Revive the Hospital Debate

I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for its vote Aug. 1 denying HCA Inc. a special exception to build a hospital in my neighborhood.

For many of us, this was an introduction into the world of local politics. As with most things, I found good and bad in the process. It was refreshing to see many of the board members consider all the perspectives and take a long-term view of where the next hospital should be built in the county. On the other hand, it was disheartening to see the willingness of some board members to make tradeoffs of people's rights in exchange for road improvements and other financial considerations.

I believe it is important to begin looking forward and to stop looking back. For the members of the community on opposite sides of this issue as well as the members of the board on opposing sides, we need to stop talking past each other and start talking to each other.

The need is real, the concerns are valid and there are a range of solutions we need to consider. This is not about HCA. We should be working collectively to bring hospital services to the county -- in the right location and in the near term. We need to come together and reunite as one community.

Pat Booth


Preparing for a Disaster

The Washington Post on Thursday had several outstanding and interesting articles about how to prepare for a disaster that could strike your community.

Michelle Singletary's column The Color of Money ["Lessons to Carry Away From Katrina," Sept. 8, Business Section] had some of the most common-sense information I've seen in some time and a checklist that no homeowner (or renter, for that matter) should be without. She also provided links to other articles she had written on how to prepare for disasters and similar topics.

One of her many excellent recommendations concerns flood insurance. If you don't think you need it, you may change your mind (as I did) after reading her article and following the trail of links she provided.

In checking all the links, I learned that Loudoun County ranks a 10 (the worst rating) in flood preparedness. This prevents residents from getting any discount on flood insurance, a discount that can be as high as 45 percent. I wonder whether our Board of Supervisors is aware of this?

Gerald F. Merna

Potomac Falls