Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpWhen the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Police Civilian Review Panel, it included opportunities for the public to interact with the panel members and the Independent Auditor. The Inaugural Public Forums of the panel will begin next week, right here in Mason District, on Thursday, November 16, from 7 – 9 p.m., at the Heritage Human Services Center, 7611 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. Free parking is available.

Attendees can meet the panel members and Richard Schott, the Independent Auditor, and learn how to initiate the complaint process, who will investigate, and what to expect once a complaint is filed. There will be a 45-minute period for audience participation, and panel members will respond to questions about the complaint form, and the Independent Auditor and Panel processes. Ten, three-minute time slots also will be available for attendees to comment about issues related to the Panel’s or the Independent Auditor’s jurisdiction. Comments about specific complaints or cases may not be presented. Sign-up at the Forum will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Panel members will be listening and recording comments, but will not offer responses at the Forum. Written comments also may be submitted. A second Forum is scheduled for December 12 in Reston. More information is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/policecivilianreviewpanel.

Congratulations to the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (I am one of the Fairfax County representatives on the Commission), which received a 2017 Leadership Award from the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council for its Local Energy Alliance Program to Solarize NoVA. More than 4000 residents and businesses in Northern Virginia have signed up for the Solarize program, resulting in 630 home energy checkups, 15 completed multi-family apartment weatherization projects, and 176 contracts for more than 1.3 megawatts of new solar projects installed, with a contract value of more than $4.2 million. The dollar value of the energy saved or produced by solar is $277,003 on an annual basis. Solarize NoVA demonstrates how government, the not-for-profit sector, and the private sector can work together to achieve measurable results and help our environment.

Congratulations also to Karen Pallansch, CEO of Alexandria Renew Enterprises, one of the most advanced water resource recovery facilities in the nation. Karen was honored last week by the Washington Business Journal in that publication’s annual “Women Who Mean Business” award. Through an interjurisdictional agreement, much of Mason District’s wastewater flows to the Alexandria Renew facility for treatment, but I’ve had the privilege of working with Karen at environmental groups, such as the Potomac Watershed Roundtable and the Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Committee at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Karen is an environmental leader who provides policymakers with superb insight into the intricacies of science and wastewater treatment technology, especially as the region works to improve water quality and restore local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve made significant strides for investments in water infrastructure, and Karen is leading the way, now and for the future.


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