Herndon Nine candidates will vie for six seats on the Herndon Town Council in the May 1 election. With three current councilmembers declaring their candidacy for mayor, three current members as well as five new candidates will run.
Newcomers Dave Webster, Melissa Jonas, Jeff Davidson and Eric Boll will run against former Councilmembers Charlie Waddell and Dave Kirby, as well as current Councilmembers Grace Wolf, Sheila Olem and Connie Hutchinson.
Boll is a native of Montreal, Canada, and has been an electronic engineer for more than 30 years. His father was mayor of a small town that developed around a train station, and he grew up “in a home in which town issues were discussed at the dinner table.”
His work has taken him around world to 25 countries, and he has lived in the U.S., Canada and France. Boll said his experiences abroad has shown him what aspects are important to build a community.
“My travels allowed me to see firsthand how vibrant town centers and squares create a sense of community,” he said. “I’ve used subway systems around the world, seen how they tie communities together and support local business development and make life convenient for residents.”
Boll promised to be “an aggressive voice for downtown,” and said he supports Phase Two of Dulles Metrorail.
More information on Boll can be found at www.ericboll.com.
Davidson has been a resident of Herndon since 1986. He has an engineering IT background, and is currently a division chief for the federal government. He said he hopes to create a town-wide traffic plan to address many issues familiar to people in the community.
“Almost everyone in Herndon can cite a particular traffic problem that they are familiar with. Cut through traffic avoiding the toll road and the coming of Metro are concerns. To date, most of the concerns have been addressed one at a time in a piecemeal fashion,” he said. “I have urged the town to address the traffic problem as a town-wide, systemic problem that involves both Fairfax and Loudoun County. The impact of increasing toll on the Dulles Toll Roads will make this worse as time goes on.”
More information on Davidson can be found at www.jeff4herndon.com.
Hutchinson has served six total terms on the Herndon Town Council, including as vice mayor from 2008 to 2010. She is currently the secretary of the Dulles Area Transportation Association and has been a board member there since 2008. She has also served on the town’s Architectural Review and Heritage Preservation Board.
“Over the course of my tenure on council, I’ve worked to preserve the town’s heritage, unique character, exercise fiscal responsibility regarding the town’s spending and budgeting,” she said.
“I decided to run for re-election because two major plans that will greatly affect Herndon’s future will hopefully be finalized during the next two years. The downtown master plan and its form-based zoning code that has yet to be developed and the Metro area master plan and the zoning and transportation improvements that will be needed.”
More information on Hutchinson can be found at www.conniehutchinson.com.
Jonas, a native of Chantilly and Herndon resident since 2002, was appointed to the town’s Planning Commission in the summer of 2010, as well as the town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory committee. She said her experience on the commission has shown her what is needed to best take advantage of Metro.
“Now is the time to be working with our neighboring counties to make sure we are included in bus routes and Herndon is appropriately considered in transportation improvements,” she said. “The opportunity the Metro provides us is to become a gateway to the region and the world. We are blessed to have the station on the edge of our town, and we have the opportunity there to have billboard businesses along the toll road that welcome people to Herndon and will improve the commercial tax base for our town.”
More information on Jonas can be found at www.melissajonas.com.
Kirby, a native of Danvers, Mass., has been a Herndon resident since 1986. He is a retired government telecommunications officer and served two terms on the Town Council from 2006 to 2010.
“The day labor situation is something that a lot of people think has gone away, but it really hasn’t. I would like to see a more aggressive role for the Herndon Police and get the Town Attorney as well as the new police chief to see if there are any other methods we can use to abate the crowding of mostly illegal aliens in the area, hopefully come up with some better ideas than we have now.”
Kirby said he also supports the idea of building detached single family homes for senior citizens as part of the town’s downtown development and that he would oppose any rezoning applications that would replace high-density housing where small town neighborhoods currently exist.
More information can be found at www.kirbyforcouncil.com.
Olem was elected to her first term on the Town Council in 2010. She said she ran on clear goals two years ago, and hopes to be re-elected so that she can follow them through to completion.
“In 2010 I ran on three main issues. Planning for Metro: we passed a plan. Downtown development, during my term, we passed a plan. Town services: during my term we have kept services that have meant so much to our residents, and even found funding to bring back some services that were cut,” she said. “In 2012, planning for the Metro is still on the burner. We passed a plan, but now we need to move forward on zoning. We need to move forward on a downtown parking plan. Passing the downtown plan was only a step, but with nowhere to park, there’s hardly any incentive for businesses to move downtown.”
More information on Olem can be found at www.sheilaolem.com.
Waddell is an 18-year resident of Herndon, and served two terms on the council from 2006 to 2010. He has chaired the town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory committee and the Herndon Crime Prevention Council and currently serves as chair of the Herndon Community Association Coalition.
Waddell says he is running as “the little guy,” and that while popular opinion is that Metro planning must be completed right away, there is time to make a more thought-out plan.
“Two years ago, the rallying cry was ‘metro is coming and we’re not ready,’” he said. “Since that time we’ve seen a rush to put in place amendments to Herndon’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance when in fact Herndon’s stop on the new Silver Line is at least five years away and construction has yet to begin. The area of the town adjacent to the station will probably not be developed for a few years after that.”
More information on Waddell can be found at www.charliewaddell.com.
Webster has lived in Herndon since 2004, and recently completed the Town’s Citizens Police Academy. He volunteers at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center, giving legal advice and representation on domestic violence matters. Webster said he is also studying Spanish so he will be able to “better communicate with all of Herndon’s residents.”
An attorney for over 20 years, he says his experience will help guide Herndon through requirements that lie ahead.
“Herndon’s mandated compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act is going to require a significant expenditure of money by our town,” he said. “The Capital Improvement Program estimates $12 million for stormwater management retrofits and new projects with the actual cost of compliance unknown at this point and will. I believe no other candidate comes close to matching my expertise when it comes to environmental law compliance.”
More information on Webster can be found at www.davewebster.us.
Wolf was elected to her first term in 2010. A 14-year resident, she is a former Wall Street trader and management consultant and now owns a small business. She is currently president of the board of the Council for the Arts of Herndon, and was awarded the town’s Distinguished Volunteer of the Year award in 2006.
She said she is interested in making dealings with the town easier for businesses and residents.
“I would encourage a set of behaviors that would streamline town processes,” she said. “One of the things I’m hoping to speak about as a success two years from now is a fast track program to make it easier for businesses to put up signs, homeowners to build decks and to make Herndon a user-friendly, customer service focused municipality, so that when you say ‘I’m opening up a business in Herndon’ you are the envy of the rest of the community.”
More information on Wolf can be found at www.graceforherndon.com.