|Del. Kaye Kory presents a framed copy of a resolution passed by the House of Delegates honoring Lake Barcroft Association manager Chris Lawson for 25 years of service. From the left: Kory, Lawson, and LBA President Jim Kilbourne.|
The two spoke at a Candidate Night hosted by the Lake Barcroft Association at Belvedere Elementary School along with others who will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“It’s a passion of mine to make sure communities have a voice in land use and redevelopment decisions,” Loeffler said. She would have community groups appoint their own representatives to the Mason District Land Use Committee.
In response to a question about police brutality, Loeffler called the report by the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission released Oct. 20 “a step in the right direction.” She supports efforts to “make sure the police know they will be accountable,” improve public trust in the police, increase diversity on the police force, and establish a civilian review board.
Loeffler, a former ballroom dancing professional who’s worked in advertising and property management, told the audience she got involved in community issues when she saw her neighborhood begin to deteriorate. She revived the Parklawn Civic Association and Mason District Council of Community Associations, got grants to fix up the neighborhood, and hosted several large community forums.
Gross, who has represented Mason District as supervisor for nearly 20 years and currently serves as vice chair of the board, told the audience she got her start in civic activism as a PTA president – during a time when the county was actually facing declining enrollment and closing schools.
Gross also cited her efforts to save the Lake Barcroft Association $4 million by having soil dredged from the lake shipped to a construction debris landfill in Lorton.
“I’m a problem solver,” Gross said. “I’ll put my experience to work for you.”
Noting that Gross has received over $41,000 in campaign contributions from developers, a member of the audience asked, “how can we trust you to serve the public interest?”
“Campaigns cost money,” Gross responded, adding that her decisions on the board are not based on contributions from developers. “What they get out of me is good government,” she said.
Another Lake Barcroft resident asked why Gross is letting Mason District decline, with overcrowded and deteriorating housing, overcrowded schools, and unaddressed building violations. Gross touted her actions to open Bailey’s Upper Elementary School in a converted office building and her efforts to create the code compliance “strike team” and later the Department of Code Compliance.
David Bergman, a Republican candidate for the 37th District Senate seat held by Dave Marsden, a Democrat, cited transportation, education, and mental health as his top priorities.
Bergman wants education resources to be used more efficiently, more beds for mental health patients, and earlier identification of students with mental health problems. When asked about gun violence, he said he wants to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill but supports the constitutional right to bear arms.
He doesn’t favor more taxes, such as a meals tax, but said he would fight to ensure Northern Virginia gets its fair share of transportation resources from the state. He says transportation funds should be used for roads, not sidewalks or bike paths.
Both Bergman and Marsden said they oppose toll lanes on I-66 inside the beltway.
Marsden, a native of Annandale, had a long career in juvenile justice, at both the county and state levels, before being elected to the House of Delegates in 2005.
|From the left: School board member Sandy Evans, Del. Kaye Kory, Sen. Dave Marsden, and Senate candidate David Bergman.|
He cited his ability to work on a bipartisan basis to get things done, including a bill to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in the state without harming cab companies.
Regarding gun violence, he said incremental progress isn’t enough; it needs to be addressed in a more comprehensive way with a whole suite of laws that actually have a significant impact.
Kaye Kory, who’s represented the Annandale area in the House of Delegates’ 38th District since 2010, has minimal opposition Nov. 3. James Leslie of the Independent Green Party is on the ballot but wasn’t at the Lake Barcroft meeting.
Kory’s priorities in the General Assembly are education, health, and the environment. She started the Women’s Access to Health Care Caucus and the New Americans Caucus to focus on issues like women’s reproductive rights and college access for immigrants.
When asked about gun violence, she said “there’s some hope for narrowing the gun show loophole,” which allows gun sales by individuals without background checks, but there’s “an ideological divide” preventing more progress. “It’s about changing attitudes. We have to be prepared for a very long haul.”
Sandy Evans, the Mason school board member running for re-election unopposed, said protecting needs-based funding is critical for schools in Mason District. This program, which is under attack by parent advocates who want to equalize class sizes across the county, provides extra resources and smaller class sizes for schools that enroll large numbers of poor students and students with limited English skills.
She also cited the need to raise teacher pay and expand preK for at-risk students. The budget shortfall is a serious concern, however, as FCPS will need to cut $50-75 million. “We’ll have to make some very tough decisions,” she said. “Everything is on the table.”
Evans says the board needs to look for more funding sources and will probably impose fees to help balance the budget, an option she doesn’t like.
While there have been some concerns about Mason schools not being fully accredited, Evans said there are only two schools in the district with accreditation warnings: Annandale Terrace Elementary School has a warning in science and Poe Middle School has one in English.
Evans outlined some accomplishment of the board undertaken recently with Superintendent Karen Garza:
- Full-day Mondays.
- Later high school start times.
- The “portrait of a graduate,” calling for students to be good at solving problems, creative thinking, and collaborating.
- Healthier school meals.
- The hiring of an independent auditor general that reports to the school board.
- Revisions to the student discipline policy to strengthen parent notification, limit out-of-school suspensions, add more restorative justice, and increase transparency.
- An expanded nondiscrimination policy to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identification.
- The county’s only primary years IB program was established at Belvedere Elementary School.
- A Vietnamese language program was launched at Falls Church High School.
- Two new schools were created – Mason Crest Elementary School and Bailey’s Upper Elementary School.
- An English as a Second Language pilot program for new immigrants was established at Stuart High School.
- New turf fields were added at Stuart and Annandale High School.