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Many Political Personalities, and No Two Alike

Vellie S. Dietrich Hall (R), above, founder of a management consulting firm, is challenging Mason District Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D), below, who is seeking a fourth term.
Vellie S. Dietrich Hall (R), above, founder of a management consulting firm, is challenging Mason District Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D), below, who is seeking a fourth term. (By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)

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By Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007

One challenger with a legendary Fairfax political name, one who rose from poverty on the streets of the Philippines and another who narrowly missed election four years ago are among the possible new faces on the dais of the Board of Supervisors.

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BRADDOCK DISTRICT

You have to go far and wide in Braddock to hear an unkind word about Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D), which is probably why she has no significant competition for a sixth four-year term.

The preternaturally pleasant Bulova, 59, who serves as the board's vice chairman, has been careful to stay on top of quality-of-life issues in her central Fairfax district. She convened a community task force to address residential overcrowding issues and has played an active role in the founding and growth of Virginia Railway Express. Bulova also heads the board's budget committee.

She has apparently charmed her sole competitor, Independent Green Carey C. Campbell, 51, who brings flowers to each joint appearance and asks audiences to give Bulova a round of applause for her long service.

Like other Independent Greens running this year, Campbell is focused almost exclusively on advocacy of rail projects, which he says will save lives on the highways and cut dependence on foreign oil.

HUNTER MILL DISTRICT

Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D) has the longest slate of challengers: an Independent Green and two Independents -- one of whom says he's actually a Republican but couldn't file as one because of what he called disarray in the county party.

Hudgins, 63, has been a voice for social issues on the board, pushing for "living wage" legislation and affordable housing. Two of her challengers in the northwest Fairfax district, which includes Reston and Vienna, are most concerned about high-density development. Marie T. Huhtala, 58, a retired Foreign Service officer, is especially critical of secrecy and lack of transparency in the land-use process.

Mike J. "Spike" Williams (I), 39, a Realtor, said Hudgins does not work to seek consensus on community issues. Independent Green candidate Geraldine A. Butkus did not respond to messages.

PROVIDENCE DISTRICT

Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D) is unopposed.

SULLY DISTRICT

In his campaign for a fifth term, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R) has emerged as the board's principal partisan adversary to Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D).

Frey, 51, guided the other Republican supervisor candidates in drafting the "Seven Commitments for a Better Fairfax County." The five-page position paper calls for tighter controls on development, reduced taxes, ethical reform and a tougher stance on illegal immigration.

In doing so, Frey has exchanged angry public words with Connolly, who says Frey is a hypocrite for supporting large portions of his agenda for the past four years and then trashing it during the campaign. Frey calls Connolly a liar.

Frey opposed Connolly's Cool Counties environmental initiative, chiding the chairman for bypassing public hearings and engineering its passage by resolution.

He has no Democratic opposition in the western Fairfax district that includes Centreville. Independent Green candidate David William Gillis Jr., 26, a Long and Foster Realtor, is perhaps the first board hopeful who moonlights as a bartender. You can find him at Bertucci's in Springfield.

DRANESVILLE DISTRICT

Supervisor Joan M. DuBois (R) narrowly defeated Democratic challenger John W. Foust in 2003, and this year's rematch is expected to be just as close.

The planned Metro extension to Dulles International Airport is the hottest issue in this affluent northern Fairfax district. Residents of McLean, which sits in Tysons Corner's back yard, have been active in the movement to redesign the project so that it goes under the giant commercial center rather than over it on elevated tracks. Foust says the construction contract with Dulles Transit Partners (DTP), awarded largely without competitive bidding, lacks accountability and transparency.

DuBois voted for the aerial design and the DTP contract. "Those are the two most important votes she cast in four years, and she got them wrong," said Foust, 56, a lawyer and past president of the McLean Citizens Association.

DuBois, 66, past chairman of the McLean Community Center Governing Board, said she has tried to balance constituent concerns with the needs of the county. While some decisions are difficult, "I would never make one to harm you," she told an audience recently.

Rail to Dulles is a necessity, she said, and to redesign the project now would place it at risk of not receiving federal funding.

MASON DISTRICT

Nearly all of Mason District is inside the Beltway, and its older housing stock makes revitalization of communities such as Baileys Crossroads and Annandale a focus for Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D). Gross, 63, says she wants to strike a balance between rampant growth and help for economically flagging neighborhoods.

Gross, seeking a fourth term, has been a leader in regional environmental matters, serving as chair of the Water Supply Task Force of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and the Chesapeake Bay Policy Committee.

Her Republican challenger, businesswoman Vellie S. Dietrich Hall, 56, brings a dramatic personal story to her campaign. Born into poverty in the Philippines, she came to the United States and struggled with domestic violence and cervical cancer before building her own successful management consulting firm, HPS Enterprises.

Hall, a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, has made public safety a central issue. She has been critical of police department crime reporting and other practices.

LEE DISTRICT

Voters in Lee will select a successor to Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman (D), the popular incumbent who declined to seek a fourth term.

They will choose between Jeff C. McKay, Kauffman's longtime chief of staff, and Douglas R. Boulter, a retired Army officer (R). Both place great emphasis on the future of Springfield as the economic anchor of the south-central Fairfax district.

Boulter, 56, a member of the Lee District Land Use Committee, promises to turn down poor development proposals, especially if they aren't accompanied by adequate transportation improvements. He wants to extend Metro to the General Services Administration warehouse site envisioned as an office complex for newcomers to the area by the military's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program.

McKay, 32, who also works as a reserve Fairfax deputy sheriff, touts his 12 years with Kauffman as an invaluable experience. He says that under Boulter's growth philosophy, little of Fairfax would ever have been built.

Springfield has waited too long for its chance to share in the county's enormous wealth, he said, and he will push for revitalization of Springfield Mall, which he described as being in "outrageous" condition. He promises to work closely with the Army and the Springfield business community to make sure BRAC is an economic boon to the community.

MOUNT VERNON DISTRICT

Like Bulova, Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D) is seeking a sixth term and is facing an Independent Green candidate who thinks he's just swell.

"I think he's done a great job," said Bruce H. Ryan, 39, a Realtor with Re/Max Allegiance. Ryan said the main reason he ran, besides the need to promote rail, is that he didn't like the idea of anyone running unopposed. He also wants everyone "to maintain a nice lower carbon footprint."

Hyland, 71 and a retired Air Force colonel with 30 years' service, gets mostly high marks from the Huntington community for his response to the 2006 Cameron Run flood that forced scores from their homes. One of his priorities is construction of flood safeguards to prevent a recurrence. Hyland has also pressed the federal government for help in easing the impact of the projected 20,000 new workers coming to Fort Belvoir under the BRAC program.

SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT

The race to replace the retiring Elaine N. McConnell (R) features a major name from Fairfax politics past. Pat S. Herrity (R) is the son of the late John F. "Jack" Herrity (R), the three-term board chairman (1976-87). His opponent is P. Mike McClanahan, 48, a management and leadership consultant with his own firm.

Herrity, 47, chief operating officer of Arrowhead Global Solutions, a telecommunications firm, says he wants the county to become more aggressive in extracting "proffers" from developers -- contributions of cash or other resources to offset increased traffic and other byproducts of new construction. He says Fairfax also needs to do more at the local level to fund its own transportation improvements and place less reliance on the General Assembly.

McClanahan also stresses short-term local solutions to traffic congestion. He wants to direct the county's affordable-housing efforts toward retaining Fairfax schoolteachers and extend Metro to the Fair Lakes and Fair Oaks area. He tells audiences that as a Democrat on a Democratic-majority board, he will be more successful in building coalitions.


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