Tom Bellanca, running as an Independent for chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, announced his endorsements for Tuesday’s election. Bellanca said:
In the past 12 months and in many cases the past 5-10 years, I’ve gotten to know many of the candidates involved in this local election personally. While there are no candidates I dislike, and most of the candidates can, I believe, do a good job, I believe it necessary to indicate which of those candidates I believe will be and act in the best interests of the residents of the county. For this reason, I am endorsing the following candidates for leadership in our county. I believe these persons to be the best options to lead our county forward in all respects and I hope you will vote for them on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.
Board of Supervisors and Constitutional Officers:
Chairman At Large – Tom Bellanca (I)
Sheriff – Michael Chapman (R)
Commonwealth’s Attorney – Jim Plowman (R)
Clerk of the Court – Gary Clemons (R)
Treasurer – Roger Zurn (R)
Commissioner of the Revenue – Bob Wertz (R)
Ashburn District – Ralph Buona (R)
Sterling District – Koran Saines (D)
Blue Ridge District – Richard Jimmerson (I)
Catoctin District – Craig Green (D)
Dulles District – Matthew F. Letourneau (R)
Algonkian District – Andrew Resnick (D)
Broad Run District – Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R)
Leesburg – Kristen Umstattd (D)
At Large – Stephen Knoblock
Algonkian – Ryan Myers
Blue Ridge District – Jill Turgeon
Catoctin District – Dusty Sparrow Reed
Leesburg District – Tom Marshall
Sterling District – Brenda Sheridan
Dulles District – Jeff Morse
Broad Run – Joy Maloney
Ashburn – Eric Hornberger
The two Loudoun County supervisors who live in Sterling don’t always agree, but they are on the same page in rejecting a supervisor candidate’s call for new residential development in the district.
Longtime residents Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Scott York (I-At Large) say the Sterling community does not need the type of redevelopment sought by Phyllis Randall, a Democratic Party nominee who lives in Lansdowne and is running for York’s position as Board chair in the November elections.
Among her suggestions for Sterling District, Randall recommended “redevelopment of some of their shopping areas to mixed use communities.”
In a newsletter earlier this week, Delgaudio said “‘redevelopment’ is the wrong word to use in Sterling.” He warned that Randall’s plan would mean density-packing of new residences, and a corresponding negative impact on schools, traffic and emergency services.
Delgaudio told FirewallNOVA that converting existing shopping areas to mixed-use “will lead to residential high-rises and apartments that will change the character of the Sterling community.”
York agreed that Randall’s suggestion to bring mixed-use developments is “very concerning.”
“Sterling doesn’t need to be redeveloped,” York said. “The shopping center needs to be revitalized. But other than that, I like the community the way it is. I’m not going to support any plan of hers to come in and try to density-pack Sterling.”
Randall’s fellow Democrat, Koran Saines, who is running against Delgaudio for the Sterling seat, sounded a similar note, saying he envisions “revitalizing” the district in a way that would “not take away from the character of Sterling Park.”
Republican members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are all supporting Republican candidates in the November elections, which means none of them are supporting the Independent candidate for chair, the Loudoun Times-Mirror has revealed. The only Board member who is not supporting the Republican candidate for chair is Shawn Williams, who left the GOP last month when making plans to run as an Independent and is supporting Scott York, also an Indepedent, for chair.
The Loudoun Time-Mirror labels this turn of events a “curious political dynamic.”
Since the local press, god bless’em, provide fuller coverage of retail openings and closings than of local politics, far be it from us to dampen their enthusiasm when they do venture down this weird, perplexing road. We should, however, be willing to help smooth the path when possible.
These political parties are, in some respects, mysteries wrapped in enigmas wrapped in press releases, and thus inscrutable. In other ways, however, they are simple.
Let us attempt to untangle the Case of the Curious Dynamic.
A Mystery Surfaces
The roiling controversy did not spring up ex nihilo this week, mind you. It was actually born long ago, in the faint, hazy past of earlier this month.
At the Republican “unity” event in Leesburg on June 5, during the interview portion, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reporter noted the Republican supervisors were standing in support of Republican nominee for chair, Charlie King, instead of current chair, Scott York, the Independent. The reporter asked why they have “switched gears” to support King, when in the past they have praised York’s work on the Board.
Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) took a stab at it: “Because we’re Republicans.”
Not so easily turned aside, the reporter pursued: “That’s it?”
After a pause of two seconds that felt like 20, Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) mercifully chimed in with a critique of York that went a bit beyond what Charlie King had covered in-depth ten minutes earlier, getting time moving again and the reporter off the hook.
How That Pledge, Such As It Is, Works
Since that lesson apparently did not sink in, we shall review the main requirement of campaigning under the Republican label.
Despite what we have already established about the overall bogosity of the LCRC pledge, one part is less bogus than the others, and that is where if you are a Republican candidate for office, you don’t publicly support non-Republicans running against Republicans. Nobody would likely go through the trouble of getting the GOP nomination if not prepared to jump through that particular hoop.
Republicans are going to support Republicans publicly, almost every time. That is not a piece of shocking news. Any Republican candidate doing otherwise would be shocking, not to mention enormously inconvenient for the candidate.
That’s what would constitute a news flash.
And anybody bothering to read this political blog is probably saying to themselves, “Well, duh.” (Except at the LTM, where I imagine the reaction is: “The hell you say!”)
To be sure, there are curious aspects to the 2015 campaign for Board of Supervisors, in that the local Republican Party was split over the sheriff primary contest last month, and one faction in that battle is tied closely to the campaign of Charlie King. Oaths were uttered, suspicions raised, charges of treason tossed around, and some say bridges might have been burned. But that is inside-inside baseball. Even in that cloudy picture, most of the GOP will be pro-GOP for public attribution. If you want to report that story, you will have to dig deep into a thicket of anonymous sources.
But the question of whether any Loudoun Republican nominee, anywhere, is going to publicly support Scott York, is about as newsworthy as mosquitoes biting in summer.
After a decade of unprecedented growth, Loudoun County faces a new phase of changes and opportunities. Phyllis Randall believes it’s time for fresh leadership, and a new tone of openness and ethics in county government.
The Democratic Party nominee for chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS), Randall has a twenty-year history of volunteer service in roles of increasing responsibility, including her current position as vice chair of the Virginia Board of Corrections. Throughout her time in public service, Randall has also maintained a career in the mental health field, which she intends to put on hold if elected to the Loudoun BOS.
In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, Randall set forth a clear policy agenda regarding education, development, attracting businesses, and the need to revisit the county’s Comprehensive Plan. On education, for instance, she’s committed to increasing science/math/technology and vocational instruction, and establishing a more cooperative relationship between the BOS and the School Board. She has specific ideas about the Loudoun Gateway and Ashurn Station Metro developments. She wants to improve the transportation grid to make the county more business-friendly (a proposal echoed the other day in Reston with regard to the Silver Line).
In the area of politics, Randall takes exception to the idea that Sterling’s Eugene Delgaudio is attracting Democrats to vote for him.
Moreover, beyond politics and policy, Phyllis Randall thinks it’s time to put a new “face” on Loudoun County. The current chair, Scott York (whom we interviewed earlier this week) has held the office since 2001. Randall wants to apply her own leadership experience to make the government more open, and “build a respectful relationship that honors the job we have been elected to do for the citizens of the county.”
FWN: For Loudoun residents who don’t know about you: I think of you as a “moderate” Democrat. Is that true, and what does it mean?
Barring any disqualifications, the candidates who will be listed on Loudoun County voters’ ballots on the November 3, 2015 elections have been set. Despite rumors to the contrary, no new candidates for sheriff filed to run. And Shawn Williams did NOT throw his hat into the ring to revive his previously announced run for chair of the Board of Supervisors. (The day after Williams was reported to be making calls to build a campaign team, this happened.) The Democratic candidate for chair, Phyllis Randall, states that she shares Scott York’s wish to revisit the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Chairman Scott York thinks the decisions facing the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors over the next four years are too important to be used as on-the-job training.
Having served as Board chair since 2001, York was planning to leave public office when the current term concludes at the end of the year. But after being on the receiving end of an “outpouring of concern for the quality of leadership” from constituents, he reconsidered, and is running for a fifth term.
York is running for the office once again as an Independent, as he did prior to the current term, and will face declared challengers Charlie King (Republican), Phyllis Randall (Democrat), and Tom Bellanca (Independent).
In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, York discussed the key upcoming challenges and opportunities for the next Board, his message to voters of all political persuasions, fellow Sterling resident Eugene Delgaudio, York’s endorsements for county offices, and various other issues. (This is part of an occasional series of candidate interviews prior to the November 3 elections. FirewallNOVA plans to interview Republican nominee Charlie King in the near future. Democrat Phyllis Randall and Independent Tom Bellanca have not yet made themselves available for interviews.)
By not participating in the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) convention, York is again able to launch his Independent bid without having broken the LCRC “pledge” – the same tack he took earlier in his political career when leaving the GOP. Though he took criticism from LCRC Chairman Mike Haynes, York said the current group of candidates for chair “is simply not qualified to lead the county.”
York believes any voters who “do their homework” or talk to the other candidates will come to the same conclusion.
After serving for four years as Sterling District supervisor, York was elected chairman in 2000 and has held the office ever since. Last month, recognized as “Citizen of the Year” by the Loudoun Times-Mirror and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, York was praised for his “steady presence” over the four terms, whose “leadership was critical to the historic change in residential and business growth.”
In the coming years, that leadership will be just as crucial, according to York. The next Board will need to handle numerous important policy issues, including: oversight of critical transportation improvements; a long-overdue review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan; Silver Line Comprehensive Plan Amendments, initiated by the current Board to study land uses surrounding the new stations; as well as address school budget funding, new school construction, and requests for all-day kindergarten.
Michael Haynes, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC), observed that “after days of rain and gloomy weather, the sun came out to welcome our candidates,” an appropriate backdrop for Friday’s GOP “Unity” event in Leesburg. Joined by Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck, it served as an unofficial kickoff for the 2015 campaign, a chance to clarify positions on Independent candidates, and an opportunity to smooth over differences from the recent LCRC convention.
King took two Independent candidates to task: Scott York (Board chair), who left the Republican Party, and Steve Simpson (sheriff candidate), who pledged to support the 2015 ticket, and then broke the pledge for a second time since 2007.
Regarding Simpson, King said that for police, “reputation is everything”:
Based on an officer’s word, people will be convicted of crimes and sent to jail. How can Steve Simpson possibly lead the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office when he cannot honor simple promises to play by the rules?
But King focused most of his condemnation on York, his opponent for Board chair. He characterized York’s change of heart about seeking another term as “waffling”:
Loudoun County needs a decisive leader. If Mr. York takes months to make a decision while reversing himself over and over, how can the voters believe he is capable of making the many tough calls the next Board will have to make?
The GOP nominee for Broad Run supervisor, Ron Meyer, highlighted nuts-and-bolts issues showing the Republican ticket unified on “conservative values to make people’s lives better …. Better commute, better schools, better cost of living, a better place to be.” Meyer noted the economic potential of Metro locations coming to Loudoun, and said commercial development will allow the county to continue increasing school funding and road improvements.
Meyer said the best way to seek lower fees on the Greenway is by expanding alternatives to the Greenway: “Take it to their pocket book so we can bring them to the table.”
The political business of the day in Loudoun County is called moral equivalence. And business is good.
The local Republican leadership waited a full two weeks to defend Sheriff Mike Chapman against a rebellion contravening party rules, presumably out of prudence and a need to gather all the facts. It is safe to assume, then, that those same leaders will wait another two weeks – until, say, June 8 – to defend Charlie King.
Let’s not do anything rash, please.
Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) Chair Mike Haynes just issued a stern press release which is reprinted below the fold. In it, Haynes calls on former sheriff, former Republican, former Independent, newly-Republican and once again threatening-to-go Independent Steve Simpson, to please stick to the GOP “pledge” that Simpson just signed in order to vote at the LCRC Convention earlier this month.
To recap: Soon after the LCRC Convention results quashed the attempt of a GOP faction to take down Republican Sheriff Mike Chapman, Steve Simpson announced he was considering a run for sheriff as an Independent, despite having just rejoined the LCRC and supported Chapman’s challenger.
It became evident, and not very secret, that some in the anti-Chapman contingent of Republicans might be quietly celebrating Simpson’s entry. Voters need to have a choice, don’t ya know.
Response from the LCRC leadership about this open threat to reneg on the “pledge”? Not a peep.
Presumably Chapman was on his own.
Then yesterday, when Shawn Williams made noises about going back on HIS pledge, and joining the race for chairman, and dealing a very real threat to the head of the Republican ticket, Charlie King…. apparently alarms went off.
As they say in the vernacular: S–t just got real.
And the wink-wink at Steve Simpson became a little too hypocritical for comfort, apparently.
So before Haynes could fire off a press release chastising Shawn Williams – a press release that would pass the laugh test – someone must have whispered in his ear that he’d better, first, address that Steve Simpson fellow who was doing THE EXACT SAME THING two weeks ago.
Unfortunately you cannot back date a press release, but better late than never.
Mike Chapman finally got his party leadership’s support, and in a couple of weeks Haynes can issue a new press release, condemning Shawn Williams, that will not be met with a chorus of guffaws.
Sterling’s voters will meet a different kind of Democratic candidate when they get to know Koran Saines during the upcoming campaign season. Upbeat, knowledgeable, and relentlessly positive, the longtime Sterling resident will also pose a new test for Eugene Delgaudio.
Saines prevailed in the Democratic primary earlier this month, winning the nomination to challenge Delgaudio for the Sterling District seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in the November elections.
Previous Democratic campaigns have appeared, to those who live here, overwhelmingly negative and targeting a caricature of the Sterling supervisor that was always a bit off. With messages that could have been cribbed from progressive Web sites, possibly emanating from distant voices in Arlington, Ashburn or Lovettsville, they painted a picture that had no resonance with many residents who know the “real Eugene” (but managed to lock in their already locked-in hardcore base). The cheerful Delgaudio, meanwhile, connected with actual voters – and extended his advantage over opponents who were out chasing ghosts.
Not this time. Koran Saines comes with an agenda that could find supporters in both local parties as well as among Independents, and a message strong on content and noticeably light on ideology.
Much like the incumbent in the orange hat, Saines has nary a negative word to say about his opposition. He seems committed to making lots of personal direct contact. So the question becomes: Can he out-Delgaudio Delgaudio?
In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, Saines talked about his commitment to Sterling, the importance of collaboration, attracting businesses to improve the local economy, and improving the quality of life in the district. He has a non-partisan attitude and can talk specifics about policy.
Unsurprisingly, Saines has positions that some will oppose. Topics such as education spending and Metro-related projects will engender debate with Delgaudio in the coming months, as will other policy questions that force the candidates to take concrete positions. But from this first impression of the Democratic candidate, I think we can look forward to a lively and intelligent discussion.
FWN: You had a great turnout at the recent Sterling primary, but it is safe to say there are still plenty of Sterling voters who should learn more about you. What do the residents of Sterling need to know about your background?
For those of you who want a quick primer on the 2015 campaign for Loudoun County sheriff, this short video clip from the April 13 debate captures a lot. If you are a delegate at Saturday’s Loudoun County Republican Committee convention, you ought to watch this because it underlies what you will hear in the speeches by current Sheriff Mike Chapman, and the challenger Eric Noble.
The video is from the point where the men are allowed to ask the other a question. It contains Mike Chapman’s question, Eric Noble’s answer, and Chapman’s rebuttal.
Watch the interchange and listen carefully. (If you are not in a position to watch video, here is a link to the relevant part of the transcript – but the video gives a much better understanding.)
Chapman sums up the problem he has had with Noble from the beginning of the campaign, and which Chapman up until this point has not stated this directly: When Chapman took office, he elevated Noble to a position of trust and authority, following Noble’s professed desire to serve in the new administration. But from early on, Noble worked to undermine Chapman, in public yet under the cloak of anonymity, rather than address the disagreements in-house.
Yes, it is a long question, but for anyone listening it could have been boiled down to a very short one. To paraphrase Julius Caesar:
Below is a letter just received from Sheriff Mike Chapman, in response to the Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman’s letter issued yesterday.
In addition to the fact that Chapman was able to fire off such a comprehensive reply in such a short time, what follows is worth reading for two more reasons. First, this is a unique public argument, between our sheriff and chief prosecutor.
But more importantly, Chapman’s letter addresses ongoing controversial issues (including some touched on in yesterday’s post here), with surprising frankness: quite a departure from the typical euphemistic official-speak we are accustomed to hearing from elected officials.
If you want an unvarnished view of matters of serious disagreement between the sheriff and Plowman – and the challenger, Eric Noble – touching on politics, policy and ethics … here it is.
April 27, 2015
Today Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman distributed a letter containing false statements to help Mr. Noble win the Republican nomination. His motive is clear and he offers no facts. He simply wants a puppet for sheriff. Here is the real evidence:
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman penned a detailed response to a Republican hit piece last month, which has left the GOP faction opposing him, thus far, dumbfounded. Composed within a few hours’ time span, the Chapman article is remarkable both for its comprehensiveness and clarity – in a campaign that, so far, has seen some confusing messages.
As noted in yesterday’s post, the Loudoun County Republican Committee faction supporting Chapman’s “tag team” of opponents includes Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio. “Endorsements” is probably a topic worth its own post, but I will expand a little on what I said yesterday: I think sometimes endorsements reveal more about networking than they do about public policy. The tag team has Delgaudio and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman and some prominent activists; Chapman has Ollie North, Barbara Comstock, Mike Farris and his own host of prominent Loudoun activists.
I can think of a couple reasons that Delgaudio weighed in on this race, one of which is, half of the tag team duo is former Loudoun deputy Ricky Frye who was stationed in Sterling district for some time. While I am a Delgaudio supporter for a number of years, I find it odd that he did this, and I wonder if he really thought it through.
Because it looks to me like Mike Chapman made some changes in the Sheriff’s Office that some of the existing deputies did not like (and in fact it looks like some were committed to taking Chapman down from the moment Chapman took office). But we did elect Chapman, after all, to replace Steve Simpson in 2011 and presumably also to make changes. Sterling was one of the areas where residents took an active interest in the Sheriff’s department in recent years, and one would think that rolling back the clock, to reinstall the old regime that Chapman has shaken up, would not be high on the Sterling supervisor’s list of priorities. But whomever is supposed to be benefiting from Eugene Delgaudio sticking his neck out for the tag team – I hope they appreciate it.
Anyway, Delgaudio circulated a message both in email and paper copies criticizing Sheriff Chapman. The Sheriff, immediately, sent out the following message listing all of Delgaudio’s points and answering them in full:
FROM LOUDOUN COUNTY SHERIFF MIKE CHAPMAN: “Sterling District Supervisor Supports Flawed Candidate”
Last night, Supervisor Delgaudio sent an email message out in support of my opponent, utilizing statements solely from my opponent, without checking a single fact. The information Delgaudio relayed was FALSE. It is time to distinguish fact from fiction.
Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio accused me of being a liberal.
Fact: False: I am a fiscally conservative Republican and due to the management efficiencies I put in place, the LCSO was able to return over $4.5M in budgeted funds to the county over the past three years.
Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio accused me of being inexperienced at the local level, having served only federally.
Fact: False. I served law enforcement at the local level for over 10 years; 7 with the Howard County MD Police Department (3 Patrol, 3 SWAT, 1-Detective), 3 with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, 23 as a Federal Special Agent (Drug Enforcement Administration), and 3 as a law enforcement Subject Matter Expert with Booz Allen and Hamilton. I served in critical law enforcement capacities all over the world. Additionally, I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration; a Bachelor’s in Business Management. I am a recent graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute, the VA Sheriff’s Institute, and the FBI’s National Executive Institute and stay educated and involved with the latest trends and techniques in addressing and preventing crime. My opponent’s has never been an investigator, and has far less education, training and experience.
Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio said that Loudoun County has a DUI problem.