Final Debate Tonight as F.C. Elections Just a Week Away

FORUM MODERATOR Hal Lippman (standing, center) led the F.C. City Council forum at the American Legion Hall last Thursday. Left to right: seated candidates are Phil Duncan, Letty Hardi, David Tarter and Stuart Whitaker. (Photo: News-Press)

The final organized debate before next week’s election is slated tonight, Monday, in the City of Falls Church, a debate of the four candidates for School Board vying to fill three seats that will be hosted by the combined PTAs in the City at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School at 7 p.m.     

The last head-to-head forum pitting the four candidates seeking to fill three seats on the City Council was held last Thursday night at the American Legion Hall, and it saw all the candidates sharpen their messages as the Nov. 5 election day nears. In that race, incumbents are all seeking to hold onto their current seats for another four years, including Mayor David Tarter and Council members Phil Duncan and Letty Hardi. The lone non-incumbent in the race is Stewart Whitaker. While the incumbents have been touting their many years of civic involvement in Falls Church, Whitaker has no such pedigree and, compared to his opponents, was very thin on details about his plans for Falls Church if elected.     

Tarter, Duncan and Hardi all touted the considerable achievements of the Council they’ve all played a major role in accomplishing, including in terms of saving eight cents on the tax rate for residential homeowners with the robust mixed-use economic development that has highlighted recent years and the voter-approved school construction bond passed by a wide margin on 2017 that has spurred a rapid advance for the building of a new state-of-the-art George Mason High School already well underway. The latest news on that was the extraordinarily low interest rate the City was able to see the $126 million bond issue for last week, due to the sound fiscal management that has maintained the City’s AAA bond rating and the wider low-interest regime in the markets. Whitaker continued to emphasize his concern for global warming and the impact of transportation on it, arguing the existing City Council in F.C. has not done enough about it.