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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trapnell's advice to next Mason supervisor: Listen to the community

Trapnell

Tina Trapnell, the former Mason District supervisor who served before Penny Gross was first elected in 1995, has some advice for the next supervisor: “Listen to the community and respect your constituents.”

Trapnell hopes this election season won’t be as negative as past campaigns. “Elections should be about issues, not personal attacks on opponents,” Trapnell says. “You can’t afford to anger your constituents or be condescending.”

Under the current leadership of Mason District, Trapnell finds a “disconnect between the board and citizens” and “a perceived lack of transparency.”

As an example, she points to the development of Bailey’sUpper Elementary School and the process underway to form a redevelopment plan for Seven Corners.

“We have a vertical school surrounded by concrete on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the area because the community was told that’s the only alternative to housing kids in trailers,” Trapnell says. She believes Mason Supervisor Penny Gross should have had more discussions with the public about developing a school at the Willston Center or using the Woodrow Wilson Library for additional classroom space.

“Fairfax County residents are educated and savvy and are aware of the issues,” Trapnell says. “You cannot be condescending. That’s counterproductive.”

Better planning needed

Trapnell believes the biggest issues in Mason District are overcrowded schools, congested roads, and the need for social services. The area has declined in recent years, she says, due to “a lack of focus on its unique set of needs and the aging infrastructure.”

“Rather than addressing existing concerns and needs, we are told we need 9,000 additional apartments to spur economic development,” Trapnell says, referring to plans under way or being considered. “If we can’t take care of current needs, how can we possibly provide the necessary services for an additional 15,000 residents?”

According to Trapnell, the Seven Corners/Bailey’s Crossroads area already has two of the most congested roads in Northern Virginia (Route 7 and Route 50), along with a lack of recreational facilities, overburdened police and fire stations, and an aging water and sewer infrastructure.

“What’s going to attract people to Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners? They are not destinations, they are not employment centers, and they are not near Metro,” she says.“Fix what’s broken before adding thousands of new residents to the equation.” With the county facing a shortfall of $179 million over the next two years, “where’s the money going to come from?”

Everybody wants revitalization,” Trapnell says, but the community wants true mixed-used development, with amenities like a movie theater and “destination restaurants,” not just an overabundance of apartments.

Trapnell believes “the community was only involved peripherally” in the Seven Corners Task Force and that the developers had the most influence – pushing for large amounts of new housing that would be profitable for them.

The community representatives on the task force were not that knowledgeable about land use issues, she says. And the residents of the apartments in Seven Corners, who are most likely to be affected by redevelopment, weren’t included.

Community school proposed

Trapnell, along with other local residents, likes the idea of a community school at the Willston property, which would combine an elementary school with community services, such as job skills training, English language classes, and a teen center.

A community school would take advantage of the athletic field at the Willston Center, the only green space in that area, and could incorporate the programs currently housed at the center, she says. Also, a community school could be built for far less than the $125 million East County Office Building favored by Gross for the Willston site.

Trapnell sees the community school concept as similar to the “newcomer school” proposal she promoted 25 years ago to target services to newly arrived residents. The immigrant population “has to become part of the mainstream,” she says. “And I feel it’s very important that they learn to speak the language.”

One of the issues Trapnell supported when she ran against Gross in 1999 was requiring signs at Korean-owned businesses in Annandale to be in English, as well as Korean. For that – and for focusing on code enforcement – she was accused of being anti-immigrant during the campaign.

A life of civic activism

Trapnell had been a civic activist (president of the Lake Barcroft Association and chair of the Mason District Council) before she started working as an aide to then-Mason Supervisor Tom Davis. When Davis successfully ran for the board chair position in 1991, Trapnell ran for his old seat and served one term on the BoS. Davis later served in the U.S. Congress, 1995-2008.

Trapnell didn’t run for re-election, citing her responsibilities caring for her aging parents. She ran for supervisor one more time, in 1999, but failed to unseat Gross. On Feb. 15, Gross announced her candidacy for a sixth term as Mason supervisor. No other candidates have officially come forward yet.

One of Trapnell’s main accomplishments working for Davis and as supervisor was transforming the Sleepy Hollow Senior Center, where she had previously served as director, to the Lincolnia Senior Center, the county’s first senior center developed as a public-private partnership.

Among other achievements, Trapnell worked with Ruth Turner, who represented Mason District on the school board, to introduce the International Baccalaureate program to JEB Stuart High School, launched the farmers market at Mason District Park, saved the historic Clark House, dedicated a section of Columbia Pike to former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and helped establish the first community policing and bike patrol unit in the county.

She also cited the creation of the Culmore Resource Center, a public/private partnership that offered classes, a health clinic, and teen center, and noted that a major issue during that period was the development of the Crossroads Center in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Trapnell worked on opening a job resource center for day labors housed in a trailer at the Culmore 7-Eleven, but that initiative was killed following community opposition.

Trapnell was born in China – her father was stationed there as a Marine – and grew up in Arlington, attending Bishop O’Connell High School and Georgetown University. When her children were young, she worked part-time in the men’s department at the Seven Corners Lord & Taylor, in the building now occupied by Sears.

While Trapnell had long been active in Republican politics, she now considers herself an independent and even voted for Obama. She says she hasn’t changed her views, but is no longer in sync with the direction of the current Republican party.

Since her last campaign for supervisor, Trapnell has kept up a busy schedule of volunteer activities, although she’s gotten less active in recent years. She’s served on the boards of the Northern Virginia Community College Foundation, the Phillips School, Congressional Schools, and the Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club; chaired the advisory council for the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter; and served as a senior warden at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Now 70, Trapnell says she is “too old” to run for supervisor again. “I’ve been there and done that,” she says. “I enjoyed the time I worked as supervisor and feel I accomplished some things. Now it’s time for the younger generation to step forward.”

66 comments:

  1. Much...sense...this...makes.

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  2. Too bad Ms. Trapnell is taking herself out. Code enhancement and code compliance would be a good plank in a 2015 election platform.

    That, and the obviously winning: "Not Gross" bumper sticker.

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    1. Right, just like "Not Obama" was the obviously winning bumper sticker in 2012.

      Who are you? Karl Rove?

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    2. Comparing Gross to Obama - who are you?

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  3. this sounds too much like common sense. please run!

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  4. If Trapnell is not running, who is?

    Where is the "younger generation" stepping forward?

    I understood from the post on Penny Gross' announcement she will seek re-election that an announcement from a competitor will be coming shortly.

    Who is this competitor and what are they waiting for before they announce?

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  5. This post notes that "No other candidates [other than Gross] have officially come forward yet."

    So, the follow-up unanswered question is, have any other candidates come "unofficially" forward?

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  6. Sorry, guys, but Tina took herself out of the game by retiring from office after being elected as Tom Davis' handpicked successor. I can't even remember is she accomplished anything significant although I doubt it. Time to move on.

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  7. Trapnell was a horrible supervisor! She didn't run for re-election back in 1995 because she knew she would lose due to her unpopularity and screw-ups. She is the poster child for a supervisor who does NOT listen. Plus Trapnell was in the developers' pocket. The irony of this article is stunning!

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    1. No she had sick parents to care for.

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  8. So basically this blog has become the Fox News of Annandale - there is an obvious bias against Sup. Penny Gross that has become very clear as we've gotten closer to election season.

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    1. Gross has been ineffective and Mason District has declined over the past 20 years. In the last three years, a supposed period of economic recovery, the percentage of low-income kids has increased 5.5% at Annandale, 3.3% at Falls Church, and 2.7% at Stuart. Compare that to Arlington, where the percentages have declined 2.8% at Washington-Lee, 2.7% at Wakefield, and 0.7% at Yorktown. The only saving grace is that the area has become so run down and cheap that bargain-hunters priced out of Arlington have started to invest in the area, but that's independent of anything Penny Gross does to make Mason a better place to live.

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    2. This is really an interesting statement, given that many (many!) democrats among us are NOT supporters of Penny Gross, and Fox News is the established mouthpiece of the political right. Ironically, she functions, and by she I mean Penny Gross, much like Fox News herself, pontificating and obstructing communication, passing fiction off as fact; she twists historical record and name-calls her constituency in an embarrassing way.

      So, it's ironic that the commenter above (Anonymous 2/19/15 11:54am) calls the Annandale Blog Fox News, when the Blog is anything but. I think the Blog does a great job of communicating the facts, recording events and results of public meetings, announcements, and decisions by the BOS, FCPS, the Planning Commission, etc.. The Blog has become a great historical record for us all, as Penny's story has changed and she's tried to rewrite history over time.

      For example, under extreme public pressure, Penny is just now beginning to dialog with FCPS about using the Willston school for a school (as crazy as that sounds, using a school to be a school) instead of offices, but she claims that the conversation just started in December 2014. Yes, this is the date of the letter Superintendent Garza wrote to the County Executive and Penny about this subject, stating that FCPS would indeed like to have use of the Willston School since almost all of our schools are at or over capacity already. But, as we know is true, the community, the Bailey's PTA and FCPS Mason District Rep. Sandy Evans have all been asking for this for YEARS. Years. At public meetings, in private conversations, again and again and again. But Penny Gross claims it is news to her; she claims that she never heard of this request until December 2014, and therefore is under no obligation to have responded to it or done anything about it. This is patently not true.

      The service that this Blog provides to all of us, to keep us honest and to keep the record straight, is invaluable. Truly.

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  9. I don't think the IB program has done much good for Stuart, although I recognize it may have been an intriguing idea back in the mid-90s. Very few students at Stuart get a full IB diploma, and the other students who would have been better served by access to AP courses get shorted. Even so, Trapnell's current observations are a breathe of fresh air compared to Penny Gross. Mason desperately needs a supervisor who has a better grasp of the conditions on the ground in the district. Some hard-headed steps to clean up the total mess that is Culmore would be a good first move.

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  10. Fox News and Washington Examiner (remember the rag that used to be delivered to rot in your driveway). By the way, the likely candidate, Mollie Loeffler, is the Advertising Director for the Annandale Blog.

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    1. That explains ALOT! I didn't realize Mollie Loeffler had a connection to this blog. That explains all the glowing coverage on the blog of how fabulous the Mason District Council is under her reign, and why every article is about how the Mason District Council is right on every issue, and Penny is wrong.

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    2. So how about more info on Mollie? She seems like a mover and shaker? One of Mason's "young guns" for sure.

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    3. Penny Gross can't be defeated in a primary, so her challenger must either be a Republican or independent. Buzz Hawley was the last viable candidate to have opposed Penny Gross and he fell short largely because of his political label and the presence in the race of a really odd carpetbagger. We'll see if the GOP nominates someone to run for supervisor, but Penny Gross is going to be exceedingly difficult to defeat.

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    4. Indeed. Gross will be tough to dislodge.

      ...but there is a "streetcar" level frustration and genuine anger over the way she's handled development issues.

      If true blue Arlington residents can be fed up enough to vote out deeply entrenched political arrogance, why not us?

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    5. As a person in media, I can say that advertising does not have anything to do with editorial content. I doubt Ms. Loeffler tells the Blogger what to write.

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    6. "If true blue Arlington residents...." Arlington and Fairfax taxpayers are similar in that both are willing to pay higher taxes for lifestyle improvements. The difference is that the Arlington Board went overboard on spending for capital projects. The last straw for many Arlington residents was when the Board grossly (no pun intended) underestimated the cost of the already sketchy looking streetcar project. Virtually nobody in Fairfax was paying attention to that issue, so it's fortunate that Arlington saved us from becoming mired in Trolleygate. And that's the problem. Many Mason residents aren't invested in following local politics and vote exclusively by party label. So, whoever runs against Penny Gross will have an uphill fight.

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    7. Very good analysis.

      ...but have you considered that that an off-year election might drive up the "Fed Up With Gross" (FUWG) demographic relative to the "just showing up to vote democratic?"

      BTW, I'm a life long Democrat.

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    8. The Mason District Council does great work and deserves good press.

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    9. "Many Mason residents aren't invested in following local politics and vote exclusively by party label. So, whoever runs against Penny Gross will have an uphill fight."

      Spot on.

      This is one reason why Penny hates the Mason District Council. They engage the community and help educate the community on issues that are important. Penny is so inaccessible and is so unwilling to dialog with anyone, it's no wonder we are all so disengaged -- MDC gives us a way to understand what is happening in Mason District. We don't certainly all agree on every issue, but I think we do agree that we deserve some degree of transparency about what our local government is doing. And we don't get that from Penny. She has the support of the Democratic party and the democratic establishment, but she does not have the support of the community, democrats included.

      For example, last night at Penny's "town hall" at Bailey's Elementary School (I wonder why she didn't hold it at Bailey's Upper, to show off the great facilities there, could it be that the cafeteria is so small at Bailey's Upper, it wouldn't have accommodated the group of 75 attendees?) she snarled that she was under no obligation to explain the vision and overall plan for 7Corners because the draft comprehensive plan has been posted online for months and months.

      Well, it would be hard to find a more dense and obtuse document than the draft comprehensive plan.

      Mason District residents deserve a supervisor who can translate this for us, (accurately!) and explain how it would impact us now and in the future. Penny Gross refuses to do this. She yelled at many of the attendees last night, refusing to answer questions and refusing to explain her vision for 7Corners.

      It was stunning.

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    10. I'll ask straightaway: "Mason District"--are you Mollie Loeffler? At this point, I'm traveling under that assumption; please let me know if I am mistaken.

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    11. LOL. No, I am not Mollie Loeffler.

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    12. This is great!!! It feels like we are playing "What's My Line?" So "Mason District" if you are not Mollie Loeffler, are you a member of the Mason District Council?

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    13. I'm a member of the Mason District Council and I'm not Mollie Loeffler nor did I write the above. Or did I?

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  11. Fox news? How about the Washington Examiner. Try to post something that the editor doesn't like and it doesn't get posted. But to allow posts that are truly personal attacks - especially after Ms. Trapnell hoped for a campaign that wouldn't be negative - is astonishing.

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  12. Tina is right on regarding the ills of Supervisor Gross's management of Mason District and her contempt for constituents. I'm looking forward to the announcement of a candidate who knows the community and can hear what people are saying.

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  13. Looks like Tina is another Monday morning Quarterback. She makes some valid points but may not have done any better. Penny Gross has done a good job as supervisor but is another example of why we need term limits for all politicians. We do need someone younger with more energy. Plus Tina is right, Penny and her people can be very arrogant and condescending.

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  14. Go home Tina..you're drunk.

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  15. She is home. And seems happy for it. I think that was the point of the story.

    If only Gross would go home.

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    1. Tina makes valid and good points. Anon: 4:54 get off your acid trip.

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  16. If a viable candidate is identified, they will need to start fundraising. It appears Penny Gross has already logged $110K according to this website:
    http://vpap.org/localities/fairfax-county-va/elections/tracked/

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    1. Not too many Republicans yet. Only incumbents in Braddock and Springfiel and a couple of challengers for Frey's seat in Sully. Cook is a Republicrat, so things aren't looking good for the GOP. At least Hyland is retiring. He and Hudgins make Penny Gross look like a Scrooge.

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  17. Trapnell says: "The community representatives on the task force were not that knowledgeable about land use issues" - WOW, thanks Tina for personally insulting those community representative who sacrificed their time and energy to work on the task force. YOU are the one who should not be condescending.

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  18. She is a lovely and elegant lady.

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  19. Penny Gross is the epitome of everything wrong in politics (at all levels) today. She behaves like a 17th century European monarch, not a democratically elected representative of her constituents.

    I am a lifelong Democrat. I have worked for Democrats on the Hill and I've volunteered for Democratic presidential campaigns. I will not vote for Penny. I will work for whatever credible opponent comes forward to run against her. I will contribute to her opponent's campaign. Penny has the support of the FFX Co Democratic establishment, and that will make it extremely difficult to unseat her. But we disaffected constituents MUST ensure that she finds herself in retirement a year from now!

    I'm grateful for the civically-minded writers and editors of this blog. They keep us informed of what is happening in Mason District -- and what's NOT happening! Keep up the good work!

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    1. How to defeat Penny Gross;
      Identify a credible candidate to oppose her.
      1. FOIA her official calendar.
      2. Organize opposition research: attend every official/unofficial event with a cell phone and/or video camera (Mitt Romney's "47% anyone?")
      3. Post EVERY rant, sleep episode, sneer, non-sensical retort, screaming episode, etc. on You Tube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Gain followers and reposts/retweets.
      4. $$ isn't everything - social media is a very powerful tool - and one that the Mason District Supervisor (or the Fairfax BoS) knows NOTHING about.

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    2. A viable candidate will win on ideas, not on smear.

      Good luck with your strategy. It is evident that you are devoid of ideas.

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  20. I find this article curious, under the circumstances. Ms. Trapnell retired as Supervisor 20 years ago, but here she is in the midst of an anti-Penny groundswell, offering her opinions on the qualities of the next supervisor. Could the Blog comment: did you seek her out, or did she seek you out? I really thought she was running, right up until the end of the article...but if she's not, is there a particular reason why we are hearing from her just now?

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    1. I imagine the timing has to do with this being an election year for Supervisors, and Penny Gross having just announced on Sunday her intent to run again.

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  21. Probably because she sick of watching her district go into complete decline!!!!

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  22. Whatever the problems with the process, I don't see why a "vertical school" is necessarily a bad thing. There are many fine urban schools that are "vertical". And this area is increasingly at least semi-urban. Neighborhood kids I know love the school - as do their parents.

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    1. Our district leadership is doing NOTHING ELSE that would make us moderately resemble an urban district, aside from cramming vertical schools into office buildings.

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    2. There is patently nothing wrong with a "vertical school". What is wrong is that FCPS has not defined a single standard for construction for new urban schools. Initially they told us an urban school design would be on a minimum of 5 acres, compared with the 10-20 acres we are accustomed to. That was, until they put Bailey's Upper on 3.4 acres.

      Please note: 3.4 acres does not give the students and staff the acreage they need to egress a safe distance from the building in the event of a fire or fire drill or real emergency. This is not a small detail. Bailey's Upper staff and students must egress *off-the-property* in the event of fire. This is NUTS.

      Anonymous 5:22pm please share examples of fine urban schools that are on 3.2 acres and are built to accommodate 700 elementary school students. I think Bailey's Upper is the only one in the US. Schools in NYC have much stricter standards for design and construction -- you don't see an elementary school built to hold 700 children in NYC, and you certainly never see one built without a gymnasium, or cafeteria that can hold the entire student population (for assemblies, etc.). Bailey's cannot do this.

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    3. How far away from the building do they need to be? Unless the whole building is ablaze, I don't see why the kids would have to egress that far. I've worked in similarly placed office buildings, and as long as an evacuation plan is followed, the kids should be fine. If adults could safely egress out of that building while it was an office or a county building, then kids can too. Please remember that the building serviced other people for many years before it was a school.

      The fact that the students there don't have a proper gym or outdoor space is a far more weighing issue, and will affect them every day.

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    4. The outdoor space will never be appropriate for elementary school aged kids, but they will be getting a gym, in the form of a separate building (which will of course eat up the space currently used for parking and any potential outdoor play area) sometime in 2016 hopefully.

      The fire marshall would know better than I regarding the distance required for kids to be from a burning building.

      What I do know is that FCPS was required to install a gate in the fence along the property line with the medical office building next door, for the sole purpose of the children getting away from the building in an emergency. When you're talking about 700 children and staff, there simply would not be space for them to stand in the parking lot, and allow space for emergency vehicles. The lot is tiny. And they are kids. They're not adults. I don't think you can hold them to the same standard in terms of watching over their own personal safety.

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    5. St. Agnes School in Arlington has approximately 500 students in an "urban" school on less than 2 acres.

      The first press release from FCPS regarding the Seven Corner's School was in September 2013. They moved in to the school in less than an year. Clearly, an office cannot be made to look and feel exactly like a school but from the viewpoint of finding space that is significantly better than trailers, I do not think anybody in the county could have done this is less than a year. Certainly not new construction on a site that would require demolition of an existing building.

      If the Willston site does get transferred to FCPS, the soonest it could be planned, funded, designed, and constructed if everything went without a snag would be eight years.

      So while the "vertical school" may not please everyone, it seems to me to have been a very effective solution to a difficult problem: get kids out of trailer in less than a year.

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    6. Can you think of an example that is a public school?

      Also, re: Bailey's Upper, we all voted for a bond referendum to finance a new school. The BOS and FCPS did not finalize the purchase of the property on Leesburg Pike until January 2014; they retrofitted that office building into an elementary school (with no playground and no gymnasium) in less than 9 months, much less than a year. That feat was accomplished by the construction folks.

      Willston is slated for demolition in 2017. That's 2 years away. If we vote on a bond referendum that same year, fall of 2017, we could conceivably have the money to construct a new school on that site by 2019.

      I think the $20M plus that has been spent on Bailey's Upper could have gotten us a much nicer school at the Willston site. That's history, of course. But it is a much nicer site.

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    7. I used the example of St. Agnes to illustrate a point that an urban school on a small lot can still have a vibrant learning atmosphere. St. Charles (which sadly just closed) is another Catholic School in Arlington that was bounded by Fairfax Drive and Wilson Boulevard -both very busy streets. In addition, I could list dozens, if not hundreds, in New York City, for instance. Simply put, the Bailey's School in my view was a very creative solution to a difficult problem: how to build a viable school to handle a large number of students in less than a year. New construction was simply not an option for that criteria.

      You mentioned, 2019 as a potential "move-in" date at Willston. Not impossible but not likely. If bond money is available on 2017, design takes a year and ahalf , and construction at least two and a half years. With that, it'd be 2021 earliest (my eight year prediction would have put it at 2023.)

      Either way, it is years away. While you give credit to the construction folks, good planning and timely decisions ensured that the Bailey's project was successful. (Design and construction is my day job.)

      $20 million for a new school is a bargain by any measure. And I understand that a gym and amenity space has been designed and will be under construction soon.

      Another question for the group (if they're still reading): Is Willston meant to serve the Bailey's population or the population north of Route 50. Without better transportation options to Willson - whose entrance is reached from Wilson Boulevard from the NORTH - just going through seven corners adds 20 minutes to the drive or busride from the south. I do not see how this would ever be considered acceptable. And is a school the best possible use for the site? Or is it the best location for a school to serve the needs of Mason District?

      Try the drive one morning if you do not believe me.

      Also, Mason District, I'd love to have a personal conversation with you because it is evident that you've got good ideas, clear judgment, and evident concern.

      Daren Shumate
      703-462-4298

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  23. All these posts sounds like a eulogy. Tina is not dead!

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  24. I think Ellie is doing a good job of trying to bring balance to the big picture in Mason District. Penny Gross has the bully pulpit and it's hard to get the other viewpoint before the public. Perhaps that is the intent of this article with Mrs. Trapnell.

    As for Fox News and The Washington Examiner being dissed. Seems to me that Anon 12:01 p.m. could stand to watch Fox and CNN and start reading between the lines. The truth lies somewhere in between the biased reporting from both. Too bad the Washington Examiner isn’t available anymore to counterbalance the Washington Post. Reading both enabled people to better figure out what was going on, something too few people take the time to do anymore.

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  25. Ms Trapnell clearly does not under the residential real estate market. Developers want to build because people want to rent in the area. It is in fact fairly close to DC, and to major employment centers in Arlington, and not that far from Tysons. Seven Corners at least, is not far from metrorail. And you are not going to get lots of new amenities till you get the residential density. But if Mason wants to turn its back on the kind of development that has moved Arlington forward, she may well be the right person.

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    1. Anon 1:35, what in the world are you talking about? Developers building commercial rental buildings is not the "residential real estate market". 7 Corners is the closest to Metro, yet too far at 1.14 miles and 27 minutes to be considered "walkable" When you have "residential density" consisting of white vans, children on free lunch programs and families on food stamps you get no new amenities except Shiny new Penny Palaces to hand out the meal tickets and housing vouchers. The steps that moved Arlington forward started with the Metro, aka public transportation. If you build it, they will come.....they don't build it if a lot of people are there who won't use it and/or can't afford it. And Ms Trapnell, who is younger than Gross, has already stated that she is too old to run and it should be left to new young blood to be in the leadership position in the next election.

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    2. Your agism and racism is exemplary. And indeed, you've summed up the entire play list of the anti-Penny ilk succintly: Move the hispanics out! Put in a school at Willston so they don't come to my neighborhood! Ban white vans drivers with their propensity to procreate perpetually.

      Good luck finding someone to carry your banner with this message in the fall.

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    3. “What’s going to attract people to Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners?"


      that is clearly about the residential market. 1 mile is not walking distance, but it can be a short shuttle bus ride or bike ride, and elsewhere in the region being 1 mile to metro has helped development. In addition VDOT is current looking at a BRT/LRT line along rte 7 from Tysons to Alexandria, and as part of the I66 plan BRT on rte 50 needs to be established. The Seven Corners plan is multidecades, and new transit and new development will happen in parallel. This is not 1970 - the feds will not pay for a transit line first, before the development comes. And yes, it is only the new residential density that will get you new amenities. Do you reallyu think the folks moving to new hi rises are families on food stamps? Does Ms Trapnell believe it? Again, that suggests she does not understand the residential RE market. If you fight new development, you will only make Mason more of a slum, even as you dream of the 1950s and all white suburbs.

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    4. "Your agism and racism is exemplary." I didn't post the comment you're addressing, but I previously posted another specifically stating my opinion that the immigrant apartments complexes around Route 7 will quickly go the way of Arna Valley in Arlington. Until recently, it's been common for families with young children to move out of Mason District to avoid having to deal with poor quality middle schools and high schools. And, for a while, it was easier for developers to build residences for them outside the Beltway. It now appears though that it's Mason District's turn to attract more affluent residents. That means the pattern of land use in this area will change radically in the next two decades. It also means that lower income individuals are likely to be displaced. That brings into question the desirability of building an ECOB that's intended to provide services to a population that will no longer be around. So, in the long run, it makes more sense to build schools in Willston and the surrounding area to promote a higher quality of education. This may strike you as being racist, but too many statements in this site are based on the assumption that the development of Seven Corners won't have farther reaching effects.

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    5. I don't think that putting up 1-2 (or 3-4) new residential buildings will create enough critical mass to change anything. I don't. And unless we are ASSURED that these buildings will be top-notch, and will include all the amenities that high-rent individuals DEMAND in apartment complexes now, than it will just add to the pot of what already is.

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    6. Many young families (and other older people who can afford to leave) are MOVING due to the school issue and horrible leadership and the fact it looks like a dump around here.

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  26. Amen, Anon 12:42 am.

    Look at these old preliminary maps of Metro, and see what could have been. We could have had a metro line running down Columbia pike, and ending at 236 and 395.

    http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/23723/the-metro-plan-has-changed-a-lot-since-1968/

    Stop pouring every dime we have into building vertical schools, and handout palaces. Let's put some money into getting decent transportation in the area.

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    1. In Mason District, the demand will always outstrip the supply. That's what urbanization and an unlimited supply of low cost labor is all about. If you build it they will overwhelm it.

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  27. “What’s going to attract people to Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners?"
    How about a Mason District ad campaign:
    "Relocate to Baileys Crossroads/Seven Corners - Where Your Domestic Help and Contractors can Walk to Work...."

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    1. LOL, thats a good one. You must be related to return to sender.

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    2. I've got a better one. Mason District, your Section 8 headquarters. Come one, come all, we have all sorts of Section 8 models to choose from. Units range from free to $50/ month. If you would like to add relatives you can get a special deal on a closet for $0.50/month. Come on down, we would love to have you. And if you are really desperate, we are certain we can find you one that does not meet code, has electrical and sanitary problems. We have something for everyone. So pack up, cross the border and share is our stupid hospitality.

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