Letter to the Editor: Call for name removal is an unfunded challenge

Exterior of Robert E. Lee RECenter


On March 8, Larysa Kautz, one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Lee District Supervisor, challenged the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board to change the name of two buildings — Robert E. Lee High School and Robert E. Lee Recreation Center in Lee District — by July 1, 2019.

Kautz demands the change be implemented before she potentially enters office in 2020.

Please note changing the name of a Fairfax County school to Justice High School in 2017-2018 cost $428,000 after the initial cost estimate from Superintendent Scott Brabrand was $800,620.

Though she requires quick action in meeting her demand costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, Kautz offers no solutions when asked how to fund it.

Responsible for a budget of $8.86 billion and a plethora of priorities for our community of over 1,148,000 residents, service on Fairfax County Board of Supervisors requires thoughtful, deliberative leadership.

Good government requires fact based decisions and awareness our community is not defined by long faded away generals, but by the future we are building together.

Kautz shows a lack of awareness as she issued her challenge three days after Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to advertise no possible increase in the real estate tax rate. The dollars Kautz demands would come from our balanced budget.

In making their unanimous decision to retain tax rates, Supervisors identified unmet needs to fund early childhood education, to equip police officers with body cameras, and to protect residents against stormwater.

Where on our list of priorities does changing nomenclature on Lee District buildings lay?

We must not only recognize the direct costs, but with competing priorities and finite resources we must understand the opportunity costs. If we expend hundreds of thousands of dollars to change names on buildings, we will not, for example, have those resources to help children access early childhood education.

Lee District needs a representative who works best with others on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The action of making unfunded demands with quick deadlines for expensive changes that do not match community priorities would not portend well for these important relationships.

With decades of successful experience serving Fairfax County supporting a broad spectrum of community priorities from economic development, stormwater management to affordable housing and human services, Rodney Lusk is the candidate most ready and qualified to serve as Lee District Supervisor. Vote June 11.

Will Radle


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