Arlington County Board Members have stayed conspicuously silent through Arlington Zoning Administrator Melinda Artman’s protracted effort to enforce the letter of Arlington’s regulations above all bounds of common sense. Artman says complaints from citizens don’t mean anything. So far, only Arlington Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy has been willing to speak out.
I have to wonder if that silence has sent the message that Arlingtonians have a green light to use the regulatory process to intimidate whatever business they please. ArlNow.com is reporting that some Columbia Pike residents want to shut down the beloved Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse after one customer was subjected to (horror of horrors) … a rap song with bad words:
“Please advise when license is up for renewal. I will object. STRONGLY,” she wrote. “Have spent too many years volunteering in this community on civic association, Arlington Civic Federation, ACDC… to have this kind of representation in our neighborhood.”
“Ok, so I am a dem, tell me all about our civil rights and freedome of speech. But I too have a right to not be offended when I visit a local establishment I have otherwise supported for the 23 years I have lived here,” she concluded. “What is next, porn tapes on the TV at the Grill?”
Pike Wire reports the person is an Arlington County Democratic Committee official. To recap, in the last year alone, Arlington government officials have harassed Wag More Dogs, Screwtop & Bakeshop, Westover Market & Samuel Beckett’s. And those are just the ones that have come out publicly – I’ve heard other businesses complain behind the scenes but haven’t said anything publicly for fear of reprisal.
After the messy departure of the county manager last year, you have to wonder if the County Board had been hoping this controversy would quietly fade away. How’s that working out?