Letters to the Editor: April 23 – 29, 2015
Thanks for the Memories, Broad Street Burger King
Recently I read with mixed emotions that the Burger King at 700 West Broad Street will soon be razed for new development. This establishment is where I got my first job, in 1967 when I was 16. It was still not complete at the time I signed up, so until it was ready, we had to train at the Fairfax City location to get the feel of the job. For the training at Fairfax we were paid a whopping $1.00 per hour, but after training that was raised to the tidy sum of $1.25 at the Falls Church branch. Two of my sisters also worked there for a time. I enjoyed my time there, and even seriously considered going to “Whopper College” in Miami to train as a manager. To say that my parents were not thrilled with this idea would be an understatement, and I was quickly dissuaded from the idea.
I have not lived in Falls Church for many years, even though I have been in the D.C. area all that time, and have always considered Falls Church my home town. A few weeks ago my wife and I moved into the city limits from Arlington, since we needed a condo with more room. We found a unit in the city, and although it had nothing to do with our choosing it, lo and behold: right from our new seventh floor balcony is a clear view of my “alma mater.” Coincidentally, that same balcony is practically on top of where a Red Lobster restaurant used to be, and many years before that, (how many would remember this?) a baseball field where I played while in Little League. How time passes.
I have been blessed with success in the long span of time since my employment there, and I credit my time at the restaurant with instilling a work ethic that has stayed with me throughout the years. While local restaurant critics will certainly debate what importance the closing of this one restaurant has, it will always have a special place in my heart. Burger King, thanks for the memories.
Why No Talk of School System Merger?
Since when is Falls Church the official benefactor of the world’s entire cultured community? I refer of course to the News-Press editorial of last week, “Everybody Benefits From Good Schools.” Such a grandiose idea: that Falls Church taxes steer ‘our massive ship of state in the right direction.’ Perhaps your editorial should be restructured and sent as a letter to the U.S. Congress, or to the United Nations, or maybe to the King of the World. But…The Little City? Rather a tall order, don’t you think?
It’s apparent that you oppose merging Falls Church with either Arlington or Fairfax County. While such proposals have been made by others in past issues as providing a larger tax base with lower burdens on the individual F.C. taxpayer, you as well as the City Council have refused to discuss such proposals publicly. I expect much more from my public servants and those upon whom I depend for information.
Rep. Beyer Can Do More by Voting For Family Act
I read with interest the piece “Congressman Beyer’s News Commentary: Gender Equality in the Workplace” from April 8. It is great to see the congressman reference the issues that matter to him – from family values to strengthening our economy and standing up for Fairfax residents – but he has the ability to do much more.
Rep. Beyer states that he supports paid family and medical leave for federal workers, but that falls far too short of what’s really needed. Only 13 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers.
That leaves millions of people across the country, including in Fairfax, without paid family and medical leave to recover from serious illnesses, or care for a new child or family member, like an elderly parent. That leaves many of us one accident, diagnosis or new child away from financial hardship or devastation.
The federal Family and Medical Insurance Leave (Family) Act would establish a national paid leave insurance program that would guarantee workers some pay when they need family or medical leave. It is a common sense proposal, modeled on programs that are working well in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
I hope Rep. Beyer follows through on his commitment to gender equality in the workplace, the economy, and families, by becoming a co-sponsor of the Family Act.
Why No Traffic Messages During Shooter Situation?
Penny Gross’s column on the community-wide emergency of March 31 mentions the substantial impact of the active shooter situation upon thousands of commuters trying to get to work (myself and 123 co-workers included) [Falls Church News-Press, April 9-15].
Fairfax County Police officer Shelley Broderick’s “social media” alerts to the public and the local radio/television stations was trendy, but missed us “Baby Boomers” who watched CNN during breakfast, then commuted to work while paying attention to the roads (not handheld gizmos).
Nowhere at Mason District’s critical junctures of I-495, US 50, US 29, VA 236, or VA 7 were there any motorist alerts on any of VDOT’s overhead or roadside “Variable Message Signs” that I saw.
Night shift is the weakest staffing for public health, safety, and transportation alike. Not designed for rapid ramp-up of personnel. Same for Virginia Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Teams. However, VDOT, Virginia State Police, Fairfax County Police and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue do staff their monitoring desks 15 miles westward at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center.
Center staff should have been able to broadcast simple traffic shutdown messages such as “Fx Hospital Roads Closed.” Why didn’t they?
Donald E. White, Former USDOT Special Agent
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