Letters to the Editor: October 15 – 21, 2020
Wrong To Say Downtown Project Is In Public’s Interest
Last week’s editorial was deeply unfair to those expressing opposition to the Broad and Washington development. There are legitimate concerns about this project’s impact on our community that have nothing to do with selfish “NIMBY-ism.” The loss of tree cover and open space, the disproportionate scale of the development —and, frankly, its ugliness—and the exponential growth in vehicle traffic are issues that will affect every citizen of Falls Church. The question is not whether a handful of homeowners will be inconvenienced, but rather whether we as a City will truly be better off by embarking on this fundamental transformation of our downtown area. Are we ready to trade our human-scale, eminently livable, naturally beautiful, and yes, comparatively sleepy community for tax revenue, a sinecure for the performing arts community, and the allure of a Whole Foods?
Your editorial was correct in one regard: the overall interests of the city should take precedence over the narrow preferences of a few. However, I fear you have gotten the situation backwards. Throughout this process, the narrow interests of developers, a theater group, and a handful of business owners have dominated the city’s deliberations on this project to the detriment of the community as a whole. No doubt the theater is a worthwhile enterprise, but it seems questionable to give one nonprofit such preferential treatment in city planning. And beyond providing this group with a free home, the benefits of the development are underwhelming. We are hardly desperate for tax revenue. Our well-funded schools are already first rate. Falls Church properties are incredibly sought-after even without a Whole Foods. And I at least am quite content shopping at Harris Teeter.
I respect the views of those who would prefer a denser, “livelier” downtown. However, my family — and I expect many others — chose Falls Church because of what it is today, not in the hopes that it would one day become another Clarendon. The “general good of the community,” as you aptly put it, is best served by preserving that which makes our city a great place to live.
False Narrative Of U.S. History Fuels Name Change Topics
The Oct. 5 article “Mason, Jefferson Name Change Debates Address Thorny Elements of Their Lives” is yet another example of how proponents of striking the names of George Mason and Thomas Jefferson from our schools rely on false narratives and what is, at best, a “unique” reading of history to belittle the achievements of two of the individuals foremost in creating the foundation (philosophical and structural) of the United States.
Name change advocates make the astounding and objectively false assertion that there is little moral difference between Confederates who fought against the United States and the individuals who founded this country. Melissa Teates expresses this baseless point succinctly: “If you want to say the Confederates are bad, or much worse, I think you’re wrong … The Confederates were fighting to keep the way of life that these men had. I think they’re totally connected.” Edwin Henderson, in an apparent “correction” to his initial (and accurate) statement that “there is a distinct difference between the two,” now says that “the American founders were fighting to preserve slavery.”
We are all well aware of the moral shortcomings that were prevalent during the early history of this country, including among the many Revolutionary leaders from Virginia.
However, unlike the Confederates, we celebrate them, and Jefferson and Mason in particular, for doing more than perhaps any other to enshrine in our system of governance what we now recognize as “universal” values and freedoms well before they were understood to be universal.
Now, more than ever in our history, when we are inundated every day by politicians inventing a false reality, intent on dividing us, we need to remember what unifies all of us as Americans — and that is a shared commitment to a set of communal values, given voice by Mason and Jefferson and enshrined in the Constitution and the Republic that the founders created.
The school board and the entire Falls Church community should have the courage — with or without a community “survey” — to reject this divisive and counter-factual name change foolishness.
Via the internet
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