Letters

Letters to the Editor: January 7 – 13, 2010

Chavern Gets It Right About Budget Challenges

Editor,

You should introduce letter-writer Richard C. LaVelle (FCNP December 31) “F.C. Leaders Seem Destined for Tax Hike”) to David Chavern (“Future of Falls Church at Stake in Upcoming Election”). Mr. Chavern gets things right, noting that budget choices are hard and that it’s challenging paying for needed/wanted services. On the other hand, Mr. LaVelle advocates magic math, for the Council to “get their creative juices working, then identify and implement a cost reduction of at least 10%” without raising taxes or cutting services.

It’s easy to suggest vague reductions in inefficiencies and fat; it’s harder to manage an actual budget. We get the services we pay for. I live in Fairfax County just outside Falls Church. With painful cuts made and expected in public safety, schools, transportation, libraries, parks, and other essential government services, it’s hard for me to understand citizen unwillingness to pay for services that have made this area a pleasant place to live.

Related to budget cuts is the Editorial comment about many in the City being spoiled by services provided, as contrasted to Fairfax County, “where whole neighborhoods are often left stranded for days by major storms.” Essentially all Fairfax roads are maintained and plowed by VDOT, not the County (and this is why there’s talk of Fairfax becoming a city, to manage its roads). So it’s hardly a County failing when roads aren’t plowed. And VDOT funding/staffing cuts make it hard to plow roads with phantom workers and imaginary equipment. Again, there’s a disconnect between the reality of reduced government funding and services government can provide. We get the services we pay for.

Gabriel Goldberg

Falls Church

 

Watch Night: F.C. is Like None Other

Editor,

A warm thanks to the New-Press and so many others for your proactive support of our Little City’s New Year Celebration, Watch Night.

The celebration that began in 1998 with the Tricentennial Eve Party on December 31 and has continued ever since has done so because of so many willing groups, businesses, churches, schools, professionals, Economic Development Office, and City government who donate their time, talents and dollars, with our volunteer citizens to create the quilt that is Watch Night.

I am not aware of any other place that does it like we do. Folks often are quickly corrected when they call it First Night or anything else, because we are not a franchise and do not charge admission and are not required to follow First Night rules and regulations. Ours has been the same since the beginning, the same model of what makes our City unique — citizen activists, involved businesses, churches, schools, organizations, Council members, and a wonderful City staff all who give back freely to this wonderful community, The City of Falls Church.

It warms my heart each time I see the crowds gather at the Star near midnight–a symbol of the City’s beginning and much more to me–I am glad that I have the opportunity to work with All Stars.” People who contribute so much, so well, and so often…Thanks to the City and those of you who make it what it is!

Barb Cram

F.C. Watch Night Coordinator

 

Many Thanks for Help With Teen Party

Editor,

I am writing to thank the many local businesses and individuals who contributed to the successful New Year’s Eve party attended by about 100 middle schoolers at the Falls Church Community Center! Youth danced to the music played by “Mr. DJ”, enjoyed running through the Wild One obstacle course, inflatable defender dome and inflatable bouncy boxing, and rang in the New Year together with horns and cheers. Throughout the night, raffle prizes were awarded and food was served. This event would not have been possible if not for the generosity of all who contributed.

Amy Maltese

Falls Church Recreation & Parks Department

 

Time to Better Enforce Snow Removal Laws

Editor,

Budget shortfalls don’t count versus the habitual do-nothing attitudes toward compliance with the snow removal ordinance here in our mini-metropolis.

Noncompliance and nonenforcement are nothing new. Resident here since 1963, I’ve yet to see or hear of City officials out zapping businesses and streetfront property-owners with citations for ignoring the snow ordinance. Just as officialdom’s no shows are chronic, so also are the scofflaw behaviors of too many in the private sector.

Collaring those in charge of the W&OD Trail, to make them clear snow and ice from the segments of sidewalk the Trail’s right-of-way crosses, never happens. The sidewalk segments on each side of and beneath the Trail overpass at West End are never cleared and always become dangerously slick owing ot the large amount of foot traffic through there. Combined, the neglected Trail crossing and contiguous sidewalk frontage the JiffyLube never bothers itself to clear make a long stretch of hazards for pedestrians struggling between the car wash and N. West Street. Just one of countless more examples.

Public records show much touting of the goal of making this a “walkable,” “pedestrian friendly” community. Sounds great, no? Well, comes the day all the infrastructure is in place and performing, we’ll need to see a concomitant performing pledge to maintain it tight, timely snow removal included.

Always a good idea anyhow, rigorous enforcement of the snow ordinance particularly in times of budgetary stress should be a welcome additional source of revenue intake.

Absent conscientious enforcement of the snow ordinance, one wonders if it’s just a nice bureaucratic adornment. Then I ask myself whether I’m the only one here who thinks snow and ice left uncleared from pedestrian thoroughfares is a serious public safety issue.

Too bad, hapless pedestrians, as municipal snowplows (on overtime pay!) devoutly make motorists’ lives comfortable while heaping extra snow onto sidewalks businesses and property-owners mindlessly leave uncleared. Too bad, too, that our esteemed Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care, either, about its members’ civic irresponsibility toward clearing the sidewalks intended to facilitate trade across all commercial thresholds.

So, now, let’s see where our opinion-makers come down on budget versus ordinance enforcement shortfalls.

Charles R. Langalis

Falls Church

 

Reaction to ‘Decade from Hell’ Column

Editor,

On a dreary and bleak winter day when the snow was leaving us at a fast rate, it was a pleasure to have a good laugh thanks to our beloved FNCP editor — and should have been “person of the year.” In what is now an uncountable number of “Deranged Bush Syndrome” editorials, this one has to be in the top ten.

From the 2000 election to the Iraq War, no less. Our editor did not mention that every re-count of the Florida fiasco — including one by the clearly unbiased New York Times (sic), showed that George Bush won a very close race. That the Dems tried to invalidate the votes of the military — while saying count all the votes — well, that goes unreported. For a change, the Dems were unable to steal a close election — as they successfully did in 1960 (Chicago), the governorship of Washington State, or recently, with that high brow new Senator from Minnesota.

As to the Iraq War, I challenge the editor to read the statements from the floor of the Senate by such liberal anti-war luminaries as Senator Kerry in 1998 where he sounds more bellicose than Dick Cheney about the dangers of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction. Yes, there were weapons, according to the libs. But of course it was all Bush’s fault. As to the laughable statement that Obama has accomplished more than any other president in his first year. Accomplished what? I know, the world-wide apology tour. Or, bowing. I know, he has closed Guantanamo. No? Maybe he has realized there are really bad guys there who want to hurt us? Oops, maybe Bush was right?

Thankfully, Congress has not passed cap and tax, or the pork laden health care bill (yet), but he and the liberal Congress have broken the budget unlike any other government in history, allowed unemployment to increase to over 10%. Quite successful, eh?

To our editor, get over it and let’s see if you can look at the Obama Administration with a critical, analytical eye. Surprise your readers.

Dave Phelps

Falls Church

 

Besen’s View of Holidays Too Extreme

Editor,

Wayne Besen obviously had numerous traumatic “Christmas experiences” while he was growing up, because he writes about the “intolerance” of those who celebrate Christmas practically every year.

While I won’t excuse the bizarre and completely inappropriate behavior of the cowboy boot-wearing, high school-age student who bullied him because of his faith when he was in the sixth grade, I want to suggest that he consider why some in the majority might behave as they do.

Perhaps it has something to do with the determined effort of some to all but outlaw the actual word “Christmas” from our “holiday” vocabulary, even when a very large part of Christmas is secular, and I dare say that a good number of the 97%-or-so of Americans who celebrate Christmas do not care that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and yet they still celebrate it.

Perhaps Merry Hyatt, the substitute teacher out in California who is sponsoring the ballot initiative that would REQUIRE “all public schools in California to give children the opportunity to sing or listen to religious Christmas carols,” would have not felt the need to do so if schools didn’t act like Christmas music needed to be completely banned, thus giving students the impression that there is something wrong with acknowledging this aspect of American life. Mr. Besen seems to think that ALL references to Christmas are meant to force him and other non-Christians into converting to a faith they are not interested in; in fact, he reiterates this point over and over again. Please.

A very determined group over the years has tried to rid our culture of a word that most of us love, and some of us refuse to quit using, whether it is used in a secular or a sacred fashion. And as long as the secular part of Christmas drives the American economy as it does, Christmas is not going anywhere, no matter what it’s called. Give up fighting the basic word itself so hard–in fact, wish a basic, secular “Merry Christmas!” to Merry Hyatt–and I feel sure the desire to lash out with misdirected ballot initiatives will subside as well.

Peter Byrd

Falls Church


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