By Frank Bires, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Enough. With regard to the recent letters that strongly support the installation of lights at the T.C. Williams sports field, I ask: Would you subject your spouse, your kids, your parents and grandparents to a loudspeaker so obnoxiously loud that you have to give your kids earplugs to sleep? Would you subject them to 80- and 90-foot light poles seven feet from their property line, with light so bright that they can read by it at night? Make them get out the next morning and pick up beer cans and other trash deposited on the lawn the night before? And repeat this scenario four and five times a week, all year long?
After all, that football team from Maryland that uses T.C.’s field during the summer needs a place to play. And we can’t limit it to football, right? People have to play soccer and other sports at night too. And just for good measure, throw in at least a 25 percent drop in their property values.
Would anyone really subject their own spouse, kids, parents, grandparents, friends or family to this night after night for years to come? The answer is “no.” No one would ever do such a thing to their loved ones, friends or family. Never. Not in a million years. But you are so willing to do just that to your very own neighbors, to my family and I. I coached little league baseball here for years. I coached youth basketball at Francis Hammond Middle School
and Cora Kelly Elementary School. I stood on the sideline of the Sunday morning soccer games, cheering on the kids down on Eisenhower Avenue.
I shop around town. I go to a local church. I’m a neighbor and member of the community. You’d think those so in favor of lights would take a nominal look at what this issue is doing to their neighbors and community and say, “Wait a minute, no one should have to put up with this. Ever. Goodness, imagine what it would be like if it happened to me or my neighborhood.”
Of course, the response from the pro-lights movement is always, “It won’t be so bad.” Well, my neighborhood already is living through this scenario and our experience is, “Yes, it’s that bad. This goes way beyond bad, and we don’t want to have to live through this night after night for the rest of our lives, thank you.”
We are the same neighbors who bought our homes because of the promise that the city made to us — and even wrote down and codified in a development special use permit for good measure. The same neighbors whom you will ask to pay for the lights through our real estate taxes, all so that you can watch football games on Friday nights and play soccer and other sports whenever you want? And what if you are wrong? Will you then take the lights out? I didn’t think so.
Now, you clearly see where I’m coming from. You would be adamantly against these lights if they were put seven feet from your yard. You would never subject your spouse, kids, friends, family and community to this ordeal. But the “good neighbors” who live near T.C. Williams are fair game.
But karma being what it is, you have a good chance of experiencing the same thing in the future. You see, once the city rezones my neighborhood in order to put these lights in on 80- and 90-foot poles, how will it be able to justify not doing the same thing to the neighborhoods around Bishop Ireton, Episcopal and Hammond? I could go on and on, but I think you catch my drift.
So, for those still in favor of lights at the T.C. Williams football field after reading my appeal, I’ll see you at the meetings. I’ll bring my kid’s earplugs. You can try them on.