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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Gary Aiken launches campaign for Mason supervisor


Gary Aiken, the Republican candidate for Mason supervisor, said his theme is: “It’s time for a change and time for a leader who listens.”


About 50 people came to Aiken’s campaign kick-off event, May 1 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Annandale, including Braddock Supervisor John Cook, Republican candidate for Board of Supervisors Chair Joe Galdo; Jeff Dove, a Republican candidate for Congress in 2018; Fairfax County Republican Committee  (FCRC) Chair Tim Hannigan; and Linda Pelligrino, who is planning to run for the Mason seat on the school board.

Aiken, the treasurer of the FCRC, is running against Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, who has been on the Board of Supervisors since 1996

Aiken’s campaign has raised just over $11,500, compared to $120,700 by Gross, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Aiken said he was motivated to run after the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, which he lives near and where he sends his children, was attacked, and he no longer felt safe. “For it to be desecrated is a real travesty,” he said. “In a majority minority district, it’s important that everyone feels safe.”

The JCC and a nearby church were vandalized with Anti-Semitic and racist graffiti two years ago, and there was a similar incident at the JCC in October 2018. (The FBI reports a 17 percent increase in hate crimes nationwide between 2016 and 2017.)

As an employee at a mutual life insurance company – he is chief analyst and risk management officer at AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust – Aiken said he thinks about actions taken today and how they will affect people in the future.

He warned that Fairfax County will suffer if the Board of Supervisors doesn’t do something about “out-of-control spending,” including “a $3 billion pension liability that is unfunded.” If taxes continue to rise, people will move away and businesses won’t want to come here, he said.

Aiken said Mason District residents told him they want to see more revitalization, “they feel Mason District has been passed over,” and “there’s been a lot of neglect here.”

Aiken said he would improve safety in the community by focusing on code compliance. Neighbors should not have a body shop in their front yard or pave over their yard with asphalt, he said. He would start with Bailey’s Crossroads, calling for “a cleanup crew in uniform to pick up trash.”

Cook told the audience that “Gary can win if he listens to residents” and if he tells them, “I want to make your neighborhood a better place.”

27 comments:

  1. I always vote D but will be voting for him. No more Penny!

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    1. I am a D and I will be voting for Penny.

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  2. Based solely on his age and energy, he will be a big improvement for Mason District. He has experience with revitalization projects.

    Penny has had more than 20 years in office and I personally feel she has no vision for our future.

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  3. Dale Welch5/3/19, 8:38 AM

    "As an employee at a mutual life insurance company" - his job is to maximize profits for an insurance company, which means to minimize payments to customers.
    "The JCC and a nearby church were vandalized with Anti-Semitic and racist graffiti" - so he embraces the "fine people on both sides party?
    "do something about “out-of-control spending,including “a $3 billion pension liability that is unfunded" - so he can lower taxes and unfund it further?

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    1. David... a mutual is owned by its policy holders. Any profits we make goes back into lower prices, better products and services, and strengthening the company for the long run. That's exactly the kind of thinking a Supervisor should have.

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  4. I'm a D (Democrat) and I am D (DONE)w Penny Gross. Mason has been in decline for the last 20 years. Its time for someone else to get in the drivers seat. With all due respect, Penny its time for you to retire and let someone younger fight the crazy NIMBYs and the progressives. It's time for Bailey's to be developed as a mixed-use/retail/residential district on Mason's Main Street-Columbia Pike. Its time for someone to convince developers and landowners that we are worth building for to save Mason from turning into a homeless mecca. It's time for Mason to have real and reliable mass transit. Its time for us to have bike lines that can take us to work. Every time I drive by the open lots on Columbia Pike by Bradley's and your homeless shelter high-rise poking out in the horizon, I just want to pick up the phone and scream at you and beg you to go home.

    But I am a little concerned that Gary does not get bikers. In a previous blog post he noted that bike lanes are for all modes: pedestrian, strollers, runners, dog walkers and last but not least bikes. Gary these lanes are called bike lanes for ONE REASON, these are for bikes. Bikes can go up to 20-25 MPH, particularly at commuting times. Hop on a bike and take it from Mason to DC one of these days and you might get it.

    My vote for Gary is a vote against Penny and to all other Democrats to get their act together and start working for the middle class. Gary if you get our votes, you got a big job to do to clean up Mason and make it thrive. We hope you are up for the challenge.

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    1. Thank you for your support. Please reach out to me directly so I can listen to your perspective on bikers and how we can accommodate and encourage.

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    2. Loosen the bike helmet a little. Mr. Aiken said that bike lanes are useful in that by re-striping travel lanes to be narrower to accommodate bikes, people drive more slowly and carefully, resulting in more safety all around. He wasn’t saying that strollers and dogs should be in the road.

      And I don’t care how many tour de france wannabees fly down the multi-modal trails in our area, I will continue to walk them at a leisurely pace. Walking is the oldest and easiest form of transport.

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    3. On many of the multi-modal paths that is the case. A 6' swath path is challenged by bikes, pedestrians, strollers, dog walkers, scooters etc while bikers commute to work at rush hour. Many times I end up using the roadways to avoid the congestion on the paths. This tells me one thing, what is existing is inadequate. The Mt Vernon Trail and Four Mile run are packed at rush hour, particularly in the nice weather and many time dangerous for all users. I would prefer roadway designated lanes if those existed, for example down Columbia Pike, Seminary Road, Leesburg Pike and Four Mile Run. This would help with the congestion on the multi-modal pathways. As we all know the NOVA closest to DC is one helluva commute regardless of mode, and the jurisdictions do a piss poor job of collaborating with a unified system.

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  5. its sad Penny couldn't step aside and let another D run as I'm not pro Gary but anti Penny enough that I'll vote R. A lot of my neighbors are the same. I think Penny is going to finally lose this time. People are done!

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    1. Thanks. This race isn't D vs R. It's about what's best for Mason in the long run. I'm a pragmatic, business person who lives in this community and wants it to thrive for my family and yours.

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    2. You support Donald Trump. Shame on you.

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    3. does he? lets see how he responds!

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  6. So fed up with Mason District..the worst of FFC and dreadful the way it is managed. Just take a look at the high weeds on Lincolnia, the trash, the crumpling sidewalks, the dead trees. I have made more complaints with FFC and can't seem to use our tax dollars for better service. I have never seen so much garbage hanging around the Mason District FFC. Pot holes. Crime growing at an alarming rate. My sisters came to visit me a few weeks ago..they said "OMG, what is happening in your area....this area is deteriorating at an alarming rate..time to move out of here". Property is even going down hill. Shameful what we pay in taxes and get little to nothing from FFC. We are the armpit of FFC and my husband an I are planning to get the heck out of here..can't afford to live here anymore and fed up with traffic as well. Disgusting. Dump Penny and WALK AWAY FROM THE DEM PARTY. NOT THE PARTY I GREW UP WITH. VOTING REPUBLICAN THIS TIME. Never is there how to cut expenses but always how to Lets just raise the taxes. NOVA is the destruction of Virginia. DUMP DUMP DUMP THE DEMS. They have lost me and I am walking away. Crime with MS13s out of control. Even had a police officer tell me that he left NOVA. Does that tell you something.

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  7. Here is how I look at the situation – (1) At the local level, we must be willing to look beyond D and R labels. We need our local reps to focus on quality of life issues close to home rather than attempting to score cheap political points on national issues. (2) It’s not productive to blame all of Mason’s ills on Ms. Gross. She is by all accounts a good person. However, if one steps back and looks at the situation objectively, Mason does not appear to be heading in the right direction. After 20+ years of Ms. Gross representing our district, we need to try something new. (3) Mr. Aiken may or may not succeed where Ms. Gross has failed. But, I suspect he will recognize that he is on a short leash. The people of Mason will expect Mr. Aiken to begin chipping away at Mason’s problems. Focus on Mason quality of life issues (e.g., push code compliance, progress toward BRT) and fight to keep runaway spending in check at the County level, and I suspect folks will appreciate the effort.

    The potential benefits of electing Mr. Aiken outweigh the risks, esp. with a majority Dem board. If Mr. Aiken performs poorly, then we simply vote him out in a few years.

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    1. Spot on! I'm a Democrat, but will probably vote for Gary Aiken in the next election. We need change, progress and direction executed more quickly in the Mason district.

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    2. Progress? By voting for a man who stands by the Xenophobe-in-Chief, Donald Trump. No thank you.

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  8. Nicely said!

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  9. I agree. It is time to look beyond the D and R labels, especially at the local level. When people vote along party lines, some politicians knowing that they will win based on party affiliation, ignore the interests of their constituents. Sadly, many times I have seen Ms. Gross be rude, condescending and dismissive to her constituents when they nicely raise concerns or issues with which she does not agree. Let's keep petty politics out of this and all political races, and elect the best candidate.

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  10. We need someone with a new vision for Mason District. While Mason District does not have the benefit of Metro stations to stimulate growth, it has proximity to D.C. This should be capitalized on. New transit options will need to be considered. The light rail was not a good option, since it would not run on its own track alongside Columbia Pike, but would be riding in the same lanes and following the same traffic signals as cars, which would have made it an incredibly expensive glorified bus.

    For an example of revitalization, I recently drove through the Pimmit Hills neighborhood, right outside of the beltway from Tysons Corner. The original houses in Pimmit Hills are smaller than the typical ranch houses in Mason. Several years ago, this neighborhood appeared to face the same challenges as many Mason District neighborhoods, but it is seeing a resurgence most likely due to its prime location near Tysons. People are either tearing down and rebuilding, or adding on to the original homes. We need to create areas in which people want to do this in our existing Mason District neighborhoods. This takes a vision to reinvigorate these areas so that people want to stay, and others will want to move to them and invest in them. We also need the fiscal reform that Mr. Aiken spoke of, so that people do not leave due to higher taxes and misappropriation of funds, which do not always translate into better schools, services, etc. Many have fled Fairfax County for Loudoun, not just for new houses, but because of the continual degradation of quality of life in Fairfax County to include rising crime, overcrowded schools with cut programs, repeated code compliance violations within their neighborhoods, and run down shopping areas full of loiterers. The current system has not worked. We all deserve better and should consider giving Mr. Aiken a chance.

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  11. Gary Aiken is a TRUMP REPUBLICAN, who stands no chance against a proud progressive like Penny Gross. Gary - sometimes IT IS about R v D. And you are on the side of the CHILD SEPARATING, XENOPHOBIC, "Both Sides" Racist President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

    Say what you want Mr. Aiken, but if you don't have the moral courage to drop the (R) from next to your name, you have no place in this district.

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    1. This writer sound like an R hater. I don't particularly love the republicans, but you can thank Penny Gross for turning me around. I have never voted republican before, but because she has done such a lousy job, I feel that I do not have a choice. Well, I guess I do if I want to live in the slums.

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  12. It is inappropriate to assume what someone believes in based on party affiliation. These types of assumptions demonstrate why we need more than two parties. Many have to pick and choose the good from the bad in each party. Most people are centrists, but keep getting stereotyped. Please stop these unproductive comments with nothing to back them up.

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    1. The hell with party affiliation, I just want somebody to do something in Mason for my high taxes. Our taxes keep going up but our quality of life keeps eroding. Look at Baileys, open lots, a power maintenance yard, litter, homeless and illegals (probable - who knows what's living in those horrible buildings in Culmore) wandering amuck and very little to none in redevelopment.

      You can thank our do nothing Penny for this...……...a frustrated constituent.

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  13. These choices are horrendous! A choice between an additional 4 years of 20 years of decline with Penny Gross or an unknown that is in Trump's arena of ignorant arrogance.

    Maybe its time to move to saner pastures where the local leadership works for their respective communities regardless of party, like Maryland's Governor Hogan.

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