Letters to the Editor: June 23 – 29, 2011

Berlin Denies Secret Meetings on CDC Plans


Over the past few months, a number of letters or articles have appeared in your newspaper concerning the Child Development Center (CDC) building and the Falls Church City Public School Board and staff’s interest in obtaining this facility for school use. The School Board and superintendent have been characterized as purveyors of back room deals that were hatched in secret. I am writing to you to set the record straight. NO secret meetings were held, nor were backroom deals developed or agreed to by the City Council, the School Board or the Gang of 8 (a nickname used for the School Board/City Council Liaison Group).

I think its time to “weed out” the misconceptions and set the record straight. The truth of the matter is that the School Board included scenarios in their CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) budget that outlined what enrollment projections and occupancy at Mt. Daniel would look like with and without the acquisition of the CDC building. However, no funds associated with the CDC building were requested in the CIP budget. The CIP budget was developed and discussed in open meetings of both the School Board and the City Council.

I would also like to clarify that School Board/City Council Liaison meetings (or Gang of 8) are publicly noticed meetings that do have notes, materials or minutes. The meetings held this year on July 22, 2010, August 24, 2010, August 31, 2010, September 21, 2010, October 21, 2010, November 10, 2010, December 3, 2010 and April 1, 2011 were all noticed with agendas. Materials and discussions ranged from budget status reports to the scope of work of the SB/CC Liaison Group to the work of the Long Range Financial Working Group to the application process for Qualified School Construction Bonds. The CDC building was never discussed in these meetings.

Let me be perfectly clear – there were no “secret” meetings or quid pro quo agreements regarding the CDC building. The School Board has simply stated a need regarding space for our preschool programs.

Lois F. Berlin, Ed.D.


Falls Church City Public Schools


GM Graduation a Reminder That Work’s Worth It


Yes, Falls Church has had GMHS names in several national list of ranking as a great school – but it was due to the efforts of the students sitting in the hall last night. As parents, we pointed them in the right direction, gave them the opportunities, and got out of the way, and boy did they run with it. As parents, we have had a chance to “bask” in the limelight of our children’s success as if we were the reason they have achieved it. But it was their hard work and perseverance that made their success possible.

But let us remember, how hard fought the support for all of the “extras” had to keep what makes GMHS, and the whole FCCPS system special. Every time the idea of cutting out arts and sports is ever brought up in budget talks, a reminder of the accomplishments of the Class of 2011 should be brought up to show why they should remain a core part of GMHS.

Michael Baker

Falls Church


Despite Budget Cuts, July 4 Fireworks Are On


A variety of special events organized year-round by the Recreation and Parks Department are one feature that makes the City of Falls Church such a popular place to live and visit. All City departments, including Recreation and Parks, have had to make cuts in programs and staffing levels due to the economic challenges of the past two years. Recreation and Parks has responded to cuts in its budget by reducing some programs and by asking for donations and sponsors for special events and activities. To date, more than $4,000 has been donated to help defray some of the costs of special events. Additional donations are welcome and needed.

There have been some inquiries regarding the scheduling of this year’s Fourth of July fireworks program to be held at George Mason High School. This year’s fireworks will go on, in part due to the donations and in part because the Department reduced the size of other special events in order to preserve the Fourth of July celebration. Donations to Recreation and Parks programs and activities can be made at the Community Center and online at the time of registration for classes.

We look forward to an enjoyable Fourth of July and hope to see you there.

Charley O’Hara

Chair, F.C. Rec & Parks Advisory Board


Appreciation for N-P Article on Aspergers Case


As the mother of a college graduate about to begin graduate school who has Aspergers, I want to say how much I enjoyed your article about Jack Lyons and his dog, Nelson.

I noticed that the story did not mention the name of his third grade teacher, who must have also played an important role in making this a successful year for Jack, Nelson, and the other students in that classroom.

When my son was progressing through the Falls Church City school system, the teachers, as well as the Special Ed. staff were instrumental in his success. Frequent communication with them helped us to support him at home, and ensured that everyone “was on the same page.”

Thank you for spotlighting this disability through Jack’s story.

Ivanka Dzierwa

Falls Church


Why Did City Residents Fear Peruvian Voters?


I was just wondering what Mr. Teed was so afraid of that he wouldn’t leave his home ” unprotected” while citizens of Peru came to Falls Church to vote in their Presidential elections. Many of these people came from GREAT distances to vote in a hotly contested election. Just curious.

M.A. Kuehne

Falls Church



‘Fact Checker’ Starting Point For Reason



I read the letter in the June 2 issue from Mr. Nargele (critical of President Obama’s spending – ed. ) and burst out laughing.

I re-read the letter and realized the poor man is serious.

So his letter was no longer funny; it was pathetic.

I suppose Mr. Nargele means well. There are no doubt other well-meaning people who are equally as misguided as Mr. Nargele.

Mulling it over, I remembered the “Fact Checker” in the Washington Post.

I understand that the money trees have all quit producing, but this Nagele letter screams out for a “Fact Checker.”

Maybe someone at the paper can wear a second hat?

One of the requisites for a well-functioning democracy is an educated electorate. And one of the best ways to educate is to present facts – in plain unvarnished English.

Facts, of course, do not teach a person to think logically and rationally. But they are a start.

Dolores Tucker

Falls Church




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.







Last week, at the graduation ceremonies for the George Mason High School Class of 2011, we saw the result of the taxes and other fees we pay to support the superb school system in Falls Church. It wasn’t the three valedictorian speakers who spoke, but two dozen others didn’t. Over 30 students strived and achieved the International Baccalaureate degree, while over 70% took advance AP classes. Over the four years this class has passed through GMHS some 13 State titles have been won by our student athletes, At least an equal number of regional and national awards by our various bands, and a State and National championship for the Scholastic Bowl team. This doesn’t include the countless hours of community service given by these seniors to meet the IB and National Honor Society requirements. Watching the procession of graduates getting their diplomas it was evident how many had not one honor, but multiple honors, noted by the medals, cowls, and tassels they wore.





Why Did City Residents Fear Peruvian Voters?


‘Fact Checker’ Starting Point for Reason