July 1, 2020
Recent interfaith demonstration in Richmond.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Back to Work Without Delay
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

Back to Work Without Delay
Back in March, a couple of weeks after the 2020 General Assembly session had adjourned, I wrote in my weekly column that while the annual meeting of the state legislature had been “historic, transformative, and consequential” there was also as I entitled the column “More Work Left to be Done.” At the time it was expected that many of the issues that had not been addressed would be taken up in future legislative sessions. There was no way to know the explosive nature of subsequent events that now make it clear that we must get back to work without delay.

The indelible photo of a policeman choking the life out of a black man without provocation or cause made it clear to me and others that there are injustices in our society that cannot wait to be addressed. The Black Lives Matter movement has made the need crystal clear. The stories of black persons who have come forth to tell what it is like to grow up black in this country make my heart weep. Fellow delegate Don Scott made the case clearly in an opinion piece he wrote last week: “The daily indignities of being black can be burdensome. If we respond to it all, we would have riots daily. Black people, for the most part, have always been tolerant. Even with all of our progress, President Barack Obama and all, we are reminded that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery could have been any of us. That is why we are outraged and, truth be told, very afraid.” We cannot have a just society when so many of our citizens live in very real fear.

I am pleased that leadership of the House of Delegates and Senate have announced that the special session of the General Assembly, expected to be held in late August to deal with budgetary adjustments that must be addressed with the current economic depression, will be expanded to include proposed legislation to address injustices in our criminal justice system and in our policing. The Legislative Black Caucus of the General Assembly has proposed an extensive agenda that includes declaring racism a public health crisis, creating a civilian review board of policing action with subpoena power, ending qualified immunity for police officers, expanding the use of body cameras, defining and restricting excessive use of force including banning the use of chokeholds and restricting the use of tear gas and militarization tactics and weapons against civilians, passing “Breonna’s Law” to end no-knock warrants, reducing police presence in schools and replacing them with mental health professionals, reinstituting parole, passing cash bail reform, and more.

At the beginning of the session earlier this year the Speaker of the House of Delegates changed the name and mission of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee to be the Public Safety Committee. I am pleased to have been named a member of that committee. With the Courts of Justice Committee we will be having three virtual public hearings on a schedule to be announced. In the meantime, your suggestions on getting this work done would be appreciated. (kenplum@aol.com)
Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

6/30/2020 — Notable New State Laws Affecting Fairfax County Effective July 1, 2020.  Read the list.

6/30/2020 — Fairfax County Reduces Penalties for Late Car and Real Estate Tax Payments.   Read the article.


Virginia

6/30/2020 — Governor Northam Prohibits Congregating in Bars, Stresses Caution As Virginia Moves to Phase Three.  Read the release .

6/30/2020 — Validity of Virginia DMV-issued Credentials Extended Additional 90 Days.   View or download the announcement.


Nationwide

6/30/2020 — CDC Offers Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19.  Read the guidance here .

6/30/2020 — IRS has easy ways to help taxpayers who need more time or payment options.   Read the release.


Bulletin Board

Rent and Mortgage Relief for Households Experiencing Financial Instability Due to COVID-19
The Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) is designed to support and ensure housing stability across the Commonwealth during the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on availability of funds and household need, the RMRP may provide financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments for eligible households. This includes financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments past due beginning April 1, 2020 and onward. Learn more and check your eligibility at RMRP. The full press release is here.
Silver Line Service Will Return August 16;
Reopening of Six Stations in Fairfax County
Metro will reopen six Fairfax County stations and restore Silver Line service on August 16—weeks earlier than originally planned. The six stations reopening on August 16 are the five "west-of-Ballston" Silver Line stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, and Wiehle-Reston East) plus one Orange Line station: West Falls Church. Read more at Silver Line.

Fairfax County Authorizes Four Bond Referenda
for November 3 Ballot

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, at its June 23 meeting, authorized four bond referendums totaling $441 million for this fall’s general election.
The referenda are:
  • Libraries - $90 million.
  • Parks - $112 million.
  • Community and Health and Human Services - $79 million.
  • Transportation - $160 million.
Read the details at Bond Referenda.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Get Educated on More Equitable Environmental Policies
As we continue to keep justice issues as a central piece of climate action, we invite you to listen in on a discussion between local activists and leaders fighting for environmental justice throughout Virginia. We will be learning about the history of the environmental justice movement, the disproportionate environmental and health hazards faced by communities of color, and what we hope to see in Virginia’s future as we move towards cleaner, more equitable environmental policies. More is at Environmental Justice Panel.
Calendar of Events
Wednesday, July 1, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., Combating Racism – A Virtual Discussion on Racism in America, hosted by Fairfax County Communities of Trust Committee. Join a lively discussion on racism in America. What is racism?  How does it impact lives in education, health, employment, finances, housing and much more. How do we combat racism? What role do you play? Questions can be sent, in advance, for the panelists. Questions will also be taken during the session. Free. Register here.

Wednesday, July 1, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., Hunter Mill District Virtual Town Hall With Fairfax County Police Chief. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting a virtual town hall with Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler. Residents are encouraged to participate and ask questions or provide feedback regarding the Police Department and the community. The meeting will be hosted on the Webex platform - use this link to attend and participate in the meeting. You will be prompted to register with your email address and ZIP Code before logging into the meeting. More is at Hunter Mill District.

Saturday, July 4, 11:00 a.m., July Fourth at Monticello: A Virtual Event. A virtual commemoration of the powerful words of the Declaration of Independence. Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Annette Gordon-Reed and Jon Meacham will reflect on our country’s founding principles and the role Thomas Jefferson envisioned citizens playing in moving the nation forward; Spanish-American chef, José Andrés, will share his passion for being a “citizen of the world” through his non-profit, World Central Kitchen; and Annette Gordon-Reed will interview Velma Williams, the great-great-granddaughter of Peter Hemings, Jefferson’s enslaved cook and brewer. Ms. Williams turns 100 years old this Independence Day. More is at 4th at Monticello.

Saturday, July 4, 11:00 a.m., We The People: Independence Day Online Concert and Tribute. You’re invited to join Washington National Cathedral for an online Independence Day concert to celebrate the enduring values that make America strong, resilient and compassionate. Free and open to the public. Register here.

Monday, July 6, 8:00 p.m., County Health Department Director to Address Vienna Town Council meeting. Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, director of the Fairfax County Department of Public Health will make a presentation to Town Council regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The public may see the presentation by attending the meeting in person at Town Hall, following social distance requirements, or via Zoom. The meeting and presentation will be broadcast live on TVCN (Channel 27 on Cox and 38 on Verizon Fios) and live streamed at viennava.gov.

Tuesday, July 7, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Navigating the Complexities of Race: Racial Healing and Reconciliation, virtual event hosted by the Fairfax County Public Library Administrative Staff. Registration is required. For more information and to register, visit Navigating the Complexities of Race.

Tuesday, July 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Most protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors. Those who want to social distance and wear masks will stand on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, July 14, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Tech Virtual Career Fair. Participants will be able to browse companies in a virtual lobby, enter companies’ booths, view open positions, engage in video conferencing and chat with HR representatives in real-time – all from the comfort of their homes. If you are (or know) a tech professional looking for a meaningful, new job or career change, view the registration page here. Individuals with security clearances are strongly encouraged to attend.