An article in last week's Prince William Weekly misstated Woodbridge Supervisor Hilda Barg's address and age. Barg is 54; her address is 2204 Cherry Hill Rd., Dumfries, Va. 22026. (Published 1/7/ 88)
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors that takes office after midnight tonight will comprise six Democrats and one low-key Republican who displays little appetite for partisan combat.
Yet those who are hoping that Democratic dominance will mean a congenial board -- above the sort of ill-tempered sparring in which the previous set of supervisors specialized -- are probably in for a disappointment.
The seven supervisors, four of whom are new to the board, will be faced almost immediately with a barrage of difficult decisions -- not the kind of choices likely to inspire political harmony.
Although some supervisors campaigned on platforms of lowering taxes, for example, the new board almost certainly will be forced to do the opposite, many county officials say. The outgoing board, eager to score points during the fall campaign, last year slashed real estate and personal property tax rates while leaving important spending items unfunded.
Also awaiting the supervisors will be a major rezoning for the Anden Group's Potomac riverfront property in eastern Prince William at Cherry Hill. Other development issues in this rapidly growing locality, the second largest in Northern Virginia, are certain to breed as much acrimony in the future as they have in the past.
And in a county where roads are nearing gridlock, transportation naturally will be near the top of the board's agenda. Although roads traditionally have been the sole province of the state government in Richmond, Prince William has joined other Northern Virginia localities in shouldering an increasing share of the burden.
One possibility, according to some supervisors, is a referendum on funding roads through the sale of bonds; a similar proposal was defeated by voters in November 1986.
While the board grapples with these and other issues, the tensions that have animated Prince William politics in the past -- rivalries that have less to do with partisan affiliation than with geography and economic class -- remain as powerful as ever.
The residents of eastern Prince William's Lake Ridge and Montclair communities, for example, impose greater demands on their local government for better schools and road improvements than their generally more elderly and less affluent neighbors along the Rte. 1 corridor, where the desire to hold down taxes and spending is a larger priority.
Meanwhile, residents in the still rural northwestern section of Prince William, who have long complained of neglect by the county government, doubtless will continue to press for a larger share of local spending. At the same time, growth is placing rising demands on all services -- particularly Prince William's 39,000-student school system -- at both ends of the county.
For their efforts, the seven supervisors will each receive a salary of $17,000 in 1988, with $2,000 raises in each of the three years remaining in their terms. The chairman, selected annually by board members, will receive an additional $2,500 stipend.
The seven supervisors are Hilda M. Barg, a Democrat from the Woodbridge District; William J. Becker, the board's lone Republican, representing the Brentsville District; Robert L. Cole, a Democrat from the Gainesville District; John D. Jenkins, a Democrat from the Neabsco District; Edwin C. King, a Democrat from the Dumfries District; Kathleen K. Seefeldt, a Democrat from the Occoquan District, and Terrence W. Spellane, a federal employe who was required by the Hatch Act to run as an independent but who was endorsed by the Democrats in his campaign to represent the Coles District.
What follows are brief profiles of the seven supervisors, along with information on how constituents can contact them.Brentsville
During last fall's campaign, Republican William J. Becker and Democrat Norborne P. Beville exasperated reporters and voters alike with their penchant for bland rhetoric and insistence on treating each other more like dancing partners than political foes.
The press corps got even by virtually ignoring the tepid campaign, while Brentsville voters gave a narrow victory to Becker, who is replacing retiring Democrat Joseph D. Reading.
Once in office, Becker's stolid, low-key manner could turn out to be his biggest asset. As the board's only Republican, a combative style likely would get him nowhere.
County officials say that Becker's soft-edged personality and conscientious approach to issues give him a chance of living up to a key campaign promise: "My top priority is to give effective constituent service," said Becker, a 68-year-old semiretired businessman.
Becker also said he will press for transportation improvements, particularly on the roads leading to I-66, which many of his western Prince William constituents use to commute to jobs in the District and Fairfax County.
Becker's telephone number is 368-3919. His address is 7714 Signal Hill Rd., Manassas, Va. 22111.
Although Democrat Terrence W. Spellane is a newcomer to the board, he'll scarcely need an introduction to the issues that will occupy him in his new job.
A veteran member of the county Planning Commission, Spellane already has been immersed in Prince William's most divisive issues: growth and transportation.
Spellane, a 43-year-old Massachusetts native, has been a moderate on growth issues -- pressing for increased business development to expand the county tax base, while casting a skeptical eye on residential projects, which often impose heavy costs on the county.
He has favored supplementing state transportation spending with county money; he chaired a quasi-official citizens committee to promote the unsuccessful 1986 road bond referendum. Some of his bolder transportation proposals -- an intracounty public bus service, for example -- may find difficult sailing because of the county government's austere fiscal circumstances.
Spellane soundly defeated Republican Theresa A. Barratt and independent Denis Catalano in last fall's campaign to represent the Coles District, which sweeps across the middle of Prince William and includes parts of Dale City as well as more rural areas to the west.
Spellane's telephone number is 590-3997. His address is 13708 Kingsman Rd., Dale City, Va. 22193.
During last fall's campaign, Edwin C. King boasted to voters of his talent as a "hard-nosed" negotiater. As the 58-year-old retired Marine colonel heads into his second four-year term representing this southeastern district, he should have ample opportunity to show his stuff.
King will be at the center of the major rezoning of Potomac riverfront property at Cherry Hill, which straddles the border of Dumfries and Woodbridge districts. The California-based Anden Group is proposing a massive commercial and residential project, which King said promises large benefits to the county.
Nonetheless, negotiations between the county government and Anden will be complex, he said, because of the size of the project and the desire to extract generous "proffers" -- roads, school sites and other public facilities -- from the developer.
Anden is proposing to build a road leading to what would be a bridge spanning the Potomac as part of the eastern leg of an "outer bypass" around Washington, King said. While he said he would be delighted to see that project happen, he acknowledged that its feasibility and timing are uncertain.
Much as King may relish his reputation for toughness, many political observers said he would do well to soften his edges. He squeaked by in the November election against GOP-endorsed independent Norma G. Pandazides -- who was dismissed by many observers as a weak opponent -- and the narrow margin was attributed largely to King's brusque manner and ill-considered comments, such as his slap at Pandazides' job as a federal government stenographer.
If King's public image could use some polish, however, he wins praise from political insiders as a shrewd tactician on the county board and among state legislators in Richmond.
King's telephone number is 221-1812. His address is 18307 Cabin Rd., Triangle, Va. 27172.
When he's not wearing the hat of a politician, Robert L. Cole sells houses. If he is successful in his new job as supervisor, he'll likely call more than once on his salesmanship abilities.
Many residents of his northwestern Prince William district have complained of getting short shrift with county services. Cole, 44, made that point himself during his fall campaign in which he defeated incumbent Republican Guy A. (Tony) Guiffre.
By cultivating good relations with the other supervisors, Cole promised, he would be more effective in representing the district than was Guiffre, who often couldn't find anyone to second his proposals, much less get them passed.
The 44-year-old Cole will have to work also on relations within his district, among Prince William's most diverse. As a resident of Gainesville's suburban end near Manassas, he remains a suspicious figure among many civic activists in the district's rural northern end.
As an advocate of increased business growth to buttress the tax base and increased county spending for transportation, Cole should find himself in the philosophical mainstream of the county board.
Cole's telephone number is 361-4321. His address is 9405 Blackstone Rd., Manassas, Va. 22110.
If John D. Jenkins' colleagues on the outgoing board sometimes found him infuriating, the residents of his Dale City district didn't seem to mind.
Since being appointed to the board in 1982, Jenkins has been tireless in his advocacy of causes he views as popular with his constituency -- often to the irritation of other board members, who complained privately that he lacked a countywide perspective.
Jenkins' efforts have made him a formidable political force in his district -- he was unopposed for reelection -- and the retired Army lieutenant colonel seems eager to exercise influence on issues countywide.
"I'm going to continue to exert a leadership role on the board," said Jenkins, who is second in seniority on the board, after Kathleen K. Seefeldt.
Jenkins unsuccessfully maneuvered to be selected the new board's chairman, county politicial insiders said. Under a compromise, he is expected to be named vice chairman at the board's first meeting on Tuesday, with Seefeldt appointed to a one-year term as chairman.
Jenkins, 48, lists several initiatives he said should be leading items for the new board. In addition to road construction, he said, schools renovation and expansion of the police force are priorities.
Since all these ideas involve new spending, and with the county's coffers empty, paying for them will require a tax increase, Jenkins said.
Jenkins' telephone number is 670-6907. His address is 14252 Forge Ct., Woodbridge, Va. 22193.
Kathleen K. Seefeldt's career on the county board has had its ups and downs. At the moment, it's having an up.
As she begins her fourth term, Seefeldt, the board's senior member, is expected to be named chairman at the first meeting Tuesday. That should be a satisfying return for the 52-year-old Lake Ridge resident, who was dumped from the chairmanship three years ago by colleagues who chafed under what they described as her aloof leadership.
Though Seefeldt's public demeanor may be austere, few in Prince William dispute her talent for political longevity after her convincing victory last fall over Republican Gregory L. Cebula.
Other county officials said Seefeldt's influence with the new board will be particularly potent on transportation issues. Seefeldt was appointed last year by Gov. Gerald L. Baliles to the Commission on Transportation in the 21st Century, on which she chairs a subcommittee looking at the role of local governments.
Seefeldt acknowledged that discussion of transportation and other issues will be colored by the county government's anemic fiscal condition. Among the new board's priorities? "Living within our budget," she said.
Seefeldt's telephone number is 590-9473. Her address is 13071 St. Andrews Ct., Woodbridge, Va. 22192.
Of all the first-time board members, none is more of a wild card than Democrat Hilda M. Barg, county political observers say.
Barg, 44, beat Republican Ella Shannon and independent Edward Rodriguez last fall with a campaign that was populist in tactics and rhetoric. She knocked on virtually every door in Woodbridge, making promises as she went -- for lower taxes and strict limits on development -- promises that many county officials said she wouldn't be able to deliver on.
This, combined with Barg's outspoken style, has left many of her new colleagues wondering how she will behave once in office.
She'll move slowly at first, she said, taking time to learn the ropes. But she apparently won't be content to wait indefinitely on the sidelines.
"As soon as I get my feet on the ground, I don't intend to sit still," she said. "Hilda Barg will be visible, and I'm not afraid to vote 'no.' "
Barg's telephone number is 221-7980. Her address is 2204 Cherry Hill Rd., Triangle, Va. 22172.