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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Governance proposal gets qualified support

Editor’s Notebook: Governance proposal gets qualified support

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The number of “nay” votes (20) certainly seemed to surprise supporters, but with 57 “ayes” the Arlington County Civic Federation’s three-year-long effort to propose changes in Arlington governance was approved last night.

(Click here for coverage, at least preliminary coverage.)

The package, covered by yours truly at length and by lesser members of the local press corps[e] when the fancy struck them, I guess now gets sent to all the relevant bodies — Arlington County Board, Arlington County Democratic Committee, General Assembly delegation and, heck, maybe even the governor — who have say over whether any of the changes actually get implements.

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(Arlington County Board members already have given themselves a big pay raise, which was part of the package, and already have started down the road toward ranked-choice voting. But whether other parts of the proposal ever make it past the gatekeepers in local and state government is an open question. Those in power rarely like change, do they?)

Good for the Civic Federation in having taken up the initiative. I’d wager nobody is going to agree with all parts of the proposal, but there is plenty of food for thought.

SPEAKING OF LAST NIGHT’S CIVIC FEDERATION MEETING: Before it began, I had my head down reading some news copy in the auditorium when a federation official wandered the audience, asking if anyone needed tickets to get out of the Virginia Hospital Center parking garage when the time came later that night.

“I’m a bicyclist; I don’t contribute to global warming,” replied one person. (I wasn’t looking up and didn’t recognize the voice, and I’m hoping it was said in a humorous vein but one never can be sure.)

A younger, cattier li’l Scotty would have piped up that “every time you pass gas, you contribute to global warming, muchacho.” (The same could be said for all of us.) But like Donald Trump trying to be nicer in his kickoff last night, I refrained from snide retorts.

And for the record, I absolutely would have said “pass gas” because I don’t use the f-word. The f-word that rhymes with “part,” that is; I use the f-word that rhymes with “luck” far too often, often with the same thing I like my hot dogs accompanied by — a certain dollop of relish 🙂 .

EIGHT YEARS LATER, HERE WE ARE: It was eight years and a few months ago – July 26, 2014 to be exact – that yours truly accompanied photographer extraordinaire Deb Kolt to chronicle the opening of the first phase of Metro’s Silver Line extension out through McLean and into Reston.

(I know the date exactly because we have a pennant from the event, with date on it, hanging in our office. Funny how THAT has managed to make the trip from one office to the next to the next, yet my hopes and dreams were all left behind. I kid, of course …)

And now, as of yesterday, a ceremony was held marking the second phase, taking the line out Loudoun County with stops in Herndon and (almost) Washington Dulles International Airport.

Yes, it’s been a process that’s been plagued, like the Metro system from its conception, with its share of challenges, delays, cost overruns, finger-pointing, management changes, even the occasional scandal or two. But that is so much par for the course that we shouldn’t focus on that, but on the fact it got done at all. Huzzah for that.

The set-up at the airport is not perfect but serviceable, and it’s at least better than the one time I thought it would be a good idea to catch the subway system at Los Angeles International Airport and take it to my hotel, which was located in that netherworld betweenwhere the city of Los Angeles to the east peters out but the city of Hollywood to the west hasn’t quite yet started. It was indeed no-man’s land, but it had a subway stop!

Like the Dulles situation, the subway service at LAX didn’t exactly come to the terminals. But rather than being able to walk to them as you now can here, you had to take a shuttle bus to the nearby train station.

And while I have no complaints, it’s clear that Los Angeles isn’t quite set up for, nor has it ever really embraced, its subway. It was looooooooong trip to where we were going, with lots of intermediate stops. Anybody who’s taken the Tube from Heathrow Airport to central London can appreciate that.

– Scott McCaffrey

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