As the deadline now looms immediately for candidates to be certified to run for City Council and School Board in the City of Falls Church this November, things have started to pop. While last week the News-Press reported a disappointing lack of citizen interest in running for the six positions (three City Council, three School Board), now a veritable whirlwind of enthusiasm and energy has formed from a number of quarters, angling to make the most out of this last weekend before next Tuesday’s cut off point.
This includes the fact that two veterans, Nader Baroukh on the City Council and Kieran Sharpe on the School Board, have not tipped their hand with any signs of seeking to run again. However, only 125 petition signatures from registered voters in the City are required, so even going into the final days anything remains possible.
Officially filed with the City Registrar of Voters office as of late yesterday are six candidates, three each for the School Board and Council. All three Council candidates have been certified for the ballot, including incumbents Mayor David Tarter and Councilman Phil Duncan and Johannah Barry, who is seeking to regain the seat that she vacated on the Council in 2012.
For School Board, current chair Justin Castillo has been certified for the ballot, while petitions have been submitted by Mark Kaye and Philip Reitinger that are awaiting verification and certification.
Late yesterday, a fourth City Council candidate announced her intent to run with a statement emailed to friends throughout the community. Letty Hardi, who became a fixture at budget hearings this spring and who spoke out in favor of full funding for the schools and in support of the Mason Row proposed mixed use development project, wrote that she’s decided to “give it a go to be a part of the discussion and offer a fresh, positive perspective.”
Hardi, a mother of three young boys in or preparing to enter the Falls Church School System, added, “I think young families, like yours and mine, and our interests are underrepresented in City government and hope to change that. My family has deep roots in the City and would love to see it continue to change for the better.”
She said she hopes to gather the required signatures this weekend, and added that she’s also helping the effort by Erin Gill to become a candidate for the School Board. Often attending spring budget meetings with Hardi, Hardi said of Gill’s candidacy, “I am so excited that she is entering the school board race to advocate for the schools and our kids. I know many of you are just as interested in the City’s development plans, taxes, and the schools as we are, and just simply don’t have the time with kids, work, family needs, etc., so I hope Erin and I will be able to represent you well.”
In addition, according to News-Press sources, three other school board hopefuls are circulating petitions now, although none have submitted any to the Registrar of Voters or have issued public statements.
They include Allison Kutchma, Jake Radcliff and Bill Royce.