Message from Supervisor McKay September 2013

Even more than January, September has always felt like the beginning of the year to me and now that my daughter has started kindergarten, my family and I are fully back in the rhythm of the school calendar year.

August was a transitional month for my family—my daughter’s last days as a preschooler and a time for my wife and me to adjust to having a child in school.  (I sure would like to know how they grow up so fast!) In addition to mulling over that family milestone, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the role of our government. The fact that just about every August day had a story about congress and the possibility of a government shutdown certainly made me appreciate my board colleagues who work across the aisle, communicate, and compromise to get things done.

I also remembered a discussion I had with a constituent some years back when he called my office to complain about paying County property taxes.  He believed we should have a cafeteria form of government where no one should pay for services not used.  In his case, he said he used no County services so therefore there was no reason for him to pay County property tax.  And then he told me all about how he runs for an hour early every morning and prefers to do that at Fairfax County parks because of their excellent and well maintained trails.

Fairfax County provides an array of services to its residents, one of the reasons we’re known for our high quality of life and stable economy.  On September 21, I’ll be bringing those services directly to Lee District residents at a resource fair from 9 am to noon at the Franconia Governmental Center.  You’ll be able to get immediate information and advice from an array of county agencies including such topics as zoning violations and property maintenance, parking, drainage, consumer affairs, road construction, streetlights, trash, building permits, health, and the like.

There’s no need to register in advance—just walk in and take advantage of services to help your neighborhood.

Supervisor McKay on Volunteers

Volunteers make Fairfax County a great place to live and work. Our strong culture of volunteerism builds social capital, strengthens our community, and improves our quality of life. 

Fairfax County has many volunteer opportunities ranging from service on one of its boards, authorities, or commissions to one-time events such as community clean-ups.

I’m proud of our Lee District volunteers and always look forward to the events that honor them.  Celebrate Fairfax’s Lord and Lady Fairfax event in early June is one of my favorites. The tradition of honoring the Lords and Ladies Fairfax began in 1984 to recognize outstanding County citizens. Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors select two people from their districts who have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service. Past honorees are a Who’s Who of Lee District citizens.  This year, Kyle Talente is my Lord Fairfax, honored for his many years of service to the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) and Route One revitalization.  My Lady Fairfax is Samantha Underwood, a fourth grader and the creator of Kids Sending Smiles, an organization of school children that raises money for those in need.

Then there’s Volunteer Fairfax’s Service Awards.  Suzette Kern is Lee District’s Community Champion—Suzette represents our district on the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and also chairs my citizen budget committee. 

Looking for a way to get involved? Here are some resources:

Fairfax County boards and commissions

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bacs/

These are the advisory bodies to the County’s Board of Supervisors.

(I have vacancies on the Commission on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation and the Fairfax Area Disability Services Board so please contact me if you’re interested.)

Volunteer Fairfax

http://www.volunteerfairfax.org/

Volunteer Fairfax matches skills and interests of volunteers to the needs of local nonprofit organizations for both one-time and ongoing volunteer projects.

Clean Fairfax Council

http://www.cleanfairfax.org/Clean Fairfax encourages environmental stewardship and sustainability in Fairfax County.  It works to reduce littering and supports community clean-ups and adopt-a-spots.

Fairfax County Animal Shelter

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/animal/volunteers.htm

(Note that while volunteer activities will start up again this summer, you can still foster a pet now).

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the volunteer circuit. 

Citizen’s Advisory Council Meeting Report

Parking issues abound in Fairfax County and the Franconia District is no exception!  If your neighborhood is experiencing a parking problem, the CAC meeting in April was where you should have been!  Parking Enforcement Officer Nevien Tadross spoke to those gathered about her job as the parking enforcement officer and fielded a question and answer time.  She has a huge area to cover in the Franconia District but encouraged everyone to contact her with their concern and she will look into it.  If you have such a concern, please e-mail Officer Jim Reid (James.Reid@fairfaxcounty.gov) and he will make sure Officer Tadross gets the message.

Captain Jim Baumstark then gave his summary of the past month’s events, including an update on the Springfield Groper.  He said there has been no activity in Central Springfield in the past five weeks and that there are bike teams as well as other resources in the area.  There have been three similar events in Lorton but the MO and suspect description were different, leading the police to believe it is a different person involved.

The weather is getting warmer and as a result, there may be an increase in crimes committed by juveniles.   His advice is to make sure to lock cars, homes, garages and to keep valuables out of sight.   This time last year, there was a rash of motorcycle thefts.  The police are trying to make people more aware to prevent a repeat.  If you see or hear anything suspicious, please call the non-emergency number 703-691-2131.  If it’s an emergency, please do not hesitate to call 911!

This time of year, there seems to be an increase in solicitors.  He advised homeowners to remember that solicitors must have permits and they must show them when asked.  Call the police if you suspect something is not right.  You may avoid being a victim or prevent your neighbor from becoming one!

The Franconia Station received the “Chief’s Challenge Award” for traffic initiatives and traffic enforcement last year.  It is quite an honor!

The Franconia Station Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meets every third Wednesday of the month. A special presentation or class begins at 6:30 p.m. and the actual CAC meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.  As an integral part of the CAC meeting, the captain of the Franconia Police Station gives a report and answers questions from concerned citizens.  Please come and bring your concerns and questions!

High Turnout at Springfield Polls

Thanks to all the Springfield community members who worked and volunteered at the polls on November 6 and to all who voted. It is uplifting to see everyone working together to make our democracy. Turnout was especially high for this election. Crestwood saw 80% of registered voters cast a ballot and Lynbrook saw 79.2%.

Utility Pole Hazards and Blight?

You don't have to live with it!

Report it to us by email at springfieldcivic@yahoo.com with the subject "Utility Pole."

Give us the nearest house number and street address and a brief description of problem: broken support wire, hanging cables, coiled wires taped to pole within reach, etc.

Supervisor McKay on Sequestration

Sequestration. Try saying that fast five times and see what happens. I get a bunch of tangled syllables that pretty much illustrate the potential impact. Sequestration is $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts that will go into effect next year if Congress does not act. It’s part of the fiscal cliff we’re hearing so much about—the combination of sequestration, tax cuts that expire and the federal debt ceiling. When Congress’ Joint Select committee on Deficit Reduction (also called the Super Committee) failed to reach agreement on $2.1 trillion worth of cuts over 10 years, sequestration was triggered—and that was a threat that no one thought would ever be carried out.

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Message from Supervisor McKay

I’ve been thinking a lot about emergencies lately—a derecho, four days without power in a heat wave with two small kids, and a flooded kitchen floor will do that to you. So will a magnitude 5.8 earthquake such as the one we experienced last August. In this part of the country, we’re accustomed to weather emergencies that give a few days’ notice—with hurricanes and snow storms there’s usually time to make a store run, secure loose items around the house, and alter travel plans. Garden variety thunderstorms are a normal part of our summers and any power outages are usually short. The derecho (violent straight line thunderstorms with the power of tornados) that roared into our area on June 29 was something else entirely and a sharp reminder of what nature can do to our infrastructure. I’d say we’ve had a loud wake-up call to government at all levels, to utilities, and most of all, to us as individuals to plan for the unexpected.
Back in the days and months after the 9/11 terrorist attack you couldn’t read a news story or turn on the TV without hearing about family emergency plans. Many of us put those plans in place and then as the years rolled by without incident, those plans and emergency kits gathered dust and got shuttled off to a closet somewhere.
Emergencies come in many different forms and some of the most damaging have natural causes. Now would be a good time to dust off and replenish those emergency kits and communication plans.
Fairfax County’s web page has a lot of very useful information at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/residents/. If you go to family.readynova.com/ you’ll be guided through creating a family emergency plan. It’ll be a half hour well spent that could save you hours and days later.
If I could ask for just one thing, it’s for every Fairfax County resident to sign up for the County’s CEAN (Community Emergency Alert Network) text alert system. This system delivers important alerts, notifications, and updates during a major crisis or emergency, in addition to day-to-day notices about weather and traffic. You can sign up online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean. Messages will be delivered to all devices you register, including email accounts, cell phones, text pagers, satellite phones, and wireless devices.
This is information that I hope you’ll never need to use but it can help you to sleep better at night knowing you’re well prepared.

Congressional District Boundary Change

If you live in the Crestwood or Lynbrook precinct, your Congressional District has changed from the 11th Congressional District to the 8th Congressional District. Virginia HB 251 Congressional districts; changes in boundaries lists all of the new boundaries by precinct. Crestwood and Lynbrook precincts are now represented by Congressman Jim Moran, instead of Congressman Gerry Connolly.
The State Board of Elections has a handy tool to citizens may use to confirm their voter registration status. Find it here:https://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/PublicSite/Public/FT2/PublicLookup.aspx?Link=Registration

Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center Tour

On Saturday August 18, members of the SCA were invited to tour the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC.) The tour was led by David M. McKernan, who is the Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management for the county. The facility is one of the most technically advanced non-military Emergency Operations Center in the country. Mr. McKernan emphasized the need for all citizens to be prepared for unusual events, reminds all of us to be prepared to be on our own for a period of 72 hours, and asks that we check on our neighbors when emergency events occur.

As part of the tour, our group viewed the 9-1-1 Call Center. The capability of the call center includes joint operating agreements between Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax so that 911 operators can dispatch the closest available units, appropriate to the type of emergency.

Don’t forget about the Fairfax County Special Needs Registry, which allows residents with medical needs and organizations assisting those with social needs an opportunity to provide information to Fairfax County so that agencies can communicate emergency preparedness, response and recovery resources to our vulnerable, at risk and hard-to-reach residents.:www.fairfaxcounty.gov/specialneeds/

 

David McKernan, Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management and some SCA friends