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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — October 2, 2012 at 9:05 am 3,800 53 Comments

Clarendon Crash Suspect Has Long Record — The suspected DUI driver in a critical pedestrian accident in Clarendon over the weekend has a long history of driving violations, including speeding, unsafe lane changes and reckless driving. [Washington Post]

N. Va. Senior Olympics Wrap Up — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics has wrapped up after distributing 94 Gold medals, 68 Silver medals and 41 Bronze medals over the course of two weeks. Some of the Senior Olympics events were held at Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington. [Arlington Mercury]

Arlington Wages Rising Slower than Average — Wage growth in Arlington for the first quarter of 2012 was 4.3 percent year-over-year. That’s below the national average of 5.4 percent wage growth. The average gross yearly salary for those who work in Arlington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $84,084. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Damiec

  • CrystalMikey

    RE: Clarendon crash driver, why am I not surprised.

    • w

      Yeah, because 99% of the people around here don’t drive the exact same way. Hypocrites.

      • JamesE

        He probably drives better than all the people I saw in the rain this morning.

        • CW

          66 and the Parkway looked like parking lots and everyone downtown was suicidal this morning.

      • DCBuff

        99% of us drive reckless and drunk? Of course, I’m sure you are the 1%.

      • dk (not DK)

        This comment is patently ridiculous.

  • novasteve

    Maybe he’ll get a ignition BAC tester this time?

    • arlmimprov

      That will cure the drunk driving problem–HOWEVER- it will not cure his reckless driving problem. This guy was a menace on the roads even when he was stone cold sober. May he never be behind the wheel again.

      • Becoming indifferent

        And it won’t change the fact he’s from Maryland. Worst. Drivers. Ever.

      • DCBuff

        Exactly! Steve, why should he ever, ever be allowed to hold a car key in his miserable hands again?

  • Alex

    No surprise on lower wage growth. Isn’t the Federal gov’t employee pay increase freeze still in effect?

    • Autoexec.bat

      It’s mostly a fake pay freeze. They still get step increases, bonuses (where applicable) and promotions. The only thing they’re not getting is a COLA.

      • False

        Clearly you are not a fed. It’s not just a COLA change (i.e., locality pay) but any annual adjusments in base salary for inflation. Step increases in my agency are almost always merit-based in lieu of bonus or promotion. And bonuses? I received $200 last year after being nominated for an award.

        • Court House Res

          Your agency must suck then. I just left the federal government and everything was still fair game except COLA. Everyone is still getting their promotions, yearly step increases, and bonuses. In fact, I know of an SES that received a 40k bonus!!

          • DCBuff

            GSA?

        • Autoexec.bat

          Only a Fed would push back about the freeze being fake and then, in the very next sentence, talk about merit-based promotions still being given.

          You do realize that for the vast majority of Americans, most of whom don’t work for the Federal government, a pay “freeze” means zero increase in pay, right? Hence a fake freeze.

          • drax

            No, a pay freeze means whatever the employer says it means.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            AE is still correct – and your No statement is logically invalid – even if a pay freeze means whatever the employer says – his point is that in almost all non-govt cases it means 0 increase not every normal increase except a COLA.

          • drax

            A pay freeze is whatever an employer says it is, so saying that the federal pay freeze is fake is dumb.

      • drax

        How is that not a pay freeze though? How does it not affect wage growth?

        • DCBuff

          And, not only is it a pay freeze impacting wage growth, the longterm impact lowers retirement income.

        • Autoexec.bat

          Because frozen implies no movement. Clearly the vast majority of Federal employees are seeing their wages increase during the so-called freeze, it’s just not coming from a COLA.

          I never said it didn’t affect wage growth, I just said it’s not a real “freeze” as the term is commonly understood. I hear Federal employees complaining about their wage “freeze” when it turns out that their paychecks are still increasing year-over-year.

          • DCBuff

            Vast majority? Bold and unsubstantiated statement. Where are your statistics? My salary has not grown one farthing during the freeze. And, the freeze also impacts takehome, as a static salary must pay for rising health insurance and retirement pay-in costs. So, yes, movement–negative movement.

          • Autoexec.bat

            I am sorry that your salary has not increased during the so-called “freeze.” I really am. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s not a “freeze” as its commonly used. Whether or not it’s the vast majority is unclear as I don’t have a supercomputer to run the numbers, but you can go to the 2010 and 2011 Federal employee salary databases and see *numerous* instances of year-over-year salary increases and bonuses right before your eyes.

            It’s all here in black and white. There is no pay freeze, end of story.

            http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2012/10/obama-makes-pay-freeze-extension-official/58476/?oref=dropdown

          • Patrick

            It’s a payscale freeze but employees are still able to move up the scale.

          • drax

            I would complain about that too.

            Thanks for noting that the term “pay freeze” is more complicated than it sounds. Duh.

    • Buckingham Bandit

      The more likely answer is that Arlington wages dropped less in the first place, leaving less room for growth this time around.

      Same reason why third-world countries tend to have GDP growth rates near or at double digits quite often, where developed countries really don’t aim to be above 5%.

      • Eric

        +1000

        Pretty simple

    • AbeFroman

      Ironic that local wage growth is stagnant, yet home prices continue to approach bubble peaks.

      Something isn’t adding up.

      • Buckingham Bandit

        Perhaps consumer preference is shifting, thus changing aggregate market demand?

        Not all prices rises are necessarily speculative, and I don’t know how much room there is in Arlington to meet demand simply by building McMansions or overpriced condos.

        Sometimes prices increases are justified.

      • Alex

        Keep interest rates low so folks can buy more home for less mortgage?

  • Buckingham Bandit

    In other words, the higher growth rates in the rest of America reflect the fact that wages out there dropped more during the recession, and thus will grow at a faster rate in order to catch back up.

  • Michael H.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of car drivers who drive recklessly, and not just when they are drunk. (I don’t think too many drivers are drinking and driving in mid-day and in the afternoons. Then again, some of them might be driving after downing a few at happy hour.) Texting while driving, websurfing on a smartphone while driving, and talking on a handheld phone while driving are just as reckless and dangerous as drunk driving. And yet, there seems to be more tolerance for those behaviors than for drunk driving.

    There should be less acceptance in general for all of those behaviors.

    There’s also a strange acceptance of the death toll caused by many car drivers, locally and nationwide. There is some concern expressed when particular people are killed in accidents, but not as much concern about the fact that tens of thousands of people are killed annually by car drivers in the U.S. A few people are killed by cyclists each year. When one of those incidents occurs, people here and on other news websites get apoplectic, condemning cyclists in general and calling them a menace to society. But none of those people seem to think there is a problem with driver behavior in general when a car driver kills someone.

    There is justifiable concern over deaths among military personnel overseas. But why is there so much less concern about the thousands of civilians that are killed by stupid and avoidable driving behavior in the U.S. every year? (This is not meant to be a political statement about military fatalities.)

    • Clarendon

      There are people that should not be allowed to drive as they are incompetent or too aggressive to be entrusted with such a deadly piece of equipment. However, I think that is a rather small percentage (maybe 5%).

      The bigger, mor ubiquitous problem is habituation to the automobile environment. A large percentage of people spend a good portion of their day, every day in their car. Cars today are designed to isolate you from the noises, and feel of the environment around you. This leads to a feeling of comfort. People feel like they are in their den and have their tunes and their drink and their food and telephone and often forget they are responsible for operating a potentially deadly machine. I’ve been in cars with the nicest, most caring people cruising down a street with people about at 35mph and they just don’t realize what they are doing because it is such a common, comfortable thing they are doing. Drivers (especially when in mixed-user areas) really should be on edge like they are landing the space shuttle whenever they are driving but most people just can’t maintain that level of diligence.

    • CW

      Why can’t we just go to a German-style model where driving is an earned priviledge that can be lost when you pull some stupid crap like this?

      • Ren

        That’s a really good point. This seems like a case where the laws doesn’t really meet common sense. Looking at the article, I count about 4 – some pretty severe and multi-citation – driving offenses in the last 6 months, prior to this one.

        Maybe there should be a statutory ‘timeout’ and a simple code provision that takes the driving record in neighboring jurisdictions into account when making an assessment about maintaining the privilege.

        Frequency seems to set off even more alarm bells about driver quality than a longitudinal view.

  • EFC Observer

    Anyone notice that The Sun Gazette came out with an editorial opposing the County bond for the Long Bridge aquatics center?

    • DCBuff

      Good. The bond will still pass, though.

    • Arlingtoon

      Isn’t that paper against everything?

      • EFC Observer

        The Gazette supported the other three bonds (Schools/Transportation/Infrastructure) in the same editorial – so, no, they are not against everything.

  • Swag

    “The average gross yearly salary for those who work in Arlington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $84,084.”

    *looks at pay stub*

    *cries*

    • Buckingham Bandit

      Don’t waste your time on average…it’s a pretty weak stat. Focus on the median (50th percentile)

      • CW

        Is the BLS stat the mean?

        • bob

          Yes. Average and mean are the same thing. Median is different, it’s the value that’s in the middle, to completely dumb down statistics terminology.

    • Patrick

      Don’t check to see what it is for those who live in Arlington you will become even more depressed.

  • DCBuff

    Re wage growth. From a Bloomberg article. The U.S. has gone through two recoveries. The 1.2 million households whose incomes put them in the top 1 percent of the U.S. saw their earnings increase 5.5 percent last year, according to estimates released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Earnings fell 1.7 percent for the 96 million households in the bottom 80 percent — those that made less than $101,583.

    The recovery that officially began in mid-2009 hasn’t arrived in most Americans’ paychecks. In 2010, the top 1 percent of U.S. families captured as much as 93 percent of the nation’s income growth, according to a March paper by Emmanuel Saez, a University of California at Berkeley economist who studied Internal Revenue Service data.

    • One Percenter

      Socialist! Marxist! Class warfare!

    • drax

      The bottom 90% (as opposed to the 99%) haven’t seen a growth in real wages in 30 years.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Yea primarily because disfunctional unions and environmentalist’s crushed our abilty to compete in the manufacturing sector.

        • drax

          Quick! Come up with whacky, unsupported rightwing talking points to blame the liberals for this too!

        • SteamboatWillie

          Compete with whom – the Chinese? They’re competing with minimal environmental protections and you can’t see the sky because of the pollution. Remember the Olympians training with face masks because of the wretched air quality or the pools of algae in the harbor due to chemical dumping?

          • Stupid Not Smart

            Polluted air and water & a desecrated landscape are a small price to pay for cheap plastic shite.

  • Anonymous

    I feel awful for the victim in the Clarendon car crash. The driver should go to jail for a LONG time considering his record. An injury like that is devastating and will change a persons life forever. Very sad news.

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