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Candidate Statement: David Tarter

tarterI can tell you first hand that it’s not a lot of fun to talk about yourself. It also isn’t very comfortable telling everyone in town why you are the best person for a high profile job. But that’s the question put to me and I will do my best to answer it.

This election season, much has been made by the candidates about commercial revitalization. And for good reason.

Falls Church is dealing with some of the most difficult problems it has faced in a generation. Revenues are becoming less sufficient even as our needs are growing. Our infrastructure is aging, and many of our citizens are experiencing catastrophic flooding in their homes. Our school system, well known across the country for its excellence, is grappling with changing demographics, growing enrollments and the possibility of paying for a new high school. The state is transferring an ever growing responsibility for teacher pensions to the City.

Somehow we all know that revitalizing our commercial corridors provides us the best opportunity to pay for all these needs. Otherwise, the burden falls to homeowners, again.

I believe that I am the right candidate for these times.

As a commercial real estate and land use lawyer for more than 20 years, I have a career’s worth of experience helping communities right here in Northern Virginia solve the very same problems that confront Falls Church today. Chairing the Economic Development Authority these past four years has given me a keen awareness of our local business needs.

For me redevelopment is not a theory, it is a professional reality. It has been my life’s work. I don’t think I can mediate between communities and developers. I know I can – I’ve done it. I don’t hope that I can gather a consensus to move forward. I have done it time and again.

We can create a dynamic, vibrant downtown that provides shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities that we can walk to instead of driving elsewhere – all the while providing a more balanced tax base that keeps schools and services strong and tax rates reasonable. My understanding of this type of smart, sustainable, well managed growth is why the Sierra Club recently endorsed my candidacy.

Like our school system, our downtown commercial areas can be a model of excellence and success.

I appreciate your support on May 1st.