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 25th.
With the exception of a few changes to the format and the organization of certain issue areas, this survey is very similar to the BVSCA surveys conducted in fall 1993 and 1994. We received 70 survey responses to last year's fall survey, which helped the Executive Committee determine the issues of major concern to our Civic Association members. For example, based on the survey results last year, we focused our efforts on major site plan applications and amendments, neighborhood crime issues, aggressive panhandling, the proposed George Mason University's Law School campus expansion, the County's budget process, and other issues.
If you would like continued coverage of these issues or new issues, it is very important that you return the survey by October 15th to Kathleen Gorman, Secretary, Ballston- Virginia Square Civic Association, 3800 N. Fairfax Drive, Tower Villas, #1214, Arlington, Virginia 22203. Also, we invite citizens from our community, see page 24 of the Newsletter for the map of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association Neighborhood Area, to join our Association of 294 dues paid members to help us get over the 300 mark for the first time in our Association's history. If you are interested in joining, see page 16 of the Newsletter for the BVSCA Membership Application form.
At the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association's Candidates Night meeting on Tuesday, September 26, 1995, at 7:25 p.m., at the second floor conference room of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, Gallery Room 2, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia, the candidates will have up to five minutes for opening statements, followed by a total of 20 minutes of questions for each session.
In order to promote increased public participation, individual questions will be limited to 30 seconds and candidate responses will be limited to 1 minute for each question. The first three questions for each session will be from BVSCA members, followed by questions from non-members or BVSCA members attending the meeting.
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 7, 1995 General Election.
For the first session, we will hear from the three candidates for the Arlington County School Board--Gary Baker, Darlene Mickey, and Ricardo Roca. The following background information was provided by the candidates at the Association's request to assist you in learning more about the candidates and their views. The Association asked that the candidate responses be limited to 300 words or less.
SESSION 1 -- ARLINGTON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES
As a parent of an Arlington student, Gary is deeply concerned about the future or the Arlington schools. Putting Children First is paramount!
As a member of the School Board, Gary Baker will work to:
I've pushed for a clearer set of priorities and more staff to better manage construction projects. Because of intensive work from administrative and support staff, the efforts of citizens, and the Peat Marwick management review, we have turned the corner on the school building program.
What's going on with our construction is important, but what's going on INSIDE the buildings is even more important. I will continue working with our 17,000 kids and our community, building strong schools for all of Arlington.
I am a former math-and-science classroom teacher in Arlington Public Schools and have conducted substantial research (over the past five years) on the arithmetic-to-algebra transition phase of academically-deficient students. My research includes interdisciplinary instruction (algebra-physics, algebra-chemistry, algebra-finance, algebra-economics) stressing workplace relevance of academic topics. Furthermore, I have focused my engineering career on research and development of instructional technology. Currently, I have a very satisfying career developing computer simulators and job-skills trainers for our military personnel. This is particularly relevant because none of our current School Board Members have ever been certified classroom teachers nor have professional backgrounds, credentials, or experience in education or teaching. As a School Board Member, my duties would be an extension of my professional career--not a hobby or a political resume entry.
The current per-pupil-expenditure at Arlington Public Schools is $8,627 consuming one-out-of-three dollars of the county's General Revenue Fund ($140 million). In spite of this substantial funding-and of the County's fiscal problems--last spring the School Board adopted and submitted a budget that exceeded County Board austerity guidelines.
In contrast, my approach is to reduce nonessential overhead in the school system and redirect savings to selected core- subject classrooms in the form of teachers, technology, and materials. The fundamental impetus of my approach is my conviction that the public school system exists to serve students--not school system employees. While my opponents campaign on rhetoric, resumes, and bumperstickers, I do so with a 22-page proposal based on my research of budgetary and resource management statistics, and on specific recommendations for overhead reduction and core-subject classroom refurbishment.
Here is where I stand on issues that were so important in 1995 and will still dominate the state legislative debate in 1996.
On Fiscal Responsibility--I stand firmly for the prudent policies that have kept Virginia's taxes among the lowest in the nation. However, voters must understand that the state's economy will prosper because we have a well-educated work force, a great university system, and modern communication and transportation networks--not because our state government spends the least in the nation, especially on the old and very young.
On Public Education--I stand for giving our students the best opportunities we possibly can. I support raising education standards and updating what's taught in schools statewide. I serve on the House Education Committee and am a former Arlington School Board Chairman.
On Public Education--I stand for giving our students the best opportunities we possibly can. I support raising education standards and updating what's taught in schools statewide. I serve on the House Education Committee and am a former Arlington School Board chairman.
On the Environment--I stand for common sense stewardship of Virginia's natural resources--not for labeling every pollution control as a cost "add on" that's bad for business. From my experience serving on the Arlington Planning Commission, I know that's not the Arlington way, and it should not be the Virginia way.
On Public Safety--I stand where I did four years ago strongly in favor of tough, certain criminal sentences and in support of state help for local policing. Also, I voted for making it easier to register your vote not your concealed weapon.
During the next two years, I intend to continue to be accessible to you, the voters. I ask for your vote on November 7.
I learned at an early age the true meaning behind the principles of independence and personal responsibility.
I also learned about the inherent goodness in people and our tremendous capacity for compassion without government's heavy hand. These principles will guide our communities through the changes ahead.
Independence in Northern Virginia means fighting against higher transportation costs and against sending control over our children's education to Richmond or Washington.
I will also see to it that we lower state taxes and put control over our personal prosperity back into the hands of families and small business and out of the hands of liberal elite.
When it comes to the Principle of personal responsibility, I will fight to the continued success of the abolition of parole for violent criminals and for the successful implementation of tough welfare reform.
Amidst all the changes and inevitable cutbacks it is crucial that we come together as a community to make the extra effort to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves. That the young help the elderly and the elderly help and educate our young. That our wealthy help our poor. Not as victims, but as equals.
The independence I describe is empty without such compassion.
And I will do my part as you Delegate by not accepting special interest PAC money. I will be an advocate for your priorities and values.
As your representative, and with the principles taught to me at a young age, independence, personal responsibility and compassion, I will work to guide us through.
Focusing on education, transportation, and public safety, Oblon represents a new generation of leadership and fresh ideas for Virginia. Some of his ideas include:
We can cut spending without diminishing our commitment to education, transportation, and public safety. We must fund these programs first, and must eliminate waste in government. Government waste such as the $25 million lost due to school renovation program cost overruns, and "Loop Road Bridge Park"), cannot be tolerated.
If you're ready for government to set priorities, eliminate waste, and consider fresh ideas, then you're ready for a new generation of leadership--David Anthony Oblon.
This year, when cuts in higher education, high school dropout prevention, mental health services and even Meals on Wheels were proposed, it became clear that actions at the state level could damage the quality of life in this community.
In fact, virtually every issue that comes before the General Assembly, whether it is welfare reform, or changes in parole, or services for the elderly, has an impact on local taxes and services. When changes are made, they must be considered carefully with full knowledge of the consequences for real people who live right here. As we consider new divisions of state and local responsibilities, my extensive experience in local government will be an asset in protecting our communities.
For example, two of the most important issues in Northern Virginia, education and transportation, are highly dependent on policy decisions at the state level.
As a member of the legislative committee of the Virginia School Boards Association, I worked in partnership with members of school boards from all over the state to improve education for all our children and I can bring that experience to the General Assembly.
For four years, I served as Chairman of the Transportation Policy Committee of the Virginia Association of Counties. I learned about transportation needs in other parts of the state and know that we must work in partnership with representatives of other regions to achieve our goals.
It has been my privilege to represent the citizens of Arlington on the County Board for the last twelve years and, before that, on the School Board. It will be a great honor to represent the citizens of Falls Church and Arlington in the Virginia Senate.
I offer that partnership experience that achieves, leadership that listens, and vision rooted in Arlington values.
Together with you, our County Board has led Arlington to national renown...As a model for managed growth, and environmental leadership that's earned me the Sierra Club's endorsement. As an economic powerhouse, and high quality services for low taxes. As one of only 29 localities with double AAA/AAA bond ratings, based on what Standard and Poor's calls our "proactive management measures and conservative budgeting practices," which includes $100 million in savings and efficiencies since 1990. As a progressive, caring community and one of America's safest.
I've made a difference personally, from launching the broadest economic development program in a generation, to leading the region against urban sprawl and drug abuse, from authoring the program to help the frail elderly remain at home to boosting child immunizations and supporting Metro, the retail and other amenities, and the careful planning to assure Ballston/Virginia Square's livability.
In 1992, I was honored with this region's highest public service award.
I'm well-prepared for tomorrow's challenges--to enhance our economy, protect our environment, promote firearms control, ensure fiscal prudence, and strengthen the common threads that bind together our diverse people.
Arlington's future deserves experienced, thoughtful, steady understanding leaders with positive visions, who really like Arlington and reflect its mainstream values. With pride in the quality of life government and citizens have achieved together here, the Eisenberg-Ferguson ticket offers the leadership to keep Arlington great.
I am president of the Fairlington Citizens Association where I have lived since 1978. I am the Chair of the Arlington County Park & Recreation Commission and Chaired the Arlington County Task Force on Recycling in 1993. I served as the Citizen member on the Virginia Board of Dentistry. I am a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington Kiwanis Club. I am 30 years old, single, no children.
The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association is one of the most active civic groups in the county. Most civic association newsletters do not offer an opportunity for candidates to give their backgrounds in their newsletter. I thank you for printing my information.
I share your concerns of public safety and aggressive panhandling. As an environmental activist, I will support development which is metro and pedestrian friendly and that conforms with our land use plan. I will work to bring recycling cans next to our trash cans on major intersections.
On the night of your debate, September 26, I am committed to chairing an important Park & Recreation meeting. I will make every effort to attend, but please understand if I am unable to make it. I will ask for your vote on November 7 and hope to have the opportunity to work with you.
CRIME: With gang symbols defacing our county; with juvenile crime increasing 23%, and with overall increase in crime statistics rising my opponent refuses to acknowledge Arlington is facing these challenges. As your County Board member, I will not be complacent on crime. Crime prevention will be my priority--through increased support for Community Based Police, increased support to the Crime Prevention Council, and strong messages to gangs that they are not welcome in this county. We deserve to feel safe.
JOBS: For the past 12 years my opponent has let other jurisdictions come in and plunder our job base--Gannett; IBM; Xerox; PIA; AMS--and many others are leaving our county. Business pays over half our tax bill, and if business leaves this county, home owners will have to make up the difference. Citizens can't afford to pay more!
For the past 10 years I have worked in the dead center of economic development as a Board Member and President of Arlington's first public private partnership, the Ballston Partnership. And for all the good work we do to attract business--our County Board's anti-business policies do far more damage. Also, for the past 12 years I have worked as a marketing and sales professional for a home-grown Arlington success story, Balmar Printing & Graphics. As your County Board Member I will give you a leader who knows how to market and attract a great job base to this county.
EDUCATION: I know that parents as well as the business community are shocked by my opponent's "pass the buck" attitude with regard to the enormous problems the schools have had managing the money we gave them to improve their buildings. I will not stand for waste and mismanagement. Quality education effects us all--it is a top criteria of our residents and for companies we want to move to Arlington. It will be my top priority on Arlington's County Board.
My background in business, in economic development, and as a single parent will bring the fresh vision and leadership critically needed as we get Arlington ready for the year 2000.
Contrasting his attitude with that of the Democratic majority on the Board, Ben Winslow promises to continue to listen rather than preach on all public policy matters. In your neighborhood, he has listened and followed up on your local concerns on a number of matters, such as: crime (including aggressive panhandling), the North Quincy Street extension, GMU parking, the lack of parks and recreation areas in the METRO corridor, problems with the Ballston Commons parking garage, and retaining meeting space for your association in the Windsor Towers Building. His actions on crime, overall County infrastructure policies, and the schools have benefitted your neighborhood as has his dedication to implementing sound financial policies.
Based upon Winslow's listening over the past few years, both out and in office, the following themes have emerged as priority action items for his next term:
Mr. Barnes Lawson, representative for Ballston Village L.C., made a presentation at our August 23, 1995, Civic Association's general membership meeting, about their site plan application. The developer's presentation centered around three major points: the provision of 2.2 on-site off- street parking places per unit; a proposed reduction of the side yard set-back from the standard 8 feet to 5 feet; and a proposed site coverage of 65% as opposed to the 56% standard under the zoning.
The Civic Association membership enthusiastically supports the inclusion of four guest parking spaces in the development. We understand that the developer may have more recently proposed the elimination of the additional 4 on-site guest parking spaces. In light of our neighborhood's constant parking problems, and the results of our annual Neighborhood Surveys conducted for the 1993-1994 and the 1994-1995 Membership Years, these extra spaces are most welcome and the basis of the BVSCA's willingness to support a recommendation in favor of this project to the County Board. Without the inclusion of the additional 4 parking spaces per unit, there would have been no support by the Civic Association for this project.
During the membership's discussion concerns were expressed; however, about both the applicant's proposal for a reduced side yard set back and the high percentage of coverage (65% as opposed to the ordinance's 56%).
Members of the Clements Court Townhouse Association (the development immediately adjacent to the proposed development) expressed their strong opposition to the applicant's proposal for a 5 foot side yard and asked that the proposed development have at least a standard 8 foot setback, as their development does. We understand that this sentiment had also been raised by the neighbors at Site Plan Review meetings. The Civic Association Members' views were supportive of the need for an increase in the set-back between Clements Court and the new project. Accordingly, the membership expressed its view advising the developer to increase the set-back between the two projects.
With respect to the site coverage issue, the Civic Association Members' views were supportive of the developer's proposal for site coverage at between 63 to 65% as a reasonable trade- off for the provision of the critically needed additional 4 parking spaces per unit. Accordingly, the membership expressed its view advising the developer that the extra site coverage would be supportable on the condition of providing the increased parking.
The Ballston Village Townhouses will be the subject of Public Hearings before both the Planning Commission and the County Board. Any and all are welcome to testify. The PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING is scheduled for: Monday, October 2, 1995, at 7:30 p.m. The COUNTY BOARD meeting will be Saturday, October 14, 1995. County Board hearings begin at 8:30 a.m., and continue throughout the day.
Preliminary scope of work. The sludge management alternatives study will be conducted by staff from the Department of Environmental Services' Environmental Planning Office. The study will produce an assessment of proven sludge management and disposal technologies. The objective of the study will be to enable the County Board to decide whether to proceed with the planned upgrade and expansion of the biosludge incinerator, or to adopt a new strategy for sludge management. The study will consist of eight elements. For example, one of the elements will include a technology survey. Under this task, proven biosolids treatment and disposal alternatives will be reviewed. Experimental technologies or those with only limited operational experience, will not be considered. Technologies to be considered will include, at a minimum: (1) Co- incineration with municipal solid waste, (2) Composting, (3) Heat drying, (4) Incineration-multiple hearth and fluidized bed, and (5) Land filling.
Also, included is a detailed assessment of primary alternatives. At a minimum, based on what is currently known about beneficial use and disposal of sludge in this region, it is likely that incineration and land application will be among the most viable options for detailed consideration. A detailed analysis will be conducted of at least the following scenarios: (1) Interim improvements to the biosludge building to accommodate land application, which could begin in September 1996; upon completion of the new dewatering building, sludge loading operations for land application would shift to the new building; (2) Continue incineration until completion of the new dewatering building in November 1997, then begin land application; (3) Operate the incinerator during 60-90 day period when ground is frozen and biosolids cannot be applied, as well as when required for emergency backup, with land application the remainder of the year; and (4) Continue with planned incinerator expansion and upgrade. The need for additional sludge storage or digestion capacity will be evaluated for each option.
The public was invited to submit comments on the proposed scope of work to the County Manager within a ten day review period, ending September 22, 1995. The final report will be submitted to the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission, civic associations, and other interested parties for review. The County Board will hold a public hearing on the report, following normal public notification procedures. The Sludge Management Alternatives Study will be completed in late October or early November. This will allow sufficient time for public review and comment on the report, prior to a public hearing in December.
Inmates selected to participate in this program are carefully screened and selected, Sheriff Thomas Faust said. Each of the inmates selected is a non-violent offender who will perform work such as vegetation clearing, trash pick-up, hard surface maintenance, stream clean-up, leaf raking, and snow removal.
A deputy sheriff position was approved by the Arlington County Board during the 1996 budget process with the anticipation that the position would be paid for through charge-back to departments utilizing inmate labor. PRCR will reimburse the Sheriff's Office the cost of the program, while obtaining a minimum of six inmates per day.
Currently, the County's adopted Open Space Master Plan sets a standard for the maintenance of parks. This program has been developed in an effort to assist PRCR in approaching this standard.
Sheriff Thomas Faust and Alice Foster, Director, PRCR, stated we look forward to moving ahead with another Jail Industry Program that will benefit the citizens of Arlington County and put inmates to work. Our goal is go get as many inmates as possible working and doing something productive. This is a very cost-effective way for the County to continue to maintain services with limited cost to taxpayers.
Internet time must be scheduled, either by calling 358-5990 or visiting the Reference Desk. Users can schedule ONE 30 minute time slot, no more than 7 days in advance. First-time users should allow an extra 15 minutes to register at the Desk and receive a special sticker for your Arlington Library card. Your card will be held each time you visit.
There is a 30-minute time limit per user/per week. If no one is waiting, however, one additional 30-minute time slot may be allowed, for a total of 60 minutes. Should the connection be unavailable during your entire scheduled period, you may be re-scheduled for a later time slot. If you are more than 5 minutes late, your time slot may be given away.
The library's Internet connection is provided by the CAPCON Library Network, via a dedicated 28.8 baud modem. The Internet Chameleon software is produced by NetManage, Inc.
The staff of the Department of Public Works (DPW) has informed us that our project--to convert 10 streetlights in the 1100 blocks of North Utah and North Vermont Streets, and on 11th Street North between N. Utah and N. Vermont-- should be completed within the next 90 days. (Virginia Power will perform the conversions and they are (currently running behind schedule.) If you have any questions about the project, or have any ideas for other projects, please call our NCAC representative, Nancy Iacomini, 528-0788.
U-2853-95-1 USE PERMIT (Reconsideration): Request of System Planning Corp., Occupant, by Donald A. Morton, Agent, for a Use Permit as required by Section 34.A.3 for a comprehensive sign plan (tenant identification sign on building higher than 35 feet facing Interstate 66, existing tenant signs); premises known as 1439 N. Quincy St.
U-2865-95-1 USE PERMIT: Request of Georgetown University Medical Center, Occupant, by Bronson Dorsey, Agent, for a Use Permit as required by Section 34.A.3 for a comprehensive sign plan; premises known as 3833 Fairfax Drive (Georgetown University Medical Center).
U-2398-83-1 REVIEW OF A USE PERMIT granted under Section 10A.A.1 permitting operation of a private school (lecture classes in photography), up to 10 adults, up to 4 times a year, known as 1101 N. Taylor St.
Eisenberg: "Thank you for the question. I think it's a good one. The meals tax I thought was a necessary and responsible means of raising the revenue that we need in this county to keep the quality of life that we all desire without burdening predominately those of us that live here. This tax predominately falls on those that don't live here but do use our services, do use the activities that we provide that benefit from the quality of life that we have here. It raises about $13 million and that's a very substantial amount of money that we would have to raise in some other fashion. It's interesting to note that there's perhaps a direct correlation between the imposition of the meals tax, and I say this facetiously, and the growth in the number of restaurants, because there has been about 40 some odd restaurants coming into the county, starting up since the meals tax was imposed. It was a necessary activity. No one likes to raise taxes, I certainly don't. I've cut some and even eliminated some, but this one I thought was necessary."
Dorothy Sticken: "But why was there no referendum?" No response was provided.
Paul Ferguson: "I don't like the meals tax too much. I eat out quite often, usually three meals a day unfortunately. My parents who are up in the audience, have moved out of the Fairlington area to Arlington Forest, so it's a little harder to go over and raid the refrigerator and to get food from their house. So the question is where do we get the revenue to replace it? If you have a good proposal, as a Board Member I'd certainly be open to it and I'm sure Mr. Eisenberg is open to it. What the meals tax does, it allows us to get revenue from all the people that work here that don't actually live here in the county and that actually helps us as taxpayers to keep our tax rates low. So I probably pay more than my fair share and I like restaurant owners, but unless we have a replacement for the tax and I'm looking forward to listening to you and working with you on that. I don't think we can do away with it."
Ben Winslow: "I opposed the meals tax in the past. I will continue to oppose it because I think it's a regressive tax and I have proposed several things. One I have proposed, it's outright repeal that got no where with my colleagues. I proposed that we establish a base line, say five dollars at which no point nobody would have to pay taxes. That would relieve most of the people with small children, people on limited incomes. It would relieve people who are elderly who have to eat out. A five dollar meal is difficult enough to get but at least you would be able to avoid that penalty from eating out. Even Paul Ferguson would benefit enough from it if he ate at Burger King often enough."
Paul Ferguson: "I don't eat meat Ben. I go to Taco Bell Ben, not Burger King."
Ben Winslow: "Paul, hit the salad bar, that's all you have to do. The other thing is what one restaurant owner told me and that is that all of the restaurant owners oppose the meals tax but he said it's awfully hard to be an effective opposition when they are lined up outside your door every night. Now, but I do think we need to adjust the meals tax to allow those who are elderly, people on limited income, people who have children, to be able to buy a meal for their kids without having to pay more taxes on that meal than they do in the District of Columbia. Thank you.
Henriette Warfield: "I'm very concerned about the how of that tax and my concern is that it came about not through public referendum, which I do not support. You'll continue to have such taxes if you don't have a balance on the board and there's no better argument this year for electing Ben and I to the board and to maintain that taxes will get your vote. It's very much like how we tax our businesses who don't vote and don't tax you on such things as the utility tax. Do you know we don't tax voters in this county a utility tax. But Arlington County has the highest utility tax of any county in the state of Virginia on its businesses. There's no cap and they don't vote and I don't think those things are right. So I'm very concerned about the fairness of our taxes, about the openness of the process. I encourage you all to vote for two balanced people, Ben and I on the Board this year. You'll have that opportunity. Thank you.
Whipple: "I think most people know that taxing and budget decisions are difficult decisions and are those that work together. That for example, the actual tax you pay is based on the combination of your real property tax assessment as well as the rate that the county board sets.
As a matter of fact, there were larger increases for some homeowners in years when the county board decreased the tax rate. And I voted for more reductions than increases.
But also in years when assessments have reduced or been stable, there have been modest increases in Arlington's real property tax rate. And I supported those because I felt that the services Arlingtonians had come to expect needed to be supported, that there were legitimate needs in the county that needed to be supported by public funds. The most striking of which in the last few years has been the large increase in enrollment in public schools. I don't think children should go without teachers and support services schools have to offer. And that has meant some very considerable increases for the county. When I'm faced with the decision about serving the needs of the people, then I'm going to make a reasonable decision about the balance between services assessments and rates to create the kind of budget that we need for the programs and services that we want."
David Oblon: "I'll tell you I'll keep taxes low and keep our budgetary process honest. The way to do it is we need to set priorities in education, transportation and public safety. Once we set those priorities, we'll fund those programs first. Then we go down the chain of budget priorities, we'll see at the bottom what's not necessary or what is necessary in terms of tax increases.
I don't think taxes need to be increased at the state level. Since 1980 state spending has tripled. Taxes have doubled, and our debt quadrupled with our state spending. The fact that it's doubled is the most disturbing, because our spending has grown faster then neighboring Maryland, faster that the average for all states and spending rose twice the national average. In fact, our spending in Virginia increased twice as fast as the federal government. The federal government looks like a model of fiscal restraint compared to Virginia and that's not my words, that's the Washington Post, January 29, 1995.
I think that we do need to make a change. We do need to set priorities. We need to stop that trend of escalating taxes, debt and state spending."
Ernie Ragland, BVSCA Delegate: My question deals with concerns that many of our members have had in recent years about: (1) aggressive panhandling; (2) the meals tax, as we started the debate tonight; and (3) a bill [House Bill 73, 1992 Virginia General Assembly] authorizing the County Manager Plan of Government to establish a fund to assist for-profit developers in acquiring land and property for sale or rental to families of low and moderate income. But the most pressing concern that we have is Initiative and Referendum rights. The P & E [Principles & Elections] Committee in the 1995 Virginia General Assembly voted 8-7 to defeat that. I would like to ask what is your position on Initiative and Referendum rights for the citizens of the Commonwealth."
Senator Robert Calhoun: "You asked that question when I was here in March. I'll answer it the same way. I was one of the seven."
Mayor Patsy Ticer: "You were one of the seven that voted for it?"
Senator Robert Calhoun: "I was one of the seven that voted yes."
Mayor Patsy Ticer: "Well, I would not vote. I would not vote for it. I think we have representative government and when I get down there, I think I know what is right for this district because I've been building community in the greater regional sense for many years and I don't think that I will need to be cajoled into supporting certain legislation. I think that some of it is instinctive, but I do not believe in that on every issue."
Ernie Ragland: "Even though Don Beyer, Lt. Governor (D) supports Initiative and Referendum rights and many members of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party both support it in a bipartisan way."
Mayor Patsy Ticer: "Thank you."
[For the record, Delegate Ragland did not inquire about Initiative and Referendum at the prior Federation meeting with the General Assembly delegates that Senator Calhoun referred to. A delegate from another civic association did. At that meeting, Delegate Ragland inquired about the status of the General Assembly's efforts to put the Virginia legislative proceedings on Internet. For background purposes, the Arlington County Civic Federation and the Volunteers for Independent Arlington (The VIA Coalition) had previously recommended since the fall 1993 that both political parties support a bill to provide public access on the Internet to the legislative proceedings of the Virginia General Assembly.
Since that meeting, in early August 1995, Virginia has implemented a General Assembly Web site located at "http://www.state.va.us/dlas/welcome.htm." This site was developed in response to legislative initiative HJR482 (1995), patroned by Delegate Stephen D. Newman (R), House District 23, Lynchburg, Virginia, which received bipartisan support from both political parties in the 1995 Virginia General Assembly and Governor George Allen. This resolution directed the Department of Information Technology and the Division of Legislative Automated Systems "to develop a prototype for providing access to the Legislative Information System through the Internet". The Executive Committee encourages members to visit the Virginia General Assembly home page. One will find a wide array of legislative information contained in the General Assembly home pages, including general information about the legislative progress and its participants, as well as the full text, summaries, status history of bills and resolutions, and the delegates' bills as chief patron.]
Executive Summary. The report states "In its review of human services today, the Commission found a system driven by compassion and staffed by dedicated professionals who often go beyond their stated tasks in trying to help people in our community. Yet the system within which they work, in its efforts to be responsive to a rapidly changing urban community, has developed incrementally in a rather fragmented manner, trying to be too many things to too many people. The result is frustration among community members who find it difficult to negotiate the system, among staff daunted by increasing demands on services, and among policy makers who find increasing costs exceeding amounts that are realistic by anyone's standards."
The Human Services Commission has found none of the County's more than 100 human services programs to be "bad" programs. Rather, the recommendations being made are intended to provide ways to restructure and retool the way the system "does business," in an effort to have more coordination, integration, focus, and efficiency. The two guiding principles being recommended, Independence/Self- Sufficiency and Prevention, are intended as means to benefit the entire community of Arlington, both clients of the system and those supporting the system with their taxes, for many years into the future. We must recognize that the County cannot and should not try to be all things to all people and can never meet all of the human needs of the community.
According to the report, the challenge is to focus efforts to ensure that the County government doing that which is essential and appropriate for government to do to meet the most critical needs of the community, to serve as facilitator or catalyst, to monitor human service needs in the community, and to ensure that these things are being done effectively and with fiscal responsibility. Providing this monitoring and assessment is essential for the development of an effective human services network, as a means of early identification of changing community needs, thus enhancing opportunities for prevention and early intervention as well as facilitating community response more effectively.
Guiding Principles. The Commission recommends the implementation of a major system-wide shift to focus Arlington's collective efforts on promoting a Self-Sufficiency and Independence strategy across all program areas. Most Arlingtonians will be able to meet their human service needs on their own with the help of an effective information and referral system; however, despite the County's future best efforts at prevention, many people in our community will still need to turn to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for assistance of various kinds. All such assistance provided by DHS, however, should be goal directed; that is, intended to achieve specific objectives with mechanisms established to determine whether they are being met. And, the key objectives should be to move people out of the system whenever possible. When a person enters the public human services system, discharge planning should begin at intake.
For people capable of functioning independently or self- sufficiently, services should be coordinated to move people out of the system as quickly as possible. For persons whose capacities do not include functioning completely self- sufficently or independently, the goal should be to acquire maximum possible independence with the fewest services necessary. For such a system to work, the current decentralized, fragmented access to the human services system needs to be consolidated around key populations. beginning with an appropriate assessment of a person's needs and potential, followed by a system of care coordination.
Prevention. The Commission recommends that each program area examine its current structure and consciously and aggressively place an emphasis on prevention. In making this recommendation, the Human Services Commission states We recognize that it is difficult to understand the causal relationships between a condition and the services intended to prevent it, and the cost benefits of such efforts...These two guiding principles work together to build a system of greatest benefit in the most appropriate ways to the community. In order to ensure that these guiding principles are met, additional parts of the system need to be addressed. [The Commission] refers to these as strategies for implementing the guiding principles.
Technology. The Commission recommends that the County develop an integrated information system which will be inclusive, efficient, and have the necessary confidentiality safeguards required of such a system.
Oversight. The Commission recommends that every program in DHS develop outcome goals. Also, the report states a second aspect of oversight is community involvement. The Commission studied the current Citizen Advisory structure and recommends the development of a Commission on Children and Families. The Commission also considered mechanisms to monitor the implementation of recommendations contained in the report.
Housing. The Commission recommends that the County place high priority on implementing those elements of the Interim Consolidated Plan for FY 1996-1998 that support the guiding principles of Independence/Self-Sufficiency and Prevention.
Community Resources. The Commission recommends that the County expand collaboration with the broader Arlington community. The County government should increase its role as facilitator, problem identifier, and catalyst for community action in order to maximize the resources of all segments of the community in providing needed services.
Background. According to the report, the Arlington County Board appointed a Human Services Commission in the fall of 1993 to "conduct a broad-based review of the overall human services delivery system in Arlington County and to make recommendations to the County Board on ways to better serve the citizens of Arlington--both those in need and those supporting the services through their taxes." The Commission consisted of 17 members appointed by the County Board, ten members from the community at large and one member from each of the following commissions: (1) Arlington Community Services Board, (2) Commission on Aging, (3) Health Center Commission, (4) Housing Commission, (5) Commission on Persons with Physical Disabilities, (6) Private Industry Council, and (7) Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission also created seven committees structured around human services program areas to carry out much of the detailed program reviews. These Program Area Committees (PAC's) submitted reports to the Commission for use in establishing overall priorities and recommendations. The details of the Program Committee recommendations made to the Human Services Commission are presented in Appendix H of the report. The Commission began meeting in January 1994 and had 18 months to complete its task.
Public Involvement Process. The report states that the Commission was encouraged by the County Board to try innovative citizen participation and outreach techniques. A public hearing was held on June 28, 1995, to hear community comments on the draft Human Services Commission Report. At this hearing, 30 people gave testimony and considerably more people attended just to observe. Written comments were received as well. The Executive Summary states that the Commission discussed in detail all of this commentary and made appropriate revisions before approving the final report. [The total number of written comments from this meeting are not discussed in the report. Also, how the Commission and the Program Area Committees considered the public comments and the specific public comments from the June 28th meeting are not discussed.]
To determine how we could obtain this information the Executive Committee followed up with County Staff, who stated the information would be published in the future in Volume 3, Background Reference and Resource Material. County Staff indicated that the Human Services Commission will have a work session with the Arlington County Board on October 17, 1995, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Although no public comment will be allowed, the public may attend the work session. Further, on November 18, 1995, the County Board will hold a public hearing on the subject report.
The Executive Committee encourages members to attend this meeting and express your views on the subject. Also, we encourage members to complete the BVSCA Neighborhood Survey, enclosed in this Newsletter, and submit the survey to Kathleen Gorman, Secretary, Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, 3800 North Fairfax Drive, Tower Villas #1214, Arlington, VA 22203. Under survey question 9. Topical Issues--Do you support?, please answer yes or no to the following items (e.) Single Room Occupancy Units (SRO's), (g.) Proposed Day-Time Drop-In Homeless Shelter (In our Neighborhood), and (h.) Opening the Emergency Shelter Every Night (November 1 to March 31), as opposed to opening the County's shelters only on nights when the temperatures outside fall below 32 degrees fahrenheit. We plan to coordinate the aggregate results of the survey with the County Board to assist the Board in their decision-making.
Based on a review of the draft and final reports, the Commission added the following statement on page 21, under the final report's section titled Location of Services. "The Commission also recognizes that the County has adopted the "Principles of Siting Process & Siting Process Procedures" and assumes this will be used in carrying out the collocation plan."
The Executive Committee fully supports the two guiding principles being recommended, Independence/Self-Sufficiency and Prevention, to help ensure that our local government is doing that which is essential for government to do to meet the most critical needs of the community. Also, the Committee fully supports the priority local funding initiatives concerning technology improvements for the Department of Human Services and expanding the Clarendon Club House for persons with serious mental illness.
Also, the Executive Committee generally supports most of the Commission's system recommendations: Access to Services, Technology, Oversight, Housing, and Community Resources to help assure that Arlington County meets a range of critical needs without trying unrealistically to meet all needs. There are two system recommendations, however, that the Executive Committee believes need further development. These include the recommendations on Oversight and Housing.
Oversight and Housing. Under Oversight, the Executive Committee agrees that each program needs to develop outcome goals, and especially defined measurable goals. This is critically needed to help define the system of accountability. To help establish a more meaningful, independent, and objective oversight process, the Executive Committee encouraged the Human Services Commission to recommend the creation of a "committee" for the audit and review of the DHS function, similar to House Bill No. 1588, 1995 Virginia General Assembly, that was sponsored by Delegate Kenneth R. Plum (D), Chief Patron, and co-patroned by Arlington Delegate James F. Almand (D).
Under HB 1588, the governing body of any county which has adopted the urban county executive form of government may establish a committee for the audit and review of county agencies and county-funded functions. The audit committee shall be composed of not more than eleven members who shall be appointed by the governing body for a term of two years. Also, this bill sets forth that the committee shall have the power to make performance reviews of operations of county agencies or county-funded programs to ascertain that sums appropriated are expended for the purposes for which such appropriations were made and to evaluate the effectiveness of those agencies and programs. The committee shall make such special studies and reports as it deems appropriate and as may be requested by the governing body.
The Executive Committee encouraged the Human Services Commission to recommend to the County Board and the Arlington County legislators that they sponsor a similar bill for the County Manager Plan of Government, Arlington County, for the 1996 General Assembly with the following additional committee requirements. The committee shall make performance reviews of County funded programs on a periodic cycle and shall report directly to the Arlington County Board on an annual basis. All reports should be made available to the public in order to further strengthen the system of accountability and fiscal responsibility.
Under Housing, the Executive Committee agreed with the Commission's recommendation to implement strategies to provide affordable and stable housing in support of the principles of Self-Sufficiency/Independence and Prevention. However, we disagree with the Consolidated Plan for FY 1996-1998 and the County's continued emphasis on expanding assisted rental housing, such as the $41 million affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation project for 512 rental units at Buckingham Village (as reported by the Arlington Journal on August 2, 1995).
The Executive Committee suggested that the Human Services Commission review the City of Alexandria Consolidated Plan which emphasizes expanding affordable homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income households. In order to stabilize the community, reduce school enrollment turnover, and bring the percentage of owner-occupancy in line with other jurisdictions, the City of Alexandria encourages homeownership as the top housing priority. As a result, Alexandria anticipates that the demand for social services and schools will become more predictable and manageable, and that the City will cease being a magnet for increasing service demands.
The Alexandria Plan states that "According to the 1990 Census, 59.5 percent of Alexandria's occupied housing units are renter-occupied, with only 40.5 percent owner-occupied." In comparison, the Alexandria Plan states that 55.4 percent of Arlington's occupied housing units are renter-occupied, with 44.6 percent owner-occupied. In contrast, according to the Alexandria Plan, the Fairfax County average is 29.3 percent renter-occupied and 70.7 percent owner-occupied; and the Northern Virginia average is 36.0 percent renter-occupied and 64.0 percent owner-occupied.
The Executive Committee suggested that the Human Services Commission include in the Draft Report's discussion on Housing the need for a balanced affordable housing approach in Arlington. Specifically, the Executive Committee recommended more emphasis on affordable homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income households and less emphasis on rental subsidized housing-in order to bring the percentage of owner-occupancy in Arlington in line with other jurisdictions. In the BVSCA's 1994 Neighborhood Survey which covered a three week period ending on October 15, 1994, 64 percent of the 70 BVSCA members responding to our survey questionnaire indicated opposition to any further increases in County spending on subsidized rental housing.
Further, under Program Area Committee 7's recommendations for Homeless and Emergency Assistance (both the draft and final reports), it was recommended that the County establish a year-round day drop-in center to provide basic services such as food, clothing, and showers. The Executive Committee advised the Commission that the Association is adamantly opposed to this type of facility in our neighborhood. In our 1994 Neighborhood Survey which covered a three week period ending on October 15, 1994, 78 percent of the 70 members responding to our survey questionnaire indicated opposition to the proposed day-time drop-in homeless shelter. Also, 82 percent of our members indicated opposition to the proposed Department of Human Services Consolidation in our neighborhood; 67 percent indicated opposition to the County spending more on transition homes; 66 percent indicated concern about Single Room Occupancy Units (SROs), including 23 percent indicating a "critical problem."
Moreover, the Executive Committee recommended that the County reexamine the budgets of 3 governmental functions that have suffered during the past 10 fiscal years in comparison to the overall growth of the budget, Public Safety, Public Works, and Education, to determine the level of reallocation needed in the overall budget next year to meet the most critical needs of our community.