Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Weather forecasters tell us this won’t be a White Christmas, but the fairy tale images of Santa Claus, Father Christmas. Pere Noel, Kris Kringle, or Saint Nikolaus almost always include snow in the picture. Those children’s fables also focus on good or bad behavior as the basis for Santa’s rewards, often with a lump of coal in the stocking instead of a gift. Using that as a theme, here are my recommendations for coal, or candy canes, this season:

Candy canes for all the volunteers on various Boards, Authorities, and Commissions (BACs) appointed by the Board of Supervisors. These citizen volunteers provide admirable research and recommendations to the Board about topics as diverse as parks, libraries, human services, criminal justice, child care, and history of Fairfax County. Perhaps the most challenging this year was the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, whose report focused on improvements, already being made, in our police department.

Candy canes also for those who exercised their right, and responsibility, to vote in the November elections. The Virginia presidential primary is March 1, so there still is time to register to vote next year.

A lump of coal for all red light runners. The red light means STOP, not “gun it.” Similarly, a lump of coal to drivers who fail to stop, or barely slow down, at stop signs in our neighborhoods.

A lump of coal to drivers who insist on using their cell phones and gadgets, while driving. Especially frustrating are the folks who are first in the queue at a signal and are so busy with their phone that they don’t move when the light turns green!

Candy canes to Marty Faga and Terri Fox, Mason District’s Lord and Lady Fairfax this year. These two community-oriented business owners and volunteers add greatly to the quality of life we enjoy in Mason District and Fairfax County.

Candy canes to the Virginia Department of Transportation for much-needed paving of Annandale Road (now with bike lanes, too). Now, VDOT, please focus on Old Columbia Pike and Elmdale Road, or a lump of coal may be in that stocking next time!

A lump of coal to trailer and boat owners who continue to park on residential streets in Mason District after adoption of the Community Parking District designation. There still are a few violators out there who will be ticketed.

A lump of coal to predatory towing companies. One area in particular, near REI and Tuesday Morning on Carlin Springs Road, has targeted elderly victims during this holiday season.

Candy canes to Governor Terry McAuliffe for including new state funding for K-12 education in his biennial budget unveiled last week. Now it’s up to the members of the Virginia General Assembly to approve that recommendation, or face their own lumps of coal next Christmas!

Finally, candy canes to Nick Benton, the Falls Church News Press, and the readers of this column. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts, sometimes weighty and sometimes not, for nearly two decades, and counting…


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.