Northam, Gillespie Win Va. Primary — Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie, establishment figures in the state Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, beat back party insurgents to win the nomination for Virginia governor on Tuesday. The primary was a test of the “Trump effect,” according to political analysts. [Washington Post, Washington Post, Politico]
Python Found in Apartment Hallway — An Arlington animal control officer recovered a python from an apartment hallway Tuesday morning, prompting an article in by the Washington Post’s Martin Weil. In his signature style, Weil notes that “matters appeared to end satisfactorily.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Developer, 91, Wants to Move Into New Building — Longtime local developer Marvin Weissberg is enthusiastic about the 24-story, 407-unit residential tower he’s proposing to replace the RCA building in Rosslyn. So enthusiastic is Weissberg, 91, that he says he wants to move in when it’s completed. [Washington Business Journal]
Nearby: Shooting at Congressional Baseball Practice — A gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria this morning, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a number of congressional aides and two police officers. The gunman was reportedly shot by U.S. Capitol Police. [Fox News, Twitter]
The most hotly-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in recent memory is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Though the lack of a spectacular new revelation in Comey’s prepared remarks may be tamping down the enthusiasm a bit, many are still eager to hear what Comey has to say about President Trump — and, on Twitter, vice versa.
Here in Arlington, Liberty Tavern will be opening early, at 10 a.m., and putting the hearing on its five large TVs.
“We will serve free covfefe! And White Russians and Stoli and grapefruits during the hearing will be $5,”a rep for the Clarendon restaurant once visited by President Obama told ARLnow.com. “Lastly, we’ll offer all of our 12-inch wood-oven specialty pizzas for $10, including our popular brunch pizza that features our homemade breakfast sausage, house cured bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes, cheddar and sage.”
Also hosting hearing watchers is Ballston watering hole A-Town Bar and Grill, which will open at 10 a.m. and put the proceedings on its many TVs.
In Courthouse, Ireland’s Four Courts will be open for lunch and have hearing coverage on its TVs with the volume on. The pub will also offer lunch specials during the hearing.
Is there a “coming-of-age crisis” in America?
Yes, according to Sen. Ben Sasse’s new book “The Vanishing American Adult.” In the book, the Nebraska Senator makes the case that many young people in America are stuck in a state of perpetual youth, lacking in self-discipline and purpose. This phenomenon, according to Sasse, poses an existential threat to America’s future, as a country without functioning, responsible adults will be susceptible to political demagogues.
This is one of the many topics that Sen. Sasse and George Mason economist Tyler Cowen will discuss during their one-on-one dialogue on Wednesday, June 14, from 6:30-8 p.m., at GMU’s Arlington campus (3351 Fairfax Drive).
The conversation is part of the Mercatus Center’s Conversations with Tyler series, and will be open to the public free of charge.
Sasse is especially qualified to observe millennial trends as he served as president of Midland University from 2010 to 2015. He’s also known for his ability to communicate with Americans of all generations in original ways — whether it’s through his refreshingly candid tweets or his part-time Uber charity gig.
It's #PianoRecital night.
Livetweeting likely, despite the constant negative press covfefe
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) May 31, 2017
am trying to add it to the healthcare bill https://t.co/XfMNdn5b7l
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) March 7, 2017
But there is more to Sasse than politics and tweets. A historian by training, Sasse has earned four advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. from Yale. Dubbing him “Washington’s Most Interesting Egghead,” the Atlantic noted that his experience in academia, corporate consulting, and past government appointments have given him one of the Senate’s most varied resumes.
This makes him a natural fit for Conversations with Tyler, a discussion series that engages today’s top thinkers in one-on-one conversations about everything and anything with economist Tyler Cowen. Past guests include tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, renowned academic Camille Paglia, and author Malcolm Gladwell.
Guests should come prepared for a lively conversation about the unique challenges this country faces and how parents, young people, and all Americans can be a part of the solution.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is weighing in on the widening scandal over fired FBI director James Comey’s memo, which alleged that President Trump asked him to end the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Beyer, who represents Arlington in Congress, is calling for a special prosecutor in the larger investigation into Trump and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.
He issued the following statement this afternoon.
Congress must seek answers and all available evidence of reports that Donald Trump dissuaded former FBI Director James Comey from pursuing an investigation into Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. We also urgently need a special prosecutor to find the truth of the larger Trump-Russia story.
What tapes of the exchange detailed in the Comey memo exist? Who at the Department of Justice, including AG Sessions, knew of the memo and possible obstruction attempt? What are the contents of the conversations with Donald Trump detailed in the other Comey memos which are reported to exist? These are questions we must ask, and the public has a right to the answers.
If Donald Trump did indeed ask James Comey to “let” the Flynn investigation “go,” that would be a clear case of obstruction of justice. The FBI is not the President’s personal police force, and his reported request that the FBI “lock up” journalists should underscore the deep peril facing our democracy if he is allowed to treat it as such.
Comey has been invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week.
Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]
Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]
Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]
Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]
Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.
Police Warn of Fraud Scheme — The Arlington County Police Department is warning that home repair and tree service fraud schemes become more prevalent in the spring. Police say to be wary of would-be service providers who approach or knock on your door unannounced, pressure you to make an immediate decision, claim to have leftover materials or to be working in the area, and only accept cash payment. [Arlington County]
Arlington Restaurant Makes Sietsema’s Top 10 — Ambar in Clarendon has been included in restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s list of the top 10 new restaurants in Washington. It is the only Virginia restaurant on the list. [Washington Post]
Beyer Supports Budget Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says that while it’s not perfect, he supports the compromise omnibus funding bill that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Beyer says the bill contained key environmental protections and funding for scientific research. [Rep. Don Beyer]
No Endorsement from Garvey — County Board member Libby Garvey says she will vote in the upcoming Democratic caucus, but so far she is not endorsing any candidate for County Board. [InsideNova]
ACDC Candidate Forum — The Arlington County Democratic Committee held its candidate forum/debate last night, with all four candidates for County Board weighing in on topics from affordable housing to WMATA and transit to diversity in county government. [Blue Virginia]
Trustify’s Swanky Digs — Arlington-based startup Trustify’s new 8,000 square foot office in Crystal City has “a view that arguably is one of the dreamiest” among local startups. The design of the office was “‘film noir’-inspired.” [DC Inno]
Beyer and a fellow Virginia congressman, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), have proposed the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.”
The bill “would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.” Currently, back pay must be approved by Congress and is not guaranteed.
“Shutting down the federal government threatens the livelihood of federal workers who carry out the nation’s vital missions,” Beyer said in a statement. “It’s inexcusable to play politics with their pay and the well-being of their households.”
While a government shutdown at the end of the week is possible, it’s looking increasingly likely that a deal will be reached to continue funding the government.
Twenty-two percent of employment in Arlington is classified as government employment.
The full press release about the bill, after the jump.
Yesterday, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) joined other D.C. metro area legislators in writing to members of the House Appropriations Committee to support airplane noise mitigation provisions in the fiscal year Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill.
Beyer is a member of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, and urged the committee to fund health studies on the effects of airplane noise. The legislators cited past studies that have linked excessive exposure to noise with hypertension and learning difficulties.
Beyer requested that appropriators include language directing the Federal Aviation Administration to expedite its review of current noise standards.
“Airplane noise is a pervasive problem around the United States, but especially in Northern Virginia neighborhoods below ever-shifting flight paths in and out of DCA,” said Beyer in a statement. “To date, the FAA has not satisfactorily addressed the situation, while the problem has worsened in many communities. It is past time for Congress to take action, and I hope my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee heed our call.”
Legislators also signed a bipartisan letter urging the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority — which operates Reagan National and Dulles International Airport — not to add more flight traffic at DCA.
They point out that Reagan National has experienced six consecutive years of passenger growth and outpaced passenger volume at Dulles in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, they say domestic commercial passenger traffic since 2000 has increased by 50 percent at Reagan, but it decreased by 9 percent at Dulles.
Congress is preparing to work on legislation to reauthorize the FAA for this year. The delegation said that maintaining the current rules will allow Dulles and BWI to continue to grow and serve long-haul destinations, while also not subjecting National to additional traffic.
“Our airports enable Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia to access the global economy in ways that create jobs and opportunities for the region,” the letter reads. “Part of the rationale for the relocation of major corporate headquarters such as SAIC, Hilton Hotels, Nestle USA and Volkswagen of America is the connectivity our regional aviation system provides.”
Both the House and Senate are expected to consider FAA reauthorization proposals in the coming months. The current FAA authorization expires at the end of September.
After one last blast of cold weather this week, it appears that old man winter has taken his last bow for the season, according to our friends at the Capital Weather Gang.
Also bowing out: the Republican effort to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. A number of local lawmakers and Democratic political candidates have issued statements on the bill’s failure this afternoon, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) statement on the GOP healthcare bill being pulled pic.twitter.com/DqdX0AhQuY
— Arlington News (@ARLnowDOTcom) March 24, 2017
Also this afternoon, a grinning Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, was spotted taking a flight out of Reagan National Airport in Arlington.
— Marky Mark (@DCCelebrity) March 24, 2017
Feel free to discuss the return of spring-like weather, the healthcare brouhaha on Capitol Hill or any other topic of local interest in the comments.
W-L Student Pens Open Letter on Boundary Changes — The boundary changes approved by the School Board on Dec. 1 will decrease socio-economic diversity at Arlington’s high schools, despite diversity being a stated “core value” at Arlington Public Schools. That’s the argument made by a Washington-Lee student in an open letter to the School Board, published by the Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The article has been widely shared online and, we’re told, has broken traffic records on the newspaper’s website. [Crossed Sabres]
Rollover Crash Last Night — A crash involving an SUV that flipped on its roof was reported near the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Glebe Road just before 8 p.m. last night. Another crash, involving a person potentially trapped in a vehicle, was reported on Old Dominion Drive just over the border in McLean, around 6 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
AFAC Collecting Lots of Donated Food — Holiday-time food collections are bolstering supplies at the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Just yesterday AFAC said it had received around 3,900 lbs of food from property owner Vornado and 1,900 lbs from apartment operator Dittmar. Dittmar says its total holiday food drive goal this year is 5,500 lbs. Other organizations collecting food for AFAC include local real estate agents that have formed a group called Arlington Realtors Care. [Instagram]
More Special Needs Students at APS — The percentage of special needs students at Arlington’s public schools has remained steady, but due to enrollment growth the number of special needs students has increased, presenting budgetary and instructional challenges. [InsideNova]
Cruz and Cornyn’s Queso Comes from Ballston — When Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn needed some authentic Texas-style queso to square off in a taste test against cheese dip from Arkansas, they went to Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant in Ballston. (The restaurant chain is based in Texas.) Unfortunately, the Arkansas cheese won the competition. [Roll Call]
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act, pushing an amendment on helicopter noise from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) closer to becoming law.
The amendment was proposed by Beyer in response to frequent complaints from Northern Virginia residents about excess noise from military helicopters. It directs the Dept. of Defense to work with the Federal Aviation Administration “to study changes to the region’s helicopter flight routes, operating procedures, and even the types of helicopters flown in the national capital airspace to mitigate the effect of noise on the region’s neighborhoods.”
With Friday’s 375-34 House vote, the measure is now set to be voted on by the Senate this week, prior to heading to the president’s desk to become law.
Beyer said the language in the bill will force the DoD to take responsibility for its role in creating noise that affects quality of life in local neighborhoods.
“My constituents understand and appreciate the military’s mission in the National Capital Region, but that does not absolve the Pentagon’s responsibility to minimize helicopter flights over residential neighborhoods,” Beyer told ARLnow.com Friday, in a statement. “I offered this amendment out of frustration after Department officials rebuffed my attempts to work together to quiet the noise. Today’s vote ensures the DoD will work with the FAA and local community groups to find ways to reduce the din.”
Here is the unedited response from Republican candidate Charles Hernick:
I got into this race because I was frustrated with status quo politics. I expect more from my elected officials and I expect more from Congress. I’m not a millionaire career politician, I’m your neighbor. I have a proven track record of getting results for my clients and I would bring the same work ethic and resolve to Congress. My campaign has gained local, national, and international media attention because of my distinguished, multi-cultural background and my plans to:
Improve conditions for small businesses through lower taxes and fair regulations. We need to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent (the OECD average) so that our businesses are not at a disadvantage when competing abroad. We also must simplify tax filings for small businesses. We can grow the economy by improving conditions for small business–they are the engines/innovation centers of the economy. We must lower regulatory hurdles for small businesses and simplify taxes so that they can hire and grow — Don Beyer favors tax increases on individuals and corporations
Improve national security by taking care of our troops and Veterans and focusing more on cyber-security and radical Islamic terror. I understand that Congress has the unique constitutional authority and obligation to define our enemies abroad. I understand the threat from radical Islamic terrorist groups and I know how to work with our Muslim allies in other countries to defeat a common threat — Don Beyer doesn’t think ISIS poses a serious threat to the US
Make government more efficient and responsive to it’s employees and taxpayers through better Information Technology and systems to reward innovation and top performance. We need to manage our debt and entitlement obligations so that essential government functions are never jeopardized. We need to empower Federal employees to save taxpayer money by flagging unnecessary spending and establish systems that reward innovation and top performance — Don Beyer is comfortable with the status quo in government
Finally, I have proposed a market-based framework for addressing climate change that would link state and regional efforts through standardization. My proposal is the most actionable proposal by ANY candidate of ANY party in this election — Don Beyer has proposed a carbon tax that has gained ZERO traction in his first two years in Congress
If we haven’t met in person: I am an ecologist and economist. I have worked as a US Federal Government consultant across the United States and in over a dozen countries in Latin America and Africa. I grew up in a bilingual household and I am fluent in Spanish. I entered the workforce at the age of 15 cleaning hotel rooms. I worked my way through school and earned a B.S. in Ecology and an M.A. in International Relations. If we have met at the farmers market or at a neighborhood event you know that I’ve campaigned tirelessly in English and in Spanish in every part of our community.
I ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 8th. I have the experience and urgency to act. Let’s change the status quo — every vote counts.
Charles A. Hernick
Here is Democratic candidate Don Beyer’s unedited response:
I ask you to re-elect me as your Congressman on November 8th so that I can continue to serve you, and to work on many issues that are critical to our neighborhoods, to Virginia, and to the country.
For those of you who do not know me, I am a small business owner in northern Virginia, with a now-43-year-old family auto business. I was Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor for two terms in the 1990s, served as President Obama’s transition director at the Department of Commerce, and then was appointed Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013.
Being your Congressman is the most interesting and satisfying job I have yet held, because I can touch all of the issues of our time in some way, and work to forge relationships and make incremental progress on problems large and small.
One of my primary motivations for running for Congress was and remains a desire to find solutions to climate change, both through a carbon tax that returns revenues to every American, and through smarter renewable energy policies.
I am dedicated to equality and civil rights for all, from greater economic empowerment for women, to a continuation of our great progress on equality for the LGBT community, to comprehensive immigration reform and restoring voting rights to ex-offenders.
Like so many of you, I am deeply disturbed by the 30,000 annual deaths from gun violence in our nation, and am working to find reasonable solutions. We will not give up.
Federal workers and federal contractors remain the backbone of this congressional district, and their needs and concerns will always be a priority.
We must address the infrastructure needs of this country, starting here at home with Metro safety and reliability, and the needed repairs to Memorial Bridge. In addition to focusing on these matters, my staff and I stand ready to help constituents with myriad issues, such as problems with federal health insurance, veterans’ benefits, and immigration and passport problems.
As a freshman legislator in the minority, I know that I must work diligently to make inroads. I am pleased that I introduced four pieces of legislation that passed the House, one of which became law and two others that stand poised to do so.
I have an open door to all constituents, and look forward to continued conversations with you, the residents of one of the nation’s most educated and sophisticated congressional districts.
At a time when Donald Trump is at the top of the Republican Party’s ticket, GOP congressional hopeful Charles Hernick is, well, not anything like Donald Trump.
He’s a policy wonk who isn’t one for heated rhetoric. He’s an economic conservative who’s largely a libertarian on social issues. He believes more needs to be done about climate change.
Hernick truly believes he can do a better job in office than Rep. Don Beyer (D), but — unlike the current presidential race dynamic — doesn’t think Beyer should be jailed. In fact, Hernick acknowledges that Beyer is basically free of skeletons in his closet, which makes running against him even more of an uphill battle than he would otherwise face in the deep blue Eighth District of Virginia.
We talked with Hernick about the issues, about Trump and about Hernick’s own one-time intra-party foe, the ever-interesting Mike Webb.
For years, visitors to our country’s most recognizable military monument have had but one nearby option should they need to use the restroom: a line of green porta-potties.
The porta-potties near the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington might be convenient, but they were also “unsightly and they smelled,” says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Plus, they presented big challenges for disabled veterans visiting the memorial.
Luckily, the local philanthropist David Rubenstein stepped up last year with a pledge of $5.4 million to rehab the monument, the lighting and the landscaping around the 62-year-old monument, colloquially known as the Iwo Jima memorial. Rubenstein’s gift will now also fund permanent restrooms.
A bill sponsored by Beyer passed last week, authorizing the construction of the restrooms. The bill had bipartisan support, although its passage came a year after Rubenstein’s donation was first announced and it was made necessary by a provision that stemmed from a debate over the location of the Air Force Memorial 14 years ago.
“It’s a small victory but it moves us in the right direction,” Beyer said.
Amid congressional gridlock on important issues like the budget, immigration and gun safety, Beyer said there is still plenty of work getting done in Congress — provided the work is politically uncontroversial.
“There are places where we really can’t get things done,” said Beyer. “But those are all places where there are significant philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans. On things where there is consensus, we can actually move pretty quickly.”
But the fact that this pretty obvious improvement is getting done mostly because a billionaire ponied up for it may make a larger point about the current state of American governance and budget priorities.
“We’re fortunate to have the David Rubensteins of the world,” said Beyer, “but it is sad that we can’t free up more money for investments in public infrastructure.”
Beyer cited figures that suggest the U.S. is $3 trillion behind on needed infrastructure work due to deferred maintenance. The U.S. Park Service alone has $11 billion in infrastructure needs, including the funding still needed for repairs to Memorial Bridge.
For needs not deemed essential enough to receive taxpayer funding, private donations may be the only way to get it done in the near term.
“Until we get our arms around entitlement reform, finding ways to grow our discretionary resources for things like infrastructure, we’re going to be dependent on good folks like David Rubenstein,” Beyer said.
Though Beyer said he had not seen a timetable yet, he expects that the Iwo Jima improvements will take at least 12-18 months to complete.
“Arlington is a wonderful place to live — it gets all these awards for best suburb or best small city — and hopefully getting rid of the porta-potties at the Iwo Jima memorial will be another small step in improving the livability of Arlington.”
Photo (below) via Google Maps