Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk February 13, 2013 at 8:55 am 1,508 80 Comments

Ballston skywalk

Gas Tax Hike Passes State Senate Committee — On Tuesday, a state Senate committee backed a five cent increase on the gas tax, which is expected to generate $4.5 billion for road work over the next five years. The measure is an alternative to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan, which would eliminate the gas tax and increase the state sales tax. The gas tax increase is expected to pass in the full Senate today. [Washington Examiner]

Same Sex Marriage Demonstration — On Valentine’s Day (Thursday), same sex marriage supporters will gather in front of the Arlington County Courthouse where two same sex couples will request marriage licenses. A similar demonstration occurred last month, when Paul Ferguson, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, had to deny licenses to more than a dozen couples because gay marriage is not legal in Virginia. The group will gather around 10:00 a.m. and includes supporters from five Arlington churches.

Ray’s Hell Burger Officially for Rent — “For Rent” signs have been posted on the spaces previously occupied by Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too in Rosslyn. As ARLnow.com first reported last month, the restaurants closed due to a landlord-tenant dispute. At first, the closing appeared to be temporary, based on a sign posted in the window that read: “Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break.” [Washingtonian]

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Begins Delivery Service — The Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant (3811 N. Fairfax Drive) in Virginia Square has started offering delivery of its food and drinks. Owner Marcus Barnett says this is the first Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the country to offer the service. Orders must be at least $15 and there is a $2 delivery fee.

  • WD

    Those signs have been in the windows of Hell Burger/Hell Burger Too for weeks.

    • Justin Russo

      They actually appeared the same day ArlNow ran the story last month.

    • Aaron

      Yes, they showed up no later than the same day the story was reported here.

  • G Clifford Prout

    I’ll bet those same sex couples are from Rosslyn!

    • Hee-Haw

      And I bet this comment board will turn into a massive marriage equality debate…again.

      • drax

        yeah, we’re much better off with a UVa. vs. Tech. debate….

        • Hee-Haw

          right, nothing better than “my favorite sports team is better than your favorite sports team”

        • DCCav

          You seemed to enjoy it. I sure did.

  • drax

    Grover Norquist is having a really bad year.

    • Ivy

      good one! He sure it having a tough year.

  • StainedHeart

    I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and have never used the skywalk. Does it get that much use?

    • Arlington, SSR

      I use it all the time. It’s a convenient way to get from the mall to the metro without having to go outside in bad weather or run the gauntlet (walk by all the crazies at the bus stops).

    • I don’t typically use it, but a lot of people do. It’s the only way to get from the metro station to the mall without going outside, so unless the weather outside is dry and mild, there are a lot of people who use it. Very useful if you forget your umbrella on a rainy day! The hardest part people have with it is actually accessing it from the mall (it’s not near any stairs, escalator, or elevator).

    • Bi-Curious George

      What mall are you two talking about?

      • Ballston Common Mall. It’s the only mall in the Ballston area that’s not a strip mall.

        • Bi-Curious George

          OK. When I hear “skywalk” I think Rosslyn. Now I get you.

          • Joan Fountain

            I was confused too. It wasn’t until the 11:53 post that Ballston was mentioned.

          • Aaron

            Usually when there’s a confusing thread in the Morning Notes comments, you can figure it out by mousing over the photo of the day. Today’s alt text says “Ballston Skywalk.”

    • speonjosh

      Also used by people parking in the mall parking lot and then walking over to the Metro station, which I have done.

  • geebee

    If money must be raised for roads, it’s better, and more fairly sourced from a gas tax charged to actual road users, in- and out-of-state, than from an across-the-board sales tax or a hike in Virginians’ income taxes.

    • NotQuite

      If you are driving a hybrid that is not true. You could be driving the same mileage as a Ford Focus but be paying considerably less in gas tax. Which means that a hybrid owner is not paying their fair share for road maintenance.

      • drax

        Reminds me – we should use the gas tax for pollution abatement and health care related to air pollution.

      • Deadite

        Uh huh. Because a tiny fraction of the car-driving population isn’t paying their fair share, we ought to tax EVERYBODY in order to capture that tiny fraction represented by hybrid drivers.

      • Mick Way

        “Considerable” is a stretch. I did a quick calculation based on 12,000 miles per year using EPA mileage estimates for a Prius (50) and a Focus (32) and the diff at $0.175/gal (that’s our current tax IIRC) is about $27. For a Prius V the diff is around $18. So for that Gov McD. wants to charge hybrid owners $100 registration fee?

      • Skippy Johnson

        Using the phrase “not paying their fair share” gives the implication (to some) that hybrid owners are “cheating”. Hybrid owners are simply playing by the rules/tax scheme laid down by the legislature. If you don’t think that’s fair, then blame the legislature not the hybrid owners.

      • Ivy

        True, but a gas tax is the most logical way to generate revenue instead of sales tax which makes no sense. Why should people who don’t have cars be forced to pay a sales tax to help those who do drive?

    • NotQuite

      Not if you drive a hybrid. A hybrid fuel use is much less so owners pay less gas tax for the same access to roads.

      • Dezlboy

        True, but in a few years most cars will achieve the same MPG than the hybrids, so issue will be somewhat moot.

      • speonjosh

        They also pollute less, so from a overall societal point of view, it’s probably still balanced.

    • Fuzzy

      I agree. I’m basically anti-tax about everything, but this is about the one tax increase that makes sense and is fair. Let the heaviest users of the roads pay the most. I would also increase the diesel tax even more to get some extra revenue from out-of-state semis.

      As an added benefit, higher gas taxes makes Arlington real estate even more valuable because our drivers have short commutes.

  • CrystalMikey

    I’m shocked the Ray’s news was not its own post. Regardless, that sucks…

  • Greg

    Re: Ray’s, the landlord must not realize that close to 1/2 the traffic in that shopping center was going to Ray’s. And the only reason most people even went to Village Bistro and endure the awful service is because Hell Burger was too crowded. Hell, even Guajillo has a sign that says something along the lines of “No Hamburgers Here. Mexican Food Here.”

    Also, the owners of that shopping center can suck a d—. They will tow your car at 3 AM if you leave it there after one too many margaritas. Really, you need that space at 3 AM? You can’t wait until shops are about to open?

    • Observer

      So you think the landlord should continue to let a tenant use their space and not pay any rent just because the other tenants there get more business because of it? Where did you get your real estate agent training?

      • Doug

        I think Greg’s point is that the original dispute between the landlord and Ray’s was bad business by the landload, as chasing Ray’s out will negatively effect the rest of the business in the shopping center. The subsequent point about towing was to demonstrate what a d— the landlord is/was.

        • Observer

          It’s bad business to let someone use the space and not pay their rent.

          And towing is bad everywhere, I can’t single out this particular landlord anymore than hordes of others in Arlington.

          • dudeguy01

            Observer, come on. Clearly, there had to be some dispute between the landlord and tenant which caused the tenant to stop paying rent. Greg is simply saying that it was foolish of the landlord to allow the dispute to escalate to the point that Ray’s stopped paying, since the rental value of the whole strip mall is bound to decrease without Ray’s, which was far and away the mall’s most popular attraction.

          • Observer

            I’ll just turn that around and say it is foolish (childish?) for the tenant to stop paying rent while they try to work out their dispute (do you know what it was about?) with the landlord.

            That will land you in court, and the court listened and decided the dispute did not trump the lease. Find for the plaintiff, next……

          • dudeguy01

            1. There’s nothing foolish about withholding rent. Any lawyer will tell you that if a tenant has a dispute with a landlord, the tenant should stop paying rent. The reason for withholding rent may be foolish, but if we don’t know the reason, there’s no basis for us to decide.

            2. I’ve seen no evidence that the court decided anything of the sort. The cases you cited were default judgment — Ray’s did not show up to defend itself. Whether this was because Ray’s chose not to continue the dispute or because Ray’s was not properly notified of the litigation, you’ve provided no evidence. The landlord won these cases by forfeit alone.

          • Observer

            So in summary, Landrum was ordered by the court to pay $70K in back rent, lost two restaurants and possibly all of his assets inside, and whatever dispute he may or may not have had with the landlord may or may not have been resolved to his liking. We just don’t know.

          • dudeguy01

            Yes, no doubt Landrum got screwed. But the point, which you keep evading, is that in failing to resolve the dispute the landlord screwed over himself as much, if not more, than Landrum. Landrum still has three very popular restaurants to fall back on; the landlord has a property which is about to see a substantial decrease in traffic.

            So I suppose you’re the landlord?

          • Stickler

            It’s actually landlady.

          • BBMS

            Does anyone know what the dispute was that led to this? It’s hard to blame the landlord for not resolving it without knowing what it was. Maybe Landrum wanted to cut his rent in half. I can’t find any fault with the landlord until I hear what kind of issues he was presenting.

            And come on, he didn’t show up for court or maybe wasn’t aware? I doubt the judge would have ruled on the case if there was some question about notification. Deputies usually serve the court papers, and then the case gets scheduled.

            Blah, sounds like he had a point of pride and was willing to pay a lot of money to prove a point. Fits the persona.

          • dudeguy01

            I don’t know anything about why Landrum didn’t show up, but judges rule all the time in cases where there was insufficient notification. Papers aren’t served by deputies, typically — they’re served by private process servers. I’m not suggesting anything nefarious, just that mistakes happen all the time. Judges rule on the word of the process server; the logic is, if a mistake was made, they’ll just overturn it in a subsequent ruling.

            And one more point — he wasn’t “willing to pay a lot of money to prove a point.” He didn’t “lose” $70,000. He was ordered to pay rent he already owed. The money he “lost” was money that he had likely budgeted to pay his rent. Paying $70,000 in back rent is the equivalent of just walking away from the lease.

          • Observer

            Ok, dudeguy, I’m going to sue you for $70K on some claim that I have yet to invent. Hope you show up, because otherwise the judge will just award me the victory. According to your theory of law, at least.

            Oh, and I suppose you are Landrum?

      • Deadite

        How do you know Ray’s wasn’t paying any rent? Do you have access to the landlord’s books?

        • nom de guerre

          Arlington court records indicate that the Colonial Village Shopping Center was awarded two judgements from Ray’s on 2/8/13 totaling more than $70,00.00 in unpaid rent.

        • Observer

          I’m basing my statement on the court findings in favor of Colonial Village for back rent of about $31K and $39K for the two spaces.

          GV13000105-00 & GV13000106-00 were the case numbers if you want to search online.

        • Deadite

          OK thanks for clearing that up. I wasn’t aware.

    • Dezlboy

      Greg, you wrote, “..owners of that shopping center can suck a d—. ”

      Well, that should bring loads of customers to the shopping center. 🙂

      • Joe Hoya

        From Rosslyn, at least.

        (Gotta keep the meme going…)

        • WeiQiang

          can you catch me up on this meme, pls?

          • It’s from the article yesterday on ArlNow showing that Rosslyn has a lot of single men: http://www.arlnow.com/2013/02/12/trulia-rosslyn-chock-full-of-men/

          • Vinh An Nguyen

            Which the original source defined as straight men, but details aren’t ARLNOW commentors strong point.

          • WeiQiang

            thanks. got it. *yawn*

            i’m with Vinh.

            this won’t work as a meme. unless the gays add some b*tchy humor to the meme, it’ll die the unceremonious death of poorly contructed gay jokes by straight men.

    • Aaron

      Village Bistro is actually an underrated gem. I don’t think they have ever been in direct competition with Ray’s. Guajillo didn’t have to put up that stupid sign until after the POTUS visit, likely because the zombies in search of burgers at that point weren’t exactly the fast-walking kind.

      • Deadite

        +1 on Village Bistro.

      • Mick Way

        VB is one of my go-to places but I’ll agree there was a time a few years ago when your enjoyment-level depended on which waiter you got. They have relatively new owners now. A few of the managers and employees bought it from long-time owner Fred. Last few visits have been terrific service and food. Then again I’ve been going there for 25 years so YMMV.

    • Eric

      The landlord has made the standard deal with the towing company. He doesn’t need to call. The tow truck has an incentive to prowl his customers’ lots and tow aggressively. What better target-rich environment than a lot at 3AM. The businesses are all closed and the workers gone home. Every car in the lot is trespassing.

    • John Fontain

      I can only dream, but wouldn’t it be nice if an underground/grass roots movement started where Arlingtonians started publicly boycotting businesses who use Advanced Towing so that eventually Advanced Towing went out of business?

      • John Fontain

        And just to clarify, I mean that the businesses drop Advanced Towing to protect their own businesses and then AT goes under.

        • stupid voter

          Well, if you had only thought to put your initial comment in plain English, you wouldn’t have had to provide additional clarification. . .

  • electricbill

    I don’t think the bad parking had much to do with Ray’s. Parking there was bad before they ever opened up, and it’s still bad with Ray’s closed.

  • novasteve

    Will the county clerk again, during business hours make personal political statements that have nothing to do with his job again in front of the media?

    • CourthouseChris

      Wait what’s this about making personal poltical statements during business hours that have nothing to do with one’s job?

      • DCBuff


        • speonjosh

          This seems to be an ongoing problem. “Touche” is not something that just anyone can say. It makes no sense unless you are the one that has been counterattacked successfully.

          • DCBuff

            Or douché for those who think their mission in life is to patrol ArlNow and offer such corrections.

      • novasteve

        Let me know when I’m a public employee making political/personal statements while on the job that have nothing to do with my job function. He’s not a legislator, it’s not his job to say the law should be changed.

        • Glass Meets Stone

          “making political/personal statements while on the job that have nothing to do with my job function”

          Do the paralegals to whom you report know what you are doing during the work day?

      • drax

        You are awarded two FREDTERPs.

    • drax

      False distinction: the county clerk is an elected position.

      • DCBuff

        Exactly. And, a partisan one at that. (Unlike the supposedly non-partisan school board.)

  • novasteve

    Dont’ they know what Obama ate there and that it’s now a shrine? Does the landlord not realize this?

    • Max

      Didn’t El Paso brag about how Bush ate there? They even painted the chair he sat in. I think I would know, I farted on that chair.

      • novasteve

        wow, you sure showed BOOOSH.

  • justsayno

    That Tropical Smoothie’s delivery service is horrible. Their delivery discount coupon tells you to go online, but it doesn’t bother giving you a coupon code. You have to call the store to get the code. What? So inefficient. We ordered one day recently when it was really cold out and we didn’t feel like walking there. We waited an hour for two wraps and two smoothies. We live across the street! When we called to check on the order about 45 minutes in, they said their delivery guy was delivering multiple orders (including ours) and was on his way. Driving? Yes, because it makes total sense to put an order to be delivered 20 feet away in a car, drive it around on a multi-stop Arlington route, and deliver it at the very end of the route. We’ll walk (and/or avoid entirely) from now on! A convenience doesn’t really work when it’s inconvenient and inefficient.

    • CourthouseChris

      Just…. just listen to yourself there. Take a step back and realize what you are saying.

      • Ice Ice Baby


      • justsayno

        CC, I’m saying it’s more convenient to walk than to take advantage of its delivery option it’s been promoting to our building’s tenants. Do you lack reading comprehension, or do your clever point-making skills just need work?

  • Ballston Baller

    Their delivery service is amazing,they got to my house before I did, driver had to wait 5 minutes tried to give him extra tip but he respectfully denied it. Good People , Good Service Good Food.


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