Local Commentary

Editorial: Hockenberry, Peppe, Lippman, Snyder

There has to be a compelling reason to remove a citizen who seeks re-election in local government. For little or no pay, and seldom with ambition for higher office, elected officials at the local level are generally in it to serve their community.

If one reveals a hidden agenda, has an overriding ax to grind or is plainly incompetent, then there is a reason to un-elect them. We don’t see any of those to be the case with either Falls Church City Council incumbent running for re-election in next Tuesday’s election.

Hal Lippman has served on the school board and now as vice-mayor on the City Council. David Snyder has served on the Council for 16 years to date. We have our disagreements with them, but both have convinced us of their hard-working dedication to their tasks and to their community, and therefore we support their re-election.

The incumbency factor also applies to Falls Church’s former vice mayor, Lindy Hockenberry, who should not have been denied re-election two years ago by a handful of votes. Nor should she have been, equally unjustifiably, passed over by venerable Citizens for a Better City (CBC) at its nominating convention this February. Still, not to be denied, she is running as an independent. A school teacher in Falls Church for over 30 years and elected to the Council in 2000, no one has exhibited more enthusiasm, energy and commitment to every aspect of the Little City than Hockenberry. She’s constantly at school activities, continues to substitute teach, and tirelessly supports local businesses and community events. Moreover, she was a very effective leader for four years on the City Council. The City needs her back.

Our fourth choice is also an incumbent, if you count the School Board. Ron Peppe exhibited extraordinary skill leading the School Board as its chairman through the ultra-tough budget process this spring, and in coordinating the process with the City Council and the City and school staffs.

Therefore, we endorse Lindy Hockenberry, Hal Lippman, Ron Peppe and David Snyder for the Falls Church City Council in the election next Tuesday.

The other four candidates, Johannah Barry, Barry Buschow, Ira Kaylin and John Lawrence, are all likewise upstanding citizens we’ve appreciated getting to know and admire better this spring. We’re confident that, if not elected next week, those among them, who want to, will have their turn in the future if they sustain their involvement.

Naturally, the CBC, which used to dominate elections in Falls Church for many years, is running their four chosen candidates as a slate. But there are sharply differing views among the four, who were chosen by secret ballot in an open convention where anyone who showed up with enough supporters could win a slot, and where Hockenberry wound up being excluded. This Tuesday, anyone persuaded to vote the entire CBC slate may be voting more for the CBC itself than its candidates.