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Citizens Meet the Candidates

Evening gives citizens chance to see candidates' personalities at work.

Over 50 people attended a candidates night meeting sponsored by the Southwest Vienna Citizens Association last Wednesday. The purpose of Wednesday's candidates night was to introduce the candidates to the citizens and determine where the candidates stand regarding local issues.

Vienna's election will occur on Tuesday, May 6. Three seats are up for grabs, with Council member Maud Robinson running for re-election, and Council members Mike Polychrones and Vince Olson not seeking further terms in office.

"There's actually a competition. ... I wanted to find out what they had to say," said Vienna resident Karen Evans, on why she attended Wednesday's event.

Candidates were each given one minute to introduce themselves, as well as answer questions from the audience ranging from traffic to trash pickup days to zoning.

For instance, one audience member asked if current and proposed developments for Tysons Corner and the surrounding areas would overwhelm Vienna. The candidates, despite different ways of phrasing it, all agreed they would preserve Vienna as best they could.

"I view Vienna as an island" in the ocean of Fairfax County, said candidate Sydney Verinder.

"We have in place the laws, the zoning, that could keep them at bay," responded candidate Dan Dellinger.

"I'm running to make sure we have a voice ... so our voice can be heard by those adjacent jurisdictions," said candidate George Lovelace.

Candidate Ken Kemper responded that he would keep borders where they are, adding that he hoped the proposed public transportation efforts along the Dulles Corridor would ease traffic.

Candidate Paul Layer, meanwhile, suggested creating partnerships to divert traffic, as well as maintaining the town's zoning laws.

"We have the zoning in place," Layer said.

"We can continue to hold the fortress here," said incumbent Maud Robinson.

Although candidates admitted their answers were alike as they fielded the questions, citizens still said the meeting was helpful.

"It helped me to see the personalities behind them," said Evans, who was concerned about growth and development.

Mary Anne Bender, a Vienna resident since 1967, agreed. She attended the candidates night with her husband.

"I've made up my mind on who I'm voting for," Bender said.