Editor: As a parent of a student who had hoped to attend H-B Woodlawn Secondary program as a ninth-grader but was put on the waiting list at No. 71 (read: “no chance”), I feel that I need to address a comment by Mary Byrne which was published in a recent Sun Gazette.
Editor: Arlington likes to tout itself as a progressive community concerned about sustainability. But any measures Arlington takes toward becoming more sustainable are absolutely futile unless the county decides to realistically address Arlington’s housing crisis – I am referring to the nature of new construction undertaken in Arlington in the last decade, specifically, the nature of the single-family homes being built.
Editor: As elected representatives of our community, the County Board and School Board have the duty to act responsibly with our tax dollars. They did this when they created the new Reed School-Westover Branch Library in 2009.
Editor: As a Long Branch Elementary School parent who would see my own children and neighbors currently in a walk zone to Thomas Thomas Jefferson Middle School bused to a middle school on the Wilson School site, I strongly disagree with your recent editorial endorsing a Wilson school.
Editor: I am disappointed by the editorial in the Nov. 6 Sun Gazette regarding where to put a new middle school – not because the opinion differs from my community’s desire to return Stratford to our neighborhood middle school, but because it ignores key, publicly available facts. All of these facts make it evident that Wilson is a poor choice for a neighborhood middle school.
Editor: We have joined together, asking the School Board for action during the current capital-improvement process both to address needed change at, and to open up capacity in the vicinity of, Drew School.
Editor: The recent post-election headline “Vihstadt Thumps Howze Yet Again” was a disappointment. The article it goes on to describe Howze as “pummeled mercilessly,” as if a boxing match or football game were being described.
It gives us little joy to pour salt in the wounds of a political party – be it Democratic or Republican – that has felt the wrath of the public at the polls. But there are some truths that must be told in the wake of last week’s stunning County Board victory by John Vihstadt over Democrat Alan Howze.
Editor: The election is over, and here’s a message from all Arlington residents to county and school officials: You do NOT have a blank check to run the county or schools. We are not cash cows and will not fund a crony, non-transparent government.
Editor: According to the Nov. 7 Washington Post, Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Kip Malinosky “said that some voters may have mistakenly thought that [John] Vihstadt was a Democrat because his literature prominently featured endorsements from several members of the party and because he presented himself as a ‘fusion’ candidate.”
Editor: Hans Bauman’s recent letter recommending that the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program community “seize the moment” and accept a move as a “transformative opportunity,” even though change “kinda hurts,” misses the point entirely.
Editor: John Vihstadt won re-election to the County Board on a platform that called for focusing on “needs” rather than “wants.” Two days later, Arlington Public Schools released updated enrollment projections that showed a dramatic increase in those needs.
Editor: As a proud H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program graduate and engaged Arlington Public Schools parent, I urge the H-B Woodlawn community to reconsider its stance regarding a potential move to the Wilson site.
Editor: Oct. 30 marks the 5th anniversary of the county government’s $22.5 million renovation to the Reed School in the Westover neighborhood. But as Westover residents celebrate this beautiful new building that plays a central role in our community, we now wonder whether the School Board and the County Board will repurpose this facility – at a high cost to taxpayers and families in Westover and throughout the county – in order to house the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program.
Editor: The anti-streetcar group has made many claims when comparing bus rapid transit to the Arlington-Fairfax streetcar system that will run on Columbia Pike. One of the most repeated is how studies show that BRT brings the same investment as the streetcar at a cheaper cost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.