News Briefs

April 26 – May 2, 2007

VDOT Delays Construction on West Broad

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields reported to the City Council Monday night that the City’s plans to close two lanes in the 400 block of West Broad Street for the undergrounding of utility lines and other improvements has been delayed for at least 45 days pending a review by the Virginia Department of Transportation. City retail businesses in the block reacted strongly against City Hall’s plans to conduct most of the construction work during business hours, when over 40,000 cars a day pass up and down West Broad, which is also Route 7. But City officials argued that working at night, when there is almost no traffic on the road, would impact residences in the block facing the street, numbering about a dozen mostly town homes. Plans were originally to begin the work this week. Since VDOT has jurisdiction over the road, Shields explained, a mandatory review to ensure minimum impact and VDOT approval is required. Shields noted that the delay would push the project back to the summer months when traffic along the corridor is “at its lowest level in the City.”


Councilman’s Lawsuit Vs. Falls Church Fails

Falls Church City Councilman Dan Maller announced Monday that his lawsuit against the jurisdiction he serves has failed. The lawsuit was announced in May just after Maller was elected to the City Council, and it sought to overturn the decision of the City to permit dense in-fill residential construction on Lincoln Avenue. Maller appealed a lower court ruling against his petition, but last week the Virginia Supreme Court declined to hear it, refusing, as he put it, “to intervene in a local matter.” Maller said he will pursue changes in the City Code to address the policies raised by his legal action.


Snyder Defends Call for Legislative Gun Control Push

Reacting to a letter published in last week’s News-Press criticizing him for using the occasion of the killings at Virginia Tech “to give a political speech about gun control,” Falls Church City Councilman David Snyder defended his action in comments at Monday’s City Council meeting. “It is the obligation of elected leaders to share in the grieving and use it to prevent future incidents,” he said, citing the remarks of other officials, including those of Rep. Jim Moran in his column in the News-Press last week. “As a legislator, I look at every situation affecting Northern Virginia and the country from the perspective of what could be done to improve the public good,” Moran wrote. Mayor Robin Gardner responded, noting the letter criticizing Snyder was written by her husband, Mike Gardner, chair of the F.C. City Democratic Committee. Snyder’s message, she said, was shared by all on the Council, but “the timing was inappropriate.”


Mark Warner Tells F.C. Crowd He’ll Be “Serving” Again

Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, speaking to over 100 gathered for the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner hosted by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee, responded to a question from a citizen about whether or not to keep a “Warner 2008” bumper sticker on his car Sunday night. “You can count on me seeking your support in serving the public again soon,” he said. According to sources, Warner is still mulling the options of running for the U.S. Senate in 2008 or again for governor of Virginia in 2009. In a straw 2008 presidential poll conducted at the dinner, held in the F.C. Community Center, the winner was John Edwards with 35, followed by Sen. Barack Obama 34, Hillary Clinton 20, Bill Richardson 12, Al Gore 9, Mark Warner 8, Joe Biden 2 and Wesley Clark 1. Former Falls Church City Councilman Ed Strait was honored as the recipient of the committee’s annual Marian Driver award.


F.C.’s Kokolopori Fundraiser Raises $12,000

A reported 300 people, mostly from Falls Church, attended last week’s benefit reception at the International Monetary Fund building in Washington, D.C., and $12,000 was raised to establish a micro-credit fund to support sustainable development in the Kokolopori region in the center of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has been claimed as Falls Church’s “Sister City.” In addition to many Falls Church dignitaries, the Ambassador to the U.S. from the DRC, Dr. Faida Mitifu, was among the speakers, along with Ingrid Schulze, director of the Sister City partnership.