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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com January 10, 2012 at 8:34 am 3,291 61 Comments

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]

  • demonfafa

    Great. So the non-answers and platitudes I get when I email Mary Hynes about the terrible service from the 16Y or the constant Metrorail problems are going to be handled by someone from the exurbs.

    • G Clifford Prout

      Just wait until the Columbia Pike trolley connects with the DC K Street trolley that connects to the Anacostia trolley. All will be well.

      • demonfafa

        What about the H Street Trolley??? Papillon & Revolutions do not satisfy my hipster cyclist needs and I need to get to the Daily Rider before the next tweed ride!

    • Well, this is disappointing. But, Fairfax County has (at my count) 9 Metro stations and Arlington has 11. With the advent of the Silver Line, Fairfax will have more. Could the change be in line with that growth fact?

      • ArLater

        Umm, where are you getting 9? I count 4. Franconia, and the 3 last stops on the Orange Line? No idea why they would do this, given the fact that the rush hour term ‘Orange Crush’ occurs at a Rossyln station and Arlington is a huge part of the Metro.

        • ok. My bad. I pulled out a map, and here are the ones I count:

          Van-Dorn (yeah, boarder with Alexandria)
          last three Orange.

          So there are six. Not sure I know where 9 came from…

          • From Wikipedia:

            “There are 40 stations in the District of Columbia, 15 in Prince George’s County, 11 in Montgomery County, 11 in Arlington County, six in Fairfax County, and three in the City of Alexandria. The Silver Line will add 11 new stations, eight in Fairfax County and three in Loudoun County, Virginia.”

            So, maybe adding 8 stations in Fairfax County, to the already existing six, makes them in the majority over Arlington and the reason for the move.

          • RosRes

            Hmm. That seems like a very kind / naive interpretation. A more realistic reading is that Richmond will do anything it can to silence the terrible voice of Arlington and its liberal ideas.

          • CourthouseChris

            Perhaps count of daily ridership by trips begining or ending at a station is a better measure of Arlington’s weight – surely in that we’ll have Fairfax beat even with the addition of the silver line to Fairfax. Or revenue by station…

          • I guess. You can cut it a bunch of different ways to lean it one way or the other. A measure of daily rider-mile might lean it back toward Fairfax. Who the hell knows what motivates politicians??

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Overgrown Bush wrote: “Who the hell knows what motivates politicians??”

            Money and staying in power – regardless of party.

        • Neil

          Mary’s performance at WMATA, from her odd questions in her first WMATA board meeting, to the lack of leadership on the metro governance council, left the others with a sense of her shortcomings to fill Chris Zimmerman’s position.

      • charlie

        we could also go by ridership…

        because some stations, like Braddock Metro, are total dogs in ridership yet have TWO lines…

    • Josh S

      I hardly think Fairfax qualifies as the exurbs. Suburbs, to be sure. But at least they have public transit. Unless you’re referring to the state guy. If he is from Richmond, well then that is a bad sign.

      • SouthPikeGuy

        No, he is not “from Richmond”. Is that a good sign, then?

        • Ivy

          not if he’s a McDonnell mouthpiece. If he had his way, we would go back to horse and buggy

  • JimPB

    School start date — The economic interests of a business sector in cheap summer workers trumps the interests of the country and youth in enhancing educational achievement for a better future in the “earth is flat” international economic competition. Way to go, Commonwealth.

    • Josh S

      I believe that the request for additional instructional time really means additional instructional time before the SOLs. Since the SOLs are a waste of time and a hindrance to a well-rounded and quality education in the first place, the request is really putting the cart before the horse. APS should be spending all its lobbying energies that are currently spent trying to get the school year started in August on instead joining with other school districts around the country to lobby for the repeal of NCLB, one of the top five turds that the Bush administration laid on the nation.

      • Patrick

        I assume you didnt intentionally forget to mention the liberal lion Teddy Kennedy’s involvment in NCLB?

        • Josh S

          Couldn’t care less. It’s a turd of law.

      • Icecream

        You calling Teddy Kennedy a turd?

      • Maria

        More time to prep for AP exams too…

      • Always Right

        Since the test scores are so low possibly we need new teachers.

    • othersideoftheriver

      Betcha no one’s asking for waivers to have more than 180 school days/year, which really would be more instruction.

      • Burger

        Exactly. Starting earlier has nothing to do with more education, all it really means is public schools will get done earlier. It will have zero impact on education.

        • Josh S

          At the risk of contradicting myself – it won’t have zero impact. Right now, at the high school level, teachers routinely complain about the five or six weeks after SOLs and before the end of school because it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the students’ attention. In classes with an end of year SOL, all of the mandated curriculum must be taught before the test. Which leaves all those weeks to fill. Students know this and are not as motived. Sure, grades still motivate, but they (and too many teachers) view this time as filler – group projects, lots of time in the library, movies, etc.

          I still believe that monkeying with the school year is not the answer – simply do away with the moronic standardized exam which does nothing but encourage immoral activity on the part of students, teachers and administrators alike.

          • Louise

            Group projects are “filler”? Help us out on that one, please.

          • Always Right

            Like I said previously, the teacher is not engaging these students. Everyone knows the libraries and movies are babysitters. No creativity in the learning process.

          • arlib

            Always Right…I think you need to find a new handle. You are most definitely wrong in this case. Who is ‘everyone’ that knows that libraries are babysitters? Some meaningful, relevant learning can take place in the library…with GASP group projects, even.
            How about engaging students in a research project about something they are actually interested in using library resources? This happens all the time in Arl Co.
            I am not saying that this is ALWAYS the case, but saying “everyone knows the libraries are babysitters” is flat out wrong!
            As for your comment about test scores being low, so to find new teachers; you obviously have no real understanding of how hard it is to teach a child. The greatest teacher in the world will still have students who fail. Unfortunately, outside influences carry much more weight and most dramatically affect a child’s success in school. The basis of the SOL’s or any standardized test shouldn’t be a flat pass rate, rather show progress and learning taking place. A teacher may have moved a child ahead 2 school years, but if they were behind 3, they could still fail the SOL. This does not prove the teacher didn’t do his/her job.

    • Anon

      The school system’s argument that it needs an earlier start date in order to have more instructional time lost credibility years ago when the system removed class time in fall semester to provide more teacher “work days” and to close the schools the day before Thanksgiving.

    • FunnyMunny

      I’m OK with the earlier school start date, as long as the time is spent entirely on a balanced mixture of recess, music, art, shop class, home ec and phys ed.

      Oh, and if you have any extra time today, please feel free to stick that in your SOL.

      • Always Right

        Why are the schools cutting these classes out of school and why are the parents allowing it?

  • Bob


    • No s**t.

    • Josh S

      I wonder if digital graffiti can be erased?

  • Ashton Heigths Bob

    Has Bondi explained the $19,000 IRS tax lien? Has she yet come clean with her lack of real work experience and her extended unemployment? The Board taxes and spends $1 billion each year — why do we need a tax dodger and unemployed person on the Board?

    Her slick ads, slick non-answers, and “fancy” new hair cut makes me wonder if she is completely delusional.

    Blathering on about smart growth and alliances/committees/task forces cannot mask the overwhelming lack of qualifications.

    • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

      and she didn’t pay personal property taxes in 2006-2008 before giving up her car… just kept it registered in Ohio (where she does still own property).

      • TGEoA

        How do you know this?

        • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

          ARLNOW has everything. I’m waiting….

          (or TGEoA… do you want to know about Ohio?)

          • TGEoA

            Ohio plates and her not paying personal property tax.

          • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

            TGEoA …. We can’t post images anymore …
            Select press has the images. I can’t do anything els.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Doesn’t matter where you own property – matters where the car was garaged?

    • Chris G.

      I’m sure ARLnow will be covering this soon.

      • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

        check out the response from Bondi.
        Sorry, but IRS liens are not “surprises”


        • TGEoA

          The college dropout is surprised…

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Does anyone know anything about the process – that would help explain the date trail in the documents. The tax years appear to be 2005 and 2006; the date of assessment is Mar 2009; the document date of preparation is Mar 2011; it appears the date of recording is Apr 2011. So Bondi in her blog response says “tax lien apparently filed against me several months ago ” – sorry Apr 2011 is not several months ago it’s over 1/2 a year and closer to a full year.
          Then Bondi says “I had no knowledge of this lien, and I believe this is either a misunderstanding between the IRS and me or an error on the part of the IRS. As soon as I learned about this issue..” – I find it extremely unlikely that a Tax Lien is the first communique on the topic from the IRS (it just might be the first thing that might be public record), I would assume the IRS has been sending notices since 2009.and unless you are playing fast and loose with your address etc, it would be hard to miss. Also, generally the IRS will hold refunds when you have past due bills.

          Lastly – a $20K tax bill(assuming approx a 33% tax rate) – means $60K in income which is not just a drop in the bucket clerical error.

          • hmmm

            If she didn’t have any knowledge of it, then her refunds were probably not being withheld, which means it may actually be a mistake. The IRS does make them, you know.

          • Ashton Heigths Bob

            The address on the tax lien is the SAME as her campaign address! (Arlington Yupette has posted the lien.) This is not an IRS error.

            Typical of Bondi to dodge and weave — the ultimate in fluff over substance.

            I am waiting to learn more about the car tax fraud.

  • Wilbur

    No Vote. No WMATA subsidies.

    • Patrick

      I think that was Gov. McDonnell’s position.

      • RosRes

        Then the Gov, should rightlfully expect that Arlington no longer needs to contribute now that it doesn’t have a vote. The financial slack can be picked up by the new voting member’s jursidiction.

        • Oh, that would work well.

          • RosRes

            I’m just applying the Gov’s logic.

          • Lou

            What logic is that?

          • Chris G.

            You realize Arlington’s in VA so we still have a vote, right? Moran hasn’t gotten his way and had us incorporated back into the District yet.

  • Allthatglimmersisnotgold

    I don’t know why the WMATA move is a surprise to anyone. This is only one of a few slaps on the wrist (or face) for the HOT lanes debacle. Richmond and the rest of the states repubs are eternally grateful for Arlington sending Favola…we have ensured ourselves zero voice down state. Arlington will continue to face issues like these so long as our local elected leaders continue to disrespect Richmond. Like it or not we are Virginians…much to the dismay of those who refuse to accept that fact.

    • Chris G.

      No we like it when it comes to State taxes compared to Maryland and DC.

    • drax

      How dare we disrespect our leaders! This is Virginia, where we obediently give tribute! “Give me liberty or give me death,” and the Declaration of Independence and all that crap have nothing to do with Virginia.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        You but you get what you asked for when you apply a scorched earth policy like naming state employee’s directly in lawsuits.

        • drax

          Like King George?

          (That was too easy).

  • Ashton Heigths Bob

    Traditional Democratic values? Is completely ignoring all obligations one of those values?

    Bondi has not registered her “consulting” business with the County. Given that she ignored the requirement for registration, has she paid the business license tax or the business personal property tax? Has she applied for zoning clearance for her “consulting” business?

    Why should anyone vote for her when she fails to comply Arlington County laws?


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