Letter: Sander Fredman, Leesburg

Editor: I am fairly sure that most of the paper’s readers are familiar with the good work of Professor Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech. Among other activities, he was called in by the people of Flint, MI, in September, 2015 to test the water there and found that it was over the accepted lead parts per billion for safe usage, including washing and drinking.

It was reported at the time nationally that the amount of lead in Flint was arguably causing irreversible brain damage to infants in Flint. It is more generally acknowledged that too much lead in water is unhealthy at any consumption level for all people. Last summer, Edwards stated that Flint has lowered its lead ppb, but he would not recommend drinking it and equated its safety with other urban areas.

On Feb. 3, Kate Taylor reported in The New York Times, “New York Changes How It Tests for Lead In Schools’ Water, And Finds More Metal.” This is worth reading, not least for its implications for people living in Loudoun County.

The following day, I wrote to the 10th Congressional District’s congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, with two questions: Is the water in our district safe to drink? and Do you drink your water from the tap?

To this day, I have not received a reply.

Sander Fredman, Leesburg

6 thoughts on “Letter: Sander Fredman, Leesburg

  • 2017-03-06 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for the information, Sander, and thanks for holding our representatives accountable.

    We both know that there was a very vocal, demonizing campaign against proponents of groundwater protection that lead to the sweep of the all Republican BoS in 2011. What was it that pollution proponents told us, that we were attacking property rights and children, of all things. Remember the rallying cry?



    Regarding your questions, while the personal is political, isn’t the political question more important? Maybe Mr. Fredman can’t afford to pay a buck a bottle for bottled water, and who’s to say that bottled water is safe in its own right. The more important questions are:

    1. Is it the role of government to insure that basic utilities; water, air, sanitation, electricity, … are available to all residents at a fair price?
    2. If #1 is true, is it the role of government to insure that the utilities are safe, that they meet well-established compliance standards and exceed quality factors?
    3. If #2 is true, if government fails in some respect, is it constitutional to “force people to purchase products” due to that failure?
    4. If people lose confidence in government, is it ethical to personally attack them for asking government representatives to be held to account?

    • 2017-03-06 at 1:33 pm

      No constitutional right to clean tap water exists (#3). Might be a good thing but not a guaranteed right.

  • 2017-03-07 at 11:15 am

    Can Sander answer the question? Do you drink the tap water in your comfortable Ashburn home?
    It’s a very easy question.

    Jonathan, as you well know, the effort you refer to wasn’t about ground water in Loudoun County — Not in the slightest. It was about runoff, also known as “rain,” affecting the Chesapeake Bay. Hence the name “Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance” (CBPO). It should serve as a case study in extreme and costly micro-management by government inflicted on the citizens.
    Central casting couldn’t have made up a more bizarre, dysfunctional, and burdensome government regulation. It pitted bureaucrats (suddenly renamed “Administrators”), unelected crony commissions, against everybody else who owned a home.business, or land in Loudoun.

    It’s debatable if the Board at the time was replaced solely because of the CBPO, but it surely didn’t help. You’ll also recall, that Board were the ones who wisely killed the horrendously written plan. They knew a turkey when they saw one, even if they went along with trying quietly trying to slip it by in the first place.

    In my case, the county would have effectively seized control of 50 percent of my property from my direct control, yet still demanded taxes on the seized land — and that was just the beginning. It was so bad (I can’t believe you even mention it in a positive light), I should have written a book about it. I’ll discuss the dismal and regressive CPBO all day long if you wish. Let me know.

    You definitively know that Sander has to buy bottled water? How? Drinking water is a local thing, which you well know. In our case, the towns and Loudoun Water, draw it out of the Potomac, Goose Creek, and varouis wells, thus most would be runoff — Rain. So if Sander has concerns, he should start at the sources right there in LoCo, not with Barbara. This letter is a silly and poorly thought out political hit piece with no relevance to reality.

    Let me answer your Q’s:
    1. Government had no role in providing my family with water. A private well drilling company did. I paid for it and was taxed for the effort. I think the “air” item is a typo, unless somebody pipes air into homes. Sanitation: Again, we had to pay a private company to have a system installed. And we got taxed for it. Sanitation 2.0: Trash — I have to load up my personal truck, and use my gas (both of which I’m taxed for), drive the landfill which we’ve all been paying for for decades, and pay another tax to dispose of my household garbage. Electricity? A contract between me and NOVEC, and as always, government taxes us for the pleasure of basic electricity. Very progressive, eh?

    2. Government has a regulatory role; most likely because they can plunge their sticky fingers in the billing process and extract sweet sweet tax money. In Sanders case, he’d have to take his taps water concerns up with Loudoun Water — a quasi governmental organization of some sort.

    3. I firmly believe Government has zero authority to force anyone to purchase anything. That’s why the Supreme Court had to rewrite Obamacare and call the mandate a “tax” even after former president Obama told us all it wasn’t a tax. Just like the lie– “if you like your Doc and your plan, you can keep them. Period.”

    4. Sander may as well have asked Barbara if his light switches would come on tomorrow. Ethics has nothing to do with inquiring if they drink the water out of their tap in their comfortable Ashburn home. If they are unwilling or unable to answer that basic question in the public arena, which they entered willingly, then they leave open the increasingly probable result that this letter has nothing to do with their tap water — It’s a juvenile political charade. It demonstrates how unhinged some are becoming all because their candidate didn’t win the congressional election. If Sander has a problem with his tap water, then take it up with the tap water people.

  • 2017-03-09 at 12:05 pm

    Is Sander ever going to answer my question? No? Then it appears just as I thought — an irrational political gimmick, hoping the incurious will fall for it.

    There are so many things to hammer Barbara about; what comes out of the tap in comfortable Leesburg is not one of them. Stroll yourself on down to the town offices and ask Mayor Burke. She’ll know.

    I’m a long time tax paying Loudoun citizen, just like you. Ever since Mom and Dad dragged my infant butt back up to the cabin in Stumptown, this always been my home. ‘Cept for collage and the Army, I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’m proud of that. Being involved in your community is a good thing J. You are, and we’re all better for it.

    Like everyone in tune with the environment around them, I’m aware of the overuse/misuse of chemicals. I can tell you Sanders drinking water is loaded with added chemicals, courtesy of the Town of Leesburg. It’s a necessity, as you well understand. Indeed, Leesburg has a fantastic water system — envied by many other jurisdictions.

    In Loudoun, we’ve had a few problems: Purcellville comes to mind. Hillsboro, and the County contaminating wells adjacent to the landfill. Perhaps a few other isolated problems, but they’re taken care of by our local folks. A big problem today, is wells going dry. That’s due to excessive development. An issue that is our Loudoun problem, and ours alone.

    As to the artificial turf fields, which seem to be some sort national urgency, at least to the School Board, I’ve never heard a decent explanation of why grass was so bad? (do you know?) I played on grass fields in Loudoun, as did so many others growing up. We’re still here. I sincerely mean this: what connection are you making here? Honestly, I’m not getting it.

    Alas, the book I should have written about the CBPO… Nobody would have believed that a jurisdiction would come up something so bad, so poorly thought out, so absurdly written, and worst, so in the face of the citizens of Loudoun. What made it even worse: The CBPO was conceived and written by staffers who didn’t even live in Loudoun County! Little wonder the Board at the time threw it in a bag with some rocks, and chucked it off the 287 bridge in the middle of the night. They did the right thing.

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