Local Commentary

Editorial: These Important Months Ahead

“This is the most important election ever!” It’s such a heavily cliched statement in politics, it is hard anymore to take it seriously whenever it’s repeated, even with the add on, “This time we really mean it!”

So rather than go there exactly, we will attempt to get across just how truly important this coming period is for the future of the City of Falls Church. The groundwork was laid for it with two things: 1. first, giant Fairfax County went after the formidable water system owned and operated for many years by the tiny City of Falls Church. Their mighty juggernaut crushed the Little City tugboat in the courts, and only very prudent, careful leadership from the City kept her afloat. Nonetheless, late in the process of this veritable “taking,” some fair-minded individuals helped marshal the end-game negotiations, and the City, much to everyone’s surprise, wound up with some very valuable real estate, in addition to cash. 2. second, the citizens of Falls Church, in their wisdom, realized that the City needed to emerge from its sleepy southern village ways and compete for the quality of life it was capable of, so they voted in a referendum to move the City’s elections from May, when nobody showed up, to November, when everyone is used to going out to vote.

With November elections this year, no small band of nay-sayers, no matter how much the fret and fume in on-line comments on the news of the City, can stand up to the large voter turnout by people who are far more apt to appreciate how hard City Hall and the Schools are working to make the Little City a viable jurisdiction over the long haul. These are busy, well educated professionals, these Falls Church voters, and they’re not about to be cowed by bluster and demagoguery.

Surely, looking at the line-up of candidates for this November, there is little doubt but that there will be a lot of bluster and demagoguery. However, happily, there is also an abundance of sanity and constructive vision on the ballot, and if that element asserts itself during the campaign, we’re confident the City and its schools will be in good hands after November.

But not only is the election important this year, so are the decisions to be made about how to develop those near 40 acres the City was dealt by the county. That process also began this last weekend with a big turnout to a wide open public meeting to kick around ideas. Here again, we are confident that if smart and focused Falls Church citizens remain engaged with this process, then the 10 acres of that 40 which can be commercially developed will yield the City a veritable gold mine of revenues to build schools and offset tax hikes.

In this context, the one phrase that should govern decisions about this is, “highest and best use.”