Local Commentary

Editorial: Why Want to Live Anywhere Else?

The following quote came to the News-Press this week from Falls Church Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly:

“Here’s a positive take on something of note: In recent months City of Falls Church community volunteers have delivered four phenomenal reports based on the work of committees. 1. Police Use of Force report. 2. The Stormwater Task Force Green infrastructure report, 3. The High School Renaming Committee report, and 4. The Elementary School Renaming Committee report. All were citizen-led with staff support. All wrestling with big topics. All providing thoughtful recommendations. In total about 60 to 65 individuals who gave time talent and expertise and on varied, but important topics. I’m so impressed!”

Indeed, quite a relevant observation. That does not include the process initiated a few years ago by the City’s venerable civic organization, the Citizens for a Better City (CBC), to recruit students from the local high school to volunteer for positions on the City’s abundant roster of volunteer boards and commissions, all of whose members confirmed by the City Council take their work very seriously.

Who would have thought that a feisty little independent city with its barely 15,000 population would engender such lively civic enthusiasm? Some might have thought that by virtue of its location adjacent “the most powerful city in the world” folks would be so preoccupied by the big time nature of everything else in this DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) mega-region, they wouldn’t waste their time on the issues of a tiny jurisdiction embedded within. But no, and this is a very good thing, because it demonstrates a sincere community interest in the very real and perceptible functioning of democratic institutions.

Clearly, most of us here in Falls Church do not sit back and let others make decisions about matters important to our community, whether at the local, regional or national level. That’s why Falls Church routinely has the highest voter turnout of any jurisdiction in Virginia, and has an outstanding K-12 school system. It’s because its citizens see to it, and now the City has taken major steps to improve its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity with far more than mere lip service, producing valuable citizen-based studies on police “use of force” practices, new school system policies and more.

Most citizens take this constructive approach to their local government very seriously, and as such view issues from the standpoint of the good of the community, and do not align with some who look at things only from the standpoint of selfish self-interest and always advocate for outcomes based on that.

That is the wonder of Falls Church that too often gets ignored by those making judgments on, for example, best places to live. We note the National Association of Realtors’ study that found F.C. to be the second best suburban place to live in the U.S. Add this factor to the mix, and why would anyone want to live anywhere else?