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Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk — November 9, 2012 at 8:45 am 3,666 138 Comments

Green Party Outperforms Past Results — By pulling in 12.4 percent of the vote for County Board, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement roughly doubled the percentage of the vote Green candidates have typically received during past County Board races. The question now is can the Greens get that percentage even higher next time by better identifying who is voting for the party’s candidates? [Sun Gazette]

Miss Saigon Coming to Signature Theater — Signature Theater has secured the rights to the well known musical Miss Saigon, and will open its 2013-2014 season with a version of the production. It will be the first time a theater company in the D.C. area has taken on the show in 15 years. [Variety]

Ballot Wording Angers Aquatics Center Opponents — Voters passed all four bond referenda on the Arlington ballot on Tuesday, including one for a park bond that funds the proposed $79 million Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center. Opponents of the facility, however, say the measure only passed due to vague wording on the ballot which stated that the bond was for “various capital projects for local parks and recreation, and land acquisition for parks and open space.” [Washington Examiner]

ABBIE Voting Ends Today — Today is the final day to cast your votes for Arlington’s best businesses. The businesses in 17 categories were nominated by residents and winners are determined by popular vote. ABBIE winners will be announced at the County Board meeting on November 27.

Disclosure: The ABBIE Awards/Arlington Economic Development is an ARLnow.com advertiser

  • drax

    The opponents of the pool ballot should have been out educating voters BEFORE the election. You know, like everyone else does.

    • Captain_Obvious

      they were, I saw plenty of “vote no for $72 million pool complex” signs.

      • Grindr

        The signs I saw said “Luxury Pools Center”. I believe they were referring to the Aquatique Centre.

  • Swag

    You say vague wording, I say strategic wording.

    • hoyacougar

      The wording on the eminent domain amendment was even more ‘strategic’.

      • bemused bystander

        And that could lead to much mischief and costs.

        • hoyacougar

          Yes, that one could cost Virginia taxpayers a lot more than a $72million pool…and most of the money will be going to private business interests.

          • ABC

            It passed. This prevents private firms from profiting.

          • drax

            Really? In some ways, it does just the opposite.

          • Yogurt

            Really? Are you pretending to be a lawyer, too? We already have one pretend one here – I’m pretty sure we don’t need another.

          • Captain_Obvious

            He’s resident “know-it-all” though…

          • drax

            Are you a lawyer? Can only lawyers have opinions on this? Should only lawyers vote on it?

          • drax

            I express my opinions here, just like you and everyone else.

          • Captain_Obvious

            but your opinions are condescending and reek of “know-it-all-ness”

          • Observer

            but your opinions are condescending and reek of “know-it-all-ness”

            It’s classic narcissism, big time.

          • DCBuff

            This thread is really funny. Thanks all.

          • hoyacougar

            There is nothing in that amendment that prevents the state from reimbursing private business when the state uses eminent domain to take their property; in fact, the state will now owe the private business more than fair market value as well as lost profits from the loss of the use of their property. The Post says most of this money will go to corporate and farm interests.

          • Locutus

            Because as well all know from all those stories of Best Buy and other big box stores getting their lands seized by eminent domain so they can profit…Oh wait, maybe they were trying to prevent this:

            http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/23/news/fortune500/retail_eminentdomain/

    • Josh S

      When you say strategic wording, you are implying that the state election board intentionally worded the ballot in a way to nudge voters to vote one way or another. That’s a fairly dramatic accusation. Any evidence?

      • South Awwlington

        I was wondering who is charged with wording ballot questions. Is it the municipality, is it the state who interprets what the municipality wants, etc???

        And how will the Eminent Domain vote affect the attempts of the County to acquire the building in Courthouse for the shelter?

        • Josh S

          The eminent domain vote will make zero difference to the attempts of the County to acquire the building in Courthouse. Because A) what we voted on was not different than existing law, and B) the County is not (currently) attempting to use eminent domain.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        As I recall, the wording is done by the municipality and approved by a local judge.

        Here was language on the voting machines on Tuesday:

        QUESTION: Shall Arlington County contract a debt and issue its general obligation bonds in the maximum principal amount of $50,553,000 to finance, together with other available funds, the cost of various capital projects for local parks & recreation, and land acquisition for parks and open space?

        If you knew nothing else – and remember, there were a lot of “low information”, once-every-four-years voters on Tuesday – would you have any idea that most of this $50M was to build a multi-pool luxury aquatics center?

        • drax

          How much information should be on a ballot?

          Should we require that candidates answer certain questions about themselves and put it on the ballot too?

          The voter is responsible for finding out what he/she wants to know about the decision. If a voter wants to be “low information” and still vote on a measure, that’s his right. That’s how our democracy works.

        • SomeGuy

          Careful. Josh S. thinks the words “luxury,” “lavish,” and “state of the art” (even though “state of the art” is used on the county web site) in comments disqualify every bit of sound logic found elsewhere in your comment.

          • Josh S

            In Wayne’s case, he compares an adjective-free wording option with an option that contains the word “luxury.” It’s just not an apples to apples comparison and in the context of complaining about the language of the ballot it detracts from any point he’s trying to make.

            In general, yes, the language on all four bond ballot initiatives is vague. If you want to know exactly what the money is planned for, you have to do extra research on your own before you go into the voting booth. I just don’t see why this is wrong or how you could possibly set it up any differently. Trying to provide voters with additional information at the voting place is just not logistically possible.

          • SomeGuy

            Josh S., I don’t think Wayne is suggesting that the ballot referendum must include the word “luxury,” just as the other day when we had this debate, my comment about a “lavish” facility wasn’t meant to suggest the referendum wording verbatim. I think you know that.

            If you read the linked article, you’ll see that Wayne’s group proposed listing the $42 million aquatics facility referendum separately from the general parks and recs funding. I.e., make 2 referenda instead of one. The county rejected that.

            Can you explain why you, personally, would dispute doing that?

          • drax

            Should we list every single project as a different referendum? Why would you, personally, dispute doing that?

          • Josh S

            Sure.

            To me, it goes to the notion of representative democracy and having a professional bureaucracy. We don’t live in a direct democracy. The citizens do not vote on every decision made by the government. On balance, I think this is a good thing. I think it is fair that the citizens are consulted about the broad categories of capital spending. Do we, as a whole, think that the county should spend more money to improve, upgrade, and add to our parks and recreational facilities? But to get into approving each individual park project? Not necessary. Even for expensive ones. There are laws, regulations, rules that govern all the actions taken by the county’s parks department. This is called administrative law. They don’t get to make unsupported, capricious decisions. In addition, I believe our elected officials get involved in approving, specifically, these large projects. So this is where we, the people, get to influence the decisions. If we don’t like the decisions being made, we vote the people responsible out. Arlington county voters have consistently expressed their overall approval of what goes on with our government by continuing to elect people who approve projects like the pool facility.
            If each of us was in charge of the county, like it was one big SimCity, of course it would look different. But that’s not how things work. Instead, it’s a collective decision made by our elected representatives and professionally trained bureaucrats who are constrained by administrative law and having to report to those same elected officials. This means that each of us inevitably is disappointed by some decisions that are made.
            I could go on.
            Instead of trying to get specific projects on the ballot, we should try to reform voting by implementing instant runoff voting. Voters indicate a first, second, third (for example) choice on their ballot. You get one point for a third place vote, two points for a second place vote, and three points for a first place vote (for example). The candidate with the most points wins. Over time. this would almost certainly improve the odds that our elected representatives would come to better mirror the diversity of the electorate.

        • bemused bystander

          Hey Wayne — you lost. Move on.

      • SomeGuy

        That’s actually not the implication.

        • Josh S

          What is the implication?

          • SomeGuy

            Not what you said.

            Read Wayne’s comment, in which he educates you that “the wording is done by the municipality and approved by a local judge.”

            No one is, as you suggest: “…implying that the state election board intentionally worded the ballot…”

          • Josh S

            I stand corrected. Please change my languge, subsituting “municipality and local judge” for “state election board.”

            The parties involved don’t seem to effect the implication.

  • Captain_Obvious

    “A 2001 survey of residents showed they wanted more pools, officials said.” Is that a typo ? Why is there no 2011 or 2012 survey ?

    • Ben

      Ha and knowing how transient this area is – 3/4 of those surveyed no longer live here….

    • Wayne Kubicki
      • nom de guerre

        Was this survey scanned using the Brofile™ Cam?

        • John Fontain

          ++

      • John Fontain

        So only about 1/3 of those surveyed said they wanted a pool and the natural conclusion the county reached was “we need to build a world-class pool.”

        • drax

          Must all county facilities be used by a majority?

          • Captain_Obvious

            Not necessarily, but the county shouldn’t try to pass measures based on an 11-year old survey.

          • RosRes

            The voters passed the measure, not the county. And yes I knew it was for an aquatics center.

          • Captain_Obvious

            The county proposed the measure. They used results from a 2001 survey…yes, 2001.

          • drax

            And the vote to approve the measure was in 2012.

          • Josh S

            I think the only survey that is relevant at this point is the one that was taken on Tuesday. Apparently, a majority is in favor of spending more on parks and recreational facilities in the county.

          • Wayne Kubicki

            RosRes – that’s fine. You knew (via some other means beyond the voting machine language) what you were voting for. Good for you.

            My point is, there are a lot of “low information”, only-once-every-four-years voters on Tuesday, many of whom only knew what they saw on the voting machine on Tuesday – and had absolutely no idea what they were supporting when they voted YES on the Parks bond.

          • drax

            Hey, Wayne, you’re insulting the voters again.

            Thanks, but we can decide how much information we need, whether on the candidates or anything else, and vote accordingly.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            JS – except it doesn’t say parks and recreational facilities, it says parks and recreation. Usually activities done in parks are considered recreation so you could easily interpret that as just redundentcy. It would have been clearer if it said parks and recreational facilities or recreation centers.

          • Captain_Obvious

            drax/dynaroo, wayne is not insulting voters…he’s saying that many voters were not fully informed on exactly what they were voting for, exactly the point I tried to make recently. Furthermore, why vote no/yes for something if you aren’t fully informed? Just skip it.

          • drax

            Capt. Obvious, you were not fully informed about the decisions you made in the voting booth last Tuesday. If you had been, you would have voted differently. It’s too bad you didn’t take the time to educate yourself, like I did.

            Feel insulted?

          • Captain_Obvious

            not at all, because I educated myself on all the issues/candidates. If I didn’t, I simply would have skipped that issue/candidate.

          • emanon

            the survey was done again about 3 years ago. There is a newer link out there somewhere. I remember looking at a website with some of the data when it first came out.

          • SomeGuy

            No.

          • John Fontain

            “Must all county facilities be used by a majority?”

            The survey asked what people wanted, not what they use. The County decided to pursue this project presumably based on knowledge of demand, yet their own “study” reveals that most people don’t want what the county says we want.

          • drax

            And I ask again – must a majority want a particular facility before the county provides it? Because to me, there’s no difference between “want” and “use” in that survey.

            Should we not build tennis courts unless 51% of Arlingtonians play tennis, for instance?

            In any event, we did a new survey last Tuesday, called a bond referendum, and a majority said they did “want” it. So that’s that.

    • Arlingtoon

      For what it’s worth, I believe that the genesis for building a pool on that site was the Washington area’s bid to host the Olympic Games. (We lost to London, as I recall). But that was going to be a competition pool, not the world-class aquatic facility with which we’re now (apparently) saddled.

  • John Fontain

    Today’s picture is perfectly timely. Another beautiful piece of public art!

    • Garden City

      It is a really nice photo. Funny how things you see almost every day look different when you really stop and see them in just the right way.

    • Josh S

      Actually, it is. Not beautiful like the Venus de Milo maybe, but just something that gives what otherwise would be something boring and 100% utilitarian a little decoration and accent.

    • BefuddledSteveMartin

      What the heck is that?

    • South Awwlington

      lol art? The top of round picnic table superglued to concrete wall is not art.

      No my friends, what passes for art (in the eye of the beholder) clearly differs from one side of the river to the other…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_A._Logan_statue,_DC.jpg

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dupont-HDR.jpg

      No…we get leftover wood slapped to retain walls.

      Oy vey.

      • Josh S

        Oy vey is right.

        Your particular sense of aesthetics is not the same thing as a definition of art…..

        • South Awwlington

          A pile of dog crap on a Pfalzgraff plate is art because I said so?

          • drax

            Yes. Feel free.

            It will be really stupid, pointless art, but art nonetheless.

          • Josh S

            I think drax may be on to something here….

          • Captain_Obvious

            nope.

          • Captain_Obvious

            wrong, its not.

          • drax

            You don’t have the authority to declare what art is or isn’t, buddy.

          • Captain_Obvious

            just like you don’t have the authority to call everything art.

          • jackson

            Get a room at the Columbia Pike Days Inn, Drax and Captain Obvious. Sniping at each other on every thread? The sexual tension is getting crazy.

          • drax

            Of course I don’t. The artist who creates art does.

          • South Awwlington

            love ya, jackson!

          • CW

            Lol I come and read this and people are talking about crapping on plates; I love fridays.

          • Home Remedies

            “A pile of dog crap on a Pfalzgraff plate is art because I said so?”

            Only if it is on Columbia Pike !!

      • drax

        Not a picnic table – an old cable spool.

        And you can’t just declare something isn’t art. You can say it’s bad art if you want.

        • Captain_Obvious

          But art isn’t art if anyone says it is. Some of that crap in the contemporary art museum is not art. Simply painting a canvas 2 colors of vertical columns is not art.

          • drax

            Yes, art is art if someone says it is. There is no authority that determines what art is.

          • Captain_Obvious

            No, its not. Crapping on a plate and displaying it is not art.

          • drax

            Sorry, but you are not the art czar. Art is totally free. It’s whatever anyone says it is. The only question is whether it’s good or bad or stupid our pointless or whatever. Art is like air – its there, and you can’t declare that it’s not, only express your opinion about it.

          • Captain_Obvious

            neither are you.

          • drax

            I’m not declaring what is art or what isn’t. The artist does.

          • South Awwlington

            So my desk at work, with all the utilitarian supplies to conduct business on it is considered art then also?

          • Captain_Obvious

            so are we all artists ?

          • drax

            Do you consider it art?

          • Captain_Obvious

            Do I consider what art ?

          • bobco85

            But art isn’t art if anyone says it is.

            Actually it is. Art is subjective and depends on one’s taste. For example, I find street murals and graffiti to be much more appealing than more traditional and classical art.

          • Captain_Obvious

            IMO, art requires a talent, so I agree with you about graffiti and street murals. 2 vertical columns on a canvas is not art, especially when ANYONE can do that.

          • drax

            Some art is easy, some is hard.

          • drax

            By your definition, all that art generated by children in art class isn’t actually art either. Don’t tell you kid, he might burst into tears.

          • bobco85

            I disagree with you that art requires a talent and that art must be absolutely original. I am interested to see your opinions of the following works, as they involve different aspects of what could be called “talent”:

            1) John Cage’s 4’33″
            2) James Turrell’s skyspaces
            3) Discover Magazine article on telling different abstract works apart

          • Captain_Obvious

            If it goes in a museum for public display, it shouldn’t be easy. And children’s art serves a purpose in teaching kids to be creative, not to put their stuff in a museum…horrible comparison, by the way.

          • Captain_Obvious

            bobco85:
            1: no, not art. People do that everyday at work.
            2: yes
            3. yes

            I never said art had to be original, but I stand by my assertion that art requires talent. If not, then why have art museums ?

          • bobco85

            The difficulty or skill in creating an artwork does not factor into its worthiness of being displayed in a museum. When someone is hit with inspiration, difficult things can become very easy.

            My list of works was only meant to elicit a response on your definition of talent if the artwork could be easily done. In #1, anyone could be silent for an arbitrary length of time (and we all actually do this in some way every day). For #2, the artist is only designing simple skylights. For #3, the art is perceived differently depending on how it is labeled, not the perceived ability of the artist.

          • bobco85

            I would argue that the point of art museums is to show and foster creativity through various works of art, regardless of the skill level involved in their creation.

          • Captain_Obvious

            bobco, I agree with your first point. When I speak about difficulty, I mean difficult for the everyday-person. I know that for real artists, it may or may not be difficult, however, artists are artists because they like to challenge their artistic abilities.

          • Captain_Obvious

            That is 1 point of art museums, but not THE point. “Foster creativity” is the key, IMO. Crapping on a plate and calling it art does not foster creativity, hence, not art.

          • Josh S

            It’s great that you have an opinon. But that’s all it is.

          • Captain_Obvious

            Do you even have an opinion or just troll comments and offer nothing ?

          • Josh S

            You talkin to me?

            I got lots of opinions. In my opinion, your attempt to pronounce yourself arbiter of what is or isn’t “art” is as absurd as a pile of dog poop on a china plate.

          • Captain_Obvious

            well someone has to.

          • drax

            No, nobody has to.

          • SomeGuy

            Likewise, I find cash in the county coffers to be much more appealing than ArtiSphere. To me, extra cash is art.

          • Josh S

            Muddying the waters.

          • DCBuff

            Cash is only art if it is in my wallet. If the county has cash, it isn’t art, because it has already been spent.

          • South Awwlington

            I understand the subjectivity of art but then I question who decides what particular pieces we decide to spend money and why all of the public art seems to have only one form represented (contemporary).

          • Josh S

            I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that the form of public art is primarily contemporary these days because that’s what is in vogue these days. It would be awfully surprising and maybe even a bit incongrous to see a classical sculpture of, I don’t know, a Predator drone go up on the corner of Lee and Glebe.

            You put out an RFP for outdoor sculpture. You review the submissions and choose one. These days, you’re just not gonna get too many classical art forms submitted. It’s 2012, not 1812.

          • drax

            That’s a different issue. Obviously someone has to make decisions about art – both what it is and whether it’s good – when it comes to spending money on it.

          • South Awwlington

            I would likewise argue that your opinion of contemporary art being the form that is in vogue today is subjective and a mere matter of opinion.

            Perhaps the review committee is biased towards contemporary art and hates classical and renaissance pieces?

            If public dollars are being spent on public art, all forms and type should be represented…

          • Josh S

            I invite you to conduct your own RFP and see how many submissions you get in the classical or Renaissance style.

            I tend to prefer classical forms over most contemporary art myself, but that’s got nothing to do with any observations I might make on why “all of the public art seems to have only one form represented (contemporary).”

          • Josh S

            And by the way,

            what’s with this “should” business?

  • S. Arlington or Bust

    I agree that the wording was vague. I am not in favor of building the aquatics center. But when I was looking at the ballot, I wasn’t sure if by voting “no” I was going to be denying funds to other important projects. So I voted yes.

    • Captain_Obvious

      You should have not voted at all. That’s what you do when you’re not sure what to do. Not trying to attack you, but why vote yes for millions of dollars when you haven’t done the research ?

  • Just say no

    Best bet is to vote NO for everything.

    • Josh S

      Shhhhhh, I think I hear the mating cry of the Reactionary……

      • drax

        Unfortunately, he never gets to actually mate because the answer is always “no.”

        • Josh S

          * high fives drax *

      • Well done

        I think I read that funding earmarked for the pool comprised 86% of the $50 million bond. So, I was willing to risk myriad small parks projects summing $7 million so as not to take the county into debt $43 million for this pool. Those little projects won’t require years of debt service or millions in upkeep. They are things like new playground equipment. I think they would happen if the pool bond failed anyway.

        My own preferences aside, the people who got this pool rolling way back when deserve credit for their tenacity.

        My impression from reading every news article I could is that private citizens, such as Tony Taylor from the Arlington Aquatics Coalition, lobbied the board and their neighbors for over a decade on this. I don’t think it’s a project that originated with the County Board or its staff, though as I’ve said, just my impression from what I’ve read.

        • Arlingtoon

          You’re absolutely correct on this — a member of my family was involved way back when.

  • Arlington Cat

    Warhol used to piss on canvas and call it “art,” and the “art community’ was appalled at his definition.

    I wonder, can you get DNA samples now from those old canvases? Is Warhol’s DNA worth a lot of money?

    • Josh S

      And have you heard the dreck on the radio these days? You call that “music?”

  • Ashton Heights

    I’m glad we’ll get a new pool. The other 3 are seriously overcrowded. This will also open up Arlington to become a national center for aquatics. Swimming is super healthy!

    • Jay

      Stay out of the men’s steam room please.

    • South Awwlington

      Just remember, while the pool is all well and good…and I voted for the bond, someone else will be lined up with their next pet project. I think back to Tejada, and the issue with the indoor soccerplex when Hynes shot him down. He’ll be back, as the chair and we will continue to spend.

      • John Fontain

        What the County really needs is a Jai alai facility. A world class Jai alai facility. I did a survey and, even though only 0.2% of respondents said they wanted it, that right there goes to show you that we need it.

        • drax

          So get a referendum passed.

          • Josh S

            Don’t forget you’ll also need to get county board approval.

          • DCBuff

            Tell them it will double as a trolley barn, and the board will go for it.

          • Josh S

            Mixed use is one of the hallmarks of Smart Growth.

    • John Fontain

      I’d like a new pool complex as well, as my family and I would surely get lots of use out of it. I just don’t think we should overpay by a factor of 2 or 3 times what it should cost us to build it (reference Cub Run in Fairfax County).

      • emanon

        JF – do you have a quick link to shoot us on Cub Run? I’d be curious to see it (and am admitting to being too lazy to go in search of…). I may be misunderstanding your point, but are you saying that Cub Run cost only $25 – $35M to build?

      • Josh S

        Wait, after all that, you say you actually like the idea of a new pool complex – it’s just the price tag that has you upset? That’s really a very different argument…..

        And we did the Cub Run thing a while back. It’s like comparing a Nissan Sentra to a Nissan Altima – you get a lot more in one than you do in the other. Thus, you expect it to cost more.

        • South Awwlington

          Nissans are tired. We drive BMW’s. ;) Or Audi’s…since we will be able to walk to the new dealer…or even VW’s.

          Now an Infiniti…yeah, I can get into that!

          Hey ma, where’s my G35???

          • DCBuff

            Flippin’ Infinitis!

          • WeiQiang

            G35 is old school, brah – G37 … and WHAT would possess you to wake novasteve by reminding him that Arlingtonians drive BMWs???

        • John Fontain

          “Wait, after all that, you say you actually like the idea of a new pool complex – it’s just the price tag that has you upset?”

          Yes, as I’ve said in the previous discussion of this pool (which you participated in)…

          http://www.arlnow.com/2012/10/09/morning-notes-565/#comment-247145

          “It’s like comparing a Nissan Sentra to a Nissan Altima – you get a lot more in one than you do in the other. Thus, you expect it to cost more.”

          Yes, but not that much more. See previous analysis which covers the cost per square foot and compares the two facilities…

          http://www.arlnow.com/2012/10/09/morning-notes-565/#comment-247323

          And again, you were a direct participant in that previous discussion.

        • bemused bystander

          Nice to find someone here with perspective. And a good memory.

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