Arlington, VA

A vehicle stop led to some tense moments on a busy Clarendon street Monday afternoon.

Shortly after 2:15 p.m. police pulled over a vehicle that had been “allegedly involved in a felony assault with a deadly weapon in Washington, D.C.,” after an alert from an automated license plate reader.

“Officers located the vehicle at Clarendon Boulevard and Washington Boulevard and conducted a felony traffic stop,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Video of the incident sent to ARLnow shows an SUV pulled over near Circa restaurant on Clarendon Blvd and officers with guns drawn and pointed in the vehicle’s direction. Two people — a man driving the car and a female passenger — were ordered out of the vehicle. In the video the woman could be seen kneeling on the ground, with her hands in the air.

In the end, neither vehicle occupant was arrested and it’s unclear whether the alleged connection to the crime in D.C. was a case of mistaken identity or otherwise.

“Officers identified the occupants, determined they did not have any active warrants and documented the incident,” said Savage. “No arrests were made.”

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One company is planning to “raze” two office buildings on 601-701 12th Street S. in Pentagon City and develop four new towers with residential, office, and retail space.

That’s according to a preliminary site plan filing with Arlington County. The plan also notes that the property’s current occupants — the Transportation Security Administration — are soon leaving the county.

Renderings in the filings from the property owner Brookfield Properties depict four buildings planned for the area:

  • a 14-story, 240-foot high southwest tower for office space
  • a 20-story, 235-foot high southeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 24-story, 275-foot high northeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 26-story, 300-foot high northwest tower for residential use, with a penthouse

The company’s proposal says the development will occur in phases and will include “new access to the Pentagon City Metro, upgraded streetscapes and sidewalks, a new internal pedestrian pathway, public open spaces and outdoor seating” as well as public art.

Brookfield’s plans indicate that retail space is planned along the ground floor of the four towers and along 12th Street S.

Tysons-based law firm Venable LLP submitted the proposal, which included a request to make an exception to the site’s limits on building height and density for the project, on behalf of Brookfield.

The document notes that, “the proposal will help address the significant increase in demand for residential housing and hotel space, which will only grow considering the potential for office development in the region.”

The plan says it aims to “ease congestion on surrounding roads by integrating with nearby sites, improving internal circulation, and connecting to Metro.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently using the two buildings on-site and is scheduled to move out next fall, per agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

“The new building will be located at 6595 Springfield Center Drive, Springfield,” said Farbstein.

The TSA had been planning to stay at the property, which is next to the Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and across the street from the Pentagon City mall, until mid-2020.

TSA announced in 2015 that it would move to Alexandria in a bid to save $95 million over the next 15 years, but the move was later overturned by a federal judge.

Brookfield Properties describes the two, 12-story buildings currently occupied by the TSA as, “aging, obsolete” and “unattractive.”

The county posted the address of the project on its website under “Preliminary Development Proposals” last week. However, the process of obtaining the plans revealed the county’s permitting and zoning offices were adapting the way they process records requests.

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Arlington’s representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates have made good on promises to eschew Dominion Energy money, according to recent campaign finance reports.

Arlington’s six candidates for the House of Delegates shared financial reports indicating their campaigns took in no money from the utility company this year. However, most candidates are still relying on contributions from advocacy and labor groups, political action committees, and businesses, as opposed to running campaigns based only around individual contributions.

Copies of the campaign finance reports filed in April and shared by the Virginia Public Access Project indicate longtime donors, like the Virginia Trials Lawyers Political Action Committee (PAC), continue to chip in big chunks of cash to campaigns. The PAC contributed a combined $3,500 to the four incumbent delegates between January and March this year.

So far Democrats in the House of Delegates have out-raised their Republican colleagues, as all 100 seats are up for grabs this election and the possibility of a Democratic majority in the legislature remains on the horizon.

The two candidates currently challenging Arlington’s Delegates reported fewer funds raised than the incumbents. Candidate J.D. Spain, Sr., who is challenging Alfonso Lopez, raised the most of all newcomers on the block with $18,556, largely from his own coffers.

All candidates are scheduled to file another round of finance reports on June 3, days before the June 11 primary election.

The primary will decide which of each party’s candidates for office progresses to the general election on November 5. Virginia residents must register to vote at least 30 days before the primary to be eligible to cast their vote, and can check the location of their polls here.

Below are more details from each Delegates’ April campaign finance filings.

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D)

Lopez has raised by far the most money and also holds the largest war chest of any Delegate candidate in the running. He is currently being challenged by Democratic candidate J.D. Spain, Sr.

Lopez raised $50,924 between January 1 and March 31, according to reports, and spent $12,037. This leaves his campaign with $102,280 on hand after starting with $63,394 back in January.

Lopez’s biggest donor this cycle was Charlottesville investor Michael D. Bills who pledged to counter Dominion Energy with his campaign contributions this year and gave $10,000 to the sitting Delegate’s campaign.

“I believe that swearing off Dominion donations over a year ago just helped cement to my supporters that no money will ever influence me on a single piece of legislation, vote, decision, or opinion,” said Lopez today (Monday). “I have consistently voted against every Dominion Energy bill, and plan to do so as long as they continue to refuse to make renewable energy a major focus for Virginia.”

He added that he believed he had raised the most because he had “delivered real progressive results and the people of northern Virginia.”
Other notable investments to Lopez’s campaign came from the Virginia House Democrats Caucus ($5,000), and the Clean Virginia Fund ($5,000).

Lopez also accepted money from three alcohol groups: Virginia Wine Wholesalers PAC ($3,000), Virginia Beverage Association PAC ($2,000), and the Virginia Imports Ltd. ($500).

The delegate’s campaign for re-election has been endorsed by several unions, the Virginia Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education, and the Arlington Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Association — the latter of which donated $1,000 to his campaign.

Candidate J.D. Spain, Jr. (D)

Lopez’s Democratic challenger in the primary elections is J.D. Spain, Jr., a former Marine and head of the local NAACP chapter who faced him in debate last Wednesday night.

In last week’s filings, Spain reported contributing tens of thousands of his own money into the campaign: $8,200 in loans, $12,259 in cash, and $4,134 in “in-kind” contributions, which usually refers to value of things like equipment and services donated to a campaign.

“I understand that monetary support is really important for a campaign,” Spain told ARLnow. “But being a first-time candidate it’s really tough to raise money. It’s especially hard for a military veteran because we don’t have large networks with donors.”

He added that he loaned himself money to pay staff, and is “proud” of the small donations he received from individuals. His biggest was $500 from James Younger, his neighbor and Arlington’s former Deputy Police Chief.

In total, Spain reported fundraising $18,556 since January when he kicked off his campaign with zero dollars. After spending $12,192, the candidate for Delegate reportedly has $6,364 left on hand.

Spain’s campaign does not yet have any endorsements.

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Counseling for adults, families, couples and others; applied behavior analysis consultation for parents of children with autism, Asperger’s, intellectual disabilities or behavioral difficulties.

Afternoon, evening and weekend hours. Conveniently located in Reston, near the Reston Metro.

Dr. Hoch is a licensed professional counselor, licensed behavior analyst, doctoral level board certified behavior analyst and President of the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis.

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Progressive Voice is a weekly column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Tannia Talento

How do you achieve social justice, equal access to opportunities for all, and access to the American Dream? If it is achievable anywhere, most of us believe it could be in Arlington.

We all seek to be accepting and not prejudiced.

But let’s think about what we see when we see a police officer. What do we see when we see a Black of Latino male walking down the street? What do we see when we see a person with a disability? What do we see when we see a White person? Depending on the lens you bring to this discussion, whether it is the lens of having a disability, being Latinx, being Black, being an immigrant, or being White, you will likely view each of these people differently. For instance, what I see when I see a police officer, as a Latina woman who grew up in a working-class minority neighborhood, is fear for my well-being, a potential negative disruption to my day and potential harm. What I see when I see a Latino male is my brother, my father, my uncle or my cousins.

I see the world around me with my personal lens created by my life experience. I have had to remove my personal lens to understand that some people might see safety, protection, and help when they see a police officer and understand that some might see a gang member, an undocumented immigrant, or a potential criminal when they see a Latino male.

Consider what your lens is showing you.

We consider affordable housing in Arlington a mechanism for keeping our community socio-economically diverse. This is another area in which we need to consider our lenses to successfully support affordable housing in Arlington.

For instance, do you know what it feels like to have severe limits in living choices? Limits on where you can buy food, how much food you can buy, and the type of food you buy simply based on money. Consider the limits on the location of living accommodations that are strictly based on an affordable grocery store being within walking distance and a strong public transportation system to get you to work.

Under these circumstances, you do not get to truly pick your neighborhood, your school, or your community. Depending on when a unit becomes available, if it has enough rooms at a price you can afford, and if it is close enough to a metro or frequent bus line that starts early and runs late, your home picks you. If you have never experienced this, how would you know that a bus line that runs every hour versus every fifteen minutes is a barrier to something as simple as walking your child to school before work? If you have never experienced this how would you know that affordable housing in sections of North Arlington, while affordable, may not be a choice for you if you do not have a car, because there is no grocery store within walking distance or a transit line with frequent service. If you have never been low-income, these barriers are invisible to you.

Consider what your lens is showing you.

If we want to bring about social justice, ensure equal opportunities for success for all and access to the American Dream, the first step is to acknowledge our personal lens created by our backgrounds and experiences. The next step is to put them aside and learn about the lenses of others. We need to see through the different lenses that exist within our community so that we can see where the invisible barriers are located and help to remove them. This is how we in Arlington should support and assist each other in our pursuit of equity and social justice, inclusivity, and the American Dream.

Tannia has lived in Arlington for 15 years and is currently serving as Vice Chair of the
Arlington County School Board. She is a long-time community activist and an advocate
for equitable access to educational opportunities for all.

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Grand opening — School of Rock Alexandria

Saturday May 4 12-6 p.m.

Many Grand Opening festivities for this Family fun and kid friendly event. Regional School of Rock House bands will be performing LIVE.

Ribbon Cutting and Guitar smashing ceremony. Free Trial Lessons. Tour of School of

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A development plan for a new hotel and a new apartment or condo tower in the Rosslyn area has decreased the number of units originally planned for the site.

Grant Investment Properties, LLC which owns both the Best Western Iwo Jima hotel at 1501 Arlington Blvd and 14-unit Ellis Arms Apartments at 1523 Fairfax Drive, is now seeking to build a 10-floor, 48-unit residential building and a 12-story, 160-room hotel building on the Rosslyn site, according to county documents.

The Arlington County Board is set to vote Tuesday on the amended plan, and county staff is recommending approval, according to a staff report. The plans also include a 160-space parking garage, LEED Gold certification for both proposed buildings and “an extensive green roof.”

An earlier proposal called for a 250-room “dual brand hotel” and a 64-unit residential building, as ARLnow previously reported.

“While the number of proposed units decreased, the total residential [gross floor area] is unchanged, as the average unit size increased due to the elimination of studio units and increase in two (2) bedroom units,” the staff report said.

During an April 8 Planning Commission meeting several community members expressed concern about how the development may displace current residents from the Ellis Arms apartment building, which is considered market rate affordable housing, according to County Board documents.

“In response, the applicant has indicated that, in addition to the required Tenant Relocation Plan, it is working to identify potential affordable units, nearby the site, where existing tenants may have an option to move,” the documents note.

Depending on whether the residential building becomes rental apartments or condominiums — the staff report suggests the current plan is for condos — the developer would provide either on-site affordable rental units or a multi-million dollar contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, respectively.

The Arlington Park and Recreation Commission supports the plan, noting in a letter that the development’s community benefits package includes a donation to the nearby Ft. Myers Height Park, which will help fund improvements to “the picnic area (furnishings, ADA access, drinking fountain, invasive species removal), the half basketball court, and landscaping on a vacated playground site.”

Photos via Arlington County

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations

Crystal City-based startup 4stay aims to help more students find affordable housing with ambitious plans to quintuple their current reach, thanks to some new funding.

On the heels of raising $1 million in angel investments, last week the state-funded nonprofit Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced that its CIT GAP Funds would be investing in 4stay, according to a press release. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

“As someone who has worked in student housing for almost 10 years and lived the pain of many housing challenges, we have seen firsthand the difficulties and frustrations of looking for housing on college campuses,” Akobir Azamovich, co-founder and CEO of 4stay, said in the press release. “4stay is solving these challenges by providing an online marketplace to book furnished rooms around campuses. We also provide $100K insurance, host pay guarantee, and zero deposit to protect students, parents, and hosts.”

The site’s functionality is similar to rental site Airbnb, with students searching for available off-campus housing based on a variety of factors like the number of roommates or length of stay. Types of homes range from apartments to basement rooms in someone’s house, but all locations are required to be fully furnished with students having a bedroom of their own.

“We are grateful for the support of CIT GAP Funds, whose investment will help us further the acceleration of our product development as well as help spread the word through increased marketing efforts,” said Faridun Nazarov, co-founder and COO.

The company currently partners with over 100 schools, but with the CIT investment announced plans to bring on an additional 500 schools over the next 12-18 months. Part of the expansion plans include opening up in new student housing markets in Canada and Europe.

Upcoming offerings planned for the site include features to match users with other residents and the ability to book with room providers like school dorms or student housing companies.

Photo via Facebook

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This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

We meet with federal employees and government contractors who are facing issues in the security clearance process.

They often ask our attorneys at what point they should consult with a security clearance attorney to assist, advise or represent them. The usual response is that an individual with a potential security concern should do so as soon as possible. Generally, the earlier that a person with possible security concerns consults with a security clearance lawyer, the better the odds become in avoiding a potential adverse outcome.

What Does a Security Clearance Lawyer Do?

There are a number of ways that an experienced lawyer in security clearance law can help someone with security concerns. It is often the case that they can advise an individual regarding potential strategies before a security clearance problem develops.

We have found that most individuals have a good sense as to whether or not they may have a security concern (e.g. recent drug use, bankruptcy, foreign contacts) as they prepare to complete their security clearance forms like the e-QIP, SF-86 and/or different various of the SF-85. The earlier advice is sought when there is an issue, the more that can be possibly done to mitigate the concern.

Clearance lawyers also advise individuals during the investigative process and during any security clearance responses or appeals.

Delays Can Hurt the Ability to Mitigate Security Concerns

One of the major issues that we see in the clearance process is where an individual has waited too long to consider or in starting to address a potential security clearance concern until it may be too late.

Sometimes, individuals who have had financial issues which could have been explained or refuted initially, wait too long thinking that if they lose during the clearance hearing or personal appearance that they will just retain an attorney further on in the appeals process. This is usually the worst strategy.

When people with serious security concerns have waited too long to address them, or gone through an in person response without representation, it is usually too late to do much on further appeal. One example I remember is a case where a government contractor had an alleged debt that was overdue, didn’t respond with evidence that it was not his debt thinking that he could appeal it after the administrative judge had ruled.

The debt was clearly not his, but because the clearance appeal could only be based on the evidence already presented, the clearance could not be saved.

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(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Nicole Merlene, a Democrat challenging state Senator Barbara Favola (D), has become embroiled in a war of words with a self-described political meme account on Twitter.

The incident started with Merlene’s introduction at an Arlington Young Democrats forum.

“As a renter, as someone who completely relies on public transportation because they can’t afford a car, as someone who had to pay out of state tuition for college, as someone who has a very small prospect of owning a home in Northern Virginia unless I get married,” Merlene said in her opening remarks, “when I think about the future, our environment comes to mind. Have we taken the action needed to put us on a sustainable path forward? Do we have leadership in Richmond willing to stand up to Dominion?”

Accusing Favola of conflicts of interest and calling to ban political contributions from Dominion Energy — which has contributed $9,500 to Favola’s campaigns — have been some of the more vocal talking points from Merlene’s campaign.

But an anonymous Twitter account called Virginia Political Memes attacked Merlene over the comments and derided the candidate’s financial status as a “poor personal decision.”

Merlene responded with a three-part video series laying out the candidate’s positions on transit, affordability in Arlington, and renters rights:

One of the most fundamental parts of being a Democrat is that no matter your socioeconomic status, your religion, your gender identity, your race — is that you’re provided an opportunity to succeed and you’re given a level playing field… To write off an entire segment of our population as “poor” because they have to rent or because they have to use public transportation is despicable.

Favola waded into the fight as well and said that Merlene “should take her own advice” when it comes to elevating the political discussion.

The argument escalated to threats of a physical confrontation from Merlene’s brother — a threat lampooned in the responses — for which Merlene took to Twitter to apologize.

Arlington’s primary election be held on June 11 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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EyeSoar

This Community Post was written by Jane Franklin Dance and underwritten by Washington Workplace.

Jane Franklin Dance has taken the word and connotation of “eyesore,” an unpleasant sight in a public place, and created “EyeSoar,” a production combining audio, video and movement highlighting the wonderful people and organizations that make up the industrial neighborhood around Theatre on the Run.

Visuals highlight buildings and land at Nelson Street, the footbridge and Jennie Dean Park. The area, with many bus routes, draws bike path users, footbridge traffic and individuals to auto repair shops, Shirlington Dog Park, New District Brewing Company and other businesses.

Interviewees include Charles Meng, Director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Inner Ear Studio founder Don Zientara, Mike Katrivanos of New District Brewing, Rudy Flores of Automotive Express, Travis Hackney from Weenie Beenie, Megan Carney, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Specialist Uzi Samee.

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