Pat Herrity: The Best Choice for Chairman, the Only Choice on the Issues
Unsurprisingly, the Washington Post endorsed Sharon Bulova. What was interesting is the positive things they had to say about Pat Herrity, and the hesitations they listed about Bulova. The central thesis of the editorial is this:
Mr. Herrity … would certainly shake things up. It’s unclear, though, that the well-governed county is in need of such upheaval.
That’s it. If you think the County could be doing things better, vote for Pat Herrity. If you think the County is doing the best it can, vote for Bulova. I can live with that.
I can live with that because there’s clear evidence that things can be done better. Even the Post admits that taxes on homeowners have doubled in the past seven years, something the Bulova campaign has yet to address (though, to be fair, they haven’t really addressed anything— more on that below). The budget has grown by a billion dollars in that time beyond inflation and population growth. And that’s not a problem?
The Post argues its not because most of that money has gone to education and public safety. Well, okay, but that doesn’t mean that over-spending isn’t a problem, or else we wouldn’t be talking about a $650 million shortfall. If that’s where all of our excess money went, that’s probably where spending cuts will have to come from as well. And when we’re talking about education spending, we’re talking about the Board of Supervisors writing a blank check to the School Board, which places a higher priority on purchasing luxurious administration office space than on renovating classrooms. Just because money is spent on education doesn’t mean it is spent wisely.
And if its public safety the Post cherishes, they should champion Pat Herrity, not Bulova. Last year, Herrity introduced an alternative budget that didn’t raise the property tax rate and provided more funding for public safety than the budget Bulova put together. For instance, Bulova’s budget resulted in the cut of two officers of the P’CASO program to keep children safe from sexual predators. Herrity also fully funded programs like Crisis Link and Alternative House, which Bulova didn’t count as priorities. Apparently, the Washington Post doesn’t either.
Or maybe it’s a problem that the government is the largest landlord in Fairfax County, having spent over $200 million in the past two years on government-owned housing. Of course, part of why we have such a broad and expansive program is because we’re subsidizing housing for those making up to median income, which is $99,000. Meanwhile, Arlington County doesn’t own a single unit as part of their affordable housing program. The Post even says having this debate is a good idea. I think changing the way we approach the issue is a good idea.
Bulova loyalists (the entire handful of them) and party-line Democrats will obviously play up the Post endorsement, despite everyone knowing it was guaranteed from the start, but any intelligent person reading between the lines will see here that there’s a central choice: Vote for more of the status quo, or vote for a change. Oh, and by the way, the status quo is who is responsible for our unprecedented budget shortfall.
To those sitting in ivory towers like the Washington Post and most elected officials, the need for a change is hard to see. However, talk with the average resident in Fairfax, and you start to see things a bit differently, at frustration with the school system that is clearly resting on its laurels, or frustration with taxes and regulations that make them believe government is standing in the way of their individual prosperity. Certainly, the entire Metro to Tyson’s debacle can’t inspire confidence in the County government, or the fact that our roads are clogged yet developers continue to cram in thousand-unit apartments on two-lane highways with no accountability. And frustrations are sure to mount even higher when the Board has to start making cuts to the budget.
And those who are frustrated now, or stand to be frustrated in the future, should look at the campaigns of Bulova and Herrity and see what they’re offering. Even if you don’t like Pat Herrity or the ideas he has, at least they’re on the table for you to judge. Sharon’s site is completely bereft of substantial content (there’s lots of pretty pictures, though). And as I’ve posted before, she bends over backwards to avoid saying anything specific about anything.
In fact, read the Post’s endorsement. Read a Democrat’s account of one of the debates. Read Scrafford’s thoughts on the Post endorsement and watch Sharon in action. Read any Bulova posts by a blogger I respect, Anonymous is a Woman. Can anybody find anyspecific plan of action that Bulova is offering? It is perhaps the least substantive campaign I’ve ever witnessed.
I believe there’s a need for a better way in Fairfax County. That’s why I’m proudly supporting Pat Herrity for Chairman on February 3rd.