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Arlington County Civic Federation

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September, 2003 - Volume 88, No. 1 ------

Arlington Election Season Opens
with Candidates Night

September General Meeting
Tuesday, September 2nd 2003, 7 PM
Hazel Auditorium, Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington

Special Rules in Effect for Debate

Eighteen candidates will square off for nine contested positions in elections in Arlington this November. The Federation will host the office seekers at the annual Candidates Night on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003, at 7 PM at Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington. Candidates Night is your chance to meet those who want to serve Arlington, and to pose questions in a debate format.

Because of the large number of candidates, the meeting will begin promptly at 7PM. Following brief administrative matters, we will hear from candidates for County Board, Commissioner of the Revenue, School Board, State Senate, and finally House of Delegates candidates. The meeting should conclude around 11 PM.

Rules for this year's debate are included inside this newsletter. As usual, although the public is invited, only Federation Delegates and Alternates may ask questions of the candidates. See you there!

Committee News

Why Committees Matter
and What They Can Do for You

Have you ever been surprised to discover that something in your neighborhood is changing? Maybe a new high rise is going up around the corner, or perhaps school boundaries have changed. It could be your tax bill is going up, or a new County ordinance that affect your business. Time and time again, folks come to the Federation only after the change is well under way. By then, it's often too late to make a difference.

The Federation's committees serve to keep such surprises away by educating, involving and empowering our member organizations. Committees educate by hosting speakers from County staff, holding programs, disseminating information, and fostering discussion. Committees involve our members by providing opportunities to participate in local and regional commissions and organizations. Committees empower by recommending resolutions to the Federation, who in turn can publicize our position in the community and with our elected officials.

The Federation Makes it Easy to Get Involved!

While the Federation's committees provide opportunities to stay involved and make a difference, it won't help you, unless you and your organizations participate. You say that you don't have time? You can't stand meetings? Well, thanks to the hard work of Jay Wind over the last few months, there is a new, easy way to stay in the loop. Internet discussion groups have been established for all Civic Federation Committees. The new discussion groups make it easy to join committees, participate in discussion, and to keep up-to-date on the latest news without taking up all your time. Anyone who belongs to a Civic Federation member organization is eligible to join up. To sign up, all you have to do is go to www.civfed.org/egroups.htm and follow the instructions on the page.

Here's what our committees have been up to, and what's coming up this year:

The Airport Issues Committee has member representatives from seventeen Civic Associations within Arlington County. The committee has been actively participating in the Part 150 Noise Study that is underway at Reagan National Airport. Steve Baur, co-chair of the Airport Issues Committee, is a representative on the Part 150 Study Committee, and has been following the progress of the study as well as making suggestions relevant to the citizens of Arlington County. Many of the AIC members participated in the Part 150 Noise Study public meetings held in June in Alexandria and Washington, DC. Several were featured on local news programs. Over the next year, the committee's principal focus will be participation in the noise study, as this represents the best chance within the next ten to fifteen years for citizens of Arlington County to protect our quality of life. Suggestions for abating aircraft noise over Arlington are outlined in a position paper located on the Federation's website.

Hank McEntee attended a conference held by the National Organization to Insure a Sound-Controlled Environment (NOISE) held in DC from July 16th to 18th. He learned what other airport noise groups formed by citizens surrounding large airports across the county are doing, and some of the programs that airports have implemented vis-�-vis noise abatement. The committee will try to incorporate some of this information in our involvement with the Part 150 Noise Study.

The Airport issues Committee has a monthly meeting, held on the third Thursday of each month, at a place to be announced. For more information on the AIC, or to participate in the monthly meetings, please contact Steve Geiger (steveg+; 703-522-0026) or Steve Baur (Steveb@civfied.org; 703-525-5580) or log onto our web site at ACCF-Airport-Issues@yahoogroups.com.

As set forth in the Federation's Bylaws, the duty of the Bylaws Committee is to "examine the structure and function of the Federation and to draft and submit to the Federation for approval amendments to the bylaws." As the Federation begins its new term, the Committee welcomes written suggestions on any means to enhance the structure and function as the Federation fulfills its unique role in the Arlington community. For more information, contact Bylaws Committee Chair, Scott McGeary at scott+.

The Community Relations Committee is working to let the community and press know what the Federation does in the County. One of the Federation's main goals is to get more communities and individuals involved in the Federation. To do this, the committee will be to begin distribution of the Civic Voice in public places, such as coffee shops, community centers and libraries. The committee is looking for outgoing people to join as members to help reach out to those parts of our community that are not yet members of the Federation. For more information, contact mike+.

The Cultural Affairs Committee presented a program last year involving historic preservation and will continue to track and address cultural matters in Arlington. Contact herschel+ for more information or to join the committee.

The Environmental Affairs Committee had a busy year last year, with presentations and resolutions on the new Chesapeake Bay ordinance, and the County tree preservation ordinance. The committee will continue to address issues involving the environment, including upgrading the County water/sever treatment plant. Please contact pat+ for more information.

The Executive Committee works behind the scenes to make sure the Federation functions on a day-to-day basis. From planning our monthly meetings to making sure resolutions are referred to the right committee, the Executive committee keeps busy. The committee meets the third Tuesday each month at the Hospice of Northern Virginia at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. For more information, contact kim+.

Over the summer, the Executive Committee approved the formation of a new committee to address issues involving governance in Arlington. The Governance Committee will look at many matters including the reorganization of County Staff, The Arlington Way, and the Dillon Rule. There are leadership opportunities with this committee. Please contact dan+ for more information or to join the committee.

The Housing Committee has addressed issues including recommending an affordable housing task force, in the past year. In the next year, the committee will consider the County's proposed ordinance on blighted properties among other matters. Please contact wayne+ for more information or to joint the committee.

The Legislation Committee has begun meeting to prepare the Federation's proposed 2003-2004 legislative package. Copies of last year's legislative package have been distributed to committee members and posted on our Yahoo web page. The 2003 package will be reviewed, edited, and deleted if no longer relevant or our legislators have taken appropriate action.

The legislation package, which will be considered by the Federation at the November meeting, typically covers a wide variety of issues. Several new issues were brought up at the July meeting. These included a weight limit on trucks parked on residential streets and repeal of laws that prohibit private companies from offering domestic partner benefits to its employees in Virginia and that prevent same-sex and unmarried couples from receiving state housing assistance and home ownership loans. Other issues the committee will be considering relate to maintaining adequate funding for the Certificate of Public Need Program, adoption of a real-estate assessment period coinciding with the fiscal year, and strengthening the Red Light Camera enabling legislation.

Upcoming meeting dates are August 25 and September 8 in the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association meeting room. For more information on the Legislation Committee, contact nancy+.

The Membership Committee maintains a roster of Civic Federation member organizations, officers, delegates and alternates. In addition, the committee provides membership kits to new associations, and organizations wishing to join the Federation. The Committee is in need of at least one new member with computer skills, to help update our database. Please contact frances+ if you can help out, or would like more information.

The Parks and Recreation Committee took the summer off, until August 19, when the Open Space Master Plan Task Force revved up again after an eight-month hiatus. This fall, the committee will look at the 2003 Small Parks Grant applications, North Tract master planning, and park-neighborhood interface issues, as well as Open Space Master Plan. For more information, subscribe to the committee's discussion list. To do so, just send a message to parkswatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com -- or write co-chairs Judy Green (judy+) or Jay Jacob Wind (jay).+

Did you ever want to learn the basics of planning and zoning? This is critical information if you want to be prepared to understand how and why development takes place in the County. To help you and your organization better understand whats going on, the Planning and Zoning Committee, will be presenting a half-day, nuts and bolts workshop for Federation members on planning and zoning matters, with a tentative date set for Saturday, November 15.

The Committee also is following two matters currently being considered by the Planning Commission's subcommittee on zoning matters (the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, or ZORC). One involves a proposal to amend the C-2 zoning ordinance to require that at least some part of a new development in a C-2 project be commercial. Under the current C-2 zoning ordinance, a developer may build either all commercial or all residential, and the County is concerned that in the current strong residential market it is losing much of its service commercial to residential. This matter could come before the Federation in October.

A second matter is lot coverage in single home neighborhoods, which is a matter the Federation examined two years ago in a special meeting. The review is part of an effort to address the issue of infill houses, and in particular, community concerns about new monster houses that recently been built that are out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. When possible reductions were proposed to the County Board two years ago, the Federation and many homeowners expressed opposition, arguing among other things that the impact of the changes was unknown. It had become clear in the debate that while County staff had developed good data on coverage for new houses (which suggested relatively little impact from coverage reductions), staff lacked data for older houses, particularly in some of the more densely developed neighborhoods. The matter was sent back for further study. More will likely follow on this matter later in the fall.

For more information, and to join the committee, please contact martha+ or bill+.

The Public Services Committee covers a wide range of issues - generally any taxpayer-funded issue not addressed by another Civic Federation Committees. As such, we learn a lot, try to be as factual as possible, try to accomplish positive change, and NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS. Please consider joining us! Contact either Kim Smith (kim+) or Anne Fisher (anne+ ) to volunteer.

When the committee first met three years ago, our first project was on improving the public safety infrastructure. That has not changed, but recent improvements in the staffing, equipment and benefits area by the County government have given us more time to devote to other areas. Last year, the committee focused attention on emergency preparedness and, in the future, we expect to concentrate on the continuity of human services to vulnerable populations in an emergency. In 2003-4, we expect to start a project on the status of our Public Health System, which, like others throughout the country, needs some help. We will also continue to partner with other Civic Federation Committees when we have mutli-jurisdictional issues.

At our August meeting, the committee considered the following issues: (1) The Hospital Corporation of America's proposal to move the bed allocation from the Northern Virginia Community Hospital on Carlin Springs Road and Dominion Psychiatric on othe border of Arlington and Falls Church to Loudoun County; (2) Curbside Drop Boxes for Libraries; (3) Complaint process for the Police Department; (4) A resolution calling for the establishment of a Public Defenders' Office for Arlington.

NEXT MEETING: September 10, 2003 7:30 p.m., Hospice of Northern Virginia, Meeting Room.

The Revenues and Expenditures Committee reviews the County's proposed budget each spring. Following its review, the committee recommends a proposed budget to the Federation. Joining the committee is an excellent way to understand how your tax dollars are raised and spent. The committee plans to present a workshop on understanding the budget process early in 2004. To participate on the committee, contact bob+ or randy+.

The Scholarship Committee manages and raises money for the Civic Federation's 911 scholarship fund awarded. The fund awards scholarships to the college bound children of Arlington's police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, sheriff's deputies and emergency communications center personnel. Please contact the Scholarship Committee's co-chairs Tim Reese and Jim Pebley for more information, or to join the committee: jim+

The Schools Committee will meet in September to begin formulating questions/topics for the December School Board visit to the Civic Federation. In February, when the Superintendent's proposed budget is released, the committee members will attend the budget work sessions. There will be weekly meetings to prepare a position on the school budget to be presented to the Federation as part of the vote on the County budget. As needed, the committee will develop budget questions for school staff to clarify budget issues. Next spring the committee will develop a position on the 2004 school bond issue. This year the schools committee has created three subcommittees to look at special education, evaluation criteria, and second language learners. These subcommittees will help us to better understand those issues and the cost expressed in the budget numbers.

We would very much like to have more members on our committee. Almost 50% of Arlington tax dollars go to the school budget. This is a community issue, not just one that effects parents of school age children. To participate, contact terri+ or roger+.

Last year, the Transportation Committee kept busy with a program on the proposed sales tax referendum, a proposed replacement of the Spout Run bridge, and commercial parking in neighborhoods. Over the next year, the committee has plans to address parking and arterial roads.

Parking is a significant transportation issue with many subissues including: parking of commercial and non-neighborhood vehicles on neighborhood streets, zoned parking permits, the adequacy of parking in commercial areas, the adequacy of parking requirements in new high-density residential and commercial developments. The County held a Parking Issues Workshop on June 21 to hear a presentation from a consulting firm and identify parking issues in focus groups. The County is currently planning a Parking Symposium to be held some time in the fall. The symposium is being planned by a small group chosen by the Transportation Commission.

The County is also beginning a much delayed study of arterial roads. The Transportation Commission identified three arterial segments for the first round of studies: Wilson Boulevard west of George Mason Drive, Carlin Springs Road, and Four Mile Run. A Task Force was appointed (including one representative from the Civic Federation) and met in July to hear a presentation from a consulting firm that has a contract to develop proposals. Presentation materials included suggestions to reduce the number and width of traffic lanes, consider the use of traffic circles, and introduce various safety and beautification features. The emphasis seems to be on treating the arterial segments as neighborhood roads rather than as county-wide roads and thus on proposals that may reduce the road capacities. The next meetings of the Task Force are September 16 and October 16. Open meetings on the three segments are scheduled as follows: Wilson Boulevard (October 7 at Ashlawn School), Carlin Springs (October 8 and Cambell School), and 4 Mile Run (October 9 in the County Office Building at 3700 4 Mile Run). The adjacent neighborhood associations are to be invited, but the input of further away but possibly affected neighborhoods is unclear. To join the Transportation committee, please contact jerry. +

Federation News

June Meeting Recap

At the June 2003 meeting, the Federation elected officers and Executive Committee members for 2003-2004. Those elected were

    President - Dan Krasnegor
    Vice President - Patrick Smaldore
    Treasurer - Frances Finta
    Secretary - Tim Wise
    Executive Committee (5 members) - Nancy Graham, Kim Johnson-Smith, Ken Marcus, Randy Swart, Barbara "Bobbie" Wallace.

The Federation also had a presentation from the Parks Committee on the Arlington County Open Space Master Plan and planning for the North Tract.

Take Advantage of the Federation's Web Site

The Federation has an active Web site at www.civfed.org with a calendar page for civic events, as well as material on our positions, resolutions, committees, history, members' Web pages and items of interest to civic associations. If you are revising your bylaws or writing new ones you will find links to those of other associations who have posted them on the Web. There is a compilation of County ordinances that neighborhood associations frequently ask about. There is info on how to make a County Fair booth, birds of Arlington neighborhoods, and lots more. If you are interested in helping with the Web site, please contact randy+.

Community Forum to Return in October

At the Federation's October 2003 meeting, Arlington County Crime Solvers will give a brief presentation, signaling the return of the Community Forum for the 2003-2004 year. Due to time constraints caused by having many candidates this year, there will be no Community Forum in September.

The Community Forum is provided as a service to the community by the Civic Federation. It allows for private and government-based groups and organizations to speak to community leaders about what they do in Arlington. Any group wishing to participate should contact dan+.

Civic News and Events

New Name for Arlington Community Television

Arlington Community Television, who has graciously offered to provide television coverage of many Federation events, including Candidates Night on September 2nd, has changed its name and location on the dial. On August 9, 2003, Arlington Community Television became Arlington Independent Media and moved to channel 69 on the Comcast channel line-up. Arlington Independent Media's new logo is pictured above.

Arlington Independent Media, which reaches 70,000 households has become Arlington's public access channel and will continue to feature the hundreds of volunteer produced programs about the people, places and events in and around Arlington.

Hispanic Committee Seeks Volunteers

The Hispanic Committee of Virginia is a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to help immigrants more fully participate in and contribute to American society. The Committee is looking for volunteers in the following two programs:

"Arroz con Leche," (Spanish for 'rice pudding') is an after-school reading program for children 6-10 years of age. Volunteers help the children develop their language skills and love for learning through stories, songs, theatrics, and games.

"Alianza Escolar," (Spanish for 'scholastic alliance') is a tutoring and mentoring program for 5th-8th grade Hispanic students. Mentors serve as teachers, role models and friends, helping students with school work and providing the encouragement the students need to succeed.

Those interested should contact Milena at 703.671.5666, ext. 135.

Did something noteworthy happen in Arlington's civic life? Does your organization have an event coming up? Spread the word through the Civic News and Events section of this newsletter! Submit your events or news to dan+.

Rules for Candidates Night 2003

1. Each candidate in a contested race will have an opportunity to make a 2-minute opening statement, whether or not all candidates for that race are present at Candidates Night. 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. Candidates in races which are uncontested will be allowed one minute to make a personal statement.

2. Each candidate in a contested race 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 the end of 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. No period for quesitons will be provided for candidates in uncontested races.

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 member 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. For races in which there are four candidates, twenty-five mintues will be allowed for questions and answers; for races in which there are two candidates, fifteen minutes will be allowed for questions. 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.

Are you still receiving your of The Civic Voice by mail? Save the Federation some of its limited resources-get the electronic version of the newsletter. Not only will you save the Federation money, but you will receive the newsletter several days earlier, and get the "full color" version! It's easy to switch-just send an e-mail to dan+, with "E-mail version" in the header.

ACCF Officers

Executive Committee

Committee Chairs

This page was last revised on: December 27, 2003.
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