Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for December 3 – 10, 2008

‘First Friday’ Foray Not As Advertised


First Friday deals are not what they seem to be — or at least not in one retail store.

Having read the First Friday of Falls Church web page, I headed out for my walk and decided to “join in the fun.”

I stopped in a store on my way home for an impulsive purchase. Mentioned First Friday at the register and was met with a blank stare. Then I was assured by the person who does the advertising, they were not offering any discounts.

I mentioned the website — which then was looked up. This being done as they were setting food out for First Friday.

Having confirmed the webpage offered a discount, I was informed First Friday didn’t start until 6:30 p.m.

Silly me was there around 5:30. If I wanted to receive the discount, I would have to come back at 6:30!

The excellent customer service I received, as the help now began to eat the cookies that were set out for First Friday, made me realize I did not want to return to their store for any further purchases. I left with my purchase and with no discount as they discussed, “Maybe we’ll get some business here tonight for First Friday.”

Are there per chance retailers taking advantage of the First Friday advertising? Or is customer service and faulty advertising to blame?

Kathleen Jones

Falls Church

Infrastructure Needs Pressing On Region


There’s been discussion of coupling an economic stimulus with Federal assistance to states and communities to address infrastructure needs. Such needs are substantial. The October-December 2008 Pipeline publication of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC – the agency that provides water and sewage services to Mongtomery and Prince George counties in Maryland) included the information that “The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to bring the nation’s infrastructure to a good condition.” In the same item, WSSC states its infrastructure needs: “Approprimately 50% of the WSSC water distribution system will reach or exceed its useful life by 2025.” A proposal to raise rates around 50% to begin to generate the money required to meet this need was wacked back to slightly above the usual increase, putting off the needed funding, and needed replacement of the water distribution system.

What infrastructure needs (projects and their cost) are now or will soon need attention by the City of Falls Church?

Jim Breiling

Via the Internet

Haven’t Heard the Last of Kyle Lierman


Thank you for the story about Kyle Lierman, who headed the Falls Church Obama office. (The Young Man Who Directed F.C.’s Obama Office Triumph, Nov. 27, 2008)

As an occasional volunteer at the Falls Church office, I had no idea the “young” man running the show – Lierman – was only 21 years old, and still a college student. I took Kyle for a seasoned lead organizer.

Having worked on scores of political campaigns over 30 years, and I have never experienced such an amazing operation as the Falls Church office. It was the most organized operation I have ever seen.

Kyle seemed to always be at the office, be it 9 a.m. or midnight. And he was always calm, cool and collected.

Kyle deserves all the kudos sent his way for helping turn Virginia “blue.” And I don’t think we’re heard the last of this young man.

Carol L. Burnett

Via the Internet

Holiday Vegan Story Best in Any Newspaper


Thank you for the wonderful vegan cooking article! And kudos to Dean Edwards! His article on vegan options for Thanksgiving (and beyond) was one of the best pieces on the subject I have ever read in a mainstream paper; certainly the best in any local mainstream paper. It was well-researched and thoughtful, and it thankfully avoided cliché criticisms of vegetarianism. The info on local veg groups was outstanding, and the recipes were the icing on the (vegan) cake. I practically want to make the article our centerpiece!

By the way, in addition to Farm Sanctuary’s wonderful “adopt a turkey” program, which was mentioned in the article, you can adopt a turkey much closer to home, and visit her or him. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary (www.animalsanctuary.org) in Poolesville, Md., has 200 rescued animals on their 400 acre grounds. People can adopt turkeys or other animals; information is on their web site. The sanctuary is an oasis; very peaceful, sometimes transformative.

Gary Loewenthal

Falls Church

Newspaper Vet Hails FCNP As Role Model


I have meant to write this short note quite a few times–but didn’t. I worked for two weekly newspapers (Williamsburg and then Marion, Va.) and for eight years for The Richmond News-Leader, afternoon paper, before deciding to spend the rest of my working life with non-profits. My point is that I admire your newspaper; it’s exactly what I think all local newspapers should emulate.

Fletcher Cox

Via the Internet