Ride Hailing ‘Strike’ Today — “Getting an Uber or a Lyft may be impossible — or take longer and cost more — Wednesday when drivers for both companies plan to strike in major U.S. cities to protest what they say are unfair wages and poor working conditions.” [Washington Post]
APS Poaching Fairfax Teachers — From a candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors: “Today I met a veteran teacher who is leaving FCPS because Arlington County will pay her $12,000 more annually. Meanwhile, all I hear about is how we are fully funding our schools. We still have some catching up to do Fairfax County.” [Twitter]
County Employees Getting Reusable Straws — Updated at 10:10 a.m. — “This week is [Public Service Recognition Week], and Arlington County employees will be celebrating with their new, reusable steel straws, distributed… as a thank you for their hard work.” [WDVM]
Another Traffic Enforcement Push in Clarendon — Yesterday Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility traffic enforcement” at Clarendon Boulevard and N. Danville Street,” reminding drivers to “be [street smart] and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.” [Twitter]
No State GOP Candidates in Arlington Yet — “Thus far, there have been no nibbles on the line among potential Republican candidates for state legislative seats. The party’s filing deadlines passed on May 2 and 5 for GOP prospects for the 47th and 49th House of Delegates districts and 31st state Senate district without any candidates formally expressing interest.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Employee Inspires New Child Care Policy — Lanette Johnson, an employee at the Pentagon City Best Buy store, is “the inspiration behind Best Buy’s new backup child-care benefit for all full-time and part-time employees. Workers at nearly 1,000 U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters have access to 10 days of subsidized care each year through a Best Buy partnership with Care.com.” [Washington Post]
Weekend Rain Drenched Arlington — Arlington was among the parts of the region to see the most rainfall over the weekend. [Twitter]
Small Business Lender Active in Arlington Courts — “On Deck Capital Inc., a publicly traded online small business lender based in New York… which also has Arlington office space… accounted for 7 percent of all [small business] debt collection cases brought to that Arlington County courthouse through September.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Leadership for Arlington NAACP — “The Arlington branch of the NAACP will enter 2019 with a new leadership structure and a commitment to building on recent growth. ‘I’m all about community activism – we will go out and do good things,’ said Julius Spain Sr., who on Dec. 17 was sworn in to serve as president of the 78-year-old local civil-rights organization.” [InsideNova]
Arlington GOP Chief Steps Down — “The Arlington County Republican Committee will enter 2019 on a hunt for prospective candidates – and a hunt for a new chairman, too. Jim Presswood, who has chaired the GOP for nearly three years, announced recently he would be stepping down halfway through his second two-year term due to commitments at work.” [InsideNova, Facebook]
Photo courtesy Crystal Comiskey
Strangers Mourn Arlington Hero at Funeral — “I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know. In the pew in front of me sat two women who also hadn’t met him. And in front them, in rows packed with people, there were others who knew nothing about Patricio Salazar’s love of sports or books or his ability to talk to anyone he met. They knew only how he had died: trying to help someone.” [Washington Post]
Rosslyn Circus Gets Poor Reviews — “The Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, Virginia, is a nondescript building that easily blends into the dull neighborhood of offices just outside of Washington. But for an hour on Thursday, November 1, the budget hotel felt like a dreamworld — an alternative universe of alternative facts.” [The Weekly Standard, Daily Beast, Periscope, Twitter]
Anti-DUI Event Cancelled — An anti-drunk driving community outreach event scheduled to take place in Clarendon tonight has been cancelled due to expected storms and downpours. The event was originally scheduled to take place the weekend before Halloween but was then postponed due to rain. [Twitter, Arlington County]
WMAL Broadcasting from Metro 29 — Radio station WMAL (105.9 FM) is broadcasting live from Metro 29 Diner on Lee Highway this morning. Among the guests stopping by for interviews are a cadre of Republicans: George Allen, U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart, and congressional candidates Thomas Oh and Barbara Comstock. [Twitter]
MCM This Weekend — The Marine Corps Marathon is taking place Sunday morning, shutting down a bunch of streets around Arlington. Many of the street closures will be centered around Crystal City, a favorite gathering spot for spectators who root on runners on the final leg of the race, and Rosslyn, which hosts the starting miles of the race and its Finish Festival.
Candidates Weigh in on LGBT Center — “Wonderful in theory, but perhaps impractical in the current economic environment. That’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the response of the two Arlington County Board candidates to a calls for creation of a local community center specifically geared toward the county’s LGBT community.” [InsideNova]
Big Raise for Arlington Startup — Courthouse-based WireWheel, a data privacy compliance SaaS company, has closed a $10 million Series A round. Total funding raised to date is $13 million. [WireWheel]
Storm Approaches — “Here comes our nor’easter. Rain starts today and it’ll last into early tomorrow. It may amount to nearly two inches in some spots. Our weather turns windy tonight and perhaps much of tomorrow, when we could see some late-day clearing. Luckily for Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon, shower chances are low.” [Washington Post]
Local GOP Getting Jump on Recruitment — “In recent years, the [GOP] has not only not been competitive in Arlington races, but at the local level often fails to field candidates at all. Presswood, who has been party chairman for almost three years, has worked hard to try and reverse that trend.” [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy John Broehm
Sebastian Gorka, a former aide to President Trump fired amidst mounting criticism of his anti-Muslim views, is coming to Arlington to raise money for local Republicans.
The Arlington Republican Women’s Club announced this weekend that Gorka will be a featured guest at its Sept. 23 fundraiser, to be held at the Army-Navy Country Club. Tickets run anywhere from $25 to $250 for the evening.
Long a fixture on Fox News and other right-wing news outlets, Gorka joined the Trump administration shortly after doing consulting work for the campaign on foreign policy matters. Yet he frequently courted controversy during his time in the White House, particularly after reporters discovered his ties to far-right, anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, and he was dismissed from his post last August.
Carole DeLong, the president of the Republican Women’s Club, told ARLnow that she expects Gorka “will speak to us about his time in the White House, and the interesting subjects of his books.” Gorka’s published works include “Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies — With No Apologies” and “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”
DeLong added that she recently met Gorka at an event they both attended, and quickly convinced him to come speak in Arlington.
“He is a very nice and unique person,” DeLong said. “We are all so happy that he agreed.”
Arlington Democrats are considerably less enthused about Gorka’s imminent arrival in the county.
County Democratic Committee Chair Jill Caiazzo dubbed Gorka a “far-right ideologue” in a statement, highlighting his vocal defense of Trump’s travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries, in particular. She noted that her committee happens to holding its own potluck on the same day, headlined by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District), which she sees as a clear contrast between the two parties.
“Like the races on the ballot in November, it’s not a hard choice for Arlington voters who seek to reject the extreme Trump-GOP agenda, including the discriminatory travel bans championed by Dr. Gorka,” Caiazzo said. “We look forward to seeing those voters at the potluck and the polls.”
Despite Caiazzo’s criticisms, DeLong said she had no compunctions about working with Gorka, calling him “delightful to work with.”
Gorka has made headlines in Arlington once before, prompting a brief Twitter outcry when someone spotted his distinctive Ford Mustang with the vanity plate “ART WAR” parked on a sidewalk near Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.
— Bilsko (@Bilsko) October 31, 2017
Photo via @SebGorka
Full Arlington Memorial Bridge Shutdown Planned — One of the main links from the county into D.C. will close entirely for the weekend of Sept. 15-17, as workers get ready to start major repair efforts. Officials are warning of rolling lane closures after that, with another full shutdown sometime this fall. [Washington Post]
County Police See a String of Wheel Thefts — Since June 1, Arlington police say they’ve seen thieves make off with the tires and rims of five different cars. Many of the thefts have been concentrated in the Pentagon City and Crystal City area, where airbags have also started vanishing. [WTOP]
Arlington GOP Mulls Position on Bond Referenda — County Republicans will decide next month on whether to take a position on the more than $230 million in bonds that will go before voters this fall. Arlingtonians haven’t rejected a local bond on the ballot since 1979. [InsideNova]
Nearby: Parking Pains Plague New Northside Social Location — The second location of the Clarendon cafe that opened in Falls Church earlier this summer has created some huge parking headaches, including a 13,000 percent increase in cars towed from nearby lots. [Falls Church News-Press]
Hot Day Ahead — Anyone spending time outdoors today should hydrate frequently and take proper precautions. The heat index is expected to climb into the 90s or even the low 100s. An air quality alert is also in effect. [Twitter, Twitter, National Weather Service]
Energy Rebate Program Ending — Arlington’s energy rebate program, which provides rebates to homeowners who add high-efficiency HVAC or water heaters, or who perform other energy-saving work, is ending due to county budget cuts. The last day to apply is today, June 18. [Twitter, EcoAction Arlington]
Rosslyn Bus Tunnel to Open — “A long-delayed bus tunnel in Rosslyn that is expected to help ease traffic in the area and significantly speed up bus trips has now been turned over to Metro, and should formally open within weeks. Metrobus and Arlington’s ART routes are expected to begin using the street-level tunnel June 24 through a glitzy new building between N. Moore Street and N. Lynn Street.” [WTOP]
GOP Beyer Challenger Courts LGBT Voters — “Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate embarked on an uphill quest to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), is reaching out to a constituency often left untapped by local Republican candidate. ‘I proudly support the LGBT community. I firmly believe in providing equality for every American,’ Oh said as he marched with the Capital Area Young Republicans in the recent Capital Pride Parade in the District of Columbia.” [InsideNova]
County Board Approves DARPA Changes — “Citing its desire to retain DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency headquartered in Ballston, the Arlington County Board today unanimously approved adding 1,265 square feet to its building for a secure screening and visitor check-in facility.” [Arlington County]
Graduations at Arlington High Schools — Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown high schools help their respective graduation ceremonies last week. Said Wakefield’s class president: “Just because this chapter of our lives is closing, we will prevail and go on to do great. The thing is, don’t think of this as a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you later.'” [InsideNova, InsideNova, InsideNova]
Photo courtesy @TheLastFC
‘Indivisible Arlington’ Event Wracked By Division — “A town hall with local Virginia lawmakers dissolved into chaos Saturday and police were called after Latino activists confronted Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) about his previous consulting work for a private company that operates detention facilities for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
No County Board Candidate for Arlington GOP — No one filed by the May 9 deadline to run as a Republican against incumbent County Board member John Vihstadt, the Arlington GOP announced over the weekend. Vihstadt, an independent, was endorsed by the local GOP when he first ran in 2014.
ACPD Sergeant Tapped as School Police Chief — Sean Bryson, a 20-year veteran of the Arlington County Police Department, has been named the chief of police for the Upper St. Clair School District, outside of Pittsburgh. It’s a homecoming for Bryson, who graduated from Upper St. Clair High School. In addition to his police work, Byson co-founded and has served as race director for the annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K. [Trib Live]
Beyer’s GOP Challenger Holding Arlington Event — “Republican congressional candidate Thomas Oh will host a campaign kickoff on Tuesday, April 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Spider Kelly’s, 3181 Wilson Blvd. Oh is the GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), who is seeking a third term. He was the only Republican to file for the nomination.” [InsideNova]
Local Scenes on Sale at Arts Fest — Among the artists at the upcoming Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon will be Joseph Craig English, whose “silkscreens and lithographs capture local landmarks and street corners in vivid colors,” including “an architectural juxtaposition of old buildings and new construction in Courthouse; Potomac River vistas; local murals and street signs known to commuters who’ve passed by them for years.” [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington Tourism Surtax Gets Gov’s Signature — “The Arlington County government will be able to continue collecting a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism promotion, now that Gov. Northam has signed legislation extending the measure for three more years.” [InsideNova]
Don’t Try This at Home — Per scanner traffic, police officers responding to a call yesterday afternoon were advised that “the suspect is known for using hand sanitizer as an alcoholic drink.”
Nearby: Alexandria OKs More Funding for Metro Station — “Plans to build a new Metro station at Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Virginia, took a crucial step forward Tuesday. Alexandria City Council unanimously approved raising the budget from $268 million to $320 million. The change was made in part to reflect the rising cost of materials and labor.” [WTOP]
Photo by Dwayne Stewart
Golf Course Tax Bill Passes — A bill that would provide a massive tax break to two Arlington country clubs has passed the Virginia General Assembly. The bill, if signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), would cost Arlington $1.5 million or more in tax revenue. [Washington Post]
Military Couple Fights Wife’s Deportation — The wife of a retired Army special forces veteran was to face deportation in an Arlington-based immigration court next week, but the Dept. of Homeland Security is now offering to drop the proceedings. Prior to the reversal, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called said via social media: “Military families should not be targeted like this. It’s unconscionable.” [Military Times, Twitter]
Cherry Blossom Bloom Prediction — The National Park Service expects peak bloom for the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms to take place March 17-20. [PoPville]
Beyer’s GOP Challenger — “The Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D) used a Feb. 28 meeting of the Arlington County Republican Committee to introduce himself to the county’s GOP rank-and-file. ‘I look forward to the campaign,’ said Thomas Oh… an Army veteran and currently a contractor in Falls Church.” [InsideNova]
County Seeking Budget Feedback — Arlington County is seeking feedback on its proposed budget. The online survey asks residents to weigh in on various priorities, including county employee raises, economic development, Metro funding, school funding, infrastructure investment and affordable housing. [SurveyMonkey]
Arlington Republicans are calling for greater transparency with regards to the county’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Jim Presswood, Chair of the Arlington GOP, issued a statement Wednesday calling for the county to release “the basic framework” of its offer, arguing that “backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.”
The full statement is below.
Arlington County needs to let its citizens know what kind of deal they are offering Amazon to lure the company’s new headquarters to our county. Its discussions with Amazon have been behind closed doors and without public input. While we appreciate Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol promising transparency, it’s time for the County to make public at least the basic framework of what it is offering. Backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.
While an Amazon headquarters would bring benefits to Arlington and the region, Arlington citizens deserve to know the cost before any deal is struck. Arlington is under great budgetary pressure from increasing school capacity needs and a broken Metro. The citizens are entitled to know if the County is offering subsidies that will ultimately result in a bill being handed to Arlington taxpayers. Creating an attractive environment for businesses and residents is a far more fair and fiscally sound approach to bring jobs to Arlington than offering sweetheart deals to specific firms.
Update at 7:40 p.m. — Katie Cristol has responded via Twitter.
Admire your media savvy, @matthewhurtt, even if it involves significant mischaracterizations of my comments. Arl’s signed an NDA with the Commonwealth, as I’ve stated, but if we win, any deal goes to public vote (with plenty of opportunity for public comment) in order to execute. https://t.co/5DcnFLUMCh
— Katie Cristol (@kcristol) March 1, 2018
There’s no formal Board action if we lose, but I will work with Manager and Economic Development team to share details of what was in the proposal. (Spoiler alert: MANY pages describing Arlington’s talented workforce, transit-rich commercial areas and excellent schools).
— Katie Cristol (@kcristol) March 1, 2018