Numbers were transposed in the second paragraph of a letter to the editor in the Loudoun Extra on March 2 ["Express Your Views"] about the Beaverdam Creek historic district. The sentence should have read: "However, 539, or 74 percent, had the good sense not to." (Published 3/9/03)
Just a word of praise for the decisions made by the Loudoun County public school system relating to this year's wintry weather.
The decisions to delay school openings or to cancel school for an entire day were made in a timely fashion. This is so important to families juggling children, day care and jobs.
Most important, however, is that the decisions were made with the utmost consideration for the safety of our children, teachers and school employees. On many bad weather days this year, Loudoun County public schools led the region with these timely and sound decisions. Thank you!
To the Rescue
We were called to the Heritage Hall Nursing Home on Morven Park Road NW in Leesburg on Feb. 22 for a report of water leaking onto a electrical box. Many hours later, all of the residents had been moved to the safety of several other facilities all over the region.
Although I do not have an accurate count at the moment, I estimate that more than 80 rescue workers were involved from Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad, Loudoun County Department of Fire and Rescue, Leesburg Police Department, Hamilton Volunteer Rescue, Sterling Volunteer Rescue, Purcellville Volunteer Rescue, The Loudoun County chapter of the Red Cross, Loudoun County public schools, Loudoun County parks and recreation, Heritage Hall staff, Life Care Ambulance service, Loudoun-Fairfax Ambulance service and others I am sure to have missed.
The following local businesses donated food for the rescue workers: Andy's Italian Restaurant on Catoctin Circle SW, Joe's Pizza and Subs on Plaza Street NE and LaVilla Roma on East Market Street. I watched as a lot of tired, hungry rescue workers grabbed a bite to eat, literally on the run.
Our thanks goes out to these generous merchants, who provided the "fuel" to keep our tired bodies going. And to all the agencies, volunteers, career staff, families, citizens and the residents of Heritage Hall themselves, thank you for your cooperation during a very tense and trying afternoon and evening.
Leesburg Volunteer Fire Co.
I was shocked to learn that Robert M. Gordon, Board of Supervisors chairman wannabe, voted with members of Committee for Property Rights (CPR) and radical members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, to prevent a firehouse primary election to allow Republican voters to go to the polling booth to directly select their Republican candidates.
This is the same Gordon who wrote an opinion piece only several weeks ago expressing his support for such a primary! What happened?
If we can't trust Gordon to keep his word to trust the public by giving them the right to vote, how can we trust him not to undo the smart-growth plan recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors? Obviously, he is pandering to CPR and fringe right crowd.
Gordon, a development lawyer, is the sweetheart of the development community with his campaign overwhelmingly funded by those who oppose the county's smart-growth plan. Sorry, Bob, your actions and political financiers speak louder than words, and the voters of Loudoun know they cannot trust you to carry out the mandate we gave to the Board of Supervisors in 1999.
At least the majority of them kept their word and, therefore, my trust.
Michelle I. Galler
Checking Up on Schools
The report in Loudoun Extra [" 'Positive Trend' for Local Students on Stanford 9 Test," Feb. 23] regarding the general rise in percentile rankings of Loudoun students on the national Stanford 9 tests is good news. But an increase in aggregated averages fails to tell us if our schools are leaving any children behind.
Several days before the article was published, I asked Loudoun County public schools (LCPS) for the raw Stanford 9 test scores so that I could rank each school on the improvement the lowest performing students achieved in year-over-year percentile rankings. I wanted to make sure that the improving test scores were caused by a better-than-average education and not because the county was attracting new residents whose children test higher.
I also wanted to see if schools that have lower scores are actually doing a worse job of teaching their students or if the scores simply reflect variations in the innate abilities of the various student populations.
The LCPS testing administrators said they report changes in student test score rankings to individual schools but refused to provide the data publicly. As a taxpayer and parent of two children in LCPS, I have an interest and obligation to review how well schools are doing their job.
Testing results are more important than financial statements in holding public schools accountable. The Washington Post should refuse to publish self-serving news releases from school officials unless they provide the supporting data. Taxpayers need to be able to independently verify the quality of our government-run schools.
Edward R. Myers
Express Your Views
Now that the Beaverdam Creek historic district has passed the Board of Supervisors, a few things need to be addressed by those in this district.
At the Dec. 3 meeting of the board, 190, or 26 percent, of the property owners signed onto this. However, 593, or 76 percent, had the good sense not to. The 190 have given an additional 10 feet of their property to VDOT without remuneration. Pretty generous, don't you think?
We are wondering if Loudoun County has taken over the state roads. If so, would someone let us know who to call for maintenance.
It is too late for the 593 to do anything now, but elections are coming up and we need a candidate of the people, for the people, and if we can find one, the people will vote him in.
Let's hear what Ben Weber and Robert M. Gordon have to say. Supervisors Jim Burton (I-Mercer) and Eleanore C. Towe (D-Blue Ridge) and Scott K. York (R-At Large), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, haven't done anything for the majority of the citizens. All they want are our hard-earned tax dollars for their pet purchase of development rights.
That reminds me of one time when I asked J.T. Hirst why he voted a certain way on an issue. He replied, "I had one constituent call me to express his views, so voted his way."
We citizens need to be more vocal and more involved and let our representatives know how we feel about the issues. Also, our representatives need to let us know the real scoop. I believe if 539 property owners had shown up at the Planning Commission meetings and board meetings, we might have known what was going on. A lot in this county is done that cannot stand the light of day.
If I hadn't gone to the Planning Commission meeting, I would never have seen the 12-page document titled Beaverdam Creek Historic Roadways District. All we saw was a two-page letter from the board that said it was voluntary and if you don't join, in effect, you're not in it.
Under this so-called district, no dirt roads can be paved in place, which is something Del. Joe May (R-Loudoun) has brokered in an agreement with VDOT in Richmond. As I stated earlier, a lot of things in this county cannot stand the light of day.
The only thing a politician understands is the vote. So I urge you to look at the candidates and vote, vote, vote. Only 34 percent of registered voters voted in the last election, of which 70 percent voted for smart growth not even knowing what it means, which means that 66 percent didn't bother to vote. So you got what you got.
County government is the closest government to us. It has more control over our daily lives than does Richmond or Washington. Coming up in November is another election. Let's take back our county.