Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com February 8, 2013 at 9:30 am 2,351 97 Comments

View of Route 1 in Crystal City at night

Man Sentenced for Harassing Arlington Woman — A 47-year-old I.T. worker from New England has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for stalking and harassing an Arlington mom and her 16-year-old daughter. Bruce Stimon was accused of emailing the woman’s friends and saying she had an STD; posting her name, photo and work phone number on prostitution sites, secretly recording a video of them having sex, posting it on porn sites, and sending it to her daughter’s Twitter friends; and repeatedly slashing her tires. [WJLA]

Arlington Hotel Tax Passes House — A bill that would restore Arlington’s authority to levy a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge has narrowly passed the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill earlier passed the state Senate, but the House bill contains a three year sunset provision that wasn’t in the Senate version, meaning the House and the Senate will need to hash out a combined bill in order for it to reach the governor’s desk. [Richmond Sunlight]

Navy Sets USS Arlington Commissioning Date — The new USS Arlington will be commissioned in Norfolk on April 6, the Navy has announced. [Sun Gazette]

Tejada Says No to Anti-Streetcar Groups — Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada has declined requests from groups critical of the Columbia Pike streetcar seeking to make presentations at an upcoming streetcar community forum. Tejada said the purpose of the forum, on March 27, is to “update the community” on the streetcar project, not to debate the Board’s decision to build the streetcar. [Sun Gazette]

  • Jane-Dallas

    Seven years? They let murderers off with less.

    • Hee-Haw

      which ones ?

  • G Clifford Prout

    Oh Goodie. A streetcar story. We’re off and running.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      Rolling, rather.

  • MissKittenCat
  • Douglas Park

    Thumbs up for the streetcar. Don’t let the haters get you down.

  • Roquer

    On Tejada saying anti-streetcar groups speaking at the community meeting: Now isn’t this just typical Arlington Board arrogance? WE HAVE MADE OUR DECISION so F-U little people out there!! Oh, u don’t want to pay the 300MILLION tab? Well F-U some more then!! Signed – The Arl. Co Board.

    • esmith69

      Your opportunity to express opposition to the plan has come and gone. They voted on it LAST year. The last few years, leading up to their vote last year, would have been the time to voice any opposition.

      What you’re doing now is like complaining about the outcome of the presidential election a year after it’s already been determined.

      • Arlingtonian


      • steve


        • Dezlboy


          • Prime guy

            57885161 − 1

          • JamesE

            1 / 0

          • Mack

            @JamesE: That’s crazy talk.

      • Libby

        “Tejada announced in late January that county officials would hold the public forum to gather feedback on the streetcar…”

        It seems that a public forum meant to gather feedback is an EXCELLENT time to express oppostion to the plan. Unless of course Mr. Tejada and the board are only looking for certain types of feedback.

        • South Awwlington

          Well…perhaps Peter can brief you with various talking points about enhanced bus and maybe you can continue to call it “BRT” when it’s not. Pigs might fly too, who knows… 🙂

          • Libby

            No sure what you’re on about. My response was in regard to the fact that esmith claimed the time for expressing opposition was over, when Tejada claimed that the forum was meant to gather feedback. Maybe I don’t understand the “Arlington Way.”

          • drax

            Feedback on the implementation, not on whether to proceed. That feedback has already been received, and voted on.

          • South Awwlington

            @Libby – i think many folks misunderstand what this is about. It is a session held to gather feedback on the Streetcar. it is not a session to re-litigate the issue. We have been through years of studies, several votes, more studies. A decision has been made. This forum is to be on presentation of feedback gather regarding the Streetcar – not the other modes that were voted down.

        • Ian

          Yes, the County Board has no intention of permitting dissenting speech at one of their official events. It is an opportunity to say politically correct talking points.

          Later on down the road, the county will say to people, you had your chance to speak out against this over-budget, under-utilized project, why didn’t you speak up then?!

        • Suzanne Smith Sundburg

          It’s disappointing but not surprising that most members of the county board do not want to hear evidence that might call their decision-making into question. Referring to this upcoming meeting as a”town hall” meeting is inaccurate. New England-style town hall meetings are open forums at which citizens can and do challenge their elected officials. See just one example at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW1XJ7EGPOY

          One of the most troubling aspects is board members we-followed-the-process argument, which they use to justify committing to a $300+ million project without giving taxpayers/citizens the right to approve such a huge expenditure. Remember, the board appoints commission members. And if a commission member voices too much independent thought, that person is thanked for his/her service and is NOT reappointed. The board also points to their “consultants.” But these consulting firms know that if they come up with analyses/reports that do not support the board’s position, they’re unlikely to be selected for future projects. So what we have here is a captive chorus of yes-people who will rubber-stamp board decisions. That’s hardly a reliable method for ensuring sound, rational decision-making on the part of the board.

          Anyone who tries to present a reasoned counter-argument or contradictory evidence is ignored, haughtily dismissed, or branded as a trouble-maker who is disseminating “misinformation.” Many of the people who question the board’s decision on this matter are intelligent people who have good reasons for their position. But they are not going to be allowed to speak and present their case. This is not democracy.

          If the board is so certain that it has made the right decision, it shouldn’t be afraid to allow the other side to present its case.

          • drax

            Town hall now just means any meeting the public is invited to to speak about issues with elected officials. This is not New England.

            “Anyone who tries to present a reasoned counter-argument or contradictory evidence is ignored, haughtily dismissed, or branded as a trouble-maker who is disseminating “misinformation.” Many of the people who question the board’s decision on this matter are intelligent people who have good reasons for their position. But they are not going to be allowed to speak and present their case. This is not democracy.”

            Oh, give the drama a rest. There was a respectful process in which anyone could speak, and many did. Then a vote was held.

          • Chris Slatt

            If commission members were yanked for being independent Bernie Berne would have been canned years ago.

          • Nuubz Galore

            Suzanne, did you go to Obama’s inauguration so you could try to get Romney sworn in too? Just as idiotic.

        • bobbytiger

          My goodness. They wouldn’t do that, would they?

      • John Fontain

        So once a decision on a project is made, the county can never change it no matter the circumstances?

        • DCBuff

          Correct. That is the Arlington Way.

        • I know right

          Changes have been made in the past (Home Depot). Walter’s position is counter to that bit of Arlington history.

        • drax

          Sure it can. If you feel strongly about it, march outside the county offices or whatever, or run for a board seat.

          Just don’t expect them to have meetings to listen to more “feedback” from you on a decision that’s already been made. Not much point to that.

    • ACDC Hack

      If the streetcar is such a wonderful idea then show some courage and put it up to the voters in a clear manner.

    • drax

      Yes, they’ve made their decision, after plenty of debate and input from the public. They voted. You lost.

  • South Awwlington

    Thank you Walter. Showing some backbone and I like it!

  • novasteve

    300 million so a bunch of self righteous liberals can pretend they are in Prague. What a brilliant idea!

    • jackson

      If it was Prague you’d probably have more places to smoke.

    • Kara Tolson

      Why are these off topic rants allowed?

      • johnb

        Sounds like you have a future on the County Board!

    • You missed all the Czech flags they started hanging in their offices 😉

      The important question is: if Arlington is to be like Prague, when will we get our own Astronomical Clock? I mean, we have our own sun dial off South Courthouse Rd (bonus points for those who know this), but it doesn’t quite have the same impact. Maybe we need pickpockets?

    • Yortuk Festrunk

      You are a wild and crazy guy!

    • JamesE

      So mad!

  • CrystalMikey

    I can see my old apartment there. Hi Crystal Square!

  • Times have Changed

    I am not a regular, jumping into the Streetcar fight, and I live in South Arlington so have a somewhat better chance than most of actually using the streetcar, but I do think in light of all the budget deficits and looming spending on schools (half a billion or more) we might need to reevaluate. I think Tejada made a critical error in denying a reasonable presentation on alternatives. Maybe Libby Garvey can present on their behalf.

    • novasteve

      Feel good moments are more important that being fiscally responsible. So what if we screw over our grandkids, I want a feel good moment!

      • jackson

        I don’t buy the argument that people are worried about their grandkids. It just rings false. Using that logic, why were those we refer to as “The Greatest Generation” not worried about us?

        • easy to figure

          I’m thinking it is probably because “The Greatest Generation” knew how selfish many here would turn out – they figured if we couldn’t be bothered, why should they

          • jackson

            Ironically, they were busy building interstate highways and giant dams. Huge, expensive projects that made America what it is.

          • South Awwlington

            @jackson – right on!

        • LOS

          Maybe, because most f them are no longer with us. Those that are do take notice, and a lot let the Board know it.

  • David M

    Tajeda wants to “update the community” on the project…. I think it’s time the community updated the board.

    • DCBuff

      Haven’t you heard? (or read here) You’ve had your chance! No more discussion. Just pay your taxes and move along.

      • Neighbor

        Mount a credible anti-streetcar candidate for the next election cycle and have them get elected to the Board and then you might have the current Board members reconsider the past decision. Otherwise, there is no hope to change their minds at this point so acting like a baby because you cannot waste people’s time in an upcoming forum about the project is juvenile at best. Nothing in this county would ever get done if you expect to put everything to a popular vote.

  • novasteve

    How about have a boycott? I’d hate to hurt arlington businesses, but I would love to deprive the fools on the county board of revenues. Perhaps they would listen a bit more if they had more financial problems since they refuse to listen to any dissenting voice?

    • Brenda

      It would be great if you moved out of Arlington in protest.

      • South Awwlington

        lol we can help you pack and even LOAD the U-Haul. 🙂

        • drax

          U-Haul trucks even have manual trannies!

          • South Awwlington


  • JohnB

    I support the streetcar. I participated in the process. I think Columbia Pike should be transformed into a walkable urban boulevard. If you disagree, that is your right but your disagreement is a political one and you lost. If you agree then let’s discuss how best to achieve our desired policy objective. I believe that the streetcar is the most cost effective transportation infrastructure that will support the desired policy objective. A new underground Metro line is too expensive. Any option at grade level that requires its own right of way would be too expensive. Enhanced bus service would not effectively support the desired policy objective. If you think what the BRT boosters are selling is actually BRT you have been hoodwinked. Enhanced bus service was delivered to the Pike in 2003 and encouraged approximately 0 development projects during a massive real estate boom. It wasn’t until the streetcar was selected as the locally preferred alternative in 2006 that developers started looking at the Pike. If you think we can’t afford the streetcar, the costs are included in the 10 year CIP and we never breach our exceedingly conservative debt caps. I say we can’t afford not to do the streetcar. Without it, the corridor will continue to be traffic clogged and economically stagnant. If you think now is not the time, borrowing costs and construction costs are only going to go up in the future. If you think there are higher priorities please let us know what transportation projects the County should be spending this money on. If you’re worried about affordable housing, the best way to encourage affordable rents is to increase supply and reduce transportation costs. I’ll see you all at the town hall.

    • novasteve

      wah! i need to force people to spend hundreds of millions of dollars because I want to appeal to people It hink are too snobby to take a bus! who cares if it costs a lot more or will lead to fatalities when there are streetcar accidents involving cars, So long as I get a feel good moment, I don’t care how much it costs or how many lives it costs! Any new housing will not lower the cost of housing, in fact it will only go up if your plan comes to fruition, and then the liberal guilt will set in, because that means only affluent whites will be able to afford it, so that means even more money needs to be spent to get minorities back by subsidizing their housing, so that means either more taxes, or rents go up further to subsidize the “low income” housing. The reality, is that rent/cost of living here won’t ever go down unless there’s a serious spike in crime.

      • drax

        Too late, steve – Metro is already built.

      • JohnB


      • Scott

        Why do you live here if you hate the people and local government so much?

      • MissKittenCat

        Whats wrong with appealing to snobby white collar people who don’t believe in taking a bus other than to work? Do you really think affluent white people want to be neighbors with minorities Or even Low Income families??? Don’t you think its fair for them to have a new place to live and hang out at in south Arlington? Yuppies need a place to call there own too!

        • novasteve

          But if that’s the case, if streetcards are a trend, 300 million is expensive for a trend if all it takes is some run down latin american city to get a street car and that suddenly makes streetcars uncool..

          • MissKittenCat

            Then we can Spend 80M on a RHABTS (Rapid Horse and Buggy Transit System) We need a new place to hang out in a safe “urban” like area and Columbia Pike with a streetcar works when luxury homes and designer restaurants are being built. THIS IS 2013 .THIS IS THE NEW ARLINGTON.

          • Brenda

            I should have had an ab_rtion.

          • drax

            We should stop spending money on sidewalks. Walking is stone age technology after all.

    • Douglas Park


    • Bender

      Yes, it is just too damn bad if you want to take the only east-west and west-east roadway to drive from the western end of the County and into DC and beyond.

      So what if this effectively amounts to building a wall barring people from getting to DC without a long carbon-emitting, polution-increasing drive or without an even longer commute, adding 30-45 minutes each way, taking public transportation – walking to the streetcar/bus, waiting for it, riding it through heavy traffic, getting to Metro and waiting for the train, having to transfer to a different train, and then walking to your destination. And all the while having to lug packages with you.

      Too bad for you.

      • Toll Booth Willie

        Maybe Arlington County will take a tip from the state of Delaware, and tax the %*&! out of Fairfax drivers. I’m not a huge trolley fan, but as a county resident, I don’t see why I should be sticking up exurbanites who aren’t willing to give up their cars. At least with the trolley we could get some fare money from them.

        • Toll Booth Willie

          “sticking up for”, I mean.

        • drax

          The state gets toll money.

      • South Awwlington

        I take Metrobus and Metrorail to work over by Union Station daily. I also sometimes drive my car. By and large, it takes the same time (give or take five minutes) so I don’t see that time savings argument against the streetcar here.

      • JohnB

        The traffic analysis indicates that there will be minimal impact to auto traffic with a trip from the west end of the county to the east end of the pike taking 1 more minute. That seems at odds with your description that the streetcar is analogous to building a wall. I think it would take much more than a minute to ram down a wall with your car and you’d probably sustain much more personal property damage in the process.

    • FrenchyB

      Well said.

    • JohnB

      Sorry. Just an engaged citizen.

    • mary-Austin

      How does the streetcar make Columbia Pike more walkable?

      • drax

        Without knowing the details of the plan, a streetcar would encourage development that’s geared to people walking to and from a streetcar station, like some of the buildings we’re already seeing there now.

        • SomeGuy

          Did someone imply that the street car WOULD know the details of the plan?

          • drax

            Well, obviously the streetcar isn’t built yet so it can’t know the details of the plan. But when it’s here, I’m sure it will share them with everyone.

          • SomeGuy

            I know it’s a magic streetcar and all, but I am impressed to hear that it can also do this. Considering these new capabilities, it sounds like a steal at $300 million… and climbing.

      • JohnB

        Alone, it cannot. But it is only the transportation piece of a multifaceted approach. It supports the policy objective better than enhanced bus service because it attracts more private capital to to corridor than enhanced bus service. The private capital is needed to redevelop the adjacent parcels in a form that enhances the street scape improvements made by (and continuing to be made by) the county. An urban form of development creates an environment that is much more inviting and hospitable to pedestrians than the suburban commercial strip style development the predominates the Pike currently.

        • Fuzzy

          Wouldn’t more development (i.e. more condos, apartments, office buildings) mean more people living and working in the area and thereby increase traffic even more around the Pike? I highly doubt all those new residents and workers will ride the trolley.

          • JohnB

            While increased population and jobs will lead to an increased number of trips, the walkable urban form of the development and the high quality transportation system will lead to a higher percentage of those trips being taken by foot or by transit than would otherwise be the case. One of the benefits of a streetcar over enhanced bus service is that it will attract more choice riders. Choice riders are those that take public transit for other than financial reasons. Contrary to the repeated basing of “snobs who won’t take the bus” the bus does attract choice riders, but more choice riders on a streetcar means less traffic all else being equal.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            Yea Johnb _ and traffic in ballston & Clarendon is better than 20 years ago _ sorry no credibility

    • Kat

      ” Without it, the corridor will continue to be traffic clogged and economically stagnant”

      With it, the corridor will continue to be traffic clogged. If you think the streetcar will reduce traffic on Columbia Pike, you’re sadly mistaken. The best case is that the number of cars will increase at a lower rate — the majority of people who will be moving into these new developments will not be “car free.” (If you think that’s not the case, then limit all new developments to provide one parking space for every two units and see if anyone complains.) Even if the majority were to use the trolley to commute, the number of vehicles will still increase — drivers will continue to use Columbia Pike from outside of Arlington.

      You can say the streetcar will increase development — whether Columbia Pike should become another Clarendon is a different debate — but it will not decrease traffic.

  • Pete B

    The real question now is whether or not the state and federal funding is going to come through. It’s by no means guaranteed, right? If it doesn’t, it will be interesting to see if county taxpayers will be left to foot the bill for the whole thing.

    • JohnB

      The state funding is a formula reimbursement for transportation. The county has used a seemingly conservative estimate based on prior year funding. The Federal funding is from a competitive grant program. If this project does not receive a grant, Arlington and Fairfax will have to re-evaluate their funding options or shelve the project.

  • Artie Fufkin

    Bruce Stimon seems like a delightful individual.

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    So why did the water park go to public ballot and the streetcar decision did not? What is the process for this?

    • drax

      The kind of bonds used to finance the waterpark require voter approval. The kind being used to finance the streetcar don’t.

  • Perry

    The streetcar backers arguments are generally terrible but do make a fair point: complaining here isn’t going to stop their trolley. Taking down Fisette is the best way to stop the streetcar in the short-term. Unlikely but a primary challenge would be nice, and the Greens and GOP should not both run a candidate.

    • drax

      Green candidate = split opposition vote

    • Orly Taitz

      Nonsense! Just keep demanding the street car’s birth certificate, over and over and over again.

      • South Awwlington

        You know she’s coming to town…maybe SomeGuy can talk her into leading the Tea Party Opposition to the Streetcar. I mean since he thinks their candidates have more than a brain to share between them on the national stage at least.

  • Rydal

    Do you think $7.50 is too much to pay a loser to clean out my garage? He claims to have a law degree, but he appears to be fat, a smoker, and delusional.

  • Old man

    I’ve lived here for 60 years, props to Arlington government for wise urban development, and I’m still paying 2/3 of what people in Fall Church Cityin property taxes. Anything that makes car driving uncomfortable,I’m all for.


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