Apparently, Martin Tillett disagrees with my contentions that people who vote should have to prove their identities with a photo ID and that Virginia should provide such IDs free of charge to those who claim to be unable to afford the $10 fee for a photo ID good for 5 years. I find it remarkable that photo IDs are required in numerous instances, from cashing a check to air travel to obtaining food stamps, and no one seems to object, but when it comes to the most fundamental of our rights, the right to vote, certain people, typically of liberal persuasion, are unconcerned about making sure voters prove their identities before voting. Enough said.
This weekend is Supervisor Hyland's town meeting. I have several community concerns that I hope are addressed:
The off-leash dog area at Westgrove Park will be voted upon by the Planning Commission, probably in May. This is a no-brainer that addresses a great community need and is supported by adjacent neighborhoods, the MVCCA, Supervisor Hyland, our Park Authority rep Linwood Gorham and over 500 petition signers. I look for Supervisor Hyland to reiterate his support.
Virginia CCPA has been working to establish a police review board as exists in numerous other jurisdictions. I have great respect for our county police force and believe they are one of our nation's finest. At the same time, it is inconceivable that in its 70-plus year history, only a handful of officers have been found culpable for misconduct. Increased transparency is not harmful. Supervisor Hyland is chairman of the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee. He should be urged to support the goals of the Virginia CCPA. The Commonwealth's Freedom of Information Act makes it optional for localities to direct their police forces to reveal evidence of police misconduct. The Board of Supervisors can solve this problem through a simple vote on a resolution directing the police force to do so. Since the Board of Supervisors refuses to do so, our state Del. Scott Surovell should propose legislation amending the FOIA law to require disclosure of information. Will he? I support the good intentions of Virginia CCPA.
The master plan for the park portion of North Hill was approved almost a year ago. What is the current status of the effort to obtain funding for the park? Frankly, it would be useful to discuss selling the Lamond property (recently renamed after Mount Vernon's former Park Authority representative) and using the proceeds to begin to develop the North Hill park. The Lamond property has been largely unused since its acquisition and the North Hill park will be beneficial to a larger group of people. Also, what is the status of the development of 65 affordable homes at North Hill? Let's get going!
Last year, the work of Supervisor Hyland's Visioning Task Force culminated in a comprehensive report that included recommendations for the future of the Mount Vernon District. Have any of those recommendations been transformed into action items? I look for Supervisor Hyland to report to the community.
H. Jay Spiegel