Candidate Statement: John Lawrence

lawrenceMy wife, Mary Ann, and I moved to Falls Church almost 13 years ago shortly after getting married. Our son Evan hadn’t arrived yet, but, like many others, we came here for the schools.

I have been very active in the City and community for many years. I am currently the Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission (chairman, 2009-2010), a Trustee of the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, a member of a joint School Board-Planning Commission-City Council school facilities working group, and former Vice Chairman of the School Board-appointed Day Care Task Force.

In my years in the City and on the Planning Commission, I’ve come to know what we have here and what our potential is. We have a vibrant, active community centered around families and schools. And we have the potential to retain that while increasing our commercial development and decreasing the relative burden on taxpayers. Our schools are some of the best in the country and our children’s future – and the strength of our property values – rely on maintaining and enhancing that asset.

The good news is that I doubt many in the City would disagree with the previous paragraph.

We need to strongly press for new appropriate commercial development, with an eye toward not only being able to decrease the tax rate, but also to start saving for a new high school which we cannot continue to ignore. If we don’t start practical planning now, taxes will only continue to rise and our schools will continue to get patched up on an ad hoc basis, which is a recipe for a very expensive disaster down the road.

I believe no other candidate possesses my practical and conceptual depth of experience when it comes to planning and development in the City. I have worked on development from the conceptual phase to the final site plan, something no other candidate can claim because site plans are only a Planning Commission responsibility. We need Council members with such a depth of experience – not so that they can meddle in the weeds, but rather so they can help guide the City’s efforts to achieve our goals, not just developers’ goals.

And our goals are simple: financial strength, continued independence, and first rate schools. We can do this. Please vote for John Lawrence for City Council on May 1.