Referendum Was Better Way to Shift Elections
I thought your coverage of the “Move the Election” Referendum left out valuable history. What the election settled was not only an issue that divided the City, but a process that did so even more.
When the initial “move the election” vote was taken by City Council in December 2009, the process left a bad taste. Passed in December, the “dead of night” in policy terms, many felt the issue moved too quickly. Clearly important issues were involved, particularly the possible partisanship of future elections. Rightly or wrongly, it was widely felt the then-Mayor, married to a recent head of the local Democratic committee, had a conflict of interest.
Second time round, we did it right: we debated, we talked, we compromised. Having worked the polls, I found everyone informed on the Referendum issue. I applaud the local Democratic committee for taking such a clear and unambiguous stand in favor of future non-partisanship.
The taint is gone, the community is whole, and that’s the right outcome.
‘Small Business Saturday’ After Black Friday
Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. There are a lot of good reasons to “Shop Small” in “the Little City” – independent retailers tend to be more customer service oriented, they are usually less crowded, and they often offer a more unique line of products and services. Successful small businesses also contribute to our City’s tax base, community events and fundraisers, and our overall character. Of course, local businesses also provide local jobs.
In addition, home values in neighborhoods with thriving independent businesses outperformed citywide markets by 50 percent over the last 14 years according to an American Express OPEN study conducted by Civic Economics. This study shows what many in Falls Church already knew: small businesses are an integral and important part of this strength of our community. Local businesses such as Brown’s Hardware, The State Theatre, Doodlehopper, Elevation Burger, Vantage Fitness and many others are an integral part of our community fabric.
We can all make a difference for our community by Shopping Small on Small Business Saturday and by looking to small businesses whenever the opportunities arise. When they thrive, our community thrives as well.
Michael K. Ankuma
Chairman of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce
Mason’s ‘Millie’ A Delight in Every Way
Kudos, once again, to George Mason High School for the outstanding production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” We strive to attend all GMHS theatre productions due to the high quality of entertainment – from the acting, to the dancing, the singing, the outstanding orchestra, the humor, the set design, and the overall spirit of good fun and comraderie. We salute the entire cast for their talent and enthusiasm, as well as their mentors, producers, directors, managers, and crew for another outstanding performance that, yet again, has surely exceeded anyone’s expectations for a high school production. Thank you for enhancing our quality of life in the Little City. (And no, I do not personally know anyone in the production!)
Joanie Brooks & Family
‘Deal Making’ Hard to Resist in F.C. Court
When I arrived a few minutes early for my hearing at the Falls Church courtroom earlier this month, I was surprised to learn that the judge wouldn’t arrive until over 30 minutes later. I was told, however, that an assistant city attorney would arrive to see if any “deals” could be worked out with the dozen or so people who had also showed up. When I asked if a “deal” was like a plea bargain, the response was affirmative.
Armed with a copy of Virginia’s Basic Speed Law and a map showing in profile the grade changes on Roosevelt Boulevard where I was charged with driving 38 in a 25 zone, I was ready to have my day in court. My 38 probably lasted three seconds, I would argue, at the low point of the long downhill slope which ended in a short, steep uphill grade. The arresting officer sat at that crest, with his radar gun pointed down into the “trough.” I never even had my foot on the accelerator.
When the officer who cited me told me he could have hit me with the $200 residential speeding surcharge, in addition to the other fine and fee, I realized that there was no room for on-site discussion. Hence my motive to take my case before a judge.
But the idea of making a deal piqued my curiosity. It was simple: I plead guilty and the charge would be changed to Failure to Pay Time and Attention, “nothing would be reported to Richmond,” and I pay a fine of $100 plus $61 in court costs. I did the cost/benefit thing: if I’d mailed in the payment, it would have cost me $139. So for an extra $22 I could walk away with no points charged to my driving record.
I accepted it, as did at least five others on either side of my negotiation. An elderly man who followed me sat near me in the courtroom as he explained his “deal” to his wife. After we’d exchanged notes on the whole process, he stoically observed, “It’s a business.” I couldn’t help but agree.
Congratulations to the assistant city attorney for streamlining court caseload volume. It’s possible that no cases were contested that afternoon.
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