Letters to the Editor: April 29 – May 5, 2010

Fine Schools Lift Property Values in F.C.


Last week there were two letters suggesting the school system in the City of Falls Church should have deeper budget cuts. I would wholeheartedly disagree and ask, ‘Why do you think your property values are so high? Why do you think our community is so safe? Why do you think the average Falls Church resident is a head smarter than the rest of the greater Washington area, never mind the rest of Virginia?’

The answer to all of these questions is our great school system. Those that do not have children in the system sometimes feel unduly burdened by the ‘heavy taxes,’ but that just simply isn’t so. It is very short sighted to suggest that the school budget should be cut. In the short term it will have no effect, but in the long term it will be detrimental to the City’s health. Aside from educating our most precious resource, which everyone should agree is of paramount importance, there are several key benefits that come from living in a community with a strong school system.

Our excellent school system makes people want to move to this community. This means that we enjoy high property values, we essentially get to pick and choose what kind of people we want to live here, and our crime rate is low.

The City of Falls Church was founded for the express purpose of gaining control over our school system. We have had the same reputation for academic excellence for the last 40+ years. Unless you have lived here since the City’s founding you no doubt knew what you were getting into when you moved into the City. No one pulled the wool over your eyes. Long after my kids are out of the school system, I will always vote for any tax increase that supports our schools, to ensure that our school system remains the best. This is the City of Falls Church, and we will forever have the strongest school system in the greater D.C. area.

Jeff Henrikson

Falls Church


Says ‘Economies Of Scale’ Tip Falls Church


I am a resident of the City of Falls Church. I moved to the City four and a half years ago because of the great location and beautiful setting. It is appalling that F.C. tax payers are spending 50% more per student than the #2 rated school system in the U.S. (Fairfax County). A very basic question should be addressed — can we begin to merge our school system with either Arlington or Fairfax? For a small city, economies of scale weigh against us. It is time to join forces and save tax payers from PAINFUL tax rate increases.

Falls Church City Council should consider the options carefully. How far can you push property owners before they sell and leave? And at what point do you create a death spiral? Keep Falls Church alive and keep our property taxes within a reasonable range.

Karen L. Jones

Falls Church


CBC Campaign Chief Touts His Slate


Over the past several months, the Citizens for a Better City (CBC) conducted an exhaustive search looking for highly qualified and experienced candidates to represent our city in public office. In the end, CBC bestowed their endorsement on four candidates for City Council – Barry Buschow, John Lawrence, Hal Lippman, and Ron Peppe. In the subsequent months, the four CBC endorsed City Council candidates blanketed every neighborhood, going door-to-door to listen and learn from voters.

This May 4, you have eight choices for City Council. I sincerely hope you will vote for our team – Buschow, Lawrence, Lippman, and Peppe.

With over 50 years of combined volunteerism for the City of Falls Church, Barry Buschow, John Lawrence, Hal Lippman, and Ron Peppe, are proven, experienced, and prepared to serve on City Council. Each candidate has unique strengths and diverse talents. Each candidate has served on numerous City Boards and/or Commissions and provided leadership in our community. Each candidate has their own style, strengths, and unique expertise – and that is ok. In fact, it is preferred.

It is also preferred that our city leaders and candidates for public office work together to solve problems. Buschow, Lawrence, Lippman, and Peppe are committed to do just that – working together to find common ground, and develop real solutions to address our most pressing problems. In times like these, the importance of this collegiality cannot be stressed enough. The Falls Church City Council faces a myriad of tough decisions and you need people who are committed to getting things done. Working Together, they will promote great schools, fiscal responsibility, and a sustainable future. Our candidates have the experience, balance and conviction necessary to see that this occurs and to continue to lead our city in the future.

Above all else, please celebrate your right to vote! Express your views, your voice, and vote on Tuesday May 4.

Russell H. Wodiska

CBC Coordinated Campaign Manager


Obama Campaign Office Chief is Backing CBC


It’s been a while since I was last in Falls Church and we are way overdue for an Obama office reunion, but I wanted to write today about a different candidate. I was very happy to hear that John Lawrence is running for Falls Church City Council and I fully support his election next Tuesday, May 4.

During the time I spent with him on the Obama Campaign I got to know how much he loves the City and how involved he is through the Planning Commission and the Library Board. I also know he was vice chair of a Day Care Task Force before my time in the City. He’s smart, understands the issues, and is dedicated to the City. There couldn’t be a better choice in the election next week.

As the old saying goes, you’re known by the company you keep. Although I don’t know his fellow candidates as well, the fact that John has chosen to run with them tells me that they are the right choice. Hal Lippman also came and canvassed with us and John has sung the praises of Ron Peppe and Barry Buschow. I know John and others are concerned about the schools and I think these four candidates form a unique team capable of addressing not only the schools, but also the overall budgetary and fiscal problems facing the City. In tough times you need strong leaders and that’s what John and his colleagues will be. If I lived in Falls Church, this team would have my vote.

Speaking of schools, Greg Rasnake, a first time candidate, is another Obama “alum” whom I fully support. I realize that he and his fellow School Board candidates Pat Riccards, Susan Kearney, and Rosaura Aguerrebere are unopposed, but I would urge support for them as well.

President Obama often says that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. I am glad to see that John and others from the campaign have heeded that call. I urge every voter in Falls Church to get out next week and vote for John and his fellow candidates.

Kyle Lierman

Via the Internet


CBC Slate Committed to Work Together


The City of Falls Church faces a number of challenges: maintaining (and improving) the quality of our schools, dealing with an economic downturn and attracting development that is both desirable and economically feasible. In order to address these challenges, we need elected officials to work openly and honestly as a team. What we absolutely don’t need is ideological or personality-based politics.

In that regard, I am not alone in being dismayed by the pointless and self-indulgent sniping and in-fighting that has often taken place on Council in recent years. I don’t care who likes who – or who is angling to get themselves chosen to be the next mayor. I want council members who are focused on the needs of the City first and foremost.

That is why I am supporting the CBC slate of candidates in the election on May 4 – Barry Buschow, John Lawrence, Ron Peppe and Hal Lippman. I may not agree with each individual on every issue, but I am convinced that they are committed to work together as a team to address the needs of the City. To me, that is our most critical need at this critical time in our City’s history.

David Chavern

Falls Church


Hails Quick, Efficient Action On Building Fire


As many of your readers know, there was a small fire in one of the apartments at the Read Building this past Saturday, April 17. While the fire itself was quickly extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, the very nature of the emergency meant that there was disruption and inconvenience to tenants and guests alike. We are happy that we were able to deploy crews from many trades almost immediately to begin the clean-up and restoration of life safety devices and monitoring so that people’s routines could be re-established as quickly as possible.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the many members of the City staff who reacted quickly and efficiently on Saturday to avert what could have been a major disaster.  Not only were fire department personnel on site within a few minutes of the alarm being sounded, but assistant City Manager Mester also arrived within a few minutes, followed by Police Chief Rietzke. City Manager Wyatt Shields was on the phone to us shortly thereafter as well.  All helped to assess the situation and assist wherever and whenever they could.  We want to particularly thank Fire Lieutenant Quinn of Arlington County Fire who efficiently managed the work of his several crews and assisted us in being sure that all aspects of the aftermath were properly followed up upon (sprinklers back in operation, fire alarm rearmed, etc).  While the safety of the residents of and visitors to the building was their (proper) primary concern, we were particularly struck by their kindness to the many upset people at the property, above and beyond what could be reasonably expected.

This was truly an example of the best our Little City has to offer its citizens and we want to again thank all involved.

Bob Young, Joe Wetzel

Jefferson One, LLC


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