Region Is Off in Wrong Direction
A front page Washington Post article on Sunday ["Tech Firm Activism Worries Neighbors," Aug. 22] addresses the focus of Region, the organization of high-tech and other local businesses addressing economic development issues that impact the local economy. For the residents of the Northern Virginia high-tech corridor, the purpose and message of this group should be viewed very cautiously. Region's message should be viewed as "your tax dollars for highway construction that benefit rich developers." Local developers love this strategy. They can hide behind this "concerned" business group's message of addressing regional transportation and new schools all funded at the citizens' expense, while they get rich off the resulting development sprawl.
Region is missing the point. Quality of life is not constant road development or expansion followed by more sprawl and higher taxes for services and schools. In Loudoun County, the local citizens clearly vocalized their concerns over sprawl in the recent Republican primary elections. The citizens' message was one of smart growth and to conserve and protect our rural lands. No one voted to pave over Northern Virginia in these elections. The quality of life in Loudoun is promoted by its rural character and a slower pace of life--not excessive roads and interchanges.
As a former resident of Silicon Valley, I witnessed the never-ending road projects that were supposed to help address the traffic gridlock. In the end, these expanded roads and the resulting housing sprawl and strip malls that followed created more gridlock and further expansion into rural areas. It goes on and on.
There is a lesson to be learned here, and therefore the message of Region does not impress me. Many of us look up to high-tech companies and their leaders as visionaries for the future. Unfortunately, the members of Region have no vision for the future of this area other than to have taxpayers finance the roads and fatten the pockets of the developers as their land values increase, the sprawl continues and the quality of life diminishes.
Contesting Prosecutor's Account
I feel the need to respond to the answer Commonwealth's Attorney Robert D. Anderson (R) gave to Mr. Jerry L. Johnson [Anderson's Democratic challenger] during the recent debate at the Kiwanis Club ["Prosecutor, Foe Face Off Live," Aug. 26] in reference to my dealings with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office during the preliminary trial of Jack Huffman, the man who eventually pleaded guilty to stealing my equipment.
I felt the assistant attorney failed to do his job and did not properly address the defense attorney's attempt at reducing the dollar amount related to the theft. In fact, I felt it odd after having made a list of the stolen items (I was told this list was necessary for prosecution) for the investigating officer that included many items other than those the commonwealth's attorney asked me about. That is why (and it did happen) I asked the judge if I could bring the additional items to light. I am not savvy to all aspects of the law, but even I could see that the defense attorney was trying to reduce the dollar amount to plead a lesser charge for his client--that is his job.
I was hesitant at first to ask, but after looking over to the prosecuting attorney and seeing no response, I felt the need to address these items--that was his job. According to Anderson, he could not find any reference to my addressing these items to the judge, and that does not surprise me now.
After the preliminary trial, a trial date was set and I was subpoenaed to be present at trial. At no time was I contacted by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. On that date, I went to the courthouse, sat for hours just to be told by a bailiff that the case had been pleaded out of court days prior and he was sorry. He told me that this has happened "more times than you think and you should go to the commonwealth's office and complain." Of course, this is probably not in Mr. Anderson's computer either.
I do not have a habit of making things up, and if I am wrong, admit to it. Sadly, to date my shop has been vandalized on numerous occasions to the tune of hundreds of dollars. I have not pursued any legal avenues because of my experience with the court system and Anderson. In returning to the statement by Anderson about not finding my statement to the judge on his computer, I guess I should have done the court stenographer's job for him, too.
RICHARD A. WARD