Saturday, May 31, 2008

Letter: "Fantastic" Video Reminds Him of Visits

The video was fantastic. Viewed out here in Kansas, it reminded me of my many walking trips to the intersection with my grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law when we visit in Arlington.

Bruce Quantic, Derby, Kansas

The writer is referring to this video of the recent ribbon cutting at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive. He is also my father-in-law. --ST

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 30, 2008

Letter: Why Not My Organic Market?


My Organic Market would be a great addition to the neighborhood. Not a national chain, but a local organic option to Whole Foods.

Gary Shiffman

The writer is referring to my HeraldTrib Today post of May 28. --ST


Letter: Nice Picture Show

Hey Steve,

Great pictures and video of the intersection! Thanks!

Brian Berger

To see the slide and video show, click here. --ST

Labels: , , ,

Yearling Buck Stops By Arlington Oaks

The buck stopped here, outside the Bethel United Church of Christ's fence in an Arlington Oaks backyard. (Click to enlarge the image.)

A yearling buck, its antlers still covered with velvet, rested in an Arlington Oaks backyard this morning, about 7:15.

The deer was spotted by teen Oaks resident Nick Serene, and he pointed it out to others, including me.

“We do definitely have deer here in Arlington," said Rachael Tolman, a naturalist at the county's Long Branch Nature Center. She added later that deer are not terribly prevalent, but “They’re not uncommon.”

Ms. Tolman said the deer like to eat day lilies planted in yards. “They aren’t strangers to neighborhoods," she said.

They are more prevalent in parks, golf courses and along the George Washington Parkway in Arlington, and they will travel through connected open spaces. A half-mile trot from Lubber Run Park to Arlington Oaks is very little for a deer, she said.

The yearling rested for a few minutes, but the attention kept it from resting too long.

Since deer are prey animals they tend to be skittish, Ms. Tolman said. Some do not mind the attention from humans, while others do.

This is another reason to drive the speed limit in neighborhoods and to keep a lookout especially around dusk and dawn, she said.

“Typically it’s the first thing in the morning or around sunset,” that they're most active. At that time of day they can be hardest to see, as well, she said.

The Arlington Oaks Condominium runs on each side of N. George Mason Drive between Arlington Boulevard and N. Pershing Drive. Bethel United Church of Christ is at 4347 N. Arlington Boulevard.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HeraldTrib Today May 28, 2008

Tejada comes down fully in favor of the Glebe Market…

At the ceremony dedicating the newly-renovated N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive intersection last Thursday, Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada began his remarks by saying that he comes to the neighborhood often to shop and eat. He then praised the Glebe Market.

To the uninitiated, that might only have sounded like a politician glad-handing those in attendance, but it’s more than that.

The Glebe Market building will be torn down soon enough if the plans-in-progress go as scheduled. It will be replaced by a four-storey building with retail on the ground floor and market-rate apartments above. Georgetown Strategic Capital, the potential developers, have room in their plans for a small grocery store, but the question remains what type of store will replace the Glebe Market. This has led to debate within the community, and Mr. Tejada was publically throwing his support to one side. I think we now know what the county will be bargaining for as the development process progresses.

Although both sides of the argument are supported by all sorts of people, the main fault line corresponds largely to people’s backgrounds: the Spanish-speaking Latinos in the area want to see a store similar to the Glebe Market, while English-speaking people tend to prefer something more like a Trader Joe’s grocery or Yes! Organic Market.

(Sam Chon, the Glebe Market owner, is retiring and the store itself will not be reopened.)

I’ll admit here that I am with Mr. Tejada on this. I don’t want a Trader Joe’s (and a county staffer or two has told me TJ’s would not move in here anyway). I am afraid that we’ll lose the flavor of our neighborhood if we get another national chain. I am afraid that economic pressure will nudge our retail spaces toward the likes of Clarendon once the hundreds of new apartments and townhouses in the neighborhood are built. As one place goes belly-up it will be replaced by something a little higher up the economic ladder, I think.

(FYI: Buckingham will see about 1,000 new housing units once all the construction throughout the neighborhood is completed over the next five, years, or so.)

So, I'd like to see a store that has a similar content to the Glebe Market, and that has ownership close-at-hand so that it will be responsible to the neighborhood.

At the same time, I want any new store to look new. The Glebe Market does not look nice inside anymore. And I do want the county to think about what they are going to do with the men who congregate, sometimes drink or get unruly, outside the Glebe Market now. I don't want them simply rousted, but fairly dealt with.

And I'd like to know that any market we get serves the entire community, taking all backgrounds and income levels into account.

Mr. Tejada’s remarks can be heard here:

I forgot to mention Favola and Fisette…

As usual in Buckingham events, the crowd at the ribbon cutting for the newly-spruced up N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive intersection was made up mainly of county staffers with a few Buckinghamster and Ashton Heightites attending.

Although county board members Jay Fisette and Barbara Favola are seen in a couple photos, I forgot to mention that they were there and Mr. Fisette spoke. He praised the finished project and talked about how much he liked the Buckingham Center, the food and stores.

Ms. Favola, who is up for reelection this November, stood on and held the ceremonial ribbon.

I have to admit that I love what has been done to the streetscape. The sidewalks are nicer, the "skyline" without the wires is great. I only, still, regret that the art component was relegated to the bus shelters.

Buckinghamster Bernie Berne said that he thought the changes did little. He speaks up at many events and is known for wanting to get rid of affordable housing in the neighborhood and not liking the men who congregate outside the Glebe Market and CVS. He said the changes to the intersection do nothing to help that.

Bernie, I couldn't disagree more. I think what has (finally!) been done is great, and I'm very happy it finally happened. We can deal with other issues later.

Scroll down for the link to the story.

Construction started yesterday on the boulevard’s pedestrian bridge…

The county released a press release about the half-million dollar renovation to the pedestrian bridge that spans Arlington Boulevard at Jackson Street. The work started yesterday.

According to the county web site, “the project includes replacing the metal decking and fencing, improvements to the railings, painting of the bridge and railings and installing lighting and a roof over the bridge.” Traffic will be affected during non-rush hours, the press release says.

To read the press release click here.

The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

Today's Headlines:

  • Catholic Parade Through Buckingham for Pentecost
  • No Clear Nominee For Beaver's Name! So the voting continues...
  • Police Notes for Buckingham, May 28, 2008

  • Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Thunder Rumbles Through Church
  • With a Snip, Eight Years is History
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    Catholics Parade Through Buckingham

    Catholic Spanish Apostolate Youth carry a statue of the Virgin Mary along George Mason Drive in Buckingham. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Catholic Spanish Apostolate Youth paraded through Buckingham on Pentecost Sunday, May 11, carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary, chanting and praying.

    The parade began at St. Thomas More Cathedral, on Cathedral Drive, continuing to an area park, before children went to church to celebrate Mass with their families, said Joelle Santolla, a spokesperson for the Arlington Diocese. A walker led the congregants in prayer and call-and-response from the back of the group with a megaphone.

    One participant said that the people came from throughout the Northern Virginia area.
    Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season for Christians. It is a day they celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    A man with a megaphone, far left, led congregants in chants and prayers. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Labels: , , ,

    No Clear Nominee in Beaver's Name!

    Bucky, Lubby, or Bigtooth? We just don't know. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    It’s too close to call! The campaign to name to the Lubber Run beaver will run yet another week as a clear winner has not garnered enough delegates for officials to call the race.

    With two votes each, the names: Lubby, Bigtooth (or Big Tooth), and Bucky, are tied in a three-way race.

    Voting will continue until next week when the results will be retabulated and a winner, with luck, will be chosen. If the campaign stretches on much more into the summer, beavers everywhere say the infighting threatens to tear apart the park’s wildlife and open up a chance for the squirrels to win.

    So, make sure you vote in “Week Two of Name the Lubber Run Beaver” survey. Click Here to take it.

    Last week's survey collected 12 responses, spread through a spectrum of ideas. The also rans, with one vote each: Kershplooshie, Chipper, Lucie Moon, Muddy, Hazel, Paco, and Lubber.

    Unfortunately, I have not seen any more signs of the beaver, since the initial sighting on Mother's Day (May 11), but maybe it's just really, really sneaky. Vote today; make your voice count!

    Related stories…

  • Name the Lubber Run Beaver
  • Labels: ,

    Police Notes for Buckingham May 28, 2008

    “DB” emailed me on Thursday May 22, saying he/she saw numerous police cars at the Glebe Market that day. Nothing came up on Arlington County’s Police Reports page. John Lisle, a spokesperson for the police, said that sometimes people report what they think is a crime, but it turns out to be nothing that gets reported on the page. (Much police work, such as a routine traffic stop, is not reported.) Mr. Lisle said he would contact me if something came up from that event. --ST

    May 24: Malicious Wounding, 4300 block of N. 4th St. At approximately 6:06 p.m., two male roommates got into a fight and one stabbed the other in the arm with a broken bottle. This incident is still under investigation and charges are pending.

    May 22: Stolen Auto, 3700 block, N. Pershing Dr. Tag Number: VA XWR8294, The truck is a 1995, green Toyota 4Runner.

    May 21: Attempted Malicious Wounding (Arrest), 500 block of N. Glebe Rd. At 12:30 a.m., a man was walking when he was approached by three unknown men. One subject bumped into the victim and an argument ensued. The suspect then attempted to stab the victim with a knife, but was held back by his acquaintances. They all ran from the area. The police responded and located the suspects. Hector Herrera-Roman, 20, of Arlington, was charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding and held without bond.

    View Larger Map

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Thunder Rumbles Through Church

    Veterans on motorcycles rumbled into town as they always do for the big “Rolling Thunder” parade this Memorial Day, and, again as they always do, some encamped on the Arlington Assembly of God Church at the corner of N. Pershing Drive and Arlington Boulevard.

    Bill Francis with Phil Vasquez in the background. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Bill Francis, of California, made the annual drive with his friend, Phil Vasquez. The nine-day trip was a first for both of them.

    Despite the sometimes vulgar warnings on his helmet (“I’m not prejudiced. I hate everybody.” And “Do I look like a people person?”), Mr. Francis was very friendly and in the mood to talk Sunday morning.

    By then, about 8:30 a.m., the other riders had decamped for the Rolling Thunder staging area in the Pentagon North Parking Lot. Participants had to arrive at 6:30 for a 12 o'clock ride.

    Mr. Francis and Mr. Vasquez were heading for North Carolina, and had no real interest in sitting on their motorcycles in a parking lot for six hours, they said.

    A highlight of the event for Mr. Francis, a Vietnam Veteran, was carrying a placard of a fallen Marine to the Vietnam Memorial. Organizers ask new riders to volunteer for the honor.

    “I was lucky enough to get my hand up first,” he said.

    Dozens of tents and hundreds of people slept on the church's grass for all or some of the weekend.

    A Kansas contingent packs up early Monday morning. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Labels: , ,

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    With a Snip, Eight Years Is History

    The county and civic leaders cut the ribbon on renovation of the Glebe at Pershing intersection, a project that started in 2000, or earlier.

    A clearly-photoshopped image of the entire intersection of N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    It has been so long in coming that people cannot even recall when the whole process began, but the date it ended was Thursday May 22, 2008, when county board members and local civic leaders snipped the ceremonial ribbon on a N. Pershing Drive bus shelter, ending a tumultuous process of renovation at N. Pershing’s intersection with N.Glebe Road.

    The process started, most likely, in 2000, when county staff organized the “Buckingham Charette” and the idea for improving pedestrian safety and designing common sense traffic patterns was discussed. The idea quickly became part of the Neighborhood Strategy Area Plan, written in 2000.

    In late 2002 and early 2003, the county was saying this project would be completed “by spring.” But county staff cited troubles working with the many people and businesses that own the property and buildings, troubles working with the slow-moving Virginia Department of Transportation, and concerns raised by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmarks Review Board.

    So much was slowed down that staff chose to cut sculptures from the project and instead limit the “arts portion” to etched-glass bus shelters.

    The irony of this is that in the intervening years, the property on that corner has risen in value, and the CVS and Glebe Market buildings will be torn down and rebuilt if current plans are executed. The new curb cuts and landscaping on the west side of N. Glebe Road are not consistent with the plans for the new buildings.

    Videos and images from yesterday’s event and some more history are a included as part of the following video. Links to stories covering this renovation appear below the video.

    Related stories from the HeraldTrib…

    On Construction:
  • Undergrouding the Utilities Begins (Sept. 13, 2006)
  • Progress Slow, and Underground, at Pershing/Glebe (Jan. 10, 2007)
  • Update: Power Blackout Not Caused by Underground Construction (Feb. 22, 2007)
  • This Should Be the Summer of a New Glebe and Pershing Intersection (May 23, 2007)
  • Board Approves Contract for Bham Intersection (Oct. 16, 2007)
  • Major Intersection Work to Begin Monday (Dec. 7, 2007)

  • On Art:
  • Art on the Four Corners (Nov. 13, 2007)
  • No Public Discussion on Art a "Slap in the Face." (Oct. 17, 2007)
  • Labels: , , , ,

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    HeraldTrib Today: May 21, 2008

    I’m back, sort of…

    Well, I’ve unburied myself, a bit, from the flood of two Mondays ago. I’m offering just a little update today, but will have more including the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony tomorrow (Thursday, 12:30) of the renovated intersection of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive. If you want to go, the ceremony starts near the Glebe Market.

    I’ll admit that I do like what I see when I walk or drive through that intersection.

    Make sure you scroll down to see the Lubber Run Beaver, and take time to name him/her/it.

    Lubber Run Center still not up for renovation…

    The county’s Capital Improvement Program, proposed about two weeks ago, focuses monies largely on immediate needs and programs already underway in the county, so the Lubber Run Community Center once again did not make the list of buildings to be rehabilitated.

    Saying “we still have work to finish,” County Manager Ron Carlee, told the county board the five-year CIP focuses on the $747 million to which the county has already committed. This includes 22 major capital projects and 33 neighborhood conservation projects.

    “That is a big capital program,” he said, adding later, “We’ve got to finish these big projects.”

    The CIP directs the county’s spending on major renovation projects for the next five years, and is funded largely by bonds. At the special meeting which outlined the 2009-2014 CIP, Mr. Carlee cited concerns that the county’s debt level on average would rise too high if they took on too much more debt to fund projects.

    Renovations to the Lubber Run Community Center, according to interviews with Recreation Manager Carol Hoover last fall, have almost been funded by the CIP in the past. The 1950s era center is no where near handicapped accessible, as the only accessible floor is the basement level. One must take stairs to get anywhere else in the building.

    Arlington Mill, Westover Library and Fire Station #3 are some of the ongoing projects that made the list.

    More on this another day.

    The Week’s Headlines…
    As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

    Today's Headlines:

  • Police Notes for Buckingham, May 21, 2008

  • Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Name the Lubber Run Beaver
  • Labels: , , ,

    Police Notes for Buckingham, May 21, 2008

    As there were no Police Notes last week, today’s covers the past two weeks. --ST

    May 11: Commercial Burglary, 300 block of N. Thomas St. and 4300 block of N. Henderson Rd. Between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., an unknown subject broke into two different laundry rooms and stole copper wiring/pipes. There is no suspect description.

    May 6: Robbery, 700 block of N. Glebe Rd. At 10:30 p.m., a man on the street was approached by a vehicle. The two men in the vehicle asked the man for a dollar, then took all of his cash when he pulled it from his pocket. The vehicle then drove off. The suspects are described as African-American males in their 20s. The vehicle was a dark-colored SUV.

    May 7, Stolen Auto, 500 block N. Edison St. License tag: VA KBF7142. The car is a 1991, blue Honda Civic.

    View Larger Map

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Name the Lubber Run Beaver

    With my astute powers of observation, I caught sight of a beaver in Lubber Run on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11. Many other people may have missed my dog shaking and jumping with alacrity at the water’s edge, her head bobbing and weaving with curiosity and warning, but not me. It’s those subtle clues that a lay-naturalist such as myself catches while others walk on.
    The Lubber Run beaver doing its dead-level-best to look like a log. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    The beaver “splooshed” in the water twice while I watched and followed it. I have looked since then and have not seen it, though the tracks I saw near where I spotted the beaver, look a little beaverish to me.

    I was unable to get ahold of Greg Zell, the Arlington County naturalist, today. He and I spoke of beavers for a story in April 2007. According to him then, the county lets the beavers live if they are not bothering people or facilities, but if the beaver does cause damage, the county will euthanize it. Virginia law says that it is illegal to relocate rodents. Beavers are the largest rodents in North America.

    For fun, before the poor thing gets the boot, I say we name the beaver. Put your two cents in on the Name the Lubber Run Beaver Survey. (Many thanks to my daughter Hazel for help in sample names.)

    Related stories and sites…

  • Sparrow Pond Deluxe (April 2007)
  • Beaver Tracks Images on the Web
  • Labels: ,

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    HeraldTrib Today: May 15, 2008

    Nothing says "clean the basement" like four inches of standing water. That's what we woke to Monday morning. I've been trying to get the carpet dry and keep the drywall from buckling since then. I'll be back next week.

    I checked the police notes, and there are a couple, but I'll get to them next week. Must go move the carpet around...

    Labels: ,

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    HeraldTrib Today: May 7, 2008

    I feel the earth, move, under my feet…

    This is just what it looked like from my basement.

    But the sky did not tumble down. Neither did my basement ceiling, thankfully, when the tremor hit at about 1:35 yesterday.

    The media are reporting 1.8 on the Richter Scale. It lasted maybe two seconds, just long enough to feel like some sort of explosion, so I did not immediately think I was living in a 1970s disaster movie. I figured the guys working on the building next to mine in Arlington Oaks had done something stupid.

    A second or two later, I wondered what they could have done that would have shaken the whole house. And answered myself: nothing.

    So I thought immediately of the huge crane on N. Pershing Drive, and wondered if something happened there, or if the men installing a sewer line on N. George Mason Drive had hit a gas line again, only this time with dire consequences.

    When nothing looked amiss outside, I forgot about the shakes until late yesterday when a DJ talked about it on the radio.

    Ahhhh, so that’s what it was.

    On a flying guitar, we can go anywhere…

    A painter rolls a fresh coat onto the amphitheatre. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Steve Songs, a great kids music performer, opens the Arts Al Fresco season at Lubber Run Amphitheatre this year, June 14. Workers have been giving the theatre a once-over all week.

    The list of events for the summer is posted at the county site (you can find it anytime, by looking under the “County Links” menu at right).

    The Metropolitan Chorus, Robyn’s Place (a WPFW Jazz simulcast), the Washington Balalaika Society, and many others, are regulars returning as part of this year’s events.

    Grab some popcorn for a couple classic movies, including Rain (1932) Starring Joan Crawford & Walter Huston (June 27), and Spiral Staircase (1946) starring Ethel Barrymore and Dorothy Malone (Aug. 1).

    Am I the only one who is wishing for an evening of educational videos? Let’s see nattily dressed youngsters telling each other how best to maintain personal hygiene or how home economics is best applied in the modern household. The county has not done that in a few years, and I say it is time to bring it back.

    While were on about Lubber Run, did you catch the fallen tree? It blocked the paved trail on Saturday May 3, fyi.

    The tree near the Lubber Run Park pavillion fell across the stream and onto the path at right. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Millions of peaches, peaches for free…

    The trees are full of peaches at the Arlington Assembly of God Church. The trees were planted about a half-decade ago. At the time Pastor Richard P. Neubauer told me the idea was that people walking by could grab a peach (there are other fruit trees, too) and go, if they were hungry. We’ll see if people or critters get them first.

    More to come…

    A couple longer stories in the pipeline. More to come next week. In the mean time, thank you for reading.

    The Week’s Headlines…
    As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

    Today's Headlines:

  • Police Notes for Buckingham, May 7, 2008

  • Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Kids Sing, Dance, Play Instruments (More fun than should be legal. Includes a video, if you missed the fun.)
  • Leadership Arlington Visits Bham
  • Labels: , ,

    Police Notes for Buckingham, May 7, 2008

    May 3: Obscene Sexual Display (Arrest), 200 block of N. Thomas St. At 9 p.m. an officer observed a male exposing himself. Jorge Sanches Hernandez, 23, of Arlington, was charged with Obscene Sexual Display and held on a $1000 bond.

    View Larger Map

    Labels: ,

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Kids Danced, Sang, Performed. (Fun Had By All!)

    Nothing brings out the video cameras like performing children. Last Thursday (May 1) was no exception as the K.W. Barrett Elementary Schoolers put together a great show under the direction of Mary-Hannah Klontz, the music teacher. Below is a two-minute video for those of you who missed the fun.

    Also on slate for the night was the Barrett PTA booksale, and school-wide, poster-style presentations of student writing.

    I must apologize, however, to the upper grades as they are not in the video. Organizers kicked parents out of the cafetorium after the K-2 performances, and by the time I got back to shoot some video, I heard, "Thank you and good night" and therefore had missed the performance of the third through fifth grades.

    I am sorry for that. What follows is two minutes of the younger children, including, I will admit, my daughter, sporting her Leather Tuscadero bangs.

    Labels: , ,

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Leadership Training Visits Bham

    AHC's Jennifer Endo with Leadership Arlington students (at right) and Buckingham Artist Ubaldo Sanchez (center, back). (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Members of Leadership Arlington, a training and networking program, visited Buckingham on Thursday, May 1, as part of a lesson on consensus building.

    They were scouting locations for a ficticious affordable housing complex to be built somewhere in the county. The rest of the Leadership Arlington class of 2008 visited other neighborhoods, and later in the day they got together to come to a consensus on which location to choose.

    The group met for a free lunch at Tuto Bene on N. Glebe Road and then went on a walking tour of the neighborhood including a stop in a Gates of Ballston apartment.

    Jennifer Endo, of AHC, Inc., which owns the Gates, and I took part in the free lunch. We met with Ubaldo Sanchez, an artist who lives in Buckingham Villages Apartments, and Connie Freeman of the Buckingham Community Outreach Center along the way.

    According to Suzanne Grant, a participant who helped organize the day, ultimately, two groups in Leadership Arlington chose the Columbia Heights West neighborhood for the housing complex, and three groups had Buckingham in the running. Ultimately, they could not get a consensus, Ms. Grant said in a subsequent interview.

    "The purpose was to experience the process of consensus building," she said, adding, "and how unrealistic it would be to do something like this in one day."

    According to their web site, "Leadership Arlington is a 10-month, tuition-based program that provides a forum for the business, nonprofit and public sectors to discuss the issues and opportunities facing Arlington, Virginia while enhancing personal and professional leadership skills."

    Related sites…
  • Leadership Arlington

    Labels: , , , , ,

  • Thursday, May 01, 2008

    HeraldTrib Today: April 30, 2008

    Top stories…

    Two big stories top the news this week: School Board candidates answered a survey by the HeraldTrib just in time for the elections later this week (Terron Sims got his response in earlier today. I'll post it tomorrow morning. --ST). The county jail, on a daily basis, has 75 to 90 inmates who are being held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Most are from elsewhere, but Arlington holds its own, too. [Mr. Sims' response has been posted, May 1. --ST] (Scroll down for the links.)

    The jails are holding more than you know…

    Arlington made a big splash late last year with a resolution stating that the county would follow all state and federal laws regarding immigration, but was still immigrant friendly while other Virginia counties were cracking down on illegals.

    At the time, the county said that our police department would not be tracking down illegal aliens and asking about citizenship for every minor offense. What is less known is that under certain circumstances, the police will ask.

    In fact the sheriff’s department must, by state law, ask about citizenry every time they book someone in their system. See the link to the story, below.

    Tammany Hall?...

    I have no plans to endorse a candidate in the school board race. I really have no plans to vote later this week when the Democratic party “endorses” its candidate. (I might change my mind, but we'll see.)

    But I thought it was important to get the views of school board candidates, so that’s what I did (see their responses to the HeraldTrib survey, below).

    Since political parties cannot nominate individuals to run for school board, they can only “endorse.” They do this by holding elections, open to everyone, and whoever gets the most votes (this year it is the top two vote-getters) wins the “endorsement.”

    What stinks is that anyone who wants a shot at the “endorsement” must sign a statement saying that they will not continue to run if they lose the “endorsement.” It is a silly system both that the state will not allow a party to nominate and that the Democratic leadership plays along.

    The winner of this election goes on to win in November, generally, since most of the field has been cleared out by the idiotic statement they signed. (The last question in the survey asked if any of the people planned to continue running if they lost—I was hopeful that one of them would write, “Hell Yeah!” but of course that did not happen).

    I do not like the Tammany Hall feeling of the process. It’s an endorsement, or it is supposed to be. I believe it was yesterday that the governor of North Carolina endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. With his endorsement he did not say, “Now Obama MUST exit the race.” An endorsement should not carry that kind of weight.

    Face it, the person who gets endorsed most likely will win, even if everyone could stay in the race (though I am sure some would bow out). Let the process run.

    When a sender’s reach exceeds his grasp…

    I have been meaning to report on this just a bit. You’ll notice Delancie has left the Arlington Oaks truck and is depositing mail in the box outside the El Paso Cafè.

    A few astute readers have told me (and I believe it even came up at the Buckingham Center forum a couple weeks back) that the mailbox is too far from the curb!

    It would have been just far enough to be a good practical joke if it weren’t permanent. Readers have told me they cannot reach the slot from their drivers' seats.

    Normally I say, “Get out and walk for Pete’s sake, it won’t kill ya.” Yet the entire point of this box is that it keeps people from having to walk up to it. With luck, crews will move the box.

    The Week’s Headlines…
    As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

    Today's Headlines:

  • County Jail Holds Detainees for ICE
  • Police Notes for Buckingham

  • Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • School Board Candidates Answer Surveys
  • Labels: , , , , , ,

    Terron Sims

    The following are the responses school board candidate Terron Sims ( gave to the HeraldTrib's survey. –ST

    Question 1: Little was changed after last year's process to alleviate overcrowding in a few north Arlington elementary schools. Many parents were angry that county-wide programs at Arlington Traditional School and Drew Model School were removed from the charge that the Elementary Crowding and Capacity Committee considered when looking for solutions to overcrowding. The school board has pledged to continue the process of looking at capacity issues.

    Will the school board have to consider admissions priorities or moving/relocating ATS and Drew while looking at overcrowding issues in the coming year or two, why or why not?

    It is possible that the school board would have to consider admission policies or relocating ATS and the Montessori program in order to handle the northern Arlington overcrowding issue, but I would not make an off the cuff decision to say Yes or No to such an action without studying all of the facts and data surrounding our school population.

    I have stated in several debates and interviews that I would reform the boundary committee, but make it much smaller (no more than 11 persons). Based upon the school board's criteria, the committee would generate 3-5 solutions, using its own utility, brief the solutions to the effected PTAs, and then to the board. Upon the briefing, the board will make a decide upon one of the 5 suggested actions.

    Question 2: What specific initiatives would you develop or enhance to ensure capital projects stay on time and at—or under—budget?

    Based upon the timeline from formulation of the project to project completion, I would place oversight to ensure that APS is working with as close to real dollars as possible. What I do not want to see is a 2009 prjection for a 2020 project. That is too far out and disables us from properly estimating the costs of a project.

    Question 3: Most of you have on your web site, in one form or another, concerns with the "achievement gap" between whites and minorities in the schools. Please consider the achievement gap in terms of a budgeting priority. Of the money that the school board controls (i.e., not "entitlement" monies from the state or federal government that must go toward specific programs), which program would you defend as having the highest priority in a shrinking budget and why?

    Money is not always the answer. My two means of eliminating the achievement is vry cost effective: The Parent Outreach Program (P.O.P.) and the official partnership with the local Chambers of Commerce.

    For P.O.P., I would use the Carlin Springs model where all of its funding came from grants and donations from local businesses. I plan to impart the same methodology for all of the schools that need the program. The partnership with the local Chambers comes free of charge. Their proffessionally mentoring our students will not cost APS.

    Question 4: Democrats will endorse only two of you on May 1 and 3. If you are one of the four not endorsed, will you stay in the race? If so, what is your strategy beyond that date, given the strength conferred with the endorsement to the two winners?

    If I happen to not gain the Democratic endorsement, I will not continue to run. I am a member of the Democratic Party and thus, will support my party throughout the remainder of the election cycle. At the same time, I will remain active in the community: volunteering my time to help our kids. That is what I have always done and what I will continue to do: win or lose.

    Labels: , , , ,

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?