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F.C. Council Votes Down 2 Motion for Public Referenda on Date of City Elections

Gives Preliminary OK to 2 Options for Moving to November Elections

The Falls Church City Council tonight rejected two separate motions to put the decision on whether or not to move the date of local elections from May to November. Then it gave preliminary approval to two options for shifting the date to November by ordinance, one calling for the shift to occur on 2011 and the other in 2013.

The first referendum vote was on a proposal submitted by Councilman Lawrence Webb, and it failed by a 3-2 margin (Vice Mayor Hal Lippman and Councilman David Snyder were absent). The second referenum vote was on a proposal submitted by Council Nader Baroukh for an emergency referendum to be held in the next 30 to 60 days, and Baroukh made the motion, it failed for lack of a second.

Then the Council voted to approve a “first reading” on two ordinances, one calling for local elections to be shifted to November in the year 2011, and the other calling for the shift to November in 2013. Both passed by 3-2 margins, meaning both will come back for consideration by the Council on January 11, 2010, when a vote would be final.

Some observers expressed a concern that the actions of the Council opened a “window of opportunity” for proponents of keeping the May election date to gather enough petition signatures between now and Jan. 11 to qualify a referendum for the ballot prior to a final Council vote. However, the News-Press has learned that F.C. City Attorney John Foster told the Council that if a petition for such a referendum went to the state for certification, he would litigate against it, since the case would be made that the Council was halfway through its own decision on the matter.

In the Jan. 11 scheduled vote, both Lippman and Snyder are expected to be present, but based on their voting on the matter to date, they would cancel each other out.

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