Tysons, VA

Locals will have a chance to learn about Virginia policy at an upcoming town hall with politicians next weekend.

State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th) and Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) are hosting the event to talk about the upcoming 2020 General Assembly session.

The General Assembly convenes next Wednesday (Jan. 8).

The town hall is set to take place at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center Street S.) next Saturday (Jan. 11) from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

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The Fairfax County delegation to the General Assembly will hold a public hearing for the upcoming 2020 session.

The hearing will take place on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 9 a.m. in the board room of the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway).

Residents interested in speaking at the hearing should register online or contact the county’s Department of Clerk Services at 703-324-3151 by Thursday, Jan. 2.

Only county residents can speak either on behalf of themselves or an organization serving county residents. All speakers will be allocated three minutes to address the delegation. The hearing will be streamed online.

The 2020 session convenes on Wednesday, Jan. 8. More information about key dates is available online.

This story was written by Fatimah Waseem and also appeared on our sister site Reston Now.

Photo via Fairfax County/Facebook

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Want to help lead the Fairfax County Democratic Committee? The political committee is currently looking for a new executive director.

Frank Anderson, the former executive director, will now serve as Fairfax County Supervisor-elect James Walkinshaw’s Chief of Staff, according to Blue Virginia.

Interested applicants can expect a pay range between $50,000-$60,000 along with benefits.

Here’s the job summary:

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) is seeking an energetic, forward-looking, self-starter as a full-time Executive Director to manage a broad spectrum of political functions for the County Committee and to manage the operations of FCDC’s office.

These duties include, but are not limited to, support of fundraising and volunteer recruiting, organizing volunteers and supervising interns, performing a variety of office and political functions, maintaining internal and external communications, ensuring equipment remains functional and the office operates effectively and efficiently, advising the Chair and Steering Committee on committee business and political operations, organizing various political events, and coordinating with political campaigns in Fairfax County.

The Executive Director is currently the only paid staff member of the committee but from time to time may be assisted by volunteers, interns, and contracted staff. The Executive Director works independently with general direction from the committee Chair and FCDC’s leadership.

The application is open until Jan. 15. and the new hire would start that month.

Image via Fairfax County Democratic Committee/Facebook

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(Updated 12/19/19) Last night, the members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were sworn in.

The 10-member board will see four new faces in the New Year, including Dalia Palchik, the new representative for Tysons.

Here is information on who will be in the seats at the board’s first meeting next year.

Chairman: Jeffrey McKay

McKay was first elected to the board in 2007, serving as the Lee District Supervisor until the end of this year, according to his county bio. Prior to joining the board, he was the chief of staff to former Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman from 1996 through 2007.

McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair in the June primary before defeating Republican Joseph Galdo in the November election.

Hunter Mill District: Walter Alcorn

Alcorn will fill the seat of Cathy Hudgins, who served on the board for five terms and announced her retirement at the start of this year. He beat five Democrat challengers in the primary.

Alcorn is a former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner and served on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. He has also worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office and was the president of the Herndon High School PTSA.

Lee District: Rodney Lusk

McKay’s run for the chair left the Lee District seat open. Lusk beat three Democratic challengers in the June primary.

Lusk has been a Fairfax County employee for the past 29 years — including working for then-Supervisor Gerry Connelly as a land use zoning aide and most recently as the national marketing director for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, according to his campaign website.

Providence District: Dalia Palchik

Palchik grew up in the area after immigrating with her family to the United States at an early age from Argentina. She was elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2015 and served as the Providence District Representative.

Just days after current Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth announced in December that she wouldn’t seek election, Palchik jumped into the race and defeated four Democratic challengers in the June primary. In November, she beat Republican Eric Anthony Jones.

Sully District: Kathy Smith

First elected to the board in 2016, Smith was re-elected as Sully District Supervisor in November, beating Republican Srilekha Palle.

Previously, Smith served as the Sully District Representative to the Fairfax County School Board for 14 years, including as the chairman three times, according to her county bio. She was also a teacher for seven years and taught in her home state of New Jersey.

Mount Vernon District: Daniel Storck

Storck was first elected as Mount Vernon District Supervisor in 2015 and reelected this fall.

He has developed and owned healthcare, benefits and insurance consulting firms and was previously a school board member from 2004-2015, according to his county bio. Notable resume item: he also was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Braddock District: James Walkinshaw

Walkinshaw, a former chief of staff to Rep. Gerry Connolly, announced his run for the seat to replace Republican John Cook, who retired. He beat Republican Jason Remer and independent candidate Carey Chet Campbell in November.

Walkinshaw previously volunteered as a mentor to at-risk boys through Fairfax County’s Befriend-A-Child program and joined Fairfax County’s Council to End Domestic Violence, according to his campaign website.

He serves on the Board of the Ravensworth Farm Civic Association and is a volunteer with the Friends of Lake Accotink Park, the bio says.

Dranesville District: John Foust

First elected to the board in 2007, Foust was reelected to represent McLean, Great Falls and Herndon residents on the county board. He defeated Republican Ed Martin in the November election.

Originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Foust has been living in Northern Virginia since 1981 and in McLean since 1987, according to his county bio. Foust worked in steel mills and practiced construction law in Northern Virginia.

Mason District: Penelope Gross

In the November election, Gross was able to keep her seat, defeating Republican Gary Aiken. She was first elected to the board in 1995, according to her county bio.

Previously, she worked as a staffer in various congressional offices, served on the Board of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association and was on the Executive Board of the Mason District Council of Civic Associations, her bio says.

Springfield District: Pat Herrity

Herrity hung onto his seat, beating Democrat Linda Sperling. He was first elected to the board in 2007, according to his campaign website. Herrity’s father was a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

With Cook retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board in 2020.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have their first meeting in 2020 on Jan. 14.

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The three incumbents for the Falls Church City Council — David Tarter, Phil Duncan and Letty Hardi — won reelection yesterday.

The city announced the official results today, saying that 45% of the 9,910 active, registered voters in the city voted in the election.

“The last ‘off-year election’ (with no federal or gubernatorial races on the ballot) was Nov. 3, 2015, where 42.1% of active voters participated,” the press release said.

Here are the results for the City Council race:

  • Letty C. Hardi: 31.1%
  • David Tarter: 30.3%
  • Philip Duncan: 25.2%
  • Stuart Whitaker: 12.5%

The councilmembers will be sworn in on Monday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (300 Park Avenue). The City Council will then vote on the mayor and vice mayor on Monday, Jan. 6.

For the city’s school board, Philip Reitinger was re-elected and will be joined by newcomers Susan Dimock and Laura Downs.

Here are the results for the school board race:

  • Laura Downs: 31.5%
  • Susan Dimock: 30%
  • Philip Reitinger: 24.1%
  • Douglass Stevens: 13.7%

Democrat Parisa Dehghani-Tafti was newly elected as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.

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Come January, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to see four new faces — and all of them are Democrats.

Democrat Dalia Palchik defeated her Republican opponent for the Providence District seat, which represents Tysons and Merrifield.

In addition to Palchik, new faces on the 10-member board will include Democrats James Walkinshaw for the Braddock District, Walter Alcorn for the Hunter Mill District and Rodney Lusk for the Lee District, according to unofficial election results.

Voters reelected Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, along with Penny Gross (Mason District), Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon), Kathy Smith (Sully) and Pat Herrity (Springfield).

With Republican John Cook, who represents the Braddock District, retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board.

Current Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won the board’s chair.

In a celebratory newsletter thanking her supporters, Palchik wrote, “I am proud to be the first Latina to hold this position.”

Palchik, who currently who is the Providence District member on the Fairfax County School Board, ran on a platform focused on education funding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with Tysons Reporter, Palchik said that she wants to tackle affordable housing — “the number one challenge… in the Tysons area” — and finding solutions to the last mile challenge.

“Big Win” for Democrats

Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) called yesterday’s election a “big win” for Democrats in Virginia. For the first time since 1993, Democrats took control of both the State Senate and the House of Delegates.

Murphy told attendees at a Democratic watch party last night to think about the “misery we felt” when former Rep. Barbara Comstock won the 10th congressional district.

“We never wanted to feel that way again,” Murphy. “So what did we do? We went out and we won.”

Voters Approve Funding for Public School Renovations

Fairfax County voters also OK’d a $360 million school bond referendum that includes $2 million in planning funds for a new “Silver Line elementary school,” along with:

  • $19.5 million in construction funds for adding an addition to Madison High School in Vienna
  • $49.6 million in construction funds for renovating Cooper Middle School in McLean
  • $1.7 million in planning funds for renovating Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna

Fairfax County uses bonds to pay for renovating and building new schools.

Kalina Newman contributed to this story. 

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Today is the last chance for Fairfax County voters to head to the polls.

More than half of the seats are contested on both the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board.

While many of the Board of Supervisors candidates are incumbents — like John Foust, Penny Gross and Pat Herrity — some new faces are also vying for seats due to officials retiring, like Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth.

Voters will also decide the fate of a $360 million bond referendum for Fairfax County Public Schools.

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(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) Election day is here and Fairfax County voters are out at the polls.

At Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike), two women sitting in the back of the large room where the voting is taking place have been volunteering together for elections for the last 10 years.

Chief Election Officer Amanda Bridges and Assistant Chief Election Officer Virginia Norton said that there has been a “good turnout” so far with 198 voters as of 8:50 a.m. at the McLean school.

“It’s slow but steady,” Norton said.

They expect most voters to come between 5-7 p.m. No issues have been reported at the polling location, they said.

Bridges said that she loves the process of voting, while Norton said that volunteering is “giving back to the community.”

As of 10:30 a.m., the number ticked up to more than 300 voters.

Over at George Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike), more than 600 people have voted so far this morning as of 10:30 a.m., according to Jenne Faubell, the Chief Election Officer at the location.

Outside the Falls Church area high school, Kim Mislock, a canvasser for the Republican Party, told Tysons Reporter that she feels like parents’ voices aren’t being heard when it comes to the Fairfax County School Board.

“I care deeply about the transparency on the School Board,” she said.

“I feel like people are definitely informed [voters],” Dalia Palchik, a current School Board member and candidate for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors, told Tysons Reporter. “Here at Marshall, there has been a steady stream of people.”

The estimated turnout across Fairfax County was 8.4% around 10 a.m., according to the county.

Voters can find their polling locations with the My Neighborhood Map or through the portal on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Tysons Reporter interviewed the candidates running for the Providence and Dranesville District seats on the Board of Supervisors: Dalia Palchik, Eric Anthony Jones, John Foust and Ed Martin.

Additionally, we have a guide about who is running in the local races for the Tysons area.

Catherine Douglas Moran and Ashley Hopko contributed to this story.

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Editor’s Note — Tysons Reporter is running Q&As with the candidates running for the Dranesville and Providence District seats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week. The stories have been condensed and edited for clarity. 

Featured here is Republican Eric Anthony Jones, who is running against Democrat Dalia Palchik for the Providence District Board of Supervisors seat, which represents Tysons, Merrifield, Oakton and parts of Falls Church.

After the previous Republican candidate for the Providence Supervisor seat died, Eric Anthony Jones decided to run to give voters a stark choice between him and his competitor, Dalia Palchik.

He previously served as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, with a focus on cybersecurity and energy policy, according to his website. His work took him around the world, letting him live in India, China, Russia, Bulgaria and Afghanistan.

Jones said at a recent candidate debate that he does not believe in sanctuary cities because they harm immigrants who became citizens or legal permanent residents through governmental processes. During his time as a U.S. Consular Officer in China, he interviewed more than 20,000 people and approved half of them to come to the United Staes, he told Tysons Reporter.

Jones also formerly taught as a college professor and now has two daughters in college and a son in high-school. If elected, Jones said education will be one of his top priorities.

Now retired, Jones has lived in Fairfax County for the last 27 years. Earlier this month, he jumped into the race for the Providence District seat and faces Democrat Dalia Palchik in the general election next week. (Current Supervisor Linda Smyth is retiring.)

Tysons Reporter met up with Jones to learn more about how he would want to improve capacity issues at schools and manage the county’s budget, along with other topics, if elected.

Tysons Reporter: How do you plan on tackling affordable housing in Fairfax County? 

Jones: I am in favor of affordable housing. I’m in favor of market-based but non-subsidized measures for housing. One of the things we have to face is that we live in Fairfax County, 400 square miles, 1.1 million people, 3,000 people per square mile. The fact of the matter, the reality is that the land here, the ground is very expensive.

I’m not for subsidized housing here, using tax money for that. I do believe, for example, that if there is an impoverished family of four that it’s better given a certain amount of money to help them in terms of welfare for the truly needy. I think it is better to — with the given amount of money — to be able to support three families instead of one family. That’s done by living in areas that are not so expensive.

What’s happening is that a lot of areas are getting new buildup, such as here in Mosaic, there was basically an open, unused lot or areas where they had large older styles malls. Those can be transformed into units. 

I think a creative way mentioned by several people is that there are many elderly residents that are living in the houses where their children grew up in. Elderly residents are a large population who want to stay in Fairfax County. They have relatively large houses and I think the county can help facilitate ways in which elderly people with room in their houses can work out rentals. Elderly people can find reliable renters that they feel safe with. They want someone around, someone to call in case they fall on the floor.

TR: The county is currently looking at adding a new school to Tysons. Is that enough to address capacity issues? What should be done for all the incoming students?

Jones: We have to look at the facts of increased population and demand for schools. I am for expanded school facilities. Overcrowding has resulted in a lot of trailers.

I’m fully in support of salaries and benefits, expansions for teachers and also supporting teachers in terms of discipline regulation that are favorable to teachers, students and maintaining a proper learning atmosphere.

In addition, I believe we should look at charter schools, which offer students and parents a choice. Charter schools are not an attack on teachers or anything like that. I see it as a creative way of giving parents and students public choice while also helping to relieve the burden of overcrowding.

I support teachers and their potential to attract and maintain quality. I think we need to address the issues of pensions.

Pensions are a ticking time bomb anywhere. Expanded school facilities of both existing schools and new school construction to help alleviate overcrowding. I want to reduce the use of trailers and the solution to that is more school construction.

TR: What are your top three priorities when it comes to transportation?

Jones: One is the expansion and improvement of roads, large and small. There is a certain reality we bump up against that the terrain is such in a lot of these places that you can’t expand the roads, you’d wipe out a lot of, not just the trees, but the way the terrain goes.

We have these watersheds, we have these beautiful parks as a result and deer in an urban setting. We need to protect those. It’s a constraint on how we can expand our roads.

Number two is providing expansions for public transportation, reliable public transportation so people can get to work and back. The density of the area helps us there because it means you don’t have to worry about going as long of a distance and connectors for people go farther out.

I think there is some potential for expansion, for example, working with Maryland and Virginia, to figure out the modern era. We need to have another way of crossing the Potomac [River]. That will relieve a lot of the congestion you get.

TR: What are your top three plans to tackle climate change?

Jones: There is a stark choice between me, Dalia Palchik and the current Board of Supervisors. I am for energy policy here. It should be consumer-oriented, based on cost-benefit analysis and be affordable energy, reliable energy and clean energy.

I see the Green New Deal policies as unrealistic, coercive [and] expensive. Those proposals would be job-killing, net-job killing and bet against economic prosperity.

I have a fundamentally different way of looking at it.  There is not a good analysis and convincing evidence of how much role is being played by natural forces and fluctuations and the factor of CO2 concentration increases as a result of fossil fuels.

I’m against the Green New Deal and the fundamental things behind it. People should realize electricity does not start with a wall socket.

TR: How will you manage the budget? 

Jones: The budget is $8 million per year. The budget itself needs continued scrutiny. I think we should have more competitive bidding and more transparency. It’s important to keep our budget under control. 

If you look at the last 20 years, our taxes paid per capita have gone up three times faster than the inflation rate and three times faster than the earnings rate and salary rate. 

Transparency of all transactions, more public input on transactions, more competitive bidding and much more scrutiny for our budgets.

On the flip side, I think its priorities should go especially to the school system and teachers and maintaining and improving the quality of education.

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Editor’s Note — Tysons Reporter is running Q&As with the candidates running for the Dranesville and Providence District seats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week. The stories have been lightly condensed and edited for clarity. 

Featured here is Ed Martin, who is running as a Republican against Democrat John Foust for the Dranesville District seat, which represents McLean, Great Falls, Herndon and portions of Vienna and Falls Church.

Ed Martin is a radio host, president of a conservative think tank and Great Falls resident. Now, he wants to become the Dranesville District Supervisor.

Originally from New Jersey, Martin has worked as a lawyer and headed up the Human Rights Office for the Archdiocese of St. Louis from 1998-2001, he told Tysons Reporter.

Fascinated by President Donald Trump’s tweets, Martin wanted to write a book about them and ended up teaming up with an artist to create three Trump coloring books featuring the president’s tweets.

He now runs Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, a conservative group named after the controversial social leader known for opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Martin moved to Great Falls shortly after the 2016 election, he said.

Tysons Reporter met up with Martin to talk about how he would want to help seniors age in place and address capacity issues at public schools in the county if elected to the Board of Supervisors.

Tysons Reporter: What are your top three goals to help people age in place?

Ed Martin: My wife is a geriatrics physician so her specialty is seniors, so for 15 years I’ve been hearing from her the details of what they call the “grey tsunami” — it’s the number of people who are in the Baby Boomer generation that will age out.

One observation, broadly, is there is a growing — especially in government — distrust in what’s happening. More transparency in what is going on is more important than ever. The second thing, the taxes have gone up, up, up. I think the taxes are too high. I think we need to lower the cost of taxes.

The top one I would describe now is the cost of living here. It’s not just for seniors by the way. If you talk to the cops — and the cops endorsed me, one of the PBAs endorsed — those guys and gals are telling you they can’t live here. They can’t afford to live in Fairfax County. That’s a big one, I would say the taxes.

What’s the vision for development here? How do you put together the pieces that let people move? I think we have a wonderful community [in] Fairfax County, especially in Dranesville District, has some incredible strengths and volunteers and pockets of communities, churches and synagogues that want to do things — how do you build that together?

In Great Falls there’s a center that has come together to support seniors. That’s got to happen more. We need creative solutions. I think that’s going to include the possibility of ride-sharing so that more people can stay.

TR: How would you address affordable housing in the county?

Martin: The biggest thing I think helps with affordability is lowering taxes and the costs. That would be the number one thing. I would say the number one thing is to lower the cost of living here, whether that’s for a cop and his family or an individual. And that’s the best way I know how to do that is to cut taxes, lower cuts, cut regulatory costs and the schools are what draw people here.

They are willing to tolerate some of the high real estate prices because the schools are so good in the Dranesville District, so I think that’s the biggest concern people have now. How can I trust to move there if we’re having something that looks like boundary changes — what does that mean? Confidence in the school system is going to be really important.

TR: What do you think about developers setting aside units for workforce housing and contributing to the county’s housing fund?

Martin: I’m a little bit cynical of set-asides. I would like to see how well they work. I don’t believe they work as well as we’re told. They tend to be window dressing for everyone to feel good.

TR: More broadly — not just about McLean High School — how would you want to address capacity issues here in Fairfax County both before it’s an issue and once a school is over capacity?

Martin: The Board of Supervisors gives an extraordinary amount of money to the School Board. Which means we should have — I know it’s possible to have [because] I’ve talked to Tom Davis, the former congressman who was a Fairfax County Supervisors and I’ve talked to Pat Herrity about it — the Board of Supervisors can have a lot more influence than  currently is perceived on what the School Board does.

It’s how you spend money that makes a difference. So if you look at spending priorities and you say, “Why hasn’t McLean High School had whatever could be done to eliminate the many trailers?” — whether it means a building project, whether it means expanding the existing school — we should have been doing that instead of spending money on everything else.

Fairfax County is not broke. I think we’re misspending our money.

TR: Would you want to build a new school? Would you want to try to look at renovations or additions to existing schools?

Martin: I think the preference should be on the students who are in a school being able to stay in their school. If you have room for trailers, you have room for some buildings. Maybe it’s not one-for-one, but I think McLean [High School] could creatively expand their school.

TR: What do you think of the electric school bus idea?

Martin: I don’t know enough about the cost of it. I’m not against electric cars or electric buses if they work. I know sometimes the cost of something can be deceptively cheaper on the front end — it looks like it’s going to save you — I don’t think I know enough. I like the idea of electric cars. The good old fashioned buses work pretty well.

TR: Do you have any plans to encourage wind and solar power use among constituents and if so, how?

Martin: I think wind and solar [power are] fine. I would not be in favor of incentivizing with either taxes or anything like that. Dominion gets a bad rap for not succeeding in a variety of ways, but they have to be a partner going forward. I think that’s a different question.

Over time you need to find partnerships where things can be creatively done and I think Dominion could make some things more likely in terms of renewables. I think it’s fine to encourage people.

TR: What are your top three transit infrastructure priorities?

Martin: The number one is to get a grasp on what’s happening in Tysons because it’s impacting Dranesville.

I think the Leesburg Pike has to be addressed more significantly. If I could those two together, you hear people complain about the Georgetown Pike and some of it’s a windy road and will be forever, but some of it around the Great Falls Park is because in the summer the park is full up.

I think the third issue is what is the future going to be? I mean we have a problem that’s a wonderful blessing with these businesses moving in and the people moving in, but I don’t think we really understand the scope of the problem. I think we have to be creative. It might mean there’s more ride-sharing — I’m a sort of fan of watching the market disrupt through Uber and Lyft and all — but coming up with how to alleviate traffic congestion in the district.

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