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News Briefs

March 6 – 12, 2008

Judge Certifies F.C. Referendum Despite City Concerns

Despite a request for delay by Falls Church City Attorney Roy Thorpe, Arlington Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Kendrick yesterday signed off on the certification of a referendum question that will now appear on the May 6 City of Falls Church municipal election ballot. The question proposes a charter change to limit residential use on any future or pending mixed-use development project in the commercially-zoned corridors of Falls Church to 40% of the total. Thorpe’s request at a hearing in the Arlington Courthouse before Judge Kendrick yesterday morning was motivated by concerns for the language of the referendum, which had not been vetted with any public body by the petitioners prior to be submitted for certification. Thorpe called the language “awkward and not reviewed.” He noted that delaying the referendum to November would not impact its outcome, because no proposed charter change can occur without the vote of the Virginia State Legislature, which cannot occur before next January. Present at the hearing on behalf of the referendum was its “petitioner of record” Sam Mabry, while also calling for a delay was Mike Gardner, who ran the petition campaign for Friends of the City Center, who said that numerous citizens told him they were not fully appraised of the referendum’s contents when they were asked to sign a petition to qualify it. F.C. City Councilman David Snyder, in a statement, disapproved of Thorpe’s request for delay, saying, “The use of the taxpayer supported City apparatus in the failed attempt to deny the people’s voice through referendum on an issue as fundamental as the City’s future is regrettable and un-democratic.”

 

Virginia House May Eliminate HB 599 Law Enforcement Funding

The Virginia Municipal League sent out an alert yesterday warning that the Virginia House of Delegates is pushing a budget that “could be the start of the dismantling of a 28-year-old state program that is essential to keeping the public safe in 39 cities, 128 towns and nine counties.” The “HB 599” funding formula, established in 1979, pays for the equivalent of more than 2,600 police officers across the state. If eliminated, Fairfax County would lose more than $1.7 million, and the City of Falls Church would lose the equivalent of one cent on its real estate tax rate.

 

Moran, Davis Issue Statement on Sovereign Funds Review

Northern Virginia Congressmen Jim Moran (D, 8th District) and Tom Davis (R, 11th District) issued a joint statement yesterday as founding members of the House Task Force on Sovereign Wealth Funds. The intention of the task force, they stated, “is to serve to provide a comprehensive understanding of these complex issues.” They added, “With the amounts of money involved and the potential effects on our financial markets, its seems critical that many sets of eyes focus on this challenge. As our economy struggles and our dollars become petrodollars at every visit to the gas pump, we all have a vital stake in seeking a safe means to reinvest those dollars back into our own struggling economy. Thus it is vital to understand the complexities, dangers and opportunities represented by foreign investment and government-owned enterprises.”

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