Letters to the Editor: December 3 – 9, 2015
Election Vote Doesn’t Equal Automatic Development OK
I was surprised to read the News-Press headline “Planning Commissioner Calls to Nullify November Election Vote.” This would be outrageous if it were true. Those of us who attended the meeting know it is not.
The worst, but not sole, example of distortion is how the News-Press took a quote by Commission member Ruth Rodgers completely out of context. After Mason Row developer Spectrum Management asked for a deferral until January in order to possibly make some minor changes, Rodgers remarked that “the major change will be a change in the makeup of the City Council, and that’s what this [the deferral request] is all about.” The News-Press would have us believe this quote means that “Rogers acknowledged that the outcome of the will of the citizenry in the Nov. 3 election needed to be immediately negated by the Planning Commission.”
Underlying this and other recent News-Press articles is an assumption that the election results mandate that any development project, however well or poorly suited for its site, should be approved. Not mentioned is the fact that Mayor David Tarter, who received the most votes for City Council, voted against Mason Row the only time it has come before the Council.
A more reasonable interpretation of the election results may be that voters support thoughtful development. It also could mean that voters turned out for candidates who strongly support our schools and engage in civil political debate. The fact that the two candidates who supported a development ban were defeated does not mean that voters favor automatic approval of every development proposal that comes along.
After moving to Falls Church earlier this year, my wife and I were happy to have a local paper covering news of our community. It’s too bad the News-Press is not living up to its stated aspiration to “not let the news columns reflect editorial comment.”
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