February 28 – March 6, 2008
F.C. Council Members Among Citizens “Push Polled”
Falls Church City Councilman Hal Lippman reported yesterday that he and at least two other City Council members were among the Falls Church citizens who received a phone call from an anonymous, Pennsylvania-based professional polling firm Tuesday night. The callers identified themselves as being from “Concerned Citizens of Falls Church,” even though they conceded they were not from Falls Church and were calling from a list. They asked two questions about the City Center project which will come to a final vote by the F.C. City Council tonight. In his case, Lippman reported, the caller was anonymous, with his caller ID blocked. When Lippman asked the caller whether he knew he was contacting a member of the City Council, the caller hung up. Lippman did not know whether, depending on his answers to the questions, the caller would have urged him to do something or provide a slanted opinion of the project. Such professional telephone polling operations are often politically-motivated “push polls” where the caller, under the pretext of conducting a poll, “pushes voters towards a predetermined point of view while avoiding direct responsibility for the distorted or false information used in the push poll,” according to a political consultant.
F.C. Officials Report “Vague Threat” Matter Resolved
The City of Falls Church Public Information Office reported to the News-Press yesterday that the matter which led City police to issue a warning concerning a “vague threat” to City offices and schools last week has been resolved. The warning was sent out on Monday, Feb. 18, after City police received information from Fairfax County Police that Falls Church had been named in a threatening note found outside a Target store on Rt. 50. The author of the note was subsequently identified and it was determined that the note was directed against the store, and nothing else. All those who received the warning were notified late last week that the threat had been resolved. As a precaution, City police were deployed to provide security at last week’s City Council and Planning Commission meetings. Even though the threat incident had been resolved, City officials determined to deploy police to last Monday’s Council meeting because of the controversial nature of the meeting.
‘Challenge Days’ Incorporated Into F.C. Schools
Falls Church City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lois Berlin reported at the annual retreat of the Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF) last weekend that the “Challenge Days” program initiated by the FCEF in 2006 will now be incorporated as an annual feature of the school’s activities, and included in the School Board budget. “Challenge Days” came to the entire junior class at George Mason High School in April 2006 as a two-day program aimed at overcoming fear and hatred of differences among students. It was initiated by a grant from the FCEF’s “Nicholas F. Benton Diversity Affirmation Education Fund,” created with a founding contribution by News-Press owner Benton. Additional contributions to the fund paid for the return of the “Challenge Days” to the junior class of GMHS last April, and this year it they will be held in the fall. The “Challenge Days” program gained notoriety lately by being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Argia’s, Z-Pizza in March 6 “Dine Out” Benefit
Argia’s Restaurant and Z-Pizza are dining establishments in Falls Church joining 139 others in the D.C. Metro region who will donate 25% or more of proceeds from meals purchased on March 6 to D.C.’s Food and Friends, which has for 20 years been on the front lines in the fight against AIDS. Argia’s will donate 35% and Z-Pizza 25%.