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BREAKING: Governor Vetoes Country Club Bill

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has vetoed legislation that would have dramatically reduced Arlington County’s tax revenue from two country clubs.

HB 1204 would have reduced the tax bills for Army Navy Country Club and Washington Golf and Country Club, but would have cost the county’s coffers nearly $1.5 million annually.

The state legislature will now have an opportunity to override the veto.

More from an Arlington County press release:

“We are grateful to Governor Northam for vetoing HB 1204,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. “The governor, by his action to keep authority over local property assessments in the hands of local government, and not in Richmond, has shown real leadership.  This legislation had major implications for all localities across the Commonwealth.”

Arlington encourages all local governments to unify and ask their legislators to sustain the veto when the General Assembly reconvenes April 18 at the State Capitol, Cristol said.

“We are committed to resolving the assessment issue with the golf courses, and we are confident that we can find an equitable solution,” she said. “I want to thank our Arlington delegation for standing strong with us throughout this process.”

In his veto message, Northam says that he expects Arlington and the clubs to reach a compromise soon. The clubs are suing the county, fighting back against what they say is an unfair way to assess what is essentially open space — treating the many acres of golf courses as developable land.

The governor’s veto message is below.

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1204, which requires the County of Arlington to assess two private country clubs within its boundaries as land dedicated to open space rather than its current method of highest and best use.

This is a local dispute over a local government’s method of assessing land for property taxation. As such, the solution to this dispute should be reached on the local level without the involvement of the state.

I have been assured that an agreement acceptable to both sides of this dispute is close to being reached. I encourage the parties to continue negotiations to find a solution so that similar legislation will not be necessary in the future.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Overturned Vehicle Reported on GW Parkway

(Updated at 4 p.m.) A vehicle has overturned on the GW Parkway near the Roosevelt Bridge.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest the vehicle crossed several lanes of traffic before running off the side of the southbound GW Parkway.

The vehicle overturned and came to rest on the driver’s side. The occupant of the vehicle was able to get out and was not reported to be seriously injured.

Southbound traffic is slow approaching the crash scene, backing up well past the Key Bridge.

Image (top) via Google Maps

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Cupcake Shop, Mediterranean Restaurant Coming to Pentagon Row

A pair of new restaurants are coming to the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City.

Smallcakes, a cupcake and ice cream chain, is set to open in a vacant storefront adjacent to the former Ristorante Murali.

Smallcakes has more than 200 locations in the U.S. and abroad. It touts its freshly-made treats, including a daily offering of 18 cupcake flavors — with “seasonal and special flavors such as Maple Bacon, Fat Elvis, Cannoli, Strawberries N’ Crème, Tiramisu, French Toast, and Pumpkin” — and 15 ice cream flavors, which are “a nod to Smallcakes’ famous cupcake recipes.”

The Pentagon Row Smallcakes location is simply listed as “coming soon” on the company’s website.

Also coming to the shopping center is Aabee Restaurant, a “Persian and Mediterranean fusion” restaurant formerly located in Fairfax. Permanent signs are up for Aabee, which is opening in the former NKD Pizza storefront across the parking lot from Harris Teeter.

Aabee’s former location is listed as closed on Yelp. Neither its former website nor Facebook page have been updated to reflect the apparent closure and new location, though a new website was recently launched. A phone number listed for the business has been disconnected.

In its previous location, Aabee offered soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, kabobs and Iranian stew dishes. It also had Saturday night belly dancing shows, according to the restaurant website.

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Arlington Agenda: April 9-15

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, April 10

Sustainable Landscaping: Plant Selection
Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Select plants that will function and thrive best in the conditions of your site, as well as Virginia native plant alternatives to commonly used non-native plants and best practices for planting.

A Talk with Gene Baur: Farm Sanctuary Founder
Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive)
Time: 7-7:45 p.m.

Join a talk with Gene Baur, who has gone undercover to investigate conditions at farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses.

Wednesday, April 11

Foster Care Youth Happy Hour
Hunan Number One Restaurant and Bar (3033 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 5:30-8 p.m.

Enjoy networking, music, cocktails, an improv comedy show, and 80’s arcade video games, with donations going toward preparing foster care youth for their future.

Pet Loss Support Group
Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

All are welcome to join in a meeting to find support and help pet owners cope with the loss of their companions. Run by Kathy Reiter, a psychiatric social worker who specializes in bereavement.

Friday, April 13

Crystal City 5K Fridays Series*
Crystal City Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Join Crystal City’s after work Friday evening 5K series. Registration fees start at $25 for one race, and runners receive post-race happy hour drink tickets for select Crystal City venues.

Sweeney Todd*
Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Road)
Time: 8-10:30 p.m.

Director Clare Shaffer (Man of La Mancha) brings Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning tale of Sweeney Todd, the “demon barber of Fleet Street” to life.

Saturday, April 14

Arlington Bunny Hop*
Clarendon UMC (606 N. Irving Street)
Time: 8-11 a.m.

A charity 5K fun run or walk, routing through the Ashton Heights neighborhood. Proceeds go to Bridges to Independence.

Arlington Home Show & Garden Expo*
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

More than 65 home improvement-related organizations and businesses will be available to answer questions alongside a full free class and workshop schedule.

Super Slam Ball*
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 3-5 p.m.

A tee ball program for ages 3-5 kicks off Saturday and runs for 7 weeks. Includes t-shirt, baseball cards and stickers, awards ceremony, picture day, pizza, kids races, strike board competition and bring a friend week.

Sunday, April 15

In Christy’s Shoes Sole Celebration*
Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 5-8 p.m.

The 6th Annual Sole Celebration will feature a DSW shoe fashion show, hors d’oeuvres, a Shoe and Sock Selfie Contest, and a silent auction and raffle. Benefits several local nonprofits.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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Weekend Crime: Indecent Exposure in Clarendon

A woman called police early Saturday morning after a man allegedly walked up to her car while masturbating.

The incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. on the 1300 block of N. Danville Street, a residential block several blocks down from Clarendon’s bar district.

The victim told police that she had just gotten into her car when the man approached with his genitals exposed but his face covered by a hood.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-04070016, 1300 block of N. Danville Street. At approximately 12:53 a.m. on April 7, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that as the female victim entered her vehicle, an unknown male suspect approached the vehicle on foot and allegedly began masturbating. The victim yelled and the suspect fled the area prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male in his late twenties, approximately six feet tall, with a full beard, wearing an army green hooded sweatshirt, with the hood covering his face, and grey sweatpants. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

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Legal Insider: Security Clearance Upgrades Can Lead to Loss of Existing Clearance

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

When an individual with a security clearance is submitted for a security clearance upgrade, any previously existing security concerns are scrutinized again, but at a higher level.

For instance, if an individual has been previously approved for a Secret level clearance and is then submitted for a Top Secret (TS) level clearance by their employer, the individual could be denied based on the same concerns that existed when he or she was approved for a Secret level clearance.

This more often occurs when the individual holds a Top Secret (TS) clearance but is applying for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access, “TS/SCI.”

Clearance Upgrade Dilemma

One common problem with security clearance upgrades occurs when an employer submits a request to upgrade an individual’s security clearance (e.g., from Secret to Top Secret).

Sometimes the individual is made aware of the requested upgrade by the employer and sometimes he or she is not. It is possible that an individual can be approved for a lower level security clearance with existing security concerns, but that he or she can still be denied when submitting for a security clearance upgrade even if there are no new security concerns.

As an example, suppose an individual is approved for a Top Secret security clearance by the Department of Defense (DoD), after mitigating some security concerns about past due debts or bad credit, and is then submitted for SCI access at an intelligence agency.

The intelligence agency may consider those debts more serious than the DoD, and deny the person SCI access approval based on the same financial issues that were first resolved favorably when the individual applied for his or her Top Secret clearance.  This upgrade denial can potentially have significant consequences.

Result of Unfavorable Upgrade

The result of a clearance upgrade denial might be that the individual, at best, likely has to list the prior denial in future clearance applications, and at worst, could cause the individual to lose (or have to defend) his or her existing security clearance.

Depending on the employer and federal agency involved, there are appeals processes to challenge the clearance upgrade denial, but it is something to seriously consider if there are security concerns in one’s background and a clearance upgrade is proposed.

Conclusion

It is important to consider the impact of upgrading a security clearance or security access before applying when there are previous security concerns at issue. Individuals should consult with counsel if they have any security concerns at issue.

If you need assistance with a severance agreement or other employment matter, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook.

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Crystal City-Based Financial Planning App Lets Average Investors Build Portfolios Like Millionaires

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

“A robust end-to-end technology platform for financial planning and investments” is being built in Crystal City.

The app, 1787fp, is mobile software that lets the everyday investor manage their finances and work toward financial independence.

The app contains three components. The first is a free financial planning and budgeting tool. The second, a premium feature, helps users manage and create a financial portfolio. The third is a free service for users to check their credit score.

The premium investment feature will cost users less than what they would pay at a big brokerage firm such as Wells Fargo or Goldman Sachs, but will be more expensive than the lowest cost providers in the financial advisory space.

“We really want to position ourselves as a premium player in helping people plan and work toward financial independence,” said 1787fp founder and CEO Jean Jacques Borno.

Borno said that he hopes his customers are able to build up enough wealth through the app that they only work because they want to, not because they have to.

After collecting research on the average user of financial planning services, Borno found that people were going to seven to eight different websites for their financial planning needs. He hopes 1787fp will become an app that streamlines all those services.

The idea for 1787fp grew out of Borno’s 15 years of working as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. At each of the firms, Borno normally worked with clients with at least $1 million in assets. But on the weekends, he began working with clients that were coming out of law school or were engineers — people who had a steady income but definitely not $1 million in assets. Over time he was able to help them build their portfolios.

“I really thought the large companies were really missing a boat,” he said. 

With 1787fp, users will be able diversify their portfolio like a millionaire, Borno said.

“The thing that’s really cool is that the way that we set up the proposals,” he said. “In the traditional world a person would need a million dollars in order to properly diversify but we can give them the same portfolio that the so called ‘billionaire’ would have for their first $5,000 or $10,000.”

Borno got his certified financial planner license and went to the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, where he created 1787fp in February 2016.

The name for the app came in two parts. 1787 was inspired by the year the constitution was created, Borno said. And “fp” stands for financial planner.

“I just wanted to get something that kind of paid tribute to the world’s greatest startup — the United States,” Borno said.

The app is not out yet, but a beta version should be released shortly. Then once Borno reviews feedback from the beta version he will make adjustments and then release final version in the summer.

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Potential Trouble for Alt’s in Lyon Park

Alt’s, a new restaurant in Lyon Park specializing in meatless burgers, may be hitting some roadblocks on its way to opening.

Last month, after a representative showed up unannounced at our offices to drop off menus, it seemed like an opening was imminent. Over the weekend, however, a local resident sent us a photo of a legal notice posted on the storefront at 2300 N. Pershing Drive that suggests the opening might not be happening soon, after all.

The notice says Alt’s has failed to obtain proper insurance and pay more than $56,000 in rent.

Should Alt’s fail to fix each of the items detailed in 10-15 days, the notice says, “then be advised that KV Associates, LLC intends to exercise its option… to terminate the lease.”

The Alt’s Facebook page was last updated on May 22, 2015 when the restaurant announced that it had signed a lease.

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Morning Notes

First Responders Say Starting Pay Is Too Low — “Patrick Gorman was just beginning to enjoy his job as an Arlington, Va., police officer when he decided to quit. His wife was pregnant with twins, and they already had a 2-year-old. Even with both working full time, he said, they couldn’t afford to live in the area. Two months out of training, he left the department in February and moved to North Carolina.” [Washington Post]

Large Arlington Contingent for Boston Marathon — Some 77 runners from Arlington are set to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon a week from today. [InsideNova]

Public Safety Personnel Recognized for Crisis Interventions — “Four Arlington County police officers, two sheriff’s deputies, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher were honored this week for their exemplary work in responding to people in a mental health crisis when on a call or on the job.” [Arlington County]

Spotted: Michael Irvin — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin was spotted hanging out at Champps on Pentagon Row over the weekend. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Hotel Opening Brings Up HQ2 — It’s difficult to find an economic development event in Northern Virginia these days that doesn’t spark discussions of Amazon’s HQ2. At an opening for the new Homewood Suites hotel in Rosslyn, Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins remarked that “you’d have to build, like, 10 more of these” if Amazon were to come to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

ARLnow Doesn’t Have a Wikipedia Page — Did you know that despite being around for more than eight years, and being cited as a source in plenty of Wikipedia pages, ARLnow does not have its own page? With Facebook now starting to use Wikipedia as a signaling mechanism for trustworthiness, now would be a great time for someone to finally give ARLnow its own Wikipedia entry. Pretty please?

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Street Sweeping Starts Today in Arlington

It’s the season for spring cleaning, and Arlington’s street sweeping service is set to resume today (Monday).

The sweeping service runs from April through October in an effort to “reduce stormwater pollution in our local streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay,” according to an Arlington County Solid Waste Bureau press release.

The street sweeping schedule is zoned by neighborhood, and begins April 9. The sweeping will run each day in the designated civic associations from about 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

For “more effective sweeping” the County is asking residents to move their cars out of the road — “to a driveway, garage or non-sweeping street” — during cleaning, but parking fines will not be issued.

Here’s the schedule for April 9-23.

  • Monday, April 9
    Zone 1 – Alcova Heights, Ashton Heights, Arlington Heights, Foxcroft Heights, Arlington View, Penrose
  • Tuesday, April 10
    Zone 2 – Claremont, Douglas Park, Columbia Forest, Fairlington
  • Wednesday, April 11
    Zone 3 – East Falls Church, Yorktown, Williamsburg
  • Thursday, April 12
    Zone 4 – Arlingwood, Old Glebe, Chain Bridge, Rock Spring, Country Club Hills/Gulf Branch, Stafford-Albemarle-Glebe
  • Friday, April 13
    Zone 5 – Bellevue Forest, North Highlands, Donaldson Run, Rivercrest, Dover Crystal, Riverwood, Maywood, Woodmont
  • Monday, April 16
    Zone 6 – Arlington Ridge/Forest Hills, Aurora Highlands, Columbia Heights, Long Branch Creek, Nauck
  • Tuesday, April 17
    Zone 7 – Clarendon, Courthouse, Colonial Village, Lyon Park, Lyon Village, North Rosslyn, Radnor/Fort Myer Heights
  • Wednesday, April 18
    Zone 8 – Arlington Forest, Barcroft, Buckingham, Columbia Heights West/ Arlington Mill, Forest Glen, Glencarlyn
  • Thursday, April 19
    Zone 9 – Ballston, Virginia Square, Cherrydale, Cherry Valley Nature Area, Glebewood, Old Dominion, Waycroft-Woodlawn, Waverly Hills
  • Friday, April 20
    Zone 10 – Highland Park, Overlee Knolls, John M. Langston, Leeway Overlee, Madison Manor, Tara-Leeway Heights, Westover Village
  • Monday, April 23
    Zone 11 – Bluemont, Boulevard Manor, Dominion Hills
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