News Briefs: September 14 – 20

Sierra Club Endorses Hardi, Stevens & Underhill for Council

The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter announced today that it is endorsing Letty Hardi, Tim Stevens, and Justine Underhill for election to the City of Falls Church City Council in this Fall’s race. “Of the candidates seeking election, Letty Hardi, Tim Stevens, and Justine Underhill stand out for their support of policies that promote environmental stewardship, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a transition to renewable energy, and a sustainable future,” said Dean Amel, Political Chair of the Sierra Club Potomac River Group, which includes Falls Church.

“In responses to our candidate questionnaire and in interviews, Hardi, Stevens, and Underhill demonstrate a clear understanding that climate change is our top environmental challenge. They agree that the City government and the Falls Church community must do their share to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” added Michael Trauberman, a member of the Sierra Club Potomac River Group Executive Committee.

Early voting for this November 7 election will begin next Friday, Sept. 22, at City Hall. Three of seven F.C. City Council and School Board seats will be on the ballot as well as the race for the State Delegate from the 53rd District, with incumbent Democrat Marcus Simon facing off with independent Dave Crance.

F.C. School’s Enrollment Now 71 Over Projection

Falls Church City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Noonan reported at the first public business meeting of the school board Tuesday night that student enrollment numbers now show, with a total of 2,623, a total of 71 over projections.

He said the staff is still trying to identify why the numbers have come in so far ahead of expectations, and said the City and Schools are jointly retaining a demographer from the Fuller Institute at George Mason University to do things like determine which sort of dwelling units students are coming from. 

Anti-Trust Challenge to Google Gets Underway

Google has exploited its dominance of the internet search market to lock out competitors and smother innovation, the Department of Justice charged Tuesday at the opening of the biggest U.S. antitrust trial in a quarter century.

“This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” said Kenneth Dintzer, the Justice Department’s lead litigator.

Over the next 10 weeks, federal lawyers and state attorneys general will try to prove Google rigged the market in its favor by locking its search engine in as the default choice in a plethora of places and devices. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta likely won’t issue a ruling until early next year. If he decides Google broke the law, another trial will decide what steps should be taken to rein in the Mountain View, California-based company.

Musk Sues California Over Hate Speech Policy

Elon Musk’s social media platform, X,  formerly known as Twitter, has sued the state of California over a law requiring social media companies to publish their policies for removing offending material such as hate speech, misinformation and harassment.

The first-of-its-kind legislation was signed into law a year ago by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. In a lawsuit filed Friday against state Attorney General Robert Bonta, X Corp. challenges the “constitutionality and legal validity” of the law, saying it violates the First Amendment.