Letters to the Editor: October 27 – November 2, 2011

Says F.C. ‘Insular, Self-Absorbed & Inhospitable’


I recently found myself in Falls Church on an errand and, faced with a wait, took a walk. The street I set down reached back to Tripps Run, which invited a clockwise route around Thomas Jefferson Elementary and back to Oak Street, and back up to Broad Street. I had not seen TJ for a decade: things were new, things were gone; memorials had since been erected with plaques and fanfare, then forgotten, then overgrown. The watchman approached to inform me that school was in session and I was trespassing and needed to continue on my way before the police got involved. I heeded his warning and continued on my way. When I turned onto Broad, the police got involved.

Sometimes pedestrians – young males especially – get stopped by police, usually with no reason given. When this happens in Fairfax County, a single officer will question you until he’s satisfied you’re just going about your business. Falls Church requires three separate cars and a dramatic entrance with maneuvers out of an action movie. Three stereotypes emerged from the vehicles: Bad Cop, an old man who hid behind dark sunglasses saying nothing; a Good Cop, who made small talk; and Black Cop, who did the shouting and then the work while the others stood around. I was simply walking in a walkable city with time to kill, and the police found not drugs nor weapons nor warrants nor any wrongdoing; I was by then 10 minutes away from the school, which I did not have to be asked twice to leave. As a consolation, they banned me from FCCPS property.

I can say, as one who has lived within Falls Church and in surrounding areas, that the police department remains an impediment to respectability. Very small jurisdictions with very low crime rates and politically-entrenched sheriffs tend to produce bored, unaccountable, self-interested police forces. But beyond that, the City prides itself on its natural beauty: yet you have to go into the back streets to find it. Most of Broad Street is cramped, garish and ugly. The various water-system flaps, the speed limits and more tend to give an insular, perhaps crooked, certainly self-absorbed, and without doubt inhospitable image to outsiders: a Beltway Hazzard County.

Stephen Twentyman



Seeking Action to Fix Dangerous Rt. 50 Intersection


When will something be done about the dangerous intersection on Route 50 just before Target that provides access to the access road that parallels 50? Over Labor Day weekend, an elderly couple was killed at this intersection. There have been two more accidents since. In the two years I have lived in close proximity to this intersection, I have seen at least half a dozen accidents. There will certainly be more. The intersection is poorly designed. There is no left-turn lane from 50. There are no left-turn arrows in either direction. Cars coming out of Target rush to make the short light, almost always running the stop signs posted just before the intersection. Even walking across the intersection is dangerous.

I wrote a letter to Supervisor Gross, and copied the commander and lieutenant of the local police station detailing the problem, and asking what is being done to solve it. That was more than six weeks ago. I have received no response, and in the meantime, two more accidents (that I am aware of) have occurred at that intersection.

There are several options, including widening 50 to allow for dedicated left-hand turn lanes; adding left-turn lights for the cross-traffic; improving the signage; even closing down that intersection entirely. (Traffic can use the ramp just west of the intersection to get up to Target and Safeway.) Certainly there is a cost associated with each of these solutions, but doing nothing will only lead to more accidents and additional fatalities.

My understanding is that when Target moved in, they in cooperation with local homeowner associations tried to get changes to the intersection implemented but ultimately did not succeed. The intervening years have clearly demonstrated the intersection is dangerous. How many more accidents must occur–how many more lives lost–before something is done?

Jamie Todd Rubin

Falls Church



Urges ‘Yes’ Vote on Fairfax County School Bond Nov. 8


As the owner of a small business in Reston, I know how important it is to have highly educated employees from Fairfax County to help my business succeed. With great schools, we are able to supply our businesses with a pool of highly qualified employees who will continue to work, play, and pay taxes in Fairfax County. And as a parent of children who attended Fairfax County Public Schools, I know firsthand the preparedness a world-class education provides for our next generation of leaders. By voting “Yes” on the School Bond on November 8, you are doing your part as a citizen to provide the facilities necessary to ensure a top-notch education for our students, a well educated workforce for our businesses, and ultimately the future vibrancy of our county.

The school bond will provide funding for renovation, capacity enhancements, construction and planning for more than 20 schools across Fairfax County. With an ever-growing population, FCPS approaching, and in many cases have far surpassed, their capacity. Renovations and capacity enhancements add 20 years to the functional life of a school building and will relieve crowded classrooms.

The value of FCPS facilities also extends beyond children and County residents with children; the community at-large relies on public school buildings every day. More than 2,000 community organizations used FCPS facilities in 2010. School buildings are used as polling places, for after-school and summer programs, adult education classes and recreation/sports leagues, as sites for Park Authority classes and camps, and as a location to serve meals to senior-citizens. Improving our public school facilities will allow more people in the community to meet in a variety of ways, which will only improve the quality of our neighborhoods and the county as a whole.

From a financial standpoint, now is the time for this worthy investment in our children and our county’s future. With a lack of commercial construction projects in the area as a result of the economic downturn, construction costs are lower than we have seen in decades. Most importantly, an ambitious renovation agenda will be a boon to the local economy and put people to work.

Len Forkas

Chairman, Fairfax Citizens for Better Schools


Assails ‘Occupy Wall Street’ as Anti-Capitalism


What a surprise, the editor of our local paper likes Occupy Wall Street! Maybe he hasn’t seen the videos of the OWS and their anti-capitalist posters and chants, the anarchists, the anti-Semitic rants of some of them. The demand that the capitalist system pay them a so-called “living wage” of $20 per hour, whether or not they actually have a job. Or the demand that all debts be forgiven, from college to mortgages to international debt — really smart group on those demands, eh? Or how about them living as pigs, while asking for those of us who are employed bring them food, blankets, etc., of course, all manufactured by those horrid capitalist companies they want to destroy: Destroy capitalism being a common refrain. I find it humorous that the Wall Street types, like them or hate them, gave the vast majority of their political contributions to the Dems: read liberals, in 2008. One wonders how horrid our editor thinks capitalism is, given the large advertising insert that falls into my lap every time I open the weekly paper. Profits, dividends, investment and jobs, some of the horrible things generated by the capitalist machine. Thank you, I am employed today because of our system, and we have a local paper too, for the same reason.

Dave Phelps

Falls Church


Believes Wall Street Occupiers Are Anarchists


An honest media would tell the truth about the “OWS” and call it describe it for what it really is. AOWS – Anarchists Occupying Wall Street.

Dudley McDonald



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