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Arlington County Civic Federation

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2006-2007 Committee Reports

Submitted for the June 2007 Meeting

    Bylaws Committee

    Chair(s)/Representative: Scott McGeary 703-750-4704

    The Federation's Bylaws Committee continues to be available to consider any proposed changes to the Federation's governing document, its Bylaws, last significantly amended June 1, 2004. While no changes were proposed this program year, members are on call should the occasion arise. Continuing members are Frances Finta, Sue Sajac, and Bill Munson.

    Community Relations

    Chair(s)/Representative: Adam Croswell

    Cultural Affairs

    Chair(s)/Representative: Vivian Kallen

    Environmental Affairs

    Chair(s)/Representative: Larry Finch

    The committee focused on two major County environmental activities -- the green building program and the Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) - and organized a panel discussion for the June 5th general meeting. The committee also submitted a resolution on the AIRE campaign that was approved at that meeting.

    Green Buildings . To assist in the committee in learning about Arlington's green building program, Joan Kelsch, Environmental Planner with the County, was invited as guest speaker. Ms. Kelsch described the environmental effects of buildings, including increased stormwater runoff, energy usage, air pollution, and water and sewer demands. She explained how green buildings are designed to reduce those environmental effects.

    Ms. Kelsch said it is County policy to construct green buildings for its own use. In addition, through the site plan process, Arlington asks developers to include measures to reduce the environmental impact of other buildings. The County offers developers a density incentive if they achieve specific green building targets and are fully certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Following the meeting, Ms. Kelsch led the committee for a tour of the Langston-Brown Community Center, one of Arlington's green buildings.

    Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) . For the committee's discussion of the AIRE campaign, John Morrill, Energy Manager for the County, was invited as guest speaker. He described key elements of the campaign: reducing energy use in heating, cooling and lighting buildings; promoting the use of energy-efficient hybrid vehicles; promoting increased use of public transportation; purchasing some electricity from clean, renewable sources such as wind; and retrofitting traffic signals with light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Mr. Morrill noted that LED traffic lights use only one-fourth as much power as traditional traffic signals and last ten times longer, sharply reducing maintenance costs. He also cited examples where investments in saving energy have resulted in very substantial cost savings.

    Environmental Program at General Meeting . The committee organized a panel of speakers, including County Board Chair Paul Ferguson, for the June 5th general meeting.

    Dr. Walter Robinson, a climate scientist with the National Science Foundation, provided an overview of the current state of knowledge on climate science, explaining the levels of uncertainty associated with various possible projections of future developments as a result of climate change.

    Paul Ferguson opened discussion of the AIRE campaign, which he had initially proposed at the County Board meeting on January 1, 2007. He was followed by two speakers who provided further details on County programs:
    - John Morrill discussed the AIRE campaign
    - Joan Kelsch discussed Arlington's green building program

    Following those presentations, panel members answered questions from delegates, which led to a wide-ranging discussion of climate change and County programs.

    Finally, the committee submitted for consideration a draft resolution supporting the AIRE campaign and recommending greater emphasis on the preservation and planting of trees in Arlington. Delegates overwhelmingly approved the resolution.

    Active members of the committee: Bob Deason, Maureen Farrell, Peg Nelson and Larry Finch. Committee members who were not able to attend recent meetings: Ben Axleroad and Paul Nelson.


    Chair(s)/Representative: Kathryn Scruggs 703-536-9148

    The Housing Committee organized an Affordable Housing Program for the October 2007 Civic Federation meeting with two presentations. Fran Lunney, Coordinator of Housing Planning for the County, presented "Workforce Housing: The Expanding Affordable Housing Challenge." She addressed the plight of middle income workers, including police, teachers and nurses, looking for housing they can afford in Arlington. She noted that Arlington employers face a growing challenge to attract and retain staff. Ms. Lunney discussed programs being used here and elsewhere to address this need. Charlie Rinker of the Arlington New Direction Coalition, explained facets of cooperative housing programs (Co-ops) in general and, possible opportunities for their use in Arlington.

    Housing Committee members discussed and approved the position paper of the Arlington New Directions Coalition, "Public Land for Public Good."

    Members of the Housing Committee were involved in several other community meetings that involve opportunities for affordable housing or the potential for affordable housing:

    - Development at Buckingham Villages I and III,

    - Public hearings of the Arlington Public Schools' Multi-Site Study Committee (One member was a representative to that Committee),

    - Discussion with Parks and Recreation Committee regarding a resolution for preservation/creation of parkland at the Wilson School site,

    - Presentations on the public/private development of the Arlington Mill site,

    - Budget discussion of the Revenues and Expenditures Committee.

    Housing Committee Members: Mark Antell, Gene Betit, Stan Karson, Mitch Opalski, Peter Owen, Max Scruggs, Joe Wholey


    Chair(s)/Representative: Tim Wise 703-243-8345


    Chair(s)/Representative: Frances Finta 703-528-2882 (no email)

    The Membership Committee, consisting of Catherine Camp, Anna Medlen, Vice-Chairman William Munson and Chairman Frances Finta, participated in one telephone polling as they conducted the business of the Membership Committee. Four groups, contacted the Chairman requesting information about the Federation, how to join the Federation and/or how to organize a civic association. Two organizations, listed below, joined the Federation. The Chairman also submitted to Ms Toni Copeland, Clerk of the Arlington County Board, information about the Claremont Citizens Association's boundary changes.

    In addition to presenting applications for membership to the Membership Committee and the Federation body, the Chairman functions as a source of information to those interested in joining the Federation, establishing civic groups and/or acquiring information about the Federation. The Membership Committee Chairman has instructional guidelines on how to establish a civic association and how to join the Arlington County Civic Federation available for those who want them. Civic associations are not required to join the Federation but it is necessary for the Federation to approve an association's boundaries. The Chairman then submits the association's name and boundaries to Ms. Toni Copeland, Clerk of the Arlington County Board, for placement on the County issued Civic Association map.

    One former member organization rejoined the Federation. It is:
    Columbia Heights West Civic Association, first joined June 6, 1999, dropped June 30, 2004, rejoined October 3, 2006.

    One new organization was admitted to the Federation during this fiscal year. It is:
    Arlington Citizens for the Arts, admitted October 3, 2006.

    One organization resigned effective June 30, 2007. It is:
    Soroptimist International of Arlington VA, admitted November 11, 1998, resigned June 30, 2007.

    Several organizations will be dropped on June 30, 2007 unless their dues are paid by that date. How many and who they are is known only to Treasurer Timothy Wise.

    As of this date, the Federation consists of eighty-four (84) organizations. Delegate attendance, number of associations represented at the monthly meetings, and the number of visitors who signed in can be found in the accompanying chart. Monthly programs are also listed. The number of delegates attending meetings ranged from forty-one (41) to ninety-nine (99). The average delegate attendance was fifty-seven (57). The number of organizations represented ranged from twenty-eight (28) to forty-five (45). The percentage of organizations represented ranged from thirty-four percent (34%) to fifty-four percent (54%).

    On Candidates' Night, when those delegates or alternate delegates who wish to ask questions of panelists are asked to "place their names in a box," committee members handle the task of identifying delegates. They also help with other operational tasks.

    The Chairman maintained the delegate roster, printed all mail labels, and published the annual delegate roster. To do so, the Chairman sent to each member organization a request for an updated list of delegates. At the same time, the Chairman, in cooperation with the Federation Treasurer, mailed the annual dues request. The Chairman sent copies of the Federation Bylaws and other descriptive materials to all new presidents of member organizations. The Chairman maintained meeting attendance records and maintained a file of organizations that are or have been known to be members of the Federation.

    Parks and Recreation Committee

    Chair(s)/Representative: Jay Jacob Wind

    June 2007 Parks and Recreation Committee Annual Report:

    - Ran an after-action "lessons learned" session on Parks Division's handling of the flood and storm damage in June 2006 and recommended a letter of commendation to Parks Division for its prompt handling (CivFed president sent the letter)

    - Reviewed Transportation Master Plan and its impact on local parks and trails (no action) :

    - Tracked the boathouse issue -- National Park Service has presented no draft Environmental Impact Statement yet (no action)

    - Prepared and presented a resolution asking the County and School Board to protect the greenspace around Wilson School, approved by CivFed, after an open process to allow everyone input on the proposed resolution (CivFed approved an amended resolution)

    - Reviewed Arlington's 2006 Bond Issue for Parks and Recreation at two meetings, the first taking no position by a 2-2 vote with 2 abstaining, the second recommending support by a 3-2 vote (CivFed endorsed the Bond Issue, by a narrow margin) :

    - Parks Committee chair represented CivFed to Neighborhood Day Committee:

    Parks Committee chair appointed new members:

    Mark Antell, North Rosslyn Civic Association; Edward Hilz, Fairlington Citizens Association; Judith Richter, Columbia Heights West; Varun Nikore, Madison Manor; Shirley Wilson Gay, Barcroft; Phil Klingelhofer, Boulevard Manor; Toni L. Gentry, Woodmont

    in addition to these members: Robert Atkins, Susan Beaulieu, Sandi Berenbaum, Bernie Berne, Suzanne Bolton, Burt Bostwick, Maureen Farrell, Larry Finch, Anne Fisher, Martha Cole Glenn, Judy Green, Rob Swennes, Mandy Wertz, and Jay Jacob Wind

    In addition, all members of CivFed Executive Committee and all elected CivFed officers are members of the Committee ex officio.

    Planning and Zoning

    Co-Chair(s)/Representative: William Gearhart 703-522-2276, Martha Moore 703-527-3782

    Public Services

    Chair(s)/Representative:Amy Levin

    Revenue and Expenditues

    Chair(s)/Representative: Burt Bostwick

    The Revenues and Expenditures Committee had a productive year. We reviewed and reported on the County's 'Closeout' report for FY 2006, the County's audited financials (aka 'CAFR'), the proposed CIP and bond issuance for FY 2007-2012, the Board's FY08 budget guidance to the Manager, and the Manager's proposed budget for FY08.

    In addition, we attended most of the meetings of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission and the majority of the County Board's'work sessions' during discussion of the FY 08 budget. We also held several meetings with the staff of the Department of Management and Finance (DMF), and were in frequent contact with them by e-mail.

    Our principal task during the year is the review of the Manager's proposed budget, and a report and recommendation to the ACCF membership on the proposed budget. As in past years, this is prepared in collaboration with the Schools Committee, since the APS portion of the budget amounts to 47-48% of most General Fund revenues. This year, the combined report and resolutions passed by a margin of 31-15.

    Internally, we believe we have improved on our communications with other ACCF committees that have an interest in the proposed budget. This year, we provided advance notice of the meetings of the R&E Committee (held weekly from March-April), and invited all committees to attend one of our meetings and make a case for funding programs that they believed should be supported. The R&E Committee votes separately on all committee requests and recommendations following additional due diligence and communication with County staff, as necessary. If there is not a consensus or substantial majority, this is included in our report to the membership, and if there is substantial disagreement, an issue may be considered separately by the membership. This year, there were no issues that were proposed for separate consideration.

    Our communications with County staff, especially DMF, continue to be excellent. Our communications to/from the Board are more problematic, although this year we did receive a written response to one of our letters.

    Over the past year, there has been little change in the composition of the committee, with one member dropping, and a new member being added. The current composition of the R&E Committee is as follows:

    Burt Bostwick, Chair; Jerry Auten, Member; Frank Emerson, Member; Wayne Kubicki, Member; Roger Morton, Member; Roye Lowry, Member; and Tim Wise, Member.

    Going forward, we see a continuing need to provide oversight on the County's budget and fiscal policies. The ACCF R&E Committee is the only community-based organization that provides an independent review of the County Budget. There is general concern among the committee members that the County Budget continues to grow at rate exceeding population and inflation, that there is little attention paid to achieving savings and efficiencies, that the focus appears to be on spending whatever is available, that new taxes and fees are being added annually, and that the overall tax burden adds to affordability concerns and the generally high cost of living in the County. .


    Chair(s)/Representative: Jim Pebley 703-525-0766, Frances Finta 703-528-2882 (no email)

    The ARLINGTON COUNTY SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR TEACHERS, INC. was established in 1955. The Fund awards scholarships to students who are "members of the June graduating class of an accredited public high school located in Arlington County . . . [who] have shown a genuine interest in the field of education and plan a career in that field . . . "

    The Arlington County Civic Federation has been a sponsor of the Fund for its entire fifty-two (52) year existence. Other sponsors are the Arlington County Public Schools, the Arlington Education Association, the Arlington County Council of Parent Teacher Associations and the Arlington Retired Teachers Association. Funds are contributed by the sponsors, individual school PTAs, memorial gifts and private individuals. This year, the Federation contribution was two hundred dollars ($200.00).

    In 2007, eight (8) two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) scholarships were awarded. Two (2) winners were from Washington-Lee, two (2) from Yorktown, three (3) from Wakefield and one (1) from the Hoffman/Boston- Woodlawn Program. Scholarship winners were announced at the Arlington County Council of PTAs Reception held May 14, 2007 at Yorktown High School.

    Federation delegates to the Scholarship Committee are Frances Finta and Roye Lowry

    The recipients, the name of their scholarships, the Arlington schools each attended, the college each will attend and area of education each will pursue are:

    1. Samuel Cristeal. Arlington Retired Teachers Association Scholarship in memory of Mrs. Doris Matthews, a former Stratford Junior High School and Washington-Lee High School Assistant Principal. Washington-Lee High School. Temple University (Philadelphia, PA). Secondary Education. Major: English.

    2. Adolpho Dheming. Washington-Lee High School and Arlington Retired Teachers Association Scholarship. Barrett Elementary School, Swanson Middle School, Washington-Lee High School. Northern Virginia Community College (Arlington, VA). Major: Elementary or Secondary Education.

    3. Amanda Donahoo. Arlington County Scholarship Fund for Teachers, Inc. Scholarship. Patrick Henry Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Wakefield High School. George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Secondary Education. Major: English.

    4. Dalia Kassem. Arlington County Council of PTAs Scholarship. Wakefield High School. Northern Virginia Community College (Alexandria, VA). Secondary Education. Major: Foreign Languages.

    5. Sarah Kyser. Arlington Retired Teachers Association Scholarship in honor of Mrs. Adele Lang, a former Stratford Junior High School Guidance Counselor. Nottingham Elementary School, Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School. James Madison University ( Harrisonburg, VA). Major: Elementary Education.

    6. Cylina Miller. Yorktown High School PTA and Arlington Education Association Scholarship. Key Elementary School, Science Focus Elementary School, Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School. George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Major: Elementary Education.

    Schools Committee

    Chair(s)/Representative: Beth Wolffe 703-536-1654

    1. Substantive Action

    In 2006-2007, the Schools Committee (in roughly chronological order):

    Reviewed the proposal by Arlington Public Schools ("APS") to become the provider of Head Start services for the County;

    - Reviewed APS' proposed bond for capital improvements that appeared on the November 2006 ballot and made its recommendation to the Civic Federation concerning the bond, which the Federation rejected at its October 2006 meeting;

    - Jointly sponsored with the Revenues & Expenditures Committee a resolution calling for the County Board and School Board to include capital projects in bond referenda only when the projects are advanced enough to have detailed plans and budgets, so that voters can make informed decisions when voting (the Federation adopted this resolution at its October 2006 meeting);

    - Reviewed and recommended to the Civic Federation its analysis of the new initiatives and redirected funding in the FY 2008 APS budget, which the Federation adopted at its April 2007 meeting; and

    - Reviewed a proposed joint resolution of the Parks and Housing Committees concerning APS' plans for the Wilson School site and made recommendations to the Federation concerning the resolution at the April 2007 meeting. The Federation adopted some of the Schools Committee's recommendations, rejected others, and passed an amended resolution on the issue.

    2. Delegates to Related APS Committees and Groups

    During this past year, Sharon Rogers was appointed as the Civic Federation representative to the APS Professional Development/School Based Staff Task Group. This group is studying compensation and professional development proposals for teachers and other school staff. She reports that the Task Group plans to complete its work in mid-June with a report to the Superintendent and a presentation to the School Board on or about June 19. The final recommendations may have implications for next year's FY 2009 budget.

    Similarly, Rich Samp was appointed as the Civic Federation representative to the APS Budget Advisory Committee ("BAC"). The BAC meets on a monthly basis throughout the year, and more frequently during the period leading up to approval of the School Board's annual budget in the spring. The BAC provides the School Board with recommendations on budgetary priorities and on how best to format budget documents to provide citizens with a clear understanding of the School Board's goals and how well it is achieving those goals. Among the topics that the BAC focused on most closely this past year were how best to provide a reserve for employee/retiree health care liability and ensuring adequate budgets for maintaining existing structures and equipment.

    3. Committee Membership

    During this past year, long-time committee member Jim Schroeder (former Arlington Education Association president) resigned. We felt his loss and salute his many years of dedicated and thoughtful service on the Committee. Fortunately, Gerry Collins (current AEA President) joined the Committee in Jim's place and made many substantive contributions. We are very pleased to have him with us and look forward to working with him in years to come.

    Committee membership remains stable at 10 active members, one of the larger Civic Federation committees: William Barker, Gerald Collins, Barbara De Pauw, John De Pauw, Reid Goldstein, Herschel Kanter, Roye Lowry, Roger Meyer, Tim Wise. Representatives: Sharon Rogers, Rich Samp, Alfred Taylor.

    4. On-Going Committee Work

    During 2007-2008, the Committee will continue to monitor budget, capital improvement and policy issues affecting the schools and report to the Federation, offering resolutions for the Federation's consideration when it appears appropriate.

    Special Events

    Chair(s)/Representative: Frances Finta - 703-528-2882 (no email)


    Co-Chair(s)/Representative: Jerry Auten 703-536-5365, Ed Parks

    The two main transportation issues dealt with by the Transportation Committee this year were the drafts of a new Arlington County Master Transportation Plan and a resolution concerning a Metro staff proposal to change some Blue Line trains to Yellow Line trains.

    Several members of the Transportation Committee completed their service on the Plenary Group that met for about 18 months to advise county staff on the draft Master Transportation Plan. Jerry Auten and Paul Svcerl were the two official representatives of the Civic Federation, while delegate Peter Owen served as the Chair of the Plenary Group. In addition, current and former delegates Thanna Schemmel, and Bill Braswell also service on the Plenary Group.

    For the June ACCF meeting, the Transportation Committee arranged a presentation by County Staff on the first draft of a new Master Transportation Plan. The presentation included an overview of the high points and major themes of the draft and an invitation for delegates and members of the public to make comments and to request additional presentations for neighborhood civic associations and other groups.

    In September 2007, the Transportation Committee convened an open meeting of the committee and other interested delegates and citizens to discuss the draft MTP Report. About 16 people attended this meeting. A detailed summary of comments by attendees was provided to Ritch Viola, the Director of the MTP project. These comments were presented as comments by members of the Transportation Committee and other interested citizens and not any official position of the Civic Federation.

    At the February 2007, the Civic Federation passed a Transportation Committee resolution on the second draft of the Master Transportation Plan. The third draft of the MTP is being released in June 2007 with a presentation scheduled for June 13.

    At the December 2006, a draft resolution from John Antonelli concerning a proposal to convert some Blue Line trains to Yellow Line trains was referred to the Transportation Committee. The proposal was intended to address Metro train congestion at the Rosslyn tunnel by converting one-half of rush-hour Blue Line trains to a Yellow Line route that would go directly from the Pentagon to L'Enfant Plaza. This change would shorten commutes for some riders, but could result in longer expected travel times for others. The Committee met in January 2007 to consider the resolution. In addition to Committee members, this meeting was attended by two other interested residents. After discussing the resolution, the Committee agreed to support a substitute resolution that would recommend a Metro staff study of the issue and public hearings before any decision was made. This resolution was passed at the February meeting.

    The Committee followed up on the sidewalk resolution passed last year. County staff suggested new language on flexibility, and language was included in the draft MTP. In addition, the FY08 budget included some funding for paving or slurry seal for streets denied such maintenance under the previous policy.

    Widening of I-66 has again become an issue and members of the committee were involved individually. VDOT proposed 3 "spot" improvements for additional lanes west of the Lee Highway/Washington Boulevard entrance, extending the Ballston entry lane all the way to the Sycamore exit, and extending the Spout Run entry lane through to the Ballston exit (in order of priority). The third segment from Spout Run to Ballston (which offered the least benefit and seemed to create the most right-of-way problems) seems to have been dropped. This issue will be on-going.

    Committee members for this year were Jerry Auten (Chair), Bill Braswell, Allen Muchnick, Peter Owen, Sharon Rogers, Thanna Schemmel, and Randy Zwart. Additional committee members are welcome.

    This page was last revised on: June 6, 2007.
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