Every day it seems that the national rhetoric can’t get any worse, and then it does. The president’s attack on due-process rights, rights guaranteed to everyone in this nation by the Constitution, is but the latest volley in his campaign against so much of what America stands for. Like it or not, the Constitution is the founding document that brought the colonies together and created the United States. Elected officials at all levels of government take an oath of office that includes the phrase “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” or something very similar. It doesn’t say preserve, protect, and defend only some rights, or only those you agree with, or like. I’ve taken the oath of office six times so far, and I always stand a little taller when repeating that phrase. Even at the local level, the oath bestows an awesome responsibility. I understand that. You understand that. Why doesn’t the president of the United States understand that? Maybe he just doesn’t care about the Constitution that protected his immigrant grandparents, and now protects his immigrant in-laws, too. Not caring may not be an impeachable offense, but it is a monstrous threat to our continuing democracy.
Caring a lot about our neighborhoods, and the disruption that short-term lodging (STL) can cause in some residential areas, the Planning Commission, after much debate, has recommended language for a proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment that addresses short-term lodging. The Board of Supervisors public hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 10, beginning at 4:30 p.m. You can access the proposed language, and register to speak if you wish, at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Two new art displays have been installed in the Art at the Mason District Governmental Center program for the summer. The first display features watercolors by Springfield Art Guild member Amy Browning, whose rendering of water – ranging from huge crashing waves to droplets of dew – provides a refreshing respite from summer heat. A closer look at some paintings reveals geographic symbolism hidden among the waters.
The second show is a first! When Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid visited my office a few months ago, she noticed the original art featured at that time, and told me about the Inmate Re-entry Program at the Adult Detention Center. It didn’t take long to secure some drawings from that program, called “Inspiration Matterz.” Under the volunteer instruction of Kelli Schollard-Sincock, the adult students, most of whom had never drawn before, used a step-by-step pencil drawing process with a gridding system to teach the basics of observation and interpretation. Working from provided photographs, students used standard drawing pencils and erasers on Bristol board, developing their own eye and hand for expression. Thirteen individual inmates have drawings in the show, including six who worked from the same photographic headshot, with varied and interesting results. The shows may be viewed from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.
Correction: In last week’s column, the report card about the improving health of the Chesapeake Bay was issued by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), not the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). The CBF report card will be issued later this summer.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.