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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — August 1, 2012 at 8:54 am 4,348 83 Comments

Fairfax Approves Pike Streetcar — By a vote of 7-2, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to build a streetcar line along Columbia Pike from Pentagon City to the Skyline area of Fairfax. The vote gives Fairfax and Arlington, which approved the project last week, the opportunity to apply for federal funding. Fairfax Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova said of the project: “The streetcar will relieve congestion and present economic development opportunities for the Skyline area and serve a population with the demonstrated support and need for transit.” [Washington Post, Washington Examiner]

Moran Leads Fundraising Race — Incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) has out-raised his Republican opponent by a factor of more than eight. As of June 30, Moran raised $813,000 and had $308,000 cash on hand, compared to the $98,000 raised and $55,000 cash on hand for Republican challenger Patrick Murray. Independent candidate Jason Howell had $1,900 cash on hand. [Sun Gazette]

Defense Contractors Rally Against Cuts — Worried about the $500 billion in automatic defense spending cuts which will go into effect next year unless Congress acts, defense contractors held a rally in Crystal City on Monday. Among those in attendance was Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who joined local congressmen and business leaders in decrying the potential for more than 200,000 job losses in Virginia as a result of the cuts. [Patch]

  • drax

    Defense contractors rallying in the street to protest budget cuts. Only in DC.

    • Charles

      Nonsense. The streetcar won’t reduce congestion whatsoever. The few car gaps that appear at first will quickly get filled up, and then there’ll be the same number of cars PLUS the damn streetcars blocking the way.

      Council & BOard people who want to streetcar are merely hoping to “claim” this as their personal legacy, or to channel money to their favorite contractors. It won’t really help Arlington taxpayers & drivers at all.

      • Bender

        **The streetcar will relieve congestion**
        ____________

        So, inserting a large stop-and-go vehicle on existing lanes, with built-in hazards and obstructions in the street (making bicycling dangerous and risking damage to car tires), is supposed to reduce traffic?

        And yet, these same kind of people tell us that adding additional lanes to roadways, thereby immediately increasing available road by one-fourth to one-third, will by adding those empty lanes, actually cause more congestion.

        • happycyclist

          Have you tried biking around Baileys crossroads lately? Its not very bike friendly.

        • Josh S

          It’s a wonder you ever leave your house at all, with all your fears….

  • Enough already

    Moran is such a dope. Stop electing him people……

    • novasteve

      This is arlington, we vote for the name with the (D) after it despite any other factor.

      • WeiQiang

        … or we don’t

        • novasteve

          Or we don’t? I suppose that’s why everyone we elect has a (D) after their name, because we don’t?

          • WeiQiang

            You said “despite any other factor”. You’re prone to hyperbole, but even that doesn’t pass the giggle test.

      • drax

        Do you always vote for people with an R after their name, steve?

        • novasteve

          No. In fact I’ve never even voted for a Presidential candidate that has won since 2000. However, that’s not the situation in arlington. Every elected official has a (D) after their name, not an (R).

          • SteamboatWillie

            No winning presidential candidates since 2000? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to say you voted for John Kerry?

          • novasteve

            Gore too.

          • Vision Quest

            Bravo Steve, Bravo

            I am surprised.

          • Vision Quest

            although Bush in 2000 wasn’t that bad, voting for him in 2004 would be real bad though after the whole Iraq thing.

          • drax

            Next question – how did you learn to read minds, steve?

    • Id

      Drunk and Irish is no way to go through life, son.

  • JnA

    Supervisors Frey and Herrity are right, it’s a huge and unnecessary expense. Fifty million bucks for streetcars to cross Leesburg Pike and turn around at Skyline.

    • Bender

      By the way, who owns that property at Skyline where the streetcar would turn around? Isn’t that private property?

      And where is it going to turn around? Directly across Leesburg Pike from S. Jefferson are a couple of office roadways and a ramp down into a parking garage.

      • Andy

        If they’re like the streetcars in Geneva, they don’t need to phyiscally turn around. There are driving positions on both ends, like Metro.

      • Clarendon

        Vernado

  • Josh S

    I loved his line about people being “dumbed down and fattened up.” Wow. That’s awesome.

  • E

    Enough Defense Contractors, too many that do nothing. So happy about this.

    • Id

      Just more additions to the unemployment rate.

      • WeiQiang

        Leaning out how DoD does business can save money without costing jobs. This is the false argument being floated, so thanks for raising it. The US aerospace industry is already critically short of technical expertise (engineering and manufacturing), a problem which is exacerbated in the defense sector where employees must be US citizens. Reducing DoD’s budget smartly and focusing on the needed skill sets that actually deliver high-capability systems to our Warfighters is the way to go. As the ersatz
        ‘Occupy Pentagon’ event suggest, the retired admirals/generals/SESs who populate the upper echelons of the defense business are warning the current crop of admirals/generals/SESs that they might not get all the perks and prestige they thought they would if the sequestration happens.

    • honestly

      If there weren’t so many government employees who don’t do anything in their jobs because they either had some priority getting in (vet status, mil. spouse, or they’ve been in the system for years because they got in at a good time with any form of degree when it wasn’t as competitive) then we’d have people filling positions in the government who actually DO their jobs and the need for contractors would be much lower… contractors get a bad reputation based on what little people know about the types of jobs that the majority fill, and for that matter the money the individuals make doing it regardless of what their company may be making off of the positions (though there are glorified few who claim to be specialists and consultants, etc. that make a ton of money, there are more of them doing the grunt work at admin levels that when filled by unqualified proprity GS employees wouldn’t get the job done).

      All I’m saying is be careful without proof to back it up that there are “too many that do nothing” when referring to contractors and maybe look inside at the system in place and the actual government employees where there’s 1 hard worker for every 5 people sitting in their spots simply clocked in from 9:01-4:59 (with their hour for lunch at exactly noon no matter what needs to be done).

      • honestly

        *proprity = priority. Autocorrect and fat fingers… grr ;-)

      • Vision Quest

        I’ve been both a contractor and a fed…currently neither :)

        What you say has some truth, but it is hardly the only factor. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t too many contractors, or that contracts or awarded for superfluous things, or contracts are awarded at prices way too high because the government’s procurement arm is totally outclassed by his counterparts across the table.

        We can all agree that federal workforce needs to become more flexible.

        If you fired the feds who don’t do anything, I’m pretty sure they go straight on unemployment, some permanently. And the ones that don’t do anything tend to come from places like PG County, if you get my drift. But that is another reason why it will never happen.

  • Jon

    While I sympathize with anyone who would lose their job, I don’t feel sympathy for the defense industry, which has ballooned in size over the last decade.

    • Osama

      There’s a reason for that

      • WeiQiang

        and that reason would be … ??

        • VC

          Two Bush wars

          • Id

            4 years later and still blaming Bush. Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter a worse economy than Obama got. At this time in Reagan’s presidency (1984), there were 500,000 jobs a month being created and the economy was growing at 7.6%. How? Cuttng taxes and letting businesses do what they do — create jobs. Even Clinton cut the tax rate to get the economy going when we hit a recession in the early 1990s. Let people keep what they make, they spend and invest.

          • jackson

            How can one NOT blame Bush for two unfunded wars?

            Oh right, the cost of the wars has nothing to do with the deficit.

          • JohnB

            Fact check: Clinton cut taxes on the middle class and raised taxes on the well off.

          • Jon

            1) The 2008 hit was worse than Carter’s
            2) If public sector employment stayed at what it was in December ’08, instead of being gutted, unemployment rate would be under 6%
            3) Which is because of this idiotic austerity that some republicans keep pushing, with no evidence of it working

            PS. Hey, remember all those tax increases Reagan signed in his first few years in office?

            Here are sources, not that GOPers really believe in “facts”
            1) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aNivTjr852TI
            2) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/08/1107585/-Without-GOP-Unemployment-would-be-under-6
            3) http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2828224/posts

          • Tabby_TwoTone

            Austerity is working out great for Europe. /sarcasm

          • Josh S

            Tax rates for the upper earners remain very low. Where are the jobs now? Where is the magical “spend and invest?” It’s more like “hoard and move offshore.”

            Since the 1980s, income disparity between the richest 1/5th of the country and the rest of the country has grown. Income and wealth disparity in the US is now the worst (except for Great Britain) of any country in the developed world.

            Trickle down has pretty thoroughly been debunked. Repeated tax cuts for the wealthy over the years have done wonders for the wealth of the 1% but we are still in a major economic funk today. If cutting taxes was the solution, why hasn’t it worked?

            If the nation’s economy truly is dependent on consumers, then it’s the consumers that are the engines of growth. Those with the capital may create companies, but if there ain’t nobody to buy their product, then that company ain’t gonna grow and they ain’t gonna hire more people, etc.

          • Ryan

            Most people who claim that trickle down is a failure probably buy products made outside the US and have consulting/contractor jobs where they don’t actually make any product that a US consumer could take advantage of. In other words, they do everything they can do to work against trickle down, and brag about it.

          • Josh S

            So you’re saying it’s the American consumers’ fault? For not buying American?
            But the 1% who got the tax cuts and own a massive and growing share of all wealth in the nation are the ones who closed down the plants, pressured states to pass “Right to Work” laws, dismantled the private pension system, kept wages stagnant, etc, etc, etc.
            But it’s the fault of each of us for not buying American. Uh-uh. Sure.

          • Observer

            Be that change you want to see my friend.

          • drax

            Most people buy foreign stuff because nobody in America makes anything any more, dude.

          • Observer

            Nobody has time to make stuff, because they want to post on the internet all day complaining about how they don’t make enough money.

            You are the problem, dude.

    • Josh S

      Ditto.

      Ballooned in size since the 1950s.

      I gotta figure that defense contractor CEOs will have a hard time drumming up much sympathy. Eventually, they’ll figure out a way to tie it to “America’s Heroes” and those “fighting for our freedoms” and score a lot more points that way…..

  • WeiQiang

    I think there was talk of an ‘Occupy Pentagon’ movement by the defense contractors at yesterday’s event. Then some smart guy realized that DCA has only so much ramp space and couldn’t accomodate all the G650s and Global 8000s.

    • WeiQiang

      … Monday’s event. The hospitality tent was open until 3am yesterday, but it was still held Monday.

  • JA

    Will relieve congestion? How? Every new office or apartment building on King Street – Rt 7 Pike adds hundreds of new parking spaces to a corridor already congested with traffic.

    • drax

      Will everyone drive every day?

    • Fairfaxian

      Baileys, Culmore are lousy areas. Already have lots of density, yet mediocre transit, unpleasant for walking. By putting rail tranist in place, we can create new development (to pay for the transit and more) and create a more urban, walkable environment. The transit usage (including on an extension to Seven Corners, and perhaps beyond to Tysons) will absorb some of the demand for transport from that new density, and increases in walking and biking will be perhaps even more important. If more people can live close in (rather than in autocentric areas further out), it will relieve congestion not only on I395, but around the region

      • Clarendon

        That Pho place at Culmore is good. I eat there all the time. Edy’s chicken is also the best down the road.

        • novasteve

          Pho Tay Ho? How good is it?

          • Clarendon

            On a scale of 1-10, its a solid 7, IMO. I really like their hot sauce. They have the standard Sriracha, but it’s the other stuff I like. Maybe they make it in house.

        • WeiQiang

          It used to be one of my go-to places, but it has declined over the years IMO. I’ve found Viet House on Rt 1 near S. Kings Hwy to be one of the better pho houses. Not keen on Pho 50, Pho 75 [sorry to the devotees] or any of the places in Eden Center.

          • novasteve

            I’ve driven by the Viet House on Richmond Highway before on my way to Aldi. Maybe I’ll stop be there some time. That drive is SUCH a pain though.

          • WeiQiang

            You’re right. NO easy way to get there.

      • Ted

        Bull. Mixed Use Fantasies promoted and promulgated by Froyos, Lance Wannabes, and 2100 Trolls.

        • Fairfaxian

          I like biking and like eating frozen yogurt. I dont know why that makes my opinion less worthy than yours.

          I dont know what 2100 trolls means.

          • WeiQiang

            I’ll take a stab at it … It took me a while to decipher this, because someone accused me of being one. Apparently, there are some posters here who believe that employees of Arl Co contribute to ArlNow comments, sometimes in favor of County intiatives, during their workday at their offices at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

          • UA

            +1

    • Josh S

      This is called not being able to see the forest for the trees.

      It’s a relative reduction. The streetcar is not magic. It will not reduce congestion in absolute terms (except maybe in the very short term). It will, however, reduce congestion compared to what would have been without it.

      If you don’t provide alternatives, then everyone is stuck making the same choice – pulling the car out of the driveway. With the streetcar, some of the people riding it every day will have chosen to ride it instead of drive to their destination. Thus the reduced congestion.

      • Id

        The Street Car is not magic, but the next time travelling vehicle for Doctor Who.

  • bobco85

    Reminds me of a former President’s speech:

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    - President Eisenhower in his last address to the nation in 1961

    That said, I’m too cynical to believe that Congress will actually cut defense spending in an election year, but my fingers are crossed ;)

    • Josh S

      Nice quote. And certainly quite appropriate. This should be featured prominently in whatever memorial finally gets built for him.

      Couple of reactions:

      1. The proposed Gehry design is monstrously terrible. I certainly hope the Sec of Interior can quietly fire him in the middle of the night and we can start over from square one on this.

      2. Eisenhower notes that “only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” can keep the military industrial complex in check.
      It’s been fifty years since he made the warning and the military/industrial complex has only grown. Moran’s wording may have been a bit over the top, but there was much underlying truth in what he said. The oligarchy has no need for an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry.” And so, we do not have one. (Not much, at least.)

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    It’s not easy being green.

  • JamesE

    As someone in the defense industry I agree that there need to be cuts. Too much redundancy and useless people (excluding those who post on ARLnow.com forums during working hours).

    • WeiQiang

      With you completely. The system would actually perform better [translation: more capability in the hands of the Warfighters for less money] if it was leaner and better managed/led.

    • drax

      There’s also too much redundancy and useless people.

      • WeiQiang

        … brought on by an inability or unwillingness to manage effectively.

        • drax

          And also brought on by an inability or unwillingness to manage effectively.

  • Jon

    Additionally, it’s been over ten years since the last time we weren’t at war. Maybe we should ensure that we return to peacetime spending and not keep this level up to be the “new normal”.

    • WeiQiang

      Let’s hope that $12B aircraft carrier hasn’t sailed.

  • NoVapologist

    I hope they cut defense too, but that’s not really the problem:

    “While 14 cents of every federal dollar not going to interest was spent
    on entitlements in 1962, today that amount is 47 cents. By 2030, 61 cents
    of every non-interest dollar will go toward funding these programs.”

    Source: http://www.thirdway.org

    • Josh S

      Right.

      Too bad the other half of the sequestration will fall on discretionary spending instead of entitlement spending. So – fewer FDA inspectors, closed national parks, less help for the nation’s educational institutions, etc. This is the potential tragedy of the inability to raise taxes and enact entitlement reform.

      • Ted

        U.S. population was 205 million in 1970, 226 million in 1980, 248 million in 1990, 281 million in 2000, and 308 million in 2010. Let’s keep fighting wars in the Third World at $1 Trillion to $2 Trillion per war. See what happens in 2030 when the U.S. population is 365 million.

        • drax

          And?

    • Jon

      Agreed. Entitlement reform is needed, and both sides are equally to blame in this not happening.

    • Mc

      70% of federal government contracts are from DoD.

  • Tre

    I guess that means the Arlington housing market has peaked…

  • Ted

    U.S. National Debt is $14 Trillion. Interest on the National Debt is $1 Billion per day.

  • JnA

    Ted, 2030 is 17 1/2 years away. Kid born today will just be graduating high school. How about 2062? How about a U.S. population of 425 million in 50 years?

  • wut

    what amazes me is how Obama didn’t adopt a single recommendation of his own bipartisian deficit commission. how is that leadership on the debt issue?

  • Mc

    The Defense draw down in the 1990s was ultimately healthy for the DC region. It helped promote entrepreneurial firms that were crowded out by heavy Defense spending. There’s far too much waste and deadwood currently that needs pruning.

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