So this month, we are asking the residents of the Ballston-Virginia Square area to tell us your opinions on issues ranging from crime and traffic to development and taxes. On the enclosed survey, you simply have to check off your degree of concern for each issue mentioned. You may choose to answer some of the questions and not answer others, if you wish. We encourage you to identify yourself with name and address, but that is voluntary. Please take the time to fill this questionnaire out as best you can and make any additional comments or suggestions that you care to. All individual names and answers will be kept confidential but we will tabulate the overall results and share them with everyone who comes to our meetings. To have your views included in the results, responses are due by October 15th and final results will be available on or about October 24th.
Because of the high number (5) of County School Board candidates and limited time, the candidates for this session will have up to three minutes for opening statements, followed by 20 minutes of questions from BVSCA members, 15 minutes of questions from BVSCA members or non-members, and two minutes for candidates closing remarks.
We urge all citizens in our Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhood to attend these sessions and take this opportunity to meet personally with the Candidates, and to learn more about the issues which will be the basis for casting your votes in the November 8, 1994 General Election.
For the first session, we will hear from the two candidates for the Arlington County Board--Mary Margaret Whipple (D), the Incumbent and John Barr (R). The following background information on each of the candidates is provided to assist you in learning more about the candidates.
Mary Margaret Whipple believes that open government is good government. She meets regularly with Arlingtonians in town meetings and civic forums as well as in their neighborhoods and homes. She has initiated numerous improvements in citizen access to the County's decision-making process, including expansion of the County's advisory groups and more opportunities for public comment at County Board meetings. She is always looking for ways to curb pollution, cut energy consumption, and beautify Arlington. She was instrumental in shaping Arlington's recycling initiatives, now expanded from single family neighborhoods to cover multifamily areas and commercial businesses. And thousands of trees have been planted annually in Arlington as part of the "urban forestry" and beautification programs started by Mary Margaret Whipple. In her 12 years on the County Board, she has led the support for fully-funded school budgets; and worked for adequate pay increases for teachers. Mary Margaret Whipple has voted to increase the number of police officers and initiate new approaches to public safety, such as the community-based police teams in neighborhoods such as Nauck and Arna Valley. She has promoted citizen involvement in public safety through Neighborhood Watch and Crime Resistance programs, and has supported such measures as community resource officers in the schools, youth mentoring and recreational programs to divert youngsters from illegal activities.
John Barr also favors vigorous measures to combat crime in the County. He has a number of proposals to reverse the declining share of the County's budget spent on public safety during the past 10 fiscal years. His proposals include: reforming the police pension system to retain qualified officers in the County, providing foreign language incentives to help in crisis situations, and increasing the number of cops on the beat. He also plans to shakeup the upper County management by replacing the County Manager with a person more responsive to citizens by (1) ending such projects as the Quincy Street extension and the proposed Department of Human Services consolidation (which is to be located at one of three proposed sites, two of which are in the Ballston Virginia Square area); and (2) ending material cost overruns on such projects as the Loop Bridge and the new County jail.
For the second session, we will hear from the four candidates for the 8th U.S. Congressional District of Virginia: Jim Moran (D), the Incumbent; Kyle McSlarrow (R); Wade Edmonds (I); and William Jones (I). The following background information on each of the candidates is provided to assist you in learning more about the candidates.
Congressman Moran was an original co-sponsor of the Brady Law and fought for passage of legislation banning semi-automatic assault weapons. He strongly supports "truth in sentencing" to make criminals serve their full sentence as well as quicken trials. He adamantly opposed the Navy move from Crystal City. He has obtained federal funds for a supercomputer and business development center to make Northern Virginia the nation's leader in high technology. He was instrumental in passing NAFTA, reforming real estate laws and reducing unfunded Federal mandates. He introduced a bill that was approved to prohibit unauthorized people from finding out personal information from the state DMV office without one's permission. He introduced legislation to strengthen the nation's public health system.
Further, in response to a question about the proposed invasion of Haiti, Congressman Moran indicated support for the proposed invasion. Also, he stated that he thinks we have a responsibility to maintain peace in our hemisphere, to protect democracy, and to support the democratic election of President Aristide.
Also, Kyle McSlarrow supports efforts to stop the Federal Courts from emptying our prisons of violent and repeat criminals and will work for a partnership between Virginia and the Federal government to build more prisons. He supports welfare reform, requiring parents -- and especially fathers -- to live up to their responsibilities, meaningful "work" requirements, and less federal interference with states' responsibilities to the needy. He strongly opposes the proposed Clinton Health Plan because of the potential adverse effects of the plan on Federal employees and senior citizens who would lose many of their current benefits. He opposes proposals to eliminate cost of living increases for Federal employees, military, and civilian retirees. He will work to ensure that the Federal Health Benefits Plan and current Thrift Savings Plan are protected. Further, in response to a question about the proposed invasion of Haiti, Kyle McSlarrow indicated that he totally opposes an invasion of Haiti; and that he doesn't think we have our national interests at stake in Haiti. He stated that we can pressure Haiti diplomatically to have President Aristide returned to power, but President Aristide is not worth one drop of American blood.
Ward Edmonds has added his voice to those opposing the health care reform bills. Edmonds indicated that none of the health care bills being debated in Congress are giving the public the information necessary to make an informed decision; and indicated that Americans don't know how much reform will cost. According to Edmonds, this is an another example of the Congress deciding what is best for us without asking us. Further, in response to a question about the proposed invasion of Haiti, Ward Edmonds stated"... rarely, have I seen an Administration ask the American people a very simple question. Is such and such a problem worth your son or daughter? It wasn't asked in Bosnia, it wasn't asked in Somalia. It is not being asked in Haiti and I resent that. I will serve if I am called, but I want you all to have a say in the matter and everyone needs to ask that question. Thanks to CNN, we now know that the world is a horrible place for most people and how wonderful it is to live in the United States. But do you really want our sons and daughters to die for those problems around the world? Please ask yourself those questions; and we who have sworn to serve will go, but we ask that you ask properly."
As a twenty year associate of political economist, Lyndon LaRouche, William Jones states that we have got to "federalize" the Federal Reserve and bring it back under the control of the Executive Branch of government according to Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, so that it ceases to be a plaything of the Wall Street banking community and begins to function in the service of the people of the United States. Secondly, he states that we have got to put "education" back into the education system, and eliminate the "feel-good" sensitivity training of the gurus of "outcome-based education." Thirdly, he states that we must revive our sagging industries in order to reestablish the United States as a major industrial power rather than a New Age "information society."
Further, in response to a question about the proposed invasion of Haiti, William Jones indicated that an invasion of Haiti would be a total disaster, "it would take about 10 hours to invade, about 10 days to defeat the military, and about 10 years to get out." He stated that "I don't want to come to the defense of General Cedras, but this fellow Aristide is a pretty horrible figure. He has been involved in all kinds of political crimes and if [Aristide] were brought back to power -- he would start killing his opponents; and the massacre would be hung on the neck of the Clinton Administration. So President Clinton would be wise not to get involved in that at all, but to handle the situation a different way."
For the last session, at approximately 9:30 p,m., we will hear from the five candidates for the Arlington County School Board: Dave Foster (I); Mary Hynes (D); Charles Miller; (I) Dorothy Anderson Patton; and Ric Roca (I). The following background information on each of the candidates is provided to assist you in learning more about the candidates.
Dave opposes efforts to close neighborhood schools and to redraw attendance zones radically over the opposition of our community. He will fight for smaller classes, a more rigorous and uniform core curriculum, and enhanced efforts to teach English proficiency. He believes that our scarce tax dollars should be directed to the classroom, not to added administration and transportation.
A high quality education for every children at every school is the theme of the Hynes campaign. She will seek to build quality through clearly stated benchmarks for student knowledge and skills; profiles of individual schools that report on student progress, school initiatives, and improvement plans; a revamped evaluation system for teachers and principals; a uniform application and entrance policy for alternative schools and special programs; and strengthened school-community partnerships. Hynes has been endorsed by the Arlington Democratic Party. Arlingtonians for a Better County, and the political action committee of the Arlington Education Association.
Ms. Patton states that she is deeply concerned about the lack of reading skills, and poor skills in science, geography and math. "I would like to see more tutoring classes for those children who really need extra help. This will make it easier for those students to adopt, learn, and keep up with classmates who are progressing normally. My main concern is the curriculum for elementary school students. Hopefully, in the future, parents, teachers, and the schools can work together to help our students to achieve to their highest level."
Ric Roca is running on a platform to streamline administrative operations in Arlington Public Schools to make teachers and students the priorities. If elected, he would like to redirect 15 % more of the school board budget (operating fund) to classroom teachers, equipment and materials, and reduce the class-size of core subject areas (Math, Science, English, Social Studies, and Foreign Languages) to a maximum of 16-to-1. Also, he would like to revamp curricula, Instructional Directives, and graduation requirements to incorporate (adding or substituting) graduation requirements in Interdisciplinary Applied Math (with topics in Technology, Economics, and Finance), Logic and Reasoning (with topics in Computer Programming and Algorithm Design), Business and Technical Writing, and Civic Awareness and Responsibility.
County Manager Anton S. Gardner recommended approval of this proposed project at the February 1991 County Board meeting. At this meeting, however, the County Board did not give final approval for the project but approved $4.8 million to buy the land. Also, over 50 speakers testified in opposition to the proposed North Quincy Street extension of two blocks between Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard. For instance, citizen Jim Charleton who is a member of the Arlington County Planning Commission stated "The questions is: Who does this road really serve? It opens up a big super-block for greater development. It's a developer's road. If the developer wants it, they should pay for it." Other citizens spoke in opposition because they believed it would promote overdevelopment and turn the area into a commuter traffic corridor.
Arlington traffic planners say the new road is needed to alleviate north-south traffic in Ballston. It would take pressure off other roads in the rapidly developing area, particularly on North Randolph Street and at Glebe and Wilson. The new road would link residential streets such as Henderson Road with commuter roads that lead into Washington, making it an attractive alternative route into the city, many citizens have said.
On December 12, 1992 the County Board approved the final design of the North Quincy Street Extension Project and reviewed the Draft North Quincy Street Use Study. In addition to giving the go-ahead for the new road, the County Board approved the recommendation of a Quincy Street open space task force that called for building a neighborhood park along the new road and landscaping the road's entrances at both ends.
To assure a proper transition to the existing low density residential neighborhood, the adoption of the Concept Plan is necessary which would require that commercial uses be located on the western block [the Ballston-Virginia Square side] and that the residential component be located on the eastern block. The intention to retain residential uses on the east block is indicated by the new General Land Use Plan note which requires that new development be compatible with the North Quincy Street Concept Plan. This alternative recognizes the existing commercial uses and zoning on the eastern block and encourages the consolidation of property located on both sides of North Quincy Street.
We were told that the current Pathways program at Wakefield is for students with similar problems. However, the Pathways program is more of a short-term solution than the New Directions program, which may have students for longer periods of time. Students will be referred by individual schools. A referral form is being drafted and the referrals will be reviewed by a committee. This committee will be composed of a representative from high school staff and County staff; the Director of the program; and at least one citizen. The proposed site will have between 15 and 30 students. Only half of the students will be on-site on any school day, as students will alternate school days with work days. We were told that there will be a low student/teacher ratio with 3 teachers/administrators on site at all times.
Further, we were told that the facility will be highly controlled -- that is, students will arrive by school vehicle, go directly into the facility, remain there under teacher/administrator supervision, and then leave on a bus. Meals are to be brought to the facility by the school system and served on site. The facility will not be an open campus, and no student will leave on their own. Several members of our Executive Committee made suggestions concerning the administration of the program and the facility. We requested that:
This hearing is being held by the County Advisory Board on Trespass Towing in order to take testimony from citizens concerning any aspect of the current tow ordinance. If you feel that you have ever been towed illegally, felt that a warning sign was inadequate, been overcharged, etc., please come and let us know. The County has asked the Advisory Board to review the current ordinance and make suggestions for improvements to it.
The current ordinance regarding trespass towing in Arlington allows owners of parking lots, whether they be commercial lots or private lots, to contract with a tower and allow the tower to remove trespassing vehicles from the lot at any time without the owner of the lot specifically calling for the tow truck. The ordinance also states that a sign, indicating the days of the week and hours of the day that towing is enforced, as well as the name of the tow company, and their number, be posted at and clearly visible at all entrances of the lot. Also, the ordinance states that a tower may only charge a car owner $65 for their car during the first 24 hours after the tow. There is no release fee authorized by the County. A storage fee of $15.00 may be charged for each subsequent 24 hr. period, or part thereof.
If you have any questions, or would like to make any comments, please call either Marlaina Veno, Arlington County Citizen and Consumer Affairs, 358-3260 or Nancy Iacomini, Member, Towing Advisory Board, 525-7125.
On September 9, 1994, the Board acquired the property for $5.25 million from the Anne P. Hendry Living Trust and Ernest and Judith Hendry. This property is located at 2411 N. 24th Street and overlooks the Potomac River. This acquisition includes a Victorian farmhouse and one of the best preserved remains of a Civil War fort located in the Washington, D.C. area, Fort C.F. Smith. By purchasing the property, it appears that the County has avoided a constitutional case over the validity of the Historic Designation on the property. This resulted, when a developer in 1987 proffered historic designation of 3 acres including the fort in exchange for increased density for a housing site plan objected to by the owners. Subsequently, in 1988, the Hendrys settled a lawsuit with the developer for $1.5 million. They settled on the advice of their lawyer, for what they later found was a void contract and a fraudulent site plan that was approved by the County Board without the owners authorization.
A malpractice suit against the lawyer is now on appeal. In 1989, the Hendrys began to protest their real estate taxes, which the County increased by 84% in one year due to the County Board's approved site plan that the Hendrys did not want. In 1993, 4.3 acres of the Hendry tract was partitioned and sold to Robert Hemphill, of AES, for $2.4 million by other family members. In the Spring of 1994, two half-acre lots were sold. The Hendrys will retain approximately 9,000 square feet of the 20 acre historical tract.
Purchase Agreement Negotiation. A review of the original Arlington County Proposed Purchase Agreement dated May 26, 1994 and the County revised Proposed Purchase Agreement based on informal negotiations dated June 6, 1994 shows that the Buyer and Seller negotiated two significant provisions before reaching final agreement on the sale. First, under the original Arlington County Proposed Purchase Agreement, Section 22, Full Settlement, Buyer and Seller hereby accept that this Agreement constitutes full settlement of all disputes between them as to the Property, including without limitation, any and all disputes as to the value of the Property, compensation for damages to the Property, and any other claims by Seller for compensation relating to the Property.
Second, under the County revised Proposed Purchase Agreement based on informal negotiations dated June 6, 1994, Section 23, Public Park, Buyer hereby represents to Seller that the purchase of the Property is funded through the County's Park Bond Fund and that Buyer intends to use the Property as a public park. This is one of the most significant provisions in the Proposed Purchase Agreement negotiations because at the time of these negotiations, the Hendrys had received at least five contract offers from private developers in the following amounts--$4.5 million, $5.0 million, $5.6 million, $6.0 million, and $6.2 million. Although the Hendrys believed that the property was worth more than their $6.3 million sales offer, they declined all other offers because of the County's proposed intent to use the property as a public park.
In response to this proposed Purchase Agreement Section, Closing, the Hendrys proposed an additional provision under Section 3.2 (a) (1), "This deed will convey the Property from Seller to Buyer as Historically Designated in its entirety." The Hendrys were advised by the County that they could not accept this provision because it was contrary to policy. In response, to this proposed Purchase Agreement Section, Public Park, the Hendrys and their Attorneys proposed under a new Section 19, Buyer's Covenants Surviving Closing, proposed Purchase Agreement dated June 27, 1994, [that] Buyer hereby represents, warrants and covenants as follows, and said representations, warrants and covenants shall survive Closing hereunder:
(a) Buyer agrees that for a period of no less than twenty years from and after Closing hereunder, it shall continuously use the Property as a public park, and make the property and facilities thereon available to the general public (with preference being afforded the residents and taxpayers of Arlington County) for private and public functions, such as, but not limited to, weddings, receptions, conferences and seminars. Buyer represents that the Purchase Price is being paid with proceeds of Arlington County's Park Bond Fund.
(e) All archaeological studies of the Property will be undertaken in a manner consistent with the standards accepted by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service.
(f) Buyer agrees to exercise due diligence in pursuing the process of having the entire Property designated as "Historic" pursuant to the recommendation of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB). The foregoing covenants shall run with the land, and shall be memorialized in a document that will be executed in recordable form at Closing. (Source: Hendry's Revised Purchase Agreement as of June 27, 1994 in Response to Arlington County's Proposed Purchase Agreement of June 6, 1994, pages 11 & 12 of 16 pages, proposed by Ernest and Judith Hendry & their Attorney.)
In response to the Hendry's and their attorneys' proposed Purchase Agreement of June 27, 1994, the County counter-proposed on July 7, 1994, Section 23, Archeological Studies, "Archeological studies of the Property will be undertaken in a manner consistent with generally accepted archeological standards." Also, in response to the Hendry's proposal that the County exercise due diligence in designating the entire property as Historic, the County agreed in Section 24, Historical District, "[only] to consider the designation of the entire Property as an Historic District," as recommended by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board in its report to the County Board dated December 11, 1986. These sections were agreed to by the Buyer and Seller on July 8, 1994, the date of the Final Purchase Agreement.
The Hendry family [previously] owned the subject property since 1927. Research indicates that the Hendry Tract was a portion of a 2000-acre holding, which included the Doubleday Estate and Roosevelt Island, once owned by the Mason family, and later purchased by Thomas Jewell in 1848. The Hendry Tract was taken by the Federal government in 1861 for the construction of Fort C.F. Smith and its associated structures. Fort C.F. Smith, one of 34 forts built to defend the National Capital from Confederate attack, was considered one of the best permanent works in the chain of forts and today is the best surviving Civil War fort site in Arlington.
Constructed late in the war in 1863, with a perimeter of 368 yards and emplacements for 22 guns, the Fort was built to command the high ground north of Spout Run. Because of its solid construction and important strategic location, Fort C.F. Smith was one of the forts retained in service after the Civil War. Records show that the Fort remained relatively intact as late as 1902, when plans for the development of a subdivision threatened its survival. For reasons unknown, the subdivision was not developed. A map of Fort C.F. Smith from General Bernard's Report of the Defenses of Washington, published in 1871, shows that two of the walls, the southern and western, were heavily armed with artillery. The southern wall, including the southwest bastion and powder magazine, was destroyed when 24th Street North was constructed. The western wall and the northwestern bastion are preserved as are the remains of the powder magazine near the northwest bastion and the bomb-proof shelter parallel to the western wall.
The HALRB concluded in their report that the purpose of Historic District designation is to recognize significant historic resources providing benefits for the general public. Historic District designation of the Hendry Tract will provide the County with a unique opportunity; a site of this potential may not be found again in Arlington.
The article states "that smooth-talking middlemen took care of the details, bribing immigration service employees with gold jewelry, free vacations, and cash-filled envelopes passed hand to hand in the aisles of a nearby department store. Ghanaians, Lebanese, and Salvadorans, among others, flocked to what quickly became a multicultural bazaar....Immigration service clerks, some whose take-home pay was as low as $250 a week were eager to participate. "Money talks," one told a self-styled immigration "broker" who had recruited hundreds of Salvadoran clients. Another employee said she needed $50,000 to buy a house in Florida....For two years, the bribery proliferated like a virus. "We let it happen," one employee involved in the case said in a recent interview. "There was no supervision to tighten down on us, and we let it go real wild."
Stephen Engelberg states that finally, the Justice Department began an undercover investigation, and by the time prosecutions were completed six months ago, eight employees stood convicted of accepting bribes. Altogether, the I.N.S. said, they had fraudulently given more than 4,000 people permission to work and sold legal residency to 1,000 more immigrants who did not qualify.
Mr. Engelberg describes how one broker slid into bribery. He states that when Norberto Escobar and his wife, Ivette, hung out their shingle as immigration brokers in October 1990, they knew little about United States immigration laws. The Escobars said they had taught themselves the rudiments of immigration laws from a handbook published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. And so they set to work guiding fellow Salvadorans through the labyrinth of immigration service forms. An application for political asylum, for example, might cost $2,500 if done by a lawyer; Mr. Escobar charged $700. Mr. and Mrs. Escobar said they had begun paying bribes to compete with Osvaldo Vera, another broker who used bribes to get work cards for his clients in just a few hours. Usually there is a two-month wait. In the bribery schemes in the I.N.S. Arlington office the brokers profited the most. While the employees were typically making $100 per work card, the middlemen were charging immigrants $500 to $700. When the investigations were over, Mr. Escobar, Mr. Vera, and four other brokers working the Arlington office stood convicted of bribing Federal employees. Their prison sentences ranged up to two years.
The September/October Question of the Month is: What is your reaction to this immigration corruption story? Tell us your ideas for resolving this problem? We shall publish the results in the next issue of the Newsletter.