Sharon Bulova: Still in Search of Substance
In response to my endorsement of Pat Herrity below, Anonymous is a Woman set out to establish Sharon Bulova as a “candidate of substance”. Unfortunately, her two posts since I wrote mine have continued the unbroken streak of Bulova, her staff, and her supporters of not providing any specific detail in what Bulova actually plans to do as Chairman.
AIAW says that Bulova’s substance is derived from her 21-year record on the Board of Supervisors. Fair enough, but that’s not a vision for the County. That’s not a platform. It’s not a statement of issues. It’s a story.
Karen went ahead and posting some campaign materials from Sharon, and while I could go through point-by-point and give the opposing view, I’ll focus instead on a few things that stuck out to me.
“Sharon Bulova led Fairfax County to adopt personnel principles to ensure that the County is competitive to attract and retain excellent public employees. She has created the sensible policy that the County should not be the highest or the lowest in the region.”
Sharon Bulova doesn’t believe Fairfax County should pay teachers the highest in the region?
“Her opponent thinks the way to save money is just to stop doing things like preserving affordable housing.”
I’m no mathematician, but if instead of spending over $200 million on buying government housing, we didn’t spend $200 million, I think that would save money. Just jotting some numbers on the back of a napkin here, I believe it would save approximately $200 million.
“Sharon Bulova knows that the way to build a budget is to listen to the needs of all kinds of people from all parts of the County. She led the effort to hold more than a dozen “dialogues” with citizens to hear what they think is most important and what can be trimmed.”
Interestingly, 2008 was the first time in her 17 years as Budget Chairman Bulova has started these citizen dialogues. Is there a reason why she never felt the need for them before?
“She knows how to work with her colleagues to build a budget with broad support… [Herrity's] budget got almost no support from other members of the Board.”
Quick thought exercise: If Republicans on the Board are routinely on the losing side of 8-2 votes, and Pat Herrity represents 50% of them, how does it work that Bulova “works across the aisle” while Herrity is an uncooperative ideologue?
“Pat Herrity, likes to brag in his campaign speeches about how he knows how to say “NO.” Saying “NO” is no way to govern.”
Is this really the point that Bulova wants to end her campaign message on? We’re in a $650 million shortfall; everyone agrees drastic spending cuts will be needed to meet it. And Bulova doesn’t believe saying “No” is part of the arsenal of a leader? That explains, better than I ever could, how Bulova is responsible for the fiscal mess we’re currently in.
When the School Board asks for more money than they need in order to increase administration or their office space, Sharon Bulova doesn’t believe saying “No” is a way to govern.
When a developer asks for a sweetheart deal, or wants to build without improving the surrounding infrastructure, Sharon Bulova doesn’t believe saying “No” is a way to govern.
When countless environmental special interest groups come up with new and more expensive ways to spend money on the latest fad, Sharon Bulova doesn’t believe saying “No” is a way to govern.
No wonder taxes have doubled, yet we’re still deeper in the hole than any surrounding locality. Mark Warner went around the state saying that Virginia needs “someone who knows how to read a balance sheet.” Fairfax County needs the same thing, and somebody who can tell the difference between a priority and a waste of money; who can stand up and say “No” to a bad idea.
Fairfax County needs Pat Herrity.