Letters to the Editor: September 22 – 28, 2011

Saddened by Passing of Good Friend, Chip Hailey


I can not express the sadness I feel at the passing of my good friend, Chip Hailey. I can, however, share why he will be greatly missed.

Chip was a proud member of the City’s community. The son of a former Falls Church City mayor, he lived most of his life in the city, attended the city’s schools and actively supported a variety of city events and organizations. He loved to share bits of Falls Church City trivia, his favorite being the naming of “Hailey Square” at the intersection of Broad and Washington streets.
I met Chip over two decades ago while working at Falls Church Community Television. He was an accomplished audiophile dabbling in video. It is very likely, that in the time he spent attending video production classes at the FCC-TV studio, I learned more about audio from Chip than he learned about video from me. Chip became a champion of public access television in Falls Church, working to bring numerous Memorial Day parades, Recreation and Parks dance recitals, live election coverage, Santa videos and countless city/school/public access television programs to his community. If you have a copy of any of these programs in your house, you have Chip in your home. He served as the president of FCCAC Board of Directors for over a decade and volunteered thousands of hours in the FCC-TV studio and offices.

Chip was an “old school” southern gentleman, history buff, lively debater, active church member, rooted democrat and connoisseur of classical music. He never boasted, never took credit when it was due, shied at public recognition and always found a way to help anyone with any and every request.

I know that I am not alone when I share that I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Chip and blessed to have him as an adopted member of my family.

Vicki Knickerbocker



Didn’t Expect to Be Ticketed On W&OD Trail


Last Friday, while cycling on the W&OD bike trail, I got a ticket for going through a stop sign on the trail at a mid-block crossing. This came as a big surprise to me since I have never seen any bicyclist stop at any of those crossings over the past five years. In fact, while the police officer was writing the ticket, 14 cyclists drove through the adjacent intersection.

While I do not dispute the infraction, it is one that anyone had an expectation of enforcement. Motorists stop at street stop signs because they expect it to be enforced. Cyclists to not stop along the bike trail because they see everyone ignoring the signs.

If the police intend to enforce that regulation, they should erect signs along the trail indicating that the stops will be enforced. The purpose of regulations is to affect behavior. The only effect of giving me a ticket is to inform one person (me) of the regulation.

Sheldon L. Lynn



Clarification on ‘Bailout’ Proviso in Voting Law


I wanted to offer a point of clarification to a couple of items that have run in the News-Press in the past two weeks concerning the plan to reduce the number of precincts in Falls Church from five to three:

The pre-clearance and “bailout” provisions mentioned in those items in the issues of Sept. 9 and 16 are part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, not the Civil Rights Act (I presume the Civil Rights Act of 1964 here). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 addressed discrimination in public accommodations, but not voting; the Voting Rights Act set up the “preclearance” requirements under Section 5 of the VRA for Virginia and several other states where turnout was below 50 percent of the voting-age population in the 1964 presidential election. Turnout was the device the federal government used to “capture” jurisdictions where discriminatory voting and electoral practices were likely used. This allowed the narrow geographic tailoring of the VRA, ensuring the law did not fall prey to constitutional challenges.

Further amendments to the VRA, in 1975 and 1982, respectively extended coverage to some language minorities (Section 203) in addition to racial minority groups covered under Section 5, and added the “bailout” provisions. Jurisdictions applying for a bailout can do so through the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Approximately twenty jurisdictions in Virginia, including Fairfax City, have successfully “bailed out” under this provision by showing they no longer exercise voting practices that could be considered discriminatory.

Congress last reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006, for a 25-year period running from 2007 through 2032.

James Benton

Via the Internet


Much Flooding, Mishandling of the Big Rainfall


I was stunned to open this weeks edition, only to discover there was no mention of the horrific flooding many of my neighbors and I experienced, except for a minor mention of “eight inches of heavy rain.” I’ve lived here almost 18 years and could never have anticipated 4.5 feet of water blasting through my door and devastating half of my living space. Around the corner, driveways are lined with dumpsters. Cleanup crews, insurance adjusters and quick storage options are inundated with calls. Not only was there loss of personal property, both business and treasured memories, but also the trauma to families desperately trying to save their homes. I’m appalled by the mishandling of this event by the city. The only “assistance” came from two people walking about reminding those to pull permits before rebuilding.

As we attempt to salvage, restore, and remain grateful, my city pride has vanished.

Leah McKay

Falls Church


Many Options for Vegan Burgers in F.C., Too


In “The Little City Burger Tour, ” Jody Fellows says “Vegans and vegetarians aside, everyone loves ‘em.” Vegans and vegetarians love burgers, too. In the Falls Church area, you can buy excellent vegan burgers, fresh off the grill, from Burger 7, Elevation Burger, Loving Hut and JV’s. You can also easily make them yourself; there are 100 recipes for vegan burgers on www.vegweb.com alone.

Gary Loewenthal

Falls Church


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