Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for Week of March 19 – 25, 2009

Subsidy is Too High, Scale ‘George’ Back

Editor,

I’m writing in support of the continuation of the George on a scaled back, more self-sufficient basis.

In reading last week’s edition, I agree that the subsidy is too great. As a daily rider, I would be willing to pay as much as the Metro charges, over $1 now, for the convenience of the George bus line, and the incentive it provides my husband and I to stay out of the car when traveling to and from work. I would like to see serious consideration of when best to scale back hours and how much to increase the fare. If there is still the need for a subsidy, I don’t think that should kill the George. The whole point of publicly-funded facilities from sports fields and venues to community centers to reducing carbon emissions is to either provide amenities that individuals could not afford or which enhance the quality of life in an area. At a time when we have an excess of condos and apartments to fill, now is not the time to make commuting to work more difficult for those interested in living here.

Ann Beltran

Falls Church

Resents Beings Called ‘Overly Pampered’ Citizen

Editor,

Per “The Budget & F.C.’s Future” editorial, I resent being called “an overly-pampered commuting resident”. To me, limiting my carbon footprint by leaving my car in the garage and taking the George to the East Falls Church metro station at 6:30 AM in all types of weather is hardly being pampered. The George has been a useful means of transportation for many of us and hopefully, the city council will consider making the George an AM/PM rush hour bus instead of condemning it to oblivion.

Valerie Cairns

Falls Church

No Official Stand On ‘George’

Editor,

Your article regarding the City Budget (March 12-18 edition) stated that the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce was on record supporting the retention of the George bus. While several members of the Chamber, including myself, have made personal comments in public meetings, the Chamber of Commerce, as of this moment, has not taken an official position on George or any other issue regarding the City Budget.

Gary LaPorta

Co-Chair, Falls Church Chamber Legislative Committee

Women’s History Month Event Set March 25

Editor,

Amid all of the commentary about voting rights during the 2008 election cycle, it’s easy to forget that American women have had the right to vote for fewer than 100 years. But did you know that in 1917, some 123 suffragists were imprisoned at the Occoquon Workhouse for seven months, simply for picketing the White House for the right to vote? The harsh treatment they received sparked a turning point in the battle to win women the right to vote three years later.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Falls Church League of Women Voters is sponsoring “A Day in the Life of a Suffragist,” a one-woman show that brings to life this little-known chapter of our nation’s history. It will be held Wednesday March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center, and is free and open to the public.

Sara Fitzgerald

Falls Church

Says Local Bank Practice Was Predatory

Editor,

If you walk into a store and inquire about a product, and if the answer is “you pay me first then I will tell you,” you would walk out of this store, Right? What if this is your bank, and it withdraws $425 from your account right after you asked about their products?

Before Christmas, I walked into the Chevy Chase Bank at West Broad St and asked about refinancing my house. The desk officer promised to send me information through email. On the Eve of Christmas, this officer called me on my cell phone and said the mortgage rate went down and we should lock in. I told him that we could not make decision in such a hurry. He called me again and convinced me that all I needed to do was to let him lock in, and we could take care the rest later. So I let him lock in.

I came back after Christmas and started asking for email confirmation on the terms of the mortgage. It turned out this desk officer had handed over the case to another officer in their Bethesda branch, and all that person wanted was to have us sign the legal document so he could lock us in, while not answering our questions on the terms we wanted. I sensed something was not right, so I walked to the branch and told the desk officer that we would not start the refinancing with them because I did not trust that this new person could handle it right. At the beginning, this desk officer said he would put the $425 application fee he withdrew from my account on Christmas Eve back to my account. A week later he said it would take four weeks to process the inquiry. Six weeks later he said the rule was that once we let them lock in the rate, the $425 belongs to the bank. I sent an email to their Customer Service to complain. A bank officer called me back, but he insulted me by saying he didn’t understand me (I speak with an accent), and the bank police was no refund once a loan is locked in.

I want to inform your readers of this predatory loan practice at a time that many are trying to refinance their loans.

Janet Tan

Falls Church