Monday, September 6, 2010

Public Enemy #1 in Arlington: Fun has been documenting Arlington County's bizarre war on up & coming businesses. First the Arlington County Board denied patio seating for American Flatbread. Then a county employee took sidewalk signs from both Screwtop Wine Bar & Bakeshop and threw them in a Dumpster.

Now I hear Arlington County has been harassing Westover Market over its wildly popular Bier Garden. The Powers That Be are apparently upset about the live music and the Market's makeshift bathroom setup. I am not making this up: Apparently actual police officers have been seen responding to reports of a man playing Jack Johnson cover songs while children danced.

Look, no one believes in the power of government to fight for the common good more than The Green Miles. And I don't profess to know the intricacies of county code. But it's hard to know what Arlington is thinking these days. At a time when the economy continues to struggle & Arlington's cultural identity seems increasingly dominated by generic places like Cheesecake Factory & Spider Kelly's (aka Adams Morgan West), these businesses are trying to breathe new life into places off the beaten path. And what do they get for their troubles? Harassment from county bureaucrats & Jason Mraz-hating NIMBYs.

There needs to be a thoughtful balance in a community between bustling business & restful residential areas. But when government bureaucrats are swiping signs & silencing acoustic guitars, you have to wonder if anyone's thinking at all.
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