It’s been a rough week on the Arlington civic-leadership front.

First, longtime leader Lucy Denney died, and now news arrives that Carrie Johnson died on May 6.

Through the years, Johnson took on a host of hot-button issues, from schools to parks, often at the behest of county-government officials who wanted a fair but firm voice leading or facilitating the discussion. She also was the “list lady” for the Arlington County Democratic Committee, maintaining and dissecting election data in ways that were always useful and illuminating.

Last month, Johnson spoke at the public-comment period of the Arlington County Board meeting, concerned about Virginia Department of Transportation-mandated limitations being put on turning left from Arlington Boulevard onto Irving Street.

(She came armed with suggestions to improve the situation, not the counterproductive my-way-or-the-highway approach that less seasoned civic activists sometimes adopt.)

Not being aware that there was any thing amiss with her health, I followed up with her by email to tell her I’d put something together on the issue. I got a note of thanks and was playfully chided that my missive to her had used “Route 50” rather than “Arlington Boulevard.” As Carrie correctly noted, Route 50 runs from Maryland to California, but Arlington Boulevard has a much more specific connotation. Use the latter, she suggested. (I did.)

As with the death of Lucy Denney, the death of Carrie Johnson not only removes from the scene a person with an extraordinary depth and breadth of talents, but also someone with a great deal of institutional memory about Arlington. Sad all the way around.

Even the Most Respectable of Newscasts Can Go Over the Top

Yours truly yesterday was watching the early-morning local news on WRC-TV, anchored by Aaron Gilchrist and Screamin’ Eun Yang, who is great but occasionally needs to be reminded that she’s wearing a microphone and does not need to yell the news to us.

The station featured, as most stations these days do, some Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreaking Newzzzzzzzzzzz to kick off the 6 a.m. hour. “A Southwest Airlines plane has crashed on the tarmac at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport,” one of the anchors said (to the best of my recollection).

Well, that’s something to get your attention at an early hour.

Turns out, the crash was between the plane, trying to squeeze into its gate area, and a pickup truck operated by someone at the airport field. A fender-bender, really.

A little damage, a little inconvenience to the passengers (who, as expected in this me-me-me world we live in, went on social media to complain) but not a whole lot to get crazy about. And certainly not a “crash,” at least not in the commonly accepted usage of the word when talking about airplanes.

WRC is the last bastion of morning news broadcasts in the area that hasn’t completely given in to happy talk and tomfoolery. The station still has some gravitas. No need to dent it (much like the Southwest jet) by overdramatizing something like this.

– Scott

(2) comments


Too bad about Ms. Johnson.

I now understand why almost all the political news published in this blog is about Democrats. Because those are by far the majority of the political activists Mr. McCaffrey communicates with.


I am sad about anyone's death. But she was a "Smart Growth" Booster for decades who was appointed to mix-use redevelop and massively in-fill a dozen or more historic Arlington neighborhoods while keeping her own (Ashton Heights) neighborhood completely free of "Smart Growth".

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