Mayor Baroukh Shares F.C.’s 2 Key Challenges
I would like to thank the City Council and community for the opportunity to serve as Mayor of the City of Falls Church. I am truly honored.
As the Council prepares to address a variety of issues, I would like to share my view on the two I consider the most important.
The most critical challenge is to improve our financial management. Budget shortfalls over the last two years resulted in tax increases and budget cuts for the City. Some are questioning our viability as an independent city. If we take necessary steps to improve our financial situation, I am confident that we can remain independent. I will ask the Council to make improvements to our financial planning processes its top priority. This will include developing a five-year projection of the City’s financial situation; undertaking a comprehensive review of the City’s operating structure and organization; and developing a policy for a “Rainy Day” Fund.
I anticipate that the Council will begin working on this matter in the coming term, consulting with City staff, the City’s Long-Range Financial Planning Working Group, and others. The creation of the Working Group, consisting of citizens with a financial background, was one of the first steps the Council took last year to improve our fiscal discipline, and it is now playing a critical role in advising the City. Overall, I believe that improving our financial management processes will provide greater stability, protecting jobs in our schools and at City Hall, and ensuring critical services for citizens in the long run.
The second priority I will propose is building on our “area plans,” focusing economic development efforts in specific areas, such as North and South Washington Street, downtown, and the Metro stations. By concentrating planning efforts and encouraging quality development in specific areas, rather than allowing it to happen haphazardly, we can ensure maximum economic benefit and achieve the look and feel that citizens want.
I welcome citizen input. Working together, we can overcome great obstacles and enjoy great opportunities. I look forward to working with all of you to achieve a better City of Falls Church. Please email me at [email protected].
Mayor, City of Falls Church
Says GEORGE Show ‘Must Go On’ in F.C.
I find myself writing once again in support of keeping GEORGE, the Little City’s one and only bus system. I realize times are tough, fiscally. However, there is little doubt in my mind that the benefits of having GEORGE far outweigh the cost.
Many people who live in Falls Church City, including myself, use GEORGE to get to and from work. Many people who work in Falls Church City ride GEORGE to get to and from their jobs or the homes where they provide valuable services to Falls Church residents and businesses. Even Mad Fox, the new brewing company coming to town realizes the importance of GEORGE. Public transit, whether it be bus or Metrorail, must be subsidized in order to survive. Public transportation is subsidized throughout the world, including the developed Western European countries that have some of the most modern and dependable public transit systems.
Falls Church City considers itself a progressive and enlightened urban enclave. How could the Little City be a “city” without a transit system? I can’t believe the city fathers (i.e., City Council) would consider getting rid of GEORGE. That would be a giant step backwards. I read last week’s article in the Falls Church News-Press, “Thankful the Falls Church Fireworks Show Went On.” While I don’t disagree, I would be far more thankful to have the “GEORGE ” show go on!
We must find the resources to keep GEORGE and not further cut back or eliminate the vital service it provides to our residents, workers and visitors.
Eastern Restaurant Retains Clientele In Recession
Living across the street from the West Falls Church Outlet Center, I am intimately familiar with it. In 1986, when I moved here, there was one outlet store, now many years gone.
The problem with the mall is as it has always been: a lack of foot traffic. It is a destination mall, not a roaming-around mall. You go to Safeway and Rite-Aid at the upper end. Or, you go to Wendy’s or the Eastern Restaurant at the lower end.
That brings me to the purpose of this letter. The author of the article on the center in the June 24 News-Press did a hatchet job on the Eastern Restaurant. That is the one business in the mall that has sustained its clientele throughout the recession. It has really good food. Nor have people abandoned Safeway.
Reaction to ‘P Club’ Reveals Intolerant Mood
I was a bit taken aback when I read recently in the News-Press about a firestorm of citizen concerns accompanying the imminent opening of the “P Club,” a restaurant at the former location of Bennigan’s on Wilson Blvd.
In response to widespread hearsay that the restaurant will be a “strip club,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross told the News-Press the establishment will be “monitored very closely.” It was also reported that the Falls Church City Council gave final approval to a new ordinance tightening restrictions on “adult-use business” in the City.
What’s going on here? I thought Falls Church prided itself on being a liberal, open-minded, progressive community. Urban cosmopolitan areas are known to offer sophisticated forms of adult entertainment. It seems that Falls Church is being hypocritical and intolerant.
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