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Thursday, March 30, 2023
FairfaxOpinionLetter: Party politics has no place in Governing Board election

Letter: Party politics has no place in Governing Board election

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Editor: We the undersigned write in response to recent coverage in the Sun Gazette regarding the McLean Community Center. At some point in time, all of us have been involved in the community spirit represented by the McLean Community Center by serving in its leadership and/or that of its user groups.

Dozens of civic, religious and cultural associations, led by the McLean Citizens Association, worked to lobby, develop operational and governance plans, fund-raise and purchase land for building the center, which opened in 1975.

Both the center’s 1971 and current 1984 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were the result of successful defenses by the McLean community for rightful prerogatives in governing and operating which belong to the center and the center alone. The McLean Community Center was built for the greater McLean area and is funded by a special tax district. The center should remain governed by citizens within the taxing district who support it.

Reopening the 1984 MOU is simply not a risk worth taking. Rewriting the long-standing mission statement, as recently proposed by a strategic-planning consultant, would similarly be inadvisable.


Furthermore, the McLean Community Center has always strived to be a non-partisan institution. The center’s own policies currently so state this, and its election rules enjoin candidates from running with partisan affiliations. Unfortunately, recent reporting in The Washington Post and a variety of circulating e-mails demonstrate that several of this year’s candidates for the Governing Board have been recruited by and are running as members of a political organization.

This is troubling. If candidates do not follow the rules when campaigning, how can residents have confidence they will follow regulations, policies and laws once elected?

The Governing Board should be composed of broadminded individuals who attempt to fairly represent and serve our diverse community. If candidates are beholden to a political agenda, it does not seem likely that they will govern broadmindedly for such a community.

The question confronting the greater McLean community now is: Should political parties oversee McLean’s civic and cultural center? The undersigned will support those who follow the rules by remaining non-partisan and are opposed to reopening the MOU.

Joanne Berkson, Susan Bourgeois, Dennis Findley, Mary Anne Hampton, Carole Herrick, Marshal Hyman, Rob Jackson, Paul Kohlenberger, Tom Mangan, Megan Markwart, Terri Markwart, Nancy Matisoff, Ryan McElveen, Merrily Pierce, Winnie Pizzano, Craig Richardson, George Sachs,Deborah Staats Sanders, Lathan Turner, Laurelie Wallace, Desi Woltman, William Glenn Yarborough, Jr., McLean

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