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Friday, February 3, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Ending as we knew it would

Editor’s Notebook: Ending as we knew it would

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It was likely no surprise that the wrecking crews moved in and the Rouse (and/or Febrey-Lothrop) estate started coming down in a big way yesterday.

The owners of the property at least have consistency on their side; they had said from the beginning that’s what they planned to do, and that’s what they did. As we’ve been reporting since last year, the question was never if, but rather when, the buildings would be razed.

Some held out hope that there would be a miracle, but no, Virginia, that’s not how it happens in the Old Dominion. Even with Democrats ruling the roost, it’s still a property-rights state, and unless the Arlington government or some benefactor had the millions in moolah to purchase it, the buildings were goners, no matter their provenance.

As one aside, I have mentioned to a number of people that, on the off chance I ever come into a whole lotta money and need an attorney for a development issue, I’m going with Thomas Colucci, who handled this matter for the trust that owned the Rouse estate. He took no prisoners, seemed to scare the County Board and staff senseless (without ever raising his voice), ignored public opinion and got his clients what they wanted. No sin in that; it’s his job.


The 9-acre estate may lay fallow for some time until a purchaser can be found and a development plan ironed out.  It would be nice if the property owner would offer the land as a temporary park during the interregnum, but given the bad blood on all sides in this issue, that may be hoping against hope.

SPEAKING OF HOPING AGAINST HOPE: I confess to not knowing, before Wednesday evening, who Peter Doran was. Turns out he is an Arlington resident and one of the seven candidates for the Republican nomination for governor.

He spoke (“virtually”) to the Arlington County Republican Committee, pressing his case that Virginia deserved better and he was the one who could deliver. His big issue: eliminating the state income tax. And from the phraseology at the meeting and on his Website, it appears Doran is swimming in the same lane as fellow candidate Pete Snyder, who also proclaims himself a conservative outsider.

No disrespect to Mr. Doran, but I’ve been doing this a looooooong time and can say with relatively certainty that he’s not going to be the nominee of the party. And I do often wonder why people who have never run for office before want to jump in and seek a big job without laying the groundwork and establishing a track record. Even Barack Obama had a brief stay in the Senate before launching a bid for the White House, after all.

Anyway, best of luck to all the candidates. About six weeks to go until Republicans hold their multi-venue convention, and at some point after that we should know who will be the GOP nominee for governor. A month after that, Democrats will have their nominee, too.

DEFINITELY NOT GONE, BUT FADING FROM MEMORY? At the aforementioned Wednesday Arlington County Republican Committee, it was not until one hour and 26 minutes into the event that the name Donald Trump was first uttered.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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