Letters to the Editor: February 16 – 22, 2017
Removing Gyms from School Plan is Just Common Sense
Three gyms for the new high school? Is that a misprint? I know of no better example of the out-of-control school lobby in Falls Church than this proposal that apparently survived for some time before interim School Superintendent Schiller questioned it. While you describe his proposal to use the existing gyms as “brilliant,” most would call it plain common sense. Having gone to an Ohio 1,600 student high school that was top-rated both academically and athletically, I can vouch that our one gym for the school was quite adequate.
Most city planners say that land areas near subway stations should be developed very intensively because such sites provide substantial tax revenues and cut automobile use for those who can live and/or work near the Metro location. I doubt that the school proponents have fully considered how to maximize the development potential at the site in question. For example, why couldn’t commercial development be done on the air rights above the school buildings? If this runs counter to the enabling agreement mandating that a high percentage of the site be used for education, why not either renegotiate this provision or seek other educational institutions to fill the space above the Falls Church school buildings? A little more thinking outside the box would go a long way towards keeping our taxes level or, even better, reducing them.
James E. Schoenberger
City’s FCC-TV Guidelines Are Too Restrictive
Who runs Falls Church City? Most people figure that their election officials make the policy and City staff implements the policy. Citizens involved with Falls Church Cable TV, or FCC-TV, could tell you a different story.
FCC-TV is a Public-Education-Government station. The City guidelines are far too restrictive. The operating agreement signed by the Citizen Board, the City and the Schools, clearly authorizes three equal parties: The public through the citizen board, the schools and the City.
Have we citizens been systematically, covertly, eclipsed by the bureaucratic overreach of the City? Are we at the point of authentic censorship by City staff?
I was present when the citizen board appealed to the City Council. Mayor Tarter was clear when he directed both parties to reach a fair solution. Instead, the City doubled-down on control. The City created a months-long “process” to investigate the situation.
The Citizen Board recently purchased over $125,000 for equipment now being used primarily by George Mason High School students enrolled in videography classes. The City Manager and City Council member Phil Duncan went to a citizen board meeting and the City Manager demanded control of all citizen-purchased equipment, including the new equipment being used by students, plus the citizen board’s checking account.
There is no more time for meetings and “process,” which delay and intimidate citizens’ access to their own equipment.
1) Citizens are now effectively deprived of “public access” of their own station.
2) The City seems to want to control all programming on our station.
3) The City does not cooperate with the citizen board.
Let’s adapt to new civility and hope that we, together, can face our future as equal partners. Bigger ideas than these petty matters are calling us to do better. Let’s address our real challenges as one Falls Church City, to create our time in this great place, to re-groom ourselves for true reflection of the creativity and freedom we love, for all.
Dorothea Potter Teipel
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