Local Commentary

Editorial: Affirm Diversity With Affordable Housing

Once again, as Falls Church City Council member David Snyder confirmed at Monday’s Falls Church City Council meeting, the City of Falls Church ranked among the highest in Virginia, if not in the nation, in the turnout of its registered voters at last month’s presidential election. It’s news that is almost expected by now for Falls Church, and we concur with Mr. Snyder in his assertion that this is due to more than just the high level of education and household incomes in the Little City.

In our view, the cause of the high voter turnout is reflected in the vote for president here, where 75 percent of voters cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton and only 17 percent did so for Donald Trump. In other words, the threat that Trump was perceived to represent to constitutional democracy and voting rights impelled many in the City to make the extra effort to vote this time. We are heartened by similar margins in Falls Church’s neighboring jurisdictions as well, with a 75.83-to-16.64 margin in favor of Clinton in Arlington County, a 75.56-to-17.54 margin in the City of Alexandria, and a 68.42-to-24.90 margin in the eastern part of Fairfax County.

These four jurisdictional areas, all fitting into Rep. Don Beyer’s 8th U.S. Congressional District, rolled up a margin of 193,563 votes for Clinton over Trump, which is 96 percent of Clinton’s total margin of 212,030 votes statewide.

So we can be hopeful that these jurisdictions can be counted on to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for the kind of affirmation the Council made in declaring Martin Luther King Day next month as a “day of service” in the nation’s highest tradition of affirming inclusiveness and service to others as the move into an uncharted future that has already seen an explosive rise in hate crimes by “alt-right” white supremacists targeting racial and ethnic minorities and LGBT persons since the election, as the Southern Poverty Law Center has confirmed.

As Snyder commented Monday, the Council’s proclamation implicitly also supports the efforts of our law enforcement officers against all such hateful extremism, and he made his comments about the vote in Falls Church to counter the wild, totally unfounded assertion by President-elect Trump earlier this week that there “was massive vote fraud in the millions” against him in states that he said included Virginia.

This region has become increasingly diverse in the composition of its population in the last two decades, in particular, which has enormously enriched the culture of the area and worked to prevent communities like Falls Church to become cloistered white gated communities. Falls Church and its neighbors must welcome and celebrate these trends by redoubling efforts at affordable housing, in particular.

We have never had a City Council more open and potentially supportive of a serious push in this direction, and we urge developers and the community itself to move swiftly to get a plan into the upcoming annual budget cycle.