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ARLNow: The Right Note: Quick Hits Print

BY: MARK KELLY

CREATED: MARCH 1, 2018

Delegate Patrick Hope’s bill to give Arlington the authority to hold school board elections is on its way to Governor Northam. The legislation is an acknowledgement that no one is quite sure whether the authority to elect a school board really existed in Arlington.

It may or may not call into question any previous School Board actions from a body that could very well have been elected without specific statutory authority. As such, someone should get a legal opinion on what exactly this all means, including whether there needs to be an immediate election of all five School Board members to new four year terms, rather than waiting for their current terms to expire.

In January, Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol indicated the county would be able to disclose its offer to Amazon to bring the online retailing giant to the county. Now, she seems less sure of when or if that will happen.

Activists, and businesses not receiving special deals, are rightly asking questions about the incentives being offered to Amazon and the level of transparency the county will provide.

The Board should figure out exactly what it can say now to speak to the offer, and say it. In the future, they should not sign any non-disclosure agreement that would keep the public completely in the dark about what kinds of offers are being made. And the Board should continue to look for ways to make our economic environment more friendly to everyone who wants to do business here.

On more than one occasion, backers of the Columbia Pike streetcar project speak of their regret that Arlington did not move forward with the project. This week, news reportssurfaced out of Washington that reminded us that promised results from such a project can go awry.

It seems that just two years after the first passenger trip on their initial $200 million streetcar line, DC officials are contemplating a total replacement of their streetcars as they cannot get their hands on parts to make needed repairs.

And they are still not collecting fares, though they hope to figure out how to start collecting in two to three years. Despite the fact they are still not charging for passengers, the District still plans to spend upwards of $500 million more to create two additional extensions of the line.

 
 



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