A story in the April 24 Virginia Weekly incorrectly identified the mayor of Manassas. He is Edgar Rohr. Robert Maitland is mayor of Manassas Park.
Voters in Prince William County's two cities and four towns will choose their mayors and town councils May 6, and for the most part they will do it amid a distinct lack of political rhetoric. Most candidates report low-key campaigns in which there are few hot issues.
A notable exception is Dumfries, a town of nearly 4,000 residents in the county's west end. Dumfries boasts three mayoral hopefuls and 12 candidates for its six council seats, the largest slate in recent memory. And the issue, most of them say, is money -- how much of it the town has, how much it needs and what is the best way to raise it.
The council candidates are Ernest Amidon, Christopher Brown, Clyde Thomas and Eleanor Gum, all incumbents, and Samuel W. Bauckman, Werner Brewer, Louis Lambiasi, Robert McClanahan, Jane McComas, Donald Percival, Katharine Warren and James Weisenberger.
The mayoral candidates are Vice Mayor Marjorie Davis, council member Clyde Washington and former council member Robert Brookover. All are running with no party affiliation, as are the candidates in the other three incorporated towns, Occoquan, Quantico and Haymarket.
Amidon said he brought up the issue of money several months ago, warning at a council meeting that the town would be "in financial trouble" if it did not soon decide on the best way to raise revenue. Several other candidates said the statements made at that meeting have caused a flurry of concern among residents, one of whom asked the candidates at a recent "Meet the Candidates Night" if they would be willing to give up their annual salaries, which are $100 for council members and $200 for the mayor. In November the council approved a measure that would double the salaries, effective July 1.
Most candidates said they would forfeit those salaries if the town were really in trouble. Recent budget figures, however, show that the town has a $20,000 surplus and has $263,000 in certificates of deposit. The council is evenly divided among those who think the council should adopt an ordinance to tax the gross receipts of businesses and those who feel that the $30 annual tax should not be changed -- yet. In February the council resisted the urging of some of its members to raise the town's automobile tag fee from $8 to $12, compromising on $10.
Of overriding concern is the fact that, when the national census is taken in 1990, Dumfries is sure to have 4,000 residents or more. At the 4,000 mark, a state law says a jurisdiction must take over maintenance of its own roads.
Said Brookover, "Some of the candidates still see Dumfries as a sleepy little town. It is not a sleepy little town -- and we have to provide the leadership for the 20th century. That includes raising revenue. Because of the money issue, candidate Davis says, "This is the worst campaign I've ever been in."
In contrast, Manassas Vice Mayor Stewart Vetter paints a picture of his city's election that is typical of most of the other jurisdictions. "It's real quiet. Nobody has really vocalized any issues," he said, although he added that "we really need to improve our roads. We are growing fast, and traffic is a problem."
Manassas candidates run staggered races, with half of the six seats up for reelection every two years for four-year terms. This year five candidates are vying for the three seats. They are Vetter and James Payne, both incumbents running as Independents, and new candidates E.L. (Beth) MacDonald, a Republican, and Nancy Breeden and J. Steven Randolph, both Independents. Mayor Robert Maitland's seat will not be open until 1988 along with the other three council posts.
Manassas Park council races are also run every two years for four-year terms. This year two incumbents, Republican Thomas Calomeris and Independent Frances Embrey are seeking reelection. Also running is former Public Works director, Republican Ernest Evans. Not formally registered but considered in the running is Republican incumbent Dorothy Bello, who said she has been asked to run a write-in campaign. She said that although she had decided instead to enter college to study political science, she has had so many requests to run that she has agreed to accept office if a write-in campaign is successful. Mayor Edgar Rohr's post will not be open until 1988.
In Occoquan, another quiet campaign is being waged. Candidates for five council seats include incumbents Bob Lehto and Ron Houghton along with new candidates William Barnes, Laverne Carson, Wesley Jennings, Michael Lilly and Richard Loomis. Two other incumbents, Chuck Pugh and Andy Lynn, nephew of the mayor, are vying for the mayoral seat. Mayor Donald Lynn is not seeking reelection. Several candidates indicated the new council should find ways to fund sidewalk construction and repair and solve the parking problem, a product of the historic town's popularity with summer tourists. Andy Lynn said, "I would like to run the town efficiently. Occoquan needs direction for its long-range plans and it's been the victim of poor management."
Quantico Mayor Lively (Bud) Abel, who is running unopposed, said that he and all five council members are running for reelection because "we want to finish the jobs we started," referring to current replacement of the town's 70-year-old water and sewer pipes with accompanying newly paved streets and sidewalks, paid for with state and federal loans and grants totalling nearly $2 million. Also, the federal government and the Quantico Marine Base last year gave the town a nearly five-acre river park for which development plans are incomplete. Incumbents seeking reelection are Percy Brown Jr., Angelina Pandazides, Mitchel Raftelis, Leroy Riddick and Herbert Saunders. New candidates are Albert Gasser, Patricia Martin and Leann Strang.
Two of the new candidates, Martin and Strang, said they are for beautification of the town through an improvement of the many rental properties, some of which are owned by absentee landlords. A spokesman for Martin said the Marines who live off base are living in "hovels," and that "we need support from the council to do something about that."
Of the Haymarket campaign, Mayor Gertrude Bean, who is running unopposed, said, "The only issue I can see is growth, although I don't hear anybody talking about it. It's been real quiet here." The 300-resident jurisdiction could double its population next year when a recently approved town house development is built.
The six Haymarket incumbents also seeking reelection unopposed are Richard Bird, S.W. Crouch, Terri Freeborn, James Gossom, Fewell Melton and William Utz.