Election Board Calms Election Fraud Fears — Don’t worry about election shenanigans in Arlington, says the Arlington Electoral Board. The board is made up of two Republicans and one Democrat. At the Arlington County Republican Committee meeting on Oct. 24, Republican board member Scott McGeary said the county’s election staff will “make certain we have the utmost ballot integrity.” Local Republicans have been fearful of a “stolen election” in recent days, given the release of a video depicting Rep. Jim Moran’s son discussing ways to fraudulently cast ballots. [Sun Gazette]
Proposed Courthouse Office Building Still in Limbo — The ‘Clean Technology Center‘ — a new office building proposed for the 2300 block of Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse — had a vote on its site plan postponed by the Arlington County Board on Tuesday. The Board and local residents have been critical of the building’s design and its purported lack of public benefits. [Arlington Mercury]
Zimmerman Joins National Smart Growth Council — From a county press release: “Arlington County Board Member Chris Zimmerman is one of 22 leading local officials from jurisdictions around the country to join the Advisory Board of Smart Growth America’s new Local Leaders Council , a nonpartisan group of local officials.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
A streetcar line in Crystal City is essential for keeping the area from becoming clogged with traffic as the population and workforce grows over the next 30 years, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in an opinion piece published in the Arlington Connection on Wednesday.
Making a case for the large investment required to build a streetcar system, Hynes argued that the streetcar is part of Arlington’s “smart growth” philosophy.
“Traffic on many major Arlington streets is less than it was in 1970, even though our population has doubled in that time,” Hynes wrote. “The secret sauce is Arlington’s commitment to ‘smart growth’ planning — our commitment to transit-oriented development that keeps density along our transit corridors, while preserving neighborhoods. In fact, more than half of Arlington’s real property values are on just 11 percent of our land — our Metrorail corridors. It is a philosophy that is the backbone to Arlington’s success, the envy of many in the region and the nation.”
Hynes said that by 2040, Crystal City and Pentagon City are collectively expected to add 8,500 residents to the existing population of 17,400. Through the Crystal City Sector Plan, Hynes also expects the neighborhoods to add 35,500 jobs during that time.
That growth doesn’t necessarily have to result in additional traffic headaches, but it will if investments are not made in transit, according to Hynes.
“The modern streetcar for Crystal City — a line that will initially connect Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — is an important first step,” Hynes wrote.
“Eventually, this ‘Route 1′ line will meet up in Pentagon City with the planned streetcar line on Columbia Pike, providing riders with a one-seat option to travel from Potomac Yard to the Skyline area in our partner jurisdiction, Fairfax County,” Hynes continued. ”Without these strategic investments, our streets could become clogged with traffic, our quality of life could decline, and our robust economy could be at risk — the exact opposite of what we’ve achieved since the 1960s and what we know is possible when a community plans carefully.”
Hynes’ op-ed comes at a time when the county is seeking public comment on the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. It also comes as Arlington and Alexandria engage in a mini war of words over federal funding for the potential Alexandria portion of the Route 1 streetcar line.
“We hope [the streetcar] may even stretch further south into Alexandria one day,” Hynes wrote.
McDonnell Supports August Start for Va. Schools — A legislative priority of Arlington Public Schools may actually get some traction in the General Assembly this year. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has thrown his support behind the repeal of a state law that prevents Virginia schools from starting before Labor Day. Known as the “King’s Dominion law,” the law was originally intended to benefit the state’s tourism industry. Arlington has repeatedly applied for a waiver from the requirement, arguing that an August start to the school year would allow for more instruction time, but the request always been denied. [Washington Examiner]
Arlington Loses Vote on Metro Board — Arlington has been “demoted” on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board. County Board Chairman Mary Hynes, previously a voting member of the board, has been moved to alternate status in favor of voting status for a Fairfax County representative and a state government representative. [Sun Gazette]
Do Board Candidates Lack Conviction on Smart Growth? — Writing for Greater Greater Washington, environmental activist Miles Grant asks whether the Democratic candidates for County Board lack conviction when it comes to their support of traditional Arlington Democratic priorities like smart growth, affordable housing and transit. [Greater Greater Washington]
Moran: Arlington an Example for the Nation — Rep. Jim Moran (D) says that Arlington’s transit-oriented growth sets an example for other communities to follow. For communities currently lacking such infrastructure, Moran says that tax policy can be used to help entice developers to build near transit hubs. [WAMU]
Death Penalty May Be Dividing Line in Race – The death penalty may be a key difference between the two Democrats who are running for Commonwealth’s Attorney in Arlington. “The death penalty doesn’t have a place in a civilized society,” said one candidate, defense attorney David Deane, in a recent appearance. His opponent, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, has previously said she supports capital punishment in certain circumstances. [Sun Gazette]
Public Access Idea for Comcast — In response to the news that the county is holding focus groups regarding the upcoming renewal of Comcast’s cable franchise in Arlington, one blogger has floated an idea for a different type of ‘public access’ channel. The idea: allow members of the general public to upload videos to a ‘staging server’ where they would be reviewed, screened for inappropriate content and then broadcast in rotation with other community-generated videos. [Ode Street Tribune]