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Arlington County Civic Federation

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The Year In Review: Remarks by
Randy Swart, President, at the
ACCF Banquet, April 28, 2000

I think this has been a good year for the Federation, and we are in good shape.

We began the season early, in August, with our return to the County Fair. Our booth drew a constant stream of visitors, with over 1,200 pins in the map marking their houses, and a lot of finding out who their neighborhood civic association was. We also had literature from the non-neighborhood members, and a display of the Web pages of all our members. Our booth won two prizes: for Theme and for Outstanding Exhibitor. Thanks to all who took a turn staffing the booth. We have registered to do it again at this year�s fair.

Our September candidates night was action packed, with lots of contested races and good press coverage, launching a good year of interesting programs.

In October we celebrated Neighborhood Day, co-sponsored by the Federation along with NCAC, the County Council of PTA�s and the County itself. Many of our members participate with events that they organize that day. This year we are holding Neighborhood Day on May 13th, and we have confirmed events organized by 19 Federation members, as well as a number of floats for the afternoon parade.

In November the chairman of our Community Relations committee was elected to the School Board, and reluctantly gave up that post that he had so well filled for so many years. We were fortunate that Jacqueline Mao agreed to fill David Foster�s big shoes and keep our press relations flowing.

We continue to do our best work in our committees.

In May we will be hearing from Patrick Smaldore and the Environmental Affairs Committee with an analysis of the draft changes to Arlington�s Chesapeake Bay protection ordinance. Patrick has been serving on the Task Force since last year, and is our liaison to the Energy and Environmental Concerns Commission.

Reid Goldstein and the Housing committee provided us a similar analysis of the County�s affordable housing study, another complex issue for Arlington.

The Legislation committee, ably chaired by Nancy Graham, continues to somehow craft almost unanimous legislative planks even though its membership has the broadest range of Arlington�s political spectrum. We will be hearing from our State Legislators at the next meeting on how we fared in Richmond. This year we had some lively debate on several planks that were not unanimous, which was manageable because the committee had taken care of so much of the work beforehand.

The Bylaws Committee has been blissfully quiet, thanks to the good work that Jean Mostrom and Scott McGeary have done in the past to get our bylaws in top shape. Jean continues to be a great comfort to the President as Parliamentarian, where I thankfully turn to her judgment and expertise in the front row when parliamentary panic strikes, and she always saves me from disaster.

Cultural Affairs, chaired by Herschel Kanter, continues to track for us the movement to add mandatory arts funding to County projects. This is not a simple subject, and Herschel has been helping us to understand what the arts community is looking for.

Frances Finta continues to do outstanding service chairing the Membership Committee, meeting all the 30 day deadlines to get new applications before the membership, counseling new neighborhoods on bylaws and other issues, and keeping a squeaky clean list for our mailings. Her tidy thinking also makes for great performance as our Treasurer. You should know that Frances continues to contributes so much in so many other ways behind the scenes as a member of the Executive Committee.

Parks & Recreation is our only committee with a vacancy as chair. Eric Buehlmann was doing a bang-up job as Chairman until he decided that his child was growing up while he was away at meetings, so he asked to be relieved. A sound decision, but we are looking for a chair.

Planning & Zoning under Bill Gearhart is continuing to track what is happening in Arlington�s eternal development scene. Bill represents us on the Parking Task Force and his involvement in other planning meetings keeps us plugged in there.

Stan Schachne continues to do good work with our Public Services Committee, serving as lone chair since co-chair Rebecca Gray resigned earlier this year.

Our Revenues and Expenditures Committee continues to be a star, and is one of our hardest working committees, with one of our hardest working chairs, Bob Atkins. During budget season it meets weekly, with lots of homework willingly taken on by the committee members. The result this year was a solid budget recommendation with an option for the membership to debate and vote on to recommend the level of improvement for the retirement system for County employees. Bob related the options to a tax increase to make it clear that it was an expenditure, and I think we were all a bit surprised that the larger increase won the day.

Roger Meyer and Terri Prell have been doing a fine job with the Schools Committee. They encouraged the School Board to tailor its presentation closely to our concerns this year and the result was the most interesting School Board visit we have had since I have been a Civic Federation delegate.

The Transportation Committee has a new chair, Adrienne Pilot, and has been tracking our worries about I-66, the eternal airport problem, and other issues. The presentation on the County�s draft traffic calming plan earlier this year resulted in a Federation resolution supporting the new program. Committee member Elaine Squeri continues to be our rep on the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committee.

The Executive Committee has a few irons in the fire too. Dan Krasnegor, our newest Executive Committee member, is working on incorporating the Federation and securing tax-exempt status for us, so that the folks you see listed on the back of the program will find their donations tax-deductible next year, and we can keep our banquet costs down. Jim Pebley is working up a design for a new Federaton logo that we will be proposing eventually to the membership for approval. Darnell Carpenter and Jim Pebley are keeping us current on the Arlington Hospital expansion plans. Ann Rudd found us the model for our County Fair booth and the material for the backdrop. Ann also helped with the banquet again this year.

Our other officers contributed a lot to the smooth functioning of the Federation over the past year. Our Secretary and last year�s Journal Cup winner, Tim Wise, balances a busy civic activist schedule to crank out minutes and agendas as well as represent the Federation on the Community Development Block Grant Committee. Tim serves on the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee as well as our Revenues and Expenditures Committee. Patrick Smaldore is working on an arrangement with Channel 33 to televise our meetings, and exciting prospect.

I need to make special mention of our Vice President and Chair of our Executive Committee. Jim Pebley has done an outstanding job this year and last year, supporting the work of the Federation in ways you do not always see, serving as our representative at ceremonies, functions, and committee meetings. He contributes to the Revenues and Expenditures Committee from his perspective as a member of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, and served as the Federation�s Y2K representative for the past year. As chair of the Executive Committee he has arranged support for all of our programs with Arlington Hospital, and runs good meetings that you feel happy about going to. Jim has been a real asset to me as President. When he takes on a task you know it will be done.

And finally, our Special Events Committee, chaired by Dan Krasnegor and Tommye Morton, put together this wonderful banquet in a new location, within budget. Please give them a round of applause!

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