A lot of Northern Virginians don't want Gov. Gerald L. Baliles to go anywhere when he makes his three-day trip to the region next month.
At least that's the view of many of the more 300 Washington Post readers who offered suggestions to the Virginia Weekly on what the governor should do while in the Washington suburbs.
They want him to sit in the region's maddening traffic jams, morning, afternoon or night. On the Dulles Toll Road. On Shirley Highway. On I-66. Or, as one said, "any Saturday afternoon traffic at Seven Corners."
One reader suggested: "Springfield exit at rush hour! He won't have time for anything else, or the energy."
In scribbled notes, long typewritten letters or neatly printed cards, the respondents, who did not have to give their names, replied to a recent Weekly column seeking suggestions on what the governor should see June 4-7.
His Northern Virginia stay will be the second time that Baliles has taken the governor's office away from Richmond. Earlier this year Baliles went to the Roanoke area, a trip that was viewed as major public relations success.
The Post has forwarded the suggestions to the governor's staff, and staff members say they will incorporate a number of them into Baliles' schedule.
The ideas covered a wide range of subjects. Some items:
V.A. Brown of Woodbridge wrote that Baliles should tour "Dale City, a planned community gone out of control, traffic tied up everywhere, shopping centers on every corner. There won't be a tree standing if the developers are allowed to destroy Prince William County."
Zealous defenders of Huntley Meadows Park, off Rte. 1 south of Alexandria, pleaded for the governor, who has made transportation his No. 1 issue, to intervene in highway department plans for a road through the wetland and wildlife preserve.
There are "otters, beavers . . . turtles, water snakes, water birds -- just 15 minutes south of Washington, D.C., in the urban sprawl of Fairfax County," wrote Brian and Eleanora Robbins of Alexandria.
"George Washington would cry if he saw the desecration of the Mount Vernon area, all the trash, both garbage and people," wrote one person who did not include a name.
Schools and colleges were uniformly praised. Some schools -- such as Kenmore Intermediate in Arlington and Lake Braddock Secondary School -- organized student letter-writing campaigns to encourage a visit by Baliles. "Not only is Lake Braddock the largest school in Fairfax, but in all of Virginia," several students wrote in a letter.
"We think you would enjoy learning more about George Washington and how he lived," said two Braddock students, Jennifer Harders and Sandy Sutley, perhaps aware that Baliles is a history buff.
The Kenmore students touted their computer classes and school presentation of Macbeth. "Normally, most schools don't teach Shakespeare's plays until high school," wrote Kenmore's Sanjay Sharma. "But thanks to our great English teacher, Mrs. Fishbein, we are able to produce it."
Student Sean Farrell assured Baliles, "We can make arrangements for you to watch it at any time during your stay."
"Northern Virginia is multicultural," wrote one reader, "but not many Americans are bilingual." The writer suggested that Baliles encourage foreign language studies and diversity in Northern Virginia. "We should take advantage of foreign-born students to teach us their language."
The nonprofit Northern Virginia Hospice, based in a renovated former school in Arlington, was championed by many who want Baliles to see a growing approach to caring for the terminally ill. The hospice has a staff of 100 and about 400 volunteers, and cares for nearly 80 patients at the hospital or at private homes.
Ten-year-old Robin Milano had two ideas for Baliles: "While you're here, you have to see Showbiz a Fairfax restaurant . It has tons of games. It has very good pizza." But Robin didn't think only of fun. Her handwritten letter also urged the governor to "buy toys, clothes, food and all the things that the poor people need."
Mrs. Peter Milano of Vienna, Robin's mother, said later that her daughter wrote the letter on her own, and that no one in the family works for Showbiz. Asked about the poor people, she said her daughter thought Baliles "has lots of money."
Foster G. Rohrbaugh Jr. of Purcellville suggested visiting "The Clive DuVal Wall" at Wolf Trap. "Maybe he would give a guided tour."
DuVal, the influential Fairfax state senator, slipped a budget amendment through the legislature earlier this year canceling the performing arts center's $541,820 bill from the state highway department for construction of a noise barrier along the Dulles Toll Road.
One reader thought Baliles should see "the long lines of Virginia citizens in Maryland and D.C. buying lottery tickets." Another complained about Virginia's cold shoulder to lotteries: "If a Virginian wins a Maryland or D.C. lottery, Virginia would tax the winnings."
D.J. Fuellenbach, one of thousands of new residents pouring each year into Northern Virginia, used a legal-sized, handwritten letter to praise the exceptionally friendly people of the area. "As a New Yorker, I am proud to now be a Virginian," the Manassas resident wrote.
One reader wrote simply "Lyndon LaRouche" on the form letter that accompanied the Post column, with neither positive nor negative indications about the controversial political extremist who lives in Loudoun County.
Many other responses suggested a full slate for Baliles, with visits to firehouses, championship soccer teams and orchestras.
Jennifer Boast of Vienna struck an inviting chord with her letter on school essay paper. "While you are here, you have to see one of our peaceful parks and have a picnic with friends and your family."
That's probably the best suggestion Baliles could get and the least likely the busy governor will have time to follow.
Lynn Bentz of Vienna complained about the Saturday noon crowds at a McDonald's on Chain Bridge Road and dared Baliles to find an empty parking space at the Oakton Shopping Center at peak hours.
One reader, who asked that his name not be used, typed a full-page letter inviting Baliles to visit local record and tape stores catering to young people that now sell "every kind of marijuana pipe and bong imaginable, substances used to mix with cocaine . . . scales for dealers . . .and just about every other kind of drug-related item that they can make money off of."
The writer suggested that "perhaps Mrs. Nancy Reagan would be interested in going along also."
Just so the governor gets the clear message that transportation is No. 1 on most residents' minds, here's an example of the dozens of transportation responses:
"Hope you can find where you want to go, we need larger and better placed signs."
"Martha Pennino using public transportation." (Pennino is vice chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.)
"People are driving frantically these days."
"The Huntington-Kings Highway Metro Station . . .try to find a parking place!"
"The worst traffic engineering in the country."
"National Airport -- its condition and congestion. Should be closed."
"Pohick Road . . . because it is one of the most dangerous . . . . "
"Spend an afternoon commuting from D.C. to Springfield and see why I am leaving No. Va. after 19 years."
"Help!! ABSOLUTE GRIDLOCK." (Burke Lake Road)
"Drive Dulles Access Toll Road . . . starting the trip at 8 a.m. Pack your lunch and bring it with you."
"Centreville . . . how trees are torn down, construction rampant . . . a once beautiful little place on the Va. map is being violently raped."
"The DMV Department of Motor Vehicles office on Rte. 1 . . . to see why no-smoking legislation should be passed in Richmond SOONEST." Another comment on the same place: "Make sure you have all of your forms filled out."
"Malfunction junction, i.e., the screwed up intersection of I-495, I-395." Another reader mentioning the same section ominously wrote "ride in a car identifying you as governor."
Baliles' schedulers have penciled in a trip to Baltimore on Wednesday to allow the governor, a baseball fan, to take in the Orioles game -- a trip suggested by two ardent baseball fans, Michael Hardy, a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter, and Donald P. Baker, Richmond bureau chief for The Post.
The reporters meddling in the governor's official schedule, according to some observers, could wind up to be a political liability. The Prince William Pirates, a Carolina league team, are playing at home that week against the Salem Redbirds.
"It's a hard call," Baker said, acknowledging the role he and Hardy played in the governor's plans, "but I've always said our governor is a big leaguer and probably views this as an economic development trip."