Monday, May 13, 2013
Del. Rob Krupicka says the community, state and country need to face the issues of treating mental illness head-on.
To the editor: We read about the tragic results of untreated mental illness everyday. The mass shootings at Newtown, Tucson, Aurora and Virginia Tech were all perpetuated by students or young people with reported mental health issues. The effects of mental illness are not always so high profile—most people with mental illness are non-violent—but for the one in 17 Americans living with a serious mental illness, the consequences are significant. Our youth are particularly hard hit. Mental illness frequently strikes when people are young. The consequences can be devastating. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people ages 10-24. More than 90 percent of those who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. The U.S. Surgeon …
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Alexandria resident endorses Dana Lawhorne for re-election as sheriff and Bryan Porter for Commonwealth's Attorney.
To the editor, I would like to make all Alexandrians aware of two dedicated, home-grown candidates running for constitutional offices in Alexandria—Dana Lawhorne for Sheriff and Bryan Porter for Commonwealth’s Attorney. They represent the very best of bright, dedicated, and effective Democratic candidates, and I am pleased to support both of them. Dana Lawhorne is the incumbent Sheriff, having been elected in 2005. Dana was born and raised in Alexandria and attended our public schools. Since his graduation from T.C. Williams High School, Dana has served in public safety positions, 27 years as an Alexandria Police Officer before serving as our Sheriff for the past seven years. In my opinion, Dana’s crown-jewel achievement is his leadership …
Monday, April 29, 2013
Kevin H. Posey of the Alexandria Transportation Commission says the city needs a better plan for Landmark Mall.
As some readers may know, I supported the Beauregard redevelopment plan put forward by JBG Properties and other developers because the design called for a first-class pedestrian environment. I even said nice things about the Waterfront plans which also embodied Council’s commitment to less car reliance, though that stance put me at odds with quite a few individuals in the city. So, I’m hardly in the camp of those opposed to any and all development in Alexandria when I say that I oppose the current plan to redevelop Landmark Mall. Let me make it clear that I support redeveloping the old, tired relic of mid-20th century commerce that squats on the site now. It is an antiquated example of car-based, regionally oriented retail shopping that no…
Charles Conway questions state Del. Rob Krupicka's leadership of the Jefferson-Houston transformation.
How harshly do readers have to express their heartfelt distress before getting The Patch’s attention? In an August 18, 2011 entry “Krupicka Believes Agenda Sets Him Apart, State senate candidate says creating local-state partnerships will be critical to future of Northern Virginia” Del Ray Patch editor Drew Hansen suggests the defeated candidate, now State Delegate former City Councilman Rob Krupicka, “believes it is this agenda, one he says has specific plans to boost education in the state and to create state-local partnerships… that sets him apart.” If true why did State Delegate formerly City Councilman Krupicka, who in the same article touts former ACPS School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch’s “personal endorsement,” not have a well-…
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Michael Clem, a recycling program analyst with the city's Transportation & Environmental Services Department, says it's time to rethink trash. Did you know that the average Alexandria household disposes of 46 pounds of trash each week?
Wednesday, April 24
To the editor: With the momentum of Earth Day and the arrival of spring, our thoughts turn to small ways that we can help the environment. Fill our recycling bin; turn off lights when leaving a room; set the air conditioning thermostat a few degrees higher, take out the trash…. take out the trash? Yes, that’s right. For better or worse, trash, an inevitable byproduct of human civilization, could potentially join wind, solar, and hydro power as a renewable energy source. Consider this: Alexandria transports its trash to the Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility (5301 Eisenhower Ave.), which generates electricity. The average Alexandria household disposes of 46 pounds of trash each week, generating enough kilowatts of energy to drive 38 miles …
Friday, April 19, 2013
Arthur E. Schmalz says Susan Yowell leaves SFA better than she found it.
To the editor, Novelist Paul Auster wrote that the best one can do in life is to “leave the world a little better than you found it.” On June 30, after 10 years as the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria’s Executive Director, Susan Yowell will leave the organization a lot better than when she arrived a decade ago. During her tenure, SFA’s annual scholarship awards to T.C. Williams students more than tripled, growing from about $279,000 in 2003 to $920,000 in 2012. Over the same period, the size of SFA’s General Fund awards to students grew from $1,000 to $2,500 per year. Annual contributions to SFA followed a similar trajectory, increasing from approximately $400,000 in 2003, to $1 million in 2012. These are impressive accomplishments, but …
Friday, April 12, 2013
Is Eisenhower Avenue widening a waste of money?
To the editor, I am writing because I am concerned that Alexandria is wasting money on the Eisenhower Ave road-widening project. Does it make sense to spend a $7 million to make the operation of the intersection of Eisenhower Avenue and Mill Road "acceptable" for seven years? And what happens when the average daily traffic volumes again exceed acceptable levels, as the city projects they will? Readers who think that the city of Alexandria should place higher priority on identifying and incentivizing multi-modal transit options should use the Eisenhower Design Public Comment process as an opportunity to be heard. In the past, our city council has wisely emphasized adding capacity through transit (supported by walking and biking access) over…
Monday, April 8, 2013
Retired police officer Sean McGowan, who is now the executive director of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, served 25 years in the Alexandria Police Department.
To the Editor: Members of the Alexandria Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association have expressed deep concerns over the City Manager's proposed changes to the City's health insurance program and the police and fire pension. Both of these changes will have a major impact on the lives of police officers and their families. While our officers have long lagged behind our comparator jurisdictions in salary, they have always been able to point to their benefits as something that helped maintain their compensation level; this is no longer the case. Our law enforcement professionals understand that the cost of healthcare is rising, not only here in the City, but nationwide. Over the past several years, the city has increased the portion of …
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Frank Putzu questions the city's transparency and ability to engage with its citizens when it comes to redeveloping the Alexandria waterfront.
Wednesday, April 3
On March 16, 2013, the Alexandria City Council passed controversial and sweeping planning changes that are already the subject of litigation. The City passed these changes to transform an honest policy disagreement into Through the Looking Glass litigation tactics, where nothing is as it appears to be. There are two cases in court. The first, city-initiated litigation attacks a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision finding that citizens have a right to petition their government in accordance with state law (the BZA is a creature of state law, not the city) and zoning ordinance. The second, citizen-initiated litigation, which is before the Supreme Court of Virginia, is whether the city can manipulate the process to deprive its citizens of …
Monday, March 25, 2013
Small business expert Frank Felker discusses whether it's worth it to swim with the sharks in the TV program Shark Tank.
Even if you’re not a fan of reality shows, allow me to suggest you watch at least one episode of Shark Tank, which airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Like most reality shows, little about it is not scripted or staged. But the drama that unfolds is educational nonetheless, if you are - or wish to become - the owner of your own small business. The Sharks are a panel of five billionaire (or at least multi-hundred millionaire) serial entrepreneurs who sit hungrily in their easy chairs, watching as three small companies per episode pitch them on the idea of investing a given amount of money in their firms in exchange for a certain percentage of equity ownership. The best known of the Sharks is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, currently …