Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Concede, v. To acknowledge as true, just, or proper, often unwillingly; admit. As with any contest, when you run for office, there may be a reasonable expectation that you might not win, so preparing a concession statement, uncomfortable though it may be, should be part of any campaign. It was decades ago, but I still remember, as a young Capitol Hill aide to Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, typing his concession statement after a vote recount showed almost no change in his very narrow loss in the Senate race. I had difficulty seeing the keyboard through my tears, but Senator Morse accepted the results with the grace and attitude you would expect of a seasoned statesman.

A seasoned statesman approach apparently isn’t the course chosen by the Senate Republican majority, most of whom continue to support Mr. Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election results were rigged, and that he will be the victor when all the votes are recounted. The dictionary definition of concede does include “often unwillingly,” and that’s a nod to the discomfort that a loss produces. It is awkward to lose a hard-fought campaign, but when all the votes are counted and recounted, and the evidence of a legitimate result — that our democratic American ideal of free and fair elections prevailed — it’s time to bring the campaign to a close and accept the results with some semblance of grace or, at least, fair play. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be in the DNA of Mr. Trump, his cabinet, and his Senate supporters. I wonder what their parents taught them.

If the lack of a presidential concession is a low point, perhaps the Fairfax RISE program can elevate the mood. In the Spring, the Board of Supervisors instituted a small business and nonprofit grant program, Fairfax RISE (Relief Initiative to Support Employers), to assist county small businesses affected by Covid-19. Using CARES Act money, grant awards, at levels of $10,000, $15,000, and $20,000, total $52 million. More than 4800 applications were approved; 86 percent of the awards were for businesses with one to 10 employees, and 72 percent of the awards were to woman, minority, and/or veteran-owned businesses. Although $10,000 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, business owners told me that it can make the difference between paying rent, or not, and keeping people employed, or not. Top business categories assisted were types the community has relied on — food service and accommodations, health care, and professional services. The success of the program depended a great deal on the collaboration of dozens of county staff and the Community Business Partnership, who gathered and evaluated thousands of applications in a short period of time. Getting the funds quickly to qualified businesses was paramount; that meant fast action and a minimum of red tape.

This is America Recycles Week, and heralds the opening of food scrap recycling locations at the county’s I-66 transfer station in Fairfax and the I-95 landfill in Lorton. Food scrap recycling is easy; a plastic receptacle with a tight-fitting lid is all you need. Instead of tossing food scraps into the trash, dump the food scraps (fruit and vegetable peelings, leftover food, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc.) into the receptacle. The food scraps may get a little “juicy” on the bottom, but the tight-fitting lid will take care of any odors. When your receptacle gets full, dump it at one of the food scrap recycling stations, wash out the receptacle, and start over again. Planning meals and sharpening your food storage skills will make a difference, too.

The Board of Supervisors returned to virtual meetings this week, to comply with Governor Northam’s restrictions to fight and limit exposure to the increasing rate of Covid-19 cases. Wear a mask, observe social distancing, wash hands frequently, and stay safe.

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