Making Democracy Work

A Voice for Citizens and Force for Change in the United States

The League of Women Voters of Falls Church is a nonpartisan organization that serves the citizens of Falls Church City by encouraging informed and active participation in government, working to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influencing public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters never supports or opposes candidates for office, or political parties. Any use of the League of Women Voters name in campaign advertising or literature has not been authorized by the League.

DOUBLEHEADER ON TRANSPORTATION: CITY AND REGION

This month, the League offers two programs on transportation - the first focused on Falls Church City, and the second on the larger metropolitan region. Here are the details:

ROUTE 7 CORRIDOR STUDY: FALLS CHURCH CITY'S MAIN STREET - MARCH 22

The League of Women Voters of Falls Church will host a forum on future plans for Route 7, Falls Church City's "Main Street," on Sunday, March 22, 2015 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center.

In December 2013, the Falls Church city government and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) completed the first phase of a federally funded study of transportation options for the Route 7 corridor from the City of Alexandria to Tysons Corner. Speakers at the forum will review findings from the first phase of that study and outline the issues that will be considered in the second phase. Local residents are encouraged to provide their input.

Speaking at the forum will be Penny Gross, the member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who represents the Mason District, which includes the Seven Corners area; Paul Baldino, chair of the Falls Church Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation; Kelley Coyner, executive director of NVTC; and David F. Snyder, vice mayor of Falls Church and chair of the NVTC.

CROSSING BOUNDARIES: A FORUM ON TRANSPORTATION - MARCH 28

Please join the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA) Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the Conference Center, NRECA -National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 4301 Wilson Blvd - Arlington, Virginia, for this forum on regional transportation issues.

Speakers Shyam Kannan, WMATA Director of Planning Ross Capon, Railroads expert Emily Badger, Washington Post Tom Fairchild, Technology & mobility expert Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth Dan Reed, Planning consultant, Nelson Nygaard Garritt Knapp, Center for Smart Growth, UofMD Rich Kuzmyak, Renaissance Planning Group Aldea Douglas, AARP

Presentations and Discussions 9:30 Registration 10:00 Morning Panel 12:00 lunch on your own in Ballston 1:00 Afternoon Panel 3:15 Wrap-Up

Free Event Registration: http://lwvnca.eventbrite.com

LWVFC HOLDS FORUM ON GERRYMANDERING

The League of Women Voters of Falls Church hosted a forum entitled "Gerrymandering: Can It Be Stopped?" in February.

The discussion reviewed political redistricting and explored the extent to which both parties have tried to gain a political advantage by manipulating the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts--a practice known as gerrymandering. Currently, legislative districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia are drawn by the General Assembly. Some proponents of redistricting reform are seeking instead to have districts drawn by an independent, bipartisan commission.

The program was led by Brian Cannon, executive director of One Virginia 2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, a coalition of organizations and individuals seeking changes by the time of the next scheduled redistricting in 2021. He was joined by Sara Fitzgerald, a member of the Falls Church League of Women Voters who currently serves on the national League's Redistricting Task Force.

TAKE ACTION ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW

The horrific problem of human trafficking in Northern Virginia was the focus of a League forum last month. Co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Falls Church and of Arlington and the Falls Church chapter of the American Association of University of Women, the program attracted 150 citizens, who packed the Falls Church Community Center to hear Detective Bill Woolf of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, Lee Hopkins of the Tahirih Justice Center, and a representative of Courtney's House, an organization that serves the needs of children who have been victims of human sex trafficking.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 21 million incidents of humans being sold into slavery each year, generating more than $30 billion in illegal revenues. Unfortunately, Northern Virginia is a hub of this criminal enterprise - and in fact, ranks fifth in the nation - because it is a major metropolitan area with easy access to both Dulles International Airport and the I-95 corridor.

The forum was designed to help citizens better understand the nature and extent of the problem and steps they can take to help combat it. The League in Arlington compiled the following list of resources for further citizen action:

Human Trafficking Resources--National, State, Regional, Local

Note: There are many resources and services available to advocates, law enforcement, victim services, etc. This is a partial list of resources, compiled January 30, 2015.

Central Source of Information: http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org

National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline: 888-373-7888 Or Text HELP to BeFree (233733)

National Department of Homeland Security: Blue Campaign: "One Voice, One Mission, End Human Trafficking." DHS.Gov/Bluecampaign To report suspected trafficking, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

State Virginia Department of Criminal Justice http://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/victims/humantrafficking/research.cfm Virginia statutes; resources for commonwealth's attorneys, law enforcement, victims

Regional and Local Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force (Detective William Woolf: FCPDHumanTrafficking@fairfaxcounty.gov) A collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies + along with nongovernmental organizations + dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. Arlington County Arlington County liaison: Officer Christina Hawkins, cmhawkins@arlingtonva.org

Advocacy for Legislation Bills in 2015 session of General Assembly to support: SB 710; SB 1213; SB 1188; HB 1964 AAUW of Virginia - petition urging state lawmakers to pass legislation supporting trafficking victims http://bit.ly/1F56cLG

Education and Services JustAskVA + End Teen Sex Trafficking; JustAskVA.org or 1-888-373-7888

Tahirih Justice Center: tahirih.org; 571 282 6161; Need donations of money and goods

Courtney's House courtneyshouse.org; 202-525-1426; Need donations of money and goods, as well as volunteers

CITIZENS CONSIDER THE FUTURE OF FALLS CHURCH

The League of Women Voters of Falls Church held a program last November to continue our community's discussion of the proposed uses for the new land Falls Church City acquired in the sale of the City's water system to Fairfax County. The community as a whole was invited to attend; 30 citizens participated.

The program began by briefly reviewing ideas for the land that have been developed by the City's outside consultant, RTKL Associates, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Washington's Technical Assistance Panel as well as the anticipated timeline for development.

Program attendees then broke up into small groups for facilitated discussion exploring citizen visions for this resource and our City going forward. Finally, the small groups reported the results of their work to the group as a whole.

The League has summarized the ideas generated during this visioning program and shared the output from this program with City leadership and management. The final report and appendices are available here.