• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Ballston Firehouse Community Room (George Mason Drive & Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA)

November 12, 2018

Greens meet on Wed, Dec. 5, 7:30 PM at Ballston Fire House Community Room

Arlington Greens will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 PM at the Ballston Fire House located at N. George Mason Drive and Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA  22203.   The public is welcome to attend, but only members can vote.  Membership is open to any Arlington resident for $5 annual dues.

Agenda items

Outcome of local election and implications

Historic preservation of Westover Apartments

Amazon Headquarters in Arlington

Arlington Energy Plan and environmental advocacy in 2019 with the Virginia General Assembly

 

Plan to attend.

 

For more information, email John Reeder  info@greensofarlington.org

 

 

 

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October 19, 2018

Greens Oppose County and School Bonds, but Favor Metrorail Bond

Arlington Greens Oppose as Wasteful the Three County and School Bonds on the Arlington County, Virginia November Ballot, but Support the Metro Bond

Arlington Greens voted at their October meeting to oppose three of the four bonds on the November ballot, but to support the $75 million bond for Metro and transportation.  Greens felt that the need for more spending on Metrorail is imperative given safety, and improving bus and rail reliability, and urged Arlington voters to vote “Yes” for the Metro bond on the ballot referendum.

Greens however oppose the $29 million parks and recreation bond, the $37 million community infrastructure, and the $103 million public schools bond.  None of these three bonds are based on well thought out projects that have already been carefully designed, bid for construction costs, and scrutinized for waste.  The parks and recreation bonds will actually destroy or impair parkland since it will be used to build and pave over existing green space, demolish trees, and build extravagant energy-wasteful buildings.

The county government is issuing $80 million in bonds this year, and moreover has another $108 million in unused authority to issue more bonds, with more than sufficient funds for its needs. The county government and the school board both need to go back to the planning boards, and come back with precise and accurate information on projects for Arlington voters to consider.

About $44 million of the proposed $103 million school bond is to be used to build an entirely new Reed Elementary School in Westover.  The latest estimated cost of Reed is already far more at least $55 million, with possibly tens of millions of dollars in costs for a parking garage.  The school board has no idea what Reed School will cost.  In 2009, the school board spent about $20 million to fully renovate and expand Reed School which now will be demolished. Why?

The City of Alexandria just opened a new elementary school that cost around $22 million and was completed in about one year.   The City bought an commercial office building and re-modeled it into a 500-student school that opened in one year.   Fairfax County Public Schools did this several years ago to build an elementary school at 7-Corners within one year.   Why does Arlington have to build the most expensive schools in the U.S. and then tear them down ten years later?

If the county goes ahead and issues another $243 million of bonds on the ballot in November, it will likely endanger the county’s triple-A bond rating for municipal bonds since this will pass the 10 percent limit on bond service used by leading municipal bond rating companies.

The county already has issued $1.1 billion in bonds, and adding $243 million as well as the $188 million in already authorized bond will raise the debt service to over 10 percent of the county’s general revenue.

 

 

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September 28, 2018

Bag It: Documentary on Plastic Waste, Fri, Sept. 28, 7:30 PM at UUCF in Oakton VA

Bag It” screening at UUCF Friday night
Sep. 28, 7:30 p.m., Sanctuary, Unitarian Universalist Church of Fairfax

Address2709 Hunter Mill Rd, Oakton, VA 22124
Bag It - Official Trailer
“Bag It” official trailer

Join the Climate Action Group and others for a free screening of “Bag It.” In this touching and funny documentary, actor/producer Jeb Berrier makes a pledge to stop using plastic bags. He travels the world to investigate plastic’s effects on the health of the oceans, our bodies and the environment. Learn what we can do about it and join the Climate Action Group’s 30-Day Plastic Free Challenge Oct. 1-30. Light refreshments.  Free

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September 26, 2018

Greens meet on Wed, Oct. 3, 7:30 PM at Ballston Firehouse

Arlington Greens will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, at 7:30 PM at the Ballston Firehouse Community Room (located at Wilson Blvd and George Mason Drive, about 1 mile from Ballston Metro station).
Minutes of last meeting
Treasurers report
Old business:
Westover apartments historic preservation
Opposition to Amazon HQ2
Atree –tree preservation efforts in Arlington
New business
Current county board and school board races–updates
Should Arlington Greens take a position on the bonds on the 4 Arlington ballot in November?
    $74.5 million for Metro and transportation
    $29.3 million for local parks and recreation
    $37.0 million for community infrastructure
    $103.0 million for various capital projects for Arlington Public Schools
Our meetings are open to the public, but only members can vote.   Dues are $5 per year and limited to Arlington residents.
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August 27, 2018

Arlington Greens meet on Wed, Sept. 5, 7:30 PM, at Ballston Firehouse

Arlington Greens will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, September 5, at 7:30 PM at the Ballston Firehouse Community Room, located at George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA.

Major topics

Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, next steps for our opposition

Westover Apartments historic preservation–setting up a legal fund

environment–saving more trees in Arlington

opposing approval of Kavanaugh for U.S. supreme court

 

All are invited, but only paid members may vote.  Membership is $5 per year and limited to Arlington residents.

 

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July 23, 2018

County board continues inequitable tax relief program at the expense of needy seniors, families and adult renters

Affordable Housing — @ 12:50 pm

The Arlington County Board refused to modify real estate tax relief in order to target its benefits mostly to lower income seniors at its July 14 meeting. The board continues to reward many homeowners who are rich in wealth and higher income than the vast majority of lower income renters in Arlington. The board loosened restrictions on eligible homeowners costing another $154,000 in lost annual taxes; in April the board cut funding for rental housing grants by $400,000. So the rich get richer and the poor get less.

Arlington Greens had urged the board to limit real estate tax relief for homeowners to tax deferral which would increase county tax revenues by about $3 million annually that could then fund assistance for more needy Arlington residents with other forms of housing assistance, particularly rental grants. Greens urged the board to equalize maximum income levels for both renters and owners to a maximum 80% area median income. Arlington renters who are seniors getting a housing rental voucher have maximum income of 40% AMI, and most actually earn far less than this.

But the county board did the expected, and continues to give out over $4 million a year to homeowners many of whom live in a half million residence and have additional financial assets over $300,000.
This property tax relief program is highly inequitable, and treats Arlington property owners with higher incomes and much higher wealth better than Arlington residents who are renters.

With tax deferral, there would be about $3 million in additional tax revenue that could then be used to expand rental housing grants for elderly, disabled and families by the same amount. The housing rental grants program serves the elderly, disabled and families with a child all of whom earn well under 40 percent area median income (AMI), and who have personal assets under $35,000. The average senior getting a housing grant earns $14,000 a year. In April 2018, the county board cut housing grants by $0.4 million.

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, potentially well over a million dollars in wealth. About $3 million of the program cost occurs owing to tax exemption.

With tax deferral, property owners would pay no real estate tax until the property is sold; there is no financial burden on them as our rising property values insure that even these deferred taxes will be paid without a net cost to these property owners in the future. In general, our real estate tax is about 1 percent of the value of the property, and property values have been rising at 2-3 percent or more annually. It is a significant form of housing assistance to be able to avoid paying taxes for years, and to repay them without interest years later from the proceeds of a capital gain.

The Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) goal is to help an additional 630 more households with housing assistance annually over the next 25 years. The county has never met this goal in any year, and it appears that the goal is mostly just words on a piece of paper without the funds to make it reality.

Housing rental grants are the county’s single most effective housing assistance program. A HUD study found that housing grants in the United States were 72 percent less expensive than building new subsidized apartments—so called committed affordable units or “CAFs.”

The county should give more housing (rental) grants to seniors, disabled and parents with children, and other adults by lowering the current minimum age for seniors from age 65 to 50, and eliminating the other purely arbitrary restrictions that block tens of thousands of Arlington renters from applying for rental grants.

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Greens meet on Aug 1, Wed, 7:30 PM at Booeymongers in Ballston

Events,green meetings — @ 11:08 am

Arlington Greens will meet at Booeymongers Restaurant (1020 N. Glebe Road in Ballston) on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 PM. The public is cordially invited to attend, but only dues paid Green members may vote. Dues are $5 per year; you can join at the meeting.

Major topics:
Amazon HQ2 in Arlington–results of townhall and next steps to stop county funding for Amazon in Arlington

Status of local elections races–county board, school board

Westover Apartments preservation

Rental (housing) grants and reforming local real estate property tax relief

Environmental issues–energy plan, banning plastic bags and saving older trees

Other topics

Please note our new meeting location at Booeymongers Restaurant http://www.booeymonger.com/locations

You can order food and drink or just attend our meeting without ordering anything

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July 21, 2018

Styrofoam documentary debuts: Aug. 1, 11:30 AM, Center of Concern, Washington, DC

Local Arlington Green Miriam Gennari is debuting her new documentary on the environmental problem of Styrofoam, at a showing on August 1, 2018 at 11:30 AM at the Center of Concern in Washington DC

Produced, directed by and starring Miriam Gennari–aka StyrofoamMom–this movie underscores the significant environmental challenges presented by single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS) products.

Ms. Gennari is a powerful force for changing the polarizing beliefs that waste is inevitable or that one can simply ban EPS without a plan. For the last ten years she has followed EPS through the waste stream. In this film she shares what she believes is the ultimate solution to the risks posed by Styrofoam®


Ms. Gennari, and other experts, will join us in person to discuss the movie,

To register go to: http://www.steveoffutt.com/p/green-business-roundtable.html

Date: Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Time: 11:30am – 1:00pm
Location: Center of Concern, 1627 K St. NW, 11th floor, Washington, DC
(nearest Metros – Farragut North/Farragut West )

Lunch included

Center of Concern researches, educates and advocates from Catholic social traditions to create a world where economic, political and cultural systems promote sustainable flourishing of the global community.

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June 12, 2018

Amazon HQ2 Town Hall Helpful or Harmful to Arlington, Thur. June 21, 7-9 PM, Central Library

Amazon Town Hall, Hosted by Our Revolution Arlington, and co-sponsored by the Arlington Greens

June 21, 2018

Amazon Town Hall, Hosted by ORA
Arlington Central Library Auditorium
1015 N Quincy St (four blocks from Ballston Metro)
Arlington, VA 22201
Description
Our Revolution Arlington will be hosting a public, community town hall about Amazon’s HQ2 bid at the Central Public Library Auditorium (1015 N Quincy St,)
Overview of HQ2 and impact to housing, rents, schools and other important elements to Arlington community infrastructure
Statements from local community organizations
Our Revolution Arlington’s Community Wealth Building Alternative
What do we know about HQ2 and Arlington’s Bid?

-Featured speaker is Greg LeRoy from Good Jobs First will be presenting “Amazon HQ2: Helpful or Harmful to Arlington,”

Audience members will be able to speak at an open mic to ask questions, share concerns or state opinions about the bid. The program will also include:

Co-sponsors include Our Revolution Northern Virginia Steering Committee, DSA NoVA, Arlington Green Party, and Grassroots Alexandria

Speaker Greg LeRoy
Speaking on: “Amazon HQ2: Helpful or Harmful for Arlington?”

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Greens to Arlington County Board: No money for Amazon HQ2

Greens vote: No county funds to Amazon to move its new offices HQ2 to Arlington

At their June 6 meeting, Arlington Greens voted to oppose any county funds for Amazon to move its new office to Arlington. Greens are concerned with the secretive and hidden negotiations between the County Government and Amazon to provide that company with potentially billions of public dollars in order to open a large office complex in Arlington or nearby Alexandria. Greens are very concerned that these public funds will detract from funds now used to support our schools, libraries, public safety, affordable housing assistance, recreation, and the other public programs that make Arlington a great community already. It is bad for democracy to keep the people in the dark.

Community activists have already asked the Arlington County Board to make public its bid for the Amazon headquarters with as many as 60,000 employees. Many of the final top-20 areas being considered by Amazon have made public their bids which range from $4-7 billion. Northern Virginia is one of the top areas Amazon wants; Jeff Bezzos the Amazon owner and the world’s richest man has a mansion in Washington DC and owns the Washington Post. Why does the richest man on the Earth need our county tax dollars?

Greens are concerned that Arlington County cannot afford to waste any dollars on Amazon, given the tight budget approved in April, the rising cost of more school students, more Metrorail funding, and the need for more assistance to renters to be able to stay here. Arlington has 2% unemployment rate today; traffic is considerable and rising. Adding 60,000 employees to our community–none of whom will pay taxes locally–is going to raise rents, increase traffic, and make life miserable for us the county residents, all done with our own tax dollars.

Greens also voted to support a town hall discussion of Amazon sponsored by Our Revolution Arlington on June 21 at Central Library from 7-9 PM (see separate article with details).

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