Virginia as the model

It seems as though our politicians in Washington could learn a lesson from their counterparts here in Virginia. In a state where partisan politics can be just as vicious as in the U.S. Senate and Congress, legislators have actually come together for the betterment of the commonwealth.

Granted, this year did not represent a perfect legislative session, but bipartisan compromises were reached with the future of Virginia in mind. Amongst the accomplishments, a comprehensive Transportation Plan, Medicaid expansion, education reform and headway on several issues involving the treatment of youth and animals.

The benefits include over $800 million in revenue for transportation needs, health care for over 30,000 citizens and a 2 percent raise for teachers. These accomplishments are of course not without their warts, but our legislators were able to look past their partisan ideologies in order to keep the commonwealth moving forward. If only Washington worked this way.

RJ Narang


Wait till interest rates rise

Re: "Sequestation offers a test of the American character," Feb. 28

It is both amusing and disturbing that the purported $80 billion to be saved annually by sequestration is only 2 percent of the budget, although probably according to the writer closer to 6 percent based on mandatory expenses. In contrast, an increase of only 1 percent in the interest rate for government obligations would result in a 160 billion dollar annual expense or deficit increase.

If we return to the pre-2008 interest rate for government obligations averaging about 5 percent, this would increase the debt load by 480 billion dollars per year, dwarfing any amount contemplated by sequestration. Certainly, our steadily increasing debt with a future rise in interest rates on government obligations spells financial disaster.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

War on drivers

Re: "D.C. waging war against drivers," Feb. 28

Your article noted the goals of the D.C. government to make traveling in and out of town harder and more expensive for cars. While alternatives like biking and mass transit are often more efficient, they are mostly impractical for the average commuter or business patron. What the District has accomplished over the years with its overzealous use of traffic cameras and lack of adequate parking is to keep affluent suburban families from making Washington a destination.

D.C. can always count on tourists, but neighboring residents avoid the place as much as possible. Wealthy Fairfax and Montgomery counties alone have three times the population of the District, and their residents seldom spend time or money in the nation's capital.

Having lived in this area 50 years, I recall when the museums, zoo, restaurants, stores, theaters and nightlife in town were a big part of the daily entertainment for suburbanites. Nowadays, the only time they venture into town is when they absolutely have to. The District is not about welcoming visitors, it's about robbing them. It's sad that a city with so much to offer has taken up the welcome mat. They have a huge source of revenue at their fingertips, but they choose the pickpocket method instead.

Richard Tammaro