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Monday, February 16, 2015

Penny Gross will run for a sixth term on the Board of Supervisors




Penny Gross, who’s represented the Mason District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors since 1996, announced her candidacy for a sixth term Feb. 15.

Speaking at her annual Champagne & Chocolates fundraiser, Gross said, “Commitment and experience and integrity are the watchwords for me,” and will run again because, “I want to continue to serve the community and continue to bring leadership and a commonsense approach” to Mason District and the BoS.

Gross told a crowd of supporters at the Annandale home of Charlie Winters that one of the issues she plans to pursue is “a concept for a true community school – the first true community school in Fairfax County, if we can make it work.”

She later told the Annandale Blog that a community school would “combine county services and  school services in one location” in Mason District. A group of local residents has been pushing for the creation of a community school at the Willston Center in Seven Corners, but Gross is not tied to that site. “We don’t have a specific location at the present time,” she said. “We have a long way to go.”

During her speech, she recounted some of her accomplishments over the past 19 years, including three new schools in Mason – Glasgow Middle School, Mason Crest Elementary School, and Bailey’s Upper Elementary School, which is the first vertical school in the county – and the renovation of the district’s three libraries. The newly renovated Woodrow Wilson Library will open March 21.

Fire Station #10 in Bailey’s Crossroads was rebuilt after its roof caved in during a snowstorm in 2010, she said, and the Jefferson Fire Station on Hodge Road in Falls Church is scheduled to be renovated in the next couple of years.

“We need to make sure we have the resources for our students to ensure they will succeed,” Gross told the crowd, which included Rep. Gerry Connolly, Sheriff Stacy Kincaid, and school board member Sandy Evans. “We need to keep our schools as a priority; we need to make sure our senior citizens are well cared for, that people who need help get help, and that our environment is protected.” Gross is vice chair of the BoS and serves on the board’s Environment Committee.

Gross does not yet have an opponent; an announcement is expected within the next few days.

97 comments:

  1. Gross does not yet have an opponent; an announcement is expected within the next few days.

    An announcement from the GOP or a challenger in the primary?

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  2. The most exciting line in this article was that an opponent announcement is expected within the next few days. This community school center idea is a new one. Thanks to the petition led by Mollie Loefler and supported by Sandy Evans I doubt she would even be considering it. I look forward to the coming announcement.

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    1. Mollie is great!

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  3. Gross has the gall to count "The first vertical school in the county" as an accomplishment?

    ...it's a converted office building. More like an embarrassing band aid made necessary by a basic failure to anticipate and lead in the interest of the community.

    It's time to put Gross behind us.

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    1. A $20 million embarrassment. Integrity? Seriously.

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  4. the fact she is running again shows you how out of touch she is with reality. she hasn't brought leadership and a commonsense approach to the Mason District in years. i have never not voted for a democrat before but will be this time.

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  5. HA! What a joke. She took the community school idea as her own - when this was mentioned years by ago by Supervisor Trapnell and at the STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS forum. Just like GROSS to take others work and use it as her own idea. How about Willston ? No mention of that since she wants to build PENNY'S palace for her social services while the kids cram into high rise retro-fitted office spaces.

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  6. NOTE: She is now making comments like the schools need help - after years of people BEGGING her to help. ITS A DAY LATE AND DOLLARS SHORT - SHE IS SO GROSS.

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  7. DON'T VOTE GROSS! I do not care what poltical party you are in you must understand that she is destroying the Mason District. She does not support or care about the children of this county. Put our kids first and our District first and do not vote for GROSS!

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    1. Destroying Mason District yes but you must give her credit, she takes great pride in the work.

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    2. I do not trust anyone who tells me how to vote based on what is best for the kids. You nut jobs agree with anything as long as it promises more funding for the schools, including casino gambling.

      Your hiding your self-righteous self behind the Kids pushes me to support Penny Gross.

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  8. Go Penny! Can't wait to see who the right-wing extremist Republican challenger is going to be....

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    1. Yes, just go, Penny.

      You won't have to wait long for a challenger. A potted plant could win given the anger Gross has generated, but you'll be disappointed if you're hoping for a right wing nutjob.

      Penny's Palace will be her streetcar.

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    2. I have the suspicion that you'll end up viewing any Republican running on a platform of financial responsibility as extremist. Mason also doesn't need a primary in which one candidate is virtually a carbon copy of the other. We got that with Hull/Kory and ended up with nothing. The fact that a few NIMBYS and self-styled development wonks don't like what going on is immaterial. Fairfax in general is headed off a financial cliff and the next supervisor needs to be someone who can repudiate the spendthrift policies of Sharon Bulova and the Democrats. Penny Gross has uncritically supported Bulova and that's the real issue. We will see what happens, but the it's time to end the era of irresponsible free spending in Fairfax. We need a real choice in the upcoming election, not candidates talking about is how to spend even more money we don't have.

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  9. as a life long democrat i will vote for a right wing extremist if that means seeing her go. they couldn't make things worse than she has her last few terms.

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    1. right on

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    2. agree totally!

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  10. She needs to go. She is completely out of touch with the needs and constituency of this district. I really hope that someone can beat her. It's time for her to retire.

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  11. A group of local residents has not been pushing for a "community school" but for a regular school -- an elementary or middle school--for the Willston site. Penny is equating a community school with her ultimate plan of putting a government building on the Willston site. Please don't be bamboozled by this sleight of hand. Many local residents do not want a government building there whether or not it contains a community school. Sandy Evans should not be part of this community school plan, because she will be shooting herself in the foot and hurting Fairfax County Public Schools and worse of all hurting the students.

    It has been more than 20 years that we have had this supervisor. What has she done for Mason District? Mason District is still operating in a twentieth Century landscape, while other districts have moved forward at breakneck speed. She wants to make up for lost time by overdeveloping every piece of property that is under consideration for revitalization. Mason District doesn’t have mass transportation and it can’t absorb the extreme number of residential units that developers want to put here for their own profit and then leave. It is time for a new supervisor, someone who actually listens to Mason District residents. We need a supervisor who doesn’t talk down to residents by telling them they are full of misinformation and they don’t know what they are talking about. She has been able to rule for years by not telling folks what is actually going on and it is only when a resident has to deal with her one on one in relation to their property or another issue that they realize she is not working for them but for herself and some unseen partner. I am a Democrat but I will not vote for her, please listen to other residents and educate yourself before voting!

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    1. Agreed with all points. She will not get my vote the next go round.

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    2. Penny Gross keeps getting elected because she supports Sharon Bulova's agenda. The latter remains popular and defeating Gross won't accomplish much unless Bulova is defeated or the Democrats lose their majority on the BOS. I'm assuming that taxpayers will receive a second consecutive unequalized property tax hike this year. That means some residents will see a two year tax increase in the 24 - 30% range. That should be enough to get them thinking about the county's spending priorities. The ECOB needs to go the way of the trolley car line and there needs to be a dialogue about school spending priorities. In particular, paying higher teacher salaries needs to take precedence over bricks and mortar.

      Development in Mason is inevitable. Until recently, it's been easier to develop in the western part of the county. However, Mason is becoming part of the Arlington/FC metroplex and people want to live here. That makes it attractive to developers. They have a legal right to build on commercial properties, so forget about keeping Mason pastoral. There are always going to be some NIMBYS to contend with, but they're destined to lose out.

      Finally, if your a Democrat, try to resist the urge to keep electing ineffectual candidates. Penny Gross has nothing to offer. Sandy Evans and Kaye Kory are joined at the hip and neither is an adept leader. Mason hasn't had a truly innovative leader since Tom Davis, so it's time to wipe the slate clean and bring in new leaders with a fresh perspective.

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    3. I disagree with all your points. Penny Gross will be getting my vote.

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  12. i could not agree anymore with this statement

    We need a supervisor who doesn’t talk down to residents by telling them they are full of misinformation and they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Right on!

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  13. "She later told the Annandale Blog that a community school would “combine county services and school services in one location” in Mason District."

    This is a diabolically clever concept. Combine a school for which there's no plan or current funding with the ECOB which has a plan but no funding. The result is an exorbitantly expensive complex that probably won't fully serve either of the purposes for which it is proposed. What this actually represents is yet another major capital project that Penny Gross wants to dump onto an already cash strapped country budget. It serves her purposes because it appeals to two groups of potential supporters with divergent priorities. However, it disserves those already overburdened taxpayers who can expect nothing but higher taxes for the foreseeable future. It's time to once and for all put an end to the political careers of Gross, Evans and the rest of the Democrat spendthrifts.

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    1. the democrats aren't all the problem but she certainly is. another democrat that listens to people in the community and isn't so hot headed could turn things around.

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  14. I wonder what Danny Smith. He's the GOP candidate who lost to Kay Kory in the '09 38th District race. Kory went to Richmond, but continues to act as if she still on the school board. Danny had some pretty good insights into the economics of government which puts him miles ahead of any Mason Democrat. Being gay might lose him a some support. However, he's still much more qualified than any of the recent candidates the GOP has sacrificed.

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  15. I plan to volunteer for the candidate running against Gross. I hope that others who are dissatisfied with Gross's performance will consider doing the same.

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  16. Better get out you checkbook as well. Penny has built up quite a war chest with money she's collected from those Barcroft and other McMansion types whose bidding she's been doing with your property tax dollars. Unlike us, she answers their emails and phone calls.

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    1. I don't live in Lake Barcroft or Sleepy Hollow, and Penny's office has been very responsive to my emails about neighborhood concerns. On the granular level, I think she is fine. It is the bigger picture (schools, residential development) where I think she is greatly missing the mark, and for that, she will not get my vote during the next election.

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    2. I do agree we will need to get out our checkbooks though. Assuming a standard 2 party race, the Democrats will not give up this entrenched seat lightly. If the Republicans do not think they can win, the candidate will get little party support is my guess.

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  17. If Ms. Gross is re-elected, do you think she will propose that her district (Mason) be re-named PENNYVILLE, or perhaps, GROSSVILLE? You know - to honor her leadership style.

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  18. How goes Penny Gross justify her "gross" indifference to adequate funding for our County libraries ? I believe she was once a Library Board trustee herself. Seems she has long since lost any loyalty there.

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  19. Help me understand: What exactly has Penny done that is the problem? Libraries? There are three new or renovated libraries in Mason District. Development: All cities are dying for development - development spawns better neighborhoods and stronger economies - and she is helping to attract developers. In my experience she has always been thoughtful, attentive, and responsive. And I'm not a donor: just a concerned citizen who contributes to the neighborhood who is curious what the source of the vitriol is.

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    1. On her watch Fairfax County Public Libraries have fallen to the bottom of local funding of libraries. And the cuts just keep on coming. The County Executive just proposed an almost 8% cut in addition to the crippling reductions already inflicted on our libraries since 2008. It is death by cuts.

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    2. The problem with Penny is that she hides in her office, listens only to select community groups and cannot clearly articulate her reasons for her actions or, too often, inaction. As reflected in her latest Willston community school proposal, her default response to most problems is to throw money at them without considering the state of the county's budget or the viability of the project. Furthermore, despite her free spending philosophy, Mason District's infrastructure continues to deteriorate. She has yet to get in front of any major development proposal. That became an acutely obvious from the confusion surrounding the deliberations of the Seven Corners planning group. Her last brainstorm was the ridiculous streetcar project that would have been a ruinously expensive flop. Rather than developing innovative solutions to Mason's growth issues, she's constantly playing catch up. Worse, after close to 20 years, she has yet to articulate an long term agenda for this District. Instead, she's constantly trying to put out fires that careful planning might have avoided. Mason is no longer a pastoral community. It's rapidly being absorbed into the Arlington/Alexandria/FC metroplex. That means the job of supervisor requires someone who can do more than make excuses or pass the blame.

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    3. But there are three new libraries in Mason District.

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    4. " The County Executive just proposed an almost 8% cut ." Consider that your contribution for paying off the exorbitant debt the Potomac Arts Center racked up and the BOS agreed to assume. That money pit needed to be shut down years ago. Everyone has their pet project they expect the BOS to fund. For example, the County owns large tracts of parkland it can't afford to develop yet continues to purchase more. Some of that needs to be sold and the revenue put to a productive use. My property taxes have increased by almost 25% in three years and I'm fresh out of generosity. It's time for the spendthrifts to be voted out and for the free spending tap to be turned off.

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    5. #pennygate

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    6. "2/8/15 4:35 PM" thank you for your comment. While I am not a Democrat, I will support Penny Gross' re-election.

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    7. The problem is that she hasn't done crap for the community, and even ideas that she's put forth have not been handled well. She clearly thinks she can come and go when she wants and do what she pleases! And so far, we as Mason District residents have let her! Time to put a stop to that if there's someone brave enough (stupid enough?) to run against her!

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  20. If only Penny were still able to stay awake during Board of Supervisor meetings.... And she wants another four years ???

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    1. who wouldn't when you can rake in the dough she does not have to do anything (her staff does all the work) .

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  21. Twelve years ago the Washington Post asked Supervisor Gross:
    What do you think is the most urgent problem facing your jurisdiction?
    "Public education is my number one priority. An excellent school system, along with efficient county services, contributes to the quality of life and makes Fairfax County an attractive place to live and work. At the same time, our transportation network, including mass transit, must be improved. This will require the state to fully fund its share of school construction and transportation projects and help provide relief for the overburdened real estate taxpayer. Fairfax was judged the best-managed county in the country because of its stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Balancing needs with revenues is a hallmark of responsible leadership."

    Where are we now?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/elections/2003/candidates/946/

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    1. HA! HA! HAHAHA! What a crock of BS!

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  22. Penny's theme song should be "All I do is win" by DJ Khaled feat. Rick Ross, Snoop dogg and Ludacris. LOL.

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  23. after reading this, you all have convinced me that I need to vote for Penny. I was against it before, but you all pushed me over the edge. Good luck with your candidate (who will most likely lose with this support)!

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  24. Most of what I read on this blog is snark and hate. It is disappointing, Ellie, that you've not controlled it better.

    I challenge you and your readers to come up with positive suggestions and ideas on how to implement them.

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    1. I would agree with Mr. Shumate, I have not heard one good idea out of these idiots, just complaints, what they don't want, who they don't want, what a bunch of buffoons. Come up with some constructive ideas, put up or shut up.

      Where is return to sender, someone should send these buffoons to Russia. I am certain some of you can see it from your rear door.

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    2. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who felt this way. It appears that most of these commenters are clear in their feelings: they don't like how things are in Mason District, and damned if they'll allow anyone to come in and invest in Mason District if that investment means anything might change. Not exactly charting the future here, are we?

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    3. If you think the comments about Penny are just snark and hate, then you don't know the real Supervisor Gross.
      I accept your challenge to come up with a positive suggestion: vote her out.

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    4. I think Ellie does a wonderful job of moderating. And I have read plenty of great ideas, thoughts, and truths in the comments of this blog, both in and between the snark and conjectures. I look forward to reading this blog every single day.

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    5. Now really Mr. Shipmate, while I applaud your call for positive comments I absolutely detest your call for more "moderation" (in reality censoring), on this blog.

      While many of the commenters are negative - they think Mason stinks - they think proposed new developments stink - they think the proposed streetcar which was killed by Arlington County would have stunk - their free speech rights should be respected on this blog if their comments remain civil.

      Again, while I applaud your call for positive comments you have a problem with accepting people with opposing points of view. As our great President noted just this week, even violent extremists act out because of legitimate grievances. And just as Americans through our great leader will not ignore the violent extremists' legitimate grievences, neither should the elected representatives of Mason District ignore the legitimate grievences of the people they represent.

      In other words Mr. Shumate, take your demand for censorship somewhere else.

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    6. Well that is a mouthful! I think Mr. Shumate was asking for a different tone not necessarily censorship. However, if you would like to have the Blog get really sophomoric, we can speak in pig latin!

      Where is that damn return to sender, this one has to has to be returned back to the factory for a re-boot.

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    7. I had a rebuttal to this comment and it has not been posted. Am I being censored?

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    8. Dear Anonymous 2/19/15 12:40. You detest my call for "censorshop" when all I am asking for is responsible journalism. I don't call for censorship. When posters claim that the government is building a Palace at Willston, for instance, and then everyone else believes it, this is a plain lie. There are no such plans in the works - it is merely an early planning idea. In fact, it is not impossible that the turn-Willston-back-to-a-school movement is successful and that Willston will become school property again.

      Should Ellie allow such lies to be promulgated in the name of free speech? Or should she steer a debate into the reality that if indeed the property does get transferred to Fairfax County Public Schools that there would not be a school there at the earliest in 7-8 years! (The existing building is in significant disrepair, needs to be razed, a design would take at least a year and construction 2-3 years. And this would only happen after the public votes on funding the bond issue that it would require.)

      That would be responsible journalism and should be part of the discussion.

      The same with development. Have any of you been to The U street corridor in Washington DC? Twenty years ago it was rife with crime, drugs, and prostitution. Now you cannot afford a condo their because of development. Private business leaders came in and risked their own money to make a neighborhood better and succeeded.

      It can happen here too in Mason District. All I'm asking for in "moderation" is for the editor to steer the negative into positive.

      I do not think that is responsible journalism. I do not call for censorship but rather for responsible journalism because I understand that the Annandale Blog purports to be a legitimate source of journalism.

      Should we be allowed to yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre? I regret that you perceived my call for "moderation" as a call for censorship.

      And by the way, it is Shumate, not Shipmate. And if you'd like to have a thoughtful debate, don't hide behind "anonymous." In fact, if you'd like to have a oonversation, please call. I've listed my phone number in this blog.

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    9. you can't compare U Street and Mason District. U Street was always going to turn around as its a walkable, livable area with metro stops. Mason will never have a metro stop, walkable areas like a downtown district and beautiful old historic row houses.

      Mason can fix itself and become more smart growth if the district makes a plan and sticks to it even if it hurts and the short term for long term gain.

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    10. Thanks for the thoughtful response but to be sure developments in Mason District could be walkable. Shirlington is walkable and does not have Metro. Mosaic is walkable and does not have Metro.

      There is a plan - google the Comprehensive Plan for Bailey's Crossroads. It is already there. A Comprehensive Plan based upon walkable development. You absolutely correct: we must stick to a plan and deal with certain pain through the short term for long term gain.

      Well stated.

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    11. i give you the fact there is a plan but they ignore their own plan in most situations so they might as not as well have one. not having one is better than having one and just ignoring it.

      U Street isn't a fake disney development, it is a real city. shirlington is fine and so is mosaic but thy don't connect to other things really you can walk to. they are small areas with nice stuff next to major roads and sit on an island in the end. mason could do something similar which would be nice/fine and better than what we have but it still isn't U street.

      i just want us to stick to the plans we have and not fold everytime a developer offers to do something that goes against the long term planning as it just shoots ourselves in the foot. i think those in power are afraid if they don't allow what ever the developer wants, something else better might not come a long.

      lets offer green tax break, tax breaks for things that are walkable and encourage things that aren't just adding more traffic, pollution and chain stores. lets promote local businesses while we are at it.

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    12. Plans are guidelines that extend over 30 years. Things change in 30 years: demographics, economics, trends, etc. Good development always involve tweaks to guidelines, intelligent dialogue, economic trade offs and wisdom. Perhaps the district should set up a bipartisan/non-political steering committee as an advisement board to the supervisor and the community. This board should also include planning professionals from the private and public sector including architects, planners and developers. Not political appointees but individuals voted in by the community. This may make the discussion and the information more grounded based on fact and not fiction or wishful thinking.

      Despite the petty debate here, we do have a dynamic community and we should weigh in on this as an asset and a way to overcome some of this hysteria and mis-information.

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    13. I'm referring to plans done just a few years ago they are all ready going against so things have not changed since them. i agree that there should be a non political board to decide this stuff and developers can only be on it if they aren't involved in the district. this would reduce the amount of sketchy stuff going on.

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    14. Great idea. This has already been done by the current board of supervisors. In Mason District it's called the Mason District Land Use Committee. As non-staff citizens, they review all land use issues that are due to come before the board of supervisors. Their input, while non-binding, helps guide the process.

      This committee was instituted by Supervisor Gross.

      At present, this body is constituted of citizens some of who come from the design/planning/ architecture profession as you suggested. They are current volunteer appointees The notion to make this an elected body is interesting.

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    15. If one would like to volunteer for such a position, County leadership is always looking for help.

      Additionally, there are several other ad hoc committees that are put together by the BOS.

      Call Penny's office and volunteer.

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    16. 10:17 p.m. You're right--Mason will never have a Metro stop. And now, there's little chance it will have a streetcar stop. Which most of these commenters think is a good thing. But that was as close as we were going to get to a Metro stop. It was close, and would have benefited us immensely--especially if a Rt. 7 streetcar might have soon joined as part of larger network. Bus service will never drive high income development in the way that fixed rail does.

      It often seems that the same commenters seem to say that transportation has to come first, before development, but they dismiss the past plan for investment in the streetcar because the ridership demand doesn't yet exist.

      (I'm not quite ready to follow Mr. Shumate in stepping out entirely from my anonymity. But I'll go back to using my first name as a handle, so at least it's clear which comments come from me, as opposed to the anonymous chorus.)

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    17. The land use committee is all window dressing. What the district need is an independently elected oversight committee consisting of professionals. I have not once heard the words "economic return on investment," because i don't think one has ever been done. We need urban planners, architects, transportation/infrastructure engineers, developers, economists, sociologists, educators, community development professionals. NOT a bunch of don't know nothings on this land use board.

      The first rule of marketing: grow the customer's interest, convince them that they absolutely must have your product and that they wont be able to live without it. Have you ever heard any one of these developers or the County persuade us that we need this bad and that new development will spawn economic recovery and why...........NO! And as for the buffoons that were against the street car. When the subways were built in Chicago and NY they didn't have a bunch of loonies thinking they know everything about urban planning running the ship off course because they were afraid of the costs. The reason why those cities have great infastructure that have maintained and grown economic development is because the no-nothings were not allowed in the kitchen to screw up the recipe.

      I suggest the County put out a bond or solicit for a public private partnership and get serious about real good transit that will take these alleged high rent professionals to and from these new developments and our existing older neighborhoods to work and not put your trust in a bus system that sits in traffic with the rest of us. FFX grow up, put real transit to work to move people not keep them stuck on roads burning up fuel and texting on this blog about everything and nothing.

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    18. Are you kidding me? This place sounds more like the Itchy and Scratchy Show from the Simpsons.

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    19. Actually Mosaic District does have a metro stop - Dunn Loring. Also, the problem with the streetcar was that it was not going to operate on a separate line. The tracks would have been running down Columbia Pike in the same lane as cars. This means that cars would have been driving on the tracks sunk into the road, and the streetcars would have been subject to the traffic lights the same as buses and cars. It did not make sense to spend money to do what buses now can do. I grew up in a city that used to have this setup. Cars rattled driving on the tracks, and jockeyed for space with the streetcars. The tracks have since been pulled off of the streets and rerouted on a separate line, so it is much more effective. Had the street cars been in a separate lane removed from car traffic along Columbia Pike, people would not have been opposed. I cannot imagine the money that would have been spent, not to mention the construction nightmare to create this, when it would only be doing what buses now do.

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    20. Mosaic is one mile from Dunn Loring. Seven Corners is 1.2 miles from East Falls Church. Mosaic has a shuttle system to ferrry residents to and from Metro.

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  25. Looks like the divisiveness that has infiltrated and landed for good in the Capitol of the US is here in Fairfax. One problem though, dividing Mason District's 0 divided by 2 = 0. And that is what about sums it up for us: ONE BIG FAT NEGATIVE ZERO! That is who were are: void of ideas, creativity, usefulness, collaboration, ingenuity and compassion. Afraid to be progressive with new transit such as street cars, phobic about foreigners, frightful of developmental advancement and urbanity. We will be left behind to squalor amongst the white vans. That is Mason's mascot and truly representative of its people of all ethnicities here. Ignorance is the badge of this community. If you want change, open up your minds to new ideas, to youth, to color and difference and you may find that the white van may be really a very good box of chocolates.

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    1. Did Penny write that? Negative zero?

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    2. I love Negative Zero - sounds like a James Bond villain!

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  26. You we going pretty good until you lost me at street cars. Arlington cancelled that boondoggle, not Fairfax, and for the very good reason that it's economic benefits were hardly assured. I've read a number of reports on that project and most of them were little more than made-as-instructed propaganda. In the end, street cars too expensive a gamble and it speaks volumes that Penny Gross was nevertheless willing to advocate having taxpayers assume that sort of indeterminate risk.

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    1. The cost for the street car for Fairfax was minimal compared to Arlington. The urban youth demand new modes of transit and living. They don't want a house, they love personal time, and not being owned by a car. Every city that implemented street cars has benefited. The entire streetscape of Columbia Pike would have been re-invented and pedestrianized. The old model that we all grew up with is outdated. Have you been to DC lately, investors and young people are moving to H street in droves, and guess what they are leaving us with the residue of car exhaust and day laborers. We are becoming the slums of DC.

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    2. Our only hope is for autonomous vehicle usage to catch on. In a world where Uber or Google owns fleets of autonomous vehicles, no one will own a vehicle anymore, but will be able to call one to their door when one is needed. If/when autonomous vehicle usage becomes widespread, fixed rail will still be used, but car usage will be a whole lot more convenient than it is now.

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  27. I'm curious where the notion that Fairfax County spends beyond its budget. It does not. Any debt the county takes on is approved through referendum in the form of school bonds and the like.

    Again, I challenge the commenters to not only make positive suggestions and use this forum as a place to exchange ideas but to also identify themselves and not hide behind "anonymous."

    It is easy to sling mud when you can hide behind your computer screen.

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    1. my positive suggestion is for new leadership for Mason. that would be really positive for the district.

      we want someone to step up and come up with a long term plan or stick to the comprehensive plan the county spent a lot of time and money on all ready.

      mason will never be like arlington like people suggest with the way it is being managed. there are no walkable clusters of places to eat, drink, see a movie in our district. there could be but there isn't. the way forward is to make something like they have done in Mosaic in our area. They could easily pull this off in several locations. So my positive suggestion is that the district needs to be forward thinking and make things walkable, build stuff that people want and not just more strip malls which adds to the problem. we need mixed used.

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    2. Why not, Arlington was a dump 25 years ago but smart and progressive enough to know that a well planned Metro layout would turn their county around and it did. Fairfax chose to be bigots and now it has what it deserves: too much traffic, congestion, boarding houses, white vans every where, loitering of day laborers, overcrowded schools, and too many people not contributing to the tax base.

      To start one must erase the tape and start all over. Look at what works and what doesn't. The Mosaic District is a shining star and a good start. But to encourage development, the County needs to come up with incentives not double talk. This starts with tax incentives, public private partnerships and transit options that people want, not necessarily what we can afford. Once in place they will come and the transit costs will be covered. No metro = no future, period, its that simple!

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    3. Well, the chances of us getting metro are slim to none. The powers that be are catering to the people who live in Leesburg, Reston, etc. These are far flung areas that would be much better served with a commuter line - but they lobbied, and promised to cover much of the cost through the Dulles Toll Road and Greenway.

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    4. Great ideas, my Anonymous Friends. Incentives. Incentives for developers. Make Mason District more attractive to the developers, they develop nice communities that attract great people. It is very simple. But it takes time and we must be patient.

      There are existing comprehensive plans for Bailey's Crossroads and Seven Corners that have the potential to make these crazy underdeveloped intersections into something like Mosaic, Shirlington, and Reston. And Shirlington is PROOF that you don't need Metro close by to be successful.

      To be sure, Avalon Bay and Foulger Pratt are excellent developers who build excellent projects. Foulger Pratt built the highly successful Pentagon Row, for instance.

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    5. sure but if the district is so short sighted and just approves every strip mall that comes a long vs sticking to a long term plan, nothing will happen as it will put us back another 20 years. stop approving things that don't make sense and wait till the right things come a long that do as it is better for the long term. what is being done now all over the district isn't good for the long term or even short!

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    6. "I'm curious where the notion that Fairfax County spends beyond its budget." Apparently, you don't understand the distinction between staying within a budget and abandoning fiscal discipline. The fact that that Fairfax voters keep rubber stamping bond proposals isn't an indication that the county is staying within its budget. Rather, it's an indication that the supervisors are a gang of spendthrifts who cannot exercise fiscal restraint. Fairfax County has been "staying within its budget" through a combination of large property tax increases and unpopular spending cuts. That's hardly effective leadership.

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    7. What I do not understand is if the leadership of the county meets a budget, how is that "hardly effective leadership."

      Again, Mr. Anonymous, what do you propose the county cuts out of its budget? Schools? Incentives for developers? Police? Fire departments? County services?

      Unlike the federal government, Fairfax does not print money. But it does have constituents that expect services and they are not cheap.

      Again, I challenge this group to propose ideas. I've still not read one tangible idea that is not already underway.

      Also, I challenge you all to come out from behind "anonymous" and identify yourselves.

      I'm Daren Shumate and have lived in Parklawn for 24 years. I've been a leader in the Parklawn Civic Assocation and the Parklawn Pool. I've written and executed Neighborhood Enhancement Grants - money from Fairfax County used to better neighborhoods with in-kind values over $50,000. (A county program instituted, by the way, under the leadership of the current Board of Supervisors)j. I can be reached at 703-462-4298 if you'd like to have a thoughtful discussion about ideas.

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  28. So, on one hand I read we need to build schools to alleviate over crowding and that we are not doing enough.

    On the other hand I read that issuing bonds to build schools is "abandoning fiscal discipline.

    So what do the constituents want? More spending on schools? Or NO spending on schools?

    You clearly cannot support BOTH of these agendas.

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    1. They can't *logically* support both of those agendas. They do...but it's not logical.

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  29. Although it is true that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, I understand the frustration of many of the bloggers. Yes, they probably would be more effective if they worded their blogs better, but they are frustrated. Maybe with time, they will be able to more carefully craft their blogs, so that others will not automatically shut them down and accuse them of being hateful. They want to be heard. They want people to know that we have watched our communities deteriorate, while trying desperately to effect change. We have watched as others call us bigoted, simply because we want EVERYONE regardless of who they are to follow the same set of rules that are on the county books. We have been told to embrace those who are from poorer countries by allowing them to park on their front lawns, run illegal boarding houses, urinate in public, etc. As a result, we have watched our property values drop and have allowed Mason District to look like a third world country in certain parts. The rules are there to prevent this and to educate and bring everyone up to a certain standard. Many of us feel reversely discriminated against, as we just try to protect what we have worked so hard to get. Again, we are asking for everyone to be held to the same standard. This has fallen on deaf ears. I have attended many meetings, where Supervisor Gross has been condescending and is clearly only interested in pushing her agenda. Sometimes I think that she believes that she is a champion for the poor, but she does not realize that she is hurting the district, by having different sets of rules for different people. Yes, we should, when possible, help the poor, but you do not do it at the expense of others. Also, people would not be so against development, if they did not already see our schools over capacity, and a lack of viable transportation. If you attend some of the meetings on proposed development, you will hear such ludicrous comments like, "don't worry, since this development will be high end apartments, the people living there will not have kids, so it should not affect the schools". I would love to be able to foretell the future like that. People want to be heard, but our elected leaders are not listening. I only hope that people don't just blindly vote by party when the election comes up, or automatically vote in the incumbent.

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  30. One of the roles of a BOS is to have good salesman skills. On that note Penny can use some help. She is not always the best at projecting vision. Nd when its not her vision she quips. She should surround herself with visionaries that can talk the talk and walk the walk. This is true for whomever gets in. This pandering to special interest groups has been a detrimental pawn in both local and national politics. All people want regardless of race, color, sex etc, is respect, a decent quality of life and fairness. We all need to have patience but our leaders need to have will of vision. That is what Mason needs. Penny is a bright and an effective administrative official. She needs to build her coalition with less politics and more visionaries that can deliver.

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  31. The problem with Mason is that it is a community of halves and have nots. However, the distinction is not based on economics, its based on the capacity to think analytically, process ideas, sophistication, and innovative spirit. Truly the glass is 1/2 full in this room. I suggest the other half go to GNC today and get some ginseng.

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    1. half of what?

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    2. half wits!

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  32. if i ran as an independent who was willing to listen to everyone and tried the make the district a better place, would I have any shot of winning or is it not worth it? i have no political experience but am energetic and willing to fight make the district a better, safer and more livable place we can all be proud of.

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    1. If possible, I'll vote for you more than once!

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    2. Personally, I think an independent candidate may have a better shot than a republican. I think Penny Gross has frustrated both Democrats and Republicans equally, and an independent would be able to get votes from both sides. Funding will be the issue as Ms. Gross appears to have already raised $110K for her campaign.

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    3. if everyone pitched in here and gave me $100, it would be a start. you can't spend $100k in Mason if you tried. Max really needed would probably be $25k-$30k if spent smartly.

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    4. Running as an independent is the way to go because the GOP is a toxic brand in this area and has largely ceded Mason to the Democrats. You already know that running a successful political campaign is as much about leveraging personal connections as spending money. Penny Gross has a huge head start in that area because she's been buying support for years through such gimmicks as handing out cash to neighborhood association leaders. As an independent, you're likely to inherit the usual 35% of votes that Republicans typically receive here. What you won't get, though, is the party organization that goes along with a GOP endorsement. So, to succeed, you're going to need a pretty good network of influential supporters, someone who can organize your campaign in record time, a lot of cash and a dynamite platform. Needless to say, at this late date, I'm pessimistic about anyone's chances for defeating Penny Gross.

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  33. "Gimmicks as handing out cash to neighborhood association leaders?" I'm not sure if I understand.

    If receiving money through the Fairfax County Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program is considered "hand outs" to association leaders then this invective can only be construed as hyperbole or just a simple misunderstanding.

    Please research the NEPP program - instituted by the Board of Supervisors - provides an excellent vehicle to invest up to $5000 in grant money into a neighborhood and for the neighborhood, and thus the county, to receive in-kind value significantly more.

    As a leader in the Parklawn Civic Association, I know of no other "hand outs" from Supervisor Gross.

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  34. My favorite 2015 NEPP grant project: "Invasive Plant Removal by Goat". (At least the goats will get something out of it.)

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  35. I wish I would have thought of that one.

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  36. Had many opportunities to work with the Office of Penny Gross regarding safety issues within my community. My level of frustration has never been greater! Same old story "we don't have the resources for this or that"! Had the opportunity to spend time with Mollie Loeffler and some of her folks. I found her ideas to be refreshing and some of her thinking out of the box. Excited at the possibility of Ms. Loeffler becoming the next Supervisor

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