Sun Gazette Endorses Cristol — After endorsing Michael McMenamin last week, the Sun Gazette is endorsing Katie Cristol for the second open Arlington County Board seat. The paper opined that Cristol had one of the worst campaign kickoffs in Arlington Democratic history, but “very few candidates in recent memory have improved so quickly.” [InsideNova]
Board Candidates Agree on Accessory Dwellings — The candidates for County Board reportedly agreed on one thing at a recent candidate forum: the need to loosen Arlington’s restrictive rules on accessory dwellings, “so that more seniors and young people could afford living in residential areas.” Accessory dwellings are sometimes called “granny flats,” “in-law apartments” or “backyard cottages.” Currently, Arlington approves the construction of no more than 28 accessory dwellings per year. [Falls Church News-Press]
GGW on County Board Race — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington has a breakdown of the Arlington County Board race and the stances of candidates on I-66, bike lanes, transit and development. [Greater Greater Washington]
Reminder: E-CARE This Weekend — Arlington County will hold its biannual E-CARE recycling event on Saturday. The event was rescheduled to take place on Halloween due to bad weather earlier this month. [ARLnow]
Walking for Lung Cancer Research — An Arlington woman is walking in a lung cancer fundraiser Sunday in memory of her sister, a nonsmoker and recent mother who died from the disease earlier this year. The event, “Breathe Deep D.C.,” is being held on the National Mall and is raising money for lung cancer research. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
Sun Gazette Endorses McMenamin — The Arlington Sun Gazette has endorsed independent County Board candidate Mike McMenamin. The newspaper says McMenamin is “by far the most seasoned and well-rounded candidate in the race.” [InsideNova]
Airport Workers Protest for Living Wage — Airport workers who make as little as $6.75 per hour held a protest at Reagan National Airport with the local 32BJ SEIU union on Wednesday. Among those attending the rally were wheelchair attendants, janitors, cabin cleaners and baggage handlers. The protest was part of a nationwide campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage for airport workers. [Washington Post]
Candidate Night at Aurora Hills — The Aurora Highlands, Arlington Ridge and Crystal City civic associations are jointly sponsoring a candidates night for Arlington County Board hopefuls tonight. The forum will start at 7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Community Center. Development, including the proposed redevelopment of the RiverHouse property in Pentagon City, is expected to be a hot topic. [ARCA]
Judy Blume Speaking in Arlington Tonight –Best-selling children’s and young adult novel author Judy Blume is speaking about her latest book at a free library-sponsored event in Arlington tonight. [ARLnow]
A Quick Note on Pageview Counts — As you might have noticed, we have eliminated pageview counts on most ARLnow articles. While this has been a feature for few years, recently it’s been buggy, slow to update and has frequently severely under-counted the actual number of views on an article. We’ll continue to show pageview counts to denote articles that are particularly “hot,” but take the numbers with a grain of salt.
The Sun Gazette’s parent company, Northern Virginia Media Services, says it activated a metered paywall on its Northern Virginia news site, InsideNova.com, on Dec. 1. Sun Gazette articles are published on the site.
The paywall is designed to force readers to complete a free registration after reading five articles per month, according to an announcement last week. After reading another ten in the course of a month, the site will require a $4.99 per month subscription.
“Many news sites have gone in this direction,” Northern Virginia Media Services COO Bruce Potter said in the announcement. “We are simply asking our heaviest users to contribute a little bit toward the cost of providing the outstanding content on which they rely every day.”
While the online subscription is described as a “minimal monthly fee,” it’s actually more expensive than another way to get online access: by subscribing to the Sun Gazette print edition. The company says a subscription to the weekly newspaper is $39 per year and includes full online access.
Orange/Silver Line Delays — There were delays on the Orange and Silver lines this morning due to a disabled train at Virginia Square. The disabled train has since been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking around it. [Twitter]
Video: Don’t Put H-B Woodlawn in Reed School — A video created by members of the Westover community urges Arlington Public Schools to reject any proposal to relocate the H-B Woodlawn secondary program to the Reed School. [YouTube]
Design Tweaks for Courthouse Building — Developer Carr Properties has made several tweaks to the design of 2025 Clarendon Blvd, its proposed office building which will replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse. Responding to concerns from county planners, Carr has added a fourth retail bay and replaced most of the terra cotta in the facade with more glass and steel. [Washington Business Journal – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Health Violations at Arlington Restaurants — WUSA9 investigative reporter Russ Ptacek has set his sights on Arlington restaurants that have had food safety licenses revoked, including Mario’s Pizza, Aroma Indian Cuisine, Pedro & Vinny’s and Astor Mediterranean. In Virginia, restaurants get their violations cleared from the public database after getting a new license post-revocation. [WUSA9 – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Parking App for DCA — Starting Nov. 1, those parking at Reagan National Airport will be able to pay via a smartphone app. [MWAA]
Sun Gazette Carries Doomsday Ad — The Arlington Sun Gazette recently carried an ad for Disaster Retreat, a doomsday safe haven in central Virginia for “serious-minded families and executives.” The half-page ad was adjacent to a streetcar editorial and ads for window treatments and dog training. [Slate]
Rabbit Closing — Just days after telling ARLnow.com he had reduced hours to lunch only, the owner of Rabbit Salad and Grill (3035 Clarendon Blvd) in Clarendon has apparently decided to completely call it quits. The restaurant will close on Friday to make way for Fat Shorty’s, a beer and sausage restaurant. The new restaurant is expected to open in early April. [Washingtonian]
Carlee Becomes Charlotte City Manager — Former Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee has taken a new job as the city manager of Charlotte, NC. Carlee had worked for Arlington County for 29 years, but left in 2009 for a job with the International City/County Management Association. Carlee’s new salary is reported to be $290,000 per year, a 15 percent increase over his predecessor’s salary. [Charlotte Observer]
Chuck Todd to Give Marymount Commencement Address — Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, will give Marymount University’s commencement address this spring. He’ll speak at D.A.R. Constitution Hall on May 19, the same day the University will award Todd the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his career in journalism.
Concern Over Unlicensed Cabs — County Board members voiced concerns about reports of unlicensed taxis operating in Arlington. They asked county staff to investigate the issue and report back. The Board oversees the county’s taxi business by allotting a fixed number of operating certificates and regulating fares. [Sun Gazette]
Sun Gazette Office Moving — Today is moving day for The Sun Gazette. The paper’s office is being relocated from Springfield to 6704 Old McLean Road in McLean. The move is intended to put advertising and newsroom offices in the heart of the paper’s coverage territory, which stretches from Arlington west to Great Falls and then south to Vienna and Oakton. [Sun Gazette]
GOP May Skip November Board Race — With a presidential election likely to bring Democrats out to the polls in droves, Republicans are saying, privately, that it’s likely they will not be running a candidate for County Board in November. Republican Mark Kelly received 43.5 percent of the vote to Democrat Libby Garvey’s 49.2 percent in yesterday’s historically low turnout special election. [Sun Gazette]
D.C. Premiere of H-B Grad’s Film Planned — Fresh off a big win at the Sundance Film Festival, “Fishing Without Nets” will be holding its Washington, D.C. premiere next month. The short film, created by H-B Woodlawn grad Cutter Hodierne, will be premiering at a “surprise location” on Saturday, April 21. Tickets are $15. [Eventbrite]
Sun Gazette Sold to Texas Company — The weekly Sun Gazette newspaper has been sold to HPR Hemlock LLC, a newspaper investment firm out of Fort Worth, Texas. A company executive says the Sun Gazette and its sister publication, Leesburg Today, will retain autonomy at the local level. The Sun Gazette had previously been owned by another Texas company, American Community Newspapers LLC, which declared bankruptcy in 2009. [Sun Gazette]
The Washington Post and the Arlington Sun Gazette both endorsed Favola yesterday, passing over her opponent, Republican Caren Merrick.
“Our inclination at the beginning of the race was to favor Merrick,” wrote the Sun Gazette. “But as the campaign progressed, we’ve been left wondering exactly what her core political philosophy is, and how she will put it into action, if elected, in Richmond.”
“Democrat Barbara Favola, a knowledgeable veteran of the Arlington County Board, would be effective in the Senate from Day 1 representing this district,” wrote the Washington Post. “Ms. Merrick, despite her valuable business experience, has offered no plausible alternative for tackling [traffic] gridlock.”
Merrick holds a substantial cash advantage over Favola, however. As of Sept. 30, Merrick had $140,076 in the bank, compared to Favola’s $62,612.
Favola and Merrick are scheduled to debate tonight at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department (3900 Lee Highway). The debate is expected to begin around 7:30 p.m.
Car on Fire on I-395 — A car caught fire on southbound I-395 near Boundary Channel around 9:30 last night. The car was fully-engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on scene. No injuries were reported
Sun Gazette: Thumbs Down to Board’s ‘Walmart’ Action — The County Board’s last-minute, unannounced vote at the end of its final meeting before the summer recess is getting a “thumbs down” in the opinion pages of the Sun Gazette. The Board voted to advertise hearings on a zoning ordinance amendment that would prevent large-format retailers like Walmart from building a store without prior Board approval. “County staff so far have been unable to explain what the rush is – they want to get this approved by the County Board later in the month – and exactly what problem they are trying to solve,” the paper opined. [Sun Gazette]
School Board Challenger Drops Out — Independent Green candidate for school board Andrea Ochoa has withdrawn from the race, according to Arlington elections officials. Incumbent Democrat Abby Raphael will now run unopposed.
Street Sign Mistakes — Typos happen, including on street signs in Arlington. Among the examples: “22rd Road,” “Chian Br. Road” and an unspecified misspelling of “school” on a parking sign. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy of @cmags44
Jaime Areizaga-Soto has received the endorsement of Del. David Englin, a founding co-chair of the Virginia Progressive Caucus, while Barbara Favola received the endorsement of the Sun Gazette newspaper.
In its editorial, the Sun Gazette said that Favola provides “common-sense, middle-ground representation” as a County Board member, while Areizaga-Soto lacks experience.
“As newcomer Areizaga-Soto has no political track record to speak of, we can only judge him based on his platform and public pronouncements,” the paper said. “The talking points are all of the garden-variety ‘progressive’ kind that make many Northern Virginia Democrats largely irrelevant in Richmond’s corridors of power… Favola, on the other hand, does have a track record. It is hardly perfect, but it is strong enough to make her a decided favorite in our eyes.”
Englin, meanwhile, said he “can no longer remain silent” about the way he believes Areizaga-Soto has been treated by Democratic leaders.
As a progressive leader in the General Assembly, I generally do not endorse Democratic primary candidates in districts where I cannot vote, and I’ve been especially hesitant to comment on the 31st District Senate primary because my wife is a paid consultant for one of the candidates, Jaime Areizaga-Soto. However, my simmering anger at how my own party’s leaders in the Virginia Senate are handling this race has boiled over, and I can no longer remain silent.
Jaime Areizaga-Soto is a Georgetown and Stanford-educated attorney and a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, whom President Obama appointed to a high-level position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He served as a White House Fellow — one of our nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service, whose alumni include distinguished Americans like Wesley Clark, Colin Powell, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. On top of all that, he’s an Eagle Scout who is fluent in four languages. Yet the retiring incumbent, who just months ago introduced Areizaga-Soto to her constituents as a valued policy adviser, now claims he was a mere intern in her office and accuses him of inflating his resume. Since when does a 41-year-old who is an accomplished attorney, a lieutenant colonel, an Obama Administration appointee, and a White House Fellow need to inflate his resume?
The most senior Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate continue to attack and belittle Areizaga-Soto, who would be the first Latino elected to the Virginia Senate, because he has the nerve to seek his party’s nomination against their hand-picked choice. They are so incensed by his candidacy that they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attack him that could otherwise be used to defend their tenuous Democratic majority. This smacks of an earlier era of “good old boy” Virginia Democratic politics that most of us soundly rejected long ago. I have nothing against the other candidate in this race, Barbara Favola, with whom I have enjoyed working on Arlington County issues over the years. But the seat she and Areizaga-Soto seek belongs to the people of the 31st District, not to party bosses or the retiring incumbent to bequeath to the successor of their choice.
I urge Democrats in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun to vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto for Senate on August 23rd, both because he will be a thoughtful, progressive champion for our entire community, and to send a message that the Democratic Party is still the open, inclusive party of good government we have worked so hard together to build.
Storm Grazes Arlington — Last night’s storms brought wind and torrential rains to much of the region, but only grazed Arlington. Nonetheless, the storm managed to pack enough of a punch to knock down a large branch in Fairlington, near the intersection of S. Utah Street and 32nd Road.
Arlington Among Fuel ‘Teetotalers’ — Arlington residents spend among the least per month on gasoline, according to an analysis of data from major metropolitan areas by Mint.com. Arlington residents are “teetotalers” at $129 per month spent on fuel. That compares to $112 for D.C. residents and $102 for New York City residents, who spend the least. The biggest “guzzler” was San Jose, Ca. at $216 per month per resident. [CommuterPage Blog]
Sun Gazette Editorial Blasts Feuding Dems — The Sun Gazette has seen enough of the “sad spectacle” of the “uniformly amateurish” primary campaigns of state Senate foes Jaime Areizaga-Soto and Barbara Favola. The paper opines that the feuding Democrats have embarked “on a mission of self-immolation, conspiring for whatever bizarre reason to throw away control of the 31st District.” The war of words in the campaign has opened up an opportunity for Republican Caren Merrick to capture the traditionally Democratic seat, the paper suggests. [Sun Gazette]
According to his blog, McCaffrey has been waiting six months to cover something that’s “likely to happen tonight.” But he’s not saying what it is, so as to not alert “what passes for the competition.”
Since we have some of the smartest readers in town — witness the corrections that go into the comments section the minute we get something wrong — I figured it would be a piece of cake to figure out what story Scotty has been salivating over.
McCaffrey posted an link to a Rod Stewart video to symbolize his infatuation with tonight’s could-be story-of-the-century. In a case of blatant one-upsmanship, we’re posting our own music link: this much more entertaining-with-the-sound-down (you’re at work, right?) Jennifer Lopez video.
So, dear readers, help us out. What’s happening tonight that Scotty doesn’t want us to know about?
Just don’t tell him we’re asking. It’s better if Scotty doesn’t know.