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Peter’s Take: New Year’s Resolutions for Arlington

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm 1,570 77 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the first of several weekly opinion columns that ARLnow.com will be publishing in 2013. The columns, from local thought leaders across the political spectrum, are intended to introduce fresh ideas and spark community conversations about issues of local and state interest.

Peter RousselotHappy New Year, and welcome to Peter’s Take. My name is Peter Rousselot. Thanks to Scott Brodbeck and his team at ARLnow, I will be writing a weekly column with my take on Arlington and Virginia politics, government or civic affairs.

A bit of background: my family and I moved from Reston to Arlington in 1997. Our youngest daughter graduated from W-L High School. I have served as a Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction to the Arlington Public Schools; as Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission to the Arlington County Board, and as Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. I am currently a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

As 2013 unfolds, you’ll find that my take on the subjects I’ll be writing about will depart sometimes from the “party line.” I often find that the emperor or empress has no clothes, while others claim to see a majestically-robed monarch.

And that brings me to some New Year’s resolutions for Arlington and its elected leaders:

  • Celebrate and utilize the wealth of diverse talent we have in our community
  • Cherish new ideas and new thinking
  • Practice strong and vigorous public dissent expressed with civility
  • Always be open to re-examine and to change based on new circumstances

In the coming weeks and months, I will try hard to follow these New Year’s resolutions myself, and be guided by them when I write about local or state affairs.

  • novasteve

    Will you depart from the party enough to the point where you might consider telling others to not vote for the name merely because it’s followed by a (D)?

    • Confused

      How else are we supposed to know who to vote for? I NEED that D!

    • observer

      Steve, will you depart from your self induced rage enough to the point of not rejecting outright the view of anyone merely because their name is followed by a (D)?

      • novasteve

        If you had some fiscally responsible people who don’t insist on a nanny state people whose name is followed by a (D) i might consider voting for them. However I won’t hold my breath

        • drax

          So now YOU are saying you only vote based on party label, steve.

        • Jackson

          The same guy who whines about “nanny states” laments that Vietnamese restaurants were “pushed out” of Clarendon by good ol’ market forces.

    • SteamboatWillie

      Hi Peter,

      Welcome to ARL.Now. I see that the site’s mascot was anxious to introduce himself to you. Enjoy.

      Signed,

      Everyone

      • Josh S

        A team whose mascot is novasteve? Even fans of the Cleveland Browns would take pity on such a team…..

    • drax

      Name a single person who has ever urged voters to vote for a candidate because they have a D next to their name, Steve.

  • Captain Obvious

    Great idea for a recurring column, Scott! Can’t wait to read these different viewpoints.

  • Hadur

    The county board has made urban agriculture a strategic priority. What do you think of this? I know that elsewhere, concerns have been raised that urban agriculture products have more heavy metals in them, since these are more common in urban areas.

  • Don

    Peter, I look forward to your column

  • bemused bystander

    Does this signal a series of columns by self-proclaimed “serious thinkers” with various perspectives on local affairs? perhaps John Antonelli? Audrey Clement? someone representing the Democratic establishment that Mr. Rousselot has estranged himself from? Could be interesting …

    • Josh S

      Should Antonelli begin posting here, I can predict a decline in readership of at least one.

      • G Clifford Prout

        ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS?

      • Door

        Don’t let the door hit your butt !!

  • KalashniKEV

    I have no idea what his bullet points are supposed to mean. Here are mine:

    1) Adopt a community policing strategy and refocus ACPD efforts from revenue generation to crime prevention and law enforcement.
    2) Create no more subsidized housing. Work to ensure every unit in the county is fairly priced at-market-rate.
    3) Return to providing inherently governmental services- and try to excel at them. Put an end to chasing the personal whims and desires of board members with public funds.
    4) Investigate past projects for evidence of corruption. Approve future projects not through multiple, echo chamber “Yes” votes and approvals, but by analyzing alternate COAs, identifying second and third order effects, and by performing Cost/ Benefit analysis.
    5) Reverse the Progressive Agenda immediately. Return to sound ethical practices.

    • Josh S

      Noted.

      Next!

    • WeiQiang

      All bullet points are interesting in their own way, KEV. I’ll look forward to you expounding on them in another forum.

    • drax

      Kev, you forgot the rest of your agenda:

      6) Cut 2/3rds of the county budget across the board.
      7) Round up and expel a class of residents in blatant violation of the Constitution and basic American values.

      • and the rest

        8) provide all schoolchildren with automatic weapons
        9) outlaw all bicycles

        • KalashniKEV

          Not funny.

          Bicycles have their place. Full auto does too.

      • KalashniKEV

        8) No voting in any elections if you are on Public Assistance.
        9) Outlaw government employee unions and only engage in True labor negotiations.

        • WeiQiang

          KEV, thanks for doing your part to ensure that your ideas make the County’s well-intended and sometimes ill-executed intiatives look completely rational.

          my impression is that Arlingtonians have voted using a general sense that the County is moving in the right direction, but residents would like better focus and constraint. saying that “full auto” and that expelling “a class of residents” figure into some mythical solution just lets you self-select to outlier status, which i’m ok with.

          • KalashniKEV

            WeiQiang, respectfully, you’ve got the wrong impression.

            You are the outlier.

        • hank

          Anyone else you would like to disenfranchise? Intellectuals? Women? Anyone who supports gun control or disagrees with your values?

          • KalashniKEV

            Not at this time, no.

        • Josh S

          LOL WUT?

          But seriously, Kevinator, do you have a patent on “True” labor negotiations? Or maybe there is some guy, a Mr. True, who has written a manifesto on labor negotiations that is being passed around among the fingerless glove wearing crowd? In either case, I’d love it if you would elaborate on what “True labor negotiations” are.

          • KalashniKEV

            Certainly- “True” labor negotiations exist when management and labor enter into an agreement where the workers will receive “X” in exchange for… accomplishing “A”, maintaining performance metrics within the standards of “B”, keeping productivity/ production above “C”, etc.

            If the workers become too greedy, and ask for “X+”, then the business will no longer remain profitable, and will go under… or the management might just make the business decision that it’s not worth it, and pack it in. Either way, they are out of a job.

            In negotiating with Government Employee unions, they are conditioned to always request “X+” then “X++” then “X+++”. There is no risk of the government going out of business, so they can be as greedy as they choose to be- and for the Government decision maker, they feel no pain from granting them their requests, so tend to always hand over the candy every time the worker presses the button.

            This is what has gotten Education in this country into the terrible state that it’s in. This is why BHO pushed out an Executive Order on 28 Dec. granting the Feds a raise even while the fiscal cliff loomed. This is why our system is broken from top to bottom.

          • DCBuff

            Kev, sometimes you are so off-reality. Federal workers get the first cost of living increase in 3 years, a whopping one-half of one percent, and this is “candy?” Or “greed?” As I have said to others, deal in facts, not alternate realities.

          • KalashniKEV

            DCBuff- Should I assume you’re a Federal worker? That’s not the only flavor of “government employee.” It’s not all about you.

            To speak to the Federal side though- The freeze was brought on by the very kind of undisciplined spending and increases that I describe. You either have a very short memory or haven’t been in the game long.

          • DCBuff

            Kev, you pointed directly to the “granting the Feds a raise” so, while it is not all about Federal workers, you brought it up. And, you’re just buying into the anti-Fed worker Cool-Aid; somehow, it is the employees fault the USG spending is out of whack. Reality is that it is the current and past administrations and the Congress that are responsible. And, I’ve been around long enough to know that Fed workers aren’t getting rich off the taxpayer, but plenty of lobbyists and consultants are.

        • Lilly

          “No voting in any elections if you are on Public Assistance” is just plain unethical and unconstitutional. Why should any person (who for all we know had to go on public assistance because of the damage wrought by an elected official’s policy) NOT vote? How dare you even attempt to take away the right of ANY individual to vote. You have no right. That is just plain horrific. I wish you would go away, Kev, as do many others on this site as well. You never have anything constructive to say.

          • KalashniKEV

            The entitlement class will always vote for whoever is handing out the most free candy… and in that way they will always continue to grow. Just look at the 2012 presidential election.

          • Lilly

            That is not true. 2012 election was not won because of “free candy” but because the Republican party started spewing venom about what is rape and what is not rape, and getting too deeply into women’s bodies and did not offer any alternatives to Obama’s foreign policy and their economic prescriptions were weak, and the stance on immigration was weak, and the list goes on and on. Go read Karen Hughes.

            I am starting to realize (probably later than everyone else on ARLNow, that you are probably just a lonely troll, out to pick fights).

    • Craigie

      1) Would you strongly support a County tax increase to replace the lost revenue, at least during a three-year transition before all other County spending is cancelled?
      4) and 5) Would you strongly support investigations and budgetary cuts where pork barrel and cronyism are identified in law enforcement and homeland security budget items?

  • Wayne Kubicki

    I got to know Peter fairly well on FAAC – I was a member there while he was chairman.

    Peter is truly a “class act”.

    Regardless of your political stripe, methinks everyone here will enjoying reading his column.

  • Tom

    ARLNow is really ruining this site in 2013 .. about equal number of ads and junks in line with actual news stories. I’m clicking here less and sure others will … way to ruin a good thing.

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

      This is the first step in expanding news coverage and intelligent, informed opinion content in 2013. You will be getting more content, not less.

      • Hollywood

        “informed opinion content..”

        Yeah, it all seems to be content informed a certain way….

      • Dan

        Is there money changing hands in return for publishing a column sponsored by the Arlington County democratic committee ??

        • Quoth the Raven

          Good God – you’re really working hard to find some kind of conspiracy here. The preface says they’ll have pieces from across the spectrum. What more do you want? This just adds another piece to Arl Now – like the real estate columns and the beermonger. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

          • DCBuff

            Seriously. Let ArlNow, which to this point (IMHO) has been even-handed in its reporting of ArlCo news and events (a little too into froyo, though), show us readers what they are doing before deciding. Some people are never happy unless they are unhappy.

          • BlueLoom

            I keep wondering if ANYONE reads beermonger and real estate. I scroll right through both of them.

            As to opinion pieces by various Arlingtonians, I’ll adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Could be good, could be as boring as beermonger & real estate. Here’s my hope: a lively discussion of issues confronting the county, as viewed from various political and policy perspectives. Keeping my fingers crossed, but (even tho I’m a thoroughgoing Dem) I have zero interest in what Peter Rouselot is thinking. He executed a vile political vendetta on someone I know and respect; I have now lost all respect for Mr. Rouselot.

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

          It’s not sponsored and Peter is not writing to represent anybody but himself. The same applies to the two columns we’ll be introducing on Wednesday and Thursday.

          • Dan

            Thank-you for your reply.

          • drax

            Dan’s question wasn’t necessary. We already knew the answer.

        • occasionally a fact

          If you think the Arlington County Democratic Committee is sponsoring Peter Rousselot’s column, you haven’ t been paying attention for about three years.

    • Josh S

      Yeah, I’m with Tom. I miss the good ol days with 300 comments about parking policy in Clarendon and 400+ comments on whether or not to remove a slip lane on Arlington Ridge Rd.

      Now it’s all, like, 50 comments on pizza joints. Pfft. Yawn.

      • KalashniKEV

        There’s another 250 still “awaiting moderation.”

        :)

    • henrybennetxiii

      Tom is 1000% correct.
      This is the opposite of an improvement.
      ARLNOW has once again failed to realize it is being played. You are giving someone with past and future political aspirations a highly visible soap box.
      How utterly disappointing to see Arlington’s new media wunder kind fall for this
      rather unimaginative trick.
      Yes it is a reason to care less about arlnow.

  • RightwingWhacko

    How do we “create” no subsidized housing? Do you mean stop helping less fortunate have a place to live? Do you mean let them move to Burke?

    • Hollywood

      Do you mean let them move to Burke?

      Oh goodness gracious! What a tragedy that would be! ….Please….

      The less fortunate would have more affordable options if they government stopped providing subsidizing housing, which only artificially inflates prices and prices even more people out of the market. Unintended consequences are still consequences.

      • KalashniKEV

        I don’t think we were supposed to answer that one. We are not made stronger as a community when one man lives out of another man’s pocket, or a member of the productive class is forced to carry another less motivated individual on his back.

        Additionally, as you correctly point out, subsidized/ non-market rate/ rent controlled/ Section 8/ “Affordable” housing creates a market perversion that pushes out those who work hard and live within their means rewards the less responsible and the morally challenged.

        • RadicalRed

          “We are not made stronger as a community when one man lives out of another man’s labor”

          that is the essence of capitalism.

          We allow it because, and only because, it makes us all better off. To the extent it does not make us all better off, we are free to modify the results of capitalism.

          • KalashniKEV

            Who are you quoting???

        • drax

          You can’t resist shooting yourself in the foot, can you? You make a legitimate argument – then you rant about the “less responsible and morally challenged.”

          • Josh S

            I think you need to read a bit more closely, drax. “We are not made stronger as a community” is as chilling a line as Mr. Kev has written here at ARLnow.

      • doctor logic

        Please explain how lowering the cost of some properties causes artificial inflation across the board?

        • DCBuff

          Really? Kind of your basic supply and demand.

          • KalashniKEV

            This is the kind of dizzy-headed thinking that has gotten us to where we’re at… locally and as a Nation.

      • confused

        that may be the case in DC, where new housing is required to have affordable units.

        In arlington the developers provide it in exchange for density bonuses – so they only do it where it LOWERS their costs. Ergo it does not increase housing cost – unless you assume that the county would have upped the allowable density and height without a giveback.

        • KalashniKEV

          The “allowable density” is a racket for generating scam revenue and furthering the Progressive agenda. Any attempt to pervert the market in favor of a few has negative consequences for the many.

          (Yes, this works both ways.)

          • drax

            So do you have an answer to confused, or are you going to avoid answering?

        • DCBuff

          That is an accurate portrait of the subsidized housing market in Arlington. While some subsidized units in ArlCo are offered through developers that receive additional density or other “bonuses” beyond by-right, it in no way captures the hundreds of units owned and offered by “private” housing corporations such as APAH. These corporations operate using public (i.e., taxpayer funds–thus raising property taxes and raising housing costs) funding. By owning properties that would otherwise by right be developed to greater density (see garden apartments) this cuts into potential supply thus raising housing costs for those not qualifying for the subsidized or “affordable” housing. One can advocate for subsidized housing for many reasons, but one cannot make an educated argument that it does not raise housing costs on the rest of the market.

          • DCBuff

            (Correction–”That is not an accurate portrait…) In response to confused.

          • KalashniKEV

            Well said. Can you explain “Free” healthcare to them next?

          • BBMS

            And the twisted irony is that these complexes that the county provides financing to turn into “affordable” are already market-rate affordable. See Howard Manor. Those people have to move out because they will not qualify for the new affordable housing. And they can not stay in Arlington, because the supply of truly affordable housing stock is being taken off the market through county loans.

          • novasteve

            Hate speech! You dont’ belong in Arlington with views like that!

          • KalashniKEV

            Welfare is a drug. Either hit the pipe or hit the road.

            (…either way, make sure you say “Thank You”)

    • drax

      Hey RwW, cute comment – so you’ve invited someone less fortunate to live in your spare bedroom rent-free?

      Why not?

  • Courthouse Diva

    Diversity? New ideas? New talent? So we have the Chair of the Arlington DemocraticCommittee writing political commentary — what am I missing?

    • occasionally a fact

      He is a former Chair no longer holding any official position with the committee.

      • ACDC Hack

        So someone performed a “Klingon Mind Meld” on him and he no longer is programmed ??

        Whew, I for one am relieved !!

    • BlueLoom

      Agreed.

  • FED

    Thanks, Peter, for your excellent analysis of the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar system.

  • Paulo

    2013

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