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Votes

Issues Decide Council Mayor Race

After weeding through the list of candidates and issues, the City of Fairfax voters elected former councilman Rob Lederer as mayor and several new Council seats including newcomers Joan Cross, Gail Lyon and Patrice Winter on Tuesday, May 7.

The three new Council seats filled by women is a first in the city's history.

Lederer took the stage at Old Town City Hall after the initial results were in, showing his victories in all six precincts. Initially, he had trouble with Mason's name but quickly corrected himself and gave the veteran mayor of the past 12 years credit.

"You set the benchmark," he said to Mason.

Mason was quick to note what gave Lederer the edge, posted all over front yards around the city.

"Rob won the sign campaign hands down," Mason joked.

BOTH CANDIDATES shared the stage with their spouses, and Lederer brought up some of his children as well.

"You could not do it without strong family support," he said, but he looked ahead to the task at hand.

"There have been no winners or losers in this campaign," he said.

It was the first election in several years where the mayoral race was contested, there were five women on the Council ballot, and the issues ranged from transportation and redevelopment to seniors and taxes.

Betty Powell, a 37-year resident, who manages the Art to Wear shop in Old Town Fairfax, was worried about redevelopment but feels it wasn't addressed properly.

"I think it's been real interesting. It would really affect this business. For some reason, that [redevelopment] was not a real issue in the election," she said. It was something she was happy about.

Matt Joyce was also interested in the redevelopment issue.

"The thing that I focused on the most is the redevelopment of the Old Town area. It's helping my property grow in value," he said.

Tressa Lang, a 14-year resident, lives along Route 123 and focused on transportation, particularly the plans to widen that road.

"I could never get a definite answer," she said, but noticed an increasing interest in the political process this year.

"It seems like there's more interest than there is in the past. I remember years when there was no competition," she said.

According to officials at the City Hall, 31 percent of the city's registered voters voted in this election.

In addition, School Board members Janice Miller, Allen C. Griffith, Penelope A. "Penny" Rood Courtney R. Robinson were re-elected along, with Jon A. Buttram.

COUNCIL CANDIDATE Gerald O'Dell was at several of the polling places throughout Tuesday. According to his numbers which he got from City Hall just after 4 p.m., only 21.3 percent of the people had voted and the lowest precincts were numbers one and six. None of the candidates lived in precinct one and mayoral candidate Robert Lederer lives in six. At the same time, several of the candidates were from precincts two and three where the turnout was greater.

O'Dell remained true to his platform.

"In the past, I have always voted pro life," he said.

Redevelopment and traffic was on Helen Horvath's mind. She is 19 and a student in college but she was aware of the issues.

"I pretty much had it [decision] made," she said.

Ben Bahn, a resident of 12 years, was also a traffic advocate. He noted the amount of houses on Old Lee Highway. He was a Lederer supporter.

"Lee highway is busier than it's ever been. We have to improve the roads," he said.

ONE OF THE VOTERS walked into the parking lot at Daniels Run Elementary School, where Council candidate Patrice Winters was campaigning. Last weekend, Winters played Antonio Ford in the Historic Homes Tour. She worked on all the details down to the accent.

"I thought about your petticoat," the voter joked.

Dave McGrady hadn't voted since John F. Kennedy was running 42 years ago. He didn't trust politicians.

"They say one thing, and when the time comes, it's a different story," he said.

Dave Hollister jumped on his Harley Davidson with his wife, Edith, after they voted at Fairfax High School. They liked the competitive race.

"I've always felt that's [voting] a constitutional right you can't give away," he said.

Council candidate Joan Cross was also at the high school.

"I didn't realize the extent of the seniors’ concerns. We have a big senior population in the city. I want to look at that," she said.

U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th) was at the after-campaign gathering at the Old Town Hall. Although the election didn't really affect his constituents, he wanted to see the outcome.

"They're both Republicans," he said.