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Arlington Sun Gazette editorial: Search for perfect School Board member is elusive

Arlington is blessed with a nearly flawless candidate for the School Board seat being vacated after two terms by Sally Baird. But there is a catch.

Recent Headlines

Letter: Time for Arlington to stand up against ruling clique

Editor: Arrogance is wasting $1 million on a bus stop and operating the Artisphere with major losses every year. Arrogance is saying the streetcar initially would cost one-third what the final cost will be. Arrogance is overtaxing to build up a surplus of more than $200 million in government coffers and then not returning the surplus to taxpayers – especially to retired people on fixed incomes. Arrogance is knowingly building a bikeshare program that will run a $700,000 deficit by 2018.

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Letter: Residents are right in opposing APS proposal on Reed School site

Editor: I oppose any plan to move the H-B  Woodlawn Secondary Program to the Reed School site. In fact, the four civic associations surrounding the Reed School strongly oppose moving the program to Reed. The overwhelming majority of 602 surveyed respondents in the community – 82 percent – oppose any such move.   

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Letter: Use Wilson School site for Arlington middle school

Editor: The plan to create a purpose-built middle school at the Wilson site to help address the capacity crisis is the most practical, fiscally responsible and most beneficial to preserving the quality of life in Arlington we as voters have come to appreciate.

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Letter: Putting new H-B Woodlawn on Reed site is impractical

Editor: The school system’s proposed plan to locate a new H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program on the current Reed School site is a mistake.

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Letter: Advocates for Arlington parks, schools, housing need to work together

Editor: I am one of the people who helped to collect 10,300-plus signatures on the petitions by Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) for more affordable housing, potentially including housing on county-owned land.

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Letter: Vihstadt is the candidate of community engagement

Editor: I want you to know that as a lifelong Democrat, I am voting for John Vihstadt for County Board on Nov. 4.

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Letter: Howze not telling whole truth in discussing housing

Editor: County Board candidates Alan Howze and John Vihstadt used the Cherrydale Civic Association candidate forum to make the crowd-pleasing statement that existing park space ought not be converted to affordable housing nor schools.  

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Letter: Arlington needs a time-out from population growth

Editor: This is in response to the proposal but some affordable-housing proponents to replace the existing Cherrydale Library.

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Letter: Vihstadt campaign proffers misleading information

Editor: John Vihstadt is misleading voters about county-government spending in his campaign for re-election to the County Board.

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Letter: Vote your pocketbook in Arlington County Board race

Editor: The trolley and aquatic-center projects have no real demand. The costs over their lifetimes will approach a billion dollars, given overruns and maintenance. Taxpayer dollars (increased residential real estate taxes) will rob real demands for these public funds.

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Letter: Howze is the Arlington candidate looking to the future

Editor: While there are several important elections on the ballot in November, none might be more important than County Board. After all, local offices often have the greatest effect on our day to day lives. Do the schools have enough space for my kids? Who is going to fix this pothole or make sure the Metro isn’t delayed?

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Letter: D.C. missteps provide clues to what streetcar has in store for Arlington

Editor: The Washington Post on Oct. 23 presented the reality of the District of Columbia’s streetcar launch.  

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Letter: D.C. streetcar debut is a lesson of what is in store for Arlington

Editor: I nominate for quote of the day one from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, quoted in The Washington Post, on the traffic slowdowns due to the H Street streetcar. “I don’t know that it hurts to slow people down in some instances,” the mayor said.

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Letter: Questions still proliferate on streetcar issue

Editor: As the streetcar discussion continues devolving, I read with dismay as local Arlington politics appear more like our dysfunctional national political discourse, rather than a civilized debate in which both sides present the facts supporting their positions, allowing the undecided to take a truly educated position.

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Letter: Va. voter-ID rules not subject to DOJ review

Editor: A recent Sun Gazette the article about the number of free Virginia voter photo IDs issued by the Arlington registrar mentioned that the Department of Justice had approved the legislation requiring Virginia voters to provide one of a number of specific types of photo identification in order to cast a ballot.   

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Letter: It is teachers, not budgets or buildings, that turn out good students

Editor: Take a moment to look at history for a little perspective.

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Arlington Sun Gazette endorsement: Vihstadt for County Board

After the wild, at times exhilarating special election for County Board in the spring, it’s perhaps inevitable that the rematch between independent John Vihstadt and Democrat Alan Howze would be something of a letdown.

Comments (3)
Letter: Arlington school leaders rushing too fact to address crowding

Editor: Arlington Public Schools is in a frenzied quest to find 1,300 middle-school seats, and I was dismayed to learn that one option being considered is moving the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program to the site occupied by the Reed School and Westover Library, to make way for a new middle school.

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Letter: Arlington school officials not doing due diligence in finding extra capacity

Editor: I want to register as strongly as possible my dismay with the School Board and its decision-making process.

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Letter: Civic Federation committee position on Public Lands proposal misstates reality

Editor: We are saddened by reports that an Arlington County Civic Federation committee is attempting to defeat a proposal to study potential public sites for affordable housing by trying to whip up public sentiment against outsiders moving into Arlington.

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Letter: County Board candidates pandering to loudest voices in the crowd

Editor: With their comments at the recent Cherrydale Citizens Association candidates’ debate, Alan Howze and John Vihstadt turned this voter into one who will not vote in the County Board election in November. Neither candidate evidences the leadership this county so desperately needs.

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Letter: Howze policies will help young professionals stay in county

Editor: As young professionals entering our 30s, my wife and I have an important decision weighing on our mind: do we start a family in Arlington, or should we settle somewhere farther out?

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Letter: Howze is the candidate with can-do spirit for Arlington

Editor: I grew up a few miles from Arlington, and when I moved back to the area a few years ago, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. Like so many other young people, I chose Arlington for all that it has to offer: ideal proximity, plentiful transit, an abundance of parks and trails, and great restaurants and nightlife.

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Letter: Howze has right economic plan to keep county moving

Editor: As young professionals entering our 30s, my wife and I have an important decision weighing on our mind: do we start a family in Arlington, or should we settle somewhere farther out?

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Letter: Vihstadt has long-term vision to keep Arlington strong

Editor: I am a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for any but my party’s nominee, but this year I am supporting John Vihstadt for re-election to the County Board.  

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Letter: Vihstadt has proven his worth, deserves re-election

Editor: Loyalists of the Arlington Democratic Party – like Paul Ferguson – hope to maintain their tight grip on county government by repeating their political mantra, paraphrased briefly as: “Trust us, vote for us, everything’s great, we’re the experts, move along, move along.”

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Letter: It is Vihstadt, not Howze, who champions education

Editor: We hear from County Board candidate Alan Howze that, because he has children in elementary school, he is more committed to Arlington schools than John Vihstadt.  When comparing the records and experience, though, it is clear that Vihstadt is committed to our schools through his record of involvement.

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Letter: Campaign-sign-swiping not worthy of Arlington

Editor: On Oct. 6, I posted four signs supporting the candidacy of Alan Howze for County Board. These signs were lawfully placed on public property near the intersection of Old Glebe and Military roads.

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Letter: Campaign signs in medians are worse than a nuisance

Editor: Who actually is influenced by the dozens of political signs in median strips? What I feel is anger when I have to inch my car dangerously into traffic to look around the signs to cross an intersection safely. Dangerous to me, my passengers, bikers, pedestrians, schoolchildren and roadway-maintenance workers.

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Letter: Arlington is in desperate need of more planning staff

Editor: I keep having the same discussion with other residents: A comprehensive approach to site analysis across all county sites is sorely needed to address our school-capacity crisis.

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Letter: Streetcar advocates confuse planning with reality

Editor: Inta Malis, Reid Goldstein, Takis Karantonis, Nina Janopaul, Kathleen McSweeney and Dave Leibson [Letters, Oct. 2] assert that the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan and presumably the building of a trolley on Columbia Pike will be a “net plus for housing,” and criticize the Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit ad indicating the trolley will raise rents on 9,700 households by 10 percent.

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Letter: Westover will not stand for latest Arlington school proposal

Editor: I’ve lived in Westover for a few months shy of 30 years. I love Arlington County and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the Washington area. So it pains me to say that our local government is veering out of control.

Comments (6)
Letter: Considering changes to Reed School is outrageous

Editor: Arlington Public Schools is looking to add 1,300 middle-school seats to the pool in the next few years. Many APS facilities badly need refurbishment, but, bizarrely, one of the options being considered is shoving H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program into a new facility at the Reed School in Westover, to free up the current H-B Woodlawn site for development.   

Comments (1)
Arlington Sun Gazette endorsement: County bond referendums

Arlington voters sometime see county bonds as “free money,” lulled into a sense of security by the county government’s soothing mantra of “It’s OK; we have AAA bond ratings so there’s no problem piling on more debt.”

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Letter: All options should be on the table with Pike transit

Editor: While we are grateful for the work done by some of our fellow residents who participated in development of the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan, we are disappointed that streetcar advocates misstate the implications of the County Board’s own documents in their letter to the editor [“Columbia Pike Plan a Net Plus for Housing,” Oct. 2].

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Letter: Still time to explore all options for Pike transit

Editor: John Snyder’s recent response to the letter about the Columbia Pike streetcar by Sam Zimmerman and Robert Dunphy contains a number of assertions that can and have been debated often.

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Letter: NIMBYism will not solve Arlington school-capacity crisis

Editor: It was disappointing to see a rant by William Johnson published in the Sun Gazette.

Comments (2)
Sun Gazette endorsement: Beyer in 8th District congressional race

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran’s decision to retire opened up both opportunities and challenges for the 8th District Democratic establishment. The party rose to the challenge.

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Letter: Vihstadt is bobbing, weaving on affordable-housing issue

Editor: Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt’s position on affordable housing in Arlington is most perplexing. He appears to be both “for” and “not for” affordable housing.

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Letter: Beyer is right choice for 8th District

Editor: It’s rare to have anyone running for Congress with as much political, community-service and business experience as Don Beyer.

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Letter: Developers need incentives, like streetcar, to preserve affordable housing

Editor: Ludicrous. This is the only word to describe the “Sensible Streetcar” ad in the Sept. 18 Sun Gazette, wherein it was claimed that rents on the Pike would be raised by 10 percent and that the county would raze five properties – in which it has not only invested millions, but which are secured by state and federal tax-credit covenants for 30 years and county covenants extending to 60 and in some cases 75 years.

Comments (1)
Letter: Want to preserve affordable housing? Streetcar is best option

Editor: The recent letter by Sam Zimmerman and Robert Dunphy claims to rebut “myths” about the streetcar project, but instead misrepresents fundamental facts. When people understand the facts, they understand why Arlington needs the streetcar project.    

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Letter: Streetcar plan will enhance, not cut, amount of affordable housing

Editor: We were surprised to see the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan and its affordable housing goals grossly misrepresented in a full-page ad by the Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit in the Sept. 18 Sun Gazette.

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Letter: Foust proves most thoughtful candidate in 10th District

Editor: In the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce debate, Barbara Comstock’s lame excuses for voting against the historic, bipartisan transportation bill last year would be laughable if she weren’t a candidate for Congress.

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Arlington Sun Gazette Highs & Lows, 9/25/14 edition

The Arlington Sun Gazette's editorial page view on the local scene.

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Letter: Arlington school spending is fiscally irresponsible

Editor: Do the 82 percent of households in Arlington that do not use the public schools favor spending $95,000 per seat, or more than $2 million per classroom, on a $383 million expansion to add 4,002 seats?

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Letter: Not all streetcar designs are created equal

Editor: Why do pro and con streetcar factions in Arlington continually fail to distinguish between basic streetcar designs?

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Letter: Spend some time educating yourself about streetcar

Editor: Hopefully the rest of Arlington did not miss the irony of a rebuttal letter to my “call to action” concerning the proposed streetcar. I asked that Arlingtonians seek out evidence on the usefulness of a streetcar.

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Letter: Consider naming new elementary school after Bozman

Editor: A committee has been chosen to name the new elementary school that will share the campus of Williamsburg Middle School. While suggestions for the name have been made, none really seem appropriate.

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