Local Commentary

Editorial: Tuesday’s Local Election

It is hard to overstate how important Tuesday’s election is for voters in the City of Falls Church. The election is vital for all the state legislative districts being contested throughout Virginia, but the races for those offices right here are not being so contested. But with three seats on the Falls Church City Council and School Board at stake locally, it is vital that Falls Church voters, with their stellar record of high turnouts for all elections, come through to reaffirm the laudable values and issues they’ve supported in recent years.

To reiterate, the News-Press has enthusiastically endorsed the three incumbents seeking reelection to the City Council, Phil Duncan, Letty Hardi and David Tarter. These hardworking incumbents have proven their commitment to the City on a day-to-day basis to the best interests of its citizens for years and their reelection will represent a form of a “vote of confidence” for their efforts, and in line with the overwhelming support that City voters gave in 2017 to approve a bond referendum to build a new high school and more.

Their lone challenger, Stuart Whitaker, has no experience working for the citizens of the City, no resume of participation in its local issues or volunteer boards and commissions. Recently moved to the City, his issues are theoretical and thin in nature, and to the extent he’s applied them to Falls Church, they have come in the form of unfounded criticisms and negativity. At this point, we do not see him aspiring to, or qualified for, a constructive role in our city.

In the race for the School Board’s three (out of seven) seats, it has been disconcerting to see the race becoming dominated by the persisting ideological assertions of one of the candidates, first time challenger Douglass Stevens. With no history of volunteer involvement or other sustained engagement with the schools, his repetitive arguments would effectively undermine the progressive and compassionate posture of the school system, and the other candidates, regarding the current commitment to inclusiveness and diversity affirmation of all students.

The News-Press has strongly endorsed the other three candidates in this race, incumbent Phil Reitinger, and long-standing volunteers and parents in the system Laura Downs and Susan Dimock. Again, we see votes for them as “votes of confidence” for the important progress that has characterized the City’s world renowned school system in recent years, including with its transparent and compassionate cutting edge commitment to affirming the importance of all, including marginalized, students.

As thoroughly as we have covered these races from week to week, we are solidly convinced that Falls Church and all its citizens, will be best served by the election of the candidates we’ve endorsed.