I was astonished to learn of the proposed $350,000-to-$450,000 monument to serve as a landmark for the new Fairfax County government center {Metro, Jan. 21}.

Even more disturbing were the comments of various government officials -- particularly those of Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield): "Here we are one of the richest counties in the nation and we're going to have just a building. I would hope we would have a feature on it that is distinctive." She had mentioned earlier that during a tour of the Midwest last year she had passed little towns where courthouses were embellished with "gold domes, carvings, statues, all kinds of things."

Yes, Fairfax is an affluent county. But we have homeless people, hungry people, unemployed people and displaced elderly renters. Can any type of monument feed, clothe or shelter human beings? It's shameful to consider any use for this money other than bettering the lives of the taxpayers of the county.

You can't eat a 12-story centerpiece. You can't get warm or find shelter by the light of a 12-story stainless steel obelisk.

Surely the county can find better things to do with a half a million dollars. If not, then give my share back.