Spawned apparently by two zoning matters before government boards, the one-page publication, which appears anonymously nearly every week on government bulletin boards and beneath doormats, has piqued a few of the town's officials.

"I think it's a bad thing," said City Council member Elizabeth L. Havlik. "I think it's abominable when people publish material and don't have the gumption to put their name on it."

The newsletter first appeared Oct. 18 and is called Blur, a takeoff on the city's official newsletter, Focus.

Printed on brightly colored paper, its format is rough and its tone irreverent, in contrast to the city's polished newsletter. It features provocative questions on current issues as well as nursery rhymes and crude cartoons lampooning city policy.

"Hickory Dickory Dock," began a recent item. "Parking Decks Fill up the Block. The Traffic Gets Badder. The Owner Gets Gladder. (He charges for it) Hickory Dickory Dock."

While flip in tone, the newsletter discusses serious issues. Among them is a proposal to rezone the largest remaining undeveloped tract in Falls Church to allow town house construction, which has met significant public opposition.

"We've never seen who it is {that distributes the paper}, but they suddenly show up on bulletin boards," said City Manager Anthony H. Griffin. Griffin said he has never known of an underground publication in the city before.

"This is really kind of weird for this town," said Louis T. Olom, a city activist, who speculated that the newsletter is geared toward next May's election, when three City Council seats are up. "I guess the people who are generating this stuff want to drum up opposition to the reigning crew."

One issue includes a mock letter to the editor in which a resident supposedly expresses exasperation with "spending all my spare time at zillions of meetings trying to defend my neighborhood and kids."

The "editor" advises the resident to consider running for City Council. "Then you could vote instead of plead; squish silly staff proposals to upend the neighborhoods; and get a good night's sleep. It might take less time than you are spending now."

Those behind Blur, who do not want to be named, call themselves Citizens for Better Government.

They said they have grown frustrated with attempts to persuade "This is really kind of weird for this town."

-- Louis T. Olom

officials to listen to them, especially on issues such as zoning.

"I think they've lost touch," said one Blur member, referring to city officials. "We talk ourselves blue in the face; so what do you do now? You become a gadfly."

The member said the newsletter's anonymity has added to its glamor, causing people to scramble for copies.

"It's working. It's beginning to get people more aware and involved in the issues," the member added. "It will lose a great deal of its utility if the perpetrators are uncovered."

"We do not meet, we talk by telephone," said another member, who said Blur's staff agrees on the importance of remaining anonymous. "Falls Church is a small town and the members simply felt they would be harassed subtly."

The member said Blur has a core group of about six residents, who take turns getting 300 copies of each newsletter edition printed at private expense.

"We don't use anything {to produce the paper} in the city of Falls Church because it would be too risky -- we don't know who our friends are in the printing establishment," the member added.

Although some residents say they are intrigued by Blur, some also say its tactics are unproductive.

"I wish it were signed," said Robert Taylor of South Oak Street. "And they need to come out and say what they're talking about instead of hinting; that immediately undercuts my support."

Joyce Hall of East Jefferson Street, who is fighting the town house proposal, said she can sympathize with some of the frustration expressed in the newsletter.

"I certainly can appreciate {the fact} we talk, we talk, we talk and it doesn't seem like the leaders are listening.

"To be honest, my days of being a rebel are past," Hall said. "You have to try to change things using the rules that are in existence."