An Open-Door Policy

Politics never ceases to amaze me. Even so, I am surprised to read that some of the GOP candidates who lost in 1999 and their supporters are still trying to find someone or something to blame for their defeats, including me ("In Whose Best Interest?" Letters, Feb. 20). Frankly, I would suggest that they look to themselves first when they try to find an explanation for their defeat.

Likewise, they imagine that my sensible proposal for a Republican primary must be part of some dark strategy to hurt the party. This is nonsense. I have simply stated that a primary is the only way we can accommodate the large numbers of Republican voters who want to participate in the selection of GOP candidates.

The proposed Republican convention will shut out most interested voters by placing a limit on the number of participants. The convention process is also confusing and difficult for the voters who are allowed to participate.

My proposal will not hurt the Republican party. It will help. It will bring more Republican voters into the process. It will give them a stake in our slate of candidates. It will also strengthen our party by allowing us to nominate the candidates who can do the best job of attracting the support of the voters.

To me, the problem with the conventional proposal is similar to the problem I have seen in the Republican Committee over the past three years.

Rather than listening to the voters' concerns about the negative impact of runaway residential growth and holding developers accountable for paying their cost of infrastructure, the committee has consistently condemned every effort to do a better job of land use and fiscal planning in Loudoun County.

This was the root cause of many of the GOP defeats in 1999, and it still haunts the party today.

Now that the committee has been forced to redo its January meeting, I am hopeful that it will approach the nominating process with a more open and inclusive spirit. Rather than arbitrarily ruling people out of order and refusing to debate the alternatives, I would like to see the committee listen to the arguments for a primary.

My strategy is a winning strategy for the GOP. It is the only strategy that can lead to victory on Election Day.

Rather than shutting people out, let us open our doors to the voters when we make our nominations and open our minds to the voters when they tell us their concerns.

Scott K. York

Chairman,

Loudoun Board of Supervisors

Laughable Behavior

I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry when I read Richard J. Rybak's letter ["The Rest of the Story," Letters, Feb. 13] about a goose and his concern for it. I decided to laugh at Rybak's foolish behavior and wonder how people can have such a skewed view of the world.

First, no goose or any animal is worth the life of any human being. Second, fire and rescue are there for the protection of human lives. All fire and rescue personnel accept the fact that they might be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for another human being. But no one is expected to possibly die for a goose or a pet! Third, the tremendous number of people and equipment needed by regulation and law (OSHA) to perform an ice rescue is very expensive to the taxpayer. So the lack of response to Rybak's request was totally justified, and he has no cause for complaint.

If it had been a child or adult, the necessary resources would have been marshaled. I would advise all parents to do two things, though.

The first is teach your children that nature is hard on its creatures, that death occurs to them all and that this is as it should be.

The second is to teach your children to avoid obvious dangerous situations such as ice-covered water or swift running water near drains and culverts. An ounce of prevention is worth a thousand pounds of cure.

As a past chief of the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company and a veteran of the fire service for more than 30 years, I support the decision of both animal control officer D. Longerbeam and the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Company for using good judgment and sense in weighing risks to the community.

I have to wonder if the canoe that Rybak had been in overturned and Rybak and his friend drowned, would I have laughed a little or wondered just how foolish people can be?

James Kiser

Sterling

Kudos to Geurin

J. Warren Geurin has done great job as our elected School Board member and has represented the Sterling District with distinction.

Any effort by the School Board or the Loudoun County public schools to discredit him is just plain dirty politics. Geurin is well known for his concerns about the Sterling community and the Park View cluster. When talking to Geurin about a concern or saying how nice a teacher or school is doing, he takes out his notebook and records what has been said. He is known for following up with a promise that he will look into a concern.

Geurin also is well known for attending many schools events, not only in Sterling but throughout Loudoun County. He always attends back-to-school nights, international night at Sully Elementary, talent nights, school plays and many sporting events. He regularly discusses school needs with Sterling Park staff and principals.

Geurin is responsible for the upgrading and expansion of Sully, Guilford and Sterling elementary schools and Sterling Middle School, and for additions and upgrades at Park View High School. He was one of the driving forces behind the inequitable grading scale being re-visited by the School Board after the changes had been turned down in committee.

Geurin has done what he was elected to do, be a voice of the people. For concerned parents who repeatedly asked the School Board and superintendent to address academic, facility and staffing inequities within the Park View cluster, Geurin is the one who was not afraid to challenge the institution of the Loudoun County public schools. He gets involved; he will investigate, make phone calls and personally speak with the parties involved.

One of the most recent concerns within the Park View cluster is teacher turnover. This has been a terrible problem for six years. The Sterling Elementary principal will be transferring to a new school, so Sterling Elementary may experience up to 40 percent turnover this year! Why not have the School Board members become involved? If there is no policy regarding first-year turnover when a principal is transferred, Geurin will ask, "Why not?" If the superintendent and his staff say there is not a problem, Geurin will say, "Show me!" We do not believe that Geurin would bully teachers into staying at Sterling Elementary School.

What more than likely happened is that Geurin again caught the Loudoun County public schools attempting to pull a fast one on the people of Sterling, whose schools have outdated computer labs, locker rooms, cafeterias, classrooms, auditoriums and libraries, are constantly being raided for teachers and usually have the lowest SOL and SAT test scores in Loudoun. Why wouldn't Geurin investigate and ask questions?

I believe that his taking time off from his job, stopping at schools and talking to staff, which he does regularly, is sometimes the only way to fairly judge and confirm the community's concerns.

The people of Sterling ask for fairness given the ever-continual increase in our taxes to pay for Loudoun's growth and school needs. All we want and have ever asked from Geurin is equal quality schools, equal quality classroom and equal quality teachers. What is wrong with that?

George Hidy

Sterling