Monday, October 20, 2008

Time for the Dulles South Schools Test

It’s time for the first significant test of Dulles South voter wisdom in this past Board of Supervisor elections. Is our elected representative representing?

Tonight was the last public comment period before the Loudoun Board of Supervisor’s vote (scheduled for 10AM tomorrow morning) on the special exception required to build 2 new Dulles-South area schools on a property near Lenah Run. About 56 persons signed up to speak, with about 120 in the audience, and a smattering of kids.

First to speak included a South Riding (by far the largest contingent represented) resident with 2 children, stressing the bussing that went on prior to new schools – as a disaster, the worst experience of their lives, leaving no time for quality of life. (We’ll second this complaint, having learned from many over the years of the horrid behavior, lack of discipline and harmful or unwanted physical overtures on long bus rides to Ashburn.) Many followed, just about all in favor of the critical Lenah property – to round applause on “vote” yes appeals.

Others made similar arguments, to similar reception. Even students affected by the issue got into the act - a 5th –grader from Little River expressed her concern about her future, worried about splitting up among many different schools, with special buses, 2-3 hours a day on a bus. “Didn’t our parents vote to pay taxes for new schools?” she asked.

One community member asked everyone stand who supported the Lenah site - only about 15-20 didn’t stand.

A signed petition of 1000 names in support of the Lenah site was presented by Jeff Morse, South Riding HOA president.

Only 3 arguments surfaced in support of further delays.

Following are a long list of other topics and comments from the speakers, in support of the Lenah property as proposed by the School Board. The reasons FOR are just about endless; the reasons AGAINST are few:

• Property was purchased at a fair price, as an integrated plot.
• Social cost of constant boundary changes is greater than financial cost.
• Can not use cost as a reason to vote no.
• No need to issue bonds for MS-5 till Fall 2009.
• Don’t know anybody in South Riding or Stone Ridge who’s against this proposal.
• One of the wealthiest counties can’t provide schools for its children.
• Do not punish children based on special interests and narrow-minded anti-development agendas.
• Which is more important, taking on “Greedy Greenvest” or educating our children?
• Complete lack of representation by our elected supervisor.
• There isn’t a better or cheaper site.
• Previous BOS provided schools when they were necessary.
• Lenah is legal, affordable, available, local.
• Very disappointed in Mr. Miller, and you don’t seem to be concerned or listening to us – our prior supervisor did fight for us.
• Bussing to only spare corners for the foreseeable future.
• Mr. Miller needs to work hard to educate fellow supervisors on the benefits.
• Lambert doesn’t pass the smell test, and it really reeks.
• An indisputable tidal wave, mushrooming of the population of children.
• Lenah’s ready now, it’s been ready for 2 years.
• Consider the numbers, ignore special interest.
• Let’s not point fingers within the county at who’s to blame – but let’s make decisions now and look back and take credit for the positive.
• Loudoun County Economic Development Strategic Plan – how will driving our kids all around the county support this.
• Heavy commuter and truck traffic, construction, traffic lights – a terrible disruption in their education, a serious quality of life issue.
• We can’t search for that imaginary, perfect site.
• What you don’t see, for every person here, are 5-6 persons at home with the same opinion.
• 1000 signatures from Dulles South – you would think this would count for something – perhaps not.
• Many of you were elected on the platform of restoring faith – perhaps not.
• The children are still coming.
• Waiting for another option is not a strategic plan.
• Mr. Miller came down to tell his constituents they wouldn’t get a hospital or new schools.
• Rt. 50 isn’t just a bunch of temporary clutter on the way to where the special things are.
• It can’t be the cost – we have the money.
• Children are being used as pawns in this great debate.
• What we have is what we have – we’re not creating any more land.
• It seems like it’s all about Greenvest – not about our children. Look beyond who owns the land now, to who will own it in the future – and that’s our children.
• Appalled that the Board won’t include us – again.
• What do you expect children to do messin’ around for an hour on the bus?
• What has this end of the county done to you that we have to go through this over and over again?
• Student – the size of the classes doesn’t affect me as much as the prospect of long bus rides.
• Just as the Feds have taken swift and decisive action lately, so should you at a local level.
• Commuting 1 hour each way isn’t even in the realm of being reasonable.
• Some think they know more than the School Board, who worked over 3 years on bringing forward this site.
• Don’t put Dulles South at a disadvantage from other communities that you serve.
• Don’t turn around and punt, but score the touchdown.
• Psychological and physical stress on the buses – bullying, violence – why would we subject children to this, under custody of low-paid, low-skilled employees?
• Lenah supporters want to “hear birds chirp”, “not see soccer balls”.
• Do your job as elected officials.
• With so much information, who can we listen to – we listen to those government groups, HOAs, etc. who know what they’re doing.
• If there’s one thing we know how to do, we know how to vote.
• Bowman Consulting – to build Lambert would be $42M vs. $26 for Lenah.
• The current traffic conditions simply don’t support addition of dozens of buses to the roads during rush hour.
• The Lenah site is smack dab in the middle of the Dulles South area.
• Overpopulating the classrooms leads to suffering for all children.
• We’ve been patronized by Mr. Miller and members of his staff.
• I would like my children not to be on unsafe roads, in unsafe intersections.
• We moved to Stone Ridge in good faith that the Lenah school expansion was coming.
• You can’t do homework on the bus, or use a computer on the bus.

Overheard in private conversation – “perhaps we can impeach and re-elect Steve Snow”.

A few lucky individuals got to raise other concerns swirling around the County at this time, including the Meals Tax issue, the next Loudoun Hospital or “Hospital Turf War” as it was put, and support for HOA quality of life in rezoning actions – more to come in the next few weeks especially on the needed Loudoun Hospital in the Dulles South region.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Mush said...

Looks like Miller won't be seeking a second term.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He apparently told just that to his actual neighbors in Broadlands, who were under the impression when they voted for him that he understood their concerns about a hospital being retrofitted into their neighborhood.

No one has any leverage, because not only will the district be divided before the next magisterial election, he isn't running.

We are in deep fertilizer, because he actually stated today that he is accountable to the county at large.

Somebody tell Scott York (when you write to him to thank him for voting AGAINST denial of schools) that since Miller isn't being paid enough to do his OWN job (that he isn't doing), he shouldn't be wearing himself out trying to do York's--along with the school board's, and the planning staff's, and so on...

Barbara Munsey

2:20 PM  

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