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Votes

Letter: No Official Position, Unchanged

— To the Editor:

Apparently my letter in the Aug. 9 Gazette hit the target because Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) President Terrence Liercke felt the need to write in last week to try to restore credibility to ASNV's wayward Advocacy Chair Glenda Booth. In my letter, I pointed out that when Ms. Booth spoke at the Master Planning meeting for Westgrove Park, she claimed she was speaking in opposition to the proposed Off-Leash Dog Area (OLDA) on behalf of ASNV. I quoted Mr. Liercke in support of the fact that ASNV had taken no such official position.

Here is the complete narrative of my e-mail exchange with Mr. Liercke (that was previously furnished to the Gazette Editor):

Dear Mr. Liercke:

I'm writing to inquire as to whether the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia has taken any official written position concerning the proposed off-leash dog area at Westgrove Park in Fairfax County? If so, I'd appreciate receiving a copy of the written position. Thanks,

H. Jay Spiegel

Hi, I just returned from out of town so apologies for the delayed reply. While individual members have been asked to weigh in on this matter, ASNV has taken no official written position on the issue. Thanks, Terry Liercke

I'll let readers decide if Ms. Booth was authorized to oppose the OLDA on behalf of ASNV or if, rather, she was restricted to personally opposing it without stating, implying or inferring that she was expressing an official position on behalf of ASNV.

At the master planning meeting, Ms. Booth clearly stated that her opposition of the OLDA was on behalf of Friends of Dyke Marsh and, quoting her, "the 5,000 members of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia."

Mr. Liercke's letter to the Gazette, while expressing ASNV's policy of encouraging the maintenance and creation of natural resource areas, enhancing "connectivity" in the area in and adjacent to Westgrove Park, and master planning the park, did nothing to dispute what he said in his e-mail to me. ASNV has taken no official written position concerning the OLDA.

I support Glenda Booth's right to personally oppose the OLDA, but when she drifts off into the netherland of trying to multiply her personal opposition by attaching it to organizations that haven't officially agreed with her, or have not taken an official position she can point to, it would be irresponsible to refrain from pointing it out.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon