Stan Karson knows Arlington.
He’s been living here for 30 years and is very active in local community affairs. As the president of the Radnor Heights/Fort Myer Heights Civic Association, he is highly involved in making his neighborhood a better place to work and live.
In an interview with the Arlington Connection, Karson spoke of his hopes for the future, his recollections of the past and of his favorite places in Arlington.
Arlington Connection: How many years have you been in the community?
Stan Karson: I have lived in Arlington since 1977.
AC: Where did you go to school?
SK: I received degrees from Harvard College and the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration.
AC: What was your first job?
SK: My first job was legislative assistant to a United States Senator from New York. This lasted for six years until I left to join the staff of a presidential candidate, who did not manage to win.
AC: What do you do now?
SK: For many years after [the presidential campaign], I directed the Center for Corporate Public Involvement, which worked with companies around the country to encourage and enable them to respond to community and social needs. In the past several years, I have been a part-time consultant in corporate social responsibility and health promotion, but spending most of my time volunteering with national and civic organizations.
AC: What are your interests? Do you have any hobbies?
SK: I am a political junkie, love jazz and good food, especially ethnic, and am a bit of a health nut, serious about a regular exercise regimen since my 20s.
AC: What is your favorite restaurant in Arlington?
SK: We are blessed with a plethora of excellent restaurants in Arlington, so I really find it hard to single any out as my favorite.
AC: What is your most pressing concern for the community? Is there anything you would like to see improved about the county?
SK: My primary concern for the community is shared by many, including the County Board. It is the continuing loss of affordable housing because of increasing development. My area still has a substantial number of affordable housing buildings and residents, but they may not provide us the diversity we want and need very much longer, unless creative ideas are implemented to preserve them. I don't see these forthcoming.
AC: What is the last movie you saw? Did you like it?
SK: The last movie I saw was Borat, which I found mildly amusing, mostly gross.
AC: Is there any area in Arlington that you consider to be a "hidden treasure" that more people should know about?
SK: I could mention two "hidden treasures," although many residents of my area know them. One is Hillside Park, called an urban forest, on N. Pierce Street between 16th Street and 16th Road. The other is the penultimate crab house, the Quarterdeck, on N. 12th Street and Fort Myer Drive, which some feel qualifies for historic designation.
AC: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
SK: As a young man, I thought I would make a first rate Senator, and still do.
AC: If you could take a road trip anywhere right now, where would you go?
SK: A road trip I have made many times and still enjoy is to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the virtually endless beach constantly beckons. My fear is the relentless erosion will leave future generations with but a fragment of what we enjoy there today.
AC: What are your personal goals for the future?
SK: I hope that I can continue to contribute to my community, local and global.