Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

It is difficult to distill the job of an elected official to a few simple slogans. In Fairfax County, members of the Board of Supervisors have responsibility for a vast array of policies and services that affect our everyday lives. The Supervisor’s office is the first line of response to dozens of constituent questions every day, from simple requests for telephone numbers to complex housing and human service needs, land use questions, and transportation demands. Those who have been elected to serve on the Board of Supervisors have deep roots in the community, and many years of volunteer service behind them. One such Board member is my colleague and Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth.

After several years as a Fairfax County Public School substitute teacher and president of her local civic association, Linda served on the Planning Commission for four years, a particular expertise that has served the Board well. Linda brings an understanding of the minutiae of land use applications to the Board discussions countywide, not just in her particular district. Her grasp of the nuances of the county’s Comprehensive Plan is extraordinary, and Linda always does her homework, examining every case carefully in preparation for the public hearings.

Linda also has been a leader in the county’s effort to improve the environment. As a first-term Supervisor, Linda wholeheartedly supported my efforts as Environment Committee Chairman to enact the county’s first 20-year Environmental Vision Plan. Based on a concept first authored by Board Chairman Gerry Connolly, the 20-year plan is a comprehensive policy that focuses on stewardship of our county’s natural resources, and changes many of the approaches used in the past. Regulatory review is sharper and more detailed, and county staff are cross-trained to address multiple issues. Linda’s support of the Tree Action Plan, stormwater management, and air quality improvements are examples of the kinds of issues that don’t make headlines, but that are so important to our quality of life. Linda also spearheaded a Low Impact Development (LID) project in the parking lot of the Providence District Supervisor’s office at Fire Station 30. The project retrofitted a traditional asphalt lot with pervious pavers, plantings, and engineered underground drainage, and has won awards for its innovative approach.

As chairman of the Board’s Information Technology Committee, Linda led the effort to put the new “My Neighborhood” information on the county’s Web site, with easy access for all users. You can learn more about this project by logging on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov. Linda Smyth has a strong and responsive record of service on behalf of all her Providence District constituents. She deserves the Democratic nomination in the primary on June 12.