Letters to the Editor: September 23 – 29, 2010

‘Appalled’ F.C. Council Might Undo Election Plan


I am appalled at the move by some on the Falls Church City Council to reverse the decision to hold elections for all local, statewide and federal offices on Election Day in November. The plan to replace the current fragmented system of two separate elections held months apart made sense when it was adopted earlier this year. Not only is having a single, unified election day a fiscally sound move – especially important during the City’s difficult financial straits – it is the best way to increase citizen engagement and boost voter turnout.

It’s obvious that those who would delay or cancel this reform are trying to engage in voter suppression. Seeking to deter voters they deem unworthy of exercising their constitutional right to vote is wrong and it’s un-American.

Peg Willingham

Falls Church


Public Should Refuse to Buy Denuded Lots


Three cheers to Finn Driggers, the 2nd grade student who wrote to you last week, apparently commenting on your photo showing many mature trees being cleared for the development of a lot across from the Mary Riley Styles library!

Young Mr. Driggers correctly pointed out that “it’s not green to cut down all the trees to put up two houses in their place.” It’s a common and pernicious misperception that just because a house has some “green” features, like triple-pane windows or bamboo flooring, building and purchasing the house is environmentally conscientious–even if the house is three times larger than the occupants need; was constructed by first cutting down every living thing right up to the property lines; and has thousands of watts of lights shining on unused porches, walls, and landscaping. This kind of thinking leads, for example, to the Washington Post effusing a few months ago about a “designer” “green” home, making it sound like it was a good thing to tear down a comfortable bungalow and most of the trees on the lot and replace them with a huge house with vast open areas, 12-foot ceilings, and 20-foot high windows, just because scrap from the old house was recycled and the new house had a solar water heater.

It is standard practice when building a new home in Falls Church, Arlington, or McLean for the developer first to cut down every tree and bulldoze up every bit of vegetation, up to the property lines. This may make it easier for the developer to build as large a new house as the lot can hold, but it is terrible for the environment. Not only do trees constitute a critical factor reducing global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, they also provide shade that can reduce a house’s electricity demand to a significant extent. It takes decades to regrow those kinds of shade trees. Of course, leaving the whole lot without any vegetation during the months of construction also adds suspended solids to rainwater runoff that settles out in our storm drains and streams.

The public should refuse to buy houses on denuded lots, and government should step in and protect our priceless tree canopy.

Russell Frye

Falls Church


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