Give Youths Fields, Not Fights

Amid all the controversy and political mudslinging involving the selection of a site for new athletic fields in the Gainesville District, the adult community appears to be missing the far greater issue: our children.

As a member of the Gainesville Little League since 1991 and as scheduler for that league since 1995, I am painfully aware of the lack of proper facilities available for our youth leagues (basketball and football, as well as baseball and softball).

When I first heard that we would be getting new baseball and soccer fields, I was thrilled. When I heard that we would finally be getting running water at Long Park, I was ecstatic. Now that I hear these issues develop as an election-year tug of war, I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed.

The only ones hurt by this delay are our kids, and they deserve far more attention than we are giving them. They also deserve a profound apology.

Build the fields at Alvey's. Build them along the Route 15 or 55 corridors. Build them in Ed Wilbourn's back yard! But just build them!

While you're at it, build a new basketball facility, too!



Apathy at the Polls

Democracy was at work in Prince William County on June 8 -- but just barely. I observed this while working as an election officer in one of the county's 23 precincts (there are a total of 92) where there was only one contest on the ballot. This was the primary to select one of two Democratic candidates to run in November for the post of clerk of the court against the Republican incumbent.

At our precinct, in an underwhelming display of apathy, less than 1 percent of the electorate voted. A slightly larger number of potential voters showed up at the polls but did not vote either because there were no Republicans on the ballot or they did not know either of the primary candidates.

Even counting our politically clueless potential voters, our precinct did not come close to the countywide average turnout -- a massive 5.2 percent of all registered voters!

Democracy, to survive, requires the active participation of our citizens. This involves gathering knowledge about issues, politicians and the political process, and then acting on this knowledge. The performance of most registered voters in our county on June 8 suggests that we may have to shut down the polls and rewrite the preamble to the U.S. Constitution to change "We the people" to "We the powerful special interest groups . . . ".



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