The Alexandria City Council took on both the U.S. Census Bureau and Metro last night for their nomenclature.
With little debate and no dissent, the council voted to urge the Census Bureau to reject plans to insert the city's neighbor, Arlington County, into the name of the census region encompassing D.C. and the suburban jurisdictions.
Under the proposal, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area would be transformed into the Washington-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area, reflecting the growth of jobs across the Potomac.
The Census Bureau has devised precise guidelines for setting names, and maintains that Arlington deserves inclusion because it has more than 100,000 jobs within its borders, city officials say. Alexandria, with only 74,000 jobs, falls short.
"It makes little sense," protested Councilwoman Margaret Inman. " . . . It is confusing and at the least it's meaningless."
The council voted to ask Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) to file an official protest with the Census Bureau. The bureau, wary of piquing civic pride, notes in its regulations that "local opinion on the most appropriate title will be considered."
The council, again without opposition, also called on Metro to remove signs reading "Kiss and Ride" from soon-to-open Metro stations in the city. That is Metro's term for areas where cars can drop off train passengers.
Council members had a range of reasons for their objections, including feelings that the term is undignified, confusing and sexist.
"It goes back to the days when the little housewife in pink curlers drove her husband to the station and then went home to clean house," said Councilwoman Patricia Ticer. Most women these days are working, she said.
In other action, the council came out against a proposed "scatter plan" for National Airport that would allow jets taking off from the field to turn and fly over residential areas, rather than staying over the Potomac River.
Endorsed by the Council of Governments, the plan would reverse policies in effect since the 1960s to concentrate aircraft noise over the river. The Federal Aviation Administration is now evaluating the plan for possible implementation.
Alexandria Mayor Charles Beatley, a former airline pilot, said the plan would be less safe because air traffic controllers would have to monitor jets moving in many different directions at once.
The council also approved a redesign of an office building to be built on South Alfred Street in Old Town. Three weeks ago, the council rejected a design submitted by developer Robert E. Morrison on the grounds that its modern style conflicted with nearby buildings.