Local Commentary

Editorial: The ‘New Year’ Begins Tuesday

Labor Day Weekend is often considered an occasion for reflection, more appropriate as the start of a new year than the much more superficial New Year’s Eve. This is because it marks the start of a new school year, and also a new legislative and electoral year. Most campaigns for the November elections don’t really kick in until after Labor Day, which is the official time that everybody is supposed to be back from their summer vacations and ready to put their noses to the grindstone.

In the case of the City of Falls Church, the weekend marks the start of the new annual budget cycle, as the City Council and City staff begin to assemble the data and creative thought work that will begin to come together with a fall retreat and the shaping of the parameters of the period leading to the adoption of a new annual budget next April.

For the City schools, the beginning of the new school year right after Labor Day is always anticipated for whatever surprises or lack of them that will come from who actually shows up for classes or not. Despite good predictive resources, the schools are never sure until they actually start to count the noses for a new year what the pressures will be on handling a growing enrollment. Officially, the schools get to wait to the end of the month to file their reports with the state because there is always a kind of sorting out process in the first few weeks, but initial enrollment numbers will give the school administration a good idea of what they’ll be faced with.

For the City elections, there’s not been a lot of attention paid to this November yet, even though there will be a $15 school bond referendum on the ballot for the expansion and renovation of the City’s Mt. Daniel Elementary. Proponents of the passage of the referendum will not find it hard to demonstrate the need – it’s all right there in the mushrooming enrollment numbers – but it may prove harder to convince voters to step to meet that need, anyway.
Some vocal opposition to its passage has already begun to surface.

Also on the ballot in November will be the local election to fill the last three years of the unexpired term of Treasurer Cathy Kaye. Her long-time key assistant Jody Acosta won the nod to fill her term until this November’s election, but now a challenger has qualified for the ballot. Chris Johnson’s name on the ballot will make for a potentially interesting general election.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner will be on the ballot seeking a second six-year term this November, challenged by the GOP’s Ed Gillespie and Libertarian Robert Sarvis, and Falls Church businessman and former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer will be on the ballot seeking to take over for U.S. Rep. Jim Moran by beating GOP challenger Micah Edmond and three minor challengers.