Tysons Corner, VA

Jonathan Fahey, a former federal prosecutor, has thrown his hat into the race for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax.

Fahey worked on drug, gang and white-collar crime cases as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, but resigned last month, the Washington Post reported.

He is listed as an Independent candidate for the spot, according to Fairfax County candidate information.

Fahey served as general counsel for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy last year, according to his LinkedIn. He also was an adjunct professor at American University’s law school and the George Washington University.

Fahey lives in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County near Belvedere Park, according to the Fairfax Bar Association.

Fahey will face off against former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor Steve Descano, a progressive candidate who ousted Raymond Morrogh in a close race for the Democratic nomination.

The general election is Nov. 5.

Photo via Jonathan Fahey/LinkedIn

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School Board member Dalia Palchik and Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won their Democratic primary races yesterday, marking the end to an expensive, crowded and contentious primary.

Palchik won the nomination for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors, defeating four challengers and pulling ahead of Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner by nearly 1,500 votes.

Meanwhile, McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair.

Frank Anderson, the executive director of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, told Tysons Reporter that he was surprised by how many Democratic candidates flooded the Board of Supervisors races, although the large fundraising sums weren’t unexpected.

“I was surprised by how many candidates decided to jump in,” Anderson said, adding that a race like the one for Providence District supervisor typically has two to three candidates instead of five.

With crowded races, some of the candidates’ clashing resulted in an “acrimonious” primary, Anderson said, adding, “It’s expected to be.”

The race for the board’s chair was particularly divisive — McKay faced an ethics complaint filed by a rival, while the Washington Post endorsement raised concerns about sexism.

On the Democratic Party’s end, Anderson said that the debates “got awkward,” yet the staff focused on staying “as non-partial as we can” and professional.

The primary also turned out to be expensive for several candidates.

Niedzielski-Eichner and Palchik both neared the $100,000 fundraising mark in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Every candidate for the Democratic nomination to the chair position raised over $100,000, with developer Tim Chapman raising $952,109.

Anderson said that the high fundraising amounts serve several purposes. Beyond paying for resources like campaign staff, recorded calls, glossy mailers and advertising, they also help to give the impression that a candidate has the backing of more supporters.

“When you donate to a candidate, you do it because you believe in them,” Anderson said. “You can’t know whether your dollar made the difference.”

Anderson said that potential donors can become enticed to give money if they see how much others have donated — essentially equating money with value.

Some candidates in the race received sizable checks, either from donations to themselves or from a few key supporters, like developer Tim Chapman who raised most of his $952,109 by donating to himself in the chair race and Hunter Mill candidate Maggie Parker, who received support from Comstock Companies, her employer.

“Not many voters have the time to see who is donating to the candidates,” Anderson said.

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(Updated at 10:05 p.m.) School Board member Dalia Palchik won the Democratic nomination for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Palchik defeated Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner and three other challengers in the Democratic primary.

Palchik received 39.7 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Paul Bolon in the November election.

Palchik said in her victory speech:

This is part of a movement; a movement of people who want new leadership. People who want classrooms — not trailers — and teachers who can afford to live here. They want someone who is going to fight to protect the environment, to get solar panels, who are going to work hard every day to get us out of our cars and walking, biking, getting around, with access to buses and metro, and into a community that cares and is inclusive. This is the beginning. It’s been an incredible campaign. It was scary. It was fun. We cried. We laughed. And we want to see the next phase of Providence District in Fairfax County.

Palchik celebrated her win at Settle Down Easy (2822 Fallfax Drive), a local brewery that launched in 2018. It was a trendy spot that is representative of a candidate who pulled together a coalition across a variety of demographics.

Even at the headquarters of Niedzielski-Eichner, the runner-up in the race with 23.4 percent of the vote, there was a reluctant admission that Palchik was a charismatic candidate. Several Niedzielski-Eichner supporters noted that they saw her at polls shaking hands and taking selfies with voters.

Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) said Niedzielski-Eichner relied on an older local establishment, while Palchik was able to tap into a younger, wider base of local supporters.

Linda Smyth, the current Providence District supervisor, announced in December that she wouldn’t run for reelection this year, along with several other supervisors on the 10-member board.

Shortly before 10 p.m., current Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won the Democratic nomination for the Board of Supervisors’ chair with 42 percent of the vote. McKay beat Georgetown law professor Alicia Plerhoples, who received 31 percent of the vote, and two other Democratic challengers.

For the Virginia State Senate, incumbent Barbara Favola won with 61 percent of the vote, beating Nicole Merlene for the 31st District seat, which encompasses McLean.

Incumbent Dick Saslaw narrowly beat challengers Yasmine Taeb and Karen Torrent for the 35th District seat. Saslaw received 48 percent of the vote.

In a close race, challenger Steve Descano beat incumbent Raymond Morrogh for the Democratic nomination for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax.

Catherine Moran and Vernon Miles worked on this story.

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Half of the day has gone by for voting in the Democratic primaries.

For Tysons-area residents, upcoming retirements have the Hunter Mill District, Providence District and chairman seats open on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The voter turnout so far in the Providence District is slightly above 4 percent, while the Hunter Mill District is  4.6 percent — both higher than the county’s district average of roughly 3.4 percent, the county tweeted at 1:02 p.m.

Voting kicked off quietly around Tysons this morning.

“A lot of people vote absentee,” John Shivnen, the chief election officer at the Providence Committee Meeting Room polling place, told Tysons Reporter. By 10:51 a.m., 36 people had voted there (7921 Jones Branch Drive).

While Shivnen said the county is expecting a higher turnout than in previous years, he expected the day to stay slow, except during lunchtime and early evening after people get off of work.

The Democratic candidates for the Board of Supervisors are:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District:

Hunter Mill District:

Tysons-area voters will also determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls are open until 7 p.m.

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Fairfax County Voters Receive Mass Political Texts — “An unknown number of Northern Virginia residents have received anonymous, unsolicited text messages linking to WAMU’s coverage of an ethics complaint filed against a top candidate for chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors… The texts were not sent by WAMU.” [WAMU]

New Bike Trail Needs a Name — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation wants the public’s help with naming a new bike and pedestrian trail along the I-66 corridor. The online survey is open until June 30. [FCDOT]

Man Struck and Killed on I-495 Near Tysons — “Around 12:33 a.m. [on Saturday, June 8], a sedan traveling north on I-495 near Route 7 in Fairfax County when the car ran off the right side of the interstate and struck a concrete barrier and then the guard rail. The sedan’s driver, an adult male, exited his vehicle and was attempting to cross the northbound lanes of I-495 when he crossed in front of a northbound tractor-trailer.” [Inside NoVa]

Fires Erupted Around Vienna — Firefighters got a two-story house fire in the 9000 block of Edgepark Road under control yesterday (June 9). On Saturday, firefighters extinguished a deck fire in 8500 block of Pepperdine Drive. [Twitter, Twitter]

Local Students Win National Merit Scholarships — Students from James Madison and McLean high schools were among the 26 Fairfax County Public Schools students who won 2019 Merit Scholarship awards by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. [FCPS]

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Updated at 5:15 p.m. on 6/13/19 — Corrects the description of the Jefferson Village Association.

As the Fairfax County Democratic Primary winds toward the election next Tuesday (June 11), the fundraising race closes in for some but leaves others in the dust.

Edythe Kelleher, a former member of the Vienna Town Council, led fundraising in April and May with $41,849. Edythe and her husband Gary Kelleher are the leading contributors to the campaign, contributing $10,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Other backers that might be familiar to attentive readers include JDA Custom Homes, a homebuilder based in Vienna, and Douglas D’Alexander, the developer behind the planned redevelopment of the former Marco Polo lot destroyed by arson.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, a planning commissioner representing the Providence District, had previously led the candidates in fundraising. In April and May, Niedzielski-Eichner raised $35,168. Records show Jonathan Cherner, a principal at the Cherner Development Group, and Mark Lowham, CEO of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, each donated $5,000 to Niedzielski-Eichner.

Dalia Palchik, a School Board member representing the Providence District, wasn’t far behind Niedzielski-Eichner with $31,547 raised. Palchik’s leading backer was the Jefferson Village Association LP — real estate developers in Bethesda, Md. — which donated $15,000.

The first and last candidates to announce in the race both trailed behind the others. Linh Hoang didn’t enter the race until March, and in April and May, Hoang raised $18,514. Hoang’s top contributor was a person named Emily Woo, who donated $5,000.

Erika Yalowitz was the first candidate to announce in the race, but was the last in fundraising for April and May. Yalowitz’ top backer was Timothy Chapman, a candidate in the contentious Board of Supervisors chair race, who donated $5,000.

Voting takes place on June 11 from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.  A tool available online can help voters find the closest polling station.

Photo via Dalia Palchik/Twitter

 

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (June 3)

  • Commonwealth’s Attorney Candidate Forum on Criminal Justice7-9 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard Street) — Four local justice-related organizations are hosting a debate incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrough and challenger Steve Descano, who have clashed throughout the race over the reach of the office into political issues.

Wednesday (June 5)

  • Learning about the Opioid Crisis11 a.m.-12 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — A pharmacist will be on hand at the library to teach about opioid use, signs and symptoms of drug abuse, addiction, and drug overdose.
  • Nutley/I-66 Interchange Update6:30-8:30 p.m. at James Madison High School (2500 James Madison Drive) — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling is hosting a meeting with the Virginia Department of Transportation to discuss how work on the Transform 66 project will impact the cycling and pedestrian trail.
  • Jesse Ruben Album Release at Jammin Java7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave E.) — Acoustic artist Jesse Ruben is planning an album release party at Jammin Java, performing a mix of songs from the new EP and older material.

Thursday (June 6)

Friday (June 7)

  • Vienna Idol 2019 Finale6:30 p.m. at the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave) — Six finalists are competing in the Vienna Idol finale. The audience will vote with tickets on the winner. All proceeds from the event go to the Khristin Kyllo Memorial Fund.

Saturday (June 8)

  • All Star Comic Con 2019 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel (8661 Leesburg Pike) — Tysons’ one and only comic convention returns for two days of comics, vendors, artists, cosplay and more. Guests at the con include writers Gail Simone and Tom King.
  • “The Spies of Shilling Lane” Signing3-4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble (7851 Tysons Corner Center) — Author Jennifer Ryan is hosting a signing for her new novel about a mother trying to find a daughter who has gone missing in the espionage underworld of the London Blitz.
  • The World’s Most Alluring Cars4-9 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — A James Bond-themed event is planned with classic cars, from a 1911 Stanley Steam Car to a 2019 Lamborghini. Food, beer, martinis and cigars will all be available at the event.
  • Three Year Anniversary for Greenhouse Bistro5 p.m.-2 a.m. at Greenhouse Bistro (2070 Chain Bridge Road) — Greenhouse Bistro is celebrating three years in Tysons and is welcoming guests to an invitation-only party. An RSVP is available at the event page with guests asked to sign up no later than June 7. An “upscale attire” will be strictly enforced.

Photo via Vienna Idol/Facebook

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m. on June 4) President Donald Trump made a quick, speechless-stop at the McLean Bible Church after a round of golf on Sunday (June 2).

Trump bowed his head in prayer with pastor David Platt — reportedly in remembrance of the victims of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, though no mention of the shooting was made while Trump was there.

Trump was only on the stage for a few minutes and made no remarks to the audience.

Photo via Google Maps

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Different takes on the role of prosecutors in the justice system took center stage in a rare fight for the Democratic endorsement for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax last week.

While the candidates in the Board of Supervisors chair race that followed were in agreement on most issues, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine Stott — standing in for incumbent Raymond Morrogh who was out with bronchitis — and challenger Steve Descano sniped back and forth constantly last Friday (May 24) at Valo Park (7950 Jones Park Drive).

Descano’s campaign is part of a broader push across Virginia from left-leaning candidates arguing prosecutors should take an active role in things like functionally decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating cash bonds.

“That’s the main driver of this campaign,” Descano said. “Cash bonds turn this into a two-tier system of justice. Cash bail doesn’t do anything but punish people for being poor. What happens when we hold people in jail because they can’t pay means they could lose their jobs or lose their house. It drives up their recidivism rate. We’re paying $225 a day to build more crime down the road. I will instruct my prosecutors, if there’s no risk of safety or flight, get rid of cash bonds.”

But Stott said Descano’s ambitions are driven by naivety.

“[Descano] shows his inexperience with the Virginia state system,” Stott said. “There are legislative code systems that define how cash bail is used and a judicial element. In the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, we do not ask for a cash bond. Defendant appears before a magistrate, which sets bond. If they are held overnight, they see a judge the next day. We don’t ask for cash bail.”

The fight is similar to a race in neighboring Arlington and an ongoing battle between the Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney and local judges.

The two also clashed over capital punishment and marijuana enforcement — mainly over whether the commonwealth’s attorney’s office should decide an overarching policy or tackle the cases individually. Descano said he would never pursue the death penalty, while Stott said the cases have to be reviewed on an individual basis.

For small amounts of marijuana possession where there is no intention to distribute, Descano said he would move the court to dismiss the cases. Stott said Morrogh supports decriminalization of marijuana but argued it’s not up to the commonwealth’s attorney to decide that.

“Descano’s response is another example of how he crosses out of his lane,” Stott said. “[He says] that he’s a member of the executive branch and doesn’t want to enforce the law from the legislative branch. When you become a commonwealth’s attorney, you take an oath to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth, and that’s a serious oath.”

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Virginia residents have until right before midnight tonight (May 20) to register to vote for the June 11 primaries.

A total of 49 Republican and 45 Democratic primaries spanning the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia Senate and local offices will be held on June 11. For Tysons-area residents, upcoming retirements have several spots open on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The Hunter Mill District, which covers Vienna and Reston, and the Providence District, which covers Tysons and Merrifield, both have five Democrats vying for the seats. The primary will also determine which of the four Democrats in the race for the Board of Supervisors chair will face Republican Joe Galdo in the November election.

People eligible to vote can register or update their voter information in person before 5 p.m. at a local registration office — the one for Fairfax County is at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323 — or online until 11:59 p.m.

Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone

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