With city voters having decided to move local elections to November, Tuesday's city council race will mark the last time Falls Church voters cast their ballots in May.
On issues ranging from its water system to sustainable development to transit, the Falls Church City Council is at a crossroads. Does the City Council only represent current homeowners, or does it have a responsibility to consider the future residents, workers & business owners Falls Church politicians so often say they want to draw to the Little City? Can Falls Church possibly hope to attract a streetcar someday when current residents object even to giving up a handful on-street parking spots to accommodate bike lanes?
The Sierra Club's Mount Vernon group posed a range of questions to the seven candidates running for council and is making endorsements:
The Mount Vernon Group invited all seven candidates running for office to respond to a questionnaire and interview which covered a number of environmental issues relevant to the City. The issues included the City's process for developing a Community Energy Plan, participation in regional environmental committees, storm water quality management, tree canopy, smart growth, LEED for commercial and municipal buildings, and policies for managing municipal solid waste.
After meeting with the candidates that responded to our endorsement inquiry, we found that Paul Handly evinced a good understanding on storm water quality management, tree canopy, walking/cycling/transit options, and supports LEED silver for commercial development. John Lawrence stated support for the City energy plan, an understanding of stormwater management issues, support of LEED silver in commercial development, maximum versus minimum parking limits, and efforts to promote higher recycling rates. Dave Tarter has a solid understanding of smart growth challenges, bicycling/walking/transit options, and use of LEED in commercial developments.
"This is the first time we have engaged in an endorsement process in the City of Falls Church, and our hope is to elevate environmental issues in the minds of both the candidates and the citizens who will be voting for members of the City's governing body," noted Dean Amel, chair of the Mount Vernon Group executive committee.
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