Urban-sprawl enthusiast Dale Polen Myers still doesn't get it. After being clobbered in the recent GOP primary by slow-growth advocate Scott K. York, the chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors now is contemplating an independent run to keep her job. In making her announcement, she blamed crossover Democrats for her disastrous showing in the primary.

But the polls say otherwise. They show that three out of four voters of all persuasions in the Loudoun-Richmond-Virginia Beach corridor resonate to winner York's views rather than to those of the defeated Myers.

Why, then, does the Virginia General Assembly turn a deaf ear to such overwhelming support for careful growth? Why do state lawmakers manacle the hands of local officials who want to curb the flood of asphalt across the commonwealth?

The answer is sadly obvious: campaign contributions.

Developers and their allies provide the biggest political money in a state that places no limits on donor largess. When members of legislative committees that write land-use laws say, "Lean to the green," they are referring to developer checks not to environmentalists' concerns.

Perhaps the Loudoun GOP primary will open the eyes of Northern Virginia legislators, who consistently have backed the fat cats rather than listening to the wishes of their constituents, who are increasingly outraged by mounting gridlock, pollution and ugliness.

Unfortunately, even if the 40 or so Northern Virginia delegates and senators began fighting for -- rather than against -- controls on sprawl, their colleagues likely would block such legislation. Like the gentle rain, developers' greenbacks fall across all of the Old Dominion.

The situation is unlikely to change unless Northern Virginia voters zero in on the issue of sprawl when they vote for legislative candidates on Nov. 2.

If advocates of managed growth find success at the ballot box, they then will need to demonstrate to their colleagues from core city and rural districts that their areas will continue to fall behind in job-creating investment as long as developers can cram more projects into the suburban crescent with little or no regard for the adequacy of classrooms, roads, fire and police services, or water and sewer systems.

Loudoun voters could give impetus to such a suburban-urban-rural coalition by showing Myers the exit on Election Day.

-- George W. Grayson

a Democrat, represents the Williamsburg area in the Virginia House of Delegates.