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Arlington County Civic Federation

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The Civic Voice

Newsletter of the Arlington County Civic Federation

September, 2001 - Volume 86, No. 1 ------

Candidates Night
Begins Early at 7 PM

No public comment period due to early start.

    September General Meeting

    7:00 pm !!!

    Tuesday, September 4th
    Virginia Hospital Center -- Arlington
    (Formerly Arlington Hospital) Conference Center
    1701 N. George Mason Drive

As in previous years, the Federation will begin the Fall 2001 civic season with Candidates Night. Due to the large number of races we will begin early at 7 PM. We will start by introducing the uncontested Arlington School Board Candidate (with a 3 minute speech and no questions due to time constraints). The agenda for the evening looks like this:

    September Candidates Night

      Brief Administrative Remarks
      Registrar of Voters Presentation
      Candidate for School Board
      Candidates for 47th Delegate District
      Candidates for 48th Delegate District
      Candidates for 49th Delegate District
      Candidates for County Board

The rules are listed below with the usual drawing of names to ask questions and the always-popular requirement that questions be limited to 30 seconds! The public is invited to observe. We expect a large turnout, so arrive early if you can.

Special Membership Meeting
To Provide Summit On Infill Ordinance
Changes for Neighborhoods

By now, many of the Federation�s member groups have heard that the County is considering significant changes in the County�s Zoning Ordinance Code that are intended to ease the impact of �infill development� on Arlington�s established neighborhoods. The County�s Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, often referred to as ZORC has discussed with the County Manager plans for reducing the footprint size of houses built on undeveloped lots or undivided lots within the County. In the first of a series of ordinance change proposals, ZORC considered reducing size of house footprints to preclude the building of oversize houses, often referred to as �McMansions� by neighborhood activists. Later changes under consideration may reduce the way height is measured for approving new homes as well as preventing the development on subdivided lots known as �pipestems� based on their shape like the letter �P�. Opponents of pipestem developments object to their construction on the basis of loss of privacy among adjacent homes and impact on the visual appearance of neighborhoods.

Over the summer, as some of the proposals under consideration became known, opposition emerged by some homeowners and a group know as Concerned Arlington County Homeowners (CACH). These groups� concerns center on whether the new changes in ordinances will restrict homeowners from building decks, patios, adding on rooms or replacing damaged structures and consequently detract from the market value of their homes. In response to these concerns, the County Manager deferred making recommendations to the County Board for their approval. Instead, he directed the County Staff to analyze the actual impacts the changes may have.

In response to numerous calls by concerned Federation members, the Executive Committee decided at their August meeting to host a special meeting of the Federation on September 19th, at 7:30 pm in the hospital conference center to consider the changes and what actions the Federation may take to endorse, oppose or recommend changes to the ordinances. The County Staff, Chairs of ZORC and the Planning Commission will serve as speakers for the meeting and the leaders of CACH will be given time to express their concerns. Presidents of member organizations are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting.

To help the County accurately gauge the actual impacts of infill development, an insert has been provided inside the paper edition of the Civic Voice. You can also access this survey form on the Web page and send it in by email. Member organizations and Federation delegates are especially encouraged to fill out this form and return it to the County.

School Board & County Board To Consider
Revenue Sharing

by Roger Meyer

The School Board and County Board are considering making revenue sharing a permanent feature of the annual budget process. The Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee has issued recommendations on the components and structure of a revenue sharing agreement. The two boards will meet the evening of September 10 to discuss the issue. Depending on the outcome of those discussions, the Schools Committee may have a recommendation for the Federation at the October meeting. Revenue sharing has the potential to dramatically change the budget process and potentially the citizen's role in shaping the school's policies. The changes could be important to Arlington citizens. Please keep your community aware of the issues surrounding the change and we, the Schools Committee, will report back to you at the Federation's October meeting.

Historically the schools have presented a budget based on their estimate of need to the County Board. They have had to justify their expenditures and the county board ultimately tells them how much money they are getting each year. This was an adversarial and often political process, but it laid out the direction of the School Board for the County and citizen to examine. School budget expenditures and County budget expenditures are based on different principles, which can lead to very different conclusions. The School system bases spending on a certain amount per student, with overlays on top of that for special projects. The County bases spending on the estimated actual cost of programs to which it is committed. Last year, for the first time, the County Board proposed and the Superintendent and School Board agreed to enter into negotiations that resulted in a predetermined split of the County revenues. With this new plan approved by both boards, the schools moved forward in their budget planning without knowing its final size as state and grant funding were not yet known. Both entities would share in the boon of increased revenue and the problem of shortfalls. The County Board would still retain its power in controlling the tax rate and the size of the pie that would be shared. The meshing of the two boards' budget cycles would be critical if the school system is to make reasoned judgments.

If any members are interested in this or other school related issues please contact Terri Prell or Roger Meyer to join the Federation's Schools Committee.

Rules for Candidates Night

1. Each candidate will have an opportunity to make a 3-minute opening statement. The order will be determined by a drawing by the candidates to be held at the podium at the start of the panel. After opening statements, the candidates will have the opportunity to field questions from the audience. Surrogates for candidates are not permitted. The Federation President will serve as Moderator.

2. Each candidate will have one minute to answer each question posed to any member of their panel. The order of answering questions will rotate with each new question unless the question is posed directly to one member of the panel, in which case that candidate will answer first. Following questions each candidate will have one minute to make a summation statement. Candidates will be informed when time has expired and the Moderator will ask the candidate to conclude his or her remarks.

3. Although the Public is invited, only Delegates and Alternates may ask questions. Questions from Federation delegates and alternates will be entertained through a random drawing system. Delegates and alternates will have the opportunity to register for the drawing by noting their name and the civic organization they represent on a name card. Registration will be conducted in the Hospital Conference Center lobby between 6:15 p.m. and the conclusion of opening statements by candidates on the respective panel to which the question is to be directed. The name card is to be placed in the applicable public office box located at the registration desk. Delegates and alternates whose names are drawn at random by the moderator will speak via a walk-around microphone (handled by the ACCF VP) when recognized to pose their question. The ACCF does not require the subject of questions to be submitted in advance.

4. Questions must be concise, no more than thirty seconds in length, and not statements of position. Argumentative, multi-part, and follow-up questions will not be permitted. Time is available for at least three questions per panel of candidates. In the interest of allowing as many persons as possible to ask questions, each delegate or alternate will be allowed to pose only one question to one panel of candidates. If their name is subsequently drawn for a second panel, it will be disqualified unless all who registered for that panel have already asked a question of a previous panel.

5. Candidates Night is a nonpartisan public forum, open to the public, and is conducted on the property of our host, Virginia Hospital Center. Customary hospital noise limits apply. Cell phones are not allowed inside Hospital buildings. Signs, banners, demonstrations and audio-visual presentations are not allowed in the Conference Center lobby, hallway, auditorium, or on the outside of the Hospital building. Only authorized press and ACCF representatives may tape or photograph the proceedings. Literature may be distributed only in the lobby of the Conference Center, from 6:15 p.m. until the close of the meeting. Candidates and their supporters are asked to respect the Hospital's rules as well as the sensitivities of patients and visitors during the evening. It is expected that the event will be videotaped by Cable Channel 33 personnel for later broadcast. Other members of the media will be invited.

6. The decorum of the Civic Federation will be observed at all times. Deliberate demonstrations staged while panel members are speaking will not be tolerated and may result in terminating that portion of the program. Civic Federation members and guests are expected to refrain from audible conversations and other behavior that may distract panel members and detract from the decorum of the program. Members and guests failing to observe Civic Federation decorum (as outlined above) will be asked to leave the auditorium.

ACCF Officers

    President Jim Pebley 703-525-0766 jim+

    Vice President Dan Krasnegor 703-534-4024 dan+

    Treasurer Frances Finta 703-528-2882 (no email)

    Secretary Tim Wise 703-243-8345 tim+

Executive Committee

    Chairman - Dan Krasnegor 703-534-4024 - dan+

    Member - Robert Atkins 703-527-8859 - (voice or fax) - (no email)

    Member - Mileva Hartman 703-841-9287 - mileva+

    Member - Roger Meyer 703-671-3655 roger+

    Member - Patrick Smaldore 703-528-3935 - patrick+

    Member - Kim Smith - kim+

ACCF Committee Chairs

Recipients of this newsletter are encouraged to forward to all and any interested parties

Copies of the Newsletter are available for Download from the Civic Federation website. (That is a paper version statement: this page is the Web version.) the Civic Voice is also distributed by email.

The paper version of the Civic Voice uses a freshly updated design introduced in 2001 by Cheryl Whitehead, who can be reached through email to cwhite229@erols.com. This Web version using the same text but posted within the style confines of our Web page design, is put up by Randy Swart. If you have comments or complaints about either version, please contact the editor, Jim Pebley

This page was last revised on: December 28, 2003.
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