Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dulles South Business Alliance Election 2007 Candidates Forum

Here's a quick rundown on the candidate's forum held today - it's late, so just some brief quips, to be updated later. Some liberty taken with quote accuracy, too, based on dim recollection (this is a blog, obviously). Had to leave before we got to the always contentious Dulles District, and Lori's input.

The forum, out in the hinterlands of Arcola, was sparsely attended - mainly by the candidates, their handlers, some supporters, reporters and the odd citizen or two; about 75 people all told. The paid moderator wasn't particularly helpful nor prepared - most governance and moderation was provided by Bill Dean himself.

Common theme, both from Loudouners and Fairfax - where/what exactly is Dulles South? (Answer: go to Dulles South Online).

Notable absences - York, McGimsey, Connolly (Fairfax), Jeanne West...others.

Feretti (BOS Chair candidate) - "Dulles South/Rt. 50 corridor is the Land of the Lost - not much has changed in a while". His platform seemed focused on "going vertical" with eastern development (watch out for the planes!), working with and managing developers for a transition from denser development to less, west to east. "With $70M in savings from County operations, we can address all the traffic hotspots"...and "Fairfax got VW, I'll bring Chrysler or Ford!". Animated, excited, eager - in the absence of York.

Baise (Fairfax BOS Chair candidate) - comes from the private sector, will scrub the budget and get spending of enormous revenues under control, is outraged that the Dulles Rail initiative isn't competitively bid, and claims "as we all know, the government doesn't have any priorities - it just spends on everything". There's not only a "lack of, an abdication of's simply lunacy" (regarding the Dulles Rail contract). All in all, very thoughtful and instructive narrative - but must be getting proceeds from the book "The Road More Travelled", which he constantly quoted from and suggested.

Glenda Gail Parker - came late, said three sentences, all of which had the phrase "we must get Dulles Rail" in them....hmmm.

From Hunter Mill District, Fairfax - Hodgins: "Dulles South, what area is that? It's undeveloped at this time" and "message to the Loudoun BOS; you can't just throw up a bunch of houses and a grocery store - you need infrastructure first". Huhtala (challenger) - "the line between Fairfax and Loudoun is an imaginary one - we're all in this together".

Potomac District - Mikemann: basically, government can't solve anything, turn it over to business leaders. Tulloch: "contrary to my opponent, I believe government can make a difference" and, which we really like, "the Dulles South corridor is the epicenter of growth in Loudoun County". The exchange was a bit more factual, heated and direct than we relate here, but these were the tastiest morsels. Interesting note from Tulloch, when the current BOS started, commercial assessments were at 77% compliance; they're now at 98% - this means a lot better revenue base from businesses.

Delgaudio - "hope you're enjoying this dog and pony show", "glad I was able to find the Arcola Center", "you'all need to cut the grass out there", and canned responses on platform to the typical questions. No surprises here, but a bit toned down on the humor than we're used to with him.


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