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Votes

Three Democrats Seek Nomination

What: Assembled Caucus, Dranesville District Democratic Committee.

Who: Candidates John Foust, Fred Mittelman and Merrily Pierce, all of McLean.

When: 9 a.m., Saturday, May 10.

Where: Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean.

Format: Registration begins at 9 a.m. Caucus begins at 10 a.m. with each of the three candidates allowed to speak five minutes and take questions for five minutes. Voting follows.

Who votes: Any Virginia registered voter.

John Foust, McLean.

Occupation and age:

Attorney, 51.

Why I am running?

I believe that by putting people first, we can make a better and more livable community for ourselves and for future generations. In these difficult financial times for Fairfax County, I believe I can provide the leadership to lower the tax burden on homeowners while, at the same time, ensuring that our essential county services are adequately funded.

Top three issues:

It is critical that the Dranesville District elect a supervisor who will do the following:

1. Ensure that the county provides adequate funding for education, parks, public safety and essential human services;

2. Make certain that plans for new growth and development emphasize the preservation of open space and use of mass transit;

3. Reduce the county’s excessive dependence on real-estate taxes as a source of revenue.

What I propose to do as supervisor?

I will be an advocate for adequate funding of public education and other essential county services. I will work to ensure that our county implements mass-transit-oriented “smart growth” practices that preserve open space, stop sprawl and reduce traffic congestion. I will work to reduce the tax burden on homeowners by eliminating unnecessary programs and costs, diversifying revenue, and fighting for a fair return of our tax dollars from Richmond.

My view on the proposal for a 5-percent limit:

I believe that I can find more creative and more effective long-term solutions to providing tax relief. Real-estate taxes now account for more than half (57 percent) of the county’s revenue base. My goal is to reduce unnecessary costs and diversify county revenue sources so that we can continue to fund education and other essential public services while providing tax relief to homeowners.

My view on the county’s FY ‘04 budget:

I am pleased that we were able to increase funding for our public schools. I am disappointed that the budget does not provide more tax relief to county homeowners. I do not agree with the decision to fully fund the Economic Development Authority, which should be a public/private partnership, while funds earmarked for operating our parks and providing human services were slashed.

My major strength/weakness:

I have a proven track record as an effective civic leader, one who stands up for the needs of the community and is capable of bringing people together to solve problems. I have demonstrated my commitment to smart land use and transportation planning to reduce sprawl and preserve open space. I have also demonstrated my commitment to the young people who are the future of our community.

Why you should vote for me:

I am an experienced community leader who puts people first. Through my years of public service, I have demonstrated that I will stand up for the community and bring people together to solve problems. As your supervisor, I will put my experience and energy to work for you and focus my efforts on providing the very best education for our youth, reducing traffic congestion, preserving open spaces and lessening the tax burden on homeowners.

Fred Mittelman, McLean

Occupation, age:

Workers employment attorney, 56.

Why I am running:

Our county and Dranesville District have to come into the 21st century. The old ways won’t work any more. I want to lead Dranesville into the 21st century.

Top three issues:

1. Public education. Maintain a high-quality public education system for all, whether they are gifted, disabled or average; white, black or brown; rich or poor.

2. Taxes. Restructure the whole way our government gets revenue. We can’t and should not rely on the residential real-estate tax for more and more of our revenue. Everyone, from corporations to individuals, has to pay their fair share for the facilities and services we want and need.

3. Smart growth, including emphasis on public transportation. Getting the most we can from developers and other private groups in return for governmental action.

What I propose to do as supervisor:

Work with all the people of the district, and other members of the Board of Supervisors, to solve the very serious problems facing Fairfax County.

My view on the proposal for a five percent limit:

Any fixed limit on either taxing or revenue growth has been shown in other jurisdictions to be folly. You can never anticipate what you are going to need to do as a government. I believe people who take such a pledge are trying to fool the voters.

My view on the county’s FY ‘04 budget:

I would have done some things differently. I would have kept some funding at prior levels that they cut, and there are some programs. I would cut that they did not. But all in all, I think the budget is a good compromise for the circumstances of the county today.

My major strength/weakness:

My negotiating skills and my experience in a wide variety of circumstances.

Why you should vote for me:

If you want Fairfax County and Dranesville to continue to have the great national reputation in public education, recreational facilities, governmental management and high property values that it presently has, all of which make it a wonderful place to live and raise children, you should vote for me.

Merrily Pierce, McLean

Occupation and age:

Former aide to Board of Supervisors chairman Kate Hanley (1998-2003); biologist.

Age: 60.

Why I am running:

Running for supervisor is a natural extension of my 15 years of leadership in community, countywide, and regional organizations and my nine years of public service in local government. I am past president of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations and served two terms as president of the McLean Citizens Association.

Top three issues:

1. Real-estate taxes need to be better managed and local government run more efficiently with a better return on dollars sent to the state of Virginia;

2. Transportation is a state responsibility, and Fairfax County deserves more funding for transit and safer roads;

3. We must manage growth better to protect and enhance the environment and ensure that our public schools are our first priority.

What I propose to do as supervisor:

I will work to ensure that Dranesville District is a place where people can safely live, work, raise their families and retire. I will promote a pedestrian-friendly community of neighborhoods and business centers with a strong sense of place, the best schools, efficient roads and transit, and additional park and recreational facilities.

My view on the proposal for a 5-percent limit:

The increase in our real-estate assessments is alarming. We need sound fiscal county management that is not balanced on the backs of our homeowners. Tax base diversification needs to be a priority.

My view on the county’s FY ‘04 budget:

The Board needs to carefully control spending and at the same time maintain essential services and quality schools. The 5-cent tax rate cut is a first step in the process of bringing the county budget into alignment with anticipated revenue.

My major strength/weakness:

Experience. I know how local government works after nine years at the center of county government. After 15 years of leadership addressing complex issues in community, county and regional organizations, I know how local government can work better.

Why you should vote for me:

Experience matters. I will be your full-time supervisor.