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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: That’s a wrap on the Rouse preservation battle

Editor’s Notebook: That’s a wrap on the Rouse preservation battle

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Arlington County Board members on Saturday stuck a fork in it and declared the battle over preservation of the Rouse (Febrey-Lothrop) estate over.

Board members said that, with the buildings on the 9.5-acre parcel now rubble after the owner razed them to the ground, there wasn’t enough history left to put the parcel in its own historic district.

Anybody who’s been following this and paying attention to informed news coverage is aware that, from the beginning, County Board members had no intention of allowing this parcel to become an historic district. They and staff slow-walked the process – even County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac admitted as such on Saturday – to give the trust that owns the parcel the time it needed to knock the buildings down.

As Ye Olde Sun Gazette has said in editorials, and Ye Olde Scotty has said in blogs, county leaders deciding that the property should not be encumbered by the handcuffs of an historic district is a defensible position. What is indefensible, however, is the disingenuousness of county officials, who refused to move expeditiously on the proposal for historic status for the Rouse house. Their motivations — kill the proposal through bureaucratic intertia — were so transparent as to be both sad and laughable, simultaneously.


Some months back we had an editorial that said, look, if you’re not going to approve a historic district for the site, just save everybody the trouble and say so. County Board members, who never like to take the heat whenever they can avoid it, opted to put the community through several additional months’ worth of angst, when everyone who was paying attention knew that the fix was in. Would have saved each and every one of us time and trouble just to be honest up front.

Anyhoo, I’m saving the rest of my barrage for an editorial this week.

MORE TO COME? Word came over the weekend that Del. Elizabeth Guzman was getting out of the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. In a looooooooong statement, she gave her many reasons, although it boils down to m-o-n-e-y.

One also has to wonder if she came to the realization that while she was busy running for lieutenant governor, others in her district had been mounting challenges to her own re-election. Maybe he felt he needed to keep the home fires burning and thus give up on her race for higher office.

A couple of other incumbent delegates also are running for higher office while simultaneously facing challenges to their re-election in the June 8 primary. In the local area, Mark Levine (running for LG) is one, and not too far afield, Lee Carter is rolling the dice and running for governor while trying to retain his delegate slot.

As neither seem to have gained much traction, one wonders if they’ll be following Guzman’s example and getting out of the race for higher office in order to concentrate on retaining the one they’ve got. Guess we’ll know soon enough.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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