News Briefs

March 29 – April 1, 2007

F.C. Police Department Allows Accreditation to Lapse

The Falls Church City Council was notified late last night that the City’s police department has chosen not to apply for re-accreditation by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission next month. The City’s department has been one of 63 among the total 400 departments in Virginia accredited by the commission, but according to City officials, a personnel shortage in the F.C. Department prevented the demand for reports on over 100 standards of accreditation to be prepared and filed. That problem is being addressed, and the department will re-apply next year. Wyatt Shields, City Manager, said in a comment to the News-Press last night that the development “has nothing to do with the quality of public safety being provided our citizens by the department.” It had to do “with matters of paperwork,” he said.


Time of Day/Night for Rt. 7 Construction Now Up in Air

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields reversed an earlier decision last week, and announced that a final determination remains to be made on exactly what time of day or night construction work will close two lanes in the 400 block of West Broad (Rt. 7) in Falls Church for a six-week stretch starting in mid-April. Shields and other City staff members met with five small business owners in the block at City Hall on Friday with the purpose to inform them of plans to do most of the work during daytime hours. However, shortly after the conclusion of the meeting, when the business’ grievances and larger issues were aired, Shields’ spokesmen announced that “no final decision has yet been made” on the hours the work will be done. It was noted that while 30,000 cars choke Rt. 7 during the day, an estimated less than 1,000 pass along the 400 block by night. Stalling traffic for blocks in either direction during the day would cause an environmental hazard, significantly impacting air quality and wasting fuel, destroy the ability of the businesses in the block to carry on normally, devastating their incomes and thereby their taxes to the City, and cause the loss of countless hours of manpower sitting in barely-moving autos. Moreover, when City Hall called an earlier meeting to hear from home residents in the block, not a single one from the Lee Square Apartments, with six units facing onto the street accounting for almost all the directly-impacted residences, appeared.


Besen Seminar in F.C. Exposes “Ex-Gay Myth”

The Falls Church News-Press hosted its second annual public forum in Falls Church dedicated to gay and lesbian issues last Sunday, when award-winning author, columnist and activist Wayne Besen addressed a forum held in the Community Center on the subject of his first book, “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Movement.” Rather than recognizing homosexual orientation as “a natural variation of humanity,” he said, proponents of fundamentalist ministries claim the ability to “cure” the condition exploit prejudice and how that impacts its victims, in terms of guilt and self-loathing creating a desire to change, to advance their cause. He said that while every credible psychological association has determined so-called “reparative therapy” can “be dangerous, inducing anxiety and self-destructive behavior including suicide,” there is not a shred of evidence that orientation can actually be changed. He said there are many accounts of former “ex-gay” leaders who later confirmed their orientation never changed, but only their behavior. “I know of no one who firmly contends their core orientation has changed that is not on someone’s payroll to say so,” Besen said. Following the forum, Besen, whose weekly column appears in the News-Press, was a guest at a News-Press-sponsored fundraiser in a private F.C. home to bring the diversity-affirming “Challenge Days” back to George Mason High. Last year, the News-Press hosted a forum featuring “gay pioneers” Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz.


 Deadline Passes With No Response at Episcopal Church

A March 25 deadline for an answer from the Rev. John Yates to a request from
”continuing Episcopalians” to use the historic Falls Church Episcopal site has passed without a reply from Yates. Yates led a majority at the church to defect from the Episcopal Church in December and that group has continued to occupy the church site, denying access to those who voted not to defect. This Sunday, the growing congregation of “continuing Episcopalians” meeting across the street at the F.C. Presbyterian will be joined by Bishop David Colin Jones of the Diocese of Virginia to lead Palm Sunday services. He will be receiving 14 new members into the church at that time.