Local Commentary

Editorial: City Hall Goes for It

Citizens of the City of Falls Church should provide a standing ovation to their leaders at City Hall this week for swift and decisive action to capitalize on a special opportunity to bring in some new economic growth.

They’ve made a bold move to help redress the fiscal pressures the City faces, as do all jurisdictions in the region and nation.

As reported on Page One of this edition, the mayor, the City Council leadership, the city manager, the City’s Economic Development Office and others all found their way onto the same page in a rapid “outside of the box” action to promote the City as a destination for the thousands of new people planning to move to the Washington, D.C. region from all over the nation. They’re coming to fill posts in the new administration and in offices on Capital Hill and elsewhere.

The transition of presidential administrations, after eight years, and a whopping number of new Congressmen and Senators coming in, presents an opportunity for any jurisdiction in the region hungry for a shot in the arm that would come from a surge in home and condo sales or apartment rentals, and everything associated with that.

The prevailing wisdom in the metropolitan region is that the government turnover will add up to a mere blip on the overall regional radar screen. So, that prevailing wisdom can go ahead and hold, except in the case of a feisty, small jurisdiction confident that it has a lot to offer families new to the area, with enough gumption to step forward and recruit. That would describe the City of Falls Church this week.

First, Mayor Robin Gardner announced Tuesday that she will write a letter to the President-elect and his family, urging them to consider sending their children to the Falls Church City Public Schools. In addition to being a genuine offer, this is a brilliant move that elevates the profile of the excellent Falls Church school system not only generally, but especially in the minds of those who will be joining the Obamas in moving here to serve in the new administration.

Second, acting quickly and flexibly (how often does that happen in the bureaucratic corridors of any government?), City Hall leapt on the news that all newly-elected Congressmen and their key staff people were due in Washington this week for an orientation, while the “lame duck” session of the existing Congress is convened. A full-page ad was pulled together for today’s The Hill newspaper, read by everyone on Capitol Hill, plugging Falls Church as a “great place to live.”

That kind of aggressive action to capitalize on a special opportunity is great government, done on behalf of all the citizens of Falls Church facing tough economic times and a serious budget squeeze. It is not lost, as a compelling component of “selling” Falls Church to prospective new residents, on those who are mulling the options on where to locate, either. All in all, a fortissimo performance this week.