• Next Meeting--Thursday, Nov. 6 7:00 PM at the Community Room of the Ballston Firehouse Station (located at Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive).

June 10, 2014

Arlington parents and residents oppose building a new large sized middle school in Rosslyn at Wilson School site

Development,schools — @ 10:13 am

A group of parents and residents are circulating a petition to the APS board against a mega school proposed to cover most of the Wilson School site. Mark Antell, a Green members, heartily supports their perspective and recommend that civic minded citizens sign the petition.

The Arlington Green Party has NOT taken a position on this petition, but several Green members endorse this petition and oppose building a mega school at the Wilson School site. Community activists have mentioned other locations for a needed middle school in the county–for example, two closed schools–the Fairlington Community Center in south Arlington, and the Madison Recreation Center near Chain Bridge in north Arlington, as well as existing empty commercial office buildings in Crystal City, Rosslyn, and other locations.

wilson school photo2

Here’s the petition site

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/vote-no-to-1300-seat?source=s.icn.em.cp&r_by=10703771

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June 6, 2014

Arlington Greens special meeting: June 17, Tues, 7 pm

Events,green meetings — @ 11:53 am

Arlington Greens will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, June 17 at 7 PM at the Ballston Fire Station Community room (located on Wilson Blvd near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and George Mason Dr.)

The purpose of the meeting:

Consider an endorsement of John Vihstadt for Arlington county board election to be held in November.

Note.–we previously endorsed Vihstadt for the April special election to the county board and he won that election.

We will likely NOT meet in July and possibly August since we are planning an Arlington Greens summer picnic that month. We will be emailing out details of the picnic once we get it settled.

thanks

John Reeder
chair

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May 13, 2014

A Green’s perspective on Arlington’s affordable housing progam–complete failure

Affordable Housing — @ 10:26 am

house_sketchPublic testimony from Arlington Green member and former AGP chairman Steve Davis before the Arlington County Board on May 10, 2014

Good morning members of the County Board.

Today I am here to speak about our affordable housing program In 2013, the county added only 55 new committed affordable housing apartments (CAFs). The county board years ago set a target of adding 400 new CAF units annually. So last year the county government met only 14% of your target.

Last year in Arlington, the number of private affordable market rate apartments fell by 1,613—so the county housing program added 55 units, and then market forces took away 1,613. Only 3,437 affordable private rental apartments exist today (down from 20,000 in the Year 2000). The Va. Tech Center for Housing Research says Arlington needs 14,000 more affordable rental apartments for people making less than 60-percent of area median income.

$250,000– is the unit cost in AHIF (Arlington Housing Investment Fund) funds for each of the 66 affordable apartments CAFs at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike for renters earning 60-percent or less AMI; the actual total cost of each these apartments was $250,000 as well. The total AHIF loan you approved last month was $16.5 million for the Serrano.

In January, you approved a separate $7.8 million loan for APAH for 71 new CAFs ($110,000 per unit in AHIF funds) at the Carlin Springs Apartments. These new units actually cost $538,000 each ($38.2 million total cost) even though APAH already owned the land. Free land does not mean low cost apartments.

$100 million—is what it would cost annually in AHIF funds to add 400 CAFs annually at the average cost of $250,000 each.

Given the need for 14,000 more apartments, and the exorbitant cost of new CAFs, our program will never succeed.

I suggest once again you look to the model of the Fairfax County Housing Authority that today adds CAFs for $100,000 per unit, and mainly houses people in Fairfax who make under $40,000 a year.

house_sketchSteve Davis

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May 6, 2014

Arlington Preservation meeting–May 13 Panel: State of Preservation in Arlington

Development,environment — @ 3:22 pm

environmental earth with hands

May 13 Panel: State of Preservation in Arlington

When

Tue, May 13, 7pm – 9pm GMT-04:00

Where

The Fillmore Room, Boulevard Woodgrill, 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

For more information, go to Preservation Arlington, Inc. that is sponsoring this panel discussion
www.preservationarlington.org
environmental earth with hands

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April 30, 2014

Arlington voters to Arlington School Board– Don’t cut the Autism Program for Arlington middle and high school students!

schools — @ 3:57 pm

Subject: Don’t cut the Autism Program for Arlington middle and high school students!

Friends –

Please sign the petition to stop proposed cuts to the Autism program for Arlington middle and high school students. The School Board is proposing to cut seven positions from this very successful program which helps students with Autism take all of their main subjects in regular classrooms. The board is cutting $271,000 at a time when the number of young people diagnosed with Autism is increasing. The cuts would hurt 58 children who are currently in the program at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, H B Woodlawn, Washington &Lee High School, and Yorktown High School, as well as many future students now in elementary school who will be entering the middle and high schools in coming years. We believe the program is good for all students, who benefit from having peers with special needs supported in their classrooms.

http://www.change.org/petitions/don-t-cut-the-autism-program-for-middle-and-high-school-students?recruiter=79127559&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

In addition to signing the petition, there are two more ways you can help.

First, please forward the petition link to your friends who live in Arlington. And spread the word throughout Arlington through listervs and other communication networks. Every new signature on the petition generates a message with comments sent to each School Board member. We’re trying to reach 1,000 signatures by May 8.

Second, please join us at the Public Hearing on the School Budget on Thursday, May 8 — arrive at 7:00pm at 1426 N Quincy Street — to speak (if you like) or just show your support. Families and hand made signs are welcome. Bring as many friends as you can. Please RSVP at this link http://bit.ly/1h9O7Ob.

With all of the heartfelt support that people are giving, we’re more and more hopeful that we can persuade the Board to reject the cuts and instead work with parents and teachers to evaluate and expand the program to more children and schools.

Thanks again,

Gordon, Julia, Peter, Liz, Maria, Margaret, Maria, Doina and all of the other Concerned Parents of Students with Asperger’s/Autism

More information:

The petition site change.org requires that people be 13 years or older to sign the petition

Background: The Arlington School District is proposing to cut 7 staff members from the District’s successful Autism program for middle and high school students. The $271,000 in cuts would hurt our children by making it harder for them to participate in regular classrooms with their peers who are not in special education. Arlington’s middle and high school Autism program is successful because the 58 students who currently participate receive social skills instruction from teachers who understand Autism and Asperger’s, and direct support from assistants in regular mainstream classrooms. All students, with or without disabilities, benefit from increased attention and the expertise of the staff. Cutting more than half of the assistants would undermine the program. With the number of children being diagnosed with Autism rising, we need to expand, not cut, successful programs. Here is a report put together by parents about the program and its success.

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April 28, 2014

Early thoughts on Proposed Redevelopment of the Wilson School in Rosslyn

Early Thoughts on Proposed Redevelopment of the Wilson School from Mark Antell, longtime Rosslyn civic activist
wilson school photo2
Some History
In the 1980s through the mid 1990s, the Wilson School building did not host a school. But the playfield was maintained, and it was heavily used evenings and weekends by the community. By 1997, the school building was back in use, as a ‘swing space’ for elementary schools undergoing renovation. The playfield however, was rendered unusable by trailers.
Over the last decade, Arlington Public Schools (APS) and Arlington County Government have proposed several initiatives to densely develop the Wilson School property. North Rosslyn Civic Association has opposed such proposals with a consistent message that the Wilson Site should be used for education and community service. We’ve been fortunate to receive strong support for that position from RAFOM (the Civic Association south of Wilson Blvd.), and from a number of civic-minded individuals and organizations throughout Arlington.

Now
Today, the school is underutilized. It hosts only two programs, the delightful Mongolian School* program on Saturdays, and a once a year ‘holiday fiesta’ for our low-income families. Otherwise the Wilson School is unavailable for adult education or other community use. Also, the playfield is largely unusable.

The Current Proposal
APS proposes to build a new school on the property and to provide a functional playing field. Detail is lacking, but below I provide my early take on what we, the nearby residents, should regard as positive about this proposal; what we should regard as objectionable; and what we need answers about.

Pluses
The most positive feature of the new APS proposal is that it uses the Wilson site appropriately, for education. Parents of students will form a powerful lobby to assure that developed and recreation space are optimized. The community would gain meeting space, adult education space, and both outdoor and indoor recreation space. For way way too long we’ve not had a playfield in our community. Here’s a chance to get one.

Minuses
The Wilson School is an historic building. A new building will likely possess little of the charm, and little if any of the history.
The proposed new middle school would be many times the size and height of the current Wilson School. It would add substantial density affecting traffic, parking, views, etc. This would be the first ‘urban school’ in Arlington, and in my experience, APS staff does a horrible job the first time they tackle anything. We will do ourselves and incoming students a great service if we sharply question this project before it is ‘set in concrete.’

Unknowns / Questions we should raise early on, before they become issues
What happens to our pedestrian path, sitting area, small playground, and basketball court? It’s not clear. I understand that the future of these existing green/recreation areas will be discussed in a separate process, the West Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS). It might be a good idea to ask that study to examine whether the Wilson Firestation should be replaced at its current location, or whether it might be better to use that land for additional playspace for the very large school planned next door.
The new school will, inevitably, schedule some activities outside normal school hours. Which school resources (gym, meeting space, educational space, playfield) will be available for community use, and when will they be available?
It would also be a good idea to decide if we, the nearby residents, want the playfield to be available for use after dark.

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April 22, 2014

Next meeting of Arlington Greens: Thursday, May 1, 7:00 PM at Ballston Firehouse

green meetings — @ 3:03 pm

The May meeting of the Arlington Greens will be held on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 PM at the usual meeting place, the community room of the Ballston Firehouse located at George Mason Drive and Wilson Boulevard.

An agenda will be email out to all AGP members a few days before the meeting. The public is cordially invited to attend but only members are entitled to vote. Membership is open to all Arlington residents, normal dues are $25 a year, but there are lower dues for students, seniors, and low income persons.Sunflower_green

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Greens collect toiletries for Arlington homeless persons: bring to our May 1 meeting

We asking all Arlington Greens to bring new or unused sample toiletries to our next AGP meeting which will be held on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 PM at the usual meeting place the Ballston Firehouse Community Room (Wilson Blvd and Geo. Mason Drive).

We agreed at our April meeting to collect as many as possible and give them to the ASPAN homeless shelter program which still support homeless people in the summer months thought their shelter is now closed. So if you have any sample sized shampoo, hand soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. that you may have picked up while staying at a hotel or motel, please bring them on May 1.

You can also go to the dollar store or Shopper’s food warehouse and find full size bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, etc.

thanks

John Reeder

chairman – AGP

Current winter shelter

Current winter shelter

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April 16, 2014

Overblown and overstated new subsidized apts on the Pike–too few and too expensive

Open Letter to the editor of the Washington Post April 15, 2014
from AGP chairman John Reeder

It is commendable that the City of Alexandria and Arlington County are attempting to preserve existing affordable rental housing in Arlington, but the article overstated the number of truly affordable units created in two apartment complexes recently, and overlooked how inadequate are the housing programs in these two jurisdictions (Patricia Sullivan, “For thousands looking for affordable rentals about 200 more in Northern Virginia,” April 12). The Serrano Apartments in Arlington and the Hunting Terrace Apartments in Alexandria, the Post indicated, together will add “more than 200 units,” but the actual affordable units added are closer to 60.

solar panels commercial

In exchange for $16.5 million in Arlington local funds (and probably tens of millions of more dollars in Federal tax credits), the developer of the Serrano is providing only a net new 64 apartments that meet the “affordable” definition under HUD regulations out of the 280 apartments in the building, i.e. affordable to households making 60 percent or less of the area median income.

The Alexandria project is much worse: only 24 affordable apartments out of 443 new units. Since 115 units of the now existing Hunting Terrace Garden Apartments will be demolished, and probably 20 percent or so rented for affordable levels (a one-bedroom rate of $1,200 a month), the Alexandria project will add a net zero affordable apartments. Bottom line for the two projects: about 64 new affordable units in Arlington and none in Alexandria.

The cost to Arlington County and local taxpayers to add 64 net affordable apartments will be $250,000 per apartment. These apartments are so expensive that only persons making generally above 60-percent of the area median income or $64,000 for a family of four qualify. Tenants making $30,000, 40,000 or even $50,000 a year cannot rent these new units.

According to data of the Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research, the City of Alexandria has the least affordable rent apartments in the State of Virginia and the entire Metro D.C. region. Arlington is the second least affordable place. This is no accident, but a deliberate policy in both areas.

Both jurisdictions over the past two decades have embraced development policies designed to displace residents and tenants making under $60,000 a year. Both operate expensive and largely ineffectual housing programs and refuse to adopt new housing approaches that could cost effectively keep or add affordable units for lower income and working people already living there.

Note.–this is personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily repreent the views of the Arlington Green Party.

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April 9, 2014

Green endorsed independent Vihstadt wins county board seat

John Vihstadt, an independent candidate for Arlington County Board, won election to an open seat in a special election held on Tuesday, April 8. The Arlington Green Party endorsed John in January, and provided volunteers and other help to him in an effort to get him elected as the first non-Democrat on the county board in 15 years.

Vihstadt was called a “fusion candidate” since he received support from the Arlington Greens, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and independents. Arlington Greens felt that he championed some of their local policy issues, in particular ending two huge proposed wasteful vanity projects, a trolley up Columbia Pike scheduled to cost taxpayers more than $300 million, and an aquatics center in Crystal City projected at more than $60 million in taxpayer funds.

Arlington Greens chairman John Reeder said he and other Greens enthusiastically supported Vihstadt, and believe that his election may bring in more transparency and fiscal accountability in Arlington where the Democratic Party till now had a monopoly on all elected positions. Reeder said that Arlington has more pressing needs for public funds, particularly for building more affordable rental housing, more school classrooms, and fixing aging public infrastructure in Arlington. Greens supported a public housing authority referendum last year in Arlington in an effort to finance more affordable rental housing.

For more information, read Patricia Sullivan’s article in the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/polls-open-in-arlington-for-election-to-fill-chris-zimmerman-vacancy-on-county-board/2014/04/07/8537211a-be87-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html

John Reeder
chairman the Arlington Green Party

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