Editorial: Will F.C. Reverse the Income Gap?

February 27, 2013 7:05 PM3 comments

The 12,500 people living in the 2.2 square miles of the City of Falls Church enjoy an unprecedented level of prosperity and good living compared to those of almost any other comparably-sized independent enclave of humanity on this planet. Officially, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City has the highest household income in the U.S., and a higher percentage of citizens with college and secondary degrees than any other jurisdiction in the U.S.

In keeping with that, the City’s schools are world famous. The U.S. State Department counsels its counterparts from other parts of the world that their diplomats coming to Washington should take up residence in Falls Church to take advantage of the school system for their kids.

To us, these realities define the City’s goals moving forward. The goals are two.

Goal No. 1: Maintain and enhance the quality of the school system, creating a model of excellence for part of the globe to see and emulate. It is fascinating, as an example, to watch the City’s School Board struggle with the open-ended future of remaining current in the use of technology in the classroom.

Goal No. 2: This is counter-intuitive, not to maintain the City’s standing as the best-heeled anywhere, but it is precisely to work against that trend to make the City more diverse, economically and otherwise, to enjoy the universal benefits of such diversity for all its residents.

In short, an enlightened City leadership would work to ensure the City is less white, and less rich, even while its school continue to excel and its citizens enjoy an exemplary quality of life.

Affordable housing, for example, is a meritorious undertaking not only because of the pressing need, but because it is good for the Little City.

Part of the misunderstanding, confusion and angrily selfish “not in my neighborhood” sentiments that arise whenever the subject comes up is linked to largely outdated ideas on the subject. It need not be dependent on added government spending so much as on a political willingness to permit the private sector to develop the kind of affordable housing which would be profitable and also benefit families further down the income scale.

There are new models for this being built in San Francisco now, and they are variants on the kind of urban housing build during the Great Depression when large structures of many hundreds of efficiency-unit dwellings sprung up in the downtowns of large cities to house workers and their families.

Falls Church is challenged to buck the trend documented in the new Brandeis University study showing the wealth gap between blacks and white since the middle of the Reagan administration nearly tripling between 1984 and 2009. Median white households in the U.S. held a net worth of $265,000 by 2009, eight times that for black households of $28,500.

It would be a noble step for Falls Church to announce a commitment to reversing that trend.




  • FallsChurchCitizen

    Given how much real estate taxes are about to go up to pay for a $100 million new high school and expansions of other facilities, ensuring that the City continues to attract as many people who are willing purchase homes and pay relatively higher taxes is of paramount importance.

  • Mark L. FitzGerald

    I will preface this by saying I am neither a registered Democrat nor registered Republican. I am a 29 yr old white male, who is currently working/paying my way through an education at GMU, and whom has worked since he was 14, and even without a bachelors degree has been able to obtain employment where I can earn an honest living, and I know the meaning of hard work, and the payoff it affords….

    As I came to visit my parents today in F.C. City this afternoon, I decided to glance at your paper for the first time in quite a while, and was appalled by your editorial. There is so much wrong with it I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

    I grew up in Falls Church City. My parents did before I, and their parents still live in the original houses they built from the ground up and still live in today. One of the most outstanding features of the City proper is what make it unique: it still retains what has been lost in many of the surrounding areas of Washington: that “small-town america” feel with a dash of Urban style (I.E. the condo units with retail space on Main St.). This is, in a nutshell, what F.C. City is today.

    I must say sir/ma’am your idea of an “enlightened” city leadership is misguided and frightening and quite frankly the entire OpEd is racist. The other commenter already pointed out we live in one of the most diverse areas of the country, and just because 2.2 sq. miles of the immediate area are “too white” or “too rich” as you put it is absurd.

    How would you feel if I said D.C was “too black” or “to diverse” and we need to “whiten” it up a bit? Sounds quite racist, no? If you agree then re-read your own commentary.

    My family, like many other families in the City, whom enjoy its “small town” lifestyle knows that it took hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to live in and enjoy what the city offers. It’s still a place where a door can be left unlocked without worry, and its little nuance’s like this that make it great.Many residents know what hard work means and the payoff is what makes this area great. Again, that “small-town” feel. Which in todays society costs more than it did for previous generations. When I think of what Falls Church is now, I see this as a goal to reach for and obtain myself, an area of wealth and prosperity gained through hard work and a steadfast resolve to want better for ourselves.

    What you propose, sir/ma’am, is the butchering of what makes F.C. City great, and it’s not about black and white, I assure you, Its about not altering the landscape to what you propose. Who in their right minds wants an area to become “less wealthy”?! Can you not see the absurdity in your comments?

    Why should “we” as you clearly state when you outline goals, alter it? There is a vast area surrounding the city proper along Rte. 29 and Rte. 50 (Falls Church and Arlington included) ripe for a facelift and could sustain what you propose and could boost those aging areas (I.E. Lowemanns Plaza). There Isn’t a pressing need for low-income housing here in the city as you state, I have never in my 29 years on this earth encountered one resident of the City whom would share this view.

    The fact that you even attempted to compare and contrast Falls Church to San Francisco shows just how disconnected you are from the city’s constituents and their mindset. IF your goal is to “urbanize” the city then you are in the wrong environment. That is not Falls Church city. If you like San Francisco so much I’m sure they would be glad to have you. If you build low-income high rises in Falls Church City, it would no longer be what it was meant to be and what it strives to be on a daily basis: Unique, quiet, solemn, friendly, and inviting. Just to name a few.

    Essentially sir/ma’am, what you wants for Falls Church City is not in line with what it’s inhabitants want it to be. What you want it be already exists in all areas surrounding our beautiful small city; You want it to be South Arlington, You want it to be Alexandria City, you want it to be Annandale, you want it to be D.C., you want to be everything that it is not, and you want it without regard for the greater good. You NEVER sacrifice the greater good to support the wants of a few. Thats right, the WANTS, because there are no needs for what you propose. When I re-read your OpEd it translates into “we need to provide things for people who can’t afford them so they can have a slice of the pie too”, when in fact they may have done nothing to earn it, and are not entitled to it.

    The problem with your ideals and those whom share your mindset is that people shouldn’t have to work hard anymore to earn what they yearn for, it should be given to them. As I stated in my opening, I am a working student WITHOUT a bachelors degree, on the cusp of turning 30, and I can earn a solid living because I, like others who live in and enjoy the city, chose to step it up and do the hard work many others don’t want to do that is necessary of those without advanced educations. I do it to afford Falls Church, and I like many others prefer it to be what it is today.

    I would suggest to you to read a children’s book by Virginia Lee Burton called “The Little House” as it is analogous to this Editorial and what you propose of it for the city.


    Mark F.

    • Thanks, Mark. I think most people in the City share your views. Mr. Benton is a socialist masquerading as a journalist — which is why he writes both the op-eds and the “news” for this alleged “newspaper.” He should vacate his own home and allow the property to be used for “affordable” (read: subsidized) housing.

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