• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm at the Community Room of the Arlington County Fire Station 2 Ballston, 4805 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA 22203

February 14, 2018

Greens support more housing (rental) grants for low income Arlington residents

Affordable Housing — @ 5:43 pm

Arlington Greens adopted a resolution at their February 2018 meeting calling on the Arlington County Board to provide more funding in FY 2019 for low income housing (rental) grants to the lowest income Arlington residents.

Today there are 15,000 Arlington renter households earning under 50-percent AMI, most of whom receive no housing assistance in any form. Housing rental grants are the county’s single most effective housing assistance program. A recent HUD study found that housing grants in the United States were 72 percent less expensive than building new subsidized apartments called CAFs.

In 2018, the county was only able to help 276 new households with a new expensive committed affordable unit (CAF) which is 354 households short of the county affordable housing goal, and short 1,000 over the past 3 years. CAFs are just too expensive to be affordable and numerous.

Greens support funding 750 more housing grants of $300 per month to help the lowest income Arlington renters (those earning less than 40 percent of the area median income (AMI)). The cost of $3 million a year can be obtained by shifting funds from the real estate tax relief (RETR) program for affluent homeowners by changing their tax relief from tax exemption to tax deferral.

In FY 2018, the county spent $9.2 million for housing grants for 1,249 households—a quarter of whom are families with a child, about half are disabled persons, and a quarter, seniors over 65. The average beneficiary family earned $27,000, and a disabled person or senior over 65 earned about $14,000 a year. Their total assets must be less than $35,000 and an income below $33,000 for a single person.

The real estate tax relief program in FY 2018 spent $4.4 million for tax exemption or tax deferral of property taxes to benefit 932 households (each receiving an average $4,700 benefit) of seniors and disabled persons who can earn up to $100,000 a year (130 percent AMI for a single person), and can have personal assets up to $540,000, in addition to their residence.

These property owners should be granted tax deferral of their property taxes rather than tax exemption. These property owners would pay no real estate tax until the property is sold. There is no financial burden on the household, and our rising property values insure that even these deferred taxes will be paid without a net cost to property owner in the future

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January 25, 2018

Greens meet on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 7:30 PM at Ballston Firehouse Community Room

Events,green meetings — @ 11:56 am

Arlington Greens will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 PM at the Community Room of the Ballston Firehouse located at N. George Mason Drive and Wilson Boulevard. The public is invited to attend, but only members may vote.

Topics:

Westover Historic preservation of garden apartments

Housing conservation district zoning (HCD) to preserve affordable apartments

Divestment of Arlington County funds from Wells Fargo and other pipeline financing banks

Election of 2018 officers (chairperson and treasurer)

Ranked choice voting procedure

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December 22, 2017

Arlington County Blocks Historic Preservation of Older Neighborhoods in a Bow to the Developers

Arlington County Blocks Historic Preservation of Older Neighborhoods in a Bow to the Developers

On December 19, 2017, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to eliminate the right of all Arlington citizens to nominate a neighborhood or group of buildings for consideration for local historic preservation. The Board bowed to pressure from investors and developers seeking to profit by bulldozing older apartments and detached houses in Arlington. County staff are angered that Arlington citizens have asked for protection of local historic districts and buildings, particularly in Westover, and wanted to effectively block citizens from petitioning the local government to protect whole neighborhoods or apartment complexes like Westover Village.

Under the new county rules, only civic associations, condo boards or homeowner associations may ask for historic preservation for multiple properties or a homeowner who obtains at least 25 percent of other property owners’ permission. Tenants have no rights at all.

In the past, only a few civic associations have ever asked for historic preservation and often have opposed it owing to developers and investors greed in demolition. Tenant associations and historic groups can no longer petition for historic status. The first neighborhood protected in Arlington was the Colonial Village in 1980 with a petition from the tenants association. Colonial Village today is a mix of lower income and moderate income tenants and condo associations living in a garden-like area with mature trees, green space, adjacent to the Courthouse Metro.

The latest government elimination of citizens’ rights to petition their local government resulted from the Arlington Greens and local tenants asking for historic protection of Westover Village apartment buildings in 2016. An investor has already demolished nearly 100 apartment units that were moderate income rentals, and built luxury townhouses costing over $800,000 for rich people. There are another over 300 units at risk of demolition. The Westover Village was designated as a national historic district in 2006, owing to its distinct WWII architecture and style from the 1940s.

The county board on a unanimous vote showed its true colors: protect developers, investors and absentee property owners to the neglect of tenants, neighbors, and historians. Dollars trump human rights to affordable housing and preserved older neighborhoods.

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October 31, 2017

Why do Subsidized Apartments in Arlington Cost so Much?

Affordable Housing — @ 4:13 pm

Arlington Greens have been complaining for the past 4-5 years about the exorbinant cost of the subsidized “affordable housing” apartments (“committed affordable units” or CAFs) which have been averaging about $400,000 each in actual construction costs. For example, the APAH project at the former Arlington Presbyterian Church site now being constructed close to Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road entails about 173 units (about 60 percent of the units (105) are studio or one-bedroom units) and cost $400,000 per unit. Arlington County Government is providing about $18 million total or $100,000 per unit in subsidy.

Why does it cost a nonprofit housing developer (APAH) $400,000 per unit to build these subsidized units? The government, both the county and the Federal Government HUD, are providing roughly $300,000 in subsidies per unit. The church supposedly sold its land for under-market value; the nonprofit does not earn profits. Yet, these units the majority of which are studio or one bedrooms cost $400,000.

Just about 1/2 mile south of this new project which will probably take another year or more to complete, is the for-profit Trafalgar Flats Apartments that are nearly complete. These condo apartments are listed for sales “starting at the low $200,000s,” for a studio or junior one bedroom apartment http://trafalgarflats.com/

Apparently the for-profit developer is able to sell units for below $300,000 and still make a good profit. How can a for profit developer put up luxury apartments in the same area of Arlington for $100,000 per unit less than a subsidized nonprofit developer?

The answer is of course competition: there was no competitive bidding for the $18 million in county funds.

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August 22, 2017

Arlington Greens at Arlington County Fair in August

Arlington Greens had a booth at the 2017 Arlington County Fair Aug. 18-20, 2017, and promoted Green Party membership and as well the candidacy of Charles McCullough, an independent candidate for Arlington County Board in November 2017 election. Arlington Greens endorsed Charles for the county board this year.

Greens shared the booth with Charles this year and had an opportunity to meet many Arlington residents and old community friends again.

Kirit Mookerjee at our booth

Charles McCullough and Green Steve Davis

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August 15, 2017

Hate Groups not welcome in Charlottesville — Or in Virginia, Virginia Greens Say

peace,racial justice — @ 1:47 pm

RICHMOND, VA- Hundreds of haters will gather in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, and the Green Party of Virginia joins with millions of our citizens in proclaiming that there is no place for them in our commonwealth. They represent what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members,” rallying under the banner “Unite the Right.”

Committed to a false notion of racial identity, these groups seek to stimulate and legitimize racist stereotypes, and to promote discrimination and worse against their fellow Americans under a white-supremacist banner. At a time when ethnic minorities, especially Black and Arab Americans, must live in constant fear of racially-motivated violence, it is intolerable that demagogues and race-baiters should exploit the hardships felt by all working Americans to increase racial tension. We call upon all Virginians and especially all of our elected leaders, to publicly denounce the Unite the Right gathering.

A much smaller gathering in Charlottesville in May erupted in violence, and cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in police and other costs. Saturday’s rally is set to be many times larger, and is expected to draw a correspondingly larger number of counter-protesters. The likelihood that this will overwhelm the city’s police, even with help from the state police, greatly increases the potential for violence and civil disorder. Such an outcome would serve no one’s interests but that of the hate groups themselves.

While the GPVA honors the rights and the legitimate moral outrage of those who will stand up to the Unite the Right rally in a counter-protest, we urge our members and any others planning to counter-protest to faithfully model the ideals of non-violence and democracy. As champions of racial and social justice, we must not only say what is wrong about the rally, but also show by our deeds what genuine activism looks like. GPVA cochair B. Sidney Smith said, “It is occasions like this that test our commitment to our ideals. Let the world see that Americans will give no energy to fascist or racist or supremacist movements. Hate longs for confrontation, especially violent confrontation. What we must offer instead is our solidarity, our commitment to justice, and our silent contempt for those who would divide us.”

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Additional information on the Green Party of Virginia (GPVA) can be found at: http://vagreenparty.org/

Additional information on the Green Party of the United States can be found at: http://www.gp.org

Contact GPVA Press Secretary Tim Cotton
(540) 219-3599
press.gpva@gmail.com
press@vagreenparty.org

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July 15, 2017

Arlington can only reduce its green house gas emissions if the Virginia State Board toughens Virginia building standards and codes

Development,environment — @ 2:00 pm

The Arlington County Board in 2013 adopted a Community Energy Plan (CEP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Arlington by 75 percent within roughly 30 years, but the recommended policy measures were never put into effect. Nearly 80 percent of Arlington GHG comes from buildings, and therefore, the first CEP goal was to tighten building codes for new and remodeled buildings, This never occurred as these codes are set by a Virginia statewide board that has refused to tighten energy standards on new construction. The second goal of the Arlington plan was a district energy plan of co-generation power plants and that never into practice owing to opposition from private companies including Dominion Power.

Somewhat paradoxically, GHG in Arlington did decline by about 18 percent, according to the county, during 2007-15 because Dominion Power used more natural gas and less coal to produce electricity, and because of about one-fifth of Arlington office space becoming vacant, thus cutting energy use in commerce. However, residential use of energy in Arlington rose as larger and more energy inefficient homes and apartments were built, and as the population rose by 14 percent during 2000-15.

Arlington County cannot require builders to meet tighter building standards but rather depends on the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development’s building code. The CEP indicated in 2013 that if this state board adopted a tougher International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in Virginia, then Arlington building efficiency would rise about 30 percent. The state board never tightened the code.

Now in 2017, the state board is considering the adoption of the 2015 IECC that would likely mean an energy savings of slightly considerably over 30 percent above the current weaker version of the 2012 code.

It is therefore imperative that Arlington obtain adoption of the full 2015 IECC that would mean that new buildings would likely be about 30 more efficient per square foot than currently.

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July 12, 2017

Arlington’s use of electricity continues to rise as Arlington Community Energy Plan goes unfulfilled

Development,environment — @ 3:38 pm

In early June 2017, the Arlington County Board pledged adherence to the Paris Accord on Climate Change (despite president Trump’s withdrawal), and indicated that the Arlington 2013 Community Energy Plan (CEP) goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Arlington by 75 percent within roughly 30 years would make the Paris accord possible in the county. Unfortunately, the Arlington County Board adopted the CEP four years ago in 2013, but never implemented the main policy measures to meet the goals set in the plan, and energy use–mainly electricity continues to rise.

Energy use in Arlington, particularly of electricity, has continued to increase over the past 17 years, and there has been no paradigm shift to energy-savings building design particularly in the new and larger houses. Energy use in residential and commercial buildings accounted for about 79 percent of Arlington GHG in recent years (transportation for the remainder). Since 2000, total electricity use in Arlington rose by 14 percent led by a 45-percent rise in residential use, according to utility data provided by Arlington County. Commercial use of electricity peaked in 2007, and declined by 11 percent during 2007-15 as about 20-percent of office space became empty, and the recession took hold.

Higher residential use of electricity and natural gas can be traced to about 14-percent more Arlington residents, and tear downs of older detached houses and replacement by larger wasteful McMansions. Larger square footage in a home is directly related to energy use unless extraordinary energy-savings technology is introduced. The residential population in Arlington rose by about 14 percent to 216 million during 2000-15.

Total use of natural gas in Arlington did fall about 28 percent during 2000-15 as commercial buildings used much less, but natural gas use in residences rose by 4 percent during 2000-15. Warmer winter temperatures have curbed natural gas use for heating, and the nearly 20-percent office vacancy rate in 2015 reduced the need to heat offices. However, as vacant office space is rented in the future, energy use in commerce will rise.

The county government has failed to bring into effect the two main goals set in the 2013 Community Energy Plan–much tighter new building standards and co-generation of electricity. Without these measures, the county will never be able to reach the goal of a 75-percent reduction in carbon emissions in the county.

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June 26, 2017

Arlington Greens Endorse Charles McCullough for Arlington County Board

political campaigns — @ 4:11 pm

Arlington Greens voted at their May 31 meeting to endorse Charles McCullough for Arlington County Board election to be held in November of this year. Charles is an independent candidate who has lived in Arlington for 10 years and a resident of Pentagon City.
He is an experienced attorney who has worked extensively in education policy, equal employment opportunity, and credit unions. He served on the Arlington Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a number of years as well as involved with public schools in south Arlington.

AGP chair John Reeder said that Charles is a young, progressive who will bring new ideas to the Arlington County Board. Arlington Greens endorsed independent John Vihstadt three years ago who won election to the Arlington County Board.

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May 4, 2017

AGP donates $150 to help Syrian refugees in Northern Virginia

Events,peace — @ 4:43 pm

AGP donors and supporters donated $150 at the community screening of Salam Neighbor (almost 50 attendees!) to help Syrian refugees. The AGP will donate this amount to Catholic Charities, a local charity actively helping w resettlement of Syrian and other refugees.

This event was one of our efforts to reach immigrant and marginalized communities in our area. Through the film, we sought to humanize the media stories that flood our airwaves daily. We made efforts to bring to light the vulnerabilities

refugees endure while living in encampments. We addressed “What Can I do” questions by providing a list of social justice organizations and other ways to impact change to our attendees. One of our speakers talked about the impacts of civil war on the environment, resources and infrastructure. Another spoke about the broader geopolitical implications of the US’ policies in the Middle East.

We are proud of our efforts and are extraordinarily grateful to Busboys and Poets for providing a space and a full menu to our guests and our invited speakers. We remain humbled at Busboys’ generosity and its commitment to sharing Cinema for a Conscious Community.

Our words cannot express our gratitude to the coordinating, managerial and wait staff at Busboys that helped make our film screening a successful one.

http://salamneighbor.org/

Salam Neighbor

salamneighbor.org

Salam Neighbor is an award-winning film and campaign to connect the world to refugees. Immerse into the life of a…

Please view this film if you have time…..(it is currently available on Netflix. The AGP purchased the screening rights to show this film in public/educational venues)

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