Letters to the Editor: April 28 – May 4, 2016
Responsible Move to Make Choices We Can Afford
With my family, I have lived in the city since 1988. Each of my three children began school at, attended each level of, and graduated from Falls Church public schools. My wife and I are committed to remaining and living in (and thus supporting financially) Falls Church.
As our elected council members, please continue to perform the hard work and make the tough choices to balance the needs of our community, as a complete and balanced community. The schools have needs and those needs are zealously advocated by passionate parents and proud educators. As you know so well, we also need city services, libraries, city halls, police and public safety and a host of other less critical needs addressed as well. Finally, we need to try to carefully balance those needs against our resources, including our commercial and residential tax base.
We can’t have everything. In my view the schools enjoy a disproportionate deference already, and the taxpayers are already paying a hefty premium above the costs of our neighboring jurisdictions for this above average service. It is also worth remembering that they are public schools, not private.
We are, however, also going to have to also compromise on some big, long overdue infrastructure and other services in order to stop the ever-escalating tax rate from eating away at the very core of our community; that we can preserve and enjoy a diverse population where the young starting out, the middle income and the elderly can also afford to live. The higher the tax rate goes, the more our community shifts so that the primary segment that can afford to live here is younger families, often with children, in their peak earning years.
This is tough stuff. As elected officials, the easy move is to capitulate to the most passionate voices, including those of the schools. The hard (but the responsible) choice is to look down the road and make the choices we can afford.
Thank you for serving our community and willingly shouldering these tough decisions.
Amidst Debate, We Should All Remain Respectful
The Believe it or not, reasonable people can disagree on issues like budgets and taxes; yet every year around budget time in Falls Church, the discussions seem to divide us. It is not merely the results of these challenges that are important, but the journey we take to reach them. We should be thankful for all those who take time to engage in this process, whether or not we agree with them.
I urge our community, and especially our leaders on the City Council and School Board, to use this opportunity to lead by example in tackling these challenges. Our children learn a lot in the classroom, but they also learn from watching the adults around them. It would be shameful and ironic if the discussions about the education of our future leaders are full of vitriol, confrontation, accusations, disrespect, and divisiveness rather than community, listening, constructive criticism, and compromise.
Stop All the Editorializing in News Articles
Having moved into Falls Church only a few years ago I have read your publication often bemused at the consistent use of editorial “nuggets” sprinkled throughout your articles – it’s like a scavenger hunt whenever I read them! However, this week I felt the need to relay to you my annoyance at this practice, especially in light of the fact that it flies in the face of the News-Press “Platform.” The straw that did it for me was the use of the word “draconian” to describe the City Council’s decision to cut 1.8 percent of the School Boards 2016-2017 budget request – a 1.8 percent cut is modest, not draconian.
Irrespective of where I personally stand on this issue – and I am I not stating that either way – the use of that word in the article and in the second page headline was clearly meant to foment outrage and clearly delineates the News-Press position on this topic. I urge you to either stop editorializing your news articles or revise your Platform so that it is in agreement with what is published on a weekly basis.
Letters to the Editor may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.