Letters to the Editor: March 31 – April 6, 2011

Questions Taboo About Public Library Operations?


Over the last several weeks a bitter struggle has been waged between various groups and supporters over who will be least affected by the necessary cuts and funding reductions in the proposed Falls Church City budget. What is clear to anyone who has tried to follow the progress is that instead of leadership and vision from the City Council or City Manager, you have gotten reaction and response to whomever is yelling the loudest at the time.

Now the library has become a target, and a source of more City discord. Some expect the library to continue to provide not only the main responsibilities of books and information, but a host of other things like free WiFi, weekday children’s programs, foreign periodicals, weekday morning access, free computer access, meeting rooms, and on and on. Others are trying to look at ways for the library to do more with the reality of having less to do it with.

Some questions seem almost taboo to ask. Why does the library need to be open before 3 or 4 p.m. weekdays when most of the patrons cannot use it? Why shouldn’t there be full weekend hours, both Saturdays and Sundays, when most citizens can use the library, even at the loss of weekday hours? Why shouldn’t the patrons who want expensive, specialized, or foreign periodical help pay for the subscriptions? Why should the Library alone shoulder the costs of WiFi and computer access? If the City can charge for use of rooms in the Community Center or picnic areas in the parks, why shouldn’t the Library charge for use of its spaces for meetings and groups? Why should the Library be expected to provide free childcare activities? Why should the Library be expected to pay the costs of being another social center during the day?

None of these costs are much by themselves, but they add up, probably to at least one paid position. The library could charge nominal fees to help defray costs; the fees wouldn’t have to be too high balance the impact. And like everywhere else, you could ask to be exempted if even the nominal fee was too much, just like schools, churches, and such.

Michael Baker

Falls Church


Anti-CBC Neighbors Now Support Schools


I find it exceedingly interesting that a couple of my neighbors (both newer residents with young kids), who proudly displayed non-CBC candidate signs in their yards during the last local election (under the “we’re voting for change” mantra), are now showcasing signs that say “Support our schools. FUND OUR FUTURE.” I ask: Did you know for whom you were voting for in the last election?

Next time, do us all a favor and do your homework before you pull the lever. CBC was founded 51 years ago to establish a first-class school system in the newly independent Falls Church City. Over the years CBC-backed office holders have consistently supported the schools and have not had to be told to “support our schools-fund our future.”

Susan Allan-Burnett

Falls Church


New Photo Red Lights Flash Too Bright


I am a long time resident of Winter Hill and my neighbors and I are very unhappy about the light pollution caused by the traffic monitoring light that was installed right in front of our townhouses in December of 2010.

Every night this light flashes into our bedroom and living room windows. We have requested that the light be reinstalled in front of a business, instead of a residence.

Further we feel that this annoying eyesore will effect our property values.

We have emailed and talked personally with the folks in the engineering department and police department about this annoying problem, to no avail.

Our next step is that we will be speaking to the City Council and hope to begin finding a solution at that time.

Barbara Williams

Falls Church


GMHS Athletic Boosters Mulch Sale Successful


This past Saturday the GMHS Athletic Boosters completed its most successful mulch sale and delivery ever. The mulch sale is the Boosters’ major effort to raise funds to support a wide range of activities benefiting GM student-athletes and recognizing their accomplishments.

While I cannot begin to list all involved I do want to recognize Phil (Mulchman) Duncan and Steve (Mulchman-in-training) Selby along with Susie Larcamp and Judy Lubnow. These individuals spent countless hours planning the sale and delivery. I also want to thank the entire Falls Church community which has always supported the activities of the school system. And I especially want to thank all of the parent volunteers, student athletes, and coaches who without their help we would not have been able to deliver over 4,000 bags to 225+ customers in less then four and half hours.

We thank the News-Press for helping publicize our sale, and we appreciate the community’s support.

Mike Wolfe

President, GM Athletic Boosters Association


Whipple Hailed for Chesapeake Conservation Law


The Chesapeake Bay Foundation would like thank State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple for championing, and Governor Bob McDonnell for signing, legislation that is a win-win for Virginia farmers and the Chesapeake Bay. Inspired by a similar program in Pennsylvania that has been embraced by both farmers and the environmental community, Senator Whipple was successful in shepherding legislation through the Virginia General Assembly that helps fund farm conservation practices that are critical to protecting local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay.

Senator Whipple’s legislation allows farmers who earn tax credits for out-of-pocket expenses associated with implementing conservation practices to receive a refund, even if their farm fails to earn a profit that year. Under the existing program, farmers who earned tax credits for installing practices such as planting cover crops and fencing cows out of streams could only benefit from the credits if the farm owed taxes to the Commonwealth.

Unfortunately, last year’s devastating droughts are a good example of why a farm may not have any taxable income to report. Farmers don’t control the weather, and profits from a good harvest are often used to cover losses from crop failures. Thanks to Senator Whipple, farmers will now benefit from tax credits they rightfully earn trying to protect local water quality whether or not the farm is having a good year.

Ann Jennings

Virginia Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation


Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.