Editorial: Time is Now to Step Up

May 8, 2013 7:58 PM0 comments

With just a month to go before the June 11 filing deadline, the future of the City of Falls Church and its schools may depend on who files to run for the four City Council and five School Board seats that will be contested this November.

Civic leaders are working hard to remind everybody that the filing deadline looms, because it might come as a surprise to many who think there’s plenty of time to get ready for holding November elections of Falls Church’s local Council and School Board slots for the first time.

Falls Church’s venerable Citizens for a Better City (CBC) civic organization will be holding a forum tonight (May 9) to help anyone considering running figure out what’s required to get properly certified to run. The core requirement is 125 valid signatures of registered voters residing in the City of Falls Church. That’s not a lot, and it may seem easy, but it does require a determined effort. Some may think they can get all the signatures they need during Saturday morning Farmers Markets or the Memorial Day Festival and Parade on May 27, but at that event there may be oodles of people who are not sure if they actually live in the City or just outside of it. The best approach may be to go door-to-door.

But the biggest effort of all goes into deciding to run in the first place. It is always surprising to find how many intelligent, talented and dedicated members of our community shy away when it comes to running for public office. It requires a lot of time and focus, and patience with people who may insist on unloading their point of view anytime and anywhere, not to mention to endure privacy invasions and enemies at close range. Tough decisions are often required, especially in hard times, that are bound to hurt people, to cost them jobs or make living difficult with tax rate increases.

On the other hand, it is kind of like jury duty, which is somewhat less voluntary. One may loathe the idea, but once into the process, it feels important and rewarding to be part of the functioning of our civil society, especially when truth, honesty, integrity and justice remain valued commodities.

So, to all those of you out there who know who you are, either considering or recoiling from the idea of running for one of our local offices, consider this editorial a challenge to step off the sidelines, if that is where you are, or to re-up for another term.

There is no shortage of critical issues before Falls Church, including how it maintains its first rate school system in the face of record enrollment growth pressures, how it creatively addresses its municipal capital improvement needs, and how it encourages the right kind of commercial growth. Those with a passion to see to it the right decisions get made on these and other matters must step up.

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