Letters

Letters to the Editor: December 31, 2009 – January 6, 2010

F.C. Leaders Seem Destined for Tax Hike

Editor,

At the City Council meeting on December 14 I commented on the reported financial crisis looming for the city. I said many businesses have faced similar difficulties and instituted cost reduction solutions.

Managements will tell you inefficiencies and “fat” creep in over time which have to be rooted out, and they cannot force customers to buy more of their goods or services.

I noted Governments tend to respond to this problem by raising taxes and/or cutting services. I suggest the City not resort to either of these “solutions.”

Rather, I suggested the Council direct the City’s management, including education, to get their creative juices working, then identify and implement a cost reduction of at least 10% before the end of this fiscal year. There are only 3-4 months remaining to do so. Then plan an additional 5-10% reduction for the next fiscal year.

There were no questions from the Council after my presentation. Shortly after the City Manager presented the schedule for developing the budget for the next fiscal year. No one on the Council questioned the City Manager on either his budget plan or if my suggestions had any merit.

One concludes that neither the Council nor city management believe there’s a financial problem, particularly as it relates to costs. They listened to my two minutes politely as just another cranky old citizen to be heard and then ignored. The Council had to get on to the real critical issue of governance – when should the City hold elections, May or November. The possible reductions in City costs now – December, January, and on-going – can just be ignored.

Falls Church citizens, brace yourselves and get ready. Our President tells us we are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But the Falls Church bureaucracy is not concerned. The city will continue as usual. The administration and schools will continue to plan regular expenditure increases in typical bureaucratic fashion and the Council will approve. Citizens will be given another increase in their tax bills. Thus, only taxpayers will be required to do with less in these financially troubled times. We cannot possibly expect government to do so in light of our City’s governance.

Richard C. LaVelle

Falls Church

 

This Operator Meticulous in Snow Removal

Editor,

This week’s poll question in the News-Press, and the preliminary results posted on your web-site, prompts me to comment on the work done by our Public Works personnel in response to our recent “blizzard.”

I live in The Wrens on the east end of town. On Sunday, the plow(s) visited Wrens Way and were here for several hours, meticulously clearing our cul-de-sac of snow. The principal city employee working in our community was Mr. Joe Dowling, operator of unit #696. His efforts were conscientious and effective to the point that I went out, shook his hand, thanked him and asked his name.

Mr. Dowling carefully moved the huge mounds of snow away from our parked cars and driveways. At times he even got out of his vehicle, took an available snow shovel and personally removed snow his equipment couldn’t reach.

I suspect that Mr. Dowling’s efforts went beyond the requirements of his job and am sure they exemplify the hard work and dedication of our city’s road crews in the aftermath of what was a virtual avalanche of snow. I feel that he and his fellow workmen deserve a resounding “Well Done!” from our city’s residents!

Perry Gawen

Falls Church

 

Sidewalk to Metro Station Covered By Snow

Editor,

As most people are aware, the sidewalk system around the West Falls Church Metro station is barely adequate- there is not even a continuous sidewalk on Great Falls street to get to Haycock road, and the Metro.

As I’m writing this, it is nearly a week after the snow storm and the sidewalks directly leading to the subway from Haycock road are not only unplowed, they are impassable- snow has been pushed off the road and it heaped literally five feet high in places, totally blocking the sidewalk. This necessitates the walking in the street by pedestrians attempting to use the Metro Station. It is a very dangerous situation. Year after year this happens- it makes me want to rent a Bobcat loader-backhoe and push it back into the street.

Paul Hogroian

Falls Church

 

Hails Anonymous Angel for Digging Car Out of Snow

Editor,

I just wanted to thank my new guardian angel, an anonymous plumber with a shovel, for helping me and another woman with getting our cars off the ice last week right in front of the library. My big umbrella and her window scraper weren’t going to do the trick. He was very patient with my Floridian snow skills and very determined to get my tires on dry pavement.

Thank you, sir, and happy holidays!

Laura Reiser

Falls Church

 

Why Didn’t Citizens Vote on New Logo?

Editor,

I have one question about the new city logo: Why didn’t we, the residents of Falls Church City, have a vote? It would’ve been a simple thing to do and it would’ve really helped with buy-in when the residents feel that they have a voice.

I agree with Jane Singleton’s Letter about the “cartoon-like immaturity” of the current design. It really doesn’t capture the “feel” of this unique city. Perhaps “The Little City” would be more palatable if the design was a bit more sophisticated, reflecting the residents of the City, as well as the city’s rich historic roots (I really like the historic design of the City markers – please don’t put the new logo on those signs). Why not have three or four designs that we can vote on (including the current design)? It would be easier to go along with whatever the residents decide.

Bonnie Games

Falls Church

 

Bikers Ignore Stop Signs on Bike Path

Editor,

The Little City and To Stop or Not to Stop – both of these bother me.

I am disappointed and embarrassed that the best that we could come up with as an identifying name for Falls Church, was “The Little City.” Our third graders could have done that. All we would have had to tell them is that – We live where there are not very many people for a city. There’s only a small amount of space to make our city. Then we should ask.What do you think we should call it? I suspect it wouldn’t take long to decide it was a little city. Their advice would have been free. Is there no going back? Do people really like it? So far I have only heard laughter.

My husband and I have talked about the bike path crossings for the last year or so when we come to one of the numerous path crossings in our area. They are clearly marked stop on the path, as a bicycle or a pedestrian approaches a street crossing. He feels that the responsibility is that of the user of the path. I have commented that since so many people do stop on the street the people on the path ignore the “stop” signage. So I felt that we need to at least slow down to see what is going to happen and probably stop. He feels that my approach is going to cause more problems because it encourages the path users to keep on going. He is right. We need to be consistent. The sign on the bike path says stop. Unless the streets are marked otherwise, the cars and bicycles on the street have the right of way.

Cathy Quinn

Falls Church

(Ed. Note – Captain Richard Campbell of the Falls Church Police Department had this response concerning right of way on the bicycle path:

“It depends…. It is a little different for bicycles and pedestrians.

“For bicycles, right-of-way goes to vehicles on the street, generally. Bicycles are, by law, considered vehicles. As such, they are required to stop prior to entering any highway for any reason (including crossing a highway, whether it’s a marked crossing or not).

“For pedestrians, the law can be a little more confusing. Under VA code 46.2-924, a vehicle must stop for a pedestrian crossing in a ‘clearly marked crosswalk…’ I believe, certainly within the City, that there is a clearly marked crosswalk at every intersection of the bike path and a public roadway. Having said that, the same code section says that ‘No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.’

“The bottom line is that a bicycle or a pedestrian is no match for 4,000 lbs of metal. We all need to be cautious when crossing a highway regardless of what the laws are regarding right-of-way. “)


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