“If elected, what will you do that will positively affect our neighborhood?” This was the question the Lake Barcroft board asked the candidates at their Fall Civic Affairs meeting on October 22nd.
The incumbent, Supervisor Penny Gross, cited her own election would be a benefit, and her accomplishments: a $125,000 pop-up park on Columbia Pike, a $17 million investment in a homeless shelter built in the middle of the planned town center of Baileys Crossroads, replacement of a historical marker, a study of traffic on Route 50, repaving part of the parking lot at Justice High School, and advising people how to park in their neighborhoods.’’
The candidate, Gary Aiken, talked about his plan to ensure magisterial representation on task forces when large development plans cross magisterial lines…he promised a seat at the table so that residents would be able to express their concerns. He talked about the second thing he wants to do: invest more in stream maintenance. Gary said, “As I walked around after the July 8th storms, I walked into a neighborhood on Barrett Road in Sleepy Hollow. The neighborhood stream had been destroyed, ten houses were destroyed. At the top of the street was a family expecting their first child…their home was obliterated.” They said, “The stream had overflowed, just like that!” For five years they had taken the issue to the Board of Supervisors and the County did nothing. The County had not touched that stream for 20 years.
Gary declared, “We have got to put our streams on a more routine maintenance schedule. We’ve got to prepare for other storms that will affect your property values, and will also impact the amount of trash and debris and sediment that come into the lake, that you will have to pay for to have it dredged.” He said, “That’s what I will do that will positively impact your community.”
Gary went on, “Now, there are other things that I’m running on, as well, and they fall into three categories: Safety and Security is the one in the middle and “environmental safety” is one of those issues. At the top of my list is redevelopment. For 24 years we’ve had plans and plans and plans…and very little in the way of execution.” He gave examples: “Supervisor Gross mentioned two things that she executed recently: one was a $125,000 investment on a pop-up park where nobody is going to play because it’s right on Columbia Pike, and if you kick a soccer ball, it’s going into the middle of Columbia Pike. You’re not sending your kid off to catch that ball in the middle of Columbia Pike!
“The other investment was a $17 million homeless shelter put in the middle of where the Commonwealth had planned “the town center” for Baileys Crossroads. The center of our economic development for Baileys Crossroads is a $17 million homeless shelter. That doesn’t make sense.” Gary lamented.
Gary emphasized, “We need someone in a supervisor’s role who understands strategic planning, who understands risk management, whose been an investor and a builder and a lender. And also an accountant who will look after your hard earned tax dollars.”
Gary continued, “And that’s the third thing I want to do: I want to be a good steward of your money. In my career, I’ve gone through accounting. I’ve gone through investments, I’ve revitalized downtown DC…the Hecht Warehouse project—sole funder! The first investment in the DC waterfront, I structured it. These are the things that I’ve done in my 18 years in business. Those are the kinds of skills that I will bring to you as your next Mason District supervisor.
When the one-minute warning was given, Gary announced, “I don’t need the extra minute—I think the choice is pretty clear. After 24 years, it’s time for a change. People are leaving Mason District because this isn’t’ the Mason District that we all know it can be. It’s time for a change. It’s time for new leadership that will reinvigorate Mason District and bring about the prosperity that we all know is possible. We’re between Amazon and INOVA…we’re Fairfax County inside the beltway. It’s going to take new leadership to achieve what we all know is possible.
Gary closed, “I’m Gary Aiken. Please vote for change on November 5th. Thank you!