What Could've Been
I enjoyed your recent article about Arlington's battle over a major league baseball stadium ["Failed Pitch for Arlington Baseball," Extra, July 22]. However, your article missed a few key points.
County officials have publicly admitted that even if the proposed convention center is ever built, it likely won't open until 2011 at the earliest. Thus, the land will sit vacant for another seven years. As a result, the anticipated hotels, shops and restaurants that would have been built to serve the patrons of the center will not be built either, resulting in lost tax revenue to the county.
Another recent Post article ["Envisioning a New Future for Crystal City," Business, July 12] revealed that Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty has 1.6 million square feet of vacant office space in nearby Crystal City. According to the article, one of the major reasons why potential tenants are hesitant to lease space in Crystal City is because "it has little street life." Yet this is the exact kind of ancillary development the ballpark would have generated. And these small businesses, such as restaurants, shops and bars, would have also helped lower the tax burden of all Arlingtonians.
I find it ironic that the No Arlington Stadium group, which seemed so outraged about the stadium's impact on taxpayers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, have shown themselves to be hypocrites by not opposing a stadium in Loudoun County. I also had to laugh when I read comments by Sarah Summerville, president of No Arlington Stadium. "The only missed opportunity was the opportunity to have more traffic and more congestion," she said. If the stadium is built in Loudoun County, how does Summerville think the fans are going to get there? By helicopter?
Unlike the Pentagon City site, which had three Metro stations nearby, extension of Metro to the Loudoun County site is at least a decade away. The only way fans will be able to get there is by car or bus. Admittedly, there will be more traffic no matter where the stadium is built. But to give the impression that Arlington will be unaffected is disingenuous.
A Loudoun County stadium will merely shift the traffic burden of the ballpark from South Arlington to North Arlington, adding thousands of rush-hour vehicles to already overburdened major arteries such as Arlington Boulevard, Lee Highway, the George Washington Parkway and Interstate 66. And my guess is that it won't be long before the state rationalizes widening I-66 through Arlington to make it easier for fans from the District and Maryland to get to the stadium.
As a result of our county officials caving in to a tiny vocal minority without the benefit of any public hearings, Arlington will end up with the worst of all possible scenarios if Loudoun County is awarded a team: no baseball team, no new jobs, no property tax relief, more pollution and more cut-through traffic.
Leland J. White
A Crime Is a Crime
I am afraid that William Cromley's letter to the editor on July 22 ["Intimidating Actions," Extra] misrepresents the facts surrounding the destruction of James Boissonnault's property. To insinuate that Boissonnault's pressing of charges is "mean-spirited and hypocritical" totally denigrates the legal system set up by our forefathers.
James Luby is 19 years old and is not a minor. Last time I checked, he's old enough to vote and old enough to fight for his country, which takes his act out of the "childish" arena of petty crime. There is no doubt that the motive of Luby and his accomplice, Samuel Howard "Max" Woodson IV (age 18), was to totally intimidate Boissonnault, who is floating a petition to have Luby's mother removed from the Alexandria School Board. Since when does someone who is exercising their constitutional right to petition the voters have to accept being intimidated by others?
Alexandria School Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry is totally responsible for all of these ancillary events that have occurred after she was arrested for drunken driving. After the arrest she was retained by the Alexandria School Board and rewarded with a 6.5 percent pay raise. This case continues to linger on and on just like the Katelynn Frazier case, and until the mayor and City Council either threaten to reduce the school's budget or decide to return to appointed school boards, it will continue to get messier and others will continue to be dragged down as a result of Perry's actions.
Perry should have been fired, and Melissa Luby should have resigned from the School Board. Luby's comment that a lot of people drive their cars after they have had a few drinks sets a poor example for our kids. Luby ought to have the decency to resign and give her seat to a deserving citizen, one who will set a good example for our children.
School Board Vice Chair Mary "Mollie" Danforth is quoted in the July 15 Washington Post as saying, "It's sad when a person can't work with a young person [James Luby] like that and work out some kind of agreement" ["Va. School Official's Son Charged in Vandalism Case," Metro]. I wonder what she would have said if James Luby and Max Woodson had egged her house at 3:30 a.m.? Danforth needs to be replaced on the School Board, too.
Cromley said in his letter that James Luby "is any neighbor's idea of a good kid." Has anyone checked to see what his behavior was as a juvenile? What's so wrong about making adults and children obey the law?
Townsend A. "Van" Van Fleet