Save Trees, Fight Towers

We live in a beautiful county. To our north is the majestic Potomac River, and running through the heart of Loudoun is the 30-year-old Washington & Old Dominion trail, a thriving tree-lined recreational oasis for walkers, runners, bikers, rollerbladers and many other species of wildlife.

But all is not well in Paradise. The health of our county, and the people who live here, is threatened by the constant degradation of our air and water quality, the loss of our tree cover, and the rise of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots.

In fact, the EPA recently downgraded our air quality from a serious non-attainment area to a severe non-attainment area. This affects each of us with every breath we take. The EPA and the medical community have also said in no uncertain terms that the worsening of our air quality here will lead to more respiratory illnesses and, eventually, more deaths.

Cutting down 26,000 trees along the W&OD trail so that we can erect steel power towers will only throw gas on a fire that's already burning out of control. Loudoun is the fastest growing county in the country. We should be taking a leadership role in how a 21st century community lives, works, plays and governs. And that means we can't allow these 110-foot steel dinosaurs to roam our countryside.

There's a better way, and we all need to stand up for that better way. It may cost more in the short run, but the long-term benefits are priceless in comparison. We're talking about quality of life. How do you put a price on that? We're talking about the health of our families and our environment. How do you put a price on that? And we're talking about life itself. How do you put a price on that?

Bill Replogle

Leesburg

Chairman, Environmental

Advisory Commission

GOP Conflict of Interest?

As a resident of Loudoun County, I have great concern over the rapid development occurring in our county as a result of the six Republican members of the Board of Supervisors who seem to favor heavy development with no long-term plan in mind ("There They Grow Again," July 9).

Many others share my concern. It seems to me, however, that our voices are being muted by those who continue to whisper into the ears of the Republican Six. Just last week, the Republican Six voted to approve a 500-unit housing development on property owned by the family of the Republican former county board chairman, Dale Polen Meyers. This is three times the number of residences that would have been allowed if the board had not approved the rezoning.

Supervisor Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) is quoted as saying any suggestion of a conflict was "totally absurd." Is it really absurd, though, considering that Ms. Meyers was reported to have been a top strategist in last year's campaigns of Supervisors Tulloch and Stephen J. Snow (R-Dulles) and an integral part of last year's GOP takeover of the Board of Supervisors?

At a minimum, this amounts to an appearance of a conflict of interest. Labeling any such concern as "absurd" does not change how it looks to the rest of us.

Susan Klimek Buckley

Sterling

Stadium Is No Grand Slam

A year ago, and after careful consideration of the economic costs and benefits, the Arlington County Board sent a letter to the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority asking that all three sites in Arlington be removed from consideration. Before that, Fairfax County also asked to be removed from consideration for similar reasons. If Arlington and Fairfax can't make a baseball stadium work, how can Loudoun?

The following are reasons to oppose a publicly funded baseball stadium in Loudoun County:

* Corporate welfare as tax dollars would subsidize a baseball stadium for rich owners and players.

* All taxes collected at the stadium would go to pay off stadium costs instead of to the general fund.

* Private industry investment would generate more revenue for the county and the state than would a baseball stadium.

* Additional taxes may include admission tax to the stadium and movies, a hotel tax, and a rental car tax.

* The ballpark could be rented for other uses, such as rock concerts.

* Traffic. No Metrorail to Dulles International Airport until 2012. Metrorail to Ashburn is not planned.

* Road, security and water and sewer costs outside the stadium would be borne by Loudoun County and federal taxpayers.

* Increased air pollution and other environmental damage. For the proposed Arlington stadium, the Virginia Attorney General's Office rendered an opinion stating that the VBSA is exempt from the requirement to file an environmental impact statement. The AG's office refuses to make the opinion public on the ground that it would violate the attorney-client privilege.

* Borrowing for the stadium would mean less money for schools, roads, parks and recreation.

* The stadium would need substantive renovations before the 30-year bonds mature. Where will this money come from?

* The Virginia Baseball Club would pay for as much as one-third of the stadium. Other businesses, such as AOL and the Old Dominion Brewery, paid 100 percent of the costs of their buildings.

* Most of the jobs created would be seasonal, low-paying, low-skill jobs for 81 home games a year.

* Most economists believe that a publicly funded baseball stadium is a bad deal for taxpayers.

Baseball is not going to make Loudoun County major league. If being the home to AOL, Old Dominion Brewery and historic Waterford doesn't make Loudoun County major league, having a baseball stadium certainly will not.

Les Garrison

John Antonelli

Emily Samaha

Arlington