City Election Date Referendum Discussed at LWV Forum

Falls Church Times Staff

October 21, 2011

Should Falls Church City elections be held in May or November?  The controversial question, which will be resolved through next month’s referendum, was the subject of a panel discussion yesterday evening at a League of Women Voters forum at the Community Center.

State Board of Elections (SBE) analyst Martha Brissette, City Electoral Board Secretary Renee Andrews, and Manassas Park Vice Mayor Brian Polk (I) discussed the issue and responded to audience questions posed by moderator Edith Snyder.

Brissette said that the SBE favors consolidation of elections for reasons of efficiency.  “The public expects elections in November, but we will administer whatever the people decided.” she said.

Andrews, who also is a member of the local Democratic committee, reviewed many of the pros and cons of each option.  She said turnout would be higher and the City would save around $18,000 by moving the election to November.  Partisanship might then be more of a risk, but Andrews said at this point neither local party wants to become involved.

“There’s no wrong or right answer,” said Andrews.  “I hope people come out in large numbers and make informed choices.”

Polk said that his city’s council made the change to November and received little “negative feedback.”  He estimated that turnout in Manassas Park was around 10% in May elections, a level well below that achieved in Falls Church, but increased to 30% in 2010 and 60% in 2008.

“I don’t regret it.  If I had to do it again I might not champion it,” said Polk.  He added that he felt there was less risk of partisanship when the elections are on the odd year cycle.

Manassas Park’s elections, which are partisan, now are on the even year cycle, coinciding with presidential and congressional elections.  If the referendum is approved, Falls Church’s will be on the odd year cycle, with elections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general every four years, and the General Assembly every two years.

The panel passed on the question of why Falls Church’s turnout has declined, despite its highly educated electorate.  “It’s a mystery,” said League president Ellen Salsbury.  “We all lead busy lives.”

Around 50 residents attended Thursday’s event, including five councilmen.  Virginia Senator Richard Saslaw (D) and Democratic candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos spoke briefly before the panel discussion, then departed.  Saslaw said he favored passage of the referendum.  Stamos did not take a position.  Republican and Green party candidates did not attend, but were invited, according to a League official.

The last page of the League’s voter’s guide provides the full text of the referendum and a comprehensive list of the pros and cons for May and November.  The League has never taken a position on the issue of changing the election date.

Virginia municipal elections have been held in the spring since the late 19th Century.  Since 2000, cities and towns have had the option of moving their elections to November.  About half of the cities have made the switch, but less than 20% of the towns.

In January 2010 the Council passed an ordinance  to move the election to the fall.  The following November a new Council voted to repeal the ordinance and also approved the upcoming referendum.  If voters approve the November referendum question, and the proposed Charter amendment is approved by the General Assembly, the election date will change and the following City election will be held in November 2013.

The Citizens for a Better City and the Village Preservation and Improvement Society jointly will sponsor a conversation on the referendum on Tuesday, October 25, at 7:30 pm at the George Mason High School Library.

October 21, 2011 


23 Responses to “City Election Date Referendum Discussed at LWV Forum”

  1. Phil Duncan — City of Falls Church (703) 209-2005 on October 25th, 2011 10:18 am

    Thanks, George, for your take on the LWV forum. For those citizens who want to learn more about the topic of electing local officials in November, Tuesday 7:30pm in the GMHS library there’s a “community conversation” on the ballot question. The conversation is sponsored by CBC and VPIS. Neither organization is taking a position on the question, but both hope citizens will cast an informed vote on Nov. 8.

    And for anyone who can stomach even MORE ink on the topic, I offer my notes on the LWV forum:

    Thanks to the Falls Church League of Women Voters for sponsoring an informative program Oct. 20 on the Nov. 8 referendum about holding local elections in November. I was coming from D.C. and missed the very beginning when state Sen. Dick Saslaw spoke, but I heard all the presentations and q&a comments of Martha Brusette of the State Board of Elections; Renee Andrews, secretary of the Falls Church Electoral Board; and Ryan Polk, vice-mayor of Manassas Park All facets of the topic were examined in a substantive, candid and civil manner — the best kind of community political event, in my view.

    Polk listed a number of positives about Manassas Park’s switch to electing local officials in November: Voter participation in local races has increased dramatically compared to May; taxpayers are spared the cost of administering an extra election (a $28,000 savings, we later learned); the registrar’s burden of recruiting poll workers is eased; schools and municipal facilities used as polling places are not tied up with voting an extra day; the community is no longer cluttered with a proliferation of local candidates’ signs in the spring; fund-raising for local candidates is no more difficult in November; and local and regional media (even TV) pay more attention to local-office campaigns waged in the “normal” November cycle, when media typically gear up their political coverage.

    Asked if there was a problem with the larger November turnout including many voters not knowledgeable about local issues, Polk said, “I think we got more people who were informed about local issues” by voting in November. In conversation with me after the program, he said that the larger number of people showing up to vote in November had given him a chance to talk with many more citizens at the polls about his positions on local issues.

    In his public comments and in conversation afterward, it seemed to me that Polk’s one reservation about November voting is that Manassas Park’s local offices are on the ballot in even-numbered years, with federal offices. But that’s not an issue for Falls Church, where, if the referendum is approved Nov. 8, we would vote for local offices in odd-numbered Novembers. “Odd-year is probably the best,” Polk said.

    As long as I’ve been following this election-date issue, there’s been confusion in the public about the rules governing federal employees’ running in local elections. This was the case again last night. Perhaps there is some All-Knowing Authority in cyberland who can definitively school us, but I suspect there may be a lot of gray-area stuff, depending on how the Office of Special Counsel interprets the Hatch Act to impact different categories of federal workers seeking various offices in assorted localities, regardless of what month elections are held.

    At any rate, the new thing I learned at the LWV forum is that Manassas Park’s council includes a couple of people who are known to be Republicans, at least one known Democrat, and four who call themselves independents, and Polk said that at least one of their councilors is a federal employee. So under the conditions there, it’s certainly possible for a federal employee to run for local office, presumably because no candidate runs “as representing a party” — the Hatch standard (as I understand it). I don’t see why the situation in Falls Church would be any different.

    It’s essential to remember that candidates for local office are NOT listed on the ballot with any sort of party affiliation, and that both the Falls Church City Democratic Committee and its Republican counterpart have said they do not plan to change their longstanding policy of taking no formal role in campaigns for local offices.

  2. Lou Mauro on October 25th, 2011 6:07 pm

    If the FCC Republican and Democratic Committees have a “longstanding policy” against taking a “formal” role in local campaigns, how do you explain the fact that in November 2002 a Democratic Sample Ballot was distributed at the polls telling voters how to vote on the local referendum question on the ballot that year? Also, even if the Committees commit not to take a “formal” role, how do you prevent an individual candidate from nonetheless indicating his/her party preference on campaign material that is handed out at the polls?

    Falls Church City voters: don’t believe all the assurances of non-partisanship. Federal and State elections in NOVEMBER are ALWAYS political and partisan. It is naive to think that would stop just because local elections are added to the ballot and the Republican and Democratic Committees (but not the candidates) enter into a non-binding agreement. The State law against party affiliations appearing on the ballot itself is, and has been, easily evaded in November elections by the use of yard signs, and sample ballots, brochures and other politically partisan materials handed out at the polls. An attempt to prevent such expressions of political partisanship could have been made by including in the proposed Charter amendment, or by the City Council enacting, a prohibition against use of such materials. That, however, would most likely be unconstitutional.

    Don’t even open the door a crack for political partisanship in our City Council and School Board elections: on November 8, vote NO on the proposed Charter change.

  3. June and Mike Beyer on October 30th, 2011 11:15 pm

    Thank you, Renee Andrews, for the information on increased voter turnout and financial savings. Vote YES on the proposed Charter change next Tuesday November 8th. It makes sense.

  4. Stephen Siegel on October 31st, 2011 8:37 am

    Regardless of the merits of one’s position, is Lou’s concern about increasingly partisan results borne out by the fact that the signs popping up from Falls Church Votes, which urge a November election date, are paid for by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee?

  5. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on October 31st, 2011 9:33 am

    Is Stephen’s comment accurate? If it is aren’t we already seeing what a lot of people said we wouldn’t see? Partisan influence over City issues seems like one of the main fears people have related to switching elections to November.

  6. FCCDCin Hiding on October 31st, 2011 1:37 pm

    From the “Falls Church Votes” Facebook page, Info: “Created by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee to GET OUT THE VOTE!
    Welcome to Falls Church Votes!!!© A facebook page created by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee in recognition of the civic pride of our city voters who come to the polls in each and every election.” does not disclose any relationship to the Falls Church City Democratic Committee. It says “Paid for by the Falls Church Votes Refendum [sic] Committee.” There is no “About” link there, and the donations page displays Cathy Kaye’s email address. I wonder where the money goes…

  7. Phil Duncan — City of Falls Church on October 31st, 2011 4:28 pm

    I wish I had time to write on at my usual length, but that making-a-living thing is getting in the way today. So I’ll just say the most important thing that needs knowing in reply to Lou and Stephen: The group that’s asking for a YES vote on the Nov. 8 referendum (their signs say “Paid for and Authorized by Falls Church Votes Referendum Committee”) stands by itself, independent of ANY other political or advocacy organization. So rest at ease, Andy.

  8. Jody Acosta, Falls Church on October 31st, 2011 5:25 pm


    No, Stephen’s comment is NOT accurate. The signs do NOT say Paid for by the FCC Dem. Comm… they clearly say “Paid for and Authorized by the Falls Church Votes Referendum Committee”, which has NOTHING to do with the Dem. Committe. This is dis-information at it’s worst.

    Too bad the FCTimes did not report on the CBC / VPIS forum held last week on this very issue. The movement to request City Council to change the City Charter and ensure ALL City Council and School Board elections to be forever non-partisan was unveiled.

    If this passes City Council, then, no mater when our local elections are held, they will remain NON-PARTISAN. As they should.

  9. Stephen Siegel on October 31st, 2011 5:46 pm

    Jody, you’re right; they do say that. But many of the same people are involved and contributing. I’m just wondering if they are truly independent? The contributors are many of the same people. What was the level of coordination, if any? Just asking, because sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  10. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on October 31st, 2011 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the additional information! Whether the people behind the Falls Church Votes Referendum Committee (whoever they may be) are the same people who are part of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee or not I’m glad the campaign isn’t being waged under the Democratic Committee flag.

    Even still, it does seem to hint at a fundamental problem with November elections. From what I can tell a lot of the people active in City politics also have fairly strong partisan connections (which isn’t a surprise or bad). If they’re out campaigning for state candidates one day but campaigning for local candidates the next there will be plenty of people who think/suggest/believe that the local campaigning is connected to the partisan state campaigning, even if it isn’t.

    For example, just because some folks are members of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee doesn’t mean they shouldn’t also be allowed to promote their position on this election date issue – but we can already see how some people are connecting the two.

    This is one reason why I like May elections. The only reason to be campaigning or paying attention is for local stuff – it is very clear cut.

    I wouldn’t mind the City Council doing something to help ensure local elections will be technically non-partisan (I think that was already in place, but I guess I’m wrong) – but I assume that just has to do with party designations on ballots. I’m not sure how you could deal with unsolicited endorsements, or co-mingled campaigning by volunteers.

    It will be interesting to see how this referendum goes. I haven’t seen any signs by the Falls Church Keep The Elections In May Referendum Committee so I’m guessing the Yes votes will take the day – but I guess we won’t know until the votes are counted.

  11. Betty Coll on November 1st, 2011 12:40 am

    I am the Chair of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee (FCCDC). It is too bad the Falls Church Times did not report on last week’s forum sponsored by CBC and VPIS held to discuss the move of the city elections from May to November.

    I was there to make clear that the FCCDC has no endorsement policy in effect. There hasn’t been one despite the many rumors circulating in the city. Though one was proposed in 2005-06, final action was never taken because concerns about its impact on city elections weren’t resolved. Let’s be clear –there is no interest by the Democratic Committee to endorse Democrats in city elections for council or school board. Here’s further evidence – FCCDC has not endorsed any city candidates for council or school board.

    Furthermore we don’t do anything to assist Democrats in city elections. We don’t donate money (except as individuals which I hope others believe is still our right as citizens of this city) we don’t lend anything that we control – like email lists to anyone to assist city candidates. That has never been done.

    There are rumors that other partisan groups have done that – but I can only speak for what FCCDC has done.

    FALLS CHURCH VOTES was something I created years ago. It has been the tag line for the FCCDC logo since that was created in 2007. Afterwards several different groups have used it to promote their activities. They have all told me that they were using it for their efforts and it was okay with me. It never was meant to connote that we are connected with them but it is a keen observation of the real obvious civic pride that our community has in our participatory democracy – our citizens’ vote.

    I am sorry that Stephen Seigel attributed that tag line on the signs to the FCCDC and not to the totally independent efforts of others in the city to get voters to vote YES on the referendum to move city elections to November.

    Frankly few people not affiliated to the FCCDC have seen the full logo with the FALLS CHURCH VOTES tag line. It is mostly used in communications with Democrats in the city. But, yes it is on FACEBOOK and is connected to FCCDC, but it is also associated to others who have used it after talking to me.

    But enough about that. My friend and compatriot Phil Duncan writes “that both the Falls Church City Democratic Committee and its Republican counterpart have said they do not plan to change their longstanding policy of taking no formal role in campaigns for local offices.” (Actually the City’s Republican Committee has not made a public statement nor appeared at city forums on the issue). Then Lou Mauro abridges Phil’s statement by writing a question that drops the part about “for local offices.“ Lou wants to know why FCCDC took a position on a city referendum in 2002.

    I wasn’t a member of the committee then so I can’t say why it took the position it did but I can assure you that if the FCCDC wants to take a position on a city referendum we will take a position and that the apples of that support don’t match the oranges of endorsing and supporting “campaigns for local office” which despite all the squeezing to make it so – it just won’t happen. But doesn’t anyone else think that the FCCRC has to also take the same public position?

    I have no idea where Stephen Siegel got the idea to make a claim that the FCCDC paid for signs that are popping up in support of the move from May to November. He obviously didn’t read it on a sign though he seemed comfortable making that claim. FCCDC is only supporting our own efforts to get the city elections moved from May to November. Our support for that move is to secure a higher percentage of voter turnout. Maybe the move will encourage more voters to learn about city candidates since they are going to be voting for state candidates anyway.

    I’m having a very hard time suppressing a chuckle about the claims about FCCDC practicing partisanship in city elections. Just because others have strayed in doesn’t mean FCCDC has. Show me where we have endorsed a candidate, where we have written checks, where your email addresses city Democrats have entrusted to us have been used by city candidates for council or school board. That would be the proof, but in our city rumors and allegations against the other side work effectively.

    Publicly over and over again I am representing the FCCDC in saying – we have no interest in city elections becoming partisan. Am I fooling you for some reason? Why would I?

    Then “FCCDCin Hiding” suggests that the effort by the operating Falls Church Votes group is somehow the FCCDC. It isn’t.

    I may have a sign in my yard to support the effort to move city elections from May to November, but I also had a “Save our Schools” sign in my yard during the last election. Was I somehow by extension associated to members of the Falls Church Times since I got a sign from a member of their editorial group? Sometimes it is just simply someone has a great idea and I want to use their signs to show my support as a citizen. And to answer the nefarious suggestion by the question of where the money goes: It doesn’t come to FCCDC nor does FCCDC fund their efforts. Though I admit I may contribute a few bucks for their great signs.

    Hey – who funded the “Save our Schools” effort? I don’t really care – but everything isn’t a sinister conspiracy of “whoever.” Many times it is just citizens who believe in something they think is a positive solution to a position or an issue.

    Andy, FCCDC isn’t creating a partisanship angle by supporting moving the elections to November. Partisanship could be created if elections remain in May. Name a month – we still aren’t interested in creating partisanship in city elections.

    But keep in mind – both parties have to “take the pledge” to refrain from partisanship. Why is only the FCCDC being asked this question? Hmmmm.

    Jody you are right – it is disinformation at its worst. We who read these postings see more spin than my old Kenmore is able to muster.

    Stephen Seigel says some of the same people are contributing to the effort to move city elections to November. I’m just gonna believe that is just another made up accusation. I haven’t contributed. FCCDC hasn’t contributed. I haven’t seen any public report which states who has contributed so I have no idea where that accusation came from accept maybe it is written in invisible ink just below the place on the sign where it DOESN’T say “Paid for by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee.”

    And then Stephen Seigel says that besides contributing, many of the same people are involved and he questions whether they are “independent.” They are acting on their own as far as I know.

    He is clearly just making up the part about contributions and coordination – it’s called suggestive accusations – no facts – just accusations to suggest a conspiracy. If he can get one person to consider a conspiracy then maybe it will work.

    Maybe citizens don’t come out to vote in May because these tactics are so incredibly tiresome. A paltry 24% voted in the last election and each election for the last 10 plus years shows city election voter turnout trending down. At what number will we all be worried? In Vienna, in their last election, they had a 9% turnout out of over 11,000 possible voters. They have May elections.

    I have every confidence that if the move to November doesn’t work to improve turnout for city elections – that this city will look to make another change.

    In the meantime – let’s give November elections a try.

    Vote YES to move city elections to November!


    Contact FCCDC at [email protected] if you have any other questions about our support for the move of city elections to November.

    Vote on Tuesday, November 8th, State Senator, State Delegate, Commonwealth Attorney and the City Referendum on moving City Elections.

    Follow election results on FACEBOOK – “Falls Church City Democratic Committee”

  12. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on November 1st, 2011 8:42 am

    Betty, thanks for all of the information. I’m not personally that worried that the local political committees will start endorsing specific candidates. I’m just wondering how the politically active folks in the City, who will certainly be doing work for their parties in November, will manage to educate people about the local candidates at the same time without creating all this fuss we see now.

    I haven’t personally been impacted by it but I understand the suggestion that the May elections have already been influenced by the Republicans – so maybe I’m just kidding myself thinking May elections are more about the City and November elections are more about the parties. But hey, that’s how I feel – doing City stuff in May seems right to me – doing it in November means City stuff will get lost in the shuffle.

    I do have a question about one of your comments near the end. The last time this issue came up there was a big deal made about the idea that if we switched to November elections we wouldn’t be able to switch back to May later. Anyone know if that’s true?

    FInally, I have to point out a fact that the proponents of the switch keep getting wrong. Yes, the 2010 election had poor turnout (which was a surprise to me considering the variety of candidates). And the 2006 election has poor turnout because all the City Council candidates ran unopposed. But other than that the turnout numbers since 200 have been, in order: 31.6, 31.3, 30.0, 32.0. That is not a trend of gradual decline. Yes, we had a fall-off in the last election, and maybe that would continue, but it’s dishonest to suggest the turnout numbers have been consistently declining over the past 10 years.

  13. Lou Mauro on November 1st, 2011 11:52 am

    Just a few comments on Betty Coll’s unnecessarily accusatory and defensive post. As Chairman of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee, she assures us repeatedly that “I” and “we” have no interest in and do not intend to take positions on local issues and candidates. Fine and good as far as it goes. But what happens to that policy when she is no longer Chairman and/or different people are on the governing Board? The FCCDC took a position on a local issue in 2002 and its no-endorsement policy was nearly reversed just a few years ago. Following up on Andy’s excellent response, it is far more likely that the leaders of the City Democratic and Republican Committees, not to mention the candidates themselves, would be comfortable engaging in partisan politics concerning issues and candidates in November, when political partisanship is the norm.

  14. Jody Acosta, Falls Church on November 1st, 2011 12:34 pm


    Where in the world did you get your numbers? It’s dishonest to suggest that the May election voter turnout hasn’t been steadily declining, because it has! Mysteriously, you left out 2010, when the May turnout was only 24%!

    Also, mentioing the May election turnout percent without also listing the corresponding November election turnout is mis-leading. If you want people to know ALL the facts about May/November election turnout percents, here they are (straight from the City Registrar’s Office):

    2000 – May=31.6%, Nov=86.2%
    2002 – May=33.1%, Nov=66.3%
    2004 – May=30.0%. Nov=80.7%
    2006 – May=13.4%, Nov=66.4%
    2008 – May=31.8%, Nov=80.6%
    2010 – May=24.0%, Nov=51.7%

    The funny thing is, I don’t have any heatburn over moving the election to November or keeping it in May – there are pros and cons for both. But what I DO get heartburn over, is when people obscure the facts!

    The facts on voter turnout percentages speak for themselves.

  15. George Bromley on November 1st, 2011 2:14 pm

    Much of the drop in 2010 likely was due to the huge increase in the number of registered voters in 2008 due to registration drives conducted prior to the presidential election. Had the number of registrants been at the 2006 level the turnout percentage would have been higher. Here is an analysis:

    Some additional analysis was offered here:

    The second story also has a link to a series of four stories in the “All About Turnout” series that ran in the fall of 2009, when the push to change the election date began..

  16. Renee Andrews, Secretary, Electoral Board, Falls Church on November 1st, 2011 2:57 pm


    According to the State Board of Elections there is no restriction in the Code on moving city elections from November back to May.

  17. Fun with Numbers on November 1st, 2011 3:19 pm

    If you graph the voter participation numbers given by Jody above, you will see that the changes in May participation numbers are not nearly as “bad” as the changes in the Nov participation numbers. In fact, the graph for November shows the decline to be much WORSE than the decline for May elections. We can argue whether the graph for May represents a “steady decline” — in my opinion it doesn’t, especially when compared to the November graph.

    Here are the percentage changes for each of the last five elections (e.g., the May 2002 participation rate was 4.7% higher than that of May 2000):

    May Nov
    2002 4.747% -23.086%
    2004 -9.366% 21.719%
    2006 -55.333% -17.720%
    2008 137.313% 21.386%
    2010 -24.528% -35.856%

    May 2008 showed a much greater improvement in voter participation than Nov 2008. The May 2010 decline was not as bad as the Nov 2010 decline.

    Overall change from 2000 to 2010:
    May Nov
    -24.051% -40.023%

    If you are going to base your preference for when to vote on trends in participation rates, you should be advocating for a move of November elections to May!

  18. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on November 1st, 2011 4:53 pm

    Hi Jody, the numbers I quoted are identical to yours – we probably got them from the same place (I can’t remember where I got mine). I specifically mentioned that the 2010 results were down and that I wasn’t counting the year when the candidates were running unopposed. During the other years the turnout was very consistent – fluctuating between 32 and 30% (with the highest turnout being in 2008).

    The soundbite that I’m arguing against is this one: “each election for the last 10 plus years shows city election voter turnout trending down”

    You have 2000 – 2008 showing a very steady trend and 2010 it dips. I don’t think that matches up with the concept of trending down for the past 10 years. We won’t know until the next election if 2010 was an anomaly or not – if we have another May election and the turnout is between 30-32% then 2010 will be an anomaly and we can be comfortable that 30-32% is the consistent turnout level for a May election.

    I’m not trying to mislead anyone about the November numbers – clearly more people vote in November (especially the even number years where there are national candidates on the ballot).

    It is funny that you and I both don’t feel that strongly about the election date but are irritated about obscure facts! It’s almost like we totally agree with each other but are somehow arguing – strange.

    I would say if the main goal is to put the ballot in front of the most people then you should move the elections to November in even numbered years – I think it would be hard to argue against that.

    Renee, thanks for the info – I appreciate it.

  19. Lou Mauro on November 1st, 2011 10:22 pm

    Jody, it is apparent that Andy was not being “dishonest.” Would you like to amend that comment?

    Folks, this just a taste of what the “dialogue” will be like if Council and School Board elections are moved to November.

  20. Mike Novotny on November 2nd, 2011 12:32 am

    Some folks were asking about who paid for the yard signs…see the list below.

    Typically I have no issue with folks donating money to a cause, but why are State Delegate Jim Scott (D) and State Senator Richard Saslaw (D) both on this list? Are they trying to save our City a few bucks, or maybe it’s because statistically a November election gives party candidates an advantage.

    I consider myself independent especially on local issues and hope to see our City stay that way, I’ll be voting “no” on the referendum.

    Political Committee Report
    Falls Church Votes
    Filing Period : – 10/26/2011
    Renee Andrews $100
    Nicholas Benton $500
    Mike Beyer $100
    Citizens for Jim Scott $200
    Tom Clinton $100
    Sally Cole $50
    Katie Emmons $50
    Lindy Hockenberry $100
    Catherine Kaye $200
    Julie Kratchman $50
    Charles Langalis $30
    Hal Lippman $100
    Hal Morgan $100
    Chris Oconnor $30
    Reric Pelton $20
    Leah Porzel $100
    Salslaw for Senate $1,000
    Kent Taylor $25
    Robert Young $500

  21. George Franklin on November 2nd, 2011 10:31 am

    So this is what Mr. Snyder says about the Election Referendum, “it is about the very democratic system under which we live” and exactly how would a higher turnout and more people participating in electing those few people who run our City Government and City School System actually harm our Falls Church City democratic system? There is no vote that is more important than a local vote, so why not have more of them?

    When voter turnout in May elections was 40-50%, as it was in the past, this topic would have never come up, but it hasn’t been that high for decades. It just hit a new all-time low of 24% in the latest election, and that was a very contested election, during very difficult financial times. Should we wait until it hits 10% voter turnout like in Manassas Park before they did something about it and they moved theirs to November, before we are concerned about our decling voter turnout here?

    He goes on to say “our system would resemble the one in Richmond where two well-heeled, special interest-driven machines determine who our candidates are and require those candidates to adhere to rigid orthodoxies”. This too is interesting as I never heard anyone say they wanted Falls Church City to resemble what happens in Richmond whether they like May elections or November elections.

    But Mr. Snyder, not too long ago, did run as an identiifed Republican for the House of Delegates seat that represents Falls Church City in Richmond no less, all the while he was taking money from some of the same people that he railed against in his column above, and then he used that same partisan political money he solicited to then fund his subsequent “non partisan” City Council campaign. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! A real hypocrite. It’s all in the campaign finance reports.

    Will Mr. Novotny go looking through those reports? I doubt it. I saw Mr. Novotny vote recently in a Democratic Primary but I have never seen Democractic signs in his yard nor did I ever see him at a FCC Democratic Committee meeting? Strange? I’m posting this on both election referendum threads like Mr. Novotny.

    Don’t let anyone tell you that partisan politics haven’t already been a factor in May elections. Ask Bruce Swenson, the Chairman of the Falls Church City Republican Committee, what he did in the last May election? He is also the same one that won’t agree to having non-partisan elections made a part of our City Charter, and he didn’t show up at the CBC/VPIS Forum on the Election Referendum to explain the committee’s position, or release any kind of statement about this topic from the FCC Republican Committee.

    Why is Mr. Snyder so afraid of November elections? He has shown that he has been able to win in May elections four different times (in a City with a Democratic majority) and has been elected by fellow City Council members to both Mayor and Vice Mayor (twice) positions. He is on record as saying that he will respect the will of the people on this Election Referendum decision. He should have no problem with more people voting on his record. Be aware of people who say one thing and do another.

  22. Lou Mauro on November 2nd, 2011 11:34 am

    Notice how most of the “Yes” commenters can’t can’t make their arguments without personal criticism. Give them (and their opponents) an excuse like November elections and you will see invective and mudslinging to rival the upcoming 2012 Presidential elections.

    Thanks to Mike Novotny for posting the list of contributors to the “Yes” yard signs. Pretty influential group. And for the most part very competent and nice people. I don’t doubt that they all honestly favor greater turnout. But they also know that greater turnout means greater political power—- for them. As an Independent myself, I very much value balance.

  23. Mike Novotny on November 2nd, 2011 1:59 pm

    George, I responded to your comment with a post under Dave Snyder’s article. Don’t want to repeat here so as to avoid more dual posts,


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