• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens online on Zoom on Wednesday,October 7 at 7 pm. For Zoom meeting ID and password, email us at info@greensofarlington.org

September 30, 2020

Greens meet online, Wed, Oct. 7, at 7 pm–Join us

Events,green meetings — @ 10:25 am

Arlington Greens will meet online on Wednesday, October 7, starting at 7 PM.
Major topics:

Energy conservation advocacy for Arlington community energy plan
Election updates
Campaign to get a 5 cents per bag tax on single use plastic grocery bags in Arlington

Join us. For Zoom meeting information, email us at Info@greensofarlington.org

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September 19, 2020

Tear downs of old homes and building McMansions raises carbon emissions, and should be halted

Development,environment — @ 2:34 pm

The rising value of land and houses in Arlington has resulted in a very unhealthy rise in carbon emissions and other environmental damage because of the demolition of older and smaller houses and the building of mansions with often two or three times the living area of the demolished house. All living vegetation and trees are demolished on site to build the new house, and more open surface area is paved which thus increases storm water runoff and raises the temperature because of loss of tree canopy.

The County Board decided in 2019 to have a carbon neutral county by 2050.  The demolition and then the construction of a new house typically raises carbon emissions by about 50 metric tons. A remodeling of an existing house typically raises carbon emissions by 15 m tons. A typical house in the U.S. generates 7.5 m. tons of carbon a year; even if the new house generated 30 percent less than the demolished house, it would take 20 years to recoup the carbon used in the new construction. However, new and larger square footage houses use more carbon in operating energy than the demolish house.

Energy use of a house is proportional to the square footage of the house. Thus a typical new 4,000 square foot house in Arlington would use nearly twice as much energy as an existing 1,400 square foot house. If the new house meets high insulation and building tightness standards (perhaps 30 percent more efficient), then the new house uses only 100 percent more energy.

The only realistic way for the Arlington County Board to halt this tear down disaster is to impose a county wide zoning called a historic district designation on all Arlington neighborhoods. A historic district zoning de facto blocks tear downs of houses, but does allow for renovations and additions.

The historic district also requires that older trees and existing green space be preserved so that there is no loss of tree canopy. There is one Arlington neighborhood Maywood that has had a historic district since the late 1970s and in the 40 years, no house has been demolished although most have been renovated and expanded.

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September 4, 2020

Greens support 5 cents bag tax

environment — @ 11:30 am

Arlington Greens endorse 5 cents per plastic bag tax in Arlington
Greens at their Sept. 2 meeting endorsed the imposition of a 5 cents per plastic bag tax for single use grocery/retail stores. Greens support EcoAction Arlington’s petition to the Arlington County Board to impose this 5-cent tax and encourage everyone to sign the online petition now at
https:/www.ecoactionarlington.org

The goal is to present the petitions to the county board their November 14 meeting. The Virginia General Assembly authorized local governments to impose this tax.

When Washington DC imposed its 5 cent bag tax over five years ago, the use of grocery plastic bags dropped by 80 percent, resulting in less floating in the rivers and Bay. Virtually no plastic bags today are recycled.

About ten years ago Arlington Greens urged the county board to BAN these plastic bags but the county board refused and it has taken nearly a decade to get the county board to act on this environmental nuisance that clogs our storm drains, rivers and oceans.

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June 29, 2020

Greens meet online on Wednesday, September 2, starting at 7 pm

green meetings — @ 11:55 am

Join the Arlington Greens online on Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 7 pm.

For Zoom meeting ID and password, email us at info@greensofarlington.org

Major topics:

Arlington commmunity energy plan–ideas for reducing carbon use in residents in Arlington

Affordable housing issues–update on preventing evictions in Arlington due to Covid

Green Party in Virginia: update on candidates and election in November

join us online.

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June 15, 2020

Arlington Greens Release Lecture on U.S. LEED Green Buildings by Oberlin college professor Scofield, Finding Minimal Environmental Benefit

Development,environment — @ 3:39 pm

June 15, 2020

The Arlington Greens announced today the release online of a talk on March 2 in Arlington by Oberlin College of Ohio professor John Scofield, a national expert on green building technology, on his research into marketing claims that green-certified buildings such as the LEED rating significantly reduce carbon emissions.  EcoAction Arlington, an Arlington environmental non-profit organization, co-sponsored the talk held at the Arlington County public library with the Arlington Greens.  The Arlington Independent Media and Miriam Gennari of the Sustainable Scoop recorded the talk and interviewed professor Scofield.

View the one-hour talk online   https://youtu.be/UeolxpvJzVk

Professor Scofield used energy data from hundreds of thousands of commercial buildings in ten major U.S. metro areas to examine if energy certifications like LEED (a trademark meaning “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”) significantly reduce carbon emissions over non-certified comparable buildings.  His findings demonstrate very small, almost negligible carbon savings.  Scofield found that carbon emissions reductions in LEED buildings are quite modest, generally well below 10 percent, and well below marketing claims of over 25 percent.

The research finding that LEED and other similar commercial building energy rating systems save only negligible amounts of carbon emissions is an important environmental policy issue for Arlington County and for many other U.S. communities.  Over 40 such certified buildings in the county got generous subsidies based on now discredited claims of substantial carbon emissions reductions.  Arlington County subsidies for bogus green energy technology wastes county funds which should be used to incentivize proven effective green technology that does substantially reduce carbon.

In 2019, the Arlington County Board approved a community energy goal that the county become carbon neutral within 25 years.  About 80 percent of carbon emissions in the county occur in commercial and residential buildings, and thus the county’s goal can only be achieved by large carbon emissions drops in buildings.   The county government’s past reliance on LEED and similar energy certifications to reduce energy use in commercial buildings now appears to be wrong.

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June 11, 2020

Making Eyes on the Prize: Reframing the Civil Rights Movement” on Tuesday, June 23rd at 6 pm

Jobs,peace,racial justice — @ 11:12 am
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June 10, 2020

Green Party National Co-Chair Trahern Part of Community Response in Minneapolis

racial justice — @ 4:01 pm

On Tuesday, May 25th Officer Derek Chauvin forced his knee on the neck of George Floyd for eight grueling, life-taking minutes until he died — as Officer Tou Thao looked on. Community members were present and recorded the horrific, traumatizing incident that has sparked protest and anger in the Black community across America.

The resident who recorded the event can be repeatedly heard telling the officers to stop — even as Mr. Floyd, himself, can be heard exclaiming that he could not breathe — because they knew they were killing him.

Darnella Wade, Co-Chair of the Green Party of the 4th CD (MN) said, “these officers need to be held accountable. This video shows the lack of humanity for Black Lives in the criminal justice system in the state of Minnesota and shows why all police officers in the State of Minnesota should be required to carry personal professional liability insurance for their position.”

Under such a policy, Officer Chauvin’s history of police misconduct and settlements would have disqualified him from insurance coverage, he would not have been employed by Minneapolis Police as an officer and so would not have been able to kill George Floyd for no reason at all and to the horror of an entire nation.

The officers were fired the following day. That is a first in the state of Minnesota, which has become ground zero for the fight in police accountability in recent years. The family of Mr Floyd, activists, organizations and community members have wanted more accountability and want charges to be filed against the cops who murdered George Floyd.

Toya WoodlandMinneapolis Green Party-endorsed candidate for congress in the 5th congressional district said, “we need Community Control of the Police. We should decide which cops get hired and fired in our community. This is why the FBI was called: because our local government is not equipped to protect the lives of Black residents from white supremacy and institutional racism”.

Protestors and family members gathered at the corner of 38th and Chicago to hold a vigil and protest that included nearly 20,000 people. Trahern Crews, Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States and an organizer with Black Lives Matter Minnesota, declared, “George Floyd was a father, brother, uncle, and loved community member who was unjustly taken from us by a racist criminal injustice system. We are calling on all activists, community members and lawmakers to put pressure on the city of Minneapolis to hold these officers accountable and begin changing the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department”.

The National Black Caucus (NBC) of the Green Party of the United States has found “that these incidents are part of a larger, systemic problem stemming from the legacy of slavery and the devaluing of Black and Brown people and communities. It is time for a moratorium on police brutality in the name of public service,” stated Darryl! LC Moch, Co-Chair of the NBC and Chair of the DC Statehood Green Party. “Furthermore,” said Robin Harris, Co-Chair of the NBC and Co-Chair of the Florida Green Party, “we must build strong coalitions, advocacy groups, and elect legislators who will prioritize ending the brutal lynchings and killing of Black and Brown bodies at the hands of the government at all levels. We must hold governments and police departments accountable.”

Green Party national platform on criminal justice and ending police brutality

Green Party of the United States

National Black Caucus of the Green Party of the United States 
https://www.gp.org/caucuses#black

Released  May 27, 2020

 

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May 22, 2020

Arlington County Not Meeting Needs of Tenants in Pandemic—Thousands of renters headed for eviction and hunger

Affordable Housing,hunger — @ 4:15 pm

The Arlington County Board is not meeting the needs of Arlington tenants who lost jobs owing pandemic closings, and who now may lose their apartments if the county does not provide far more tenant assistance in the form of rent vouchers.  The county board so far has approved less than $2 million in federal and local funds for immediate rent relief, and at most approved another $2.7 million after July 1 even though the rental relief needs likely exceed $20 million.  A rich community like Arlington and a county budget of over $1.5 billion should be able to adequately fund rent relief and food assistance.

In March, the Arlington Greens petitioned the county board to use local tax dollars to provide $10 million for rent vouchers and food gift cards for tenants who have lost their jobs owing to Covid.  Greens then expanded the request to $22 million in April as the Covid worsened.  Greens pointed out that based on national unemployment data as many as 8,000 Arlington households may be unable to pay their rents.

On May 19, the county accepted $21 million in federal funds for Covid, but would only agree to spend $1 million to immediately help households with a $1,500 per month housing voucher for three months.  This amount will only help 220 households with a $4,500 housing voucher, far less than 10 percent of the need.

Social assistance agencies told the county government recently that at least 3,500 tenant households in Arlington have been unable to fully pay their rent in the past few months.  To provide a $4,500 housing voucher to each household to partially pay 3 months of back rent would cost about $16 million.   The number of households needing rental assistance will only rise as the pandemic lasts, and more households use up their savings so it is not unreasonable that 5,000 to 8,000 households will need rental assistance to avoid eviction.

Where could the county government quickly find $16 million in housing assistance funds without raising taxes?   The county board continues to fund  $18 million in construction costs to build new subsidized apartments in FY 2021 which have yet to approved or begun.  The county board should use this $18 million to fund housing vouchers for the 3,500 and rising households in Arlington who will face eviction shortly.

In addition to rental assistance, many households need food, and the Arlington food bank and church pantries are overwhelmed with tens of thousands of people asking for food.  A typical Arlington two-person household would likely need to spend at least $100 per week for food or $400 per month.   To meet half of the food needs of 5,000 households, would cost $3 million for 3 months.   The county has yet to provide even $1 million more in food aid.

The county government wastes far too many dollars on unneeded vanity projects including lavish subsidies to developers and business, and expensive new and often unneeded buildings.   The county can certainly find the $25 million or so that is now needed for rent and food assistance and get rid of bloated and unneeded expenses.

Queens Court

 

 

 

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April 18, 2020

Arlington Greens meet online on Wed, May 6, 7 pm on Zoom

Our May meeting will be held online on Zoom on Wednesday, May 6, at 7 pm.

Email us for the meeting ID and password and join us online.    Email   Info@greensofarlington.org

Special guest and speaker:  Susan Cunningham, independent candidate for Arlington County Board of Supervisors election in July.   She will speak about her ideas and platform for the county board; questions and answers follow.
Topics that follow this discussion:
Outcome of Arlington Greens campaign to get Arlington County Board to approve $10 million for rent and food emergency assistance for Arlington residents who lost jobs in the pandemic
Arlington Community Energy Plan–next steps
Outcome of Virginia Green Party voting for preference for national green presidential candidates
Join us.
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April 14, 2020

Proposed Arlington County Covid Emergency Food and Rent Spending of $2.7 million should be raised to at least $22 million

Affordable Housing,hunger — @ 12:55 pm

The Arlington County manager on April 6 proposed that Arlington County spend $2.7 million for emergency food and rental and eviction assistance to residents affected by Covid virus.   The manager  proposed spending $7.5 million for small business, tourism, new services, and help for Arlington County employees.  Business thus gets three times the help that unemployed and desperate county residents get for shelter and food.

Even devoting the full $10 million to just emergency rental and food assistance with none for small business and tourism, will not meet the needs of the estimated 8,000 of Arlington residents who lost their jobs and incomes, and now cannot afford to pay rent and buy food.  Evictions and hunger should be the first priority for any county emergency Covid spending, and not business or tourism.

In March, the Arlington Greens had asked the county board to spend at least $10 million for emergency housing grants and grocery gift cards for residents, but that amount as the virus has continued and closed business continues, is inadequate.

Nearly 13-percent (16 million people) of the U.S. workforce are now unemployed, and filed for unemployment compensation, owing to Covid virus.  About 120,000 Arlington residents are employed in recent years, meaning that at the 13-percent rate 16,000 Arlington resident are furloughed or unemployed.  Assuming that half of these receive no pay, then about 8,000 Arlington residents have lost their income.

The County Board should be prepared to spend $22 million now for emergency food and rental assistance, and then expand this as the need continues.   The county manager has wisely called for the county to postpone most long term spending in fy 2021.   School and county infrastructure building can resume in fy 2022 or later.

Within the $43 million housing assistance budget spent last year in fy 2020 are $16 million to build new apartments (AHIF), and $2 million for housing and community development.   The county board should halt the building of any new housing or development, and transfer this $18 million to the housing grants program that now was funded for $9 million.  This additional $18 million could fund 3,600 households with a $5,000, one-time housing rental grant that would pay for roughly 3 months of back rent.  A $4,000 grant could help 4,500 households with  an $18 million fund.

With regard to food needs, a two-person household would likely need to spend at least $100 per week for food or $800 over 2 months.  To help 5,000 households, would cost $4 million for the 2 months.

In summary, the county board at a minimum should divert $18 million from its housing construction budget to emergency rental grants, and also provide $4 million in emergency grocery gift cards to the thousands of Arlington residents who find themselves facing eviction and hunger.

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