October 14, 2020
Here is how I will be voting by absentee ballot this week.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Vote Yes on Amendment #1
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

Vote Yes on Amendment #1
In a campaign that promises “fair maps” by voting yes for Amendment #1 on the ballot this election cycle and the opposition that promises “fair districts” by voting no, there is little wonder that there would be confusion in the minds of voters. As a strong supporter of Amendment #1, I turned to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit whose mission is to inform people with neutral content about politics, to define objectively what a yes or no vote means on the Virginia ballot question: (ballotpedia.org)

"yes" vote supports transferring the power to draw the state's congressional and legislative districts from the state legislature to a redistricting commission composed of state legislators and citizens.

"no" vote opposes transferring the power to draw the state's congressional and legislative districts to a redistricting commission, thus keeping the state legislature responsible for redistricting.

If you are interested as I am in ending partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts, you will vote “yes.” I am not alone in my belief that this is the best vote. The Amendment is supported by the League of Women Voters, AAUW, ACLU, Common Cause, Princeton University Gerrymandering Project, Brennan Center for Justice, AARP, leading political scientists, historians and law professors in Virginia, and the major newspapers in the state.

As Dr. Samuel Wang, a Princeton University professor and director/ founder of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, and his associates wrote in an opinion column in the Virginia Mercury, an online newsletter, “ We are proud to endorse Amendment 1 because never before has the Commonwealth seen such an open and transparent redistricting process. Such citizen involvement will help protect communities that have split up in the past.” (September 16, 2020)

Eight professors from Virginia’s largest and most prominent universities including three from the University of Virginia contributed to an article that appeared in the January 29, 2020, Richmond Times Dispatch stating “As scholars of elections and redistricting, we believe this Amendment represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen Virginia’s democracy—one that we cannot afford to miss.”

David Daley, a senior fellow at FairVote and author of Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, wrote in a column in the Washington Post on November 22, 2019, “Politicians usually do a lousy job of regulating themselves. But if this (Amendment #1) moves forward, it would be the strongest set of redistricting reforms to ever emerge from a state legislature in American history.”

Editorial writers at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star could not have been more direct than when they wrote on September 19, 2020, “Vote ‘Yes’ for Amendment 1, which will keep politicians from choosing their voters.”

The Washington Post has had several editorials in support of Amendment #1 including most recently on September 27, 2020, stating that “If the constitutional amendment is approved by Virginia voters, they would be the likely winners, and baldfaced partisan gerrymandering in Richmond would sustain a mortal blow.” They also suggested that “To imagine that rejecting the amendment, and leaving redistricting in the hands of the legislature, would produce fairer and more balanced maps is to believe in leprechauns and forest sprites.”

If you have not already voted or made your plan to vote, please do so. The process of voting this year could not be easier, and the stakes could not be higher for the state and the nation!

Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

10/13/2020 — FCPS Begins Gradual Return to In-Person Instruction. Read the information.

10/13/2020 — Equitable Access to COVID-19 Testing Available in the Fairfax Health District. Read the details.

Virginia

10/13/2020 — Governor Northam Directs More Than $220 Million in CARES Act Funding to Virginia’s K-12 Schools. Read the release.

10/13/2020 — Governor Northam Announces Additional Funding for Rent and Mortgage Relief. Read the details.

Nationwide

10/13/2020 — CDC’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions Page Updated. Visit the page.

10/13/2020 — CDC’s Guidance on Trick or Treating and Other Halloween Activities. Read the advice.

Bulletin Board
 2020 Winter Coat Closet Donations Start This Week
App Available for Park Trail Maps

Virginia State Parks offer pre-printed maps that include park facilities and
trails. Parks with more extensive trail systems also offer a separate Facilities Guide and Trail Guide. Additionally, geo-referenced PDFs are available for all parks that can be accessed through a third-party app, Avenza Maps, available for Apple and Android devices. More information including links to park maps is at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/park-trail-maps.
Your Choices Matter
When you're doing your holiday shopping this year, buy from the places you’d most like to see make it through this. The holidays are a critical time for your favorite local gems. Support them now to help them make it.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Take Advantage of Early Voting
14 Sites To Open Starting Wednesday, Oct. 14

To help meet the demand for early voting, starting Wednesday, Oct. 14 there will be a total of 14 early voting sites that will be open from Mondays to Saturdays, including the Fairfax County Government Center. Saturday voting hours at the Fairfax County Government Center will be offered one week earlier than planned. Any registered Fairfax County voter can vote early and can cast their ballot at any early voting site. The last day to vote early is Saturday, Oct. 31, at 5:00 p.m. More details including a list of the satellite voting locations are available at Early Voting.
Calendar of Events
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November 1, 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Reston Farm Garden Market's Fall Festival. The festival days will be broken into five 90-minute ticketed sessions with a 30-minute period between each to allow for staff to clean and sanitize the area. Learn more and purchase tickets at Fall Festival.

Wednesday, October 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.

Wednesday, October 14, noon to 1:00 p.m., Climate Change and Your Health, a free webinar featuring an internationally recognized lung cancer researcher in our community, Dr. Joan Schiller, presenting a talk aimed at citizens about making the connection between climate change and our health. Sponsored by Citizens' Climate Lobby - Fairfax County Chapter. Register here.

Wednesday, October 14, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tee Off for WGB!, at Top Golf Loudoun. Fundraiser benefiting Women Giving Back--"Helping Women and Children in Crisis by Distributing Clothing at No Cost." Download a flyer here.

Thursday, October 15, 6:00 p.m., Return to School Update at the School Board Work Session. Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand will present his plan to the School Board for bringing additional students back in November, prioritizing early learners and transitioning students for in-person instruction. You can watch the meeting live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) or on the FCPS website. 

Sunday, October 18, 3rd Annual SLHS PTSA Food Pantry's "Do It Your Way 0.5K." More information and registration is at 2020-do-it-your-way-0-5k

Saturday, October 24, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout, at Reston District Station, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston.