So what have we learned in the year rapidly coming to a close? Besides how to use various combinations of the words "mauve," "awesome," and "design review board" to create a blog, that is. Here's a quick recap of the Important Life Lessons we've all learned in and around Reston this year.
• Residents interested in self-determination aren't principled. They're a bunch of radicals.
• In times of corporate uncertainty, don't pick up a copy of What Color is Your Parachute? Instead, rent Footloose.
• Forget cheerleading and band programs. There's no better gauge of a school's academic quality and/or desirability than whether its students play with Bratz.
• Massive developments are best planned on the opposite side of major highways from Metro stations.
• While Reston's fake downtown may hate America, at least, unlike that other planned community in Maryland, it doesn't hate Christmas.
• Giant, for lack of a better word, sucks.
• Tysons Corner is too beautiful to be marred by anything as crass as an above-ground rail line. And the closest thing to an Abraham Lincoln its fractious special interests have is a car salesman. It doesn't matter, anyway, 'cuz we've got tons more vacant office space than those prima donnas, anyway.
• Criminal tactics in Reston appear to be escalating from roving gangs armed with sticks to the weapons of mass destruction known as BB guns. Then again, these guys made a ton of collars this year, so it all evens out.
• Everybody loves puppies.
• Reston is a hotbed for singles. Well, certain singles, anyway.
• We're popular in Russia.
• Foreign visitors love The Reston Museum.
• No matter how scary things get in Reston, they're worse in Loudoun.
• Loose lips sink stock prices.
• Reston was inspired by a town in New Jersey. Yes, even North Reston.
• For its enlightened approach to the immigration dilemma and countless other reasons, Herndon is, and always shall be, the anti-Reston.
• And finally, while awesome chain eateries like Ruby Tuesdays and Chili's may come and go, the Macaroni Grill endures. For now, anyway.
Thanks for your patronage, and see you in 2008. Until then, keep your feet on the ground, per the applicable Design Review Board regulations governing reaching for the stars.
Friday, December 28, 2007
So what have we learned in the year rapidly coming to a close? Besides how to use various combinations of the words "mauve," "awesome," and "design review board" to create a blog, that is. Here's a quick recap of the Important Life Lessons we've all learned in and around Reston this year.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Turns out the same guy got ejected from the final awesome redistricting meeting for trying to videotape the proceedings--again.
Hunter Mill resident Bruce Bennett was escorted out of the third boundary meeting on Wednesday at Oakton High School after he was told he was not allowed to videotape the proceedings.It's behavior like this that led one newspaper to label this entire process an exercise in "Russian-style democracy". To paraphrase a great comic mind, in Fairfax County, school redistricting meetings videotape you! What a county....
This follows an ejection from the second meeting on Dec. 3 for the same reasons. Bennett videotaped without incident at the first meeting on Nov. 12.
Bennett maintains that disallowing citizens to videotape the boundary meetings violates Virginia Code 2.2-3707 that reads “any person may photograph, film, record or otherwise reproduce any portion of a meeting required to be open.”
Bennett is considering legal action against Fairfax County Public Schools, but said he is waiting until the new year.
Friday, December 21, 2007
As we enter the holidays, we thought we'd share a few earth-toned sights of the season.
• The Reston Town Center Hyatt's awesome gingerbread house village is back after last year's absence. Yay!
The kitchen and engineering staffs share the effort, Messina reported. And a demanding task it is. In addition to performing their ordinary duties, four or five people work 45 days to assemble the houses, and then another five to seven days to erect the village.Sounds like a lot of extra work for Santa's ununionized elves, doesn't it?
• Reston-based Eastern Motors, home of the ever-sophisticated rappin' Redskins commercials, donated a car to a Fredericksburg woman who runs a shelter for abused women. Yay! But who knew they were based in Reston? If they tried to put up one of their mustard-yellow dealerships anywhere in Reston, the DRB would throw the mauve-colored book at them before they could say "Your job's your credit."
And finally, in the spirit of the season, we'll share this comment posted on our favorite message board:
With a footnote reminder -We're assuming this is a joke. But the fact that we wondered for a moment or two says it all, doesn't it?
*The Reston(r) Association specifies that residents may have a "Holiday Tree" (Tree) provided that such Tree is Forest Green and decorated with fruits and nuts for the birds and squirrels.
Report any violators using "The Complaint Form" available at [www.reston.org]. And, as always, use recycled paper.
South Lakes High School Principal Bruce Butler was named the Reston Times' Citizen of the Year, following a fun couple of months where his school has been accused of everything from trying to poach "good" children to playing with Bratz dolls. How's that worked out for you, Bruce?
“I'm just so thankful to work here, I think I'm the luckiest principal in the county.”SLHS' backers have given Butler the lion's share of the credit for turning around a school that had a checkered reputation for many years. More significantly, he did something that decades worth of students who passed through South Lakes' doors never thought possible -- he got windows added to the dystopian building.
Butler has become the unintentional champion of the high school during the western county boundary study. South Lakes will have a capacity of 2,100 when renovations are finished in the fall, and redistricting would address the current population imbalance.You mean it isn't watching their parents in action?
Butler remains dedicated to putting all his time and energy into South Lakes rather than answering criticisms about a school he doesn't believe needs defending. The best ambassadors for the school have been the students, he said.
“The fact that he can trust students to represent South Lakes says a lot,” Girardi said.
To keep his own focus, Butler spends as much time as he can out of his own office and in the hallways, classrooms and cafeterias of South Lakes. That means not answering every one of the 100 e-mails he gets on a daily basis.
“The real magic is happening in the classroom,” he said. “The real joy of this job is working with young people, who are exciting.”
We heard on the TV that Reston's Game Crazy is expecting to get 100 Wiis in stock today. Good luck with that!
Update: If you're reading this now -- instead of having camped out at Hunters Woods overnight -- you're probably too late.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The last awesome public hearing on redistricting South Lakes High School didn't draw nearly as many people as the first two. Of course, when 1,200 people still show up on a weeknight just a few shopping days before Christmas, it's not because they're excited about their awesome band programs.
School officials said the turnout last night could indicate that fewer parents think their children would be affected by a boundary change.In the meantime, the divide and conquer approach seems to be working:
At a meeting Dec. 3, school officials presented four proposals that would affect many areas of western Fairfax. Last night, people were asked to comment on only one plan, which would shift high schools for about 900 students over the next four years.
School officials have urged parents to stay engaged because the proposal could change before they make a final recommendation to the School Board on Jan 10. The last day to submit comments online at the district's Web site, http://http:/www.fcps.k12.va.us/index.shtml, is Friday.
Some parents who live in the Floris Elementary attendance area whose children would go to South Lakes High rather than Westfield High asked neighbors to sign a letter to the School Board opposing the proposal.Speaking of "under the bus," we've made a lot of hay about the anonymous comments folks have made in one online forum. Fortunately, the right-thinking folks at the Free Republic, a fair and balanced group of true patriots, are taking a much more serious look at the underlying geopolitical issues involving this issue. And they're going to solve this problem once and for all, using only their bare hands -- to bang various tried-and-true epithets on their Cheetos-stained keyboards:
"We have a sense of community" based around Westfield, said Amy Lei, a mother of two elementary school students. "My children don't want to go to that school."
Some parents who live in the McNair Elementary attendance area, in which students would not change high schools under the proposal, said they are appealing to the School Board and state lawmakers to stop the process. They are concerned that the proposal could change and affect them.
David Gu, a parent of two children at Oak Hill Elementary, said his first choice is to stop the redistricting. But, he said, "we will support this proposal."
Other parents whose children would not be affected supported the proposal, including many from Herndon High.
The strongest opposition came from parents whose children would have to change schools in coming years.
"This process is so divisive," said Lisa Capalbe, who lives in the Fox Mill Elementary area. "All the neighborhoods are trying to throw the other neighborhoods under the bus."
* How would you like to bust your ass all your life to afford a house in a good neighborhood, and then have these leftist losers bus your kid to the hood to attend school with the offspring of a bunch of welfare queens?Funny... no mention of the band programs here.
* Back in the 60’s when Reston was being built, everyone in No. VA rolled their eyes and knew this socialist nirvana was going to be nothing but trouble. We saw it as a trailer-trash magnet regardless of how “well-planned” the community was.
* Who voted in these leftists losers on the school board? Are any of these school board members speaking up about this abomination? Oh well.... people who elect scumbag Democrats get exactly what they deserve. I only hope that now that they've fouled their own nest they don't move to my area.
Here's a basic lesson in shareholder relations. If you're the CEO of a troubled student-loan company and you end a conference call like this:
"Steve, let's go. No questions. Let's get the [expletive] out of here."Then your stock price is going to do this:
Of course, we should pity Sallie Mae chairman Albert Lord. With the stock price where it is, he can't even afford a awesome Reston Town Center condo anymore.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
As folks break out those awesome black T-shirts for tonight's final awesome public hearing on redistricting at Oakton High School, it turns out Fairfax school officials have been listening. Well, sort of.
Officials say that no scenario has been ruled out and that they are tuned in to what Superintendent Jack D. Dale called the "don't do it lobby."Tonight, school officials are seeking input on their awesome fifth option:
"But," Dale said, "part of the process is to identify a solution other than that. . . . The School Board always has an option at the very end to not make any changes at all."
Some who are headed to Oakton High, Westfield High and Madison High would go to South Lakes High; others would attend Oakton High instead of Chantilly High. Herndon High boundaries would not change.Well, we know how democratic the process has been so far. We also know how maturely folks have handled the prospect of change. Fortunately, we have our elected officials to show us the middle ground, right?
"The truth is not always determined by a show of hands," said board member Stuart D. Gibson (Hunter Mill), whose district includes South Lakes High. "I believe we should provide excellent educational experiences to all students."Oh, right. The PAC formed by the stopRD crowd, representing those who can least afford a drop in their property values in the struggling, transitional neighborhood of Oakton Woods, where one home is now valued at a scant $758,000. The funny thing is that even in Fox Mill, home of people who don't want their kids rubbing shoulders with kids who play with Bratz, there's some support for the idea of redistricting.
Board member Kathy L. Smith (Sully) said she supports the redistricting process, particularly efforts to shrink enrollment at Westfield High and Chantilly High.
In the fall board elections, Smith's and Gibson's opponents were backed by a political action committee that sought to stop redistricting. The two incumbents won comfortably.
But board member James L. Raney, sworn in this week as an at-large member, was endorsed by the stop-redistricting PAC. Raney said he is "seriously considering" support of a moratorium. He said of the boundary study, "I'm not convinced that the criteria are right, reasonable or complete."
Not all parents are skeptical. Erika Castro, a resident of the Fox Mill Elementary attendance area, has launched a pro-redistricting Web site. She said that South Lakes is a great school and that she would prefer to send her children 10 minutes, rather than 45 minutes, down the road.Sadly, it's the students at the affected schools that are acting the most maturely. The Oakton High School student newspaper actually wrote an article about all the rumors surrounding South Lakes:
Her online petition has 500 signatures. But Castro said the issue is difficult to discuss with some neighbors.
"It's like politics. It's like religion," she said. "There are some things you are never going to see eye to eye on. Those people have to do what they have to do, and I have to do what's important for me."
South Lakes High School is dangerous. At least, that is what a number of vocal parents speaking out against the West County Boundary Study want you to believe. Based on the claims of various parents, an outsider would presume the school is a constant battleground - a dead-end rampant with drugs and gang violence.And on the ever-informative online message boards discussing the topic, it was a SLHS student who said this:
To rid ourselves of the status of "outsider," we took one day to visit this war zone. As students of Oakton, a school with rough pockets of its own, we shadowed students at South Lakes to observe and examine. How rough is it really? How does AP compare to IB? Overall, how do Oakton and South Lakes stack up side-by-side? Here is what we found.
The first rumor about South Lakes was dispelled immediately upon entering the building. There were, in fact, no metal detectors at the door. In reality, the only abnormality was all the construction equipment surrounding the school. No drug deals, no drive-bys, no violence - just students filing off busses and into the school.
South Lakes has had trouble shedding the negative reputation it acquired in the '80s. "Urban legends" have formed about the school and despite behavioral changes, the off-putting reputation persists.
"South Lakes was bad a long time ago," explained Jamal Cooper, a sophomore at South Lakes. "But it is completely different now. The people are different now."
As we walked through the halls, big groups of mentors sat in circles with their underclassmen "mentees" sprawled out around the floor. After playing two group- oriented games, the boys and girls split up and discussed any problems or topics someone was willing to suggest. When the circle came around to us, we asked the probing question.
"Do any of you feel endangered or not safe at any point in time?"
Not a single head nodded yes. In fact, most looked in confusion at each other, wondering why such a question would even be asked.
"Are any of you unhappy at South Lakes or wish you went to another school?"
Once again, not a single head nodded yes, and more confused glances were shot across the circle. We can sense insincerity; their answers were genuine. These students were not screened; they were not prepped. Until we walked into the classroom, they did not know we existed or what our purpose was.
You fight over the internet like a bunch of mean girls would. You don't have real facts, and you judge before you REALLY know anything, and you are hiding the REAL reason you don't want to come to South Lakes. I am an african-american student, and I know that you're afraid of diversity. Its apparent that that is the reason. You feel as though some hispanic gangbangers are going to hurt your precious child, when that's not even the case. You're afraid that the black kids who need affordable housing are gonna beat your kids up, when that's not the case. You can cover up your racism with test scores, and not wanting to lose the value of your home....but we all know.We won't print the responses she got. To be fair, we're sure they're all concerned about the band programs.
And the whole anonymous posting thing?
You're a grown adult, stop coming at this like a scared child.
New Sprint Nextel CEO Daniel R. Hesse says the company, once again, is considering moving the company's headquarters from Reston. This, after they promised they wouldn't on a company blog! Is nothing sacred? If you can't trust a blog... oh, never mind.
Hesse lives near Embarq's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., Sprint's former home. The company's operational base, with about 13,000 employees, remains there. About 4,500 employees and executives work in Reston.Hmm. Hesse lives in Kansas. He's here to "fix" Sprint Nextel, which means his tenure is likely to be about as long as that of a night shift manager at an urban fast-food joint. So no opportunity to rack up elite status with those frequent flier miles. Also -- and this is the clincher -- you can't get corn fritters at the Macaroni Grill.
"One of the things I will evaluate is whether we should consolidate to one headquarters or not and where that headquarters ought to be," Hesse said yesterday in an interview. "I've not made any decisions yet."
No word on whether relocating families will get a copy of the documentary Footloose to ease in the transition.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
That awesome plan to make Reston an honest-to-goodness town, complete with fortified border crossings and a mayor required to wear a mauve stole at all public events? Not so popular these days.
The majority of responses to a request from Reston representatives Delegate Ken Plum and Senator Janet Howell regarding the RCA's proposed town charter are in, and they range from vehemently opposed to unclear.Well, at least there's some diversity of opinion there, right?
The RA told the state officials it hadn't been asked to participate in discussions thus far, and that it didn't have enough information to make a stand on the proposed town charter, either pro or con. That's not the scary part -- the scary part is that was the best response of the lot. Fairfax County's executive basically called the RCA, the group supporting the town proposal, a bunch of crazy "radicals," and the Reston Town Center Association, which as we all know, hates America, also hates the whole town idea almost as much.
So where does that leave things?
Frank Lynch said he regretted the community discussion had veered toward the confrontational.Not to worry -- you've just got to think positive!
“I thought the executive's response was quite honestly condescending and I found it offensive,” he said. “But I don't know what we're doing.”
"So you're telling me there's a chance...."
Time to grab the keys to the Boxter and go for a spin down Sunrise Valley Drive -- startup fever is back, baby!
A Reston wireless services company that specializes in location-based services announced today a $1 million investment from several notable names in the Washington business community.Sounds exciting, but these newspaper business writers have forgotten the lingo of the late 90s. What they meant to say was that the company will "monetize the geocoded wireless space by providing best-of-breed content mirrored with targeted revenue-enhancing products." And what it means is that the next time you're stuck in traffic on the Toll Road, you'll get texted with a $2 off coupon from Domino's. I'd buy that for $1 million!
SquareLoop's service sends information to a mobile phone based on one's location. If users sign up for the service through their wireless provider, they can receive emergency, weather and traffic alerts or advertiser-supported content. The service is not available yet, but the company expects it to be released in some locations early next year.
Meanwhile, QuadraMed, a Reston-based provider of "provider of software and service solutions for healthcare organizations," announced a $5 million stock buyback. Since the stock closed at $1.84 last week, that's a lot of paper to scoop up. Now cough!
At least you're not Sallie Mae chairman Albert Lord, who's seen his personal stake in the awesome, much-courted student loan company fall from nearly $163 million to a mere $2 million as would-be suitors have fled, and then sued. You can't even buy an awesome Town Center loft for that pittance!
And while it's not a dot-com, the National Wildlife Federation -- the pro-animal group that didn't sue Hulk Hogan and a bunch of professional 'wrasslers, is losing 300,000 members a year.
Late last year, though, the nonprofit had to make a tough decision: spend more money to make money, or risk falling behind. The Wildlife Federation ended up spending some $2 million more on fundraising than the previous year, according to its tax return, sending out 20 million donor letters and nearly as many e-mails.To be fair, it's a common problem for nonprofits, as the awesome economy is taking discretionary funds out of the mix. Instead of sending a bunch of ineffective mass mailings, maybe they should invest in cell-phone startups and student loan companies.
It worked — but just barely, bringing in 50,000 more members, says Senft, and bumping up donations and membership fees by 6 percent. “We were able to get ahead of the curve because our acquisition was so aggressive,” she adds. “But we didn’t gain ground until this year.”
Monday, December 17, 2007
Reston's been all agog over redistricting fever. But now that the curtains are about to fall on the awesome public hearings, the reviews are in. Let's just say they're a bit... mixed. Take the Examiner, for instance:
School redistricting is traumatic under the best of circumstances and must be done with the highest degree of transparency. FCPS officials failed on both counts. Dean Tistadt, FCPS’s facilities and planning head, reportedly admitted that “strictly from a capacity and facility standpoint,” there was “no compelling reason for the boundary study” in the first place. Six high schools were covered by the Western Boundary study used to justify the redistricting plan. Those six schools have irregular boundaries that look like artificial, politically gerrymandered constructs, which is exactly what they are. Most striking is the so-called “Madison Island” enclave, directly north of the Dulles Access Road. Students there attend Madison High School in Vienna, despite its being almost completely engulfed by the South Lakes district. They are also much closer geographically to the Reston school. Also, why does the boundary study exclude Madison and Langley High School in McLean, both of which are overcrowded and directly adjacent to the underenrolled South Lakes?They also called the public hearing process an example of "Russian-style democracy." Maybe that explains why this blog is so popular in Russia, but we'll move on. What say you, Washington Post?
The school bullies are at it again. As usual, they are intimidating the weak and forcing the fearful to do their dirty work.Wow... that's a bit harsh. Never mind this piece, although not labeled as such, was a letter to the editor written by an irate resident of Fox Mill, the hoity-toity subdivision that hates Bratz dolls. But bullying? Soviet-style decision making? It's not like the school board has been forcibly ejecting people attempting to inject a little transparency into these meetings or something. Right?
Schoolyard bullies? No, school board bullies.
The bullies are tightening their grip on the question of redrawing high school attendance boundaries in the western part of Fairfax County, ensuring that the public's true opinion is not heard and recorded by the county staff charged with surveying constituents' opinions.
That staff is scheduled to issue a recommendation to the Fairfax County School Board Jan. 10, based on feedback it gathers in three "town hall" public meetings held at affected high schools.
The board is bullying citizens by strong-arming communities into fights with one another over who gets to stay and who goes. It is classic bully behavior to frighten victims into allegiance with the bully.
Oh. Never mind.
After participants in one of the Dec. 3 boundary study meeting's small groups complained that Hunter Mill-area resident Bruce Bennett was videotaping the proceedings, school staff had him removed by Fairfax County Police, who were present at Westfield High School.Based on the behavior of everyone involved, this whole process is slowly but surely turning us into homeschoolers. It's already made us start to question the theory of evolution, so we're more than halfway there!
The action was unlawful under Virginia Code 2.2-3707, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Bennett said, and he is now considering legal action....
Bennett said he has been videotaping the meetings because of what he perceives to be “plants” in the meetings, or individuals who have been given prepared comments by the county to contribute.
That he was removed only deepens his suspicions, he said.
“I think this is an attempt to hide or obfuscate what's taking place in these school board hearings. I'm very concerned, I was publicly humiliated when I was removed from the premise,” Bennett said.
Fairfax County Police have given the annual box score on Reston crime. Some highlights:
Burglaries are down 28 percent. Robberies are down 3 percent, despite a 12 percent increase countywide. So are sexual assaults, arguably Reston's biggest perennial problem, though Lt. Andy Hill says they're still a cause for concern:
Despite a 26-percent drop in sex crimes, Hill said that can be a cause for concern.Plain larcenies are down 16 percent, though police are predicting an increase, particularly because folks leave GPSes, iPods and whatnot in their cars, often in plain view. Vehicle tampering, in fact, is up 30 percent.
“I'm not convinced it's because they're just not happening, I'm worried about non-reported incidents,” he said, which can often result from cultural differences or a mistrust of the police.
Hill said the best deterrent for those larcenies is for residents to lock their car doors.Slow down, chief! First you want us to keep our garage doors closed, now this? We are but simple folk, with our simple earth-toned homes. It's a lot for us to wrap our minds around. But there's more!
A criminal ring that was stealing cars for joy-riding over the summer was arrested, closing 38 cases that made up 43 percent of auto thefts in the past year. For that reason, auto theft was up significantly in the district, Hill said.News to us! What about that awesome night of BB gun-fueled terror?
Destruction was up 12 percent, primarily due to a BB gun attack on vehicles over a two-day period in October. Those incidents caused $20,000 in damages and destroyed windows in nearly 100 vehicles. That case is still under investigation; no suspects have been charged.Maybe they should put the same folks who made all those collars in that awesome massive beer bust on it:
Friday, December 14, 2007
Another week, another awesome plan to fix South Lakes High School's boundaries, this one courtesy of Fairfax County Schools itself. So what of the new Option 5?
Some students from Floris Elementary School would be bound for South Lakes High School instead of Westfield High School and Fox Mill Elementary School students would attend South Lakes instead of Oakton High School.What does Herndon High School have that the others don't? To start with, something to lose other than its parents' sense of entitlement--namely, a significant chunk of its AP classes and electives. But don't put down those fun black T-shirts just yet, 'cuz it ain't over until the last upset parent sings!
Some students from Wolf Trap Elementary would attend South Lakes and students from Navy Elementary School would move from Chantilly High School to Oakton.
There would be no change for Herndon High School.
While Herndon High School is not impacted in Option 5, the scenario is not what staff will present as a final recommendation to the board.Meanwhile, South Lakes students are continuing to defend their school against the slings and arrows of outrageous online comments and public speakers:
“I think it's important that everyone in the boundary area be mindful that although the scenario may not show an impact to them, that doesn't mean they won't be when the board makes a final decision,” he said. “Don't presume they're off the table.”
Principal Bruce Butler said he continues to lead “many, many” tours for curious parents. Despite mud-slinging on Web forums and tense redistricting meetings, Butler said the “ethos of Reston” has contributed for the high-minded approach South Lakes is taking. Most impressive has been the students' conduct, he said. Prior to the first meeting, Butler sat down with students to prepare them for what faced them.Like maybe these folks:
“I let them know that change is difficult in any venue and there might be a chance that they might not see the best sides of a few people,” he said.
*I worked my butt off to buy a house in a good school district so she would not have to associate with lower socioeconomic groups of children, well, that makes me a classist, not a racist.We've said it before, and we'll say it again: It's all about the band programs.
*I have already talked to realtors. I am willing to sell in a soft market just to get the hell out of here. My kids are not going to a slum of a school. I could do private, but we just want out. ASAP
*Dont under estimate the affluent piece. Many of your posts discuss our property values, do you honestly feel that people living in multi million dollar homes will back down without a fight when they stand to lose 10 percent of their value. Let's say there are 30 of us, average home price $1m, average loss per home $100k,hmmmm? I wasnt part of your IB program but I would bet that a very expensive law suit maybe $250k would be less expensive for us than caving in without a fight. Not to mention the price of an education equivalent to say Oakton or Madison, lets see Flint Hill is running $25k a year. All of a sudden that law suit is sounding down right cheap.
*Well, I better sell my house before it drops another $50K with the plethora of homes that are about to go on the market in light of this ridiculous plan.
*But hey, South Lakes can now offer jewelry making and have competitive sports....they'll probably even be able to beat Oaktonin some sport.
*There is a difference between affordable housing and government housing. Stonegate, West Glade, and Cedar something-or-other (next to Forest Edge) are not for "upwardly mobile immigrants." They are for lazy welfare recipients who enjoy sitting on their butt with their hands in our wallets while blaming you and I for their predicament.
*A person named Berdhuis dropped by, a nice guy from McNair, father of 3 sons. He doesn't own property cause he was laid off from his job, so he's just renting. But it didn't look like he was taking that job search too seriously, cause he was in here posting about every 2 seconds.
*most of South Lakes kids are so stupid they woulnt know if a hot teacher was hitting on them. and the gangs are to busy killing each other. The IB kids are the only ones getting any action.
*Question: What is the main difference between Gorillas and the South Lakes PTSA? Answer: Gorillas are smarter. Would you like a banana, South Lakes?
And speaking of mature, check this out. We've said all along the folks opposing redistricting are in truth concerned about socioeconomics and not knee-jerkingly against diversity -- this is Fairfax County, after all, not backwoods Alabama -- so we'll just assume the blatant racism peppering this online thread is intended as "humor." You know, kind of like this blog, only... um, not.
Eight people were arrested for a series of burglaries -- 27 of them, to be exact -- affecting Darwinly-challenged Reston and Fair Oaks residents:
The alleged suspects targeted homes where victims had left their garage doors open. The suspects entered through the garages and removed sporting goods, primarily golf clubs.So many things are wrong with this paragraph, we don't even know where to begin. But if you're not part of Reston's hoi polloi (meaning you have an actual garage instead of an awesome 70s carport), don't think your kid should have to associate with peers who might have played with Bratz dolls at some point, and lack enough common sense to close your friggin' garage door, there's some good news:
The Reston District station still has unclaimed property recovered from the burglaries. If you believe any of this property might belong to you, please call Detective Estess at 703-478-0904.We're sure Mssr. Estess will speak nice and slowly if you call.
The Westin Reston Heights announced Thursday that its official opening date will be April 10 and established a sales office where it is showcasing the new hotel's amenities.Wow. We hope that means they'll be serving algae-fed crappie from Lake Anne.
The Westin brand, which aims to create a calming environment for travelers, provides guests with fresh flowers, the hotel's signature pillowtop bed and White Tea by Westin scented candles. The 191-room Reston Heights hotel will feature 1,200 square feet of meeting space, a workout facility, a rooftop pool and a restaurant serving locally produced sustainable seafood, according to David Catalon, sales and marketing director.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
More fallout from the ongoing feud between Christine Arakelian and Stu Gibson: a recall petition is apparently making its way around the less "socioeconomically diverse" corners of the Hunter Mill district. But there's more! The people pushing this recall fed the reporter from the Examiner another unprovable allegation:
This issue is bigger than one aggrieved parent. Gibson is the mastermind behind the controversial Western County redistricting, and has reportedly cut a deal with other Board members to exempt some areas from the controversial redistricting.Clearly, Stu is a bit of a jackass. And the fact that some schools -- cough cough Langley -- aren't part of the redistricting proposals is a bit fishy. But these people are also so concerned about their property values in such economically challenged areas as Oakton Woods they're willing to grasp at any straw to discredit the redistricting process.
On the other hand, the allegation's been posted on another blog associated with a free right-wing "newspaper" that purposely is only distributed in tonier zip codes than the declasse 20190 and 20191, so it must be true. But the point is moot! All folks have to do is go to the next public meeting and read aloud this post from the ongoing high-minded discussions elsewhere online, and we guarantee every member of the school board will tear up, applaud, and rip up all their evil stupid redistricting proposals forever:
The girls that my daughter plays with in Fox Mill play with Barbie dolls, and are not allowed to play with Bratz. In conversations had with the parents, they all agree that Bratz dolls do not convey a positive message, rather they promote slutty clothing, and skanky behavior -- you don't see "Bling Bling Barbie." In the lower class areas, you predominantly see Bratz. In fact, the girls seem to friggin' worship those ridiculous dolls. You see seven year olds in bootie shorts and midriff exposing shirts. You see little girls in high heels. This may seem laughable, and it MAY BE laughable, but it's a small example of the different mentalities of people in diffent classes (for the most part.) I prefer my child to associate with children whose parents have similar beliefs.Thank you, Margaret Mead. Ladies and gentlemen, the SLHS Class of 2013:
When people talk about new urbanism and awesome, earth tone-intensive planned communities, they usually mention Reston and Columbia, Maryland, in the same breath. Like Reston, Columbia is a product of the 1960s, a planned community which features much of the same persistent earth tones and questionable contemporary architecture. Unlike Reston and its awesome fake downtown, though, Columbia opted to plop a generic shopping mall right in the center of town.
Well, maybe not so generic. For the first time, the Columbia Mall has ditched its Poinsettia Christmas Tree, this metal-framed thing that held up a bunch of potted plants prompting people to open their wallets a little bit wider at the nearby Bon-Ton or Orange Julius or whatever.
"The Tree was a symbol of how Columbia was different," said Dennis Lane, who grew up in the town, blogs about it and writes a column for the Business Monthly, a local paper. "It's a non-political statement, a thing of beauty. I live in Ellicott City now, and it has a definable center and a long history. Columbia yearns for that. It's a suburb on steroids that holds tight to any tradition it has."So while Reston Town Center may hate America, Columbia apparently hates Christmas. Somebody notify this guy, pronto!
For all you doubters out there, just click this link on Google Maps, which takes you to Satan Wood Drive, right in the middle of... Columbia. Apparently, even pure evil has to abide by Design Review Board regulations.
Update: Columbia Mall management folded like a cheap pack of mauve-colored playing cards. The flower pot tree will be back next Christmas.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The falling housing market is pushing Fairfax County into a $220 million budget shortfall.
The crunch on government spending is expected to be worse in other communities, including Loudoun and Prince William, where housing values are slumping more dramatically and foreclosure rates are higher. But the news that Fairfax, an inner suburb with more stable property values and a robust job market, is suddenly feeling such profound consequences of the housing bust suggests that the effects on the regional economy are just beginning to be felt and could last for years, county budget analysts said.Foreclosures in Fairfax have jumped from just under 200 to nearly 4,000 this year, and housing prices are falling:
The average price of a house in Fairfax County was down 4 percent, to $500,462, last month, compared with the previous year, Long said. And the numbers will probably worsen next year.As your friendly neighborhood Realtor(tm) will tell you, that means this is an excellent time to go bargain hunting, like this Lake Anne waterfront condo, now on the market for a scant $219,000:
BANK SAYS GET THIS SOLD. BRING ALL REASONABLE OFFERS!!!!What are you waiting for? Sell your "average" Fairfax County house and buy two, and you'll still have enough leftover change for tapas at the Plaza!
Lake Anne residents aren't giving up on their dream of having Bloom, Food Lion's slightly less NASCAR- and bleach-intensive chain of grocery stores, squeeze into the stucco wasteland better known as the Tall Oaks Shopping Center. They're writing postcards.
Bentana Woods cluster president Tara Coonin is opening up a more traditional line of communication to find a solution with a postcard campaign.Awesome! We're glad they're enjoying the postcards. But who wouldn't enjoy getting 1,500 postcards like this one?
To date, Coonin said she has handed out nearly 1,500 postcards addressed to the Bloom Grocery Store Real Estate Department, urging the chain to open a location in Tall Oaks. Residents simply have to sign the card and stick a stamp on it.
A woman who answered the phone in Bloom Real Estate Department said they've “been enjoying those, there's been so many.” The typical efforts involve a couple phone calls, she said.
Meanwhile, there's still the question of whether the Tall Oaks owners actually want to fill the vacant space, or if they'd rather the shockingly empty shopping center degenerate into a pile of moldy, rotting stucco in anticipation of some awesome redeveloped shopping center, perhaps made of synthetic stucco.
Coonin said Bloom representatives did not deny they had looked at the space when she contacted them. Despite her best efforts, Coonin, a Realtor, said an ulterior motive by the owners may mean Tall Oaks has an uncertain future.On the bright side, that means there'd be space for the Macaroni Grill once its current location is razed.
“I'm not convinced the landlord or the management company are doing that much to fill the space,” she said. “I wonder if they aren't trying to vacate it to redevelop it.”
Monday, December 10, 2007
Reston used to have the knock of being a horrible place for single people. Of course, that was back in Reston's Dark Ages (or as we like to call them, the Mauve Ages), long before the movie theater and fake downtown and Macaroni Grill made the New Town a sizzling place for the glitterati to see and be seen.
Well, maybe not. But here in the middle of the always-exciting Dulles Technology Corridor(tm), what do you do between layoffs and gawdawful commutes when you're looking for love? Form an Internet meetup group, of course!
You'll see that, whether you are looking to meet that possible "someone", or simply wanting to meet other single people in the same "single boat" as you to hang out with, this group will provide you with those opportunities and you'll meet great people along the way!What kind of opportunities, you might ask? Well, here's a shockingly graphic picture of the debauchery you can expect from the Reston-based Singles in the Suburbs(tm) gatherings. Before you scroll down, don't say you weren't warned:
Frankly, we thought behavior like this was still illegal in Virginia. But let's meet the organizers who are clearly trying to turn this town into an earth-tone accented Sodom and Gomorrah. Here's Rita, who identifies herself as "the big Kahuna":
Hi everyone, I'm Rita! I was born in Pensacola, FL but grew up in Reston and went to The George Washington University where I received my B.A. in Political Science... I moved back to NoVa in 2001 and currently work as a commercial real estate attorney in Ashburn, VA.Oh, wow -- another graduate! But there's more:
I LOVE wine, so lots of vineyard trips I will plan!And lots of awkwardly passive verbiage I will write!
But enough about Rita. Let's meet the ever-modest Scott, the group's VP and CEO:
Hello, I am Scott, and don't forget it. On a cold, winter's day in Feburary, 32 years ago, the heavens opened up, and dispensed this pure awesomeness you see before you. Since that time, I have lived by the strict code of always kicking ass and taking names, whilst maintaining the highest of sarcastic tones.Is it any surprise his favorite underwear while growing up was the Superman Underoos? Or that, 32 years after the heavens opened up during what must have evidently been some horrendous mudstorm, he's still talking about them?
I think we'd settle for a table for one at the Macaroni Grill.
We'll skip the obligatory joke about using 'Reston real estate market' and 'on fire' in the same sentence
Improperly discarded smoking materials caused a Dec. 1 fire in Summerchase Court that caused $300,000 in damages and displaced nine people.
Friday, December 7, 2007
The Reston Museum is getting $250,000 in grants from Fairfax County to expand its awesome collection of artifacts, presumably including yellowing sales brochures ("Artificial Stucco: Man's Greatest Building Material") and dog-eared copies of Design Review Board violations. Apparently, there's quite a demand for things of that ilk:
Tucked away in one of the leafier villages that surround Reston's more visible town center, the Reston museum attracts surprising traffic: about 12,000 visitors each year, Wingert said. Most are from other countries."Uh... sorry mein Herren und Damen-- the tickets to the Washington Monument were sold out, and there's a four-hour wait to see the Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery. But uh... have we got a museum for you!"
(whispers to bus driver:) "Psssst! How do you say 'mauve' in German?"
No, no, just kidding. Everyone's really coming to hear the story of the Reston Creation Myth!
And most are drawn to learn the story of the planned community that got started in 1961, when Simon, the son of a wealthy developer, used proceeds from the sale of a family property, Carnegie Hall, to buy 6,750 acres of Virginia farmland about 20 miles west of the District.Well, of course land at the Town Center's more valuable now -- there's a Macaroni Grill there, for goodness sakes!
The price was $1,300 an acre, according to one museum display. Today, a single acre in the town center would bring what Simon paid for all of Reston 46 years ago.
Meanwhile, Reston's Nature House got a $30,000 donation from Columbia Gas, the same entity that maintains giant clearcut lanes for its transmission pipes that slice haphazzardly through Reston. Apparently there's no Irony Museum to which it could donate.
Anyhoo, the Nature House has now raised more than $1 million of its $1.5 million goal, and construction may well begin in 2008.
An arrest has been made in a gang-related assault outside of the Hunters Woods Burger King back in May.
Believing a teenage boy was a member of a rival gang, in May, a group of males approached him outside a fast-food restaurant and beat him up. Now, a Centreville man has been arrested in connection with that crime.But this guy was from Centreville -- represent!
The beating occurred May 12, around 7 p.m. Police say the victim was outside the Burger King at 2270 Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston when he was approached by the assailants.
"The subjects questioned the victim about his gang affiliation, asking him, 'Are you MS [Mara Salvatrucha]?'" wrote the detective. "The victim denied any gang affiliation and advised [that] he didn't want trouble. Members of the group said, 'He's MS,' and one subject — identified by a witness as 'Brian, from 18th Street' — said '18' and put up a hand sign. [He] was wearing a black bandana prominently on his head, which is consistent with the 18th Street criminal street gang."
According to the affidavit, the witness also reported that others in the group displayed the 'b' hand sign of the Bloods criminal street gang. And the detective stated that, "In the Reston/Herndon area, Bloods and 18th Street will associate loosely, and both have a dislike for MS13."
The sad truth is that gangs are now pretty much everywhere -- even in places where people get all riled up about redistricting, like... um, Centreville. Can't wait for the next great rap album: Straight Outta Langley.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Yet another delay for Lerner Enterprises' plan to redevelop the Spectrum Center, a godforsaken sea of big-box strip malls in what was originally supposed to be a high-density area matching the neighboring Reston Town Center.
At a presentation to the P&Z in March, Lerner representative Mark Looney outlined a redevelopment plan that would put 1,350 residential units and almost 676,000 square feet of office and retail space on the 19-and-a-half-acre property, the current site of Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Citibank and other retail.And the Macaroni Grill! Don't forget the Macaroni Grill!
The Town Center Office Building and Harris Teeter are not owned by Lerner and therefore not included in redevelopment plans.On the plus side, no more ugly strip mall. But we're forced, once again, to confront the future of a Reston without a Macaroni Grill. A crushing blow, to be sure, but especially tragic after the planned razing of Chili's and the departure of Ruby Tuesday's. A few years from now, what are Restonians to do when they're in the mood for large platters of microwaved pasta? No amount of so-called "high end" retail or Abecrombie & Fitches will make those carb cravings go away.
The plan would connect the separate segments of the Spectrum Center, which are now divided by Bowman Towne Drive.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The Virginia Department of Education has supported a complaint by one-time school board candidate Christine Arakelian ("If I thought Reston was bad, I wouldn't live here") against Hunter Mill School Board member Stu Gibson.
The letter, dated Nov. 27, said that it found Fairfax County Public Schools and Gibson in noncompliance with requirements regarding confidentiality of student records.Yeah, that probably wasn't the most savvy of excuses for a school official to make. Otherwise, they could just as easily quote something from this site as fact ("They're building a moat around Reston?")
The complaints came after Arakelian said Gibson revealed and discussed the school records of her child, a student in Fairfax County Public Schools, during this year's election campaign.
Gibson contends that any information he discussed had previously been disclosed publicly by Arakelian.
The VDOE "is wrong because what [the investigator] found was that I disclosed something from a protected record. All I did was disclose something she put on the Internet,” he said. ...
That Arakelian herself had previously disclosed details of her son's education record is “moot,” Millward found.
Of course, the election's been over for more than a month now. But for some reason, this whole dispute has been seized upon by opponents of the ongoing South Lakes redistricting brouhaha, presumably as proof that Gibson is evil and hates puppies and wants to personally ensure that their children get beaten up by "socioeconomically diverse" classmates on a daily basis once they're wrenched from their perfect home schools. At least that's the gist of the ongoing online discussions. Today's choice nugget:
That is EXACTLY why I moved out of Reston, where I lived (off of Glade Drive, a mile away from Stonegate) since 1984, to Fox Mill Estates when I bought my home ten years ago.We've said it before, we'll say it again: It's all about the band programs.
But you chose to buy a house there. The statistics have not changed much in the twenty three years I have lived in this area. I do have to say that the crime has improved a bit thanks to the influx of businesses. You don't hear of someone getting raped on the paths every week anymore, and I can actually drive through Stonegate without the imminent fear of being shot. Still wouldn't walk through there though.
Agreed! That's why I feel they should reduce the governmnet projects by 50% and relocate the other 50% elsewhere. Reston and Herndon has become the Mecca for lazy, underachieving welfare recipients and illegal aliens. It needs to stop!
It's one thing if your own "downtown" doesn't want to become part of the nifty Ye Olde Towne of Reston, complete with costumed interpreters showing tourists how to paint stucco muave and a bell-ringing town crier reading printouts of this website on the hour. But now Fairfax County's top executive is calling the idea "radical."
Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin urged the rejection of what he called a “radical” proposal.Yeah, but have you been to Springfield lately? We'd definitely be in favor of Balkanizing that lovely parcel of county-owned dirt.
In perhaps the strongest public criticism to date of the campaign to incorporate the planned community, Griffin argued in a Nov. 27 memo to local lawmakers that the change would fragment the county, reduce revenues, seize private property and disrupt planning.
“Why should the unincorporated sections of other districts, many of which predate Reston by scores of years, not be able to become towns?” Griffin asked in the memo, rhetorically. “If Reston, then why not incorporate McLean, Centreville, Burke, Springfield, Annandale, Mount Vernon, Franconia and Merrifield, to name a few.
“The Board of Supervisors does not appear disposed toward Balkanizing the County.”
Meanwhile, the Reston Citizens Association, the primary backer of the initiative, has met with members of the RA board and other groups.
The RCA is waiting until Dec. 15 to decide how to respond.Yeah, because they've been so warm and supportive thus far.
“It partly depends on the nature of the replies,” she said.
Herndon has joined something called the Coalition on Illegal Aliens, a group of Minuteman-intensive area localities. It's in fine company with such other enlightened locales as the town of Culpeper, Shenandoah County and Prince William, where the campaign theme of the fall elections was pretty much "let's hate on the immigrants."
Martin Bernal, a community leader in Culpeper, said it has seemed lately as though the whole Latino community has been under attack. "Things have really picked up since Prince William came out with that plan," he said. "They are blaming us for everything that's going wrong in this country and with the economy."But Herndon's even more awesome! Because of its unprecedented success in shutting down its day laborer center and protecting free and unfettered access to its 7-11s and the precious bodily fluids offered therein (Mr. Pibb!), Herndon Mayor Stephen J. DeBenedittis will chair the group. Because, you know, now that the day laborer center is closed, there are no longer any illegal immigrants in Herndon and all of its problems have been solved forever. In fact, they've even started serving meatloaf and Freedom Fries at El Campero!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer for facilities and transportation services, called the ideas a starting point. "I would be surprised if any of these scenarios ended up being presented . . . to the School Board," he told the crowd last night.That meeting, the second in a series of three planned to discuss South Lakes redistricting, drew another 2,000 parents, all presumably worried about their respective schools' band programs.
Along with none of the four options being considered, apparently the idea of making SLHS a magnet school is off the table, too. Ahead of the meeting, there was lots of chatter about a "secret" plan, a so-called "Option 5" that the South Lakes PTSA cooked up accompanied by a host of scary winged monkeys, like it was Nixon's secret plan to end the war in Vietnam or something. It's actually up on their Web site (PDF), along with talking points about the four other plans. Basically, option 5 moves the Madison Island to South Lakes, along with East Floris and Fox Mill elementary schools. Navy Elementary would go to Oakton. The argument? It disrupts the smallest number of students. But what's the fun in that?
In the meantime, SLHS students have taken their own stand -- they've created a Facebook group called "For those who hate South Lakes, we don't want you at our school, anyway."
Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the changing of districts for students to attend schools. Of course, south lakes has the reputation of being ghetto and unsafe, and that we have horrible academics.Immature? Possibly. We only wish they could follow the example their elders continue to show them in their own anonymous online discussions:
Obviously the people who influenced this reputation the most don't attend south lakes.
So here's a group to show that we don't care what you think, because if you hate our school, we hate you.
>>just cranked up my sound system and Latin music is filling the air. Some SL kids are making their way to our party...We won't even get into the argument people keep having over whether people were saying "advantaged" or "disadvantaged" on this TV clip.
>>Maybe your kid can get a job cooking hotdogs for the concession stand at my kids' games. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
>>"All walks of life" you say?!? I'll go scout out some homeless alcoholics and pimps if you take care of the child molesters and porn stars. Also, could someone scout out the recent Irish-American, British-American, and Holland-American immigrants?! We don't have anyone with accents! Ohhh the inhumanity of it all!
>>WHAT A BUNCH OF FAKES
DON'T THROW US IN THE LAKES
WHAT A BUNCH OF FAKES
DON'T THROW US IN THE LAKES
>>You people have way too much time on your hands. No wonder the school board is asking for another billion dollars. They have to keep paying to entertain all of you with your stupid border issues.
Send you kids to school, tell them to shut up and listen and stop all your bitching.
Monday, December 3, 2007
All that clapping seems to be making a difference. Just days after Tysons Corner
grassroot groupsdevelopers announced they would sue the federal government to keep their Paris-like urban streetscapes, complete with strolling troubadors and mimes, free from unsightly Silver Line elevated tracks, other Tysons developers are jumping ship:
The consortium, called Tysons Tomorrow, will include as many as 20 landowners poised to develop a new city of high-rises around the four Metro stops planned for Tysons. The emergence of the group, which held its first meeting last week, is also intended to weaken the coalition that has staged a heavily financed, year-long effort to build a tunnel under Tysons that would bury the rail tracks. Plans now call for an aerial track, and the effort to alter that plan has been blamed for jeopardizing approval of the 23-mile line.When a car salesman starts making the most sense, something's rotten in the state of Tysons. Also, that awesome lawsuit? Apparently, not so awesome:
"I think all of us would say, 'Of course we like the tunnel,' " said Jonathan Cherner, who, with his father and brother, owns Cherner Automotive Group on Route 7 in the heart of Tysons. "But the Federal Transit Administration came back and said, 'If you want to do a major engineering change to the project, you got to go to the back of the line and start over.' That process is almost a 10-year process. We don't need mass transit in 20 years. We needed mass transit 20 years ago."
On Wednesday, the day after the suit was filed, the sole business serving as plaintiff, Ratner Cos., withdrew. And WestGroup, a developer that has contributed more than $3 million to TysonsTunnel.org, issued a statement disavowing any role in the lawsuit.Oh, snap!
WestGroup's plans to redevelop property in Tysons depend heavily on a tunnel, and the company continues to display large banners with pro-tunnel messages on its commercial properties. But it is not interested in abandoning the entire rail line in pursuit of that goal, spokesman Mark Lowham said.
Who says the housing market is moribund? Both of the Southgate Square charmers from our past High-Low challenges are currently under contract, making this townhouse on Captiva Court the cheapest non-condo in Reston, at $209,900. Of course, here's a sign of the times:
BANK OWNED* Property needs some TLC. With a little work this property could really shine.Bring all offers! Special addendum required.Anyone know what that "special addendum" might entail?
Or, for the low, low price of $2.3 million--more than any single-family McMansion currently on the market--you could live in this awesome loft above Reston Town Center. That'll require a $8,723 a month mortgage, which means you probably won't have much money left to live that edgy, Sex In the City urban lifestyle by eating al fresco at Pizzeria Uno with your equally edgy, ironic friends every night.
On the bright side, no special addendum required here.