The news is flooded with reports from around the country that local elections have now become the target of those seeking to inject national partisanship into local governance. Let’s hope that’s not the destiny of Our Little City.
The Falls Church News-Press has devoted an incredible amount of space to candidates to express their views and the recent City Council and School Board candidate forums provided invaluable time for the candidates to express their opinions. I am impressed by all of these candidates and the qualifications and commitment they would bring to their roles. However, in the interest of time and fairness to the candidates, the forums have had their limitations. It’s in the interest of every voter to dig deeper.
Contributions to the campaign of Ilya Shapiro for Falls Church School Board have raised eyebrows and concerns of longtime residents for their size and out-of-state sources; his war chest is unprecedented. When one candidate for School Board outraises all six other contenders— with many contributors residing out of state— concern for the continuation of local control of our local schools is justified.
Financial support for candidates is an expression of free speech that we treasure in our democracy and should not replace a carefully considered review of a candidate’s positions and qualifications for office.
But in the spirit of understanding who our candidates are and what they might inject into something as critical to our future as a community as the School Board, these facts cannot be ignored.
When local candidates say they will be accountable and responsive, the question is “to whom?”