Outdated Laws

There is an issue concerning a lot of us here in Sterling Park that is being completely ignored: the crowded, unsafe conditions of homes and what the Board of Supervisors is not doing about it.

We live on a nice street here in Sterling with many owners who have lived here for years and raised their children and want to stay in the park for their retirement years rather than sell and move to Florida or a retirement community. Now some of us are rethinking this choice.

We are paying a price for buying a home where there is no intervention by a homeowners association. Many people in the '60s purchased homes here in Sterling and felt that they did not want a homeowners association controlling what color they painted their house or what times of day their trash could appear at the curb for pickup.

The county had (or so we thought) adequate zoning and building enforcement codes that would protect us from homeowners who practice unsafe crowding or try to park 10 or 12 cars outside their front doors.

Now that we are one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, these laws have not kept up with the times. When you call those county departments, you are told that it's a shame you don't have a homeowners association because it would enforce that "type" of thing. In other words, if you don't live in an HOA development, expect inadequate, outdated zoning laws.

Years of investment in the quality of your home and its value will be threatened because there are no adequate laws on the books to maintain it.

Here in Sterling you can have 15 to 20 people living in a 11/2-bedroom home with one bathroom. If you want to park cars at the front door, you can do that with no worry that you will be visited by the county. If you want to park a car on the side of a home and run the engine with the exhaust going into your neighbor's windows, you can do that as well.

If you choose not to contract with a refuse collection service, you can pile your garbage in the back yard with no worry of repercussion. If this is allowed to continue, people will move to other, better maintained communities, and Sterling's image will be lost.

When we contacted our supervisor, we received a two-sentence e-mail saying zoning laws were being enforced. Some of us would welcome a homeowners association over an apathetic member of the Board of Supervisors.

Tracie Fleshman


Two Versions

The news media have made many references to Jon Moseley's motion to the Circuit Court about the intense investigation into his voter registration. But those who have actually read it tell me it is calm, reasonable, thoughtful and respectful of the judge and the legal system.

Observers who attended Moseley's hearing Wednesday report that he was calm, respectful and polite. Judge Thomas D. Horne explicitly mentioned that it was in fact entirely appropriate and understandable for Moseley to raise the questions that he did about the handling of this unusual attack upon him. Judge Horne also stated that Moseley's concerns were legitimate.

So why are there two completely different versions of what is taking place in this race? What we are being told by the news media on the one hand and those who actually know what is happening on the other are in sharp conflict.

We should be thankful that Jon Moseley has thrown his hat into the ring to run for commonwealth's attorney for Loudoun County.

Bill Leigh

Paeonian Springs

Nothing to Brag About

I'm pleased to see that ordinary citizens everywhere have begun an important debate: whether a policy of "preemptive war" is a just tool for a moral democracy to use. This is a critically serious subject that will change the world forever in dramatic ways, and if we believe ourselves to be a democracy, we must give it our honest and careful attention.

I would like to offer these thoughts to what I hope will be an ongoing, civil discussion. I do think it is horrible the way the Iraqis were treated by the Saddam Hussein regime. I also think the conditions in Africa are unbelievably terrible. I also wonder why it was okay for us to grant China "most favored nation" status when its records of human rights violations are appalling.

But I question the idea that "wars of choice" should be the automatic answer to anything. Israel appears to have been engaged in constant fighting since 1967, rather than being a secure, peaceful nation.

And I would suggest that there is a clear need to lay side by side the images of the war -- not just celebrating Iraqis and rescued soldiers but also the children who were burned and orphaned by our guns, heads exploded, limbs torn off. A civilization's treasures and a nation's infrastructure were destroyed.

Almost all the despotic Iraqi leadership is still at large. Mostly the innocent appear to have been killed. If we cannot look at it somberly, we are being frightfully immature.

I would appreciate a little less joyous celebrating on our part and a little more humble realization that war is a failure of foreign policy and that we chose to "play god" by deciding that to save some people we had to kill many who were innocent. Then I think we need to at least try to develop the creativity and ingenuity to achieve our aims without such wholesale destruction.

For a nation of our wealth and power to brag about beating up on a Third World, impoverished, stricken population is just plain embarrassing. And I say this as a member of a family that has a long line of military war veterans and family in the military now.

S. Ann Robinson