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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com December 20, 2010 at 6:00 am 2,109 20 Comments

Santa Visits Cherrydale — More than 300 children swarmed the Cherrydale Fire Station on Sunday afternoon, taking home free presents, stuffed stockings and fresh memories of Santa Claus. The children were beneficiaries of the 80th annual Christmas celebration sponsored by the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department. — Michael Doyle

End in Sight For HOT Lanes Suit? — After more than $1 million in legal costs, could the county’s lawsuit over HOT lanes on I-395 be nearing an end? Arlington “has had several positive negotiations that could lead to a settlement outside of court,” reports Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner, citing an interview with County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac.

Libraries Dominate County Manager Online Q&A — What’s on the mind of web-savvy Arlington residents these days? If Friday’s online community chat with County Manager Barbara Donnellan is any indication, they’re quite focused on libraries. Of the 14 questions asked during the question and answer session, six were about Arlington’s libraries. See a transcript here.

  • MC

    HOT Lanes Suit: if the settlement is merely that an environmental assessment will be done, it will have been a very expensive delaying tactic that probably won’t change the ultimate outcome: wider lanes on 395. If the settlement is something more that provides firm commitments to broader transportation issues, then it may be a stroke of genius to file the suit. Unfortunately, I don’t know that any parties have the funds to commit to anything, so I’m not so optimistic.

    • NorthAdams

      well it would be a successful delay tactic in that the economy really sucks now and the state has gone off and start playing somewhere else.

    • You Can’t Stop “Progress”

      Imagine what things would be like in 2010 if 395 were still like it was in 1968. Apply that logic forward….


      • CrystalMikey

        Wow, love that picture!

      • mehoo

        If only we had 20 lanes on the Beltway, life would be great.

        If highways were the only answer, Los Angeles would be a commuter’s paradise.

    • Lou

      The goal of Arlington’s lawsuit was to get paid. I’m sure that is the settlement they are looking for.

      • Josh S

        Who, exactly will “get paid?” Your comment makes it sound as if you oppose the lawsuit. On what grounds? What are the flaws in the county’s argument? Do you think the HOT lanes should be built without environmental review? If so, why?

        • Lou

          Arlington wants reimbursement (both locally and regionally) for projected loss of transit revenue from the successful pay-to-use HOT lanes. They are also objecting to the distribution of the toll revenue that is used to fund transit improvements along the corridor because they think it favors the southern parts of the corridor and not Arlington’s part.

          They also want to make sure the final construction includes plenty of improvements for accessing Arlington from the HOT lanes. That’s right, they are not objecting to all the new traffic, they are demanding that VDOT pay for more, and better, exits into Arlington. At multiple locations. They do not want the “Lexus” commuters bypassing Arlington to work and spend in DC.

          So, getting “paid” in a sense means getting money out of the project for pet projects of the County. The civil rights grounds in the lawsuit and the singling out of public officials as individual defendants are just a tool to bring everybody to the negotiating table. I think that is wrong.

          • mehoo

            Hey, wait, it sounds like you actually know what you’re talking about. That’s frowned upon on the Internet.

          • Lou

            Believe me, I wish I didn’t.

  • Blueloom

    I read the transcript. Privatize the library system? Now that’s a really scary idea!

    • KalashniKEV

      You wouldn’t have to privatize the whole system, you could break off just the management piece and the level of service provided would go through the ROOF. The State of Hawaii saved a TON by privatizing as well.

    • KalashniKEV

      From the American Library Association:

      “In general, we found no evidence that outsourcing per se has had a negative impact on library services and management. On the contrary, the evidence supports the conclusion that outsourcing has been an effective managerial tool, and when used carefully and judiciously it has resulted in enhanced library services and improved library management.”


  • a’town

    Why are there so many people upset about Library hours?

    If you look at Fairfax County where I used to live and compare it to Arlington, Arlington has MUCH better hours.

    I was so happy when I moved here because you can go to the library until 9pm. In Fairfax, I am pretty sure they close at 7. AND. The sunday hours are terrible (1-5 or something like that..).

    Yes it would be nice to have more hours, but really? There isnt THAT much demand for the library. Maybe its homeless advocates complaining. Why are there always homeless people in the bathroom at the library brushing their teeth, shaving etc. Very weird.

    • Arlwhenever

      Only Central Library in Arlington has more open hours than libraries in Fairfax County. When Fairfax County reduced its hours it also extended evening hours from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The eight regional branches in Fairfax County all have 7-day coverage (as compared to 5-day at most Arlington branches). The 14 smaller Community Branches in Fairfax County have 6-day coverage (again as compared to the 5-day norm in Arlington). And Fairfax County performs its governmental functions at significantly lower cost.

    • KalashniKEV

      “Why are there always homeless people in the bathroom at the library brushing their teeth, shaving etc. Very weird.”

      I don’t get to the library very often, but once I saw this filthy Bum at the computer, and as I passed saw that he was on FACEBOOK! I can’t even tell you the whole range of emotions that I experienced…

      I ended up just dying laughing… I wonder if his friends are all bums at different metro stops taking quizes and playing farmville all day and exchanging info on special meal schedules, one-time charity offerings, etc?

      • mehoo

        Maybe he was just a regular guy recently, with a home and a computer and a Facebook account, but lost his job and his home like millions of people who never thought it could happen to them. There are people who were making $100k a year out on the street these days.

        You’re a regular guy with a home and a computer, right? But it could never happen to you.

  • Josh S

    Arlington County managers should use this transcript as part of a training in how to communicate with the public. It can be exhibit one in how NOT to do it. Did she really answer any of the questions? And for the moderators – why include statements from the public thanking the manager for having the chat in the first place? Doesn’t that crowd out actual attempts to obtain information? Then again, given that the library was mentioned so many times, I suspect there weren’t that many people sending in questions. (Note that two of the questions were sent in by the same person.) In general, this chat session included virtually no transfer of information from the officials to the public.

    A’town: It’s all about perspective. The hours were cut. People had got used to more hours and so are now feeling slighted. The vice president of my local civic association recently had a tirade about the water park hours being cut. Really? Water park hours? They didn’t even exist just a few short years ago! But I don’t understand how you conclude that there isn’t “THAT much demand for the library.” Uh, clearly there is. Every one I’ve ever been into has always been crowded (except perhaps the one at Courthouse, but I haven’t been in there in a while.)

    • 4Arl

      Any online forum with the county manager where the “moderator” is the county itself shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a PR exercise. Now if only ARLnow.com were moderating….

  • Suburban Not Urban

    If you’ve read the transcript – lightweight softball questions, and very little responsiveness to what little content there was.


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