Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: The last vote


Photo by cliff1066™ on Flickr.
Council votes: DC Council voted down a proposal to add more cops, passed a tax abatement for Howard Town Center, and reduced some traffic fines from $125 to $92 in the last day of legislating for the current two-year session. (Post)

Barry's ex-con law fails: Amid contentious debate, the Council voted down Marion Barry's proposal to ban firms from asking job applicants about their criminal records. (WAMU)

Step back for campaign finance: Mary Cheh withdrew her proposal to cap campaign donation money orders because Tommy Wells was going to try to strengthen it through amendments. (Washington Times) ... There's a new loophole making it harder to tie corporate donations to the people behind them. (City Paper)

Frederick, Howard tops in schools: According to Maryland's new school accountability ratings, Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery met the standard, while Prince George's fell short. Closing the achievement gap is 40% of Maryland's measure. (Post)

Build high in Pentagon City?: Arlington Ridge's civic association is fighting a set of 22-story buildings in Pentagon City. The developer would contribute to recreation facilities and the streetcar; residents say they worry about traffic. (Examiner)

Calling all car apps: The Department of Energy is challenging app developers to use open data to make cars safer and more fuel-efficient. Every car generates data about itself, and DOE is looking for innovative app ideas and products that use that data. There are five $10,000 prizes; apply by January 15. (Jenifer Joy Madden)

LA approves 1st area without parking minimums: LA has approved a new mixed-use zoning with no parking minimums in a neighborhood north of downtown. If LA can move away from parking minimums, can DC? (Curbed LA)

And...: Compare the capacity of different Metro vehicles. (BeyondDC) ... Aaron Weiner evaluates Chris Dickersin-Procopp's proposal for an Anacostia grocery store location. (City Paper) ... Peter Franchot decides not to let married gay couples file joint tax returns. (Washington Times) ... Want to be NCPC's webmaster?

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Noticed the signs all around Arlington Ridge recently. Pentagon City planning has been going on for how many years now? I have a hard time believing that they have not been stakeholders in the process, even if they might not get the desired outcome. Its kind of funny that the "Too High, Too Dense" signs are in front of all the recent-ish new construction big houses on the sites of tear-downs.

Oh, and whats with the whacked house that still has the police tape up in their yard? They were angry about the loss of the "safety slip lane" when the S.Meade/S.Arlington Ridge intersection was reconfigured. Guess they still can't let that go.

by spookiness on Dec 19, 2012 9:03 am • linkreport

Car apps: $10k prize? Not worth the trouble.

by goldfish on Dec 19, 2012 9:04 am • linkreport

The Arlington Ridge complaints are pathetic.

by NikolasM on Dec 19, 2012 9:09 am • linkreport

"The [DC] Council voted down Marion Barry's proposal to ban firms from asking job applicants about their criminal records."

Wow, I hadn't heard about that proposal. Sanity prevails, thank G-d.

by Frank IBC on Dec 19, 2012 9:25 am • linkreport

Homeowners in one Arlington County neighborhood are urging county officials to block the construction of what would be five of the tallest buildings in Pentagon City, saying the development is contrary to the area's vision of smart growth and would clog local roads.

Seems like building a tall building in an already dense area close to metro, eventual streetcar lines, and downtown DC is pretty smart growth.

"If this development gets approval ... then what stops another developer from coming in [and building something like it]?" said Katie Buck, president of the Arlington Ridge Civic Association. "This sets a precedent."

Ok. I think that precendent has been set. By the already tall buildings.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2012 9:26 am • linkreport

re Arlington Ridge

On the one hand - its actually zoned for 12 stories as of right. A variance will be needed for 22 stories. So the residents can say "it violates the current plan"

On the other hand - With a metro stop there, and two street car lines coming, and its location close to downtown DC and the Pentagon, its a logical place for higher height and density.

To which it could be responded - well why not change the zoning - lets decide on the right height and density, and then upzone if needed.

BUT - if that were done, the 22 stories could be done as of right, and the county wouldnt get the proffer.

So in many ways it makes sense to NOT upzone, and allow higher density only in exchange for proffers (that offset any negative impacts). But that leaves open the charge of violating the plan.

I suppose one could make the opportunity to get variances in exchange for proffers more explicit in the planning documents - I do not know the extent to which that is already done in ArlCo.

Its something for DC to think about as well, as they contemplate what to do with the height limit.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 9:36 am • linkreport

That parking minimum requirement revision in LA is only for a few blocks in downtown LA around Chinatown. The proposal here is for all of DC.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 19, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

@tom

I thought the parking minimum change would only apply to areas within a short distance (1/4 mile?) of metro stations. Thats not all DC. Though it would be phrased generally, to apply to any metro station existing or to be built anywhere in DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 9:56 am • linkreport

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/17050/whats-in-the-zoning-update-fewer-parking-minimums/

Yup, it looks like only in designated transit zones.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 9:59 am • linkreport

so on the one hand, that includes some areas with high frequency bus service that are not near metro stations, but on the other it also excludes some areas that are near metro stations. In sum, not all of DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

Also in exchange for enforcement of existing laws regarding how fast you can drive we have to accept higher speeds and lower fines. The war on cars strikes again!

by drumz on Dec 19, 2012 10:08 am • linkreport

I agree, keep the zoning and use it as a negotiating point for proffers. I am not an expert on VA planning law but my understanding is that they have a lot of leeway in this respect, much more than my home state. The whole Potomac Yard Metro Station and Transitway are likely to set off even dense development in the area. You'd think they'd rather have in concentrated in one area rather then spreading directly into their neighborhood.

by Alan B. on Dec 19, 2012 10:13 am • linkreport

Arlington's "Density for proffers" deal has been the case for decades. Almost every building in the county close to a Metro has been built using some sort of site plan that trades extra building space for a community benefit. This isn't new.

by Michael Perkins on Dec 19, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

"Catania called [Barry's race-baiting attacks on his fellow councilmembers] 'the stock in trade of a long-bankrupt public servant who has long, long ago failed to offer constructive solutions for the problems that afflict this city,' and he said, 'I have had it.'"

Bravo, Mr. Catania. If only more of your colleagues would call Mr. Barry out on his disgraceful behavior. I assure you, most of your constituents have also "had it" with Mr. Barry. The merits of his proposal to make convicted felons a protected class for employment purposes are certainly worthy of public debate. But opposing the proposal (or disagreeing with Mr. Barry on other matters) does not automatically make councilmembers racists. And, just because our collective expectations of Mr. Barry have sunken so low over the years does not mean that we shouldn't call him out when he fails to meet even the astonishingly-low standards of decency that we have for him.

by Jimmy on Dec 19, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

Courtland Milloy's column defending Barry should be a hoot.

by B. Jones on Dec 19, 2012 10:48 am • linkreport

The Arlington Ridge thing is just ridiculous. Here is a massing model of the proposed buildings. They're totally surrounded by other highrises! And the new ones will only be a little taller than all the existing buildings!

And this location is not only practically on top of the Pentagon City Metro station, it's also RIGHT where the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars will meet. So 1 Metro station + 2 streetcar lines, and it's only a little bigger than a dozen other buildings on surrounding blocks.

If anything, it's not tall enough.

by Ballston Guy on Dec 19, 2012 10:49 am • linkreport

But opposing the proposal (or disagreeing with Mr. Barry on other matters) does not automatically make councilmembers racists.

But don't you know "the largest perpetrators of race speech in DC...not black folk..but white folk."

by Vinh An Nguyen on Dec 19, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

Didn't I read recently that the big office buildings in Pentagon City are going to have big trouble finding tenants in the next few years because of government/military moves? I don't really sympathize with the knee-jerk 'no tall buildings' complaints, but I also doubt that a few more tall office buildings will help Pentagon City achieve smart growth goals.

by Austin on Dec 19, 2012 11:13 am • linkreport

@Vinh An Nguyen

Dammit, Vinh, don't you know that only HogWash has the right to determine who's racist and who's not???

by MJB on Dec 19, 2012 11:13 am • linkreport

Austin, my understanding was that backfilling tenant spaces formerly occupied by DOD contractors was forecast as difficult because the existing office spaces are outdated and don't meet the requirements of potential new tenants. I think part of the whole Crystal City replanning process was to physically replan it with the intention that redevelopment could take place which replaces those buildings with facilities that are more suitable to the market.

by spookiness on Dec 19, 2012 12:02 pm • linkreport

Don't really understand the rationale behind the council's decision not to support more cops. The Chief believes we do but the council does not? How does that work when we have people asking for more protection in our n'hoods all the time? I hope there's another answer.

RE: Barry, yes contentious it was. From what I understand, it would've allowed employers to ask about a criminal record "only if" the record related to the job performed. Obviously there are nuances here but they could've at least moved to work on it instead of it coming down along racial lines...well almost..one white CM did vote w/the black folk.

RE: Catania, he's made an utter fool of himself several times over so his attacks on Barry are...well it's just Catania. It could be that time of the month for him.

Seems like Cheh and Wells should've had a conversation before allowing the legislative session to end w/o dealing w/campaign finance. If Wells' amendments were really poison pills purposely designed to kill the whole bill, he should be ashamed.

Md's decision not to allow homos to file joint returns is freakin ridamndiculous!

by HogWash on Dec 19, 2012 12:18 pm • linkreport

"Md's decision not to allow homos to file joint returns is freakin ridamndiculous!"

Whiskey tango foxtrot????

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

Comptroller Franchot issued a statement clarifying significant misinformation contained in the Washington Times Story. Maryland must decouple from the IRS on this particular issue in order to allow same-sex married couples to file jointly, but a federal law change is not necessary. A state legislative or regulatory change is needed and he's committed to working with legislative leaders to ensure that same-sex married couples will be able to file jointly for tax year 2013. A link to his full statement on the Sun site: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/consuming-interests-blog/bal-consuming-interests-franchot-maryland-samesex-spouses-will-be-able-to-file-joint-returns-20121219,0,2180328.story

by Andrew Friedson on Dec 19, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

Hogwash,

DC already has the highest police force per capita than any other major city in the US, including NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, SF etc, nearly 25%.

This on top of the fact that MPD doesn't have to patrol the Metro, and the Federal Government provides thousands of its own police force to patrol some 200 blocks of downtown DC. The city's main tourism areas and Parks are patroled by Park Police. The FPS, Capitol Hill Police, have concurrant jurisdiction and full responsibility over all the Federal Government infrastructure and personnel. MPD by all metrics seems to have it pretty easy, far easier than their major urban counterparts who again, have fewer cops to begin with.

And crime is down markedly overall every year for the past what, 15 years. I find it hard to agree that MPD needs more when crime is down.

by Cops on Dec 19, 2012 12:36 pm • linkreport

RE: Catania, he's made an utter fool of himself several times over so his attacks on Barry are...well it's just Catania. It could be that time of the month for him.

Well, that's rather uncalled for. I dare say, borderline misogynistic.

by Birdie on Dec 19, 2012 12:38 pm • linkreport

Md's decision not to allow homos to file joint returns is freakin ridamndiculous!

Decrying the treatment of a traditionally oppressed minority while simultaneously referring to that same minority with a time-worn slur . . . I don't recall anyone asking for a textbook example of cognitive dissonance, but here you have it. (Though I suppose it's only cognitive dissonance if the author is uncomfortable with the conflicting ideas, and we've seen no evidence of that level of self-awareness.)

Add to it a healthy dose of misogyny elsewhere in the post, and Hog is in rare form today.

by dcd on Dec 19, 2012 12:45 pm • linkreport

Add some homophobia in there too, I'm guessing the thought process is Catania is gay, therefore he's a girly man and subject to "that time of the month" like any girl. Disgusting.

by Phil on Dec 19, 2012 12:47 pm • linkreport

Well, that's rather uncalled for. I dare say, borderline misogynistic.

And straight-up homophobic.

by Tweety on Dec 19, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

Well, that's rather uncalled for. I dare say, borderline misogynistic.

Not borderline. Just plain misogynistic.

by Miriam on Dec 19, 2012 12:57 pm • linkreport

And crime is down markedly overall every year for the past what, 15 years. I find it hard to agree that MPD needs more when crime is down.

Well sure. But I think you'd find a hard time convincing people that they should safer now that the number of robberies and assault have skyrocketed. Yes, murder rate is down and has been for a while..in other places around the country.

Decrying the treatment of a traditionally oppressed minority while simultaneously referring to that same minority with a time-worn slur .

Yeah whatever. You say potato...I say potahto.

by HogWash on Dec 19, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

Why would they build office buildings on that site anyway (especially buildings twice as tall as anything in the area)? Crystal City is virtually a ghost town, but they're solution is to depress the market even further? I think they should at the very least include one or two residential buildings.

by King Terrapin on Dec 19, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

crystal city is far from a ghost town, there are buildings in the area WELL over 11 stories, and there are other buildings going up that are residential. These buildings will be VERY close to the Pentagon (closer than almost any in Crystal City) and will be very desirable for DoD contractors.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2012 1:45 pm • linkreport

I heard Michael Brown has entered the April special election.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 19, 2012 2:34 pm • linkreport

>Yes, murder rate is down and has been for a while..in other places around the country.

Uh, DC is on track for fewest murders in 50 years. http://www.wjla.com/articles/2011/12/d-c-murder-rate-on-track-for-lowest-number-in-50-years-70861.html

by BeyondDC on Dec 19, 2012 3:07 pm • linkreport

Yeah whatever. You say potato...I say potahto.

I doubt you'd be so casually accepting if someone used a historic slur for African Americans.

by dcd on Dec 19, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

And crime is down markedly overall every year for the past what, 15 years. I find it hard to agree that MPD needs more when crime is down.

Murders are down but not all crime in general. The city's crime problem has gone from gang murders to robberies/burglaries of gentrifiers. While a place like Columbia Heights has a lot fewer murders and assaults with a deadly weapon, it has a lot more robberies/burglaries. There were several crime waves just this year:

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/02/d-c-police-crime-wave-continues-with-more-robberies-in-northwest-today-73014.html

http://washingtonexaminer.com/d.c.s-edge-neighborhoods-seeing-violent-crime-spike/article/2505566#.UNI6GnewWSo

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/08/22/capitol-hill-community-holding-meeting-after-spike-in-violent-crimes/

by Falls Church on Dec 19, 2012 5:07 pm • linkreport

I doubt you'd be so casually accepting if someone used a historic slur for African Americans.

Hunh? Well...er, maybe. But I don't believe there many "slurs" that exist which are actually derivatives of larger words. Homo = Homosexual; Hetero = Heterosexual; Bi = Bisexual

But if hearing the word "homo" makes you think about racial slurs directed at black folk....go ahead...make your own day!

by HogWash on Dec 19, 2012 5:13 pm • linkreport

"But I don't believe there many "slurs" that exist which are actually derivatives of larger words"

Jap?

by hmm on Dec 19, 2012 5:19 pm • linkreport

homo (countable and uncountable; plural homos)

1.(colloquial, often pejorative) Short form of homosexual.  [quotations ¥]
1938, Cecil Day Lewis, Starting point[1], page 127: "... He's a homo."
"My dear Theo, at my age one can't worry about little details like that. Besides, he's got such a nice voice."

by hmm on Dec 19, 2012 5:20 pm • linkreport

@Cops: DC already has the highest police force per capita than any other major city in the US, including NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, SF etc, nearly 25%.

Yes, but DC effectively has around 480,000 daily visitors (commuters) that nearly doubles its population (see here). Given that, DC does not have so many police officers.

by goldfish on Dec 19, 2012 5:26 pm • linkreport

This word is indeed a slur, and whether or not one person who uses it thinks it is, if a group of people feel a word is a slur against them, it's inappropriate to use it regardless of one's intent.

I was mostly away from the blog yesterday and wasn't able to jump in so quickly. Moreover, nobody used the report function until hours after there had been a detailed discussion of the issue, and it's not really possible to remove the slurs now without also slicing out many other comments in response.

I am adding 'homo' to the list of words that will trigger a post going into the moderation queue for review. I am also going to try to keep monitoring for this stuff, but I hope people will use the "report" link when they see something inappropriate so I can jump in as quickly as possible.

by David Alpert on Dec 20, 2012 8:10 am • linkreport

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