David Feld, the Republican nominee for Mason District supervisor, believes he has an excellent shot at defeating Penny Gross in November.
What it will take, he says, is “inspiration and leadership.” He plans to target the “stay at home voters who have given up on thinking they can have an impact” and also hopes to gain support from “Democrats and Independents who like the ideas I represent.”
According to Feld, Gross “has not demonstrated the ability to deal with county problems that meet residents’ expectations,” and she “is not concerned with maintaining the character of neighborhoods.”
He intends to create “a model for proactive government that solves problems through cooperative efforts to bring together citizens, non-profit organizations, businesses, and the county”—without raising taxes.
Feld has never run for office before, while Gross has been on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for 15 years. Feld, however, has been active in community affairs, having served as president of the Lake Barcroft Association, vice chair of the Mason District Council, vice president of the Bailey’s Crossroads Revitalization Corporation, and been a member of the Annandale Regional Planning Study Committee and the Fairfax County Public School Adult Education Committee.
Among his accomplishments, Feld cites ridding Lake Barcroft of its geese problem and doing it in a humane way. He is taking a leave of absence from his position as executive director of GeesePeace, an organization he founded, to concentrate on his campaign.
Despite having hosted a fundraiser for his friend, Del. Kaye Kory, a Democrat, Feld says he has the full support of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. But he doesn’t feel bound to follow the GOP line, noting, “They don’t tell me what I can say.” Feld calls himself a “fiscal conservative and social liberal.”
As such, he says he opposes raising taxes, stating that is “an easy way to achieve what leadership cannot accomplish,” adding, “I don’t believe increased taxes should mask inefficiencies.”
Feld’s goal is to make Mason District and Fairfax County “the best they can be and the top places to live and visit in Northern Virginia.” “We need to discard the notion that we can’t have these things without raising taxes,” he says. “To make that happen takes leadership.”
He supports policies to address quality-of-life issues and maintain the character of communities. He also wants to improve “the quality of the streetscape,” adding that “people should look forward to a faster commute to work.”
Feld calls the failure to take action six months ago to ensure a free flow of traffic on Columbia Pike after the BRAC-133 complex opens in September at the Mark Center “a mistake of leadership.” He is working on a plan to alleviate the cut-through traffic likely to affect neighborhoods in the Mason District, but he isn’t ready to announce the details.
Feld feels strongly about the need to revitalize the area along Columbia Pike. Redevelopment plans, approved as amendments to the Fairfax County comprehensive plan are supposed to encourage new, mixed-use development in Bailey’s Crossroads and Annandale, but “that is illusory,” Feld says. “Most people think it won’t happen for 40 years.”
Although some people are hopeful that a streetcar line under development for Columbia Pike through Arlington will eventually extend to Annandale, Feld says, “that will never happen. There is no funding for it.” If elected, Feld says he would work with Arlington County to improve the traffic flow along Columbia Pike by creating pull-off zones for buses, so they don’t block traffic at bus stops.
Feld believes improving bus service “makes a lot more sense than saying there will be trolley line that will never happen.”
When it comes to the county budget, he says freezing employee pay was a mistake. But instead of implementing an across-the-board increase, he would like to establish a pay-for-performance program.
He also proposes more incentives to provide affordable housing to enable public service employees—such as police officers and firefighters—to live in the county.
“Nothing’s impossible if it’s a good idea and the leadership is there to support it,” he says. To Feld, “Leadership is the result of taking action to achieve a vision to inspire citizens, non-profits, businesses, and the county to work together to share resources, cooperate, and achieve that which is thought to be impossible.”