Water Policy Is Out of Whack
I am writing to take issue with the county Board of Supervisors' decision to impose mandatory water restrictions on residents in eastern Loudoun, effective today. Violators of the watering ban may be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, a criminal offense, and slapped with a $500 fine by the Sheriff's Office.
Like so many government-inspired programs which are instituted during a "crisis" and designed to address the "collective good," this policy presumes citizens guilty until proven innocent. Rather than assume that those who "waste" water are doing so out of unawareness about the water "shortage," armed sheriffs will go tracking down water deadbeats, with pens and citation pads at the ready. Rather than urging residents to conserve water through nonviolent means such as door-to-door reminders in "problem" areas or posting signs warning of the restrictions along major roadways, the county authorities see fit to spring the water police on the rebellious multitudes in eastern Loudoun (the restrictions don't apply to other areas).
Citizens should speak up now before yet another "voluntary" restriction on their liberty is translated into a government prohibition on exercising poor judgment or on merely not keeping up with the latest proclamation by a government authority eager to flex its collective muscle, backed by lawmen who should be tasked with tracking down true criminals, not water deadbeats.
The Post Rides Fence on Roads
I would like to point out what I consider a two-faced position The Washington Post is taking on the subject of roads in Northern Virginia. In the Sunday, July 25, edition are two articles illustrating this Janus-like stance.
A front-page article in the Metro section ["Rage Over N.Va. Road Problems"] stated that transportation, especially roads, is the hottest topic in this year's Virginia political races. The Post has done a Herculean job of stoking this so-called rage for the past several years. It seems as if The Post has beat the drum for every road project to come along, whether it be needed or not. Overblown or overly expensive, The Post has been all in favor. Spectacular traffic accidents get royal treatment. All the better to increase discontent and convince the populace that they should be angry.
The Post has adopted the position that more pavement is better, in spite of the evidence of past nationwide road-building history to the contrary, showing that extra lanes only fuel more traffic. Los Angeles would be transportation heaven-on-earth if more roads were better. Also, in spite of the fact that the money is not there to pay for maintenance of the roads that we have now, The Post favors more land to be chewed up for roads.
Meanwhile, in the Outlook section of Sunday's edition was a Post editorial ["Going to Work Without Going"] in favor of Rep. Frank R. Wolf's proposal for increasing the uses of telecommuting as a way to cut down on traffic and the need for more roads.
The Post is not alone in demanding more pavement. They have help. Why, the people that run the large Internet companies, like AOL, WorldCom, UUNet and the like, whose purpose is to increase the use of Internet transactions, take the contradictory position of wanting four- and six-lane highways that run right up to their front door? WorldCom is building a huge complex. What for? If they, and the others, did themselves what they are promoting, why would such roads be necessary?
There is a dichotomy here. Which is it to be, Washington Post?
In my opinion, it should be less of the former and more of the latter.
Cablevision Should Come Clean
Cablevision needs to follow the example set last week by Loudoun Healthcare Inc., where hush-hush, closed-door sessions and ambiguity were replaced by good sense and propriety ["Cost-Cutting Task Begins at Hospital," July 29].
Both Cablevision and Loudoun Healthcare are trustees of the faith and trust of Loudoun's citizens. As such, they have a higher duty of obligation than the local gas station or restaurant. As no other facility in Loudoun can provide the critical health services provided by Loudoun Healthcare, no other media organization has the potential for impact in Loudoun that Cablevision does. When companies enter the public domain they should understand that full and complete disclosure is a requirement, not a choice. If their business practices and decisions do not hold up under public scrutiny, then we all have a big problem.
If everything is on the up and up, Cablevision should have nothing to lose and everything to gain by full disclosure regarding the terms of the sale of the company and the terminations of Kathleen Hazelton and Chuck Kaster ["Channel 3 Criticized as Biased," July 25]. How is the public supposed to have or give an opinion when the facts are shrouded in secrecy?
Misplaced Blame for Growth
Claude Bach's letter ["Cost of Selling the County," July 25] suggests that the Department of Economic Development should be abolished. However, that department is not responsible for bringing thousands of residents and houses to Loudoun County. Such growth occurs because current zoning and the Board of Supervisors allow it. The Virginia General Assembly also encourages growth by upholding the strong rights of Virginia landowners to develop their properties, thus limiting our supervisors' efforts to control growth.
The purpose of the Department of Economic Development is exactly that: economic development. New businesses generate revenues which have a positive impact on our tax base. The overwhelming majority of families that have moved to places like Ashburn, Cascades and Leesburg have had a negative impact on our tax base because they require more schools and more services.
Stopping commercial development in Loudoun will not stop the 1,000 people moving each month into communities that are already built (or approved for construction). How many of these people will actually work in Loudoun County? If there aren't enough jobs here, these newcomers will commute, like so many others, to Fairfax, Prince William and other neighboring counties. These counties will have the benefit of a positive tax base, while Loudoun County will face ever-expanding budget deficits due to the massive costs of new schools and services for these residents.
If we cannot stop the growth in housing, we must have the Department of Economic Development bring in new businesses. It is simple economics.
GREGORY C. KELLY
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