Press Club
Assistant County Manager Bryna Helfer talks to the County Board during a meeting (via Arlington County)

Arlington County doesn’t always get public engagement right — but officials say the county is doing better than it did a few years ago.

The pandemic has served as an impetus for accelerating changes already in progress, including a move away from exclusively in-person engagement to more virtual and hybrid community outreach options.

Mark Schwartz said one of his top priorities when he was named County Manager in 2016 was to enhance engagement and communications. This was on the heels of the completion of the county’s community facilities study, which looked at public facilities given a growing population; Schwartz said the group had challenges engaging residents.

“And since then, we’ve learned a lot about communicating and public engagement, especially over the last two years with Covid,” Schwartz said during an update to the County Board last week.

“And I will be the first to admit, I’ve admitted it here, we don’t always get it right,” he continued. “But we’ve come a long way in weaving not just the old style corporate communications but true engagement into our efforts as we develop and implement policies.”

Engaging the community

While the county developed a six-step guide to public engagement in 2018 for capital projects, it’s also applied to planning, policy-making and programs, said Bryna Helfer, an Assistant County Manager who oversees the Office of Communication and Public Engagement.

“One of the things that we still have to work on is getting those folks that are highly impacted but have really low awareness,” Helfer said. “We spend a lot of energy on people with high awareness and low impact and so really [we have to be] intentional.”

A graphic depicting the public engagement guide the county said they use (via Arlington County)

The level of public engagement intensifies with the size of a project, Helfer said. The higher the level of impact, positive or negative, the more engagement and outreach.

“We’re not showing up to do charrettes if we’re just painting the bench,” she said. “We’re really aligning the tools and strategies with the level of engagement and training all of us to use the right tools.”

The county has used roundtable discussions with civic associations and other organizations to inform them how to ease the groups’ pain points. After some of those conversations, the county created the Civic Association President Toolkit, which includes a county staffer sitting down with every new association’s president and reviewing a list of county resources.

The county also developed a multifamily complex directory to help engage those residents, which make up 60% of the county’s population, Director of Public Engagement Jerry Solomon said.

“That’s an example of a big win that helps us to that greater capacity building that we know our community needs,” she said.

Demographic dashboards give officials an idea on how to strategize and recognize gaps in participation, Solomon said. While planning engagement, they apply an equity lens, asking questions like: who benefits, who’s burdened and who’s missing?

Past criticism

Arlington’s community engagement ethos is commonly referred to as the “Arlington Way,” a vaguely defined term for the local ideal of an open conversation between county government and residents.

But the Arlington Way has taken some barbs over the years, as Arlington’s equity ideals clashed with the reality that effectively participating in the county’s decision-making processes often required hours of in-person engagement — nearly impossible for many shift workers, young parents and people struggling to make ends meet.

Last year the “Arlington Way” was a point of conversation at the Board after controversy over the start time of a north Arlington farmers market made the meeting run long, effectively shutting out participation from low-income residents there to speak about filthy conditions at the Serrano Apartments.

In 2020, community leaders from the Green Valley neighborhood criticized the county for not engaging the community before a temporary parking lot was built for WETA — relying instead on a legal ad published in the Washington Times as a primary form of public notice.

Earlier this year, a typo on a public hearing notice promoted the wrong date, adding to a continuing conversation by County Board members who have critiqued the engagement process.

And even online engagement has been critiqued for attracting a narrow set of interested parties rather than a broad swath of the public. Respondents to a recent survey about historic preservation, for instance, were overwhelmingly older, white homeowners.

Covid learning curve

Covid shifted public engagement to the virtual realm. The county started doing virtual walking tours for site visits and virtual public comment — and learned more about who participates in virtual meetings.

“Coming out of Covid, we think we will be able to do some in-person things, we’ll continue to use our virtual platforms — because the greatest thing has been people participating while watching their kid’s softball game — and that hybrid model where we come together with both,” Helfer said.

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Arlington County will be studying a two-mile stretch of S. George Mason Drive, from Route 50 to the border with Fairfax County, to identify potential transportation improvements.

The study is happening now because the road is a solid candidate for grants that have applications due in the winter. But before they can apply, county staff need to examine current conditions and hear from locals about their biggest safety concerns, according to Leah Gerber, an county transportation planner.

She said one reason staff are optimistic about grant funding is because the upgrades would benefit residents of census tracts with high concentrations of ethnic minorities, or “equity emphasis areas,” according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Over the next two months, staff will analyze data such as transit ridership and traffic counts and develop concept plans for three segments of the road:

  • North Segment — Arlington Blvd to Columbia Pike
  • Middle Segment — Columbia Pike to S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • South Segment — S. Four Mile Run Drive to county line

Staff will also develop 15% designs for the Columbia Pike-county line segment.

“The southern portion we feel will really be eligible for grant funding,” said Valerie Mosley, the bureau chief of Transportation Planning and Capital Project Management for Arlingtons Department of Environmental Services.

The study is slated for commission and County Board review this fall, in time for applications to go out this winter.

“We’re working on a fairly truncated timetable for this study and we wanted to start by asking about your experience,” public engagement coordinator Nate Graham said during a community kick-off meeting last week. “That feedback from the community will help us, along with data analysis, plan a study and identify solutions that can resolve those issues.”

A survey, open through Sunday, May 1, asks respondents how safe they feel walking, scooting, driving and biking the road. People can signal their preferred upgrades from options such as protected bike lanes, sheltered bus stops, bus-only lanes and widened sidewalks. Using an interactive map, respondents can pinpoint specific locations they say need attention.

The segments of S. George Mason Drive being studied by the county (via Arlington County)

What staff members know so far is that some residents have long requested safer pedestrian crossings through improvements such as flashing beacons. One oft-cited intersection is with 6th Street S., near the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where shrubbery and trees make it hard to see oncoming cars.

Some cyclists, meanwhile, have pointed out inconsistent bike infrastructure, with lanes that start and stop at random. Other residents say more parking enforcement is needed between Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive, where large commercial trucks park despite being too wide for the parking spaces available.

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(Updated at 10:35 a.m. on 04/07/22) After one year of community engagement, plans for the second phase of Amazon’s second headquarters in Pentagon City cleared the Planning Commission on Monday night.

The project now proceeds to the Arlington County Board, which is slated to review the plans during its meeting on Saturday, April 23.

The second phase, at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., will develop a long-vacant block with 3.2 million square feet of office space and about 94,500 square feet of retail, according to county planner Peter Schulz.

This density will be spread across three 22-story, renewable-energy-powered office towers and Amazon’s signature building: a glassy, verdant, twisting structure dubbed “The Helix,” which it intends to open to the public twice a month.

The ground floor of one tower will have a 15,000-square foot public childcare facility accepting government subsidies as well as the permanent home for Arlington Community High School, with seats for 300 students.

The campus will also have one- to two-story retail pavilions, 2.75 acres of public open space and underground parking and loading.

Other public benefits include bike lanes on three of the four streets along the site — Army Navy Drive, S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street — and a $30 million contribution to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

Amazon, which is currently leasing office space in Crystal City, is building its HQ2 in two phases. The first phase, Metropolitan Park, is at the corner of 13th Street. S and S. Eads Street and just south of the second phase, named PenPlace.

Construction on Met Park, comprised of two 22-story buildings and 2.5-acre open space, is underway and should be completed in 2023.

Last night, Planning Commissioners reviewed the changes Amazon made in response to community comments, considered how they were received by the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) and addressed lingering concerns.

“There was a feeling that the project should be held to a very high standard, considering who the owner of the project is,” said Planning Commissioner Tenley Peterson of the SPRC process. “Such a successful, high-profile business like Amazon should provide a project that will both impress the community and be a standard future projects can be measured against.”

Amazon tweaked the façades and roofs of the office towers to increase their architectural variety and moved buildings around to accommodate protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and extra turn lanes for cars.

The company also added an outdoor stairway to create a direct connection to Army Navy Drive and added a 15-foot-wide walking, biking and scooting path running east-west.

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A recent survey of Arlingtonians found a majority say the county needs to be more aggressive about preserving historic buildings, monuments and resources from demolition.

Engagement in the survey, administered in 2021, was three times higher than engagement in a similar survey distributed two years ago, before the loss last year of two historic homes — the Febrey-Lothrop House and the Victorian Fellows-McGrath House — to make room for new housing.

The tripling, however, did not result in a more diverse group of respondents. More than 80% of respondents were some combination of white, homeowners and 45 years old and up.

The survey is part of a county effort to update its master plan governing historic preservation, with a new focus on equity and inclusion, says Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Rachel LaPiana.

Adopted in and unchanged since 2006, the update — if adopted by the County Board by the end of 2022 — will direct the historic preservation priorities and programs for the next decade, she said.

Many respondents said the county should be highlighting century-old properties, historic neighborhoods, archaeological sites and resources connected to Arlington’s immigrant, African American and Native American communities. Some railed against the county and the plan for not preserving sites like the Febrey-Lothrop House, while a few said such teardowns are necessary to make room for more housing and affordable units.

The survey asked broad questions to understand what residents value, with questions like “what stories, traditions, places, buildings, and/or communities are important to you?”

But for some civically engaged Arlington residents, the demographics of respondents were more interesting. They say this survey yielded detailed feedback from passionate individuals but did not reveal how the broader community values historic preservation.

The problem, per Dave Schutz — a civically engaged resident and prolific ARLnow commenter — is how the survey is advertised and where. His oft-repeated remark about community engagement in Arlington: “You ask twelve guys in Speedos whether we should build [the Long Bridge Aquatics Center], you will get a twelve to zip vote yes.”

Schutz suggested the county keep track of how respondents hear of the survey, so they know whose perspectives are being captured.

“I might require that surveys… contain an identifier so that the people tabulating results could see which ones had been filled out by people who were notified through the, say, Arlington Historical Society website and which by people notified through the ‘Engulf and Destroy Developers Mwa-ha-ha website,’ the County Board website — and if the opinion tendencies were wildly different, flag it for the decision makers that that was so.”

Joan Fitzgerald, a local resident who works in surveying populations, says county survey questions are often worded to confirm the biases of the survey writers, while the questions can be jargon-dense.

“County survey questions are often confusing, and participants often need a strong background in the topic to even understand what’s being asked,” said Fitzgerald, who sits on the development oversight committee for the Ashton Heights Civic Association.

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A 50-year-old bridge over I-395 near Shirlington is slated for upgrades next year.

Locals can learn more about the planned bridge work next Tuesday evening during a virtual meeting hosted by VDOT, which is managing the project.

The bridge connects the southbound I-395 collector-distributor lanes and southbound Shirlington Road to N. Quaker Lane at the I-395 Exit 6 interchange.

First constructed in 1973, the bridge needs upgrades to improve safety for drivers and to extend its usable lifespan, says VDOT. Today, the bridge is crossed by about 7,400 vehicles daily.

The bridge over I-395 in Shirlington slated for repairs (via Google Maps) 

According to the project webpage, VDOT will:

  • Resurface the concrete bridge deck and closing deck joints
  • Repair concrete piers and abutments
  • Repair and repaint steel beams
  • Add protective concrete barriers adjacent to piers
  • Replace bearings
  • Upgrade guardrails adjacent to the bridge

The $4.3-million project will be financed with federal and state funding, including State of Good Repair funds used for bridges.

Next Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. VDOT staff will make a short presentation and then answer questions from the public for an hour. Project materials, which are not yet available, will be posted on the meeting webpage before the meeting starts, the department says.

Through Friday, March 25, VDOT will accept feedback via email and U.S. mail, addressed to Vicente Valeza, Jr., P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

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Plans to redevelop an office building and the former Jaleo restaurant in Crystal City as two apartment towers are crystallizing.

But two yet-undeveloped buildings appear to be limiting plans for some transportation and open space community benefits associated with the project.

JBG Smith proposes replacing the one-story retail building at 2250 Crystal Drive — home to Jaleo until September — and the aging 11-story “Crystal Plaza 5” office building at 223 23rd Street S. with two, 30-story apartment towers:

  • A “West Tower” at 223 23rd Street S. that would be 309 feet tall and have 613 dwelling units, 4,379 square feet of retail and 184 parking spaces
  • An “East Tower” at 2250 Crystal Drive that would be 304 feet tall, and have 827 dwelling units, 13,059 square feet of retail and 249 total parking spaces

Most of the buildings on the block, dubbed “Block M” in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan, are owned by JBG Smith: the apartments 220 20th Street S. and Crystal Plaza 6 and the offices and retail at 2200 and 2100 Crystal Drive.

Once approved and constructed, the development would make the block 80% residential. On the same block, JBG Smith is replacing the Crystal Plaza 1 office building with two apartment towers, 2000 and 2001 S. Bell Street.

Site conditions and developments within the block, dubbed “Block M” (via Arlington County)

As part of the project, JBG Smith is responsible for providing two open spaces and building a new S. Clark-Bell Street to improve pedestrian, car and transit circulation near Route 1. But the developer has to work around Crystal Plaza 6, which it owns, and the Crystal Plaza Apartments, owned by Dweck Properties.

JBG Smith proposes putting the new S. Clark-Bell Street west of these buildings, which could create future transit connectivity challenges, county planner Michael Cullen said in a staff presentation last month.

“While much of the vision relies on the redevelopment of the Crystal Plaza Apartments and the Crystal Plaza 6 site at 2221 Clark Street S., the proposed site plan project will be establishing critical alignments for future entry and exit points that will impact the feasibility of achieving the ultimate roadway alignment,” he said.

An alley between the two towers that JBG Smith is proposing will be nothing but a dead end unless the Crystal Plaza Apartments are redeveloped, according to the county.

Until JBG Smith redevelops Crystal Plaza 6, the developer says it can only build an interim, 8,670-square foot park on the site’s southwest corner — not the 13,000-square foot park envisioned in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan.

That is likely more than a decade out. For now, Crystal Plaza 6 is home to furnished apartments that were previously one of the two U.S. locations of WeLive, WeWork’s experiment in communal living. Management changed hands after WeWork closed its Crystal City coworking space in January 2021.

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Board Chair Katie Cristol during the Tuesday, Feb. 15 County Board meeting (via Arlington County)

(Updated 3:45 p.m. on 2/22/22) A typo in a recent public hearing notice has had some larger consequences for Arlington County.

The error — an incorrect date printed on posters around town — also sparked a County Board discussion yesterday (Tuesday) about finding more effective ways to communicate with residents about upcoming hearings and projects.

This is a recurring conversation for Board members, who have now critiqued the county engagement processes for being neither penetrative nor inclusive enough.

Currently, the county posts signs at and near near the sites of future land-use projects, per its zoning ordinances. It also prints advertisements in the Washington Times newspaper to meet state public notice laws.

The fliers posted this time around bore the wrong date: Feb. 19, or this Saturday, instead of Feb. 12, when the County Board actually met.

As a result, most of the hearing items impacted — including plans for a church moving to Ballston, a new daycare coming near Clarendon and a private school opening in a church near Crystal City — will be rescheduled for a meeting on Saturday, March 19.

A hearing for the Marbella Apartments, a forthcoming affordable housing project near Rosslyn, will be heard at a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. so that the project can meet an early March deadline to receive tax credits from Virginia Housing.

Those who spoke at the Saturday meeting will have their comments entered and don’t need to return, officials said.

“Unfortunately, [for] this error — which anyone can make an error like that — we didn’t have redundancy, which is something we’re going to address immediately,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said. “We’re going to be immediately improving our process to address this.”

Only one person reviewed the dates before the printed placards went out, he said. The newspaper advertisement, meanwhile, had the correct date, but County Board members mused about whether putting legal notices in the Washington Times, a conservative daily newspaper with a circulation around 50,000 in the D.C. area, is effective.

“This invites the question of not just ‘What went wrong here?’ but ‘What could go better in the future?'” Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey said. “Many have long decried our practice of advertising in the Washington Times, given its relatively low circulation in the county. While it meets the legal requirements, it doesn’t necessarily meet the spirit of broad notice.”

In Arlington, Board Chair Katie Cristol said, the challenge is that the county can choose broad circulation and additional expense with the Washington Post or low prices with the Washington Times.

She said she “would love” to advertise with an online news source, but state law mandates that such notices be placed in print publications.

“We have at least one of those where a lot of Arlingtonians get their news,” Cristol said. “We are constrained by state code from doing that — and some very effective lobbying from what I understand is the Virginia print industry, which is very interested in keeping that requirement the same.”

Virginia Press Association Executive Director Betsy Edwards says the current system “works very well for the majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

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This weekend, the Arlington County Board is poised to vote on a planning document set to shape several decades of post-HQ2 development in Pentagon City.

The Board’s meeting this Saturday will be residents’ last chance to weigh in on the Pentagon City Sector Plan, which envisions a denser and less car-centric neighborhood with “ribbons” of tree- and plant-lined walking paths.

The plan culminates a lengthy study of the 116-acre community and the county policies that have governed its growth for 46 years. The last plan for Pentagon City — finalized before the arrival of Metrorail service — described the area as “mostly vacant urban real estate” with some existing residential and industrial uses.

Amazon’s decision to build its second headquarters in Pentagon City precipitated the new study’s launch.

The plan’s critics have grown louder in their opposition as the eve of the vote draws near. They say the plan adds density but not green space and doesn’t guarantee space for new and improved public facilities.

In response, the county says the newest version of the plan reflects a number of additions locals requested that flesh out what open spaces should look like and highlight the need for a school, community center and library. But concerns still remain.

“We believe that in order to realize the vision described in the PCSP, where community members have access to employment, schools, multi-modal transit, open space, and other essential services, the plan needs more clarity and assurances,” writes Kateri Garcia, President of the adjacent Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA), in a letter to the Board.

She adds that ARCA represents “a significant number of citizens who feel that their voices have not been heard within the process and that large increases in density are being pursued without rationale and the appropriate studies to ensure the area can absorb the density.”

Much of the opposition is focused on the future of the large RiverHouse site on the west end of Pentagon City, currently home to three apartment buildings and an expanse of parking lots and grassy areas. Specifically, the plan has reignited old concerns about redeveloping the surface parking lots and open spaces surrounding the complex on S. Joyce Street, a long-time goal of property owner JBG Smith.

The document recommends up to 150 units per acre on the 36-acre site, which currently has a ratio of 49 units per acre. Residents who coalesced into the groups “RiverHouse Neighbors for Sensible Density” and “Dense That Makes Sense” have called for moderated growth instead.

A rally held in front of Grace Murray Hopper Park, a public park on the RiverHouse property that’s set for upgrades under the plan, attracted at least two dozen or so demonstrators from the two groups, many of whom held signs decrying the plan and significantly increased density.

As for a new school or improved community center and library, neighbors want details about how they’d fit at Virginia Highlands Park — or a commitment to put them elsewhere.

“The common theme throughout the Plan is that Virginia Highlands Park is the fallback location for all public facilities. A school. A community center. A library. More recreation. Very little of this is feasible — there’s simply not enough space and we have contention over it already today,” writes former Aurora Highlands Civic Association President Scott Miles in the association’s February newsletter.

Planning Commission member Stephen Hughes sympathized.

“I do find the lack of a site proposed for an elementary school — besides the already provided county facilities — to be lacking,” he said during a meeting last week. “I just believe we could’ve done a better job of achieving a grander legacy for future generations.”

While the plan doesn’t achieve a net increase in green space, it improves “poorly designed, generally privately owned, open space,” sets minimum tree and planting requirements for developments and requires a park within a 10-minute walk for every resident, writes the AHCA representative to the project, Ben D’Avanzo, in the same newsletter.

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Arlington’s “Covid heroes” (screenshot via Youtube/Arlington County)

Seventy-eight local individuals, businesses and organizations were recognized as “Covid Heroes” at yesterday’s County Board meeting.

More than six dozen locals were honored for having “demonstrated exceptional service throughout the pandemic” in three categories: community resilience, outstanding community service and individual service.

The presentation included a short video with all the honorees’ names, photos and upbeat music. It was followed by comments and thanks from the County Board members.

In all, more than 160 were nominated for the honor, so about half were chosen for recognition.

Chairperson Katie Cristol acknowledged that, under normal circumstances, there would have been an in-person gathering, but even with Covid cases falling, honorees were asked to watch the presentation at home.

Honorees for community resilience include ICU nurse Lee Harper Chen, Rosa Dunkley of the NAACP Arlington Branch and community activist Janeth Valenzuela, who has helped local immigrant communities sign up to get the Covid vaccine and played a part in exposing the unacceptable living conditions at Serrano apartments.

“I’m humbled for this nomination, but it wasn’t only me who worked hard, this was made possible [by] the committed residents who helped me and we worked together as a team,” Valenzuela tells ARLnow. “I am not sure if I will be able to give everything that this community has given me, but I will always do everything that I can to represent them with pride and respect.”

Also recognized was chef David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse, for his “Chefs Feeding Families” program. He also provided meals to security personnel at the Capitol last January after the insurrection.

“I am humbly honored to be the recipient of the Arlington COVID-19 Hero Award. I accept this accolade not only for myself, but also on behalf of all those who dedicated their time and efforts to the Chefs Feeding Families initiative, including my team at Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery and our chef partners,” he writes to ARLnow. “Together we found a way to restore hope and foster a commitment and connection to the community, one meal at a time.”

More than 30 individuals were given accolades for their service, including Jennifer Toussaint of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Susan Thompson-Gaines who ran a “kindness yard sale,” county public health director Reuben Varghese, and Arlington Parents for Education (APE) founder Chris Myers. APE is a bipartisan community group that has advocated for more transparency from Arlington schools.

“The award is quite an honor, but the recognition should not be mine. It goes to all the parents and teachers of Arlington Parents for Education that helped create a unique collaboration that crossed political and social divides to advocate for the needs of our children,” Myers told ARLnow.

Thirty-three local organizations were honored, including the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (now, the Columbia Pike Partnership), Arlington Free Clinic, Macedonia Baptist Church in Green Valley, Arlington Food Assistance Center and Freddie’s Beach Bar.

“The superpower of these people and organizations… is to engage the entire community and all of Arlington,” County Board member Takis Karantonis said at the meeting about the Covid heroes. “Their work actually saved lives.”

Board Vice-Chair Christian Dorsey noted that this probably won’t be the last time the board will be honoring those who served the community during the pandemic. He also said that there are plenty of other heroes out there who deserve recognition as well.

“Within our community, there are untold stories of heroism that occur every single day with neighbors checking in on neighbors [and] parents attending to the emotional well-being of their children,” Dorsey said. “We know that the stories of heroism from the pandemic will be a rich tapestry… we can look at this period as not just as a crisis we endured, but a demonstration of the resilience we all showed.”

The full listing of all the honorees is below.

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Morning Notes

Thanksgiving week in Shirlington (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

ACPD Thanksgiving Anti-DUI Event — “On Thanksgiving-eve, traditionally a time of celebrations with heavy alcohol consumption, ACPD, in partnership with WRAP, is hosting a Thanksgiving anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, November 24, at N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, from 8:00-10:00 p.m.” [ACPD, Twitter]

Shirlington Apartment Employee Slashed — “An employee of the residential building discovered that the laundry room had been locked and upon opening it, discovered the unknown male suspect inside. The suspect produced a knife and struck the victim’s hand, causing a laceration. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” [ACPD]

Bus Driver Protest in Ballston — “Arlington Public Schools bus drivers are protesting again, this time in Ballston. They’re chanting and getting passing drivers to honk in favor of better pay and fair treatment.” [Twitter, WJLA]

County Seeks Budget Feedback — “Each winter, the County Manager presents a proposed operating budget to the County Board in order to plan spending for the next fiscal year. We’d like to know your thoughts on how Arlington should prioritize necessary spending in FY 2023. Help us get better insight on questions such as: How would you rate the importance of County programs and services?” [Arlington County]

Clement: Fewer Signs Stolen This Year — “In her annual election wrapup at the first Arlington County Board meeting after the votes were in, perennial protest candidate Audrey Clement told board members that she’d been able to gather up a good portion of her campaign signage from medians. ‘I recovered about 450 signs, or two-thirds of the total,’ she told board members. ‘This is a significant improvement over 2020, when two-thirds of my signs were trashed.’ Clement ran second in the four-candidate County Board race.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — A chance of showers today, mainly before 10 a.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Northwest wind 7 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 6:59 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Sunny tomorrow, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

New AG Targets N. Va. Prosecutors — “Virginia Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares said that he and Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will pursue legislation to enable the state’s attorney general to circumvent ‘social justice’ commonwealth’s attorneys who refuse to vigorously prosecute crimes. At a news conference on Thursday, Miyares laid out ‘one of our major legislative initiatives’ which Youngkin ‘has already indicated that he would sign… into law.'” [Fox News]

Department Bans ‘Kill’ from Feedback — From Arlington Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt: “Today I learned it’s against our ‘Community Guidelines’ to tell DES that their designs are going to get someone killed.” [Twitter]

Younger Va. Voters Get Less Blue — From ARLnow opinion columnist Nicole Merlene: “Millennials and Gen Z swung almost 10% from Ds to Rs in the #VAGov election. That is ONE THIRD of voters in Virginia. More % of voters than college educated white women — so why are they the story?” [Twitter]

Local Legion Post Getting New Flagpole — “The Arlington House chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution on Oct. 28 presented a financial contribution in support of the effort to raise a new flagpole at the post, which is being redeveloped in partnership with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). DAR chapter regent Nancy Weinberg in 2020 contacted Bob Romano, then-post commander of Sgt. Dorothy M. Doyle American Legion Post 139, to discuss what could be done to assist Post 139 during the construction period.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Friday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 54. Sunrise at 7:40 a.m. and sunset at 6:03 p.m. Saturday will be sunny, with a high near 56, while Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 58.

Join the ARLnow Press Club — Get the Morning Notes early and find out what we’re planning to cover that day. Plus exclusive text alerts, insights and more. Sign up now.

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