Boycott Is Valid Protest

A vox populi alert to Leesburg Town Council member Susan B. Horne, who asserts being "very distressed to hear the threats of boycotting . . . [and] cannot imagine people [doing so] because they're upset with possible action by the council" ["Water Plan Riles Out-of-Towners," The Loudoun Extra, Nov. 27].

Despite directing two failed political campaigns for friend and mentor B.J. Webb, the former Leesburg mayor widely criticized as divisive and secretive, Horne apparently needs lessons on the U.S. Constitution, specifically the First Amendment: " . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Boycotting, in and of itself, is an action by one or more persons that denotes both protest and a call for redress of grievances.

Sadly enough, only white Southern politicians have long refused to acknowledge the boycott as legitimate. Leesburg officials would be shocked to learn that countless individuals and families have for years actively boycotted town businesses and planned events.

There is no sensible explanation for current, nor for proposed, additional skyrocketing water and sewer rates on premises outside the town. This issue is, at center, about Leesburg elected officials' state of denial; misplaced priorities; and parochial policymaking (to wit: former mayors Jim E. Clem and Webb).

Do the historical record and current sociocultural-demographic-economic realities teach Leesburg's selected brain trust nothing?

Philip A. Nathan

Leesburg

Praise for Parkway Choice

It was heartening to recently read of the selection of a route for the tri-county parkway that will preserve parkland and provide a more westerly location for the 10.4-mile roadway between Manassas and the Dulles corridor ["Tri-County Parkway Route Is Approved," Metro, Nov. 18].

We believe that members of Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board heard our pleas and responded appropriately. Similarly, we commend the Army Corps of Engineers, which contributed to this decision-making process.

You may recall that earlier this summer, the Fairfax County Park Authority board and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority board joined to express our grave concerns over the possible routing of this roadway through hallowed ground containing cultural and historic artifacts, as well as the potential for significant damage to wetlands and wildlife. At risk were stands of Virginia's native bluebells, which define the natural beauty of this region as well as the very health of our drinking water and streams.

So we welcome this recent announcement. This was the right decision for all the right reasons. This alignment protects the environment. We understand the desire for this north-south road vitally needed to improve traffic in Prince William and Loudoun counties. We understand the need as it relates to support of the Dulles business corridor in Fairfax County. But we also understand our role as stewards of the land, and it is within that purview that we find comfort in these decisions.

Please be vigilant as the studies and discussion on this roadway continue. We must protect these gains and stand ready to continue to press for planning decisions that make sense. We thank all those who have joined us in this rally for preservation and ask again for your continued support.

Harold Strickland

Fairfax

Strickland is chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority board.