Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for the Week of March 12 – 18, 2009

Vice Mayor Assails Remarks By Snyder


As the City of Falls Church enters into what is perhaps the most difficult budget cycle in its history, what is needed is a deliberative process that is fully responsive to the unique challenges presented by the current economic downturn.

Unfortunately, during the city manager’s initial presentation of his budget to the City Council at Monday night’s meeting, what was on display was the anithesis of the necessary approach.

With the ink barely dry on the budget document and the city manager’s explanatory remarks still resonating, Councilman Dave Snyder immediately launched into his customary indignant attack mode, fulminating over the city manager’s recommendation to eliminate the George Bus service. In his also all too customary fashion, Councilman Snyder was territorially marking this issue as a warning on why he will ultimately vote against whatever final package the rest of Council decides to adopt. (He has voted against the two other budgets adopted during my tenure and others with longer service tell me this has been his typical position on past Councils as well.) And, as was the case in last year’s process, based on his opening salvo Monday night I can well anticipate his sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing attempt to score cheap political points by announcing his refusal to accept his Council salary to help “balance the budget.”

Clearly, Councilman Snyder’s approach is not what the City needs in difficult times where layoffs are being recommended and salaries frozen. What we do need over the next six weeks before the final vote is the best of what we as elected representatives can offer: the most careful, thoughtful, balanced, and analytical deliberative process possible. Every effort must be made to avoid political grandstanding, self-promoting rhetoric, and my-way-or-the-highway thinking. I fervently hope Councilman Snyder, in particular, as well as the rest of the City Council and all the citizens of Falls Church will be up to the daunting task before us.

Hal Lippman, Vice Mayor

Falls Church

Hung Sneakers is Bogus Urban Legend


I mostly agree with Linda Hart’s comments in her letter last week about drug and other problems being ubiquitous, even in our little Falls Church. But the notion that sneakers hanging from wires memorialize dead gang members is bogus. I’ve heard this urban legend debunked in multiple presentations on gangs from Fairfax County Police Department and the FBI, and it’s written up at http://www.snopes.com/crime/gangs/sneakers.asp. Please, readers and FCNP — check facts before passing on rumors.

Gabe Goldberg

Via the Internet

F.C.’s Library Earns ‘Star’ From Journal


Like many city residents, I am a true bookworm and I wanted to share the news that the Mary Riley Styles Library earned the recognition as a “star” library from the Library Journal’s national rating of public libraries. Our public library is an essential part of the community and I want to thank the library staff for answering my reference questions, ordering new books upon request and maintaining a great library.

Dan Campbell

Falls Church

Hard to Call Swim Results A Failure


For the past three years, we have greatly appreciated the coverage of the George Mason Swim Team by the Falls Church News Press, but the March 5, 2009 article was an exception. For the title of the last article of a season to include the phrase, “Fail to Place High at Championship Meet”, we feel is incorrect and unjust. When a ‘A’ team finishes 17th out of 66 schools, in a meet of almost all established ‘AA’ schools, it is hard for me to declare that a failure.

In addition, when two paragraphs summarize the times and places of our swimmers and two paragraphs go in detail regarding official and unofficial disqualifications by two of our relays, it gives the impression that more weight is being put on the negative outcomes rather than the positive. We considered the meet to be a very successful one with swimmers competing in all but two events of the preliminaries, most of our swimmers competing in the maximum four events, and in those events our swimmers achieved over 60% personal best times. Several of our swimmers, including the boys, just missed the cutoff for the finals placing 19th and 20th. I understand that it is your job to give the news on local teams and issues, but would appreciate some advanced warning if we are going to misrepresented in future issues.

Thank you again for your coverage throughout this season, and we look forward to having scores and information you’ll be proud to print next year.

Jon-Michael Lemon

Head Coach, George Mason High School Swim Team

No Access to Boosters Mulch Forms


For many years I have bought mulch from the George Mason High School Athletic Boosters and included an additional contribution on the order form. That didn’t happen this year because I had no order form and cannot contact the web sites provided on my telephone. Maybe there are others without access.

Jim Willcock

Falls Church

Hails F.C. Arts’ Affirmation of Inclusiveness


I read and enjoyed Kevin Mellema’s Arts Beat column and review of the Falls Church Arts Show.

The one thing I would add, though, is that one of the strengths of this organization is that it is so inclusive.

I delight in seeing the wide range of abilities and the fact that all artists can proudly display their work in their own community regardless of their expertise or the opinion of a juror.

Falls Church Arts also has juried shows and naturally there is a higher caliber of work, but what makes this show unique is the fact that all artists can show their stuff!

Terri Rea

Via the Internet