Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Save The Shirlington Dog Park

For more information, see the FB Save the Shirlington Dog Park Page; Please sign the petition to save the park.

Dear Arlington County Board:

Once again the citizens of Arlington are in conflict with the staff of Arlington County government.  What ever happened to the Arlington Way that County Staff is so regularly out of touch with the will of the population?  The Lee Hwy fire station.  The Gondola.  The Columbia Pike Streetcar.  And now, for no coherent reason, the staff wants to cut the Shirlington Dog park.

Let's review.

The Shirlington Dog Park is the largest dog park in the county and the most well used.  It is beloved by the community.

The Shirlington Dog Park builds community.  It is an opportunity for people of common interest together and laugh and share stories and build a strong sense of soul and spirit to Arlington.

The Shirlington Dog Park is one of the safest dog parks in the county.  Other dog parks are situated directly next to children's playing fields (like East Falls Church) resulting in REGULAR conflicts between children attempting to enter the park and dogs.

The Shirlington Dog Park is the cheapest park to operate on a per visitor basis.  Compare the Shirlington Dog Park to the $1 million dog park in Clarendon or other dog parks that have low visitor rates.

The Shirlington Dog Park does not create a conflict with local residential citizens - like the fight that took place related to the Madison dog park.  Shirlington is in an industrial area and is essentially waste land - the back of warehouses and auto shops.

The Shirlington Dog Park benefits the businesses of Shirlington.
·      The Shirlington Dog Park supports patronage of the many dog businesses along Four Mile Run.
·      The Shirlington Dog Park helps promote the Arlington Welfare League.
·      The Shirlington Dog Park (with its excellently placed pedestrian bridge) supports businesses of Shirlington that have become known as one of the most dog friendly retail centers in the area.  People love to come to New District Brewery or to dinner in the Shirlington retail area with their dogs.

The argument that cutting the park in half will have a positive environmental impact is fallacious; in fact, cutting the park in half will HARM the environment.  Here is why:

The Arlington dog population unchanged by cutting the size of the park.  The dogs that patronize the park will still be in Arlington if the park is cut in half.  In fact that dog population is constantly growing.  So even though the park is cut in half, the dog population continues to grow.  We need to think about how to EXPAND dog park capacity, not reduce it.

Those dogs must go somewhere.  If the capacity of the dog park is reduced, the dogs will be walked where they can be.  They will be walked in Barcroft next to the youth playing fields.  They will be played with off leash in Jeannie Dean Park (I am not endorsing this behavior - but I observe it regularly and I posit it as a fact - owners who want to play with their dogs off leash will go somewhere).  They will walk along Four Mile Run. 

Thus reducing the size of the dog park does not reduce the size of the environmental impact - it simply shifts it to other areas in Four Mile Run.

This will have a negative environmental impact.  Concentrating the dogs in one wonderful park creates the opportunity for environmental mitigation.  In the dog park, owners clean up after their dogs - helped by peer pressure of other dog owners who love the park and point out the poop.  Staff also regularly cleans the park.  Outside the park and outside the view of peer pressure, dog owners all too often don't bother to clean up after their dogs (we know this to be unfortunately true).  Concentrating the dogs in the dog park also gives the opportunity for landscaping that can help mitigate impact (much like has been done in East Falls Church and Clarendon).

This is the environmental situation.  Arlington has dogs.  Cutting the park in half will not reduce the number of those dogs.  Those dogs will be exercised and poop somewhere.  In the park, that environmental impact can be mitigated.  Outside the park, that environmental impact will be spread out in Four Mile Run, impacting the stream and youth sports fields.

The solution - as it almost always is with environmental concerns - is to concentrate the impact where the impact can be mitigated.  That is by operating a wonderful dog park.

Shirlington Dog Park is a treasure of Arlington.  It promotes community.  It promotes business.  It promotes outdoor living and exercise.  It mitigates environmental impact both on the stream and the local youth parks.  It is one of the safest dog parks.

Now…. Ask yourself….. how did we even get to the point where we are having a discussion about cutting in half a park that is so loved and supported by the citizens of Arlington??  Let's return to the Arlington Way where the views of Arlingtonians matter.

Thank you

Robert Cannon

N. Arlington

Monday, June 15, 2015

Exhaust Spewing from Lee Heights Water Tower @arlingtondes @ARLnowDOTcom #arlingtonva

We live near the Lee Heights Water Tower.  Frankly, we love it.  If you dont know, the land around the water tower (outside the fence) makes an extremely nice little unofficial park.

Both the water tower and the communications services have back up generators in case of power outage.  That's good.  Those generators need to be run regularly to ensure operations and keep the fuel fresh.  Seems like lately they have been run a lot - and when they do the air because unbreathable.  That's bad.

Today I was walking in the woods when the water tower generator kicked on.  It was a large black cloud of diesel smoke.  I could not snap a photo fast enough but still you can see how much exhaust is being spewed

Arlington, can I ask a few questions:
  • Do the generators need to be run as often as they are run.  Seems like they run often
  • Is the generator operating correctly?  Can it spew less exhaust?
  • Are the generators in compliance with the Clean Air Act?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sunday's Democratic Caucus for the 48th District Cheat Sheet

My phone is ringing off the hook so it must be time for another election.  This time it is a hurry up election from Virginia's 48th District, replacing Bob Brink.  The firehouse primary to select the Democratic candidate for the 48th House District will be held THIS Sunday, July 6th, in Arlington and Mclean.

Times and locations for voting:

Yorktown High School, Sunday, July 6th, 11am - 7pm
5200 Yorktown Blvd. Arlington, VA 22207

McLean High School cafeteria, Sunday, July 6th, 12pm - 6pm
1633 Davidson Rd. McLean,VA 22101

Jacqueline H. Wilson

Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, Jr
  • Twitter Followers: 79
  • Facebook Likes: 262
  • Endorsements: Peter Fallon, John Foust, Delegate Scott Surovell, Patrick Hope and Aneesh Chopra
  • Blue Virginia Grade: A
  • Occupation: a partner at the law firm of Reed Smith
  • Years in NOVA:  went to high school in NOVA
  • Streetcar: Supports if Arlington can get federal funding
  • Website
  • Education: Amherst College, University of Virginia Law School
  • Sample issue: Transportation: "I have served on the Fairfax Transportation Advisory Commission, and am very familiar with our transit issues here in Northern Virginia. I would oppose any efforts to widen I-66 inside the beltway, and believe paving more roads is not the long-term solution to our transportation problems. I’m excited to see Metro’s Silver Line open in July, and will seek out ways in the General Assembly to incentivize use of public transportation and expand mass-transit opportunities."
Andrew F. Schneider
  • Facebook likes: 364 
  • Website
  • Blue Virginia Grade: B
  • Education: Tuckahoe, Swanson, Yorktown, College of William & Mary, MBA from the University of Maryland.
  • Years in NOVA: since elementary school
  • Streetcar:  Vague
  • Occupation: Alumni Manager for the College of William & Mary Mason School of Business and the Director of the Washington Area Alumni Business Alliance
  • Political Experience: "Andrew got his professional start in politics working for Senator Bob Kerrey on Capitol Hill, serving in the Vice President’s Domestic Policy office during the Clinton Administration and working directly for Washington power lobbyist Tony Podesta. " President of the Yorktown Civic Association
Yasmine P. Taeb
  • Twitter followers (personal account): 517 
  • Blue Virginia Grade: A-
  • Endorsements: Seth Morrison
  • Years in NOVA: "a longtime active resident of the Arlington"
  • Occupation: Government Relations Manager for the Arab American Institute and a Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) Leadership Institute
  • Political Experience:  Legislative Fellow for Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee
  • Education: Penn State Dickinson School of Law, an M.A. in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida
  • HuffPo Articles 
  • Facebook likes: 478
Atima Omara-Alwala
  • Occupation: president of Young Democrats of America 
  • Education: University of Virginia for her BA in American Studies and Foreign Affairs History, and also George Mason University where she received her Masters in Public Administration.
  • Political Experience: served as a Special Assistant to Governor Mark Warner. She has also worked for 8 other federal, state, and local campaigns in and outside Virginia that include Charniele Herring for Delegate 2009; Bob Brink for Delegate 2009; and Jim Moran for Congress 2010. 
  • Years in NOVA: "A lifelong resident of Virginia"
  • Twitter followers (personal account): 2424 
  • Blue Virginia Grade: A-
  • Twitter description: "President of the Young Democrats of America (). Feminist. Activist. Blogger . Virginian. Film Geek. 1st Gen. American. Views are my own"
  • Sample Issue: Transportation: "As a Rosslyn resident, I use transit almost every day. It's a crucial component of what makes Northern Virginia an economic powerhouse and a great place to live. I support continuing to make strategic investments in transportation that can pay dividends for decades to come. I think decisions about how to enhance transportation in Northern Virginia should be made at the local level and not in Richmond. As your Delegate, I will work with my colleagues to make sure that Richmond isn't passing laws that harm Northern Virginia's ability to make our own decisions about transportation."
  • Website 
  • NARAL Statement: "Last night, Atima Omara's campaign for Democratic nominee in the 48th House District stated that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia had endorsed her candidacy. This is not true..."
  • HuffPo Articles
  • Endorsements: 
    Bill Euille - Mayor of Alexandria
    James Lander - Arlington School Board Chair
    Leslie Byrne - Former Congresswoman (VA-11)
    John Chapman - Alexandria City Council
    Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington Action Fund 
    Virginia NOW
    Justin Fairfax - Democratic candidate for Attorney General, former federal prosecutor
    Marjorie Signer - Former Virginia NOW President, Former Arlington Democrats Volunteer Coordinator
    Kim Klingler - President of Arlington Committee of 100, President of Leeway Overlee Civic Association
    Catherine Read - Board member NARAL Pro Choice Virginia, Board Member of Equality Virginia
    Allida Black - Arlington Democrat
    Lawrence Webb - Board Member of Equality Virginia
    Carol Fontein - Arlington Democrat
    Owen Shortt - Past President of Fairfax NAACP
    Emmitt Carlton - Past President of Virginia NAACP
    Jackie Subtract - Board Member of Alexandria NAACP 

Paul A. Holland
  • Occupation: an environmental consultant and communications director for the Arlington Democratic Party 
  • Years in NOVA: "a lifelong resident of Arlington" "grew up in Lyon Village"
  • Education: Taylor Elementary, Swanson Middle, and Washington-Lee High Schools; undergraduate degree in History from Princeton University and my Masters of Science from Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment
  • Website
  • Blue Virginia Grade: A
  • Twitter Followers: 114
  • Facebook Likes: 292 
  • Sample Issue: Transportation "Transportation and the Environment: These two issues are very much dependent on one another. Our transportation and development decisions have a direct impact on environmental health. Sound transportation policies also directly strengthen economic development and preserve affordable housing. I've worked as a volunteer to promote conservation and environmental protection throughout Arlington County and would continue to do so as a member of the General Assembly"
  • Streetcar: supports
  • Endorsements:
    • Elected Officials  supporting Paul Holland for Delegate
    • Del. Alfonso Lopez (VA-49)
    • Mary Hynes, Vice Chairman, Arlington County Board
    • Frank O’Leary, Treasurer, Arlington County
    • Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney
    • Beth Arthur, Arlington County Sheriff
    • Civic Leaders supporting Paul Holland for Delegate
    • Craig Esherick, Chair of Arlington County Sports Commission
    • Brian Harner, Immediate Past Chair, Arlington County Planning Commission
    • Caroline Haynes, Chair of Arlington County Park and Recreation Commission
    • Conor Marshall, former Party Representative, Arlington Young Democrats
    • Bill Moore, former Chairman, Arlington County Democratic Committee and House of Delegates Candidate
    • Tiffany Joslyn, Past President, Virginia Partisans
    • Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress & fmr. Clerk of U.S. House Appropriations Committee
    • Jason Rylander, Chair of Arlington Public Schools Facilities Advisory Council
    • Nancy Iacomini, Member of Arlington County Planning Commission
    • David Kinney, Member of Arlington County Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission 
    • John Milliken, Former Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia, Former Chairman and Member, Arlington County Board
    • Diane Smith, Former Chairman and Member of the Arlington County School Board
    • Larry Roberts, Former Chief of Staff to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine
David A. Boling    
  • Occupation: vice president of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation,
    Director of the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program, a congressionally-mandated professional exchange for mid-level U.S. government employees.
  • Blue Virginia Grade: D
  • Years in NOVA: Well, in 2010 he ran for Congress in Arkansas 
  • Education: B.A. and J.D. from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Laws (LL.M) from Columbia University
  • Political Experience: From 2007-2010 he was Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder from Arkansas and in 2010 ran in the Democratic Party primary election to represent Arkansas’ Second Congressional District.
  • Twitter followers (personal account): 107
  • Facebook Likes: 399
  • Article:  Time has come for compromise on Arlington streetcar issue "
    It is time for a compromise. Here are three steps in that direction: 1) The County Board should hit the pause button on the streetcar and not move forward with it for now; 2) the board should implement a pilot program of rapid buses on Columbia Pike for the next three years; 3) after the pilot program is complete, the board should reassess the situation and decide how to proceed. "

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lost Dog: boxer named Harley

I lost my dog on March 15th in the evening at the block of 2300 27th St S. near 395. He is a Boxer named Harley. He was visiting for the evening and escaped out of my apartment. He is not familiar with the area and is very scared and confused. Our family misses him dearly and would like your help.

Description of Harley:
Lost Boxer! His name is Harley and he is 3 years old. He is black brindle and white His weight is 60lbs. He is skittish and you might have to coax him he does like cheese. He is a very friendly dog when he warms up to you. He does like to jump on you so please don't think he is going to attack. He just wants to give you kisses. Please don't chase him and talk to him calmly and please don't give up on him and let him run. He does respond to his name. If seen please call 703-728-3554 or 703-728-2863.

He escaped from 2350 27th St S. Arlington, VA on March 15th at 8PM. He has been spotted in the communities of ParkFairfax and Beverly hills. Possible sighting at the Episcopal High School.
Reward for safe return!
Have also attached a picture.
Thank you for all your help.
Lindsay Tolle

Sunday, March 16, 2014

APSVA Allegedly Removes HB Woodlawn Parent Advisory Committee Content about Capital Improvement Plans

W&L PTA sent out the following email today suggesting that certain HB Woodlawn pages have been censored. 
The W-L PTA is unsettled by reports that we have received from our counterparts at H-B Woodlawn that Arlington Public Schools (APS) staff on Friday removed three documents from the H-B Woodlawn Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) website hosted on the APS web server.  Those documents included public letters sent by the H-B PAC to the School Board regarding the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for addressing school overcrowding.
The W-L PTA website likewise features letters sent by us to the School Board on the CIP issue (  We believe that it is vital for our membership to have access to those documents in order to be informed about this vital issue.  We would react negatively to any move by APS to censor them.
We today are sending correspondence to the School Board on this issue and believe it is important to communicate this to our parent community at W-L.
The Letter to the School Board 2/20/14 results in a page that states "This page is currently unavailable."  The 2/20/14 letter is available Love HB Woodlawn. (Here is the Love HB Woodlawn facebook page)

The HB Woodlaw PAC letter was found to be inaccessible from the APSVA website. A cached version was available.
January 31, 2014 

Dear School Board Members and Superintendent Murphy,

We read with interest this week the Board-approved APS Capital Improvement Plan framework and related feasibility studies, and we wanted to communicate with you about reactions to some of the concepts that are developing within the H-B Woodlawn community.

The two proposals that involve H-B Woodlawn have provoked alarm in the H-B community. We are disappointed to see such extreme proposals put before the community without background context or explanation about why facilities staff chose them.

It is difficult to assess, from the one-page chart, exactly what APS has in mind, but to us, a 600-seat increase in the size of H-B would almost certainly mean a fundamental change in the nature of the program. Our community recognizes and accepts our obligation to contribute to the solution of the problem of overcrowding at Arlington schools, but a 600-student increase would undermine entirely the H-B model. If that is the intention of the Board then we should have a frank and open discussion about the merits of that idea.

The second suggestion, to relocate the H-B community to a rental property feels to many like an eviction. It’s unconscionable to us that such a successful and historical program should be singled out to relocate to an unidentified rental space to make room for another school. H-B’s physical needs are essentially the same as any other secondary program. The students at H-B have as much right to a stable, permanent space as do students in Arlington’s traditional schools. We question why H-B is the only APS program being considered for a leased space.

Our community is planning a more thorough response to both proposals, and plans to take advantage of every opportunity for public discussion in this process. Our Parent Advisory Committee has formed a committee of students, staff and parents to ensure that our contribution to the decision-making is thoughtful and timely, and to protect the integrity of the H-B program. We plan to communicate with our alumni and other community stakeholders about our work and seek their input as well.

H-B Woodlawn is a desirable and nationally respected program because of its success. We therefore hope that in making its recommendations to the board, the APS staff will consider the serious risks to H-B Woodlawn students and to the integrity of the existing program that both of these proposals represent.


(signed electronically)

Melissa McCracken and Joyce Kyle

H-B Woodlawn PAC Co-Chairs

cc: Frank Haltiwanger, H-B Woodlawn

Casey Robinson, H-B Woodlawn

Lionel White, Facilities Planning
 Also not available is "PAC's Position - Talking Points - Feb. 5" which leads to the same "This page is inactive or protected" page. A cached version was available.
PAC's Position - Talking Points - Feb 5
February 5, 2014

H-B Woodlawn will work to be part of the solution to overcrowding in APS

The H-B Woodlawn community recognizes and accepts our shared obligation to contribute to solutions for overcrowding in Arlington schools. Overcrowded schools are a serious threat to the success of all Arlington students, and we want to work with the School Board to find solutions that improve the school district rather than diminish it. A hallmark of APS is its range of educational offerings, and H-B Woodlawn’s non-traditional secondary program has been a successful and essential component of this system for more than 40 years.

H-B Woodlawn has already contributed to relieving the overcrowding in APS by enlarging significantly twice in past five years.
    • H-B’s high school is the most crowded in Arlington (105% vs 102% at W-L).
    • H-B’s middle school is the second most crowded in Arlington, after Swanson.
    • There are already four trailers at H-B.

Core tenets of H-B Woodlawn

Our school community is committed to maintaining our programmatic core tenets, which include

1. A 6-12 secondary program
    • Students have the time to learn and accept the principles of self-discipline and responsibility that make the program successful.
    • Younger students learn through the modeling of high school students.

2.  Inclusion of our HILT program and co-location with the Stratford program
    • Inclusion and acceptance define H-B Woodlawn – having all three programs housed together offers everyday opportunities for kids in all the programs to learn from each other.

3.  A size that allows for our unique form of school governance based in trust and our educational philosophy that emphasizes student choice, responsibility, and responsiveness to student needs. The small size of the school allows for

A. Student choice:
    • Teacher Advisor
    • Schedule (including opportunities to take more than 7 classes/Independent Study)
    • Ability to design and implement non-traditional educational and extracurricular programs

B. Freedoms that come with responsibility and increase incrementally as students meet expectations of responsibility through the grade levels         
    • Unstructured time
    • Freedom of movement

C.  Self-governance                
    • Town Meeting (each student, teacher, and parent has an equal vote and all have an equal opportunity for participation)
    • Use of personal time and behavior

D.  Effective relationships
    • Size and time allow individuals to foster significant student/teacher relationships.
    • H-B Woodlawn is a safety valve for many students, parents, student services.

Reaction to school board framework

The two options in the Capital Improvement Design Framework (1/28/14) that directly affect
H-B Woodlawn are unacceptable to our community in their current form.  

Option #1 – Increase the size of the H-B Woodlawn program by up to 600 students
This option would ostensibly end/destroy the H-B Woodlawn program by increasing the size to a point where implementing its unique form of governance and educational philosophy (outlined above) would be impossible.

Still, H-B operates within the larger Arlington community, which has made the school’s success possible. As school enrollments rise, the H-B community recognizes that the school will need to “do its part” by growing its enrollment, as well.  One option to consider: if Arlington’s high schools are operating at an overall utilization rate of 110%, it would be reasonable to set similar enrollment levels at H-B so that it is also operating at 110% and taking its “fair share” of the growing student population. However, it would be unreasonable to expect a small school like
H-B to act as the primary relief valve for one particularly crowded school, just to avoid boundary changes or other potentially difficult decisions.

Option #2 – Relocate H-B Woodlawn to a leased space:  This option is not viable until there is a proposal for providing an equivalent physical space for the H-B Woodlawn program. An equivalent school space will require classroom facilities as well as access to a gym, auditorium, art and music studios, science labs, library, and outdoor fields.

This option is also concerning to our community because of its temporary nature. There are no other school programs in APS with 600+ students in a leased facility. Being moved to an undetermined rental space to make room for another school is not acceptable to the H-B community. H-B’s students have the same right as every other Arlington student to a stable, permanent home – one without a yearly lease.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Arlington County Board Candidates - Election Poll by social media numbers #arlingtonva

Let's take a straw poll through social media. Which candidates are garnering the most followers or likes (and which one's have enough of a clue to use social media). According to our scientific method, the results are as follows:

Three Democratic Candidates

Alan Howze
Peter Fallon
Cord Thomas


John Vihstadt, reported a republican, running as an independent, endorsed by Green Party
  • Website
  • Facebook 158 Likes
  • Twitter (no campaign twitter account readily apparent)
Evan Bernick, Libertarian
  • No campaign website, twitter account, or facebook account found
I believe their are some other candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring. Glad to include them if they make themselves visible.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

ALERT: Road closure-Lee Highway & George Mason Dr

Lee Highway is closed in both directions from Culpepper to George Mason Dr. due to a car into a pole. It is expected that Lee Highway will be closed well into the evening hours and maybe even longer. Detours will be set up but please avoid the area if possible.