Alexandria Council Notebook

Sophisticated Fare

The menu of options at the redeveloped Robinson Landing reads like a directory of all your favorite restaurant options — a parade of Yelp attractions along the waterfront in South Old Town. According to a plan approved by the City Council last weekend, the historic building at 10 Duke Street will be a restaurant called “The Mill.” The pier will feature “American-Seafood Casual.” And in Building 2 of Robinson Landing will be “Cafe/Sushi.” Building 1 is slated to be the home of something called “Sophisticated Fare.”

“That’s where Mr. Chapman will be hanging out,” noted Mayor Justin Wilson, teasing Councilman John Taylor Chapman.

“I’m going to be at 10 Duke Street,” noted Councilwoman Del Pepper, a frequent promoter of the West End of Duke Street.

Equal Protection

Virginia is likely to be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, putting it over the top to become the next amendment to the Constitution.

Maybe.

The ERA could become part of the Constitution if Congress removes the deadline or if judges declare the deadline doesn’t apply. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are joining Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in sponsoring a resolution removing the ratification deadline.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th amendment, yet women are still not explicitly recognized as equal under our Constitution,” said Kaine. “This resolution would ensure there’s still time to ratify the ERA, which will finally guarantee equal protections to women and strengthen our ability to fight gender discrimination.”

Old School, New School

Patrick Henry and Douglas MacArthur don’t share all the much in common. One was a revolutionary war loudmouth; the other a Greatest Generation lone wolf. Now they’ll be working together as part of what the folks at Alexandria City Public Schools call a “swing school,” essentially the largest elementary school operation in Alexandria history.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: First a new Patrick Henry Elementary School is constructed on a plot of land adjacent to the old school. That part has already happened. Now that the City Council and School Board have worked out a plan, students from MacArthur Elementary School will swing on over to the old Patrick Henry building for three years while their school is demolished and rebuilt. The swing-school shuffle involves a massive drop-off and pickup operation, one that has to be carefully merged along with bus routes and recreation center traffic. Councilwoman Amy Jackson says her main concern is people who are trying to get to the recreation center.

“Especially seniors, because you want to have them be able to get to the door easily,” she said. "And they may not have a handicapped tag to do it.”

Call Click Delay

What happens to requests for service logged into the city’s Call Click Connect system? According to a new online dashboard, the percentage of calls that are closed by the project completion date is dropping like a stone. Five years ago, it was 75 percent; now it’s 61 percent. Alexandria’s target is that 80 percent of the calls will be completed on time, goal that will be difficult to meet considering the recent trend.

“I think the transition to the 311 system and making some concrete business process decisions about how we respond back to residents through 311 and through the call center staff,” explained Yon Lambert, director of the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, “you’re going to see these numbers begin trending in the other direction.”

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