Letters to the Editor: March 10 – 16, 2011

Urges Attention Paid to New Zoning Plans


In response to your article “F.C. Citizens Lash Out at Zoning Director in Heated Council Hearing,” it’s funny how former F.C. City Councilman Dan Maller has used phrases like “save the soul of the neighborhood” and “houses that are sensitive to the neighborhood”, yet he voted yes to replace the Bowl America property with a 9 story building overshadowing Big Chimney Park and the Winter Hill homes.

He also voted yes, approving eminent domain resulting in the loss of a home which housed four affordable apartments and was to be torn down to make way for this building. What about the soul of our neighborhood?

Art McArthur got the approval and permits to build two houses on his property. Mr. Maller didn’t like it and decided to take Mr. McArthur to court, most likely costing city taxpayers money in staff’s time.

If Mr. Maller did not get approval or proper permits six years ago for expanding his house (larger than approved), well then he should have to fix the problem. He should not be shocked that he was cited for a lot coverage violation. He brought it on.

Gordon Theisz should not take pot shots at hard working city staff like Mr. Boyle for doing his job, which includes issuing lot coverage violations to people like Mr. Maller. Dr. Theisz’s harsh criticisms seemed to be based on opinion rather than fact.

The biggest problems are those special exceptions and variances that have been handed out like candy. They are no longer special and are unfair to some homeowners. How do Mr. Maller’s neighbors feel about his violation?

I hope Mr. Maller realizes his actions could have consequences. People will think twice before considering buying a tear down home or a home to renovate in Falls Church if approvals and permits are going to be challenged after the fact.

For all homeowners of the city, read the new zoning laws. They will affect you. If you are happy or not happy with them, voice your opinion.

Pam Callison

Falls Church


Rich Are Taxed at Lower Rate Than Working Stiffs


In his column, Nicholas Benton has the right sentiment, but missed an important point [“Old Fashioned Union Busting,” News Press, March 3, 2011]. The working class stiff earning wages of $50,000 a year is typically taxed at over double the rate of someone earning $50 million, not at the “same rate.” Most people making $50 million in income receive it from capital gains or dividends which are taxed at the lower rate of 15%, due to the recently extended Bush tax cuts. Of course, that 15% tax is only applied when the capital gain is realized, when the stock is sold. The very wealthy often hold on to assets with large gains until they die so they can avoid income tax on the gains and pass on an updated basis to their heirs. A $50,000 per year single wage earner would be in the 25% marginal tax bracket. The additional 12.4% in Social Security taxes, applied only to wages below $106,800, brings the marginal tax rate to 37.2% (31.2% if you only count the employee share of Social Security) for the $50,000 per year wage earner vs. 15% for the investor earning $50 million.

If the tax rate on capital gains were closer to the tax rate on wages, we wouldn’t have the problem of fund managers jiggering their pay to look like capital gains. It is not as bad as Mr. Benton described; it is worse.

Joyce Migdall

Falls Church

Congress Should Not Cut Funding to Arts Endowment


I am an independent choreographer who relies my career to support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), from direct grants to Dance Place support for local concerts. Please keep the arts alive in Virginia, and support the survival and continuation of dance.

The U.S. House of Representatives is on track to cut $43 million from the National Endowment for the Arts’ budget of $167.5 million. That’s a 26% cut – the deepest in 16 years!

Our Senators should prevent these deep cuts from happening when they take up this legislation at the end of this month.

The arts mean jobs! According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $12.6 billion in federal income taxes. Measured against direct federal cultural spending of about $1.4 billion, that’s a return of nearly nine to one.

Federal funding for the arts leverages private funding. The NEA requires at least a one-to-one match of federal funds from all grant recipients-a match far exceeded by most grantees. On average, each NEA grant leverages at least seven dollars from other state, local, and private sources. Private support cannot match the leveraging role of government cultural funding.

Please help the arts in Virginia, and the survival of artists.

Erica Rebollar

Falls Church


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