Local Commentary

Editorial: Falls Church is Number One

Those who’ve worked hard over many years to improve life in the City of Falls Church can take great heart in the survey results published in 24/7 Wall Street carried on Page 9 of this edition. This is a legitimate survey based on well-vetted criteria, developed by the United Nations, and its ranks the City of Falls Church the Number One county-styled jurisdiction in the entire United States. Number One!

This is no mean achievement, and it didn’t come to pass by simply letting nature, or the marketplace, take its course over the 70 years of this jurisdiction’s existence. No, for anyone who knows Falls Church, it is the result of often seemingly endless intervention by spirited and dedicated citizens engaged in the political decision making process. See, here is the fruit of your labor, dear citizens, dedicated, earnest, well-meaning and even grumpy sometimes! You’re smart, you care and as a result, you’re Number One.

If there is a category that we would add to the United Nations-generated list of criteria, it would be public engagement in the local decision making process. For 27 years, this newspaper has been an eyewitness to this process, and proud that as a local newspaper, we’ve contributed our part, too, to this deliberative process. It goes without saying that when your voter turnout rate at election time is almost always the highest in the commonwealth that you are participating in the generation of smart decisions and good government. Venerable and respected groups like the Falls Church League of Women Voters, the Citizens for a Better City, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society, the F.C. Chamber of Commerce and the many volunteer boards and commissions that advise the City Council and City staff, not to mention those serving the public schools side of this composition, have all contributed constructive input to the process.

This result is grounds for a well-deserved pat on the back for all. To newcomers to the City, we trust that your contribution will augment that of so many who’ve come before, both our heroes who’ve passed on, and those still pitching in.

It is not grounds for boasting, because it’s not necessary or beneficial to do that. It is grounds for a kind of modest pride that comes from good work.
As the late, eminent civic activist Ed Strait, who passed in 2012, said about Falls Church, it is at its best when seen in the context of a New Athens, and in the Athenian Creed used in ancient Athens as a vow required for citizenship. That creed affirmed, “We will strive increasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty, transmitting this City, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

He brought that Athenian value to Falls Church when he moved here in 1958, and it’s influenced the best of all that has been done here since.