Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for the Week of March 5 – 11, 2009




Says ‘George’ Bus Offers Many Benefits

Editor,

Falls Church City is contemplating eliminating the George bus given the current budget situation.

As a regular user of the George bus, I would like to encourage others to let the City Council know if you regularly use the George bus. I believe that the George Bus offers many benefits to Falls Church City.

First, potential new residents base their decision to move to Falls Church City in part on Metro accessibility. Many of the new condos and apartments tout Metro accessibility through the George bus. If the George bus system is cut, the City may lose many potential new residents and their income streams.

Second, many George riders probably own cars they could drive instead but taking the bus brings in fare money, does not diminish tax revenue the City may receive from taxes associated with automobiles, and generates less traffic and wear on City streets.

Third, I believe having an accessible, green, and inexpensive transportation system fits with Falls Church City’s character. Having an icon like Arlington’s ART bus makes the City unique and recognizable, it brands Falls Church City if you will. In this regard, more advertising in say the FCNP or a unique color or aesthetic scheme to the buses might encourage more ridership.

I urge the City Council to fund the George bus, as an important part of Falls Church City’s green and progressive image.

Jeff Cowan

Falls Church


Unsightly? It’s People Hoping For Work

Editor,

I want to respond to the comment about the “unsightly day labor site across from the U Haul on Broad Street” raised in a Letter to the Editor from Lisa Miller in last week’s News-Press.

Every time I pass these gentlemen patiently waiting every day in the freezing cold, rain or snow for the opportunity to get an honest day’s work, I am reminded how truly blessed so many of us are in this community are. Imagine trying to patch together a livelihood day by day with little certainty of a regular paycheck so many of us presently have. More than once, I have pointed out our to my children that these men have chosen to work, that they want to work, and that they should be commended for that rather than looked upon as a blight on our community.

I don’t know what exactly is so “unsightly” about these workers who don’t bother anyone, block traffic or cause any real harm to anyone. In fact, when I had occasion to rent a U-Haul truck last summer, one of these gentlemen approached me in the parking lot and politely asked if I might need any help. I didn’t need his help and told him so but in no way did I feel burdened or threatened by my very brief conversation with this gentleman.

Rather than being irritated by the presence of these day laborers, why not affirm their choice to work and say a prayer for them instead?

Mary Lynn Hickey

Falls Church Housing

Needles in Park? F.C. Is Far from Perfect

Editor,

What kind of sheltered existence does John Thomas live? (News-Press Letter “Needles Found in F.C. Parks” in last week’s edition.)

Every town large and small has its share of drug problems. There are also alcoholics and homeless people in Falls Church and crime. I remember years ago when even the police chief and sheriff were in trouble for committing unlawful acts. What do you think all those sneakers wrapped around the utility wires are, just a block from the park? Pop Art? No, they are the shoes of dead gang members.

Wake up and smell the roses, your little town is far from perfect.

Linda Hart

Falls Church

Skate Park Appreciated as ‘Fantastic Idea’

Editor,

I’m responding to Linda Jones’ letter to the editor “Falls Church Skate Park: Kids Behaving Badly” last week. I am a skateboarder who skates at Falls Church’s skate park a few times a week, and I think that the City’s choice to give us a place to skate was a fantastic idea. It’s a simple, cheap way to keep the area skateboarders in one place designated for skateboarding.

I will acknowledge that there is some foul language that goes on at the park; however every word out of the kid’s mouths is not the F word as Mrs. Jones described. I have heard profanity at every skate park in this area, and I don’t feel it’s at an extreme of a level. I’m not saying it’s OK to use profanity, and after reading her letter I have spoken to some of the kids that frequent the park about the language problem. They do in fact understand that the park is a privilege and not a right.

In regard to the drug problem addressed, I have never seen any skateboarder using drugs at either of the Falls Church locations. It doesn’t seem possible that kids could be doing tricks on rails and ramps while under the influence of drugs. I believe Mrs. Jones witnessed non-skating teens using drugs in the park, as I have observed, since the old park was in a densely wooded area. I believe the new location (Madison Park) is much more visible, and will deter people from using drugs because it’s adjacent to a church/daycare center.

Mrs. Jones suggested that perhaps we do not deserve this skate park due to the inappropriate behavior that takes place. Let me warn you, if this were to happen, the vast majority of the skateboarders would not choose another skatepark in the area to go to. Most of these kids cannot find rides to other skateparks and can’t afford the fee that many of them charge. Skateboarders would instead spread out all over Falls Church, and skate in front of the businesses you work at and the homes you live in, which would irritate many more people.

Andrew Pribulka

Falls Church

Thanks Army Concert Band in Falls Church

Editor,

Now that life is settling down for me after my year-long Army Reserves deployment to Falls Church , I want to publicly express my gratitude for the Falls Church Concert Band (FCCB) organization and laud their musicianship, camaraderie and leadership.

It doesn’t take long in a rehearsal or concert to realize the skill and dedication of the FCCB members. They work together to not only play their personal best, but bring along musical hobbyist musicians such as myself. While part of the band I continuously witnessed this combination result in top-notch entertainment.

The positive group energy or “magic” as I often referred to it, spread to an individual level that transcended musical ability, age, belief systems and any other barriers that often separate humans. The group seemed to always treasure the opinions expressed by every member and were willing to play where ever we were invited, from city-sponsored events, to varied houses of worship and on to such poignant events such as welcoming in WWII Veterans by meeting their Honor Flight at the National Airport . Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the event we played that meant the most to me, the concert we played at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH).

Director Adam Levowitz not only was opened to my suggestion that we play at the AFRH, but he allowed Retired Master Sergeant Bernice Goldstein, former director of the Women’s Army Corps Band, and current AFRH resident to guest conduct. This was especially meaningful to me since MSG Goldstein was director of the WAC Band when I was a member.

The band, under Adam’s leadership, has also influenced magic here in my hometown of Huntsville, Ala. On April 25th the Huntsville Concert Band will be playing for the Honor Flight leaving from here to Washington Reagan National Airport and again upon their return.

When speaking of FCCB leadership I have to mention the leadership that is not in front of the band. Individuals in the band have taken the lead to keep up the band’s website, to welcome and coordinate with new members and, definitely not the least… a huge leadership effort is made with every performance by a man named Davyd. He is always at any band event setting up chairs, making logistical arrangements and of huge importance, he keeps the music organized, distributed and inventoried.

I’ve written so many words, yet I still don’t think I’ve adequately said, “Thank you, Fall Church Concert Band members. They are magic.”

Helen Gillespie

Huntsville, AL

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