AWLA Rescues Kittens from Cold Night — Arlington animal control officers saved the lives of three small kittens found freezing in a window well Tuesday night. All three were placed in an incubator to warm up and are now in a foster home. [Facebook]
Steyer Town Hall Targets Trump, Dems — About 100 people attended a town hall meeting in Pentagon City Tuesday night in support of impeaching President Trump. While Trump was the main topic of conversation, the meeting’s organizer, billionaire Tom Steyer, also criticized Democrats, particularly those that would not vote for impeachment. [Washington Free Beacon]
Alington Company Expanding, Moving — “Arlington-based Bioinformatics Inc. has been very busy lately — moving, expanding and acquiring. A research and advisory firm for life science and diagnostic companies, Bioinformatics just moved from its home in Courthouse to a larger 8,000-square-foot headquarters at the top of Ballston Tower. The company plans to invest $175,000 and add 27 new jobs by April as part of the expansion.” [Washington Business Journal]
Billionaire Tom Steyer is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting in Arlington tomorrow (March 20) about the “need to impeach” President Donald Trump.
The Tuesday event is part of a nationwide event series that Steyer has launched since Trump took office, in which he makes what he calls “the patriotic case for impeachment.”
Town hall attendees can ask questions during the program as Steyer details how “to support the resistance against Trump’s administration” and calls on Maryland and Virginia lawmakers to act, according to a press release. A second town hall is planned tomorrow in Prince George’s County, Md.
More via a press release:
Arlington residents are heavily concentrated in Virginia’s 8th district, which has a strong Democratic majority. Yet Congressmember Don Beyer voted against impeachment in two separate floor votes despite clear support for impeachment from his constituents. In Prince George’s County, Congressmember Anthony Brown represents Maryland’s deeply Democratic 4th district. Even with calls to action from his constituents, Brown has also voted against impeachment in both floor votes. The town halls will gather local voters demanding explanations from Beyer and Brown on their decisions not to back Trump’s impeachment.
“Donald Trump has put our entire country at risk, and America needs strong leaders who will stand up to him,” said Steyer. “Those who condemn Trump but do nothing to back their words with action are enabling the damage he is inflicting on our people and our democracy. Both Congressmembers Don Beyer and Anthony Brown have repeatedly ignored their constituents’ voices by voting no on impeachment. Since the only thing Beyer and Brown should be contemplating is their constituents’ well-being and best interests, we need to know why. The people deserve representatives who refuse to back down on our shared principles, and we will ensure their voices are heard.”
Steyer launched the Need to Impeach campaign on October 20, 2017 through national television and social media ads. More than 5 million people have since signed on to support the campaign, creating a digital army that several political strategists call one of the most powerful political tools in the Democratic party. So far, six national commercials have aired, reaching more than 2 billion viewers through television and more than 454 million through social media. A seventh commercial — the first in Spanish — will begin airing nationwide this week.
The press release did not note where nor exactly when the events will take place. Attendees are asked to RSVP in order to find out additional event details.
Photo via Need to Impeach
Progressives have to be “relentless and indefatigable” in championing Latino issues, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said today (Monday) during a roundtable discussion with local Latino leaders.
One panelist, whose DACA status is expiring in 300 days, said that the Democratic party had “absolutely failed” to protect undocumented immigrants. Many panelists, however, seemed hopeful that Beyer would continue supporting the community.
Andreas Tobar, the executive director of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center and an Arlington resident for the past 38 years, asked for a “glimpse of hope” and a sense of the battles that the community will have to fight before there is some relief, particularly for those facing a loss of temporary protected status.
“It seems like the immigrant community is totally under fire here from the [Trump] administration,” Tobar said.
Another panelist, Jorge Figueredo, the executive director of Edu-Futuro and a native of Colombia, discussed his desire to see the Latino community unite behind issues not just related to immigration, like workforce development.
The congressman told the group that he didn’t “want to create false hopes” that the Trump administration wouldn’t continue with unraveling current immigration protections and that it is “hard to create the center by yourself,” agreeing that a stronger, more united front would help their causes.
Tannia Talento, an Arlington School Board member, told the story of how her family was scared that her uncle had been arrested during immigration raids in the 1980s, and how she had always believed that working hard would open doors for her family and others.
“Even though we can’t push it open now, maybe in a year or two from now, maybe we will,” she said. “I just beg you to not stop trying.”
The overall message from the group was clear, as the panelist whose DACA status would expire in 300 days put it: the Arlington Latino community didn’t want to be seen merely as a voting bloc, but as a collection of voices.
Beyer told ARLnow.com after the discussion that the specific recommendations from local leaders, such as a weekly newsletter from Beyer’s office focused on immigrant stories, could have an impact. However, he found the overall message to be the most pressing point.
“The biggest takeaway for me is that I can’t give up, that too many people’s lives are at stake,” he said. “We need to be relentless and patient and just keeping working.”
“You heard too many people saying, ‘gosh is it ever going to change?'” he continued. “We just have to be relentless and indefatigable.”
The congressman cited several examples of his support for the Latino community, including his co-sponsorship of legislation to protect sensitive locations, such as churches and hospitals, from immigration enforcement efforts, before the diving into the panel discussion.
The Trump administration’s proposal to sell Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport as part of its $200 billion infrastructure plan has been greeted by a chorus of opposition from local lawmakers.
“Trump isn’t trying to fix our infrastructure, he’s trying to sell it off,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “This ‘plan’ is nothing but smoke and mirrors.”
The proposal also suggests that the federal government might divest itself of assets like the GW Parkway and the D.C. Aqueduct.
“It is particularly outrageous that Trump suggested selling off key local infrastructure,” Beyer said. “The President didn’t consult any state or local leaders about any of this, but if he had we would have told him that our community ardently opposes anything of the kind.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) joined in the opposition, tweeting the following.
Selling off property like the GW Parkway, Dulles Airport, and Reagan National will not improve our infrastructure – it will only mean higher costs for the traveling public.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) February 12, 2018
Several state legislators from Northern Virginia, including two who represent parts of Arlington, put out a joint press release expressing “strong opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s proposal to sell these two critical national assets.”
“President Trump is gambling with two of our country’s most important transportation assets without considering the high economic stakes,” said Delegate Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, Jr. (D-McLean). “From Chicago’s Midway Airport to Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport, attempted airport privatization has failed repeatedly, costing taxpayers money and creating economic uncertainty. Taking this risk with airports so critical to Virginia’s economy, not to mention the operation of our nation’s Capital, is simply irresponsible.”
[ … ]
“These are not just casinos that you can walk away from,” said Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria). “The loss of federal support for these crucial national assets would have an unthinkable impact on our regional economy. The president should not be financing tax cuts for the rich on the backs of Virginia taxpayers and commuters.”
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) is raining pointed criticism on President Donald Trump’s parade.
Calling the president’s idea of a grand military parade in the nation’s capital “terrible” and “an embarrassing misuse of our military leaders’ time,” Beyer says he is also concerned about the impact of tanks and large military vehicles on local roads.
Beyer is particularly concerned that if the parade follows the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade, as suggested, it could take heavy equipment over the deteriorating Memorial Bridge, which is currently undergoing major repairs.
The congressman issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon.
Most of the reasons why Trump’s idea of huge military parade is a terrible one are immediately obvious. Our military is already strong without having to waste millions of dollars on a parade that could be better spent improving veterans’ services. In 2018 such displays are reminiscent of authoritarians than they are of healthy democracies. Planning this vanity project for President Trump is already an embarrassing misuse of our military leaders’ time, which should be focused on keeping Americans safe.
But there is also regional opposition to this idea because of its local impact. At least one Department of Defense official has already expressed concerns that running heavy military equipment of the kind Trump has asked for could damage local infrastructure. We are still waiting to see the details of Trump’s long-heralded national infrastructure plan, and I fear that my constituents may see their roads ‘chewed up’ before they see any progress toward rebuilding roads and bridges.
Tanks rumbled and troops marched over the Memorial Bridge in 1991 as part of the National Victory Day Parade celebrating the end of the Gulf War.
Update at 9:30 p.m. — The shutdown is over after legislation passed Congress and was signed by President Trump.
Federal workers will receive back pay for any time lost during the shutdown.
More via a press release from Rep. Don Beyer’s office:
Legislative language mirroring a bill offered by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) to protect the pay of federal workers during the government shutdown was passed by Congress today as part of a larger temporary funding bill. The inclusion of text of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act will guarantee that the entire federal workforce receives back pay for the time during which appropriations lapsed.
“It is deeply disappointing that Congress was unable to prevent a government shutdown, but the passage of the our bill’s language should at least minimize the damage to rank-and-file civil servants,” said Rep. Beyer. “I thank my colleague Rep. Wittman for standing up for the federal workforce again, and hope that this will be the last time that this bill is necessary.”
Text of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act was included in HR 195, which passed both chambers of Congress today. The bill had nearly 100 bipartisan cosponsors.
Earlier: The federal government could re-open as early as tomorrow after the U.S. Senate voted to advance a short-term spending plan today (Monday).
Senators voted 81-18 to end debate — a procedural move — on a three-week bill that would fund the government through February 8. The bill would give Congress more time to negotiate a long-term spending package.
The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the plan today, if it passes the Senate.
The government partially shut down at midnight on Saturday (January 20).
But the impasse appears to have ended in the Senate after Republicans committed to holding a vote on the future of those who were brought to the country illegally as children and protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Donald Trump announced he would end the program in March.
In a joint statement, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (D-Va.) blamed Republicans for the shutdown and said they were “deeply disappointed” that it could not stay open. But they said they are “heartened” by discussions that could help resolve many long-standing issues.
“As a result of those discussions, we now have a path forward to resolve many of the challenges that Congress has punted on for months, including a long-term solution to sequestration and full-year funding for our government and the military,” they said. “Today we are reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that tens of thousands of Virginians rely on – after months of Republican obstruction – and giving service-members and federal employees peace of mind that their paychecks will arrive on time. We also have the opportunity to finally make investments here at home to fight the opioid crisis, provide relief for communities hit by natural disasters, allow those who rely on community health centers to get care, reform pensions, and much more.”
Warner and Kaine’s joint statement is after the jump.
Immigrants Afraid to Report Crimes — President Donald Trump’s hawkishness on immigration enforcement has apparently led to a drop in crimes reported in some of the country’s largest immigrant communities, including in Arlington. Per a new report: “In Arlington, Virginia, domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year.” [New Yorker]
Lawmakers React to Immigration Decision — Local lawmakers are speaking out against a Trump administration decision to end temporary protected status for some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “Donald Trump’s open hostility to immigrants runs against the values and history of this country,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the decision “heartless.” [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]
Ramp Near Pentagon Closing at Night — The ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110, near the Pentagon, will be closed each night through Friday for bridge deck work, according to VDOT. “Traffic will be detoured via Route 27, George Washington Memorial Parkway and I-395 back to northbound Route 110,” the agency said. [Twitter]
InsideNova Sold — The parent company of the Arlington Sun Gazette has sold its InsideNova website along with two other local weekly newspapers, while retaining the Sun Gazette papers. Sun Gazette articles will reportedly still be published on InsideNova. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Top 10 Press Releases of 2017 — Arlington County has posted an article ranking the 10 most popular press releases of 2017 on its website. The article concludes that “2017 was a good year in Arlington County, laying the foundation for great years to come.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Plans for Boozy Taco Bell — A Taco Bell “Cantina” that “mixes the traditional Taco Bell fare with new shareable menu items and alcoholic beverages including twisted freezes, beer and wine” is coming to Old Town Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]
More Fog Photos — The fog covering parts of the region this morning made for some great photos, particularly among those who trained their lenses on the half-covered Washington monument. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Frigid Weather Makes Firefighting More Difficult — The persistently cold weather may be responsible for a recent spike in structure fire calls. Meanwhile, the deep freeze is “taking [firefighters’] biggest weapon, water, and using it against them.” [WJLA]
Beyer Blasts Trump Tweet — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted the following this morning in response to a tweet from President Trump: “Trump opens 2018 with calls for prosecution of his political enemies… Every Member of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Protecting rule of law must not be partisan.” [Twitter]
Grassley Tweets About Local TV — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is not a fan of the History Channel’s dearth of shows about history. He tweeted the following over the weekend after apparently watching public television channel WHUT: “Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???” [Twitter]
Pacers Owner Keeps Marathon Streak Alive — Yorktown High School alum, Pace the Nation host and Pacers Running owner Chris Farley has kept his two-decade streak of running a sub-three-hour marathon every year alive. He did so by completing a hastily-organized but official 26.2 mile course around Hains Point in 2:52:53 on Friday. [Washington Post]
ACFD Reminding Residents to Close the Door — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed and to close doors behind them in the event of a fire, to help prevent flames from spreading. [Twitter]
Last Call: Advertiser Thank Yous — The website you’re currently reading is 100% advertiser supported. If you think ARLnow is an important resource for the Arlington community, we would greatly appreciate if you could help us thank our advertisers by sending one of them a postcard through this online form.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The new GOP tax bill has prompted numerous Arlington taxpayers to prepay their 2018 taxes more than a year ahead of time.
The bill, which was just signed into law by President Trump this morning, caps State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. For many Arlington taxpayers with pricey homes, this means they will lose part of their deduction next year and thus potentially pay higher federal taxes.
To counter that, some Arlingtonians are planning to take a higher deduction on their 2017 taxes by prepaying their property tax for future years.
Arlington County and other Virginia localities allow residents to make tax deposits. County Treasurer Carla de la Pava tells ARLnow.com that more than $1 million in tax deposits have been prepaid by 144 residents as of Friday morning.
The Treasurer’s Office has been “inundated with people trying to pay in advance” and is expecting the prepayments to continue through the end of the year, de la Pava said. The first prepayment was made by an attorney about two weeks ago, when the bill was first passed by a narrow Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
“It’s interesting because in Arlington [prepayments] started much earlier than anywhere else in the state,” de la Pava said, noting that it “has been a really big topic of conversation” on the Treasurers Association of Virginia email listserv.
Some prepayers are depositing more than a year of taxes in advance, while others are paying whichever potion of next year’s they can afford, we’re told.
Tax deposits have been an option for many years, but the Treasurer’s Office hasn’t seen a prepayment surge like this at any point in recent memory.
“We have never seen these volumes,” said de la Pava.
Tax deposits are invested by the Treasurer’s Office in “very safe” investments, earning a small return for the county.
De la Pava is encouraging taxpayers — particularly those paying the Alternative Minimum Tax — to consult with a CPA or tax expert before deciding whether to prepay. More from the treasurer’s website:
If you are interested in prepaying your 2018 taxes, the Treasurer’s Office can accept tax deposits on active Real Estate accounts. While our office does accept tax deposits, we are not experts in federal tax law and are not able to offer any advice, guidance, or opinion on whether or not your deposits will be deductible on your 2017 federal tax returns. If you have questions about making a tax deposit on your Arlington real estate, please email us at [email protected] or call 703-228-3090.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The Iwo Jima memorial is set to get a new visitor center as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that was just signed by President Trump.
It instructs the Secretary of the Interior to build a “structure for visitor services to include a public restroom facility.” It does not specify where the center will be built, but the text says it will be “in the area” of the memorial, the formal name of which is the Marine Corps War Memorial. A Beyer spokesman said this was the “final hurdle” to getting the visitor center built.
Beyer, whose district includes Arlington County, introduced a bill authorizing construction of the restrooms last year, funded by a gift from local philanthropist David Rubenstein.
Work began earlier this year to revamp the memorial, including washing and waxing the memorial and re-gilding its lettering; repairing any parts of the granite plaza that have become damaged; improving lighting; repaving roads and footpaths; and installing new signs, shrubs and trees.
Rubenstein pledged more than $5 million for the entire project and new visitor center.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, 46 Democrats said the lack of action to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments is hurting small business owners and the self-employed.
President Donald Trump announced he would end the payments, which help subsidize health insurance premiums, last month.
The Democrats said that House Republicans are blocking a “key solution” by not funding the CSRs through legislation, and it will only make things harder for individuals and business owners.
“We are hearing from entrepreneurs, small business owners and self-employed individuals who are being disproportionately impacted by the President’s decision,” they wrote. “We ask that you support our innovator economy and mitigate this financial burden by fulfilling cost sharing reduction payments.”
The full letter is after the jump.
(Updated at 5 p.m.) A nearly $1.8 million home in Clarendon may be subject for forfeiture to the federal government as a result of the case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.
A 12-count indictment of Manafort, accusing him of laundering money and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, details his alleged transfer of money from overseas shell companies to buy cars, luxury goods and expensive real estate.
Among the properties is a home on the 1000 block of N. Edgewood Street, adjacent to to Green Pig Bistro and steps from the heart of Clarendon. Arlington County property records show the house, first built in 1920, was purchased in September 2012 for $1.9 million and is currently assessed at just over $1.75 million. Manafort’s daughter, Andrea, is listed as the owner.
The indictment alleges that the home was purchased with money transferred from a shell company in Cyprus and seeks its forfeiture, along with the forfeiture of three Manafort-linked properties in New York.
Another official involved in President Trump’s campaign, Rick Gates, was also named in the indictment, as part of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Beyer issued a statement yesterday (Thursday) after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, which provides increased funding to disaster recovery programs.
In the statement, Beyer said:
I voted for this aid package to send support to Americans hit by natural disasters, but this bill represents the bare minimum that Congress can do to help, particularly with respect to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Following Donald Trump’s threat to abandon Puerto Rico in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, Congress should guarantee its full support to Americans suffering in the wake of natural disasters. Federal emergency management must not leave Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands until it has restored electricity and access to clean, potable water for everyone.
The aid package has $18.7 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. That includes $4.9 billion to help fund recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, as well as $676.6 million for fighting wildfires and $16 billion in debt forgiveness for the National Flood Insurance Program to pay claims from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Fisette Has To-Do List for Final Months — Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette has a number of items left on his to-do list as he nears retirement from the Board at the end of the year. Among the items with some momentum is a plan to name the county government headquarters after long-serving Board member Ellen Bozman. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Purple Ribbons on ACPD Cruisers — “During the month of October a purple ribbon, donated by [local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families], will be displayed on many Arlington County Police Department vehicles in support of the efforts to reduce the incidence and severity of domestic violence in our community.” [Arlington County]
Beyer Gets Press for Security Clearance Letter — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is getting some national media attention for his continued push — alongside Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) — for the Trump administration to revoke the security clearances of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. [CNN]
History of Sushi Zen — Sushi Zen, a Japanese restaurant on N. Harrison Street, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year by holding 20 fundraisers for local nonprofits. But the path to success for the sushi spot was bumpy. The family-owned restaurant struggled in its early years and enlisted the help of Georgetown MBA students to help turn things around. [Connection Newspapers]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Kaine joined 36 mostly Democratic senators in signing a letter to President Trump outlining steps to boost the U.S. government’s disaster relief efforts on the stricken Caribbean islands, which in many areas lack power, running water and mobile phone service.
More from a press release from Kaine’s office:
In the letter, the Senators wrote, “We write to express deep concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria recently knocked out the entire island’s electric grid leaving at least 3.4 million Americans with no power, decimated countless structures, and claimed the lives of at least 16 individuals. Hospitals have no running water or basic supplies, and 95% of cellphone structures are still inactive. As a result, we still do not have an accurate assessment of the destruction.”
“In the words of Governor Ricardo Rosselló, the people of Puerto Rico have been ‘essentially devastated.’ The United States Virgin Islands has also suffered catastrophic damage. While they slowly begin their recovery, more help is needed.”
“At a time when there is not a second to lose and the health and well-being of millions of Americans in the U.S. territories depend on swift action, we have identified several areas where strong and decisive leadership is needed,” the letter continues.
The letter calls for eight specific actions to be undertaken by the Trump administration:
- Calls on President Trump to issue a full Disaster Declaration for the entire island of Puerto Rico, which has yet to happen.
- Calls on President Trump to appoint a Special Assistant for Rebuilding, to coordinate the multi-faceted federal efforts for Puerto Rico across all departments and agencies.
- Calls on President Trump to request more funding to assist Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program.
- Calls on President Trump to utilize all federal resources to restore power, including sending Department of Energy experts; 500 utility employees; 100 fuel trucks; and 200 generators.
- Calls on President Trump to send more Department of Defense assets: construction battalions to repair power and transportation infrastructure, command and control aircraft for air traffic control; helicopters for search and rescue; and 1,500 service members to provide disaster and humanitarian assistance.
- Calls on President Trump to work with Congress to waive the local cost share requirement for FEMA public assistance disaster funding for all categories of FEMA public assistance.
- Calls on President Trump to send assets and expertise from across the federal government to restore communications, including from Department of Commerce, FCC, Coast Guard, and DOD.
- Calls on President Trump to ensure that FEMA, Coast Guard, and DOD work together effectively to restore all ports to working condition.
The letter was also signed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senators Nelson (D-FL), Markey (D-MA), Baldwin (D-WI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Schatz (D-HI), Carper (D-DE), Hassan (D-NH), Bennet (D-CO), Durbin (D-IL.), Hirono (D-HI), Van Hollen (D-MD), Shaheen (D-NH), Booker (D-NJ), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Heinrich (D-NM), Menendez (D-NJ), Feinstein (D-CA), Murphy (D-CT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Coons (D-DE), Brown (D-OH), Klobuchar (D-MN), Merkley (D-OR), Peters (D-MI), Wyden (D-OR), Casey (D-PA), King (I-ME), Murray (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Duckworth (D-IL), Stabenow (D-MI), Franken (D-MN), Harris (D-CA), and Leahy (D-VT).