Local Commentary

Editorial: How Far We Have Come

This newspaper hit the milestone of 900 consecutive weekly editions last week, covering a span of almost 17 and a half years.

Over the course of that time, the paper has covered the activities at City Hall and other places in the City of Falls Church like a blanket. The paper’s owner and editor brought with him a passion for quality education and government that provides for the needs of those who cannot provide for themselves. That translated, from the start, into editorials and commentaries expounding the need for fresh development in the commercial corridors of the City to ensure tax resources were there to pay for maintaining such vital services. This is why many News-Press editorials in recent years have praised the City’s leadership for bringing so much good development to the City, achieving the desired result of enabling continued full funding of the school budgets, progress toward meeting affordable housing goals, and other things, without overburdening individual taxpayers, even in tough economic times.

Over this summer, in particular, the City Council resisted the arguments by some citizens that the City Center South and City Center South Apartments would bring too many new school-aged children into the city, overburdening the schools. The City Council did not bend to those arguments, overwhelmingly approving both projects, with the explicit aim of providing a wide range of housing opportunities while achieving two major City goals of providing affordability and encouraging diversity in all its forms.

In the last four years, City Hall has done a terrific job developing tools to assess the economic impact of proposed new projects and eliciting even-handed proffers from developers to help offset the impact of new children entering the school system. But the bottom line has always been the benefits of the new developments for new generations of leaders just growing up. In Falls Church, we view the public schools as not only providing first-rate opportunities for their students, but as the incubators for new, educated, responsible and compassionate leaders who will become those bringing education and opportunity to many, many more all across the globe. Thus, doing work well in a small place resonates far beyond apparent limitations. Those who would change the whole world for the better, can do it by providing the best where they are, and the school system does that in Falls Church.

School-aged children in Falls Church have, in addition to one of the finest school systems anywhere, the benefit of observing a government in action here that has demonstrated its commitment to push back against strong headwinds that would turn the City into a privileged gated city of the rich. The City’s care and nurture of the young through quality education, and its welcoming of diversity through funding affordable housing, are fine models for growing outstanding adults.

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