E-Government: A Lazy

Way to Connect to People

What a cop-out it is to do all your government business on the Web ["Government at Your Fingertips," Fairfax Extra, March 20].

Now, whenever you want the county government to answer a question, the response (if you can actually speak to anyone) is "check our Web site." It's the equivalent of "read the book" of earlier years.

Can't anyone answer a question? It's lazy and non-responsive for a government that is supposed to be the people's.

Most everyone in the Fairfax County government is outfitted with speedy connections and top-of-the-line computers, so in their world it seems natural to use computers.

For those of us with computers that are a few years old and hooked up to just plain old telephone lines, searching around an elaborate Web site is not a method of choice. No wonder the budget is out of control.

Michael P. Salmon


In Electronic Age, Some

Are Still Out of Touch

I applaud the efforts of Fairfax County in establishing the standard for "e-government." It is an excellent concept. Yet in order for it to work effectively at all levels, our elected officials must also do their part to keep in touch with their constituents.

In early March, School Board Chairman Isis Castro (Mount Vernon) stated publicly that her excuse for not being current on issues concerning her constituents was that her e-mail had not been working for three or four weeks. In this age of instant communications, three or four weeks is a very long time to be disconnected.

Yet at the same "Meet the School Board" meeting (March 11 at Mount Vernon High School), Christian Braunlich (Lee) mentioned how he had received more than 700 responses to an e-mail survey he had sent to people in his district.

Clearly Mrs. Castro's poor excuse is an example of how even in the age of "e-government" an elected official -- in this case, the chairman of the School Board -- can still be out of touch with those whom she represents.

Janet Stewart Moffitt


If Moran Should Go,

What About Lott?

Since you're still running stories discussing whether Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) should resign, I suggest that he resign the day after Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

Raymond E. Meyer

Falls Church

What Harm in Writing

About a Gay Teen?

A letter to the editor ["No Use For Coverage of Gay Teen," Fairfax Extra, March 27] by Arlis Ethridge of Alexandria bemoaned the fact that a cover story was written about a local gay teenager ["A Teenager's Life, A County's Choice," Fairfax Extra, March 13].

First, he complained "you couldn't find an uplifting story to write about." Personally, even though I am a straight and married male, I found the article very uplifting. It was touching to read about a young male excelling in life despite encountering hardships thrust upon him by narrow-minded individuals. If the letter writer can't deal with the fact there is diversity in Northern Virginia, perhaps he should crawl into the nearest hole where he won't come in contact with people who are "different." He also writes, "I believe that your editorial staff is simply advancing their own agenda at the expense and detriment of the vast majority of people living in this area." Perhaps the letter writer can explain to all of us how this article caused harm or was "detrimental" to anyone who read it, and what "expense" he paid by reading this article. If I may offer a suggestion to the letter writer, in the future, if he comes across a newspaper article that does not interest him, perhaps he should skip it and move on to one that does.

Andrew Smythe

Falls Church