Lawn Signs Reflect Voters’ Wide Choice of “Tickets”
By GEORGE BROMLEY
Falls Church Times Staff
April 28, 2012
For the first time in at least 50 years a Falls Church City municipal election will not feature a ticket or slate of candidates. The venerable Citizens for a Better City (CBC) has stepped aside and no alternative organization has stepped forward to offer a list of their own. Every candidate for City Council now is a true independent, free to run his campaign as he sees fit and take positions without consulting his running mates.
However, many unofficial slates of candidates have emerged via the signs sprouting on many local lawns. Tickets of two, three, or even four contenders have been spotted, the last perhaps reflecting some discord in the residences, as voters may chose only three of the seven candidates.
Excluding unrealistic quartets, 56 different Council ticket combinations are possible: 21 duos and 35 trios. Each candidate has 15 potential matches with his six opponents, either as a pairing or as one-third of a trio.
Yard signs may not be an accurate reflection of wider voter preferences, but in the absence of any formal poll data they provide the only indication of popular sentiments in the City. Over the past week the Times has surveyed the signs while driving or more often walking through most streets and every neighborhood.
Some blocks are bereft of signs, but on others there are more signs in bloom than azaleas. As a general rule, the closer one comes to a candidate’s home the more likely one will see more of his signs. City-wide, signs endorsing Mayor Nader Baroukh, Phil Duncan, and Dave Tarter appear to be the most common, though not necessarily in that order.
The majority of lawns host single signs, but at least 20 full or partial Council tickets also are on display. While Baroukh, Duncan, and Tarter are more frequently found on these tickets, all seven candidates appear to have at least one running mate.
The multiple signs on many lawns reflect that voters no longer have the ”straight ticket” option, which CBC always provided in the past and, given CBC’s historic success, proved very tempting. Now every voter, like every candidate, is an independent.
How will the voters respond? The field is an unusually strong one, leaving them with difficult choices. Will they create full slates of their own or be more discriminating and vote for only one or two candidates? The choices they make and the City’s future are in their hands next Tuesday.
By George Bromley
April 27, 2012