Eric Weiss's May 19 Metro article, "Campaign Further Divides Va. GOP," on Prince William County Board Chairman Sean Connaughton implies that local ankle-biting by a dyspeptic radical fringe is indicative of seismic faults in the Virginia GOP. This seems wildly exaggerated and is certainly not supported in the body of the article.

Connaughton took about 85 percent of the vote in the 2003 Republican primary. He has encountered almost no opposition in any part of the electorate.

The "many" that Weiss identified as not supporting Connaughton are in fact a raucous, arithmetically challenged few. They complain that conditions have gotten so much better in Prince William since Connaughton took over that housing values have soared and, despite Connaughton's substantial decrease of tax rates, they pay more county taxes in absolute dollars than they did five years ago, a pre-Connaughton era when many county homeowners had precious little equity.

As local government problems go, this is not such a bad one. Wealth creation can impose awkward burdens, but most voters favor it.

On fiscal policy, Republicans will stay with Connaughton. Those few who can't cope with improvements in their personal financial positions can donate their gains to any number of worthy causes to mitigate possible tax impacts.

-- Jonathan Benner

Vienna