Letters to the Editor: November 13 – 19, 2014
F.C. Should Consider Park Space in New 40-Acre Area
I thought very highly of City of Falls Church planner Paul Stoddard’s guest commentary on city parks in last week’s News-Press. This is an interesting topic on a number of levels but ultimately leads me to a consideration of values.
The City of F.C. has been enormously successful in pursuing and overseeing a string of building projects that began a good number of years ago and that have had the generous attention of many dedicated people. What I’m wondering is, with the many completed building projects accomplished and more in the works at Tinner Hill and at the Anthony’s/Post Office site, might we not think somewhat differently with the acreage now available “at the site that includes the George Mason High and Henderson Middle Schools”?
In conversations that I’ve had with parents who still have children in the school system, many wish for additional park space. Parks are truly a little bit of heaven on this earth. And this is the point where values come in. What do we want in that 40-acre space? I think a commercial/retail entity located in the immediate vicinity of George Mason and Mary Ellen Henderson will be a distraction. Anything that tempts the focus away from the business of schooling is not a good idea.
I don’t see commercial retail establishments closely residing on the campuses of nearby schools. There is a finite amount of space surrounding our city schools and others that I see nearby that offer a degree of privacy. And that space produces an element of calm, a valuable component in the process of healthy development.
City’s Retirement Investment Plan ‘Not Ideal’
The Falls Church News-Press published a city staff member “assuring” a 7 percent return on investment for retirement funds. While Economist magazine did call these “relatively risky assets that are not ideal hedges for pension assets;” in fact, of the 190+ countries in the world, over 60 are listed on world bond markets and all 14 of those lowest-ranked will sell Falls Church City their bonds – with their assurance of a 7% return. These include Egypt, Nigeria, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Thanks to All Who Helped With Referendum Passage
The yes vote for the Mount Daniel referendum was a strong signal that the Falls Church community continues to support the value that an excellent school system brings to our students, families, and the entire city. I want to thank everyone in the community who made this possible.
First, I want to thank everyone in the City who came out last Tuesday to vote, passing the referendum by a nearly to 2-to-1 margin.
I also want to thank the folks who led the effort to get information about the referendum out to the entire community. John Lawrence and Lawrence Webb, acting in their roles as citizens rather than school board members; Trish Horowitz, head of the elementary PTA; and Carol Loftur-Thun, founder of Citizens for a Sustainable City, put together a dedicated and effective team that worked over the course of several months to help get the result we saw last week. They spent countless hours making sure the community knew exactly what was at stake with this vote. Their team included Ali Lapp, Blanca Snyder, Liz Weatherly, Stephanie Oppenheimer, and stalwarts such as Cecily Shea and Sharon Schoeller.
And for that incredible infographic that stated the case so clearly, a big shout out goes to Laura Chaves and her amazing graphic skills. The other PTA heads – Terri Tornell and Gabi Sanchez – gave Mt. Daniel their full support as did the Education Foundation under Debbie Hiscott’s direction.
Without the constant support of City Council members, the schools could accomplish little. A special thanks goes out to Phil Duncan for his extensive meetings and speaking out at various forums. As for forums, thanks just aren’t enough for the League, the Democrats/Republicans, the CBC, the CSC and others who helped educate voters on this most important issue.
Finally, thanks to the publisher of our hometown paper, Nick Benton, for his ongoing coverage of important school issues, including the Mount Daniel referendum.
So many thanks to all. I look forward to seeing you in the fall of 2016 at the opening of the new Mt. Daniel school! In the interim, stay tuned for frequent construction updates.
Chair, Falls Church City School Board
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