Letters to the Editor: June 17 – 23, 2010

New Trash Bins in F.C. Don’t Make Sense


I live in Falls Church City on W. George Mason Road. I have just received a notice dated June 7 by mail from Bill Hicks, Director, Engineering and Construction in the City’s Department of Environmental Services.

The notice announces that City residents will be required to replace our current trash cans and recycling bins with either two 65-gallon carts (one for trash and one for recycling) or one 35-gallon trash cart and one 65-gallon recycling cart. The notice also says that if we elect the smaller trash cart and exceed its capacity, we will have to pay for the excess, even though other households can dispose of up to 65 gallons of trash at no cost.

I have just spoken at some length with Mr. Hicks who indicated that the new carts will have lids, but the lids will not seal the way most trash can lids seal. He also confirmed that the city is paying for the new carts and the $150,000 in savings from recent changes in the solid waste and recycling programs would be even more if the city were not buying carts for every household. He also informed me that trash cans come in three standard sizes – 35 gallon, 65 gallon, and 90 gallon. He indicated that the purpose of the switch to the carts was to discourage trash in excess of 65 gallons per week per house and to encourage more recycling.

As I indicated to Mr. Hicks, the idea of replacing such perfectly functional trash cans and recycling bins with ones that do not seal as well and in many cases will be a lot bigger to store – at a cost to the City and hence us as taxpayers – does not make good sense to me

I understand that the order for the carts will not be placed until the end of this month, so there is still time to reconsider the current mandate to accept the new carts. Would the City please reconsider the new cart plan and instead take the more focused, gentler, and less expensive approach I have suggested?

Henri Bartholomot

Falls Church


Arlington Neighbors Not Informed of ‘Waterfront’ Plan


The new Four Mile Run Waterfront complex includes rezoning to allow buildings that are four, six, seven and nine stories high! This will truly change our neighborhood. Arlington County’s Planner Jim Snyder helped with the Waterfront Plan. He is the lead planner for the East Falls Church Metro Redevelopment, which also calls for rezoning at the Metro and along Lee Hwy and Sycamore to allow for five to eight story buildings. These plans will change EFC Metro area from residential to another Ballston or Clarendon.

Many Arlington residents living near the EFC Metro were unaware of these plans. Within the past month, nearly 80+ residents have formed a citizen group led by John Shumate. They believe that citizen/resident input to this plan is imperative.

J. Bowman

Falls Church


Columnist Hit for ‘OMGs’ Viz. Strasburg


Mike Hume, your sports columnist, owes the readers of the Falls Church News-Press a serious apology for his column last week, “Oh My God.”

From the incredibly offensive title, to using Jesus’s name in vain three times in the column itself, and even acknowledging that he knew he was doing so, I was in complete shock that he would use such language publicly in a newspaper, and it certainly made anything he had to say about the Washington Nationals’ new pitcher beside the point. My parents reared me to understand that in a civilized society, you only use such language in the event of a real catastrophe that causes you to truly cry out to God, such as on 9/11 when on live television we saw the World Trade Center towers being hit by planes, and then later when we saw people drop from those burning buildings to their deaths 100 stories below, followed by the towers collapsing.

I remember Ted Koppel’s commencement address at Duke University several years ago, where he famously reminded the graduates there of the common religious heritage in our society and challenged them to behave accordingly: “They are not the ’10 Suggestions.'” While I am not saying that Mr. Hume could not use such language in a column, of course, he should have been respectful of his readers and said it another way.

Peter A. Byrd

Falls Church


Race, Gender Not Factors in Thomas Case


As I got halfway through Nicholas Benton’s June 10th editoral about a baseball umpire’s bad call, I saw the line “Jim Joyce is a white male. Helen Thomas is an uppity female of Lebanese origin”. Granted, the headline alerted me to the fact that this column would also cover the Thomas resignation, but I found myself, after reading only of the heartwarming story of human errors involved in baseball thinking, “Huh? What gives?”

Then I read the rest of the editorial regarding Ms. Thomas and I understood. While I am sympathetic to errors made in the heat of the moment, I don’t see how these are comparable. Further, I think most people would say that Thomas’ error was not one of making “remarks that do not reflect true feelings but only reflect internal pain” as Mr. Benton states (how does he know this?), but most likely reflects true feelings that otherwise would be filtered out in normal discourse.

To link and compare these two otherwise totally unrelated incidents is to suggest to your readers that everything must be seen through the prism of race and gender. Perhaps in this case they are not related at all. Perhaps there is no unequal treatment going on here. Perhaps, as the teenager in my house is fond of saying, Mr. Benton just needs to chillax.

Paul Saunders

Falls Church

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