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Morning Poll: Arlington’s Tax Rate

by ARLnow.com | March 27, 2014 at 10:25 am | 973 views | No Comments

County Board budget hearing on 3/26/13The Arlington County Board will hold its annual public hearing on the county’s tax rate tonight (Thursday).

The hearing will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Arlington County Board offices at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Residents can sign up to be one of the speakers commenting on the tax rate at the hearing.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed holding the property tax rate steady at $1.006 for every $100 in assessed value. Because the County Board advertised no change to the tax rate, it can now only set a tax rate at or below the current rate.

Nonetheless, numerous groups and individuals believe that the county should spend more on affordable housing, the social safety net and other priorities — spending that would require either cuts elsewhere or higher taxes. At the same time, some say the tax rate should be lowered.

If they could, would you support the County Board raising taxes?
 

Photos: ARLive in Crystal City

by ARLnow.com | February 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 2,260 views | No Comments

Hundreds of Arlington business leaders, politicians, media members and residents attended the first ARLive community networking event last night (Tuesday) in Crystal City.

Attendees included Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey, County Board candidates Alan Howze and John Vihstadt, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Crystal City Business Improvement District President and CEO Angie Fox, Vornado SVP of Development Mitch Bonanno, ARLnow.com founder and publisher Scott Brodbeck, Grade A Marketing founder Amanda Fischer, Falcon Lab Managing Partner Borzou Azabdaftari, Penzance Senior Advisor Peter Greenwald, Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky, Rep. Jim Moran spokesman Tommy Scanlon, former County Board candidate Peter Fallon, Spider Kelly’s owner and ARLnow.com contributor Nick Freshman, A-SPAN Director of Development and Communications Jan-Michael Sacharko, BbG Fitness owner and ARLnow.com columnist Ginny Wright, singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, ARLnow.com reporter Ethan Rothstein, and ARLnow.com Director of Sales and Business Development Meghan McMahon.

Music was provided by DJ Neekola. Food was provided by Jaleo and Morton’s. Beer and wine was provided by Crystal City Wine Shop. The event space was provided by Vornado Charles E. Smith.

ARLnow.com asked each guest to participate in an unscientific community poll while attending. They were asked to answer any or all of 20 questions, by placing a sticker next to the answer of their choice.

On the hot-button topic of the Columbia Pike street the results were surprising lopsided. Of those who weighed in, 85 percent said the streetcar should be built, while only 15 percent said the project should be scrapped.

For the similarly controversial Long Bridge Park aquatics center, 49 percent said it should be built, 15 percent said it shouldn’t be built, and 36 percent said it should be built only if costs can be brought down.

Here are the responses for some of the poll questions:

  • Are you… Single: 23%, In a relationship: 32%, Married: 40%, It’s complicated: 5%
  • Do you… Live in Arlington: 25%, Work in Arlington: 19%, Both: 41%, None of the above: 15%
  • How long have you lived in Arlington? 0-1 years: 10%, 1-4 years: 22%, 5-10 years: 22%, 11-20 years: 9%, 21+ years: 13%, I don’t live here: 22%
  • Restaurant options in Arlington… Are great: 85%, Are good, but they’re too busy: 7.5%, Are okay, but not enough variety: 7.5%, Need a lot of improvement: 0%
  • In 2014, I expect my business will… Grow: 65%, Contract: 2%, Remain about the same: 3%, I work for The Man: 30%
  • How do you feel about the comments on ARLnow.com? I read them and love them: 32%, I read them and hate them: 21%, I don’t read them anymore: 13%, I’ve never read them: 34%
  • Arlington’s investment in affordable housing should… Increase: 67%, Be reduced: 8%, Remain about the same: 25%
  • Arlington’s attitude toward business is… Too pro-business: 5%, Not pro-business enough: 67%, Just about right: 28%
  • Should Arlington spend more proportionally on schools? Yes: 67%, No: 33%
  • Metro’s plan to build a new Potomac River tunnel from Rosslyn is… A great idea: 58%, Too expensive or impractical: 29%, I didn’t know about it: 13%
  • Roads in Arlington…  Are adequately maintained: 25%, Need more maintenance: 75%
  • Will you vote in the County Board special election? Yes: 50%, No: 50%
  • How often do you visit Arlington Public Libraries? Daily: 1%, Weekly: 6%, Monthly: 22%, Rarely: 43%, Never: 28%
  • Arlington’s taxes are… Too high: 56%, Too low: 9%, Just about right: 35%
  • The Silver Line will be… Good for Arlington: 75%, Bad for Arlington: 6%, A wash for Arlington: 19%
  • Should the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center be built? Yes: 49%, No: 15%, Only if costs can be brought down: 36%
  • Should the Columbia Pike Streetcar be built? Yes: 85%, No: 15%

Morning Poll: Is Restaurant Week a Good Deal?

by ARLnow.com | January 16, 2014 at 10:00 am | 1,936 views | No Comments

Leek American Bistro in BallstonWe’re about half-way through the winter edition of Washington Restaurant Week but some diners are asking themselves: is this really a good deal?

In theory, Restaurant Week, which features about a dozen Arlington restaurants this year, allows patrons to try out nice restaurants around the area at lower, fixed prices. In practice?

“A look at nearly two dozen restaurants participating in Restaurant Week shows not only that many of these dinners aren’t not much of a deal, but that you may actually be paying much more than what they’re worth,” reports the Washington City Paper.

Restaurant Week menus abound with the cheaper items from restaurants’ normal menus alongside items that aren’t even on the normal menu. Restaurant Week dinners are priced at $35.14, and the City Paper reports that items from the fixed price menus are often times cheaper if purchased individually.

The analysis did not consider the Restaurant Week lunches, which are priced at $20.14.

In your personal experience, have you found Restaurant Week to be a good deal?
 

Morning Poll: Christmas Trees

by ARLnow.com | December 2, 2013 at 9:45 am | 978 views | No Comments

Christmas treeWhether real or artificial, an evergreen tree helps enhance the spirit of the season around the home.

One of the county’s best-known Christmas tree sellers, the Optimist Club of Arlington, is expecting a record number of sales this year, according to the Sun Gazette. The club has ordered 1,200 trees from forests in North Carolina — 100 more than last year, when all trees were gone by Dec. 18.

The Optimist Club sells its trees from the parking lot of the Wells Fargo bank at Glebe Road and Lee Highway. Other Christmas tree sellers around town include the Boy Scouts (6000 Wilson Blvd), the Lions Club (Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive), and the Knights of Columbus (830 23rd Street S.), according to a recent forum thread.

Of course, not everybody opts for the real deal. Freshly-cut trees require water, care and some sort of vehicular transportation, in addition to an annual investment. Artificial trees, on the other hand, can be purchased once, stashed in a closet and set up year after year with nary the risk of getting tree sap all over one’s hands.

Regardless of your choice, when are you planning on buying or putting up a Christmas tree at home?
 

Few Problems on Election Day in Arlington

by Katie Pyzyk | November 5, 2013 at 10:05 am | 1,242 views | No Comments

Arlington’s polling places have been open for about four hours, and so far election day appears to be proceeding without a hitch.

As of 9:00 a.m., Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg reported being very busy but said there had been no significant issues to report. Although not a major incident, people at the Barrett Elementary School (4401 N. Henderson Road) polling place reported the school’s principal pulled campaign signs out of the ground, claiming they weren’t allowed to be there. After witnesses made a few phone calls to lawyers and the superintendent, the principal learned he was incorrect and apologized for taking down the signs.

Last week, Lindberg noted that already there had been an increase in absentee voting over the 2009 election. This morning she said is was still too early to estimate how many people might turn up to vote in person.

“It’s been pretty steady, that’s about all we know at this point,” Lindberg said. “It’s not outrageous, just pretty steady.”

Voters, however, have been reporting short lines at places like Barrett Elementary.

“I was pretty surprised at how few people were here,” said Melanie Papasian. “After the long lines last year, I expected to see more. Hopefully they come in more by the end of the day.”

“Last year, I got in line at 7:30 a.m. and left the polling place at 9:45,” said Brian Lemak. ”I know off-year elections aren’t as big but I got in and out in 10 minutes, which I was really surprised by.”

At the River House (1600 S. Joyce Street) polling place in Pentagon City, voters repeatedly expressed particular interest in voting in this gubernatorial race, compared with others in recent years.

“This is an important election,” said Dan Bailey. “The governor of Virginia can set a tone and I haven’t liked the tone we’ve had for the last few years.”

Haydn Kuprevich recently moved to Arlington and wanted to fulfill his civic duty.

“It’s something I do every time there’s an election,” said Kuprevich. “It’s important for me to understand the issues people are talking about and what their positions are.”

“I was passionate about everybody having equal rights, I was passionate about women’s rights, I was passionate about looking out for all the people and not a select group in the state, because the governor represents everybody,” said Mary Elizabeth Boyd. “I think the whole country’s going in a certain direction right now and we just have to settle it down and keep hanging in with what we believe in.”

Polls in Arlington remain open until 7:00 p.m. More information, including sample ballots, can be found online.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 24, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,827 views | No Comments

Bicycle commuter on the W&OD Trail (Flickr pool photo by ddimick)

Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]

New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]

Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]

New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]

Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]

Flickr pool photo by ddimick

Morning Poll: Is Arlington the ‘Hoboken of Washington?’

by ARLnow.com | September 13, 2013 at 10:10 am | 4,068 views | No Comments

S.E. Cupp (photo via Twitter)Is Arlington the “Hoboken of Washington?”

That’s what conservative commentator S.E. Cupp said of her current home, during a party to celebrate the relaunch of CNN’s Crossfire earlier this week.

Cupp, who is one of the four co-hosts on the show, told the packed party crowd that, when she recently moved to Arlington from New York City, she didn’t realize she was moving to the “Hoboken of Washington.”

Hoboken, N.J. is a city of 50,000 situated on the Hudson River across from Manhattan. The city is noted for its upscale shops and condominiums, and bills itself as “America’s most walkable city” and a “bicycle friendly community.” The city’s website prominently features a flyer for the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival and a public service announcement about cleaning up pet waste.

Do you agree with Cupp’s analogy?
 

Photo via Twitter

Afternoon Poll: Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn

by ARLnow.com | September 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm | 4,201 views | No Comments

Ben's Chili Bowl (photo via Facebook)Washington Business Journal has today’s scoop that Ben’s Chili Bowl will be opening a new location in Rosslyn.

The new Ben’s will be located in at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space, WBJ reported.

But will the idea of scarfing down a chili half smoke closer to home be enough to drive Arlington residents to the new restaurant? Or is part of Ben’s allure tied to the original U Street NW location — whether it be the location’s history or proximity to popular bars?

After it opens — early next year, according to WBJ’s Rebecca Cooper — which Ben’s Chili Bowl will you be more likely to go to?
 

Photo via Facebook

Morning Poll: Fall-Like Weather in August

by ARLnow.com | August 15, 2013 at 9:30 am | 695 views | No Comments

Sunny Sunday in Rosslyn (photo by Katie Pyzyk)You would be forgiven if you stepped outside this morning and thought it was late September.

The low temperature at Reagan National Airport this morning was a chilly 60 degrees. Despite lots of sunshine, we’ll be lucky to reach 80 degrees this afternoon.

It’s a continuation of yesterday’s fall-like weather, which tied for the 4th-coolest Aug. 14 in recorded D.C. history, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

Some may be cheering the mild temperatures, while others may be mourning what feels like an early end to summer. What do you think?
 

Morning Poll: Favorite Arlington Fireworks Spot

by ARLnow.com | July 1, 2013 at 10:00 am | 605 views | No Comments

Fourth of July fireworks, as seen from the Air Force Memorial (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)There are plenty of places in Arlington to watch D.C.’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

From rooftops to parks to bridges, many spots attract loyal fireworks watchers who come back to watch the festivities across the Potomac year after year.

What’s your favorite place to watch the fireworks display?

 

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

Morning Poll: Goats at Schools?

by ARLnow.com | June 26, 2013 at 9:35 am | 530 views | No Comments

Goat (photo by Armin Kubelbeck via Wikimedia)Why should Arlington County stop at backyard hens?

That’s the question posed by the author of a letter to the editor in the Sun Gazette this week. Arlington Public Schools, writes local resident William Johnson, should start keeping goats on school grounds.

The goats could be milked for school breakfasts and lunches, could help the schools “save funds on lawn maintenance,” and could help educate children about animal husbandry.

“Assuming the School Board will approve this as a pilot program, I will consider funding the purchase of the first few goats — assuming I receive naming rights for the animals,” Johnson writes.

Putting aside whether the school system would ever approve such a plan, and assuming for the moment that the letter-writer is making a serious proposal, would you be in favor of raising goats at Arlington Public Schools?
 

Photo via Wikimedia

Morning Poll: Restaurant Tax to Hit 10 Percent

by ARLnow.com | June 24, 2013 at 10:35 am | 2,701 views | No Comments

Dish from Masala Express restaurant in Lyon ParkThe total tax you pay for meals at restaurants (and prepared meals at grocery stores) will increase from 9 percent to 10 percent starting next Monday, July 1.

As the Sun Gazette reports, the higher rate is due to a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax — a tax hike that’s earmarked for transportation projects. In all, half of the 10 percent tax will go to the state, while the other half will go the Arlington County.

Arlington’s restaurant tax revenue includes 4 percent for the county meals tax and 1 percent for the county’s share of the sales tax.

While a 1 percent tax hike is relatively tiny, there may be a psychological impact from the tax line on your check hitting the double digit mark. Will you be less likely to go out to eat once the total tax on meals hits 10 percent?
 

Morning Poll: What Are You Doing for Dad?

by ARLnow.com | June 12, 2013 at 9:45 am | 398 views | No Comments

Father and son with fishing gear in Bon Air ParkFather’s Day is coming up this Sunday, June 16.

The holiday was first conceived in the early 20th century in order to complement Mother’s Day. While it was celebrated informally in the intervening years, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made it an official, permanent national holiday.

So what are you planning to do for dad this weekend? Select the option that represents your primary Father’s Day present this year.

 

Morning Poll: Lower Speed Limits on Wilson, Clarendon Blvds?

by ARLnow.com | June 11, 2013 at 10:00 am | 715 views | No Comments

A rough stretch of Clarendon Blvd near N. Scott StreetNext month, the Arlington County Board is expected to consider a proposal to lower the speed limit on Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards between Rosslyn to Clarendon.

As reported by the Sun Gazette, the proposal would lower the speed limit on the key arteries, between Washington Blvd and Route 110, from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

The lower speed limit is in keeping with the county’s Master Transportation Plan, which calls for a 25 mile per hour speed limit on streets with lots of development and pedestrian activity.

What do you think of the proposal?
 

Morning Poll: Cicada ‘Invasion’ A Bust?

by ARLnow.com | June 7, 2013 at 10:00 am | 443 views | No Comments

Cicada by ChristakiThis spring, local media outlets breathlessly repeated warnings of an impending cicada invasion.

The 17-year cicadas of Brood II, which last appeared during the Clinton Administration in 1996, would emerge en masse from the ground once the soil temperature was warm enough, disturbing the peace with their collective mating calls and littering lawns with their crunchy carcasses.

Alas, in Arlington, it seems like Brood II might be a bust. While points south and west of here do indeed have near-biblical-scale cicada infestations, it appears that most of Arlington has escaped unscathed.

If Arlington is to be invaded by cicadas, it’s most likely to happen during Brood X, which hit the D.C. area in 2004 and will return in 2021.

Have you seen cicadas in your Arlington neighborhood this year?
 

Flickr pool photo by Christaki

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