To the Editor:
Sometimes issues arise during a political campaign that should make voters, regardless of their political leanings, question whether they should vote for a candidate. Such is the case here.
In the 36th District State Senate race, at the Oct. 13 debate, in reaction to Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman's comments concerning his success in cutting taxes in Dumfries, his opponent Del. Scott Surovell said this: "Lowering taxes is so ‘90s." Don't take my word for it; A video of debate highlights is on Mr. Surovell's Youtube page at this link. The comment is at 6:26. Will you vote for a candidate who has clearly stated he won't consider lowering the tax burden on his constituents?
Delegate Surovell stridently opposes permitting home-schooled children to participate in interscholastic activities at their neighborhood high school, even though their parents pay the same taxes as others, it is easy to verify their academic prowess, and this can adversely impact their prospects for attending an elite college. This seems mean-spirited and punitive.
During the Mount Vernon supervisor candidate debate on Oct. 15, Dan Storck was asked why, as Mount Vernon's School Board member, he voted in September 2014 against amending the "Portrait of a Graduate" to add that graduates of Fairfax County High Schools should aspire to act ethically. In response, Mr. Storck claimed the amendment wasn't necessary because other sections of the "Portrait of a Graduate" addressed the ethics issue. He then read from the document to support his position, but in so doing, he read the very provision that had been amended to add in the issue of ethical behavior. Will you vote for a candidate who, as a School Board member, voted against including in the "Portrait of a Graduate" the aspiration that graduates of our high schools should act ethically?
In 2008, while chairman of the School Board, Mr. Storck voted to spend up to $130 million of our tax dollars to acquire a Taj Mahal for the school administration while students were being educated in trailers. This resulted in a unanimous rebuke from the Board of Supervisors. In 2007, Mr. Storck voted for a 67 percent raise in pay for himself upon re-election, and abstained from a vote on a 60 percent raise earlier this year that would have been defeated had he opposed it. In these trying economic times, we need a supervisor not so eager to spend other people's money. Jane Gandee is that person. As a small business owner, she signs her employees' paychecks. She will responsibly spend our tax money.
Mr. Storck has been our School Board member for 11 years. According to ACT, not one high school in our district can claim that more than 40 percent of its graduates are prepared for college. At Mount Vernon High School, the figure is 20 percent. Has this pathetic performance earned Mr. Storck a promotion? Decidedly no. This is an important election. Voters should disregard political party labels and vote for the best candidate.
H. Jay Spiegel, Mount Vernon