League Hopes Kilgore
Will Take Part in Forum
Hurray for the editorial "Access to the Debate" [Page A18, July 25].
In June, the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area and the League of Women Voters of the Richmond Metropolitan Area invited all three of Virginia's gubernatorial candidates (Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore and Russell Potts) to participate in a candidates forum to be broadcast live and statewide over television and radio during prime time in mid-October.
This hour-long event would be available to every home in Virginia that has a television and/or radio (no cable or satellite needed), thanks to the Community Idea Stations (owners of public television and radio stations in Richmond and Charlottesville). The Foundation for Virginia, a nonprofit organization in Richmond, would underwrite the costs of this effort. The candidates forum would originate from the Community Idea Stations' studios and be moderated by a well-known personality.
As of July 25, two of the invited candidates' representatives had responded positively and were participating in planning sessions for this event. Unfortunately, Mr. Kilgore's campaign manager has given a negative response. Events sponsored by the League of Women Voters require the participation of all certified candidates appearing on the ballot.
We truly regret that, so far, Mr. Kilgore's campaign is saying that he will not participate. We believe that our forum would give all Virginians the best coverage of the candidates in a nonpartisan and fair setting, as only the integrity and reputation of the League of Women Voters can provide.
We hope that public pressure will persuade Mr. Kilgore to join in our forum.
Sherry W. Zachry
League of Women Voters
of the Fairfax Area
Fort Belvoir Is Committed
To Welfare of Its Neighbors
The article "Assessing Fort Belvoir's Problems and Prospects" [Business, Page D1, July 18] addressed the potential economic development surrounding Fort Belvoir as related to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendations. The last two paragraphs of the article quoted our spokesman out of context and potentially left the impression that Fort Belvoir is indifferent to community issues.
The quote from Mr. Richard Arndt was just one sentence from an interview that was several hours long and included a substantial discussion with me. Some key points made during the interview were not addressed in the story and are worth reiterating.
Fort Belvoir's leadership considers the community's residents and their elected leaders as key stakeholders in the future development of the post. We have met several times with Fairfax and Prince William county officials since the May 13 Base Realignment and Closure announcement. Indeed, just four days later, on May 17, we met with members of the boards of supervisors from both counties.
Later, we met with Fairfax County's Economic Advisory and Fort Belvoir committees and participated in the televised roundtable discussion of the county's Planning Commission. On July 21, we met with the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp. On July 28, we hosted key staffers of Fairfax County's Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Such communication is essential to our mutual success in implementing the final Base Realignment and Closure measures at Fort Belvoir. We are actively sharing information regarding the recommended influx of employees with county, state and federal elected officials in order to allow all levels of civilian government to plan the most efficient ways to manage the challenges inherent in the proposed growth.
While Fort Belvoir cannot take the lead in addressing issues that arise outside the installation's gates, we fully realize that growth inside will affect the local communities. The issues that concern the local communities are of great concern to Fort Belvoir as well.
Members of our workforce live in, commute through and are active members of these very communities.
We intend to stay involved with the surrounding communities and remain committed to sharing information and working hand in hand with our local, state and federal elected leadership and planning staffs.
We are excited and optimistic about the opportunities the Base Realignment and Closure may bring to Fort Belvoir and the region. The recommendations indicate that the Department of Defense considers Fort Belvoir a strategic, joint-service platform that will continue to support the national defense strategy. We are confident that through continued communication and mutual support, the outcome of Base Realignment and Closure 2005 will be a win-win situation for Fort Belvoir and its neighbors.
Director of Public Affairs
The Patriot Act Is Helping
To Keep Us Safe and Free
Regarding the letter on the USA Patriot Act by Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly ["A Request for Caution on Patriot Act," Fairfax Extra, July 21]:
I am one of the "many" citizens of Fairfax County referenced in the letter. As I think about the Patriot Act, I can't help recalling one incident that occurred last year or so in Russia in which an 18-month-old child was shot by those evil people we refer to as "terrorists." Since the shooting didn't accomplish death, they followed up by stabbing the child to death. So many atrocious acts have been committed in which innocent people have been killed while on the way to their work to support their loved ones or while trying to live their own lives.
I realize the pendulum has swung to the right, but we must understand we are not dealing with normal human behavior. These people are trying to destroy innocent people who don't agree with their thinking, and I, for one, feel they have few rights to use our system.
I, as one of the many citizens of Fairfax County referred to in the letter, would suggest we leave the Patriot Act as is, for I have not seen any abuses against citizens of this great country. We must give the necessary tools to law enforcement, for every day they put their lives on the line to allow us to have these wonderful freedoms we have.
Mack R. Farr