Letters to the Editor: August 5 – 11, 2010

Mabry: ‘Special Interests’ Refers to Housing Advocates


Last week, the owner of this paper, in the context of continuing to justify City Council approval of the Falls Church Housing Corporation (FCHC) project sought, I believe, to misdirect his readers from the substantive reasons to oppose it.

His rhetorical effort-pungent in class baiting and guilt–failed in disguising who and what is the actual special interest in this case. It is not the housing needs of the elderly-it is the Falls Church Housing Corporation and its core supporters on and off of the City Council. Their ability to maneuver this highly deficient project to near approval is a compelling example of the power of a “special interest,” notwithstanding the appeal of the underlying issue. For example:

• Final approval by the Council would have disregarded the recommendations by the City Manager and City Attorney that the project should not move forward

• It has been “discovered” that a proposed city “loan” worth a million dollars or more to FCHC was actually a grant

• An evaluation shows that the City funds would flow to what may already be an insolvent entity-the FCHC

• If the funding were approved by the Council it would constitute a “bailout” of the FCHC, perhaps creating long term fiscal commitments for the City that are not fully understood nor quantified

• That if approved, City funds would pass along a circular path through the FCHC, onto a private land owner and then back to the city. The “round-tripping” of public funds raises a series of serious accounting and even perhaps legal questions

The Falls Church community-generous and committed to the less fortunate-is now under significant fiscal stress and it should be able to expect prudent fiscal decisions from its local government. The objective of the Council must be sustaining core services, including the quality of the education our kids receive, as well as many benefits already provided to our elderly through the tax abatement and deferral programs-instead of supporting initiatives like the FCHC project that places those existing programs at risk.

Sam Mabry

Falls Church


More Confusion for a Driver With a Cyclist


As a resident of our fair inner-burb for 13 years, I thought I had learned all the nuances of traversing our city. I know that a pedestrian can jump off a sidewalk anywhere and at any time, a cyclist will never stop at a stop-sign if he has a crosswalk, a motorist may never, ever honk, because that is being aggressive, and the only place to park anything is in your own driveway. As a sometimes pedestrian, cyclist and motorist, I empathize with all; I try to follow the rules, I never use a portable device while in motion, and I am wary of all others. I am enjoying the rigorous, though not particularly productive editorial debate.

This morning I saw something new and I’m trying to understand it. A cyclist was stopped on the sidewalk of an off-set intersection. As she did not cross in front of me, I gathered she would cross the other street in the crosswalk. When the light changed, I yielded (drawing honks from behind me) but when the cyclist failed to move, I crossed the intersection. After the cars, the cyclist crossed the intersection diagonally, and continued biking down the opposite sidewalk. As a pedestrian, I’m wondering why she was biking on the sidewalks and as a cyclist, I wonder why she didn’t use the crosswalk. Does this mean that one may be a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist at whim? Should I expect to see cars driving the bike trail, or parked on the sidewalks? I suppose time will tell. Meanwhile, I shall try to follow the rules because I choose to, and because I’m not the I who doesn’t follow rules; I’m one of the other people who rules were made for. Oh, and if there’s anyone out there who can explain the rules, I’d sure appreciate it. I’m tired of being yelled at, flipped off and honked at, and seem to be in need of a refresher course.

Amy Trombo

Falls Church


Says Too Much Self-Congratulating By the FCNP


I like the Falls Church News-Press. I go out of my way to pick it up every week. I mostly agree with its politics and viewpoints on various issues. I enjoy your columnist roster. I appreciate local news I’ll never see covered anywhere else. I use Ebert’s movie column to populate my Netflix DVD rental queue. I’ve found and enjoyed restaurants which advertise with you. I even write occasional letters to the editor. I do wish you’d continued local delivery to my neighborhood, but understand why you haven’t.

But PLEASE, include less FCNP ego in the newspaper. It was not newsworthy — and it was incredibly petty to mention — that the Falls Church mayor declined to congratulate the paper on its 1000th edition. That smacks of intimidation, demonstrating that anyone who doesn’t accommodate the paper’s self-congratulatory policies will be publicly mocked and attacked. And, really, how meaningful are invited/solicited/demanded congratulations?

And without even slightly diminishing the impressive accomplishment that your thousandth edition represents, your coverage of the matter has been FAR over the top — including a full page in the July 22 edition and most of the July 29 edition front page. It’s more convincing letting accomplishments speak for themselves, without working so hard to magnify them.

Gabe Goldberg

Falls Church

(Editor replies– We promise not to do it again for another 1,000 issues)


F.C., Fairfax Water Clarify Marriott Pipeline Matter



We believe we need to correct the record on a story that first appeared in the on-line edition of the Falls Church News-Press on August 3, 2010, regarding a pipeline project that the City of Falls church has planned to better serve a few businesses in the Tysons Corner area.

Mr. Benton has suggested that this project was necessary because the City of Falls Church and Fairfax Water had refused to cooperate in some manner to respond to customer complaints. This is not true.  These customers are served by Falls Church through an interconnection with Fairfax Water.

The City of Falls Church has long planned to build this pipeline to directly serve these customers and the decision to go forward with the project has nothing to with the recent litigation or any failure on the part of either the City or Fairfax Water. The City and Fairfax Water have had legal differences in the past, but those differences have never been allowed to interfere with normal operational coordination to ensure safe, reliable service for all our customers.

Charles M. Murray, General Manager, Fairfax Water

Wyatt Shields, City Manager, City of Falls Church



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