Unchallenged Candidates Focus on Agenda

Unchallenged Candidates Focus on Agenda

Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) is coming up on her fifth term in office, having faced opponents in the first few elections. In 1987, her first opponent was Pat Mullins, who went on to be chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Party, and then Red Jenkins in 1991, who was the basketball coach at Woodson High School. Then in 1995, the Target store at Roberts Road was the big issue, and Paul Ramono was her opponent. In 1999, she had no opposition.

This time around, Bulova is once again unopposed. This has given her time to catch her breath and take stock.

"The thing I'm proudest of is the VRE [Virginia Rail Express]," Bulova said, of her tenure as Braddock supervisor. "We are going through growing pains. Trying to accommodate the significant increase in ridership is our biggest challenge right now."

Currently, Bulova is working out the details for a five-level parking garage at Burke Centre. Then she wants to take it to the streets, making the VRE service accessible to other parts of the district. One way she's doing that is with EZ Ride, a shuttle bus system where passengers would be picked up at neighborhood sites. Another idea is a bus route that would start at the Burke Centre VRE station, go up Roberts Road, on Sideburn Road to George Mason University. This would enable students and residents to have access to mass transportation.

"It would leverage an existing mass transportation facility," Bulova said. "Our county staff is looking at that."

Other transportation improvements with limited funding are spot improvements at a few choice intersections, in particular Braddock Road and Ox Road, or Route 123. It is a major intersection in the district, exacerbated by the shopping center and GMU nearby.

"The whole intersection with Ox Road and Roanoke Street is a problem area," she said.

Bulova has already completed work at Wakefield Chapel Road and Little River Turnpike and now targets intersections at Guinea Road and Lake Boulevard and Little River Turnpike.

"It's just making those intersections work better," she said. "We have money to do most of this stuff."

IN THE SPRINGFIELD District, Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R) has been through several elections unopposed. This spring, she ran against Republicans Stan Reid and Linda Clary in the primary and won. She had a Democratic challenger in 1992 and ran for the chairman position against Kate Hanley in 1995.

In the coming four years, McConnell has several items on her agenda, with the most important being the communications center at Camp 30 on West Ox Road. It will house an updated 911 center for the police and fire as well as a Virginia Department of Transportation facility.

"My main thing is having the joint communications center built and manned. I've been working on that for years," she said.

Transportation projects McConnell wants to see completed are the widening of Burke Lake Road, widening Rolling Road from Old Keene Mill Road to the Fairfax County Parkway, and straightening Popes Head Road. Ball fields are another concern of McConnell's, and her attention is focused on a 95-acre tract of land near the Parkway and the Mott Center.

"Were trying to get athletic fields at the Popes Head facility. We call it the ‘Pope's Head assemblage.’ We've got some money for it," McConnell said.

Other projects include fire stations at Crosspointe, Fairchase and the Town of Clifton.

"We're looking for a mini fire station for Clifton," she said.

Lidar guns for traffic enforcement as well as dredging the Occoquan River are also on the agenda.

IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Del. Dave Albo (R-42nd) had competition in the form of Democrat Dave Collins in 2001. This election, he's unopposed, leaving him more time to focus on the issues in West Springfield. He categorized the issues in two categories: "local" and the "big picture," he said. Local issues mostly concern roads and traffic. Widening Rolling Road and straightening some of the curves in Hooes Road are on the top of Albo's to-do list.

"Both of those projects are funded," he said.

On the stretch of Hooes between the Fairfax County Parkway and Silverbrooke Road, the curvy nature of the road presents a danger.

"We probably need to bank it, put guardrails up," he said.

Although Albo recognized that local projects were predominately about roads, the South County High School is one area he's keeping his eye on as well. The public/private partnership is one area Albo takes some credit for implementing for that school. Other schools followed that project's lead.

"A lot of other jurisdictions are using this," he said, of the public/private model.

As far as the big-picture items are concerned, Albo has his eye on some legal issues. One issue is for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenders. Albo wants a mandatory one day in jail for first offenders.

"We want to give them 24 hours to think about it," he said.

Another issue is the education funding formula in Richmond. He previously submitted a bill, which was backed only by the Northern Virginia delegates. This time, he wants to get the bill in, to establish a starting point so it cannot get reduced past a certain point.

"The funding factor should include a factor for urban areas," he said.

He wants to rewrite the criminal code to "eliminate laws that have never been enforced," as well as re-evaluate punishments and eliminate unconstitutional items still in the criminal code.

SCHOOL BOARD member Judith T. "Tessie" Wilson just finished her first term on the School Board and is looking forward to maintaining the momentum with her agenda going into her second term unopposed.

"I'd like to continue with success in my schools in the Braddock District," she said.

One success that she's had is obtaining corporate sponsorship to fund some programs. With the large number of non-English-speaking students in school, Wilson looked at the lack of books available in foreign languages. She approached the Korean Embassy and got them to supply over 1,000 books for her schools. Wilson even approached a restaurant association for funding the culinary arts program at Annandale High School. In return, she got them to contribute $100,000 toward the program, which has accelerated since.

"We were able to really upgrade the equipment. It is popular now," she said.

In addition, Wilson also got 18 new computers from Compact Computers over the past year.

Woodson High School is another school in her district that needs help. Renovations are planned for August 2006, with a bond referendum on the ballot this November. Wilson has pushed for this renovation and feels her constituents know the popularity of this effort.

"That's one of the reasons I'm running unopposed," she said.

In 2000, as a newcomer, Wilson beat Ilryong Moon, who is running this year for an at-large seat on the School Board.