Letters to the Editor: December 17 – 23, 2009

High Turnout May Be Fact, Not a Reason


In the most recent issue of the Falls Church News-Press, as an explanation of his vote to change the Falls Church City elections from May to November, Councilman Dan Sze was quoted as saying, “I haven’t heard anything to change my mind. I know it to be a fact that far more people vote in November than May. That’s the only fact. It is a black-and-white non-issue to me.”

Mayor Gardner has said similar things. This has been the main reason given by all those supporting the change.

It may be a fact, but it is not a reason to change City elections from May to November. There are a variety of possible reasons why fewer people vote in May that would not support changing the dates and diluting the focus on local issues. Just to cite a few: fewer contested elections; more confidence in those running; less knowledge of local issues; less confidence that a significant movement can be mounted to oppose or to support certain candidates or issues. Changing the elections from May to November will not change these factors and, if anything, will make it even harder to focus on important local issues.

I would just like to add, that if Councilman Sze is so concerned about increasing the number of people involved in voting, it seems that he should also be concerned about increasing the number of people involved in what is clearly a controversial issue by supporting a referendum on changing the date of local elections.

Margaret Whitehead

Falls Church


Says Tag Line ‘Little City’ is Childlike


In the first sentence of her Letter to the Editor about “The Little City” tag line from SmithGifford, Jane Singleton says that she hopes there are “a lot of concerned readers.” I am one. I agree with her assessment of the “brand” as “childlike.” If I didn’t know better, I would think it was the title of a children’s picture book, with its colorful tumble of loopy letters.

To what audience are we appealing with this approach? People with children? Businesses geared to children and families? Seems as though we already have enough of both. People or businesses who want to get away from the fray of DC life and settle down in a quiet place to live or make a profit and pay the lower taxes of a “little” city? Hah!

The Falls Church I know and the Falls Church in this logo just don’t jibe. We are such a complex place. We have very little visible remains of our history but we struggle to maintain it. We want to keep a small town feel but here we are inside the Beltway, need I say more. We are full of highly credentialed, savvy people. We are trying and failing to stop our own overdevelopment. So, we are full of contradictions and complexity. Any new statement of our identity needs to take this seriously.

Unfortunately, “The Little City” is the little idea that can’t pull the train up the hill. Let’s not waste time pretending and claiming that it has been money well spent. Back to the drawing board. With a new creative team, please. The emperor is wearing far too…little.

Rachel Clark

Falls Church


Says ‘Branding’ Is For Dumb, Driven Cattle


How much did our itty bitty city with its projected $7 million-and-counting shortfall spend on Gullible’s Travels to Lilliput?

Did these same little people put the post office in the flowery building where the trucks can’t get through the entrance but have to park on the street, blocking a lane of Route 7?

Remember who gets branded: dumb driven cattle.

Vesta S. Downer

Falls Church


‘Fresh Air’ Outside Now ‘Cigarette Air’


In the article regarding the state’s newly-imposed smoking ban, I find it interesting that Susan Anderson doesn’t mind the ban since “bars can be so confined inside and it’s nice to get some fresh air.” Yes, fresh cigarette air. Now that’s irony.

Betsy Stuart

Falls Church


Episcopalians Are Still Active In Falls Church


Three years ago this month, a majority of parishioners of The Falls Church voted to “leave” the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church of the United States and to associate themselves with the Anglican Diocese of Nigeria. However, rather than leaving the historic Falls Church property, the departing parishioners continue to occupy it. Those Episcopalians who did not choose to leave are not permitted by those who left to use the property for Episcopalian services and have been forced to find temporary worship space elsewhere.

In early 2007, after several weeks of meeting in a parishioner’s home, the wonderful people at Falls Church Presbyterian invited us to use their loft for our worship services. We have been there ever since.

What could have been a tragedy for exiled Episcopalians has, in many respects, become a blessing.

The Falls Church (Episcopal) is still here, in the heart of Falls Church City! We meet weekly for worship, have an active youth group, a dedicated choir, Sunday school, Adult Education, and, perhaps most meaningful, an ambitious community outreach program which supports the neediest in our greater Falls Church area. Parish members collect and deliver food weekly through the Falls Church Community Service Council. We have provided food for the Falls Church Winter Shelter, renovated a house through Rebuilding Together, supported affordable housing, and organized walks for the homeless. We have packed boxes to send to our troops in Afghanistan, provided backpacks for homeless children, held a coat drive, adopted families at Shelter House in Falls Church for the holidays and more.  We also have a free monthly “Parents Night Out” which is open to all families in the city, staffed by our 20-30’s group. On a Friday night, we provide pizza, entertainment, and games to children from 5-12, so that their parents can get a break.

The legal dispute over rights to the real and personal property of The Falls Church is now before the Supreme Court of Virginia. Sadly, much on all sides has been spent on lawyers. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, Episcopalians are here in Falls Church.

Robin Fetsch

Chair, The Falls Church Episcopal Outreach Committee


Hails Success Of Farmer’s Market Chefs


I would like to say thanks for the overwhelming success of the first season of the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef. What began as a simple idea born out of a passion for the community has turned into a program that serves many needs. The vision to help our community environmentally, physically, and fiscally could not have come to fruition without the energy and support of so many in our community. I would not have been able to do this endeavor without the support of key individuals, restaurants, farmer’s market and vendors. My heartfelt thanks to the following:

Aimee Suyehiro of Argia’s who was willing to be the first and forge the way beautifully for the others.

Leland Atkinson of Sinplicity for bringing his lovely wife and girls to be part of the demonstration of making awesome ice creams and desserts.

Debra Rubin, Kate Jensen and Maeve Curtin of Willow for incorporating their creativity to use wheatberries and butternut squash so well that Moutoux Orchards completely sold out of wheatberries!

Liam LaCivita of Liberty Tavern for the mouthwatering aroma of buffalo brisket paired with radishes and apples on a cold fall morning.

Chef Bernard who reminded us of the importance to stick with the conviction of local and seasonal food as the focal point of the program.

Falls Church Farmers Market vendors who were extremely supportive of the program include Dragonfly Farms, Atwaters Bakery, Sinplicity, Potomac Vegetable Farms, Tree and Leaf Farms, Cibola Farms, Blue Ridge Dairy, Howie’s Honey, Toigo Orchards, Mother Earth Organic Mushroom, North Gate Vineyards, Valentine’s Meats, Grace’s Pastries, and Moutoux Orchards.

And finally to the Falls Church community for embracing this idea and giving it a strong following. We look forward to bringing more chef demonstrations to the community in 2010!

Kathleen Nixon

Falls Church


Thanks for ‘Byrd Feeder’ Charity Event


On behalf of the All Night Graduation Celebration of 2010 there are many people to thank for a very successful 2009 First Annual Byrd Feeder that was held on Sunday, December 6th at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack.

We would like to thank Rebecca and David Tax (owners of Clare and Don’s Beach Shack) for their generous sponsorship of this event. They shared with us their great ideas, strong community spirit and terrific staff to support our very worthy program which provides a safe and alcohol free celebration for our graduating seniors.

We would also like to thank Mr. Byrd, George Mason High School principal, for showing his grand sense of humor in lending his name to promote the “First Annual Byrd Feeder” and for being a gracious and welcoming host. His wholehearted support for the evening was a major key to its success.

And for our supportive community family, in the high school, in the other Falls Church schools, and in the Falls Church community at large, thank you for coming out on a cold, wet evening to support our cause.  We thank you for showing up and making clear to us that this is truly the first of many “Byrd Feeder” events to come.

See you all next year!

Melissa Morse

Publicity Chair, All Night Grad Celebration

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