As the new year breaks upon us, with the daunting challenges and opportunities it brings, there are some important things that folks in the City of Falls Church ought to keep in mind. Namely, that we have a lot more in common with one another, in terms of core values, than not.
While across the Potomac, the deep and divisive divisions in the nation are beginning to play out anew, in Falls Church, this little but vibrant inside-the-D.C.-beltway burg, there are some shared moral and political convictions that an overwhelming majority of us share.
The bottom line is that in the November 2016 election, only 17 percent of voters in the City, which once again accomplished the highest turnout of any jurisdiction in Virginia, cast their ballots for Donald Trump. That’s the lowest percentage, by far, for any major party presidential candidate in the almost 70 year history of the City.
(It is also worth noting that, in this area, that result was not unique. Trump got an almost identical percentage in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria and the eastern parts of Fairfax County within Rep. Don Beyer’s 8th Congressional District. So maybe this area qualifies as a mini-California, especially when joined by the District of Columbia, which gave Trump significantly less than 10 percent.)
There will be those who howl that recalling this is only sour grapes. But owning this result is very important for Falls Church, and its environs. It should help us treat each other more kindly and with greater respect because, in fact, we do share an affirmation of core democratic values that Trump seemed to so rudely dismiss in his campaign.
In fact, this is another big election year in Falls Church. In November four out of the seven seats on the City Council and the School Board will be contested. Little is yet known of who will or won’t seek re-election. But on the Council, the seats currently held by David Snyder, currently serving a sixth four-year term, Dan Sze, currently serving a second term, Karen Oliver and Marybeth Connelly will be on the ballot. None of the four incumbents have yet said if they’ll seek re-election.
On the School Board, the seats currently held by Michael Ankuma, John Lawrence, Margaret Ward and Lawrence Webb will be on the ballot, and none of them have yet indicated if they’ll seek another term.
As the Council and School Board together are moving toward major decisions about the renovation and/or construction of a new George Mason High School and face the daunting task of seeking voter approval in a November referendum for whatever path they decide to take, the prospects of their own elections challenges loom large even now. They will likewise figure in the annual City and school operating budget deliberations between now and May.
It will be vital with all this coming that every citizen examine the values that so many of us in this community share.