F.C. Files Water Ruling Appeal at Va. Supreme Court
The City of Falls Church filed a Petition for Appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia Tuesday seeking to overturn the decision by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge R. Terrence Ney that ruled Falls Church’s long-standing practice of taking an annual “return on investment” from its water fund “unconstitutional.”
Falls Church’s adversary in the case, the Fairfax Water System, has until April 28 to file a rebuttal, and it is expected that a hearing on the petition will be scheduled in mid-July. If the petition is granted, then a hearing before the full Supreme Court on its merits will be held in the fall. The 35-page filing by the City states that it is “aggrieved” by Judge Ney’s ruling of last January 6, alleging that Ney’s court “erred…when it ruled, that the City violated its charter (1) because this unpleaded claim was raised for the first time in the middle of the trial, (2) the City Charter does not require that the City Council set rates every year so that receipts of the water system will equal expenses, and (3) there was no evidence that the water system had lost money for three straight years.” The Falls Church petition further asserts that “the trial court erred when…it held unconstitutional the last sentence of…the City Charter and the City’s practices of earning a profit from its water system and transferring that profit to the general fund, because the City’s practices were undertaken pursuant to that Charter provision, which was adopted by the General Assembly as authorized by Article 7 of the Constitution.” The court erred, it states, “when it held that the City imposed an unconstitutional tax” and as a result “granted retrospective relief” to Fairfax Water and assessed court costs against the City.
CBC Finds a Campaign Manager for F.C. Race
The Citizens for a Better City (CBC), Falls Church City’s venerable civic political association, announced on March 30 that City resident Russ Wodiska will serve as the manager for the four CBC-backed candidates running for the F.C. City Council in the May 4 election. Wodiska, currently a member of the City’s Planning Commission, was recruited for the job five and a half weeks after the CBC’s nominating convention selected its endorsed candidates for four City Council seats and four School Board seats on February 20. To date, there are no campaign yard signs visible for the CBC slate of candidates. However, in the meantime, at least two of the CBC-endorsed candidates have “broken ranks” with their own independent campaign yard signs. City Council nominee John Lawrence has signs out in support of his candidacy, alone, and so does School Board candidate Patrick Riccards. Former Vice Mayor Lindy Hockenberry, who was passed over for the CBC nod in February, has reported strides in her independent campaign, announcing over Facebook two fundraising events, including one in downtown Falls Church on Sunday afternoon. This week, independent David Snyder, running for a fifth term, began advertising his race in the News-Press this week, but to date is the only campaign to do so.
Gov. McDonnell Apologizes for Slavery Omission
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued an apology late yesterday for failing to acknowledge the role of slavery in his declaration of “Confederate History Month” in Virginia earlier this week. The proclamation contained “a major omission” he said. “The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed. The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and its has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation,” he said. McDonnell had come under major fire for the omission prior to his apology, including from his predecessor Gov. Tim Kaine, now chair of the Democratic National Committee, who said it was “insensitive to the extraordinary efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the nation’s wounds” and “simply not acceptable in the America of the 21st century.”
Signer Speaker at Sunday’s F.C. Dems Dinner
Mike Signer, former Democratic candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor, will be the keynote speaker at this Sunday’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner hosted by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee beginning at 5 p.m. The annual event will be held at the Falls Church Community Center. Signer is the former deputy counsel to then-Governor Mark Warner.
Mayor Gardner on ‘News-Press Live’ Monday
Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner will be the special guest on this Monday’s half-hour live TV show, “Falls Church News-Press Live,” at 7 p.m. prior to the start of the Falls Church City Council meeting and public budget hearing. She will discuss the City Council’s budget options with host Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the News–Press. The program will air on Falls Church Cable TV, Channel 12 on Cox Cable, Channel 35 on Verizon and Channel 2 on RCN.