By FALLS CHURCH TIMES STAFF
Feb. 15, 2010
Citizens for a Better City released today the following information concerning proposed rules for the organization’s nominating convention scheduled for Saturday Feb. 20 from 2-5pm at George Mason High School.
Proposed Rules of the Nominating Convention – 2010
Below are the Proposed Rules of the Nominating Convention which will be presented by the Executive Committee at CBC’s 25th Biennial Nominating Convention on Saturday, February 20th, 2010 at George Mason High School’s Auditorium. The 2010 Rules differ from past years in three main areas:
1) Nomination of four or fewer candidates (Rule 2)
2) Qualifications of potential candidates (Rule 3, a., iii)
3) Significant changes to the voting process which require candidates to achieve a minimum score to receive the CBC nomination (Rule 7, 8 and 9)
Reasons for the changes, discussion and a vote to adopt the Rules as proposed will be presented by Deb Gardner, CBC President, at the convention.
The convention will open at 2:00pm; all are invited! You do not have to be a CBC member to attend. We hope to see you there!
PROPOSED RULES OF THE NOMINATING CONVENTION – 2010
The convention will nominate candidates for both the City Council and the School Board. The rules set forth below apply to the nomination of City Council Members. When adopted by the convention, they shall also apply to the nomination of School Board Members with the proviso that wherever in the text below the words “City Council” appear, those words shall be construed to be “School Board” with respect to the rules governing the nomination of School Board members.
1. Any person may attend the convention, but only a resident of the City of Falls Church eligible to vote in the Falls Church City May 2010 election may register to participate (vote) in the convention.
a. All persons registered for the convention may have the privilege of the floor and may vote in the convention. Any person addressing the Chair shall state his/her name and address.
b. All persons who are registered shall receive a program and a ballot.
c. Persons present who are not registered shall receive only a program.
2. The CBC convention may endorse four or fewer candidates for City Council or School Board.
3. Candidates for nomination in the Nominating Convention shall be those who are current members of CBC, and:
a. Have filed with the Candidates Search Committee before 5:00 pm, Monday, February 15, 2010, and are certified by the Committee as
i. Meeting the requirements of the Code of Virginia for eligibility as City Council member, and
ii.Subscribing in the affirmative to the following: “I support the principles of CBC and will campaign actively for election to the office of City Council member if nominated.”
iii.Such candidates will have demonstrated significant leadership on City boards or commissions or in other community organizations or other governance bodies, along with other relevant skills and experience.
b. Are present at the Nominating Convention, and
c. Are placed in nomination from the floor, having been sponsored in writing by at least 10 registered convention participants who are current CBC members, and
d. Are certified by the Candidates Search Committee as having met these requirements as well as the requirements specified in i, ii and iii in “a” above.
4. Equal periods of time shall be granted to the qualified candidates to address the convention. If any previously filed candidate is unable to be present at the convention, he/she may designate in writing to the Candidates Search Committee a representative who shall act as his/her representative in speaking and responding to questions. These periods of time may include, at the option of such candidate with respect to his/her own time, time for one introductory or nominating speech.
a. The total time to be devoted to the addresses by the candidates (including introductory speeches) shall be determined by the Chair of the convention.
b. Each introductory speech shall be limited to one-third of the candidate’s allotted time.
c. The order of speaking by the candidates shall be determined by lot.
d. The time used by the several speakers shall be recorded by a timekeeper, who shall report to the Chair when the allotted time has expired.
5. A question-and-answer period shall follow the addresses by candidates.
a. The amount of time to be devoted to the question-and-answer period shall be determined by the Chair and announced at the beginning of the question-and-answer period.
b. Persons registered for the convention may address questions to the candidates either orally or in writing.
c. The time for presentation of any oral question shall be limited to one minute. The person presenting the question shall state his/her name and address,
d. Each candidate shall be permitted to comment on a question put to any other candidate.
e. The time limit shall be one minute for each candidate to answer or comment on a question.
6. Voting for nomination shall be by secret written ballot. The ballot forms shall contain the names of candidates who filed before 5:00 pm, Monday, February 15, 2010, and additional space for writing in the names of any candidates nominated from the floor.
7. A candidate shall be a nominee of the convention when, as a result of a balloting, he/she receives a positive score in convention balloting, and is among the top four scores. A score of 0 or a negative score will eliminate a candidate from contention. Voting will proceed as follows:
a. As part of the registration, each registered convention participant shall receive a ballot. The ballot will include names of all candidates seeking the CBC nomination. Next to the name, the ballot will have check boxes specifying For, Against, or Abstain.
b. Voters will mark the box stating their preference for each candidate. A blank ballot or no answer to a candidate will be counted as Abstain.
c. The ballots will be counted as follows: For = +1 point; Against = -1 point; Abstain = 0 points.
d. At the conclusion of the ballot tallying, the Convention Permanent Chair shall announce the results alphabetically and without rank order. Those candidates receiving the top four scores will receive the CBC Nomination. In the event of a tie for fourth place, a run-off election between the tied candidates will occur as in paragraph C and will proceed until the tie is broken.
8. If the convention adjourns without nominating the full number of allowable nominees (set forth pursuant to Rule 2), the CBC Executive Committee is authorized but not required to select as a CBC nominee up to four qualified candidates who meets the requirements of Rule 3, a, i, ii and iii, and to replace any nominee of the convention who, by withdrawal or for any other reason, is unable to campaign as a candidate. The Executive Committee may not appoint a candidate rejected at the convention, but may appoint a candidate who did receive a positive vote count, or another suitable candidate from the CBC membership.
9. Roberts Rules of Order, Revised shall govern the convention where applicable and not inconsistent with these Rules.
February 15, 2010
Saturday’s CBC convention became more crowded today, with Planning Commission Chairman John Lawrence and Planning Commission member Lindy Hockenberry announcing plans to seek CBC support for City Council, and Rosaura Aguerrebere announcing her plan to run under the CBC banner for reelection to the School Board.
Hockenberry is a former Vice Mayor and long time City schools teacher who lost her reelection bid to the City Council in 2008, after which she was appointed to the Planning Commission.
Lawrence has served on the Planning Commision since 2006, and as Chairman since 2009. He also serves on the Library Board and was appointed by the School Board to serve as the vice chairman of the Day Care Task Force. Lawrence is Manager of Congressional Affairs for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a non-governmental organization providing professional support to electoral democracy.
The decisions of Lawrence and Hockenberry to seek CBC support brings to six the number of City Council candidates vying for a maximum of four endorsements. The others are Vice Mayor Hal Lippman, Councilman Daniel Sze, School Board Chairman Ron Peppe, and former VPIS and Lions Club President Barry Buschow.
At the time of this report, neither Lawrence nor Hockenberry had provided written announcements regarding their candidacies.
Aguerrebere’s statement says she is running for re-election because she believes “our children deserve schools that provide them with an excellent education in a fiscally responsible manner.” Aguerrebere is the mother of five children, the youngest of whom is a student at George Mason High School.
Aguerrebere has served on the School Board since 2006, and also was appointed in 2009 to a four-year term on the Governor’s Latino Advisory Board.
Aguerrebere joins Patrick Riccards and fellow School Board member Susan Kearney in seeking the CBC nomination for School Board.
The Falls Church Times policy on local election coverage is:
- Make no endorsements
- Promote informed, civil dialogue on election issues
- Provide equitable, impartial coverage of candidates
February 15, 2010
While the Falls Church City School Board’s FY 2011 budget process is far from over, the board members made it clear during their work session on Saturday that proposed cuts in four instructional areas are off the table:
- full day kindergarten,
- foreign language,
- music, and
The board members agreed that these are fundamental components of the instructional program, and that reductions in these areas are no longer up for consideration.
“We want to keep any budget reductions as far removed from the classroom as possible,” School Board Chairman Ron Peppe said.
Because of the economic recession, the School Board is trying to craft a budget for FY2011 with a reduction target of $1.11 million from the current year’s budget. The process continues a two-year cycle of reductions and mid-year corrections to help the City government offset revenue shortfalls:
- The FY2009 school board budget was $600,000 less than the superintendent’s proposed budget and reduced school staffing by the equivalent of approximately eight full time positions.
- In mid FY2009, the School Board transferred nearly $400,000 back to the City’s general fund to help offset a revenue shortfall of $800,000. The board was able to do this because of a projected savings in salary and benefit costs when veteran teachers retired and were replaced with new teachers who started at a lower end of the salary scale.
- The FY2010 School Board budget was nearly $400,000 less than the FY2009 budget.
- In mid FY2010, the School Board approved spending reductions in order to provide $300,000 in financial relief to the City’s general fund to help offset a significant revenue shortfall. This was made possible through:
- A partial hiring freeze for vacant positions
- A reduction in spending for several operational cost centers
- Delaying some of the items in the school division’s maintenance and replacement schedule
- Reductions in professional services and travel budgets
- Reductions in human resources advertising
- Reductions in tuition reimbursement for staff
- The total reduction in school funding and staffing over the past two years is approximately $700,000 and the equivalent of approximately eight full time positions.
The School Board will continue to look at a four-tiered list of reduction options presented by Superintendent Lois Berlin in January in an effort to reach the FY2011 budget reduction target. All budget work sessions are open to the public, and members of the public are encouraged to take part in a series of public hearings:
|Tuesday, February 16||7:00 p.m.||Public Hearing #2||Conference Room, Central Office|
|Thursday, February 18||7:00 p.m.||Town Hall Meeting
Public input sessions re: city/school services
|Tuesday, February 23||6:30 p.m.||School Board Work Session if needed||Chambers, City Hall|
|8:00 p.m.||Public Hearing #3|
|Tuesday, March 2||7:00 p.m.||School Board Work Session & Adoption of FY11 Budget||Conference Room, Central Office|
*The FCCPS Central Office is located at 800 W. Broad Street, Suite 203, Falls Church, Va.
School board budget information is available on the school division Web site: www.fccps.org/budget. The public may also leave a comment for the board at that link.
By GINA CACECI
Falls Church Times Staff
February 15, 2010
The opening of a permanent home for the arts in Falls Church City brings new possibilities, including combining theater with an art exhibition. That’s what is happening in February and March, when the art show Phases becomes the backdrop for the James Thurber play “Many Moons.”
Phases, Falls Church Arts’ 7th annual show and sale, opens Friday, February 19, at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Avenue. Opened last summer, ArtSpace houses FCA’s permanent gallery in its lobby. For this huge all-member show, FCA will use all of ArtSpace to exhibit some 120 works by 70 local artists. The Phases opening features a reception from 7-9 p.m.
A FIRSTfriday Artists’ Reception is scheduled for Friday, March 5, from 6-8 p.m. The show continues on weekends through March 21. Phases is an all media show, so the art will include paintings in oil, pastel, acrylic, and watercolor, as well as photographic images and more. See www.FallsChurchArts.org for more information.
In conjunction with the Phases show, Creative Cauldron will present the James Thurber play “Many Moons,” and the art exhibit will become part of the set for the play. “Many Moons” is the story of a princess who falls ill from eating too many raspberry tarts, and asks for the moon to help her feel better. For more information about “Many Moons,” see www.CreativeCauldron.org
Creative Cauldron and Falls Church Arts share ArtSpace as their home. Creative Cauldron has taken on the lease and operational responsibilities, and FCA supports the venue by scheduling events and activities that complement the programming of Creative Cauldron.
For the previous six years, Don Beyer Volvo was the site of the FCA show, as it had been the only available space large enough to accommodate the hundreds of people attending opening night.
“The FCA All Member Show has become a Falls Church City tradition, and we’re thrilled to invite everyone to our new home at ArtSpace. Thanks to the hard work of so many people, and to the talents of our artists, Friday’s opening will be a great celebration of our community” said Marty Meserve, Show Co-Director.
Falls Church Arts is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 with the goal of insuring that the visual and performing arts are a part of the cultural environment of the city of Falls Church and the surrounding area.
By FALLS CHURCH TIMES STAFF
The Falls Church City Public Schools have canceled all afternoon and evening
activities for today, Monday, February 15, 2010.
Light snow is expected to begin falling at approximately 2:00 p.m. Slushy accumulations will be less than three inches.
By STAN FENDLEY
Falls Church Times Staff
February 15, 2010
I’m as baffled as the rest of you as to why my friend George Southern keeps banging the Arlington drum.
Don’t get me wrong. Arlington is a very nice place. Well-run, well-planned, and prosperous. In fact, I spend a substantial amount of time there, hanging out at that beautiful new ice rink the Caps built, dining at a number of fine restaurants, and buying things I can’t buy in Falls Church. I like Arlington. Fine place.
Before moving to Falls Church, my family lived in another fine city – Alexandria. Beautiful, historic, great people. A lot going for it, Alexandria.
On the other side of us is Fairfax County. Another very fine place. Also historic, wonderful people, has a great university, some of the finest shopping and dining in the nation.
But my family moved to Falls Church. We like Falls Church. Lots of reasons for that, but the chief reason is – no surprise – schools. Excellent, small schools. Emphasis on the small.
It’s not as if small is good for everyone. We had neighbors who made that decision a few years ago – their kid wanted to go to a bigger school, and Arlington was their choice. At the time, I remember thinking, “That’s cool. It’s all good.”
But my wife and I think small is good for our kids. Everybody knows them, they know everybody, everyone watches out for everyone’s kids, it’s safe, supporting, lots of individual attention – and all that on top of a great education. That seems like a very good deal to me.
And here’s my question. How many small towns and small schools are there inside the Beltway? Hmm, not many, I think. So why would one give that up? As long as my kids are still getting a great education, why would we want to merge with a larger city? For my family, we would lose exactly the thing that brought us here.
I know. George says we can still keep our smallness and still be part of Arlington. I don’t buy that. The pressure on Arlington’s political leaders to treat Falls Church like the rest of their constituents would be overwhelming. George can disagree. He may think we can get a guaranteed deal, but how many political guarantees have you seen broken in your lifetime. Why in the world would we want to take that chance? No, thank you.
And regardless what one thinks should happen, there are a couple of reasons why becoming part of Arlington – or Fairfax, or any other jurisdiction — will not happen anytime soon.
First, no Falls Church political leader would dare support it. Fastest way to lose an election ever. Don’t believe me? Look around. As Andy Rankin recently noted in a retort to George, with election season approaching, we see exactly zero candidates running on the join-Arlington platform.
Second, the reason no political leader would support it is because, as a whole, the community won’t support it. Notwithstanding a lot of discontent over our fiscal situation, people here will do what it takes to stay Falls Church. Run whatever survey you want, and you will get that result.
Now, knowing my friend George, I feel confident that my rebuttal will not end this matter. For reasons unfathomable to me, he feels strongly about this, so we will hear more about joining Arlington.
But for those of you wondering why that drum beat continues, I can only say, use it as motivation not to let that outcome occur. We have a tough budget situation ahead, where the City Council will have to make choices. Everyone who cares about Falls Church should voice his or priorities loudly and clearly to each Council Member, and push them to base their decisions on those priorities.
Then the drum beat will die away. Slowly, perhaps, but it will die away.
February 15, 2010
While some folks seemed to enjoy the Man About Town’s little morality play aboard the Good Ship Ti-Tiny last week, others said, in effect, to quit “playing” around. If I’m so sure that Falls Church City has no long-term viability, they said, I should put my money (or the taxpayers’ money) where my mouth is, and document why.
I realize now that in advocating for Falls Church to become a town inside Arlington County, I was putting the cart before the horse. People aren’t ready for such a drastic step, because the thought leaders are telling them that the Little City just has to survive a one-time drought, after which things will be OK.
So instead of playing in the snow last week, I was ensconced on the Internet in search of the facts that my critics demand. The first nugget came from perhaps the least likely source: Falls Church News-Press owner/editor Nick Benton.
I say “least likely” because Mr. Benton’s newspaper is the City’s #1 cheerleader – not the place for doom and gloom prognostications. But Benton’s been covering the City full time for 20 years, and if anyone should be aware of the impending train wreck, he should.
Well, guess what? A series of News-Press articles from 2007 mirrors my own claims that the City has no long-term viability. In an August 24, 2007, editorial, Benton wrote that “one of the City’s wisest and most respected administrators stated not that long ago that he doubted the City could sustain itself as an independent jurisdiction for the long haul in its current configuration due to its lack of capacity for expanding and diversifying its tax base.”
A week earlier, Benton wrote that Falls Church’s founders “never envisioned that the City would remain a mere 2.2 square miles. They felt that to secure its long-term sustainability, the city would have to expand, incorporating large enough sections of Fairfax County to contain a population of 25,000 or 30,000.”
Benton’s “solution” was for Fairfax County to cede 12 square miles and 71,000 residents to Falls Church. In exchange we would give Fairfax County our waterworks and let Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross be our mayor. But as anyone would expect, that lead balloon didn’t fly, and there’s been no further mention in the News-Press of the City’s non-sustainability.
The prevailing wisdom is that Falls Church can survive by means of dense commercial development of its corridors. But listen to the professional developer who knows this area better than anyone else. Yes, I mean Bob Young — developer of the Flower Building, the Read Building, the Panera Building, the Elevation Burger building, and more – and with plans to build a Hilton Hotel. Read more