Letters to the Editor: March 24 – 30, 2016
F.C. Budget Disingenuous On School Enrollment
As an annual ritual, the citizens of Falls Church again are faced with an ever-increasing budget and proposed tax rate increase despite a substantial increase in new development. The schools once more contribute greatly to these funding increases.
The schools ask for a 5.4-percent increase in their budget but student population rose from 2,455 to only 2,534 from last year to this year (3.2 percent increase) and is projected to increase to 2,600 next year (2.6 percent increase). The budget does not emphasize these current figures but instead disingenuously says enrollment is the largest in history, rather than highlighting a leveling-out trend in recent years.
The superintendent says in the proposed budget “we must… do more with less.” Where is the “less” in the 5.4-percent increase?
Since the city pays 83 percent of the school budget, citizens have a right to expect that there is some independent vetting of the school budget and consequent reduction of excesses. We all want good schools but we do not want non-school city officials to behave like puppets of the school lobby.
James E. Schoenberger
Parking Signs Around F.C. Send Mixed Messages
In the March 10 issue “on the subject of predatory towing,” Manny Sidhu asserts that “if there is a visible sign that says you [may not park],” it is simple matter that you shouldn’t. But, as I pointed out here some years ago – and it still applies today – there are signs on the 313 Park Avenue lot that not only say “Parking for 313 Park Ave. ONLY” but go an extraordinary step to explicitly forbid parking for four places – both neighbors (the library & 315) and across the street (City Hall and “no Saturday market parking”)!
Yes, Howard Herman replied to my prior letter to say that there was an agreement to allow Farmers Market parking but that complete completely misses the point. The signs expressly forbid that – so who’s to know what’s what by reading the signs?! How much funding would it take to *install* some black tape over the agreed non-applicable restriction — is this too tough a task to tackle? Before we think about funding ripping up the W&OD and Crossman parks, how about taking care of this simple unwelcoming contradiction.
And there are other cases of conflicting or confusing signage: at the News-Press’s former site, one signpost holds an upper sign reserving parking “for Carpet Royale ONLY” and below it another that has “Reserved Church Parking All Day Sunday & Wednesday 7-9 PM.” The signage for George Mason Square off of S. Washington St. has an upper small sign offering “After Hours Parking for Restaurant [patrons] & Building Tenants Only” but below which comes the conflicting “Private Parking Residents Parking ONLY … 24/7”! How many others can readers find? (The Christian Science Reading Room’s “No Trespassing” sign brings to mind the Lord’s prayer “… as we forgive those who trespass against us” and all!) Except that in The Little City, it’s about towing, not forgiveness.
In the ‘70s, there was a song, “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs – Blocking the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
News-Press Made Me Fall in Love with F.C. All Over Again
I happen to be having lunch in Falls Church at Panjshir this past Saturday. I picked up your newspaper at the Brits on Broad store next to it after picking up some cute gifts. I used to live on Poplar Drive in the 1970s and wanted to see how the News-Press covered the city news and surrounding areas.
Your paper made me fall in love again with Falls Church! The city is so lucky to have a such a sensible and thoughtful newspaper to serve the Falls Church community. I live in Bethesda now and we have lost our Gazette newspapers to give us the emphasis on local issues. (I worked at NIH in the ‘70s and the trip around the beltway was a daily punishment so I finally moved to the other side of the Potomac River).
Getting back to your paper – I particularly appreciated The Richmond Report as my granddaughter goes to VCU and was recently an intern at the Virginia Assembly. We spent the last month talking about all the legislation passed and not passed and I will send her a copy of the article. But the article that won me completely over to the Falls Church News- Press was “Trump as Hitler” by Wayne Besen. Paul Krugman’s column was also riveting and good, straight talk. He told it like it is – and I agree with him!
I wish you the best of luck with your publication – and, I wish you could develop a Bethesda News-Press too!
Carol Ann Rudolph
F.C., Arlington Can Help No. Va. Grow Up as a Region
At GMU’s “Roadmap To Our Region’s Economic Future” conference, Professor Stephen Fuller posed the following riddle: “When will the region grow up as a region?” Development of Four Mile Run, which runs through Falls Church and Arlington, sets the tone for responding to Professor Fuller’s riddle.
Falls Church’s Four Mile Run Restoration Action Plan envisions “improve[d] water quality…new parkland…impetus for mixed use redevelopment along the stream.” Arlington’s Four Mile Run Planning Study, posits “a community planning process to transform the neighborhood…and re-evaluat[e] land use goals for a stretch of Arlington.”
Professor Fuller’s call to action provides Northern Virginia with the opportunity to “grow up as a region;” Falls Church’s “Action Plan” and Arlington’s “Planning Study” reveals where this possible.
Chris McDonald Jones
Via the Internet
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