Going Nowhere on Roads

Regarding "Small Businesses Voice Complaints" [Loudoun Extra, Oct. 21], concerning a meeting of business leaders and Loudoun County officials: The purpose of the meeting was to allow business leaders to express their concerns about what adversely affects their doing business in the county.

While there were the expected concerns about zoning restrictions, escalating health care costs, etc., the greatest concern was reportedly the difficulty of finding workers who can afford to live in the county. As a consequence, more than 50 percent of the employers' workers have to commute from adjoining jurisdictions such as West Virginia and Maryland, on roads that are congested and inadequate to efficiently handle the coming and going of their employees. Inadequate roads were also cited as having a severe economic impact on the movement of goods and services provided by these businesses.

At the conclusion of this meeting, Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (I-At Large) reportedly stated that the county has been grappling with the road problem for many years. This is certainly true, but, at the same time, the board did nothing about it despite the long-identified need for primary and secondary road improvements.

The reason generally given for the board's inaction is that there is no money for road improvements, so why bother proposing any? This is good news for the anti-road groups and the Piedmont Environmental Council but does nothing to address the problems encountered by residents or businesses in the county.

It is also a lame excuse because over the years, York and members of the previous board failed to propose or promote needed commuter and residential road improvements. The previous board, which included York, Supervisor Jim G. Burton (I-Blue Ridge) and Sarah R. "Sally" Kurtz (D-Catoctin), adopted a county master plan that calls for no improvements to Routes 50, 9 or 15 for the next 20 years. Yet these are primary routes into and out of the county that more than 50 percent of the people employed by our businesses must travel. How hypocritical can we get?

Also, when the Western Transportation Corridor (WTC) came up for consideration in response to the critical need for another Potomac River crossing, the present board failed to support it. It is disingenuous for any of the past board members and most of the present members to say they know we need road improvements and blame the lack of action on someone else or on a lack of money for roads.

If the county doesn't identify its road needs, then such work will not be in VDOT's road plan when money becomes available. To my knowledge, the six-year road plan for Loudoun County has none of the needed road improvements discussed in the business meeting.

It's time for York and the rest of the board to wake up to the fact that we can't continue to do business as we have in the past, and get on with doing something about another Potomac River crossing and improving Routes 50, 9 and 15, which are so critical to the county's economic viability.

The bottom line is, if the county doesn't clearly spell out what road improvements are needed, place them in the six-year plan, then fight for what we need, we will get nothing. And, at the present time and for the foreseeable future, we have nothing to look forward to as far as road improvements are concerned. What a sad commentary.

Andrew F. Pitas


Snow's Spin

As a former elected official and longtime civic activist, I took great interest in Supervisor Stephen J. Snow's (R-Dulles) letter to the editor ["Snow Clarifies Comment," Loudoun Extra, Oct. 24] trying to put into context his statement telling citizens to move to Canada if they don't like what is happening in the county.

First and foremost, there is no plausible explanation for any elected official to tell any person to leave a county they love if they are unhappy with the Board of Supervisors. Sorry, there is no excuse for such a boorish statement from anyone, certainly not an elected official.

Second, I agree that Robert W. Lazaro Jr. is a respected member of the Purcellville Town Council. Snow, however, takes totally out of context Lazaro's efforts to preserve open space in Purcellville by stating that the town's efforts to keep developers honest in what they count as open space is compatible with Snow's ardent support of development that would result in tens of thousands of new residential units in Loudoun. That is "spin."

Our family has been in Loudoun County for more than 35 years. Loudoun is a great county made up of many diverse communities and people.

While I respect people having an opposing point of view, I do not believe that point of view should be abusive and condescending. In this instance, Snow should just apologize and move on with the people's business at hand.

Eleanore C. Towe

Former Blue Ridge

District supervisor

Round Hill

Face the Facts

Retired Army Lt. Col. Claude Bache, in a letter to the editor, ["Veteran's View," Loudoun Extra, Oct. 24] poses the following question, "How can the American people think of reelecting Bush to be the commander in chief of our armed forces again?"

The answer to Bache's pointed question may lie in a recent poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, affiliated with the University of Maryland. Amazingly, it found that despite reams of information to the contrary, 72 percent of Bush/Cheney supporters still believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or active programs to produce them.

Although a report by U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer concludes that Iraq had no WMD, or WMD-related programs, a majority of Bush supporters persist in the notion that the Duelfer report supports their erroneous beliefs.

Additionally, 75 percent of Bush/Cheney supporters believe that Saddam Hussein was affiliated with al Qaeda, despite the fact that the bipartisan 9/11 Commission's report concludes otherwise. Only 31 percent of Bush/Cheney supporters believe that most of the world opposed a preemptive strike against Iraq.

Bush supporters also overwhelmingly believe that most of the world favors a Bush reelection. Not one of these conclusions is supported by the facts, but the GOP spin machine has, with the help of radio polemics and endless RNC talking points blast-faxed to media outlets, been able to convince a large segment of the voting public otherwise.

The answer to Bache's question can best be summed up in the conclusion of the PIPA study, which found "a tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information." This is alarming to say the least, but the good news is there are still a few days left for Republicans to educate themselves. For the sake of America and the world, let's hope they avail themselves of the facts by Nov. 2.

Patricia Razeghi