Governance at the local level is so far down on the list of discussion items during the presidential debates that little or no thought is given to it by the moderators or the candidates. Yet governance at all levels – federal, state, and local – depends on each of the entities exercising its authority, and doing it right.
Consider the revelation that Donald Trump may have avoided paying federal income taxes for years. Hillary Clinton pointed out that his failure to pay taxes meant “zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.” Calculated for locally funded programs, the $916 million estimated amount of taxes not paid by Mr. Trump would equate to more than the entire Fairfax County public school’s budget transfer in 1995.
Different levels of government have responsibilities for different programs and services, but those responsibilities should be aligned, as best we can, to ensure that public policy, and the public interest, is well-served. Using tax code loopholes may be legal, but the ethics, morals, and responsibilities, of citizenship certainly generates credible questions of a candidate who professes, often chaotically, his desire to be the leader of this great nation. Can we say “you’re fired!” before he ever gets close to the job?
One of those local services mentioned above, unfortunately, is closing. The county-maintained recycling drop-off center next to the Virginia ABC Store at 7200 Little River Turnpike in Annandale, will close permanently on November 1. Recycling drop-off centers pre-date curbside collection of recyclables. As a result, the need for drop-off centers has been all but eliminated, because of the countywide availability of recyclables collection at residents’ homes. In recent years, recycling drop-off centers have become targets for illegal dumping of old furniture, appliances, and other waste items. Despite improved lighting, signage, and monitoring, illegal dumping has become a chronic problem, leading to the closure of the drop-off centers. Earlier this year, drop-off centers in McLean and Fairfax were closed for the same reason, and the Reston drop-off center will close on November 1, too. Under Fairfax County Code, Chapter 109.1, your local refuse collection company should provide recycling service, without an extra fee. Call the Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program at 703-324-5230 for more information.
On a happier note, the Westlawn Elementary School PTA is sponsoring a special event at Dogfish Head Alehouse in the Seven Corners Shopping Center all day (11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.) on Tuesday, October 18. Fifteen percent of all food sales at Dogfish Head that day will go to Westlawn, along with a drawing, silent auction, and some awesome prizes. No flyer is needed to participate; just have lunch or dinner, or happy hour with friends, and remember that you are helping Westlawn and its students. Dogfish Head Alehouse is a popular local business, and kids are welcome. I plan to go late, after the Board of Supervisors meeting that day. See you there!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.