Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for the Week of October 30 – November 5, 2008

Competitors Would Oppose BJ’s Deal


I, for one, have no objection to seeing BJ’s locate in Falls Church, and in fact probably would purchase some items there that I currently buy at Giant or Staples.

Many other shoppers might do the same if BJ’s offers lower prices. But if I were a competitor of BJ’s I would be very upset by a city plan that effectively lowers BJ’s cost of doing business.

The key sentence in the city’s proposal is: “There is a significant delta between market rent that the owner can obtain for leasing the site and the rent that BJ’s can pay to make their ground lease economically feasible.” In other words, although on paper the $3 million tax subsidy goes to the developer, in reality it goes to BJ’s in the form of lower rent. Apparently it is only “economically feasible” for BJ’s to offer lower prices if they enjoy lower costs than their competition.

The claim of “extraordinary site preparation and related costs” is simply a red herring: If the Noland site requires a lot of money to convert it into a high-rent property, you can be sure that the developer obtained the site for a comparatively lower cost.

How can we be a business-friendly city if we award a tax break to a would-be competitor to existing city businesses?

George Southern

Falls Church

Claims Citizens of F.C. Don’t Want a BJ’s


Over the years there have been several issues that “got my dander up” and I declared that I’d write about it. Well, this is actually the first time I’m actually doing so.

The idea that residents in our quaint burg want a BJ’s Warehouse is absolutely ludicrous. This City’s Economic Development Office is leading our wonderful city in a horrible direction.

I would urge our leaders to think and act long term for our residents. A BJ’s ils the opposite of what a quality neighborhood desires: big box, low end, high traffic, chain shopping with no charm or heart.

I think our leaders could learn from Vienna or Great Falls, cities that consistently receive “most livable city” recognition.

We don’t want a big box. Falls Church has so much potential. But with leaders who make such poor decisions, I’m afraid this “bonanza” will be the beginning of our decline into a typical soulless suburb.

It’s a real shame considering our proud American history since the early 1600’s. A BJ’s low end discount warehouse in our early American colonial settlement: how permanent and sad.

Cy Simonsgaard

Falls Church

Hart Voting Machines Should Be Banned


I was surprised that the Falls Church News Brief entitled “Flaw in F.C. Voting Machines Detected” was placed on page 7 and not on the front page! Mr. Morrison, who reported the flaw, noted “This could be a monumental problem on election day”. I agree! This needs to be investigated thoroughly and reported, on the front page of the News Press. Imagine going to vote and your candidate’s name is reduced to “three or four letters of the first name”!

The E-Slate machines manufactured by Hart Interactive should be banned in the three jurisdictions (Falls Church City, Alexandria, Charlottesville, and anywhere else) and replaced by .. plain paper ballots, dropped in sealed boxes, counted by hand, supervised by a panel of citizens from all parties.

I look forward to your report on action(s) taken by the Virginia Secretary of State, or the Electoral Boards of the jurisdictions.

Danielle Greene

Falls Church

Scott: Why I Support Barack Obama


Jim Scott. Al Gore. Creigh Deeds. Ken Cuccinelli.

What do we have in common? Our elections were decided by very small margins.

I won my first election by one vote. Proportionately, Gore (in Fla.) and Deeds’ losses were even smaller margins and Cuccinelli’s winning margin (102 votes) was slightly larger.

Only by voting do you bear no responsibility if your candidate loses.

My candidate for President is Barack Obama. Here’s why.

On issue after issue, Obama and McCain differ.

Health Care: Obama will make available an optional, national health care plan similar to the one available to members of Congress. It will reduce family health care costs up to $2500 per year, and require health care for all uninsured children. McCain proposes to tax health care benefits for the first time in history.

Taxes: Obama will eliminate capital gains taxes on Virginia’s 643,000 small businesses and provide tax credits for small businesses that access new insurance pools. He will cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and will expand the tax credit for working women.

McCain will provide $200 billion in tax breaks to corporations, but no relief to the overwhelming majority of middle class families.

Equal Opportunity: Obama will fight for equal pay for equal work; McCain opposed legislation that would help women achieve pay equity and repeatedly voted against funding for child care.

On issue after issue, Senator Obama has a plan to move this country and Virginia in a new direction. John McCain simply offers four more years of the same failed policies of the past eight years.

On November 4, Virginians will have the opportunity to cast a vote for their next President. I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe that he is the leader we need to bring this country back together.

Delegate Jim Scott

Virginia House of Delegates

Hails F.C.’s First Halloween ‘Paint In’


Falls Church had a great day last Sunday. Because of the rain-out on Saturday the first “Halloween Paint-In” in Falls Church took place Sunday afternoon on a glorious sunny day. There were 25 student painters from 3rd grade through high school. Many parents, adult artists, a few grandparents and teachers came and the Mayor also took time from her busy schedule to paint some of the windows at the Dogwood Tavern. More than 50 people participated.

The businesses that were open benefited from hungry artists and I especially want to thank the Original Pancake House for their gift certificates for the painters. They were greatly appreciated by the students. We painted more than 20 businesses.

The Paint-In was co-sponsored by Falls Church Arts (Marty Meserve, Barb Cram), The Chamber of Commerce (Sally Cole, Barb Cram), the BIE Partnership (Marybeth Connelly), Recreation and Parks (Howard Herman) and Creative Cauldron (Laura Hull). Thanks also to the teachers for promoting this event at the schools. It was delightful to have so many enthusiastic participants.

The day was about fun, community, family togetherness and arts awareness. Everyone had a good time and based on the enthusiastic e-mails I have received, this will not be the last time we host this event.

This is what Falls Church is about and why I feel especially happy for the experience. Be sure to check the art before it disappears next weekend.

Marty Behr

Falls Church

Spirit of Holiday Ruined By Vandals


This is the second year in a row that my Halloween decorations have been vandalized. Some person(s) came into our yard and stabbed the blow up pumpkin that was in front of our house. They then walked four houses down and stabbed a decoration in their front yard. I would like if they could please explain to the four year old and his siblings why they would destroy their 10 foot inflatable spider. This completely ruins the spirit of Halloween and is ridiculous.

Catherine Gilley

Falls Church