In the Board chair’s annual State of the County address, Tejada touted Arlington as a “coveted area” that people want to live and work in. However, citing the planned departure of the National Science Foundation and its 2,200+ jobs to Alexandria, and the county’s 17 percent (and rising) office vacancy rate, Tejada said the county must work to “reinvent” itself.
“Arlington is facing some economic uncertainty,” he said. “One of the worst things… is to be complacent. It’s time to reinvent ourselves once again. An important strategy of our reinvention is our focus on science and technology.”
To that end, Tejada said the county will continue to fight to keep the NSF in Ballston.
“We are profoundly disappointed, but I believe the last word has not been written on this,” he said. “We still believe Arlington is the best home for the National Science Foundation, and we hope that it stays. We will work diligently to make sure that happens.”
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “Undoing a science cluster that the federal government itself has spent two decades and quite a lot of taxpayer money building? We believe this decision needs closer scrutiny. How much are Alexandria taxpayers paying for this deal?”
“Arlington has become a hotbed of startup technology companies,” he said. Emphasizing private sector commercial growth is important, he said, since the biggest office tenant in Arlington, the federal government, has become “unpredictable at best.”
Also part of Arlington’s “reinvention” is the controversial Columbia Pike streetcar system.
“The streetcar is our best transit option for Columbia Pike,” Tejada said. “The streetcar will create that main street feel that the community wants. It will reduce pollution and congestion. And yes, it is affordable in the long term. The Pike streetcar system is equal to the cost of one Metrorail station.”
The streetcar will be funded via a commercial property tax surcharge that’s earmarked for transportation projects. The financing would not qualify for a voter referendum under state law, Tejada said, and “the plan is well within the county’s self-imposed debt limit.”
Tejada said he would not have supported the streetcar had the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan not called for the preservation of affordable housing. He called on the business leaders in the room to contribute to the affordable housing effort on the Pike.
Man Shot By Arlington Sheriff Worked for TV Show — Julian Dawkins, the 22-year-old man shot and killed by an off-duty Arlington deputy sheriff in Alexandria early Wednesday, worked as a shuttle bus driver for the PBS Newshour in Shirlington. He was also the cousin of Washington Mystics player Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. [NBC Washington]
Chamber’s ‘Best Business’ Awards — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has handed out its 2013 Arlington’s Best Business awards. The winners were: John Marshall Bank (Business of the Year), Dante Consulting (Business of the Year), InfoLock Technologies (Technology Small Business of the Year), Minuteman Press Crystal City (Service Small Business of the Year), House of Steep (Retail Small Business of the Year), AHC Inc. (Non-Profit Small Business of the Year), BbG Fitness (Home-Based Business of the Year Award). [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Sells $77 Million in Bonds — Arlington County issued $77 million worth of bonds at an average interest rate of 3.6 percent on Tuesday. The bonds will help fund the acquisition of the office building at 2020 14th Street N, for use as a year-round homeless shelter and for county offices, and for the affordable housing redevelopment of Buckingham Village 3. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy CG Liacouras
Bluemont to Vote on Safeway Development — Members of the Bluemont Civic Association will vote tonight on a proposed mix-use development on the current Safeway site. The development includes a new Safeway store and a 160-unit apartment complex. Many residents have expressed concerns about the height of the development, but Bluemont resident Ryan Arnold writes that “the character of a neighborhood is not defined by the height of its buildings, but by the spirit of its people.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington Runner Raises Money for Boston Victims — Frank Fumich, a local runner, ran a 19 hour 38 minute triple marathon along the Mt. Vernon Trail over the weekend in order to raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Fumich raised more than $33,000 with the 78.6 mile run. [Washington Post]
Bill Thomas Awards Presented — The annual Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Awards were presented at last night’s County Board meeting. This year’s winners are Steve Young, a “well-known figure for invasive plant removal at Long Branch Park,” and the Friend of the Gulf Branch Nature Center, a group that has fought the center’s closure and raised money for its operation. [Arlington County]
Chamber to Debut Business Blog — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce “is set to start an Internet blog” written by and about local business. The Sun Gazette reports: “All comments in response to specific articles will be moderated for content, so the Chamber blog does not spiral into the chaos of some online-news sites where anonymous cranks spew venom to little discernible purpose.” [Sun Gazette]
Katherine Heigl Tweets in Support of Moran — Actress Katherine Heigl has used her star power on Twitter to help promote a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). The bill would ban the use of gas chambers to euthanize shelter animals. “Please, please, please support Congressman Moran’s resolution,” the acress tweeted. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the Arlington Best Business Awards.
Winners of the merit-based awards are chosen by a panel of past winners. Businesses can nominate themselves or other businesses that are Arlington Chamber members by submitting the online nomination form by Wednesday, May 1.
The businesses are scored on the following four criteria:
- Must be a viable, on-going, full-time business that has experienced significant growth or stability over its business life.
- Must be well known and thought of by its customers or clients for consistently delivering exceptional quality or service.
- Must be a leader in its industry in Arlington OR must have a significantly unique approach to delivery of its goods or services.
- Must have displayed an interest in and concern for the Arlington community – either corporately or through its owners and/or employees backed by the company.
The awards ceremony will take place on May 21, and also includes the induction of some local business leaders into the Arlington Hall of Fame.
These awards are separate from the annual ABBIES, which are announced in the fall and selected by the community’s popular vote.
Arlington police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and 911 operators were honored today (Wednesday) at the 31st annual Valor Awards ceremony.
The awards ceremony, organized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, was held at the Ft. Myer Officers’ Club at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Arlington County public safety personnel who have demonstrated extraordinary heroism or exceptional performance were presented with awards, certificates and medals.
Among those awarded were:
- Donald “DJ Winsock, a 911 operator whose CPR instructions saved the life of a woman who suffered a medical emergency in Rosslyn on August 21, 2012.
- Sgt. Jack Lantz, a nearly 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, for meritorious service over the course of his career.
- Sgt. David Bowers, and deputy sheriffs Efthimios Alpos, Monica-Lyons-Carr and Arthur Pitts, who saved the life of an intoxicated woman who tried to commit suicide in a holding cell, after being arrested at Reagan National Airport on Nov. 10, 2012.
- Sgt. Richard Laureano, of the Sheriff’s Office. Laureano used an automated external defibrillator to revive a boy who collapsed during a wrestling match in Woodbridge, while off-duty on Feb. 2, 2013.
- Capt. Kevin Reardon, for 26 years of meritorious service to the Arlington County Police Department.
- Cpl. Richard St. Clair and Officer Patrick Maxwell, for valor while attempting to help Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman, who fell 30-feet off a bridge and later died while responding to a car fire on I-395.
- Cpl. David Munn, Officer Daniel Gardner, and Officer Hilary Maloney, for physically restraining a suicidal military veteran from jumping off the 18th floor of a Pentagon City apartment building on June 16, 2012.
- Capt. Trevor Burrell for meritorious service to the Arlington County Fire Department, specifically in the area of firefighter training.
- Firefighter Joshua Wise for helping to stop a car that was driving erratically on I-395, while off duty. After the car stopped, Wise rendered aid to the driver, who was suffering a diabetic emergency.
The full explanation of each award and act can be found below, after the jump.
“Often, this is the only public recognition these officers receive,” said Chamber of Commerce President Rich Doud said in a statement. “It is unique to hear the stories of their heroic acts and to meet the officers involved. We are fortunate that they work in Arlington and perform so selflessly in the service of our businesses and citizens.”
ABC7 meteorologist Brian Van De Graff served as emcee to the lunchtime event. In addition to police and fire department personnel, attendees included Arlington County Board members, state legislators, elected constitutional officials, school officials and local business leaders.
Chamber Wants State Control of Energy Plan — One of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s legislative goals this year is to have the state take control of energy efficiency and green building standards. The Chamber’s call for statewide objectives and policies comes as Arlington is in the latter stages of developing its own Community Energy Plan. “The Chamber does not support the delegation of authority to localities to establish green-building codes and requirements on a locality-by-locality basis,” the group wrote. [Sun Gazette]
VSP Responds to Crashes During Storm — Yesterday’s snow, ice and rain storm resulted in dozens of crashes on Northern Virginia highways. Virginia State Police’s Fairfax division (which includes Arlington) responded to 69 crashes, 46 disabled vehicles and a total of 328 calls for service yesterday, according to VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller. Statewide, VSP responded to 686 crashes, including one fatal wreck in Campbell County, near Lynchburg.
Population Decline Coming? — Updated at 12:55 p.m. — A projection by researchers at the University of Virginia suggests that Arlington’s population will, against all conventional wisdom, actually decline in coming years. In the 2010 census Arlington had a population of 207,627; by 2040, the projection suggest the population will shrink to 197,065. The researchers cautioned against putting too much faith in the Arlington numbers. As a whole, Virginia is projected to grow, with some 2 million additional residents statewide by 2040. Arlington’s planning division projects a population of 252,400 in 2040. [Sun Gazette]
IAFF: Only We Fight Fires in Arlington — IAFF Local 2800, Arlington’s firefighter union, wants residents to know that their members are the only ones who fight fires in Arlington. The union is trying to draw attention to a web page set up to clarify the differences between professional Arlington County firefighters and members of local volunteer firefighting organizations, who have been soliciting donations. “You may be wondering ‘are my fire and rescue services provided by volunteer firefighters?’” the union wrote. “The answer is no.” [IAFF Local 2800]
Wag More Dogs Gets New Mural — Wag More Dogs, the Shirlington dog grooming business that had to whitewash its doggy mural after losing a legal battle over signage restrictions with Arlington County, has a new mural that no one will interpret as a form of advertising this time around. The mural, painted by itinerant artists Zack Weaver and Rob Fogle, depicts two birds sitting in a hot tub on a tree. During the two weeks it took to create the mural, Weaver and Fogle lived in their truck (dubbed the “Art Cream Truck” and decorated with a painting of a well-endowed green-skinned woman) which they parked outside the dog park. [Huffington Post]
GOP Candidate Goes Against Chamber-Supported Tax — Republican County Board candidate Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement have both come out against a 12.5 cent per $100 commercial property tax surcharge levied by Arlington County. The surcharge, which is used to fund transportation improvements, is supported by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. [Sun Gazette]
Post Endorses Kaine — The Washington Post editorial board has endorsed Democrat Tim Kaine over Republican George Allen in the race for U.S. Senate in Virginia. [Washington Post]
While there’s no word on exactly when demolition is expected to begin, we’re told a crane has been sitting in the building’s parking lot for the past couple of weeks, while the Chamber just announced that it is in the process of moving to a temporary office in Ballston.
Replacing the office building will be a new 16-story, 254-unit apartment building called the Tellus. The mixed-use building will also include more than 15,000 square feet of office and retail space. Construction had been set to begin in 2010, but financial difficulties forced it to be delayed.
Over the next couple of days, the Chamber will be moving to a new, temporary office at 4600 Fairfax Drive, Suite 804. The Chamber says it will be closed to the public through Monday, July 16, during the move.
The Chamber plans to move back into the first-floor office space of the Tellus, once it’s completed. That could happen as soon as 2014, the Chamber says.
Chamber Launches New Web Site — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has revamped its web site with a new look and improved navigation. [Arlington Chamber]
Samuel Beckett’s Offers Outdoor Seating – The sidewalk cafe in front of Samuel Beckett’s is open for anyone who wants to take advantage of the warm weather. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Treasurer’s Office Wins Tech Award – The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office won a Technology Solutions Award from the Public Technology Institute for its implementation of a “single, integrated system to collect all County taxes and dozens of County fees.” [Arlington County]
Blog Chronicles Local Brunch Spots — Need help deciding where to go for brunch? Join the Arlington Brunch Club. The “club” is actually a relatively new blog that has, so far, featured reviews for five local brunch spots. [Arlington Brunch Club]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
Post Editorial: Investigate Williamsburg Principal’s Claims — In an editorial, the Washington Post says that Arlington Public Schools should investigate claims made by former Williamsburg Middle School principal Kathy Francis, who resigned last week. Francis sent a long email to parents accusing superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy of unprofessional and discriminatory conduct. School board members say they have “full confidence in Dr. Murphy’s leadership.” [Washington Post]
Chamber Worries About HOT Lanes Loss — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce thinks that the demise of the I-395 HOT lanes project could hurt Arlington while benefiting Fairfax County. Arlington County sued state and federal officials over the HOT lanes proposal, which helped lead to VDOT’s decision last week to kill the project. [Washington Examiner]
Parking Restricted on Some Neighborhood Streets — Arlington authorities have begun restricting parking to only one side of some narrow neighborhood streets. Fire trucks and garbage trucks have had difficulty navigating certain streets, which prompted the new restrictions. Many neighbors, however, are upset with the loss of parking spaces. [TBD]
Lawmakers Reveal Gifts Received Last Year — From trips to Turkey to Redskins tickets, Arlington’s state legislative delegation received thousands of dollars worth of (perfectly legal) gifts in 2010. The gifts were detailed in recent public filings. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Keating, an attorney with the Arlington firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman, just finished his term as the 2010 chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
A New Jersey native, Keating earned his B.A. from Rutgers. He received his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University.
As an attorney, Keating represented business clients from individual entrepreneurs to large multi-national companies.
“He was just one of the best people you know,” said Leo Fisher, a managing partner at Bean, Kinney & Korman. “He was a very positive person, he had a great sense of humor… it was a pleasure to work with him.”
“We are absolutely stunned in disbelief,” said Takis Karantonis, director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, who worked with Keating on business issues related to the Pike. “This is a real loss for our community… he was a real civic champion.”
In addition to his work with the Chamber, Keating was a member of Arlington County’s Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force.
“It’s a little surreal that he’s not here today,” said 2010 county board chairman Jay Fisette, who ran in to Keating while eating lunch at a restaurant in Courthouse yesterday. “Our chairmanships coincided, and I got a chance to know him pretty well… He was very committed to the community as a whole, and that was reflected in his life and in his interactions.”
“Phil was filled with humor and compassion, and was a consensus-builder,” said Sun Gazette Managing Editor Scott McCaffrey, who worked with Keating as a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee. “[He] used his year as chairman to push the Chamber of Commerce to continue as an engaged partner in government and economic affairs in Arlington and the region.”
Keating was married with three children, including a daughter who recently graduated from college, a son who’s an undergraduate at UVA and a daughter who’s a junior in high school.
Chamber Questions HOT Lanes Lawsuit — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce says ending the county’s lawsuit against the I-395 HOT lanes project is one of its public policy priorities for 2011. “We find it kind of bizarre that the county has taken the actions that they have,” Chamber President Rich Doud told the Washington Examiner. “As far as I can tell, they don’t have many friends agreeing with them on this from outside Arlington, and I guess counting us, not many friends inside Arlington, either.”
Costly Sunday Snow Preps — Arlington County brought in 150 employees over a 24 hour period to prepare for an expected Sunday snowstorm. The snow ended up skipping the Washington area on its way up to Philly, New York and New England. More from TBD.
Legislators to Address Civic Federation — The Arlington County Civic Federation has invited Arlington’s legislative delegation to address the organization’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 4. No word yet on which of the county’s four delegates and two state senators will speak. The meeting will also feature a discussion about Arlington’s new snow removal policy with representatives from the county and from Dominion Virginia Power.
Speaking to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce this afternoon, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) expressed strong support for the tax cut deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans, calling the compromise “an act of leadership.”
The keynote speaker at the Chamber’s 86th Annual Meeting, Webb said he’s encouraged by the president’s willingness to break with the Democratic base.
“What the president has done here is something I’ve been waiting for him to do for a long time, and that is to get out of the base of the party and move into where we need to be as Americans to solve the problems that we have,” Webb said. “There are things in here for everybody not to like, but that’s just what happens when you get into this business.”
Obama’s tax proposal calls for a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets, a 13-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits, tax breaks for business investments, a weakening of the estate tax, and a 2 percent payroll tax production. Since the compromise was announced, the president has had to fight off criticism from members of his own party, who say the deal is costly and a boon for the rich.
“It’s not a totally popular position inside our caucus at the moment, but I think we really do need to get this done for the good of the country,” Webb said. “It’s not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democratic issue, it’s an issue of how we get our economy going.”
Webb said lower taxes and continued unemployment benefits have the potential to greatly benefit the economy. In explaining why, he adopted the economic rationale cited by many Republicans.
“What all this has the potential of doing, in my view, is to stimulate our economy in a way that the TARP did not, and these other programs did not, because it’s going to put money directly in the hands of people who will spend it,” he said. “Study after study has shown that when you put money into unemployment benefits, it’s one of the fastest ways to recirculate money in your economy, because people aren’t going to hang on to it, they’re going to go out and spend it.”
Webb said simply allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in January would be a mistake.
“People who don’t like this, I’m not sure they’re going to like what happens if they don’t pass it,” he said.
Torrez Sentencing Today — The sentencing of former Marine and convicted rapist Jorge Torrez will be held in Arlington County Circuit Court today.
Chairman Zimmerman — Chris Zimmerman will likely serve as county board chairman in 2011, taking the reins from Jay Fisette. An official announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday. More from the Sun Gazette.
Webb Headlines Annual Chamber Meeting – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce will be held at the Sheraton National Hotel on Columbia Pike today. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is the keynote speaker for the luncheon event. Others expected to attend include state delegates Adam Ebbin and David Englin, County Manager Barbara Donnellan, and numerous county elected officials.
Arlington Chamber of Commerce Chairman Philip Keating says now is the time to “review and debate” Arlington County’s proposed community energy plan.
In a letter to members, Keating says the chamber’s government affairs and green business committees will be discussing the plan in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he had the following to say about the still-developing plan:
It is great to have goals, but as the expression goes “the devil is in the details,” and in the case of the draft energy plan, essential details are not being addressed at this stage … The Arlington Chamber is concerned by the unstated issues of cost, decisions of who will bear the cost, marketplace viability of the goals in the time frames contemplated, impact on the rights of property owners, and enforcement. In cases where actions impact the public good, it is the position of the Arlington Chamber that the general public should bear the expense, not just the business community.
The county is planning a public forum on the energy plan this week. The forum will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday at Wakefield High School.