|Mollie Loeffler outlines her priorities.|
Mollie Loeffler, the independent candidate running for Mason supervisor, told supporters at a fundraiser June 14, “I want to make sure the community has a voice and that there is accountability at the supervisor’s office.”
Loeffler, a neighborhood activist, says she is running because, “our district needs responsive leadership, new energy, and a new direction.”
“Party labels can be an advantage. Party labels can be a disadvantage,” Trapnell says. “The most important thing is to believe in your constituency and do what is best for them and listen to the concerns that they have. Mollie has a reputation for listening and will continue to do so.”
Loeffler believes she can unite Democrats and Republicans who believe the incumbent, Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, who is seeking a sixth term, has lost touch with local residents and has been too accommodating to developers at the expense of neighborhood concerns.
“The current supervisor has had 20 years to make a positive change in Mason District and, unfortunately, it seems we’re falling behind in many categories, from schools to revitalization to crime,” Loeffler says.
She vows to listen to the community and make land use decisions that support the schools, rather than contributing to overcrowding. “We need to calibrate some of these spending priorities. For example, why are we building new office buildings in our district when we have a 38 percent office vacancy rate?”
Loeffler criticized Gross for concealing plans for a county office building at the Willston Center in Seven Corners, while the school board and community members were asking supervisors to return that property to Fairfax County Public Schools as a site for a new school.
The plan for a $125 million office building wasn’t discussed during meetings of the task force Gross appointed to develop a revitalization plan for Seven Corners, and the community only learned about it from a Freedom of Information Act request.
Gross has more recently indicated the county office building won’t be located at Willston, but it’s not clear where it would be. The county has already spent $895,000 on the design of the building, Loeffler says, and “we still don’t know where it’s going to go.”
There’ a “lack of transparency,” she says, “and that’s why people are so frustrated.”
Loeffler got involved in local issues when she moved to Parklawn several years ago and discovered “the neighborhood was slipping into decline. There was litter everywhere, people were living in garages, and my street had three illegal boarding houses.”
Meanwhile, a boy who lived in one of the boarding houses “became like a brother to my children,” she says. She and her husband taught him to swim and play baseball and got him a bike. He is now on the varsity baseball team at JEB Stuart, as a freshman.When she contacted the supervisor’s and was told, it was “a transient area,” she decided to take matters into her own hand. She revived the Parklawn Civic Association and Mason District Council of Community Associations (MDC) and won some grants to make improvements.
Since Loeffler became president of the MDC about five years ago, it’s become an active voice in the community, hosting well-attended forums and town halls on code compliance, Seven Corners redevelopment, and school overcrowding, zoning, and other issues.
Loeffler says she will “empower the neighborhoods to have a say,” adding, “I want to be your voice, not the voice of the developers.”