Letter: Springfield Seniors Deserve Better

Letter: Springfield Seniors Deserve Better

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

On Sept. 13, 2014, I received The Herrity Report with the remarkable absence of any report on the Lorton Workhouse that he had earlier denounced as a wasteful bailout of a mismanaged operation. Supervisor Herrity failed to report that on Sept. 9, 2014, the Board spent another $3 million for an events center that could lose more of our taxpayer money.


On Jan. 23, 2014, Supervisor Herrity wrote that “The bottom line is I don't believe that we should be bailing out a bank that made a bad loan…spending $30M of taxpayers' money to pay off a debt we had no legal obligation to pay. Certainly not with all of the other obligations we are facing. The Board has already given the center $16 million, this will bring our total to $46 million in only a few years. This $30M will be on the County's Line of Credit - the first time in history we have used our emergency line of credit. Now that we own the leasehold rights (we already owned the land) the County will be obligated to keep it running and hopefully turn it around - a very difficult feat given its isolated location. In addition, the events center is still in need of capital funding in order to meet its projections.”

Supervisor Herrity’s fiscally responsible position in January 2014 was perceptive particularly since the management of the Lorton Workhouse was not replaced – but simply branded with a different name but with no change in the questionable business plan. But by September, Supervisor Herrity has become surprisingly quiet about the need to protect taxpayer funds from further mismanagement of the Lorton Workhouse.

As a Springfield District taxpayer, I have become very disappointed in Supervisor Herrity as a protector of financial responsibility, particularly with the Lorton Workhouse. I believe he owes his constituents an explanation on this danger of more waste of taxpayer funds on Lorton.

In addition, it is disheartening that in his September report, Supervisor Herrity again ignored the very real need to address the problem of Springfield District as the only district without a permanent senior center. In 2007, when I first started advocating for a senior center in the Springfield District, I was told that there was neither money nor staff in the County to provide for needed health programs of our area’s growing senior population. I therefore worked with the county, volunteers and private organizations to create the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (BWSSCWoW) as a temporary measure until the county would have the funds to stop treating Springfield seniors as second-class citizens in Fairfax County. Since that time, our senior center without walls has provided services for some 1,000 registrants annually. Our registration is increasing so much that we have waiting lists – and we do need the same county facilities that other districts have. Senior taxpayers in Springfield District deserve fair treatment.

There are 16 senior/community centers in other districts. Other Supervisors have fought hard to get two permanent centers for their senior residents – but not our Springfield Supervisor (Herrity and his predecessor). We ask that Supervisor Herrity start leading like other Supervisors and provide the same county facilities to promote the health of seniors, like in other districts – and be truly fiscally responsible by stopping the waste of more taxpayer money on the questionable business plan and mismanagement of Lorton Workhouse.

Corazon Sandoval Foley