPLANATION OF HOW THE MONEY IS BEING BORROWED IS ALREADY IN PLAIN ENGLISH.

            Kind of ironic, you’re such an advocate of plain english yet you don’t seem to understand it.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “VOTERS DO UNDERSTAND THAT MONEY IS BEING BORROWED.”

            How do you know that all voters clearly understand these referenda? I assume you must have done a poll or something, with particular focus on at risk groups like the less educated and those with less than a comprehensive grasp of English and, in particular, legalese. Please show us the work you did to come to this conclusion.

            Alternatively, explain why you are so opposed to having the wording written in a more clear and down to earth way.

          • brif

            i’ll refer you to one of my previous posts.

            voters can understand the meaning of the words borrow, debt, and bonds just fine. Every voter has borrowed at some point in their lives and the language in a loan, mortgage, lease, credit application, contract, etc. is a lot more complex than the language in a bond referendum.

            To your second question: THE WORDING IS ALREADY CLEAR AND DOWN TO EARTH.

          • speonjosh

            Most people wouldn’t use “contract a debt” because they aren’t a government body.

            The existing language says exactly what would happen. To change it to “plain English” (whatever that means) and use something like “take out a loan” would be inaccurate and overly simplfied.

          • John Fontain

            “To change it to “plain English” (whatever that means) and use something like “take out a loan” would be inaccurate and overly simplfied.”

            Why?

          • brif

            because a “simple” statement like “Should we borrow money to…” does not explain how the money will be borrowed. How can you expect a voter to make an informed decision with your wording?

          • John Fontain

            see my response to your other comment above.

      • John Fontain

        Nope, not at all. We obviously have a highly educated population. But referendums shouldn’t be written solely with the highly educated in mind.

        I’m just saying that if we have an opportunity to word the referendum in as simple and straight-forward a way as possible to ensure that it can be easily understood by every voter, regardless of education and financial sophistication, we should do so.

        And quite honestly, I can’t see why anyone would disagree with the notion of wanting to make sure everyone can easily understand what they are voting for. If you disagree, maybe you can explain why.

        • bemused bystander

          Would you support a more complex statement that included some description of a project and its benefits for the community, as well as its cost? All in dispassionate terms, of course?

          • John Fontain

            I would have no problem with providing more information about the project. All I want is the wording to be plain English.

          • WillJohnston

            The problem is that by the time the bond issue gets to the ballot way too much planning and even spending has occurred in the planning phases. It seems silly to backtrack at that point.

            The real issue is the county does not take initial criticism seriously enough (or at all) to steer them away from projects that lots of people would rather not do.

            The issue that gets skated over by the last minute voting booth decision is “what else could we do with that money”.

            Also, since the county has a self-imposed debt ceiling, it would be nice to post that number on the ballot and show the percentage of remaining space that the particular issue would eat up.

          • kramva

            I think that they should list how many visits it will take at $5 per visit (using plain english, of course), the drop in rate at the current pools, to repay the debt. Based on that – the pool looks like a good deal or even great deal – if every Arlington resident goes to the pool 42 times in the first year (note – less than one per week!) we pay off the debt in lickity split!!

          • DCBuff

            After reading/considering all the differing thoughts on this, I come up with the following. No one has come up with a logical reason why the bond initiatives should not be worded in a more straight-forward “plain English” fashion; however, defenders of the high-spending ArlCo board have immediately lept to the ramparts to suggest that to do so insults an otherwise intelligent community. And, as has been very logically pointed out, when one takes on signficant new debt, one normally considers existing debt and the ability to pay all debt going forward. Some of the defenders apparently think that is insulting as well. Hmm.

          • brif

            the bond initiatives are already worded in plain english. That statement is in no way a defense of county spending.

          • John Fontain

            Excellent post.

            What I find so odd about the anti-plain English posters here is that many of them are the same folks who traditionally take liberal stances on issues discussed on this board (e.g., being proponents of helping immigrants, the less educated, etc.). Yet when I suggest writing the ballot in a way that will likely help these very same groups more easily understand what they are voting for, these same posters object and don’t want it to happen.

            Truly befuddling.

          • drax

            So? You’re wrong too.

          • brif

            sorry john, there are no anti-plain english posters here. There are some already-plain english posters like myself who oppose your efforts to withhold information from voters.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “your efforts to withhold information from voters.”

            You got me brif. I want to withhold information by having things explained more clearly. You are obviously highly skilled in the areas of logic and rhetoric. I give up, you won.

            :)

          • brif

            no, you want things explained in an incomplete manner, which would be less clear than already plain english.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “no, you want things explained in an incomplete manner”

            where did I say this? put up or shut up. (and before you respond, please note that I count two times in this thread where I’ve suggested providing as complete a picture as possible, all in plain English of course). Go ahead, I’m anxiously awaiting your response. Let’s see the quotes.

          • brif

            i’m more than happy to oblige

            I’d love to see the results if the wording were changed to: “Should we go into $xx million of debt to build xyz?”

            there is no way for a voter to answer this question without knowing how the county would enter into that debt. Different forms of debt securities have very different implications for the county.

          • VotersForChange

            brif, I believe there is only one type of bond that can be put on the ballot, and those are the general obligation bond.

          • speonjosh

            I believe the referendum simply authorizes the county to issue the bonds. The market will “consider existing debt and the ability to pay all debt going forward.” So far, the market has determined that Arlington is looking pretty dang clean along those lines. This news is publicized, thus completing the circle. Also, if there came a time when the market did downgrade us to junk status, I doubt that the county would be seeking to issue new bonds.

            Generally, the burden is on the person proposing a change. No one has, uh, “logically” shown that the existing language is not sufficient. It’s all speculative. “Oh, little Johnny Voter can’t understand what he’s voting for because the meany, evil County Board is tricking all the sheeple by using such fancy-schmancy high falutin’ words that they only teach up there in that ivory tower on the hill…” Etc.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “i’m more than happy to oblige”

            How does that limit, in any way, what the county could say about the referendum. And I like how you conveniently missed my other statements such as:

            “To be clear, I don’t care what words are chosen so long as the wording is in plain English and is very straight-forward.” (Notice how that doesn’t limit the desription of the offering?)

            “Why can’t they explain how the money will be borrowed in plain English as well?” (Here I’m inviting a plain English description of the full details of the borrowing).

            “Sounds like you don’t think county employees are bright enough to figure out a way to explain the manner in which the county would borrow money in plain English. I think they can and should.” (Here I’m explicitly calling for the county to make the disclosures you so desire, but in plain English).

            brif, you really make your argument credible by falsely claiming that I’m against full disclosure. it’s laughable, really.

          • John Fontain

            speonjosh said: “No one has, uh, “logically” shown that the existing language is not sufficient. It’s all speculative.”

            Two questions:

            1. Is the current language plain English (i.e., the kind of language that regular people would use when talking about borrowing money for something)?

            The answer is clearly no.

            2. Since the language is not plain English, why not make it so?

          • brif

            no, your contradictory statements are the only thing laughable in this thread.

            “To be clear, I don’t care what words are chosen so long as the wording is in plain English and is very straight-forward.”

            From the 2010 ballot: Shall Arlington County contract a debt and issue its general obligation bonds in the maximum amount of $18,065,000 to finance, together with other available funds, the cost of various capital projects for County facilities, land acquisition, and infastructure?

            By your logic this is plain english and very straight forward, it explains how the money will be borrowed, how much money could be borrowed, and what the money will be used for.

            Obviously this language is different from regular folks talking about borrowing money; it’s legally binding. you honestly sound like you’ve never entered into a legal agreement in your life.

          • brif

            Actually, i change my last statement. A “regular” person “talking” about borrowing EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLARS (a very common amount among “regular” people as i understand them) absolutely would use language similar to that of a bond referendum.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “you honestly sound like you’ve never entered into a legal agreement in your life.”

            Given my professional background, your statement is beyond ironic. You do realize that much of the push for plain English disclosure comes from the very professions that often don’t make use of it (historically), don’t you?

            Look, you’ve made it clear you don’t want plain English without explaining why. That’s your choice. I, for one, can’t see why it hurts.

          • brif

            i find your “professional background” hard to believe given the lack of reading comprehension you’ve displayed here. As i’ve repeatedly said, THE LANGUAGE ALREADY IS PLAIN ENGLISH.

          • drax

            John, please propose better language. Write exactly how you would phrase the referendum, so we can see if it would work.

          • John Fontain

            brif said: “As i’ve repeatedly said, THE LANGUAGE ALREADY IS PLAIN ENGLISH.”

            Well, since you shouted it in all caps, it must be so.

          • drax

            John, still waiting for your proposed alternative.

          • Naturalized

            Perhaps english is not John Fontain’s native tongue. Maybe we should have some sympathy for him that the plain english wording that is already on the ballot is not adequate for his understanding. Voting is important and the ballot should be in multiple languages.

          • AH

            Since John appears to be at work and I am playing hooky, I’ll suggest language. I can see how the language I suggested above would not meet the desires of current ballot initiative drafters. And yet my tenth grade English teacher insisted that concise language was one of the best ways to effectively convey meaning. I clearly stray from her directive, but how about the following?

            “Should Arlington County borrow as much as $18,065,000 to finance certain County facilities projects, acquire land, and build infrastructure? In this case, ‘borrow’ means contract a debt by issuing general obligation bonds. The projects financed would be capital projects; the largest three are [insert brief descriptions here].”

            And there you go! I’ve thus put a somewhat simple summary sentence up front, and then followed it with a few sentences which add the more confusing (to an average person) but essential (to a county official) language. To describe the projects, try to stick to brief but concrete words that we the voters can understand – for example: “replacing leaking roof on X Building, purchasing land and building more classrooms for Y School [don't I wish! schools are heading past max capacity in our area], and building a third arts center [because there's nothing more cheering for people who have lost their jobs and are economizing on groceries than a poorly advertised performance facility].”

            It might help if the drafters put together a list and prioritize it in importance -what voters will want to know. And yes, poll some voters – a nice set of random samples with no prompting. You might be surprised at what info people want to know about a ballot initiative. For example:

            Possible Facts
            Amount of Loan
            What we’re doing with it -what will be acquired (you might even be surprised to hear that some voters will understand “buy” better than “acquire”) – for example, putting in a trolley line on Columbia Pike, building more room in the schools because we’re running out of places to put students in trailers, a reasonable marketing budget so people will actually find out about and attend Artisphere performances….
            Alternatives to the proposal – for example: the county proposes that it could do without the loan if it reduces utilities payments at county-assisted properties (as when the county stopped watering the Arlington Arts Center’s lawn near here a few years ago – I suppose they regretted the amount they’d spent on the landscaping and thus decided to cut back on the water bills, which resulted in a lot of dead young plants and then I suppose plant-removal costs) etc.
            How the loan will be taken out.
            More details on how the loan will be taken out.
            Even more details on the financing, because it is just that fascinating.
            Additional information regarding the borrowing, or money expected to be received (let’s think positive), because we care.
            Etc.

          • nom de guerre

            This thread reminds me of the one that discussed 75 new jobs, or was it 75 new old jobs, or maybe 75 existing new jobs….

          • Observer

            Notice any commonalities between the two?

        • speonjosh

          All of this argumentation aside, I do think that separating out the aquatic center is not a bad idea, with the possible caveat that it might set a precedent that would then require voting on every individual proposed park, etc. Of course, this might not be a bad thing – I tend to believe we might be better off with a little more direct democracy. (Prop 13 notwithstanding…..)

      • Josh S

        deja vu all over again.

  • Hattie McDaniel

    The Hydrangeas are spectacular this year.

    • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

      where can i see such a showing as in the picture above? great looking flowers.

      • Hattie McDaniel

        They are all over. When you are sniffing around looking for a place to hike your leg, keep your eyes open and you will see them.

        • kramva

          they’re real- and they’re spectacular!!

          • Juanita de Talmas

            Did someone say they were fake?

          • drax

            You don’t have every line from Seinfeld memorized like the rest of us, do you Juanita?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL2PicT9Kng

          • Juanita de Talmas

            No hydrangeas for me!

          • drax

            Nice comeback! You are exonerated.

        • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

          LOL gotcha. *howls & hunts for hydrangeas*

  • j

    ArlNow: any chance you plan to remove that disgusting post re the Special Olympics story.

    Wake Up!

    • Jennifer

      You know, you can email Arlnow if you have a problem with content.

      http://www.arlnow.com/about/

    • Mike Hunt

      There was no disgusting post – it can be more easily attributed to reading comprehension fail. Not to say that Mr. TG hasn’t had questionable posts before – just not this time.

    • JamesE

      Think of the children!!!!

  • CW

    I ride my bike through this circle twice a day. LOVE the hydrangeas. HATE that they completely obscure the view of oncoming cars that come blasting around the circle at 40 mph trying to kill me.

    • TGEo^

      I guess the people who installed that circle were voted in by stupid people.

      • CW

        I don’t think landscapers and landscape architects are elected around here, but I could be wrong…

  • SouthArlGuy

    There is also a sign at this particular cirlce asking (or telling) people not to cut any of the hydrangeas. Makes me even more tempted to do so just b/c they look amazing bunched up in a vase! :)

  • barry

    Another new residential development, another new swimming pool. Has anyone done a swimming pool census recently?

  • MC

    Do I understand the Sun article to say that $42 million swimming pool may really cost $72 million when all done? This is an enormous sum. Let voters decide what to fund!

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