Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, January 28, 2020
I am speaking on my own behalf as a non-car diet commuter, not on
behalf of the Arlington Transportation Commission, of which I am a member.
This item was heard at the January 9 Transportation Commission
meeting. While there was considerable discussion of the merits of penalizing
excessive speeds, there was no attention given to the actual criteria for designating
The staff report defines the types of road segments that could qualify as speed traps and indicates that it will evaluate existing traffic data, police reports and citizen complaints in targeting “residential streets that carry relatively higher traffic volumes and have documented speeding issues.”
But nowhere is “documented speeding issues” defined. When I asked
a question about how the County determines a speed zone, County staff said this
information is available elsewhere in Section 14.2 of County code. I couldn’t
find it there and shouldn’t have to. Basic information about a proposed
regulation should be in the ordinance itself or in a document linked to it.
Accepting at face value the information or lack thereof provided
by planning staff is referred to in public policy literature as staff driven
decision-making. Staff driven boards and commissions ill serve the public
interest, since an uniformed decision is generally a poor one. The fault lies
not with staff, but with the decision makers who fail to solicit the information
they need to make intelligent decisions.
I recommend that County Board require language inserted into this
ordinance that stipulates what constitutes a speed zone. Otherwise it will lend
itself to abuse.
Comments at League of Women Voters Hosted Hearing For Arlington Legislators, December 19, 2019
I oppose an initiative included in the County Board legislative package to the General Assembly that would:
“Oppose any state mandate to localities requiring local law enforcement officers to evaluate the immigration status of individuals encountered during lawful stops or other routine police activities.”
First, this language turns the law on its head, because police officers are required to enforce the law, including immigration laws. See 8 U.S. Code § 1373 and 8 U.S. Code § 1644.
Second, proscribing traffic stops for immigration offenses amounts to selective enforcement, insofar as it requires police to ignore immigration offenses while citing non-immigration offenses. Selective enforcement of the law is a per se violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Third, it is well known that the principal victims of crimes
perpetrated by illegal immigrants are legal immigrants. Barring police from
citing undocumented persons will serve to oppress the many thousands of legal
immigrants and naturalized citizens who reside in Northern Virginia.
Fourth, those who promote non-enforcement of immigration laws are using the issue as a cudgel to score political points by race baiting opponents. This type of demagoguery should not be tolerated by the General Assembly.
A recently published VDOT report indicates that average speeds are down and travel time is up on eastbound I-66 Inside the Beltway toll lanes.
The likely culprit is tolling cheating on eastbound I-66 resulting
from lack of enforcement by Virginia State Police due to unsafe road shoulders
from which to monitor toll traffic. I urge the General Assembly to consult with
VDOT regarding the installation of electronic detection devices at toll
gantries to enable adequate surveillance of road traffic on eastbound I-66.