Candidates for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors--many of whom are preaching "smart growth," "slow growth" or "managed growth" this election season--stepped up their efforts this week to outdo one another on the development issue.
Monday afternoon, two candidates held a news conference to denounce a developer for circulating a letter urging others in the business community to donate $100 to two candidates whom the developer called "pro-business." The amount is the legal limit at which donations don't have to be disclosed.
An hour later, Loudoun Democrats held a news conference to present their "Smart Growth Team." And that night, the three candidates for board chairman--Republican Scott K. York and independents Dale Polen Myers and James G. Kelly--squared off in Purcellville, where every question posed to them concerned development.
As the Nov. 2 election draws near, almost all the board candidates are talking about how to deal with the 1,000 new people who move into Loudoun each month needing schools and services. Most of the candidates are trying to outdo each other on stemming that expansion.
Growth has been the paramount issue in many board races, with a number of candidates refusing to accept developer money, saying the building industry already wields too much influence.
J. Drew Hiatt, a Republican running in the Dulles District, and Timothy F. Powers, an independent running in the Broad Run District, held Monday's news conference denouncing the fund-raising letter from an official with Greenvest L.C., a Vienna developer.
The letter asked for $100 contributions to the Broad Run campaign of Republican Bruce E. Tulloch and the Dulles campaign of independent Ellen D. Oliver, both of whom said they had no knowledge of the effort.
"The developers . . . view Bruce Tulloch as their lap dog," Powers said.
"I am nobody's lap dog," responded Tulloch, who proceeded to criticize Powers for accepting a number of donations from outside the district and the county.
Oliver said she had done nothing wrong and questioned a donation to Hiatt by Marriott International Inc., which wants to build a hotel in the county.
The Democrats, meanwhile, unveiled a five-point plan that includes pledges to "grow at a rate we can afford" and make developers "pay their fair share."
"Citizens are tired of local politicians that spend more time bickering at each other than trying to solve the pressing problems of the county," said David Whitmer, chairman of the Loudoun Democratic Committee. "We have two factions of Republicans that are fighting each other at the expense of important issues people really care about."
Whitmer's GOP counterpart, Tom Berezoski,criticized the Democrats' plan as lacking specifics to solve growth-related problems.