Join Club

The Right Note: Verify Then Trust

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

GOP county board candidate Mark KellyCounty Board members went out of their way last week to say “the fix” was not in on the PenPlace development near Pentagon City in South Arlington. PenPlace has raised serious concerns from local residents who are not thrilled with the type and amount of non-residential development proposed there.

As part of the deal, Vornado is reportedly offering land for the Columbia Pike trolley maintenance facility as well as $20 million to help offset the costs of the new aquatics center. The Board desperately needs the space for the trolley facility, and the money for the pool is good PR for an expensive facility that had its share of detractors. With these sweeteners on the table, future public discussions seem likely to only be a formality.

Residents in the South Arlington neighborhoods who are concerned about PenPlace need only look back a couple years to the Crystal City redevelopment plan. They raised a number of issues on the plan with the County Board and staff throughout the process. At the end of the day, virtually none of the issues were addressed by the Board. Instead, the Board created an ongoing neighborhood advisory group, presumably to keep talking about changes the Board has no intention of making.

They can also look back at the widespread neighborhood opposition to the proposed purchase of 2020 14th Street North to house a new homeless shelter. The new building and renovations could cost the county nearly 20 times what it would have cost to retrofit the current facility. The County Board hearing room was packed by opponents of the plan, but their concerns simply fell on deaf ears. The decision had already been made.

Chairman Tejada just announced that there will be a public forum on the future of the massive Columbia Pike trolley project on March 27th. But, the promise of a forum seems somewhat hollow after the January 1st meeting where Chris Zimmerman pronounced the trolley issue had already been decided.

The Board certainly has a history of encouraging community dialogue and input. What seems to be a recent trend is that the Arlington Way stops when the Board realizes the community will not come around to their way of thinking. This is probably why a friend quipped to me last year after then-Chairman Hynes announced her PLACE initiative — it really stands for “Pretending Like Arlington County Ever-listens.”

When negotiating with the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan’s philosophy was “trust but verify.” Based on our Board’s recent track record of paying lip service to concerns raised by Arlingtonians, South Arlington residents concerned about PenPlace should consider taking the posture of “verify then trust.”

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

Recent Stories

Just Reduced features a 8 BD/ 5.5 BA home with a guest house, wrap around front porch and private deck.

Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 19674 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A Washington-Liberty High School senior was killed in a double homicide yesterday in Fairfax County. Braden Deahl, 18, was a standout soccer player on the W-L varsity team who had…

The saga of slow mail delivery in Arlington continues. Now, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) is bringing the county’s issues to the federal government. There have been grumblings for years…

The 44th Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard Sale will be along the John Marshall Drive/Ohio Street greenway on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The community will be out in force to exchange information and greetings, sell unneeded household items, and pick up a few bargains.

About 100 families set up tables for the festivities, which take place along the six-block stretch of the greenway from near Langston Blvd. to Washington Blvd. Attendance is free, but a $10 fee will be collected from individuals and families selling household items during the event. Ensure that all goods and rubbish are removed from the greenway by 1 p.m. Leave dogs at home.

For more info, call 703-532-6101. If planning to sell, start labeling your items for sale NOW! Event will take place as long as there is not active rain. Rain date is June 10.

Submit your own Announcement here.



Sat, June 3rd I 3:30 pm / Shows 5:50 pm I Kenmore Auditorium I Glencarlyn

The 36th Festival Argentino USA celebrates Argentine Day and Cultural Freedom. The folkloric group Los 4 de Córdoba and 25 more artists from Argentina, World, and Solidarity Tribute, 200 years of friendship between USA and Argentina!.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.

Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers

4th of July Celebration & Fireworks

Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.

Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,


Subscribe to our mailing list