Letters to the Editor: February 25 – March 3, 2010

Hockenberry: ‘It Was Democracy At Its Best’


First, I want to congratulate the people endorsed by the CBC Convention on Saturday and wish them all the best. Thanks to the CBC for sponsoring a convention that was truly democracy at its very finest. Of course I was disappointed that I did not receive their endorsement—so many expressed their support for me—thank you.

I want to reprise two parts of my speech. The first is to support our local businesses as they support our community in such a generous way. I want to propose a shop, eat, spend and buy gas campaign in our Little City of Falls Church —keep our tax money home!! That 4% meals tax stays right here-as does 1% of the sales tax and more is returned from Richmond—the gas tax helps us with our Metro costs. Spend money in our city!! I also suggested that the average tax bill be broken out into dollars so that you could see how your dollars are spent.

One of the questions asked was why weren’t the costs of refuse collection charged as a separate fee as in other local jurisdictions—i.e. Arlington $325, Fairfax $345, or Alexandria $339? I have always been in favor of this move which returns to where our tax money goes in comparison to others?

One of the questions that I considered to be most difficult was “…would we be willing to make a pledge that afternoon against affordable housing?” What did this mean? Was this against the proposed project or all ADU’s in mixed use projects? How far would this statement go? I can understand that the Housing Corporation’s Wilden may have a lot of unanswered questions about it and may have difficulties in front of council, but I still support the need for affordable housing both work force and senior. I am even more in support when I read a quote today that “they are tired of the sanctimonious pleas for work force housing-we really don’t care.” What a statement—I think that we really should care—I care.

Lindy Hockenberry

Falls Church


Black History Event Friday in Falls Church


As we head into a really difficult budget process, services and activities we know and love run the risk of being cut. I hope that all will consider coming to the Black history celebration and basketball game, co-sponsored by the City of Falls Church and Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. While this is a fun evening, there are deeper levels of meaning to the “game” we should look at. This activity is a perfect model for maintaining and contributing to “the little city.” The city supports the event through support services and in-kind contributions, while Tinner Hill raises money for the event through ticket sales, year-round fundraising and soliciting donations. The game has come to be one of the best loved events in the city! While a basketball game may seem like a small thing… the model is worth investigating in these tough financial times. Everyone has a stake in making our city a family oriented, friendly place we want to raise our kids, grandkids and enjoy our golden years. Last year, a former resident attended the game and afterward lamented “there was such a feeling of community, I wish I had not left Falls Church!”

The Black history celebration began five years ago as a way to celebrate African Americans contributions to the sport of basketball, and to honor the memory of Dr. Edwin B. Henderson, lifelong resident of Falls Church, known as the “Grandfather of Black Basketball.” Henderson, my biological grandfather, was the first to introduce the game to African Americans on a wide-scale organized basis in Washington, D.C. His accomplishments were featured during the entire Flashbacks Comics series as a tribute this month in the Washington Post. Many folks take playing and viewing basketball for granted, but it was only made possible by the hard work of people like Henderson who fought for equality and social justice. I think our entire community should be proud that Falls Church was the home of E. B. Henderson and come out to remember and enjoy what a small town boy put on the map of the nation!

Edwin B. Henderson, II

President, Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation


Google Looks for a Few Little Cities


The City of Falls Church has another great opportunity to put itself on the map and provide a great service to residents. Two weeks ago Google announced its Fiber for Community high speed internet project. Here’s the web site with more information: www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/

Google is looking for cities that can make good use of super high speed internet. They will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. Our city, including current residents and potential new businesses could take advantage of this potentially revolutionary technology. One of our great advantages in applying is our compact size and thus the relative low cost of picking us compared to larger communities. Our city leadership should act quickly – the deadline is March 26.

Richard Baum

Falls Church

Plowing Should Aim to Open Both Lanes


Shouldn’t plowing continue until each road is passable in both directions?

I am glad that Letter-to-the-Editor-writer Shirley Connuck had less trouble negotiating the local streets than we had.

Still, does it seem to anyone else that we just can’t get the job done anymore?

I sent the Environmental Services General Manager of the City of Falls Church an email containing a photograph of the expanse of snow that remained in front of my house after 10 days. In turn, I was told that my street has had its requisite two passes with a plow, and that no further snow removal will be undertaken.

Pardon me, but didn’t we used to continue to work until the work was actually done?  We measured 24 feet from the curb to where they plowed our street open.

Has plowing become “formularized,” so that the requirement to clear the public roadway for the public good has become instead a box with a quantity entered, so that “2” = Complete, a switch is tripped, and the street has thereby been cleared.

I understand that the crews had just done a tremendous blitz and needed some home-time and sleep. I just expected that the suspended task would be resumed again after rest and repair to people and vehicles.

I did not expect the City of Falls Church to effectively take the position, “The job is done because we say so,” not when the street is open in both directions.

And now we are supposed to be persuaded that another tax increase is necessary?

Maybe we should eliminate some of the word handlers in cubicles at City Hall and bring on some people who actually do work.

Kathi Jeffers

Arlington (Property is entirely within the City of Falls Church)


GMHS Mulch Sale Limited to Those With Internet Access


Well, the George Mason High School Boosters have done it again this year despite my Letter to the Editor last year.

To participate in their annual mulch sale, one must download an application from their website. Without access to the Internet, I, and others, have no means to apply.

Jim Willcock

Falls Church

What’s Confusing About Definitions Of Gay/Straight?


There appears to be a continued disturbance in the “Anything But Straight” universe.

I thought that the “Anything But Straight” (ABS) column was going to be dedicated to the unbiased reporting of the relevant facts or news of the week, reporting without partisanship or agenda.

Boy was I wrong.

Words, their meaning, their semantics, the way they are phrased, written or spoken, their inflection, intonation or association within a conversation or written article can cause quite a rouse.

I believe it is the above fact that causes the disturbance in the ABS universe.

An observation, ABS folks either revert to the “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” philosophy. This attitude would allow the ABS persons to accept the fact that not everyone understands, wants to understand or even accept some or all colloquial definitions.

Or revert to Merriam-Webster, a time tested and readily available tome.

If you are a homosexual by Merriam-Webster definition, then you are a homosexual. What is with the gay and SSA terminology? Those terms are confusing.

How or why, could or should anyone be offended if they, what they do or how they act are referred to honestly and accurately by definition? Honestly and accurately being emphasized.

The defined words, homosexual and heterosexual have been around for 120 years. The defined words, gay and straight have been around since the 14th century.

Homosexual and Heterosexual definitions appear clear, not ambiguous.

Referencing Merriam-Webster, it appears that the ABS definition regarding homosexual, homosexuality is not the main, secondary or even tertiary entries, alas they are used in a not so clear manner leaving room for ambiguity, error, misinterpretation, misunderstanding.

Homosexual: 1: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex

Heterosexual: 1a: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward the opposite sex; 1b: of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between individuals of opposite sex

Gay: 1a: happily excited;  4a: homosexual ; 4b: of, relating to, or used by homosexuals

Straight: 1a: free from curves, bends, angles, or irregularities, 2b: candid, frank, 3h: heterosexual

Respectfully submitted (in accordance with Merriam-Webster) by a middle-age male heterosexual, who is typically gay and tries to be straight with his fellow man, ahem. . .that absolutely includes women.

David Schwind

Falls Church

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