Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Hospital Construction Starting Soon — “Around the time most local residents are firing up the grills for mid-summer barbecues, Virginia Hospital Center will be firing up the bulldozers as it moves forward with a long-awaited expansion. Hospital officials aim to have their land-swap agreement with the county government in place by the end of July, and ‘the plan is to begin construction shortly thereafter.'” [InsideNova]

Swastika in S. Arlington Park — “From a local Nextdoor group: someone drew swastikas on a sign board in Troy Park near S. Glebe Road. A parks department spokeswoman says the graffiti has been covered up and no other incidents of this kind have been reported recently.” [Twitter]

When To Report an Oily Sheen on the Water — “A rainbow sheen can result from iron-oxidizing bacteria or from petroleum. To differentiate, trail a stick through the film. It it readily breaks up, it’s most likely bacteria. If it swirls together, it’s most likely petroleum and should be reported.” [Arlington County]

When to Call 911 for a Medical Issue — “The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) is initiating a public information campaign to help individuals, facilities and communities develop the know-how to ‘Make the Right Call.’ The effort aims to empower the community to help maintain EMS system readiness by learning appropriate utilization of the medical 911 system.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Gov. Ralph Northam continues to resist an overwhelming chorus of voices calling on him to resign his post today (Monday), including virtually all of Arlington’s Democratic leadership.

Northam, a Democrat, has experienced a dizzying reversal in his political fortunes since revelations late Friday that a photo of one man wearing a KKK uniform and another wearing blackface appeared on his medical school yearbook page.

The governor initially released a statement acknowledging he was indeed pictured in that photograph, leading to near-unanimous calls for his resignation Friday night. But in a hastily convened press conference Saturday afternoon, Northam reversed himself, claiming he is now confident he is not pictured in the racist photograph and that it was placed on his yearbook page by mistake.

However, Northam did confess to once donning blackface as part of a dance competition in 1984 while impersonating Michael Jackson. That admission, combined with his sudden reversal, only served to intensify pressure from party leaders that Northam must give way to his lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District) was one of the few elected officials to stop short of demanding Northam’s resignation ahead of the press conference. But Arlington’s lone congressman released a statement immediately after the governor’s comments saying he’d expected Northam to resign Saturday, and instead wants him to go.

“Virginia has a painful past where racism was too often not called out for its evil. The only way to overcome that history is to speak and act with absolute moral clarity,” Beyer wrote in a joint statement with Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th District). “It is for that reason that the governor must step aside and allow the process of healing to begin under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.”

County Board Chair Christian Dorsey added that Northam’s explanations at the press conference “strain credulity” and urged him to step down as well.

“Even after giving him the benefit of many doubts, I was struck by his inability to accept responsibility and articulate any concrete steps to promote healing in our state,” Dorsey wrote in a statement. “Someone who has grown as Mr. Northam professes would have recognized that he has lost the confidence of so many Virginians along with his most ardent supporters… And Democrats and progressives, please don’t think that a Northam resignation cures what ails us. Our work to build systems that recognize the dignity, value and importance of all persons remains unfulfilled.”

Del. Mark Levine (D-45th District) wrote in a newsletter to constituents that he doesn’t believe Northam to be a racist, but that the governor’s changing stories undermined his confidence in Northam’s leadership going forward. State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st District) expressed similar concerns, saying that an “important bond of trust has been broken.”

“What Northam said Saturday may well be true,” Levine wrote. “But at this point, how can he possibly lead Virginia?”

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner also issued statements pressing him to resign after the press conference, as has the rest of Virginia’s Democratic members of Congress. Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus, the House of Delegates’ Democratic caucus, Senate Democrats and Virginia’s Democratic Party all issued similar demands after Northam addressed the media.

The Arlington Young Democrats wrote in a statement that they believe “Gov. Northam can no longer serve effectively and must resign immediately” after the press conference, while the county’s full Democratic Committee called for his resignation before it (and its Twitter account has since retweeted a variety of demands that he resign after he spoke to reporters).

The rest of Arlington’s state legislative delegation has yet to re-up their statements demanding Northam’s removal, but they unanimously supported their caucuses’ calls for the governor to step down in social media posts ahead of his press conference.

County Board member Katie Cristol also issued a similar statement Friday.

Beyer’s predecessor and longtime Rep. Jim Moran was one of the few voices defending the governor Sunday.

“I do disagree with their judgment because I think it is a rush to judgment before we know all of the facts and before we’ve considered all of the consequences,” Moran said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Northam said Saturday he’d consider resigning if he felt he could no longer govern effectively, but it’s unclear what would happen should he refuse to do so. The General Assembly could look to impeach Northam, though constitutional scholars are split on whether this controversy would rise to the level of misconduct required for impeachment.

Should Northam ultimately step down, Fairfax would become just the second African American governor in Virginia’s history, and its second youngest as well.

Virginia governors are generally limited to one term in office, but Fairfax, who was widely expected to run for governor in 2021, could be in the unusual position of filling out Northam’s remaining two years in office, then running for a full four-year term. Scholars are also debating the logistics of that matter, and just how Fairfax would find a new lieutenant governor should he ascend to Northam’s seat.

Photo via @GovernorVA

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Morning Notes

A Wall that Divided Arlington Still Stands — “The wall was erected in a section of Arlington County in the 1930s to separate black residents from white residents. And for decades, it did just that. It kept segregation intact by creating a physical barrier between an ‘us’ and a ‘them.'” [Washington Post]

Coming Soon: Happy Hour Advertising? — “A lawsuit filed against the state by a Northern Virginia restaurateur could be the motivation the General Assembly needs to change laws that restrict happy hour advertising.” [Virginia Mercury]

Demand for Free Pet Food Rises — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington says it has seen an increase in demand for its free pet food pantry during the government shutdown. [Twitter]

Resources for Furloughed Feds — Congressman Don Beyer’s (D-Va.) office has compiled a list of resources for those affected by the federal government shutdown. [Rep. Don Beyer]

Anti-NIMBY Legislation Proposed in Va. — “[Del. Jeff] Bourne and Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, are pursuing legislation in the General Assembly this year that would explicitly prohibit local governments from denying permits for housing developments because of the expected race or income levels of the residents.” [Virginia Mercury]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) At a time when the country is still reeling from the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, ARLnow received another reminder that the kind of ideology that inspired the shooter is still very much active in the U.S. and a part of Arlington’s history.

The neo-Nazi group New Order, which formed in Arlington but is now based in Milwaukee, hand-addressed a mailing containing various flyers and Swastika-adorned propaganda to ARLnow.com’s former Clarendon office.

The mailing was sent from Florida prior to this past weekend’s mass shooting, according to the postmark. There was no explanation for why it was sent; Arlington Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey said no such mailing had been sent to the newspaper.

Among the flyers in the mailing was one advertising the “Lincoln Rockwell Centennial Anniversary.” Rockwell was born in March 1918 and assassinated at the Dominion Hills Shopping Center in Arlington on Aug. 25, 1967.

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Morning Notes

Local Investment Firm CEO Arrested — Todd Hitt, the founder of Falls Church-based Kiddar Capital, was arrested by the FBI and charged with securities fraud last week. Hitt was developing a new company headquarters in Falls Church. He made headlines as a young housing developer in the 1990s for clashing with Arlington neighbors while building what residents dubbed “McMansions.” [Tysons Reporter]

More White Nationalist Posters Spotted — A reader says he saw more white nationalists posters around Clarendon over the weekend. The reader, who wished to remain anonymous, says he removed the posters after photographing them. [Twitter]

New 1100 Wilson Blvd Rooftop — “Monday Properties hosted a VIP event for real estate brokers Wednesday evening to showcase the 6,200-square-foot indoor-outdoor space atop the 31-story building, part of the two-building The Towers. It is being unveiled as landlords in Rosslyn and across Greater Washington seek to up their communal spaces to appeal to tenants who increasingly want more than just office space to attract and hang onto employees.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bamboo Removal This Week — “Arlington County contractors will be removing bamboo in Benjamin Banneker Park during the week of Oct. 8. Depending on weather conditions, treatment is expected to conclude by Friday, Oct. 12.” [Twitter]

Maryjane Arrested for Car Theft, Weed — “Police caught a woman named Maryjane in Ballston who they say stole a car in Fairfax County — and they also hit her with a marijuana charge.” [Patch]

Windfall for Ballston Company — “Arlington-based AvalonBay Communities Inc. expects to clear north of $450 million from the sale of a majority stake in five Manhattan apartment communities.” [Washington Business Journal]

2000th Morning Notes Post — This is Morning Notes post No. 2000. ARLnow.com launched in January 2010.

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The Arlington County Fair says it will find a way to remove or cover an image that at least one fairgoer decried as “racist.”

The fairgoer tweeted an image painted on the “Monkey Maze” fun house that depicts a monkey with braids putting on lipstick.

“This is not OK at our county fair,” the man said in a tweet. “Racist caricatures don’t represent our values.”

Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol agreed.

“This is awful,” Cristol tweeted in response. “We’ll connect with the Arlington Fair Board about this vendor.”

Around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the fair followed up with a pledge to take action.

“We appreciate you reaching out us,” the fair said via Twitter. “We are working with our ride vendor to ensure the image is no longer visible.”

Monkey Maze fun houses are used by other traveling carnival companies, though photos posted online show different illustrations on the front of the trailer. A Google search did not turn up any other references to the Monkey Maze and accusations of racism.

The fair runs through Sunday on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (125 S. Old Glebe Road).

Photos courtesy David Rosenblatt (photo illustration by ARLnow.com)

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(Updated Aug. 20 at 2:30 p.m.) An Arlington woman says she was weaving through the construction at the Ballston Quarter development when she saw something she could hardly believe.

Taylor, who requested that ARLnow withhold her last name due to safety concerns, was bound for the Sport and Health gym early Tuesday morning (Aug. 14), when she spotted a group of workers near the former mall’s elevators. One of them, she noted, had Nazi symbols tattooed all over his arms and neck.

“I was just surprised a company would allow their worker to wear a tank top with such tattoos on his neck and arms,” she told ARLnow.

When her workout was wrapped up, Taylor, who is black, made her frustration with the situation clear to a Ballston Quarter employee nearby. She then grabbed her phone and opened up Twitter to make it clear just how she felt about what she saw.

Because she mentioned the construction company overseeing the work at Ballston Quarter, Clark Construction, in the tweet she says she soon heard from the company that they were investigating the situation, but otherwise heard nothing.

Since then, however, the company says it determined that the man Taylor saw was an employee of one of its subcontractors at the site. A spokeswoman for Clark did not offer additional details on whether it could confirm what Taylor saw, but it seems she was not mistaken.

“Clark Construction became aware of a violation of its anti-harassment policy on a job site in Arlington, Virginia and immediately took steps to investigate,” Brian Abt, division president and CEO for Clark’s Mid-Atlantic region, wrote in a statement. “Clark engaged the subcontractor employee who was involved and has taken appropriate action to resolve the situation.”

A spokeswoman for Clark also did not clarify whether that action included firing or otherwise disciplining the employee involved.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Army-Navy Country Club Employee Alleges Supervisor Used Racial Slurs — A former golf cart attendant at the club claims that one of his bosses repeatedly used racist language to refer to him and former President Barack Obama. It seems the supervisor has been fired, and the club’s employees are receiving sensitivity training. [Falls Church News-Press]

Crystal City Hotel to Host Anti-Muslim Group’s Conference — ACT for America will hold its annual gathering at the Crystal City Hyatt this fall. The group has alleged that Muslims can’t be loyal citizens of the United States and held “anti-Sharia” marches across the country, prompting Muslim groups to call on the hotel to abandon the event. [DCist]

Man Accused of Indecent Exposures Around Rosslyn Previously Convicted in Alexandria — County police arrested Fairfax County resident Santiago Rodriquez Campos on indecent exposure charges Monday, and it seems he’s been convicted on similar charges in the past. Immigration officials also believe he entered the country illegally. [WJLA]

Arlington Police Chief Reviews Restructuring — Chief Jay Farr says all has largely gone smoothly with the county’s restructuring of the department to cope with a staffing crunch, which kicked off in May. The county even has its largest class of recruits ever currently in training. [Arlington Connection]

County First Responders Make a Special Delivery — Arlington medics were hoping to get an expecting mother to a D.C. hospital, but her baby had other plans. They made it to the Virginia Hospital Center in the nick of time. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

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As white supremacists prepare to march through D.C. this weekend, on the first anniversary of last year’s violent rally in Charlottesville, an Arlington college student hopes to match every step they take through the city by raising money to push back on hate.

Allison Herrity, a Washington-Lee graduate and a rising junior at George Washington University, kicked off the “Stomp Out Hate Walk-A-Thon” ahead of the “Unite the Right 2” rally coming to the city Saturday (Aug. 11).

While the white nationalists participating in the event, led by many of the organizers of the deadly demonstration in Charlottesville, may very well be outnumbered by counter-protesters, Herrity and fellow GW student Kendall Keelen say they wanted to find some way for people across the region to show their opposition to “Unite the Right” without actually heading into D.C. this weekend.

“We see this as a way for individuals who are unable to protest physically for a variety of reasons to make it clear that the actions of these white nationalists are not okay, and will not be accepted here or anywhere,” Herrity told ARLnow via email.

Herrity, who grew up in Ashton Heights and still lives in Arlington, says the proceeds of the fundraiser will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization dedicated to monitoring hate groups across the country. Herrity and Keelen will accept donations of any size, but the online fundraising site they’ve set up gives people the option to donate “per step” that the rally-goers take through D.C.

They estimate that the group will take roughly 1,700 steps if all goes according to plan and they march from the Foggy Bottom Metro station to Lafayette Park. Herrity said she was inspired by people in the German town of Wunsiedel, who similarly donated money to an anti-extremist organization for every meter neo-Nazi demonstrators marched through the town.

“We would have done a per mile pledge, but the protesters will not even be walking a mile,” Herrity and Keelen wrote on the fundraising page. “But hey, carrying around all that hate must be exhausting.”

So far, the pair have managed to raise just under $1,000, and they’ve set a $5,000 goal for the effort.

Photo via MightyCause

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Morning Notes

Local Leaders Brace for White Supremacist Rally Sunday — “Unite the Right 2,” stemming from last year’s violent demonstration in Charlottesville, comes to D.C. this weekend. Counter-protesters are are set to greet participants, who plan to march from the Foggy Bottom Metro station to Lafayette Park. D.C. and Virginia officials alike have heightened emergency precautions, particularly around Metro stations, as rally participants plan to ride from Vienna into the city. [WTOP]

Federal Court Rejects Airplane Noise Appeal — Some D.C. residents suing over noise generated by Reagan National Airport, a contentious issue among Arlingtonians as well, now have only the U.S. Supreme Court to turn to, after an appeals court tossed out their case last month. Maryland’s attorney general is pursuing a similar case, targeting noise from BWI. [Washington Post]

El Salvadorian Residents Face an Uncertain Future — The Trump administration’s decision to rescind “temporary protected status” for immigrants from El Salvador means that many who’ve settled around Northern Virginia and D.C. are left wondering what comes next. [Washington City Paper]

Korean War Veteran’s Belongings Return to Arlington — Nearly 68 years after an Army medic disappeared in North Korea, the Pentagon arranged an emotional reunion with some of his possessions for his family at a Crystal City hotel. [Washington Post]

Photo via @thelastfc

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Some residents of an East Falls Church neighborhood say they discovered Ku Klux Klan recruitment fliers full of racist and anti-Semitic language this past weekend.

Eliza Thompson says she discovered a flier sitting at the foot of her driveway on Saturday morning (July 21), placed in a small bag and weighed down with birdseed. She says she quickly learned that several of her neighbors along N. Roosevelt Street also received the fliers, which advertise membership in a group dubbed the “Loyal White Knights.”

“I’m a talker, and I couldn’t even talk after we saw those,” Thompson told ARLnow. “Why did they choose our street, our neighborhood? It just doesn’t make much sense.”

The fliers don’t list where the group is based, with most of the space dedicated to screeds about how Jews control the media or how immigrants are destroying the country, but they do list phone numbers with North Carolina area codes. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Loyal White Knights are active in two different parts of that state, as well as in Maryland and Richmond.

Thompson’s discovery comes less than a month after some Lyon Village residents discovered anti-Semitic fliers in their neighborhood, and other KKK fliers, similarly placed in bags and weighed down with birdseed, turned up in Gainesville and Bristow. A flier for a white supremacist group was also found in Clarendon in late May.

“You wouldn’t expect it in Arlington,” Thompson said. “It’s just not the area you’d think the KKK would be recruiting out of.”

Thompson says some of her neighbors reported the incident to county police, but the neighborhood is also planning a larger response to the fliers’ arrival.

Not only has she ordered 10 signs proclaiming “hate has no home here” that she hopes to distribute, but she’s working with some of her neighbors to hand out baggies of their own, filled with candy and messages about diversity and inclusion.

“Simply being outraged isn’t enough,” Thompson said. “This is real, and I think a lot of white people need to realize the racism non-white Americans face on a regular basis in our country. It’s easy if you live in North Arlington not to pay attention to racism. But it’s there all the time.”

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