This week marks the 30th anniversary of the incorporation in the City of Falls Church of Benton Communications, Inc., the parent company of the Falls Church News-Press, which was launched in March 1991. The incorporation followed the migration of its founder and the News-Press owner-editor to Falls Church in 1985, which came as part of his move as a lifelong Californian to Houston, Texas in 1981 and subsequently to the Washington, D.C. region.
The incorporation marked a distinct break from his earlier career but, as time has passed, also a critical point in his adoption of Falls Church as his new hometown. Notwithstanding there are people who’ve lived here twice as long, it is time for him and his business, our beloved newspaper, to claim the Little City as his and ours. We hope the older timers don’t object.
But it matters to a town when a resident wants to claim it this way, especially when that resident has had such a long history in exotic locations far away.
It would be easy and apropos for our man to claim California locations like Santa Barbara and San Francisco as his native home, for example, which has been pretty much how he’s seen it up to now. This week, however, something changed to make claiming Falls Church a proud and happy event, something beyond the 30th anniversary celebration of the business. It has to do with the highly moral and eventful decisions by the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, on the one hand, and the Falls Church City Council, on the other.
The Chamber of Commerce board’s decision to come out four-square and unanimously in favor of a “yes” vote on next month’s Falls Church school bond referendum is the first case.
It harkened back to the early 1990s when, after starting the News-Press, our man became president of the Chamber for two years and helped to engineer with his successor in that role, Michael Diener, a shift in the posture of the pro-business Chamber toward the Falls Church City Public Schools, seeing them not as sucking tax dollars out of the business community, but as contributing to a deeper value for the entire community. The new spirit of collaboration between businesses and the school community which arose from that helped lay the groundwork for the renaissance of business development that has occurred in the last two decades and that holds such promise for the campus development site now.
The second action, taken by the City Council Tuesday night, involved its repurposing the Columbus Day holiday as “Indigenous People’s Day,” putting the City at the forefront of the movement to do this across the U.S. It was done as routine by the Council, but that’s the beauty of it. It put the Little City into the avant garde for equality and social justice nationally, and we could not be more proud.