SATURDAY 5/1: World Children’s Choir Spring Fest and Yard Sale

April 29, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The World Children’s Choir Spring Fest will be held on Saturday, May 1, from 8:30 a.m.  – 12:30 p.m. at Christ Crossman United Methodist Church, 384 North Washington Street.  Activities include a musicale by World Children’s Choir (African drumming, dancing, singing) and a 40 family garage sale.  The musicale will be held outside and is free to the public. Proceeds from the yard sale will benefit WCC’s scholarship program for students from families that are financially disadvantaged.

For additional information, call 703-833-0920, email or visit

Election Wide Open as News-Press Endorses Mixed Slate

April 29, 2010 by · 44 Comments 

Falls Church Times Columnist

April 29, 2010

Falls Church voters face the most conflicting set of choices for City Council this Tuesday to confront them in this century – and maybe in the last century as well.

Eight candidates are running for four seats, and the usual powers that be have splintered. Of the four candidates endorsed today by the Falls Church News-Press, only two are running on the CBC (Citizens for a Better City) slate. Traditionally the News-Press and the CBC have operated in lock-step.

Even more intriguing is the break between News-Press owner-editor Nicholas Benton and Mayor Robin Gardner and her politically active husband, Mike, who recently began writing an opinion column in Benton’s newspaper. Today, Gardner’s entire column is devoted to reasons why Council incumbent Dave Snyder should not be re-elected. Yet in the same edition, Benton endorses Snyder, albeit not without reservation.

Why the big breakup? My own back-of-the-envelope reasoning is that Benton, who has followed City politics for 20 years and knows which way the wind is blowing, has determined that the CBC slate will not win big. Certainly not in entirety. Even the CBC members don’t have their heart in it. Just look around the City – there are a paucity of CBC campaign signs. It’s really quite amazing, considering how big a race this is.

The lack of enthusiasm for the CBC campaign may stem from the strange way they picked their slate this year. No smoke-filled back room for the CBC – to the contrary, you didn’t even have to be a CBC member to vote at their convention! Just show up.

The results were just as surprising as the unorthodox method of obtaining them. Incumbent Dan Sze, anointed by the CBC four years earlier, wasn’t even nominated. He wisely withdrew from the race a few days later.

But the big shocker was that former vice mayor and longtime CBC loyalist Lindy Hockenberry also failed to win nomination to the CBC slate. This was apparently too much for News-Press editor Benton to bear, as Hockenberry leads his list of endorsements.

The News-Press headline reads:

Hockenberry, Peppe,
Lippman, Snyder

That’s a little misleading, because the editorial itself indicates a slightly different order of preference. The two lead choices are actually Vice Mayor Hal Lippman and Hockenberry, but their combined names were too long to fit on one line. Current School Board Chair Ron Peppe, having the shortest name, was elevated to follow Hockenberry.

If the News-Press applied a litmus test for endorsements, it would seem to be the vote on lending $2 million to the Falls Church Housing Corporation to build the Wilden senior housing project on South Washington Street. Hockenberry (who sits on the Planning Commission) and Lippman were  enthusiastic supporters of the venture, and Snyder voted for it as well, breaking with his oft-time ally, Councilman Nader Baroukh. Meanwhile, Peppe cleverly tiptoed through the hot coals, remaining vague on the question but alienating no one.  Among the candidates who did not receive News-Press endorsement, three of them – Johannah Barry, Ira Kaylin, and John Lawrence, were strongly opposed to the City’s $2 million loan, with only Barry Buschow appearing to mildly favor it.

So – only two candidates have managed to win the imprimatur of both the CBC and the News-Press: Lippman and Peppe. But in a time of potential voter backlash, are these endorsements helpful?


City Schools Closed May 3
6 Students Advance to Nat’l History Day Nationals
GMHS Foreign Language Students Take Top Honors
May 16 House and Garden Tour
BIE Partner is Carol Klein

Read more

City Council Approves FY2011 Budget
Real Estate Tax Increase Effect
Operating Budget Reductions

Read more