Letters to the Editor: April 15 – 21, 2010

Schools Should Not Be Exempt from Budget Cuts


I appreciate the City Council’s efforts to keep the real estate tax increase as small as possible, and I understand that in doing so additional significant cuts will need to be made in the City’s budget.

It would be my preference that there be no increase in the real estate tax and that the entire shortfall be covered by cuts to the City’s Public Schools and City Hall. I also realize that this is unrealistic.

Therefore, it is my hope that budget cuts for the public schools and the City accompany the real estate tax increase.

I understand that 75% of people who live in the City of Falls Church do not have children in the school system. I am in this group. I did not move here because of the schools – I moved here because of the small town feel, access to City Hall, and amenities provided by our City government.

Would it hurt property values to furlough schools’ staff two days as was previously considered? Would it hurt the kids in our community if they have a couple more students in their classes? Would kids learn less if their parents had to pay for some of their children’s extracurricular activities?

These are tough times for everyone – fully funding the schools with taxpayer money will mean additional cuts in services for everyone, including seniors and the economically disadvantaged. I hope the City Council will do what is best for all of us in this community regardless of whether or not we have children. Everyone will have to with less, taxpayers and the City. The schools must not be exempt from this sacrifice.

Paul Flusche

Falls Church


Why So Many Police Stops on Roosevelt?


I’ve lived on Roosevelt Boulevard – near East Falls Church metro – for a year and I’ve been amazed at the degree of police surveillance the street garners. At any given time, a police car will be stopping vehicles over traffic infractions. Its siren can go off early in the morning or at midnight on a weekday with no consideration for the tranquility of neighbors. I certainly don’t feel safer because police officers are constantly ticketing drivers, especially when there are other areas in the city that would benefit from their presence.

I experience this on an almost daily basis because my four-month-old daughter is regularly woken up by the blaring police sirens outside her window. I understand that the police are enforcing the law but is Roosevelt Blvd./Sycamore St. such a hub of criminality that it warrants this zeal? I would have loved to see the authorities pay this much attention to the street after the snowfalls in February. Neighbors had to endure the accumulated snow for weeks even though streets with less traffic had been already cleaned up.

The Washington Post reported a few years ago how Falls Church police has to meet ticket and arrest quotas or face a probationary period with no pay raise and a potential demotion. While I don’t think it is ethically correct to increase ticketing for things such as raising more money or getting a promotion – especially when police resources are limited – I understand that this is not my decision to make. Still, I wonder how much money the city makes off traffic violations in this neighborhood and whether the number of accidents is particularly higher than elsewhere in Falls Church.

The noise and regular traffic stoppages – sometimes when no infraction has been committed – are making living in an apparently calm street increasingly unpleasant. If I wanted to listen to police sirens at ungodly hours, I’d move back to D.C. where at least I know those police cars are dealing with far more serious crimes.

And just for the record, I’ve never committed a speeding violation on Roosevelt Blvd.

Gonzalo Baeza

Falls Church


Surprised F.C. Stopping Leaf Mulch Delivery


Falls Church City has always prided itself on being environmentally conscious. For that reason, I was amazed to learn that the City Council decided to discontinue the delivery of leaf mulch to the community.

I am obviously aware of the budget constraints the city faces. I do not, however, understand why the city chose not to consider options that could eliminate the budget constraint while preserving an environmentally friendly service supported by the community.

First, the option to “not recycling the mulch” (or most of it, assuming the few who have pickup trucks will venture to help themselves to some) is to dump it in landfills. That option obviously has both a financial and an environmental cost. Second, I spoke to several of my neighbors (maybe not a statistically significant sample), and they were unanimous in their willingness to pay for the delivery of the leaf mulch. So why doesn’t the city let the community decide if they want to pay directly for the cost of delivering the leaf mulch to their gardens instead of paying indirectly (through taxes) for its delivery to the land fill?

Salem Gafsi

Falls Church


Agrees With Column About Coach Huggins


I don’t agree with a whole lot of what Nicholas Benton writes in his columns, but I fully agree with his thoughts on the NCAA Final Four and the actions of West Virginia University’s coach Bob Huggins. The concern from seeing the best player on West Virginia’s team go down with a severe injury was offset by the display of love and humanity by Coach Huggins. This was a difficult situation in a hard fought game, but Coach Huggins turned it into a lesson in how to treat our fellow man (and woman).

Bob Stone


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