Local Commentary

Editorial: This Saturday’s CBC Convention

A major step toward the May 4 City Council election in the City of Falls Church will be taken this Saturday, when the nominating convention of the City’s venerable civic organization, the Citizens for a Better City (CBC), will endorse four candidates from a field of six seeking its support.

The CBC, in its 25th incarnation as a nominating convention over the last 50 years, is anything but a closed group. In fact, any and all registered voters in the City of Falls Church are not only allowed, but encouraged to show up and participate. Perhaps surprisingly, any registered voter can cast a ballot at this convention.

This time in particular, it behooves the proverbial “average citizen” or “silent majority” or whatever other names they may go by, to take time out of a Saturday afternoon to show up. Average citizens face prospects of major tax hikes, real cuts in school programs, further declines in home values from the City schools’ loss of their reputation for quality, and so forth.

While there are, at present, only three citizens seeking the CBC’s support to fill four seats on the City’s School Board, there are six seeking what will be four endorsements for the City Council. Selecting the best four this Saturday will be decisive for the City’s future.

Now, if a candidate fails to get the CBC’s blessing Saturday, he or she can still run in the May election, as can other candidates (and they are out there) who are by-passing the CBC altogether. In fact, anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring has until March 4 to submit the modest number of signatures required to the Voter Registrar at City Hall.

But the CBC has always been a powerful, if not invulnerable, force in Falls Church municipal elections, and will be so again this spring.

This newspaper has been following closely the developments, week in week out, for just about 19 years in Falls Church. It has covered every City Council election since 1992. We have learned the qualities that matter most in a local elected official, and those have a lot to do with an accumulated knowledge of the details of running a City, aside from ideological or personal axes to grind, and a sense of the institutional history of those details that derive from them.

While all the candidates seeking the CBC’s support Saturday have strong credentials from this point of view, we feel that those most steeped in the necessary knowledge and details of the City’s present recession-driven dilemmas, in particular, should be making its critical decisions over the coming period. To us, those best qualified in this way are those with experience and proven records of performance on the City Council, of which there are three. In addition, an especially-important opportunity exists for the Council to avail itself of a member who has served extensively on the School Board and is its current chair.