Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com January 13, 2012 at 9:25 am 3,942 60 Comments

30th Anniversary of Air Florida Crash — Thirty years ago today Air Florida Flight 90 took off from Reagan National Airport, slammed into the 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the icy Potomac River, killing 78 people. Only five people on the plane survived the crash. [Wikipedia, Washington Post]

Bondi Releases Statement on Tax Lien — County Board candidate Melissa Bondi has released a statement to supporters regarding the recent revelation of her tax troubles. “Blog commenters very recently have begun attacking me about two issues,” Bondi began. “The attacks have been sudden, nasty, highly personal, and intended to derail the excellent work we have done together as a campaign.” Bondi said that she has hired a tax advisor “to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.”

Il Radicchio Back Open After Sewage Backup — Il Radicchio (1801 Clarendon Blvd) closed temporarily on Jan. 3 due to a sewage backup, according to public records. The Italian restaurant reopened on Jan. 6. [Washington Post]

Seller’s Market in Arlington — Only 0.5 percent of all homes in Arlington were listed for sale late last year — a statistic that is a likely indicator of stiff competition between home buyers. [Washington Times]

Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil

  • Clarendon

    I received three letters from three different realtors last year saying they had a buyer, and specified very flexible terms and hinting at above market rate offers. I simply do not want to move because I like it here.

    • JamesE

      I am never selling my place, if I ever move I will just rent it out.

    • Burger

      We sold and bought this year. When we sold we had 2 offers in less than a week at our asking price. We bought and paid about 8% less than asking but we were moving up so there was less competition in the home we bought.

  • Howard Stern

    I remember that Air Florida crash well. It ended my DC tenure.

    • charlie

      was it the one-way ticket or the drinks w/ice that got you??
      oh the day….

      • Howard Stern

        Both, but mostly Pig Virus was an a**.

  • Love the Flickr contribution handle.

  • CrystalMikey

    Our poor political candidate feels hurt. How about you pay your taxes and maybe you won’t have all this criticism.

    • JamesE

      She has inspired me not to pay my property taxes, we need more people like her to fight the system.

    • Skeptical

      Some of the stuff on blogs, like the ragging about her weight, is completely unnecessary and just plays into her hand when she acts hurt and persecuted. Whether she is thin or fat or is “in” or “out” with the Democratic establishment, someone with a recorded history of nonpayment of taxes can’t get away with acting innocent when a five figure lien pops up. Those of us who pay our taxes on the nail every year, whether we like it or not, aren’t charmed by her excuses and aren’t ready to trust her to spend our money. Her campaign fund should offer a reward to anyone who can testify that they also had a lien on their property for two years without being aware of it. Bet they’d wait a while for takers.

      It also means she didn’t do homework on her own vulnerability before filing as a candidate (or kidded herself that the dirt would not be dug up) — which is NOT a good predictor of sound/informed decision making in office.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I agree, Skeptical. Regardless of political party, the positions you state should apply across the board to all candidates.

        • Jack

          Just for the record, according to published reports, the lien is only a few months old. I think it appeared last March. It hasn’t been in effect for two years. And from my own dealings with the IRS, I could very easily imagine a scenario in which she was not properly informed. What is clear is that most of the commentators on here who oppose her have opposed her from the beginning and this bit of news makes no difference to their position.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            You may have a point. I’ll admit that I’m wary of politicians of any kind in the first place, and anything that is questionable about a candidate makes me even more wary of that particular person. Maybe because my high school/early college years were during Watergate.

          • South Arlington

            I think that’s pretty clear, judging from the pure glee being expressed by some commenters on here at the whole Bondi fiasco. It’s like Christmas in January for some people.

          • GT

            It truly is a fiasco on her part. Good choice of words.

          • careful reader

            The lien notice is dated March 29, 2011, and was filed in Circuit Court on April 5, 2011. That’s nine months and 8 days ago. What’s your definition of “only a few months”?

            As for notice, notice that according to the Wash Post story today, she “would not say whether she had received notices or warning letters.”

          • TGEoA

            It was stupid on Zimmerman’s part not to check her out (hey, what do you expect for 25 watts).

            However the IRS lien or that she was late on her personal property tax and Frankie had a coniption isn’t the problem. The problem is she garaged someone else’s vehicle in Virginia for over a year and didn’t pay the taxes on it. She knew full well that was cheating. What a hypocrite.

          • CW

            Yes. TGEoA gets at the crux of the matter, which is that while there are two issues here (the lien and the car tax issue), one of those issues is much more cut-and-dried than the other. While the IRS screws up all the time and it can take eons to sort out, when you’re clearly breaking the law (the car tax part), you’re, well, clearly breaking the law.

          • Skeptical

            My bad for the “two years” — I thought I had seen the year 2009 mentioned in connection with the lien, but ARLNOW’s original story does say 2011. That makes the situation look a little better, perhaps, but not much — seriously, it is hard for me to imagine the IRS filing a lien unless there had been considerable correspondence about an amount owed. They have been quite prompt about notifying me the two times there has been anything irregular with my taxes (once I simply mailed a quarterly payment too late and was assessed a penalty, which I paid, before the end of the tax year; once my whole year’s payments were credited to my ex-spouse; once my return was lost though the check was cashed — each time, I got a notice within three months that there was a problem). My original point stands — it’s pretty implausible to claim that you got into that much trouble with the IRS without knowing a thing about it, and the whole way Bondi is handling this suggests she expects a pass from voters for anything that looks financially hinky Not a good start in office.

            There’s some obvious glee in many of the comments, yes. That’s a matter for a whole nother discussion — the blurring of the lines between politics and schoolyard meanness. Whatever the motives of the people who dug this up, and I don’t think it was out of nobility, it’s still something I’m glad I know, as a voter.

      • TGEoA

        Yeah, but she’s fat.

      • KalashniKEV

        Does acting hurt and persecuted really help you get elected???

    • Abe Froman

      Plenty of people have lost their opportunity at elected or appointed office for the exact same failure to pay taxes, either on purpose or on accident. Either way, the appearance of impropriety must be avoided at all costs. If your going to put yourself in the public spotlight by running for office, its incumbent upon you to make sure your house is in order.

      Best case scenario, its her mistake, she has to live with the consequences it brings. Worst case, she got caught with her hand in cookie jar and she will have to live with a different, heightened set of consequences.

      End of story.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Good points, Abe. Watergate happened in my high school/early college years, so I am wary of any improprieties on the part of any politician.

  • CW

    Fettuccine a la Sewaggi!

  • JohnB

    Your link to Bondi’s statement links back to the previous story.

  • Nick

    Many would-be sellers are still learn to cope with the fact the market will take time to return to 2007 prices. Some are still underwater and for others break-even isn’t good enough.

  • JimPB

    ARLCo homes listed for sale: 1/2 of 1% compared to what percentages in prior years?

  • JimPB

    How long are homes for sale in ARLCo on the market?

    How do sale prices now for categories of homes, e.g., condos, older single family residences, compare to previous prices?

  • PikerGirl

    Her rationale on why she did not pay property taxes on her father’s car which she was using: ” Although I did have use of the car until his death, the car was never owned, insured, nor titled to me. ” I understand that she was busy dealing with a sick parent and traveling, but personal property tax is owed on vehicles GARAGED in Arlington, regardless of of who owns, insures or registers them. If she wants to be an Arlington County Board member, she should know and understand the laws. She does not sound very savvy with this this poor rationale in a public statement. A more honest explanation would be that she was caught up dealing with her father’s illness and traveling, and addressing the car tax issue was an oversight and a mistake. I am not expecting this person to be a perfect human being, but honesty would be a better policy.

    Also not knowing about the tax lien? I wonder if she is being honest on that. Integrity and credibility are important values for a candidate to have if I am going to consider voting for them.

    • Carly

      Wait a minute. So you’re saying that even if you don’t own a car that’s garaged on your property, you owe the tax on it?

      Sounds legally questionable. Suppose I rent out my house to someone, and they don’t pay the county tax on their car. Can the county then put a lien on my house?

      If so, then that is scary and seems like it should be illegal. It’s fair to hold the owner of the taxable property responsible for the tax, but not someone who isn’t the owner.

      • GT

        No that is not what she is saying. The owner of the car is responsible for registering it with Arlington and is responsible for all fees and taxes. In order to register your car with Arlington, you need to produce your Virginia registration for the car. You have a 30 day grace period from Virginia to operate your car without a registration if it is garaged here.

    • Burger

      Again, that is not true.

      You are under no obligation to pay Virginia Car Tax if you have no intent in making VA your domicile. Arlington might argue you should but the constitution and a long string of tax cases say otherwise. Given the nature of people moving in and out of DC and the number of military and students in Arlington it is not silly to think a number of cars have out of state tags and do not pay the car tax.

      This doesn’t excuse her because if her father gave her the car then it was her possession and her intent was to be domiciled in VA – thus, she owes the tax.

      • TGEoA

        That’s incorrect. Virginia law doesn’t refers to the vehicle being garaged in state. Most jurisdictions define that as spending 15 days per month overnight.

  • JamesE

    Speaking of housing in Arlington now is a good time to refinance if you are thinking about it, I just locked in a rate of 3.875% 30 year fixed.

    • Louise

      Really? 3.875? That’s good!

      • Tired, but still voting in January

        That rate is only available to a borrower with a high FICO store, not somebody with a sketchy job record, bad credit, and a tax lien.

    • R. Griffon

      Holy S. Can we have the name of your refi company?

      (Not kidding.)

      • JamesE

        I went through zillow to get quotes, a lot of them are in the 3’s now but the one I am going through is watermark home loans.

    • TGEoA


      • JamesE

        No points, $625 in fees then whatever VA charges for escrow, etc.

        • JamesE

          They offered lower, at 3.75 but that was $2-3k in fees so probably 1 point.

        • TGEoA

          Just got 2 quotes for 3.75, with about $1500 for broker & appraiser. Add in title insurance and stamps etc.

  • GB

    I think someone hit the nail on the head when they said it sounds legally questionable that you would be required to pay personal property tax on something you don’t own!!! That’s crazy!! I can see how it wouldn’t occur to someone to register a car they don’t own. Let’s remember that car taxes aren’t the norm in most places in the country. I’ve lived all over the United States and never paid car taxes anywhere else.

    • GT

      You are required to register the car here. That is the salient point. The paying tax part comes later.

      And everybody knows you are supposed to register your car here, or wherever you live.

      And her willful ignorance, “hey, it’s not my car, Mr. Taxman”, shows really annoying hubris on her part.

      • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

        if you are going to run for County Board you should know this.

        NINE PERCENT of the budget comes from Personal Property Tax — the second largest source of income.

        You better know your revenue sources before running for the board.

        • GT


      • Tired, but still voting in January

        If a car is registered in your name, then you have to get auto insurance in your own name. Auto insurance can be very expensive if you have a bad driving record, suspensions, or your license was revoked. Same thing with financing. If you have bad credit, then it can be hard to get a car loan. The car has to be titled to the borrower.

  • GB

    Yes, you make my point. Everyone knows you have to register YOUR car. My understanding is that it wasn’t HER car. I would assume she hoped her father would get better and take back his car ASAP. Just a thought.

    In full disclosure, I lived in Phoenix, AZ for a year and never registered my parents car that I was driving. It never crossed my mind–I must be a really bad person. If Phoenix’s Commissioner of Revenue publicly called me out (and called me names) 6 years later, I’d probably have the same answer. Speaking of Commissioners of Revenue, does it not bother anyone that O’Leary is using his office to further is his personal political agenda? It seems unethical? Illegal? Definitely inappropriate.

    • GT

      Look, if you want to take things to their logical conclusion, it takes a very sick individual to take their dying father’s car to another jurisdiction and just assume that daddy will take care of all the paper work for her. Just a thought.

      • GB

        Seriously? That is so twisted . . .

        • GB

          Did she do something to you personally? Why are you so angry? The truth is, I’ve only met her a handful of times. She has done some good work on some issues that I care about. However, if someone else wins the primary I’m not going to be upset. I have nothing bad to say about any of the other people running. I wish them well.

          I just think this car registration thing is kind of ridiculous. I think it is overblown political posturing. I think that O’Leary was, in fact, inappropriate. The IRS issue is much more serious. But I will give her the benefit of the doubt and see if it really was a mistake. However, she does need to explain it before the election.

          • Just Tired

            Me too. Thank you for some sanity on this issue. I’ve also only met her a handful of times, and I was very impressed. I think that O’Leary clearly has an agenda and a history, as was discussed in yesterday’s comments. I’ll be waiting for an update on the IRS deal before the election, and if she issues one that is truthful and compelling, she’ll still have my vote.

          • GT

            Why are you getting so huffy about that? That scenario I mentioned is really her best hope at damage control. Any other options (i.e., she knew the car was not properly registered) would just point to her knowingly evading the law. But really, since it had out of state plates all that time, she has virtually nothing to stand on for explaining this.

    • TGEoA

      Yes, Frankie is a jag off

  • Soarlslacker

    Has anyone else been auto called with a survey that claims it is on the awareness of “Arlington Issues”….but it appears to be a survey from the Bondi campaign? The first few questions are all about are you aware of the 3/27/12 special election, asks about your interest in late Janaury caucuses for the open Cty board seat, then you’re asked if you are aware of x,y,z enforcements of Bondi, and if X,y,z endorsements of Bondi make you more/less likely to vote for/support Bondi.
    The survey is very poorly designed and executed. You don’t give a respondant more than 4 choices via phone. They can’t remember more than 4 to make a decision and respond. A professional could not have designed and executed this, or they failed Market Research 101.

  • Tired, but still voting in January

    Ok, now Bondi is getting desperate. I wonder if she double-checked with her endorsers to see if she can still use their names for that robocall? I’d be angry if I was being led to believe I was participating in an official survey when that wasn’t the case. Bondi probably had a last minute mailer full of endorsements ready to drop in the mail, but now needs to go back to the printer for changes.

    • You wish

      yeah yeah yeah. keep trying to sling that ole mud. Of course all her supporters still endorse her. Just ask them. I’m sure you know quite a few, you seem to be very well-connected.

  • TGEoA

    I meant domiciled. It’s the cars length of time that matters.


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