Sunday, October 22, 2006

Espenoza, McMenamin, Bham Villages 1 & 3

Breakfast with Cecelia Espenoza

I met
independent school board candidate Cecelia Espenoza the first time at the dedication of the Buckingham Plaza park on North George Mason Drive [see my post from Sept. 13]. She seemed nice enough then, but she wasn’t really doing what I’d call campaigning. She handed out cards and introduced herself but beyond that wasn’t really pressing the flesh. I thought to myself that she doesn’t have a chance if this is how she acts on the campaign.

Then I met her at a breakfast at a friend’s house yesterday. These friends, the Redmond/McGilvrays, have been tirelessly campaigning for her to the point that when their youngest wants to get a ride in his stroller he says, “Let’s go campaigning”! After meeting Ms. Espenoza there I could see why my friends (as well as another family from my son’s pre-school) were supporting her so staunchly.

At the breakfast she showed that side of her that was a prosecutor in the Salt Lake City area and is now an attorney with the Department of Justice.

I’d say the theme of the day seemed to be one of making transparent rules and following them. Since I was the only person who showed, the morning was more of a chat, a long one where we talked about her time as a Vice prosecutor, her time living in Colorado and other friendly talk.

We didn’t even really talk about the school board race too much, until we got to street signs. That’s when the proverbial gloves came off.

She doesn’t like the way the regulations regarding campaign street signs are being enforced.

The rules, she said, state that a candidate cannot have more than two signs per median strip in a road. Any sign with the candidate’s name on it is considered a sign for the candidate. So the signs with Sally Baird and Chris Zimmerman on them are considered one of the signs for each of those candidates. Yet median strips with that double sign often also have another two just with Ms. Baird’s name on it, Ms. Espenoza said. And no one is enforcing this breach.

“Why have an ordinance that some of us are trying to follow where others are not?” she asked.

I have to admit that I started looking for this as I drove around the county yesterday, and I saw what Ms. Espenoza was saying. It didn’t seem like a tragic gaff on the part of Ms. Baird’s committee, but I thought it gave insight into Ms. Espenoza’s thinking. This was probably the third or fourth topic where she talked about the need for clear policies and the need for following and enforcing them.

Buckingham Villages
Site Plan Review Committee is holding its second meeting regarding Buckingham Villages 1 and 3.

[I can’t make it to this one, so if anyone else can get there and wants to pick up handouts for me and wants to take some notes, that’d be great. Please let me know—
Steve Thurston.]

October 23, 2006
7:00-9:45, NRECA Building
4301 Wilson Blvd.

According to the SPRC:
The Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) is comprised of Planning Commission members, representatives from other relevant commissions and several appointed citizens. The SPRC reviews all site plans and major site plan amendments requests, which are submitted to the County Board and the Planning Commission for consideration. The major responsibilities of the SPRC are the following:
1: Review site plan or major site plan amendment requests in detail.
2: Advise the Planning Commission by recommending the appropriate action in regard to a specific plan and any conditions, which it might determine to be necessary or appropriate.
3: Provide a forum by which interested citizens, civic associations and neighborhood conservation committees can review and comment on a particular plan, or the effects that the proposed project might have on the neighborhood.

Second Meeting – October 23, 2006
1. Status of Committees to date: HALRB & CPC
2. Follow-up on site design and building architecture
3. Transportation, Streetscape and Parking:
3.1. Review of Street systems including existing and proposed cross sections
3.2. General routes for vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow to and through the site
3.3. Pedestrian network:
· Sidewalks, street trees, crosswalks, connections, bike/walking paths
3.4. Relationship of transit stops and routes
3.5. Parking and loading dock access: locations, number curb cuts,
3.6. Driveway widths and treatments, potential conflict with street trees
3.7. Parking
· Numbers, ratio, visitor (and potential public) parking, delivery drop offs, parking management plan, TDM plan, amount and location of bicycle parking
4. Open space
4.1. Landscape Plan, Detailed Plaza designs and/or types and elements of public and private open space
4.2. Compliance with Planning Documents including Open Space Master Plan, Sector Plans and Phased Development Site Plan (if applicable), Chesapeake Bay and stormwater management plans
4.3. Orientation and use of open spaces (external vs. internal)
4.4. Relationship to scenic vistas, natural features and/or adjacent public spaces
4.5. Tree preservation and/or replacement
For more information on the Arlington County Planning Commission, go to their web site

For more information on the Site Plan public review process, go to the Arlington County Planning Division’s web site on Development Proposals/Site Plans

To view the current Site Plan Review Committee schedule, go to the web site

Short Shrift on McMenamin

About an hour after I posted the endorsement of Chris Zimmerman, I must say I got thinking more about Mike McMenamin, and how I think I gave him the short shrift. I reviewed some stories about him, and then I looked at his web site, and I was struck by his neighborhood needing a stop sign.

I started looking around my neighborhood at all the things I’d like the county to fix, including adding a stop sign on Pershing Drive and the crosswalk area on George Mason on the north side of Arlington Boulevard.
Mr. McMenamin’s right, this county government can be amazingly unresponsive, especially with these smallish changes. You have to follow the whole “Arlington Way” (seemingly endless calls, emails and/or paperwork or analysis through the civic associations) to get a small change, that often doesn’t come. Perhaps that was the political theme I would have liked have heard from him: “Cut taxes to create a more responsive government,” or something like that.

In our neighborhood we had county board members (including Mr. Zimmerman) and county employees on a neighborhood walk-through telling us there are professional studies which show that people don’t stop at stop signs if the traffic on both streets is not roughly equal. In other words, if the traffic along Pershing Drive largely outweighs the cross-traffic on Thomas Street, which it does, drivers on Pershing will ignore the stop sign.

But what about pedestrians? I have a hard time believing that most drivers would blow through a stop sign when there’s a pedestrian in a clearly marked cross walk. We’re a pedestrian-heavy neighborhood; the county doesn’t seem to understand that.

I’m realizing the backwards nature of what I’m about to write, but I’m going to write it anyway, Mr. Zimmerman, you’ve got my endorsement, now get me my stop sign.

Arlington Connection

My first free issue of the Arlington Connection arrived in the mail, Friday. Excellent. It took about eight weeks to arrive, but I had talked with Mary Kimm, the Connection publisher, and she asked for my patience. I’ll admit, I was getting a little antsy, but then, there it was. A free community paper in Buckingham, yea! Thank you, Ms. Kimm.

To request a free subscription to the Arlington Connection, call 703-917-6465 (available to residents of Arlington). It is currently the only free Arlington-focused English language newspaper available in Buckingham.

Police Notes for Buckingham
Oct. 18: Robbery by force. 300 block of N. Glebe Rd.

At approximately 10:10 p.m., a woman walking down the street was pushed down by two men. The men took her purse and her jacket and fled on foot. Suspect #1 is described as a black male, 6’2” tall, wearing a white sweater and a baseball cap. Suspect #2 is described as a black male, 6’2” tall, wearing a dark long-sleeved shirt, and a baseball cap.


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