The NIMBY problem

Arlington - house 002

One of the restored houses in North Arlington.

dahlia 020

Neighbor Eddie’s renovated home.

Four Mile Run Bike Trail through Arlington VA

Four Mile Run Bike Trail through Arlington VA

On the trail again, wagging my tail

On the trail again, wagging my tail

A neighborhood in South Arlington VA

A neighborhood in Arlington VA

Disgusted with national politics, lately I have been more focused on local politics, which, it turns out, are affected by national politics.  For example, Homeland Defense is hiring thousands of new employees to process the claims of illegal aliens (following Mr. Obama’s unilateral decision to grant some of them some kind of amnesty).  These new workers will be situated here in my county where many foreign migrants reside.

I suspect the offices assigned HD will be in a complex of buildings in our neighborhood which houses County Social Services.  This is not a totally bad thing for the county, but could be a pain in the bum for anyone trying to enter or leave our neighborhood during rush hour or at any other time of day. (The Pentagon is just up the road.)

When the county allowed a developer to convert what was a disgusting strip mall with a disgusting theatre that played nothing but porn films (situated at the gate of our local military installation) into a set of new office buildings plus garages for commercial use, the board promised the neighborhood a new traffic pattern, including new stop lights.

I commuted through this intersection for 30 years and guess what, we still have no stop light. Entering the main highway next to this complex is like playing roulette. Cars driven by obviously sight-impaired commuters coming off another major highway that merges into “our” highway, fail to see the big red YIELD sign. The merge point of two highways and our “side” road have become deadly.

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Following very loud complaints about mismanagement of tax dollars, the new chair of our very Democrat county board, whose members are visibly concerned following an election last fall of an Independent, has decided to form a residents committee to look into land use issues.

 Members of our neighborhood complained vociferously about a plan concocted last year to convert our local park into a huge school complex.  County residents, rich and poor alike, have supported taxes for years that paid off bonds designated for the development of parkland.

As we old-timers age in place we discover we are not only about to lose dog parks, community gardens, and walkways, we are about to be invaded by thousands of little munchkins who will be bussed into our neighborhood.

 Residents from across the county are becoming engaged in the debate. “Not my local park” has become a county-wide concern. (If it happens here it can happen anywhere.)

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Simultaneous to the issues above one board member is pushing the county to build more affordable housing which would require redesigning land use.  Now I don’t mind ‘affordable housing’ (a euphemism for low-cost or subsidized housing) if it houses elderly or long-time county residents (many of them African-American) squeezed out by rising house prices and utility bills.  Unfortunately, the local paper ran a story about a recent Ethiopian immigrant and taxi driver who had found ‘affordable housing’ thanks to the county social services.

The long and the short of this is that our county, which is almost too pricey for average individuals like David and me, and single and widowed women like Kathy, Janet, Brenda, Sue and Pat, has absorbed many foreign born migrants with many children who need schooling (and play areas) as well as other amenities, and who violate local occupancy rates by doubling up in the small cramped apartments remaining in our rapidly gentrifying housing stock.

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I don’t know the solution to these problems, but one thing is certain, our local medical facilities, and sanitation and other services will grind to a halt without these migrants.

18 thoughts on “The NIMBY problem

  1. Sorry you have had problems publishing on my blog Dianne. Occasionally when I am visiting a typepad or wordpress friend, the same thing happens to me but not very often and not all the time. A glitch in each a server’s software perhaps, I don’t really know. I am not sure how to add the like button, I don’t do Facebook or Twitter or even Google Plus.

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  2. There are problems everywhere. Here in Hawaii, the newspaper has been publishing a series of articles regarding illegal vacation rentals. Controversial topic for us. Hope it doesn’t affect the unit we are renting out to someone who works at the airport.

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    • I have read that Hawaii has the worst homelessness problem in the nation. i don’t think you and David will have issues with your rental. Your occupancy rate is OK and you follow all the health and safety codes I think (such as a separate entrance for your renter) The only issue might be if he cooks in his room.

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  3. You certainly are facing complex issues and sounds like local residents aren’t receiving acceptable consideration. How you accomplish that is quite another matter as you say and I don’t have an answer. (May be back to blogging more frequently and, hopefully, successfully w/WP.)

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  4. The emigration issue certainly has two sides (as you say so well) and I can see both. Which is usually my problem. I kind of envy people who see no gray areas — it must be easier and they don’t have to think much. (but of course people like that are a bit part of the problem).

    I always like the saying ‘think globally, act locally’ but it sounds as if you and your neighbors are not getting any chance for input locally. That’s bad.

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    • Thanks Sallie. I try to see all sides. I would love to serve on the committee the board is convening, but as I am not very involved in politics these days, so I won’t be asked.
      My neighbors and I have signed petitions, attended board meetings, and we vote. David and I voted for the new Independent member of the Board, first non-Democrat in 15 years.

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  5. I’ve always found local politics fascinating. Math is my weak point, and tho I enjoyed being on the local planning board the stats were beyond me. Still, I get out there and support a bit.

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  6. Don’t want to be pessimistic this early in the New Year, Dianne, but regarding the County Board, the history of Democrat controlled political bodies does not bode well for you inhabitants. (See Obamacare being shoved down our throats in spite of 2 to 1 against at town meetings)

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    • Oh be pessimistic. Too late to act out of character. Our tax-masters don’t know how to handle money it seems. And the feds don’t help because they keep throwing money at our county. The new Independent board member “put the frighteners” on his colleagues by suggesting the county hire an independent auditor…imagine that.

      Of course when I share with you that many members of Congress, their staff members, lobbyists, and fellow Civil Servants live in our county you understand why. BTW, many of our aging-in-place residents are former government girls who kept the area going in the 40s and 50s. Others are current members of government agencies. We bought our house 33 years ago from Senator Percy’s Administrative Assistant.

      PS I dont hate Obama care, but I do say it needs some overhauling when my granddaughter who works as a bar tender can’t afford health insurance…so much for covering the “working poor.”

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