FCT Candidate Questionnaire Set

By Falls Church Times Staff
October 4, 2013

The Falls Church Times recently asked readers to suggest questions to City Council candidates running in the November 5 election. We received a wide range of questions, with most focused on city finances, school funding, real estate development, economic development, the storm water plan, the “Ped” plan.

Those suggestions have been incorporated into composite questions and submitted to the candidates as part of the eight-part Candidate Questionnaire below. We have asked the candidates to respond by mid-October, and we will begin publishing their responses serially shortly thereafter.

Many thanks to all of you who sent us suggestions. We greatly appreciate your involvement in the questionnaire process.

And we thank all the candidates for their willingness to serve. We look forward to receiving their responses and sharing them with the voters. Best of luck to all.

The questionnaire appears below.


1. Qualifications. Why are you running for City Council? What strengths and experience would you bring to the job?

2. City Finances. Financial pressures facing the City include rapidly growing schools, aging facilities, increased demand on city services, pensions liabilities, and the need for an appropriate fund balance. Although budgeting always requires “balance,” Council members must establish priorities. What will be your priorities as you face these pressures?

3. School facilities. Ideas have been floated by a number of people on how to pay for new facilities at George Mason High School and Mt. Daniel Elementary. Some of those ideas include commercial development in the area near GMHS to bring in more revenue, tearing down City Hall to build a new GMHS there, and selling the Mt. Daniel property and moving those students to Thomas Jefferson Elementary. Do you favor any of these proposals? What would you propose as a way to deal with school facility needs?

4. Real Estate Development. Falls Church City is looking at a number of approved and prospective real estate developments in the coming years, such as the “Harris Teeter project” on West Broad, the “Reserve at Tinner Hill” on South Maple, a possible mixed-use project at Broad and West, and the potential development of land linked to the sale of the City water system. In your view, what community values should new real estate developments reflect, and what specific features and characteristics should be included to make them enjoyable and valuable for the community?

5. Economic Development. Separate from real estate development, what can the City do to generate increased economic activity? What kinds of businesses and activities should we recruit and promote? What tools should we utilize?

6. Storm water. The City Council recently passed a plan to enhance the city’s storm water infrastructure. It features a new user fee that would be paid beginning next year by homeowners, businesses, and churches. Executing the plan would require a number of new full-time employees. Do you agree with this approach? If not, how would you modify it?

7. “Ped” Plan. In 2012, the City announced that the Council “withdrew consideration of the Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Calming Strategic Implementation Plan to allow for changes to the plan and additional time for public input, review and approval.” To date, the Council has not resumed consideration of the plan. Do you feel the City should pursue such a plan? If yes, what changes, if any, should be made to the 2012 version of the plan? If not, why not?

8. Current Council. What has the current Council done well and what has it done poorly?

October 4, 2013 


2 Responses to “FCT Candidate Questionnaire Set”

  1. John D. Lawrence on October 7th, 2013 9:12 am

    City Council Candidates:

    The question regarding the schools contained a couple factual errors that need to be corrected as you look to submitting your answers.

    First, no one has ever suggested moving the High School to the City Hall site. No one. So that’s out. And the idea of tearing down City Hall for a school also seems to be clearly off the table to me, but that’s me speaking personally. It was part of a number of possible ideas last year, but, like I said, to me it’s no longer under consideration.

    Second, the idea of selling the Mt. Daniel property and moving all the kids to TJ has also never been under consideration. I think I speak for everyone on the School Board when I say that none of us would want a “mega” elementary school with the number of kids over 1,000+ **as of today**. That would be bad for all the kids.

    Obviously, you can answer whatever and however you want, but I just wanted to point out these mistakes.

  2. Times Editors on October 8th, 2013 10:35 am

    Thanks for your note, John, and thank you for your service on the school board. But the question is not only about proposals under consideration by the board, but ideas circulating generally. We have heard all of those things discussed around town at one time or another; whether they all made it on the school board docket or not, we can’t say.

    But we did have a high ranking school official recently tell us that the school board considered and rejected the Mt. Daniel+TJ combination a couple years ago – not sure if you were on the board then.

    In any case, the gist of the question is for City Council candidates to share their views on how to address school facilities issues, and we look forward to hearing from the candidates on this important issue.

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