Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for the week of February 12 – 18, 2009




Says Making Falls Church Pedestrian Friendly is Key

Editor,

The Jan. 29 edition of your newspaper reported (yet another) economic development initiative in the form of giving the City a brand-name identity as an additional means of marketing us to developers, businesses, consumers, and homebuyers.

The Feb. 5 edition’s Letters to the Editor section of the paper aired a public complaint from justifiably irate citizens regarding the negligence of local businesses in clearing snow and ice from their sidewalk frontages. The citizen also noted, likewise justifiably, that “It is shameful that the City doesn’t seem willing or able to enforce its own regulations.” Too right, indifference reigns here!

I’m a residential property-owner here since 1963 and a lifelong pedestrian owing to the condition of low vision. The widespread ingrained negligence on the part of businesses and the owners of finished and vacant parcels with sidewalk frontages, which are no less public thoroughfares than are the readily cleared vehicular roadways, is indeed compounded by municipal authorities’ habitual feckless enforcement of the City’s Snow Removal Ordinance (among others). Such conditions fly in the face of successful “branding,” for in a larger sense they bespeak a trait of communitywide indifference, or, say, lack of community pride.

Let’s be candid and clear: unless and until the business community and city government, separately and together, consciously embrace the need and conscientiously endeavor to make the City thoroughly pedestrian-friendly – as a matter of explicit high economic priority – all the material resources and creative effort put into a “branding” will in the end simply produce another facet of community self-delusion.

Were the Economic Development Authority’s fledgling Branding Steering Committee to start off with an inventorying and assessment of the City’s physiognomy relative to pedestrian-friendly, it should soon find that measures to create a homogenized sense of place come ahead of the actual “branding.” A border-to-border sufficiency, uniformity of design, and well-maintained state of pedestrian-directed infrastructure pose a sure means of homogenizing a City identity.

Charles Langalis

Falls Church

F.C. Businesses Not ‘Lazy & Thoughtless’

Editor,

I was troubled by the letter from Chris Raymond regarding our local business community. It is unfortunate that some businesses were unable to clear their sidewalks as quickly and thoroughly as they perhaps should have, but to characterize them as “lazy and thoughtless” is unfair and simply wrong.

Falls Church businesses are largely responsible for the sense of community we all value about Falls Church. Our business leaders are some of the most hard working, dedicated and involved people in our community. In addition to providing about a third of the City’s revenue (funds that residents don’t have to pay) the local businesses are generous contributors of time and money to our schools, our nonprofits and our community-wide events. They support City events and they have created a number of additional events – FIRSTfriday of Falls Church, Watch Night, the Memorial Day Fun Run, art shows and performances, and Taste of Falls Church (now run by the City) – that contribute significantly to the quality of life in Falls Church.

These are tough times for our local businesses. That sidewalks were not cleared in a timely manner is likely a reflection of the troubled economic climate that has lead to staff reductions and the like. Rather than berating the entire business community for something one or two of them did not do, we should be thanking them individually and collectively for their ongoing efforts that make Falls Church the special community we all value so highly.

Sally Cole

Resident and Executive Director, Falls Church Chamber of Commerce

Says Obama Stimulus Plan is a ‘Farce’

Editor,

As Nicholas Benton noted in his opinion piece, the Obama White House has sent out the distress signal to its most loyal supporters, the press. Even though Americans are awakening to the fact that this stimulus plan is a farce, the liberals are out selling this disaster.

As Obama stated in a recent op-ed, “This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending – it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth.” Yet, the Congressional Budget Office, supervised by Democrats, reports that the overall impact of the plan, if enacted, will be to lower economic growth. That’s right, in the end, the economy would be worse off under this plan than if nothing were to be done.

Obama and the Democrats shriek about the urgency for action. However, only 15 percent of the spending would occur during the current fiscal year. Over half of the stimulus would not kick in until 2011 and after. So much for urgency.

Obama points out that he won and that the American people want change. He is determined to deliver that change, even if it makes a terrible economic situation worse. Yet, it offends Nicholas Benton that anyone would try to derail this impending wreck.

This stimulus package is not about creating jobs; it is about payoffs to liberal constituencies. I commend the House Republicans for opposing this sham without a defection. Hopefully, they are struggling back to the path of fiscal responsibility from which they far strayed.

This plan underscores the fact the liberals are completely disassociated from reality. Add in that candidate Obama promised to close Gitmo forthwith, but President Obama says he will close Gitmo – in a year – maybe. Also, although promising an “ethical” administration, Obama tries to stock it with tax cheats and frauds.

This is governing by deception.

Paul Flusche

Falls Church

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