Local Commentary

Editorial: 2019 Elections in Falls Church

What kind of a year has 2018 been for the City of Falls Church? The most popular stories clicked on at the News-Press website (see page 8) notwithstanding, the big developments impacting the quality of life of the now almost 15,000 and growing citizens here all trended toward the positive in an uneven but relatively steady march into the future. Getting caught up in the week-to-week unfolding of events, which is a particular vice of the hyper-political D.C. region, tends to obfuscate such overarching trends.

It is the prolific Harvard professor Steven Pinker, author of “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and “Enlightenment Now!,” who has become increasingly influential focusing on the meritorious achievements of our species, overall, when viewed from such an overview and longer-term perspective. There would be no better test case for his theories than the City of Falls Church, where there has been a steady and deliberate march to a brighter future with solid leadership, both at City Hall and in its school system, with solid and active support from an educated, involved and caring citizenry. There are always bumps in the road, and plenty of “Monday morning quarterbacks,” as we used to call them, with their keyboards and mice at the ready, eager to trash every decision that may be imperfect. But from the “big picture” perspective, and with a lot of transparency to help enlighten the public awareness, decisions and moves have been measured but reasonable and done to serve the public good.

The City now finds itself in a superior position to its much larger neighbors on important matters such as providing for the infrastructure upgrades a strong growth vector for the region promises, including with the advent of Amazon’s HQ2 expansion and, with it, equally major commitments by both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia to augment Amazon and other entities in their explosive propositions for success going forward.

It turns out that the biggest challenges all of this represents for Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County are their relative lagging in these regards, especially in the state of their school system infrastructures. By contrast, Falls Church has been like “the little engine that could,” laboring away at is improvements, backed by its citizens all the way. It is worth noting that every major initiative involved has been backed solidly by voters in public referenda. It is to the credit of the government’s openness and access, and to the role of a good local newspaper, we may add, that wise and reasonable decision making has been reflected consistently at the ballot in this community.

In this context, we remind our readers that 2019 will be another election year for the City of Falls Church. Three City Council (Phil Duncan, Letty Hardi and David Tarter) and three School Board (Justin Castillo, Erin Gill and Phil Reitinger) members will have their positions contested next November.