Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018
News

Fairfax Chairman, Mr. Bulova, is retiring and ushering in a new political era in Va's largest jurisdiction.


Antonio Olivo Reporter covering government, politics and demographics in northern Virginia. On December 6th at 10:00 am, Sharon Bulova, the Fairfax County Chair of Fairfax's Supervisory Board, will not stand for re-election next fall, ending a 30-year career in the US. which she led Virginia's largest jurisdiction through spectacular growth, financial crisis and radical demographic change. In recent years, Bulova (D-At Large) has helped defuse the scandals in the law enforcement and firefighters of Fairfax, a county of 1.1 million residents who has gone from drowsiness to Urbanization over the last three decades. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Virginia Railway Express commuter train line in 1988 and, as Chair of the Board, oversaw the deep redevelopment of Tysons Corner and the launch of the Silver Line, while maintaining the rating. from the triple-A obligation of what has become an economic powerhouse. "I'm looking forward to spending time with my husband and my family," said Bulova, 70. "And, just take a little more time to travel, feel the roses – things that I have not had time to do since I've been on duty." The departure of Bulova will be the biggest change compared to what announces as a major transition. for the 10-member, mostly democratic council after the 2019 elections. Supervisors Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) and John C. Cook (R-Braddock) also said they would not seek new warrants, while that supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) did not run.
Supervisory Board Chair Sharon Bulova (D), left, chats with Cheryl Terio Simon, center, at the Reston Multicultural Festival at Lake Anne Plaza in 2017. (Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post) Meanwhile, Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee) plans to run as president in the absence of Bulova, thus leaving his seat in the district open. Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), who faces a Democratic challenger for his seat, said he was also considering a candidacy for the post of president.[[[[Virginia's suburbs lead the growing population]Bulova's discreetly closed style – interspersed with occasional whispers at public meetings – hid a shrewd politician who worked hard to get support for school funding and transportation improvements while advancing the Fairfax program in Richmond. A native of Pikesville, Maryland, Bulova and her husband settled in Fairfax County in the early 1970s. They raised two children: Del. David L. Bulova (D-Fairfax) and Karin Bulova Johansson, project manager in an insurance company, residing in Seattle. Sharon Bulova joined the public service in 1984, leaving her role as president of the Kings Park West civic association to the position of legislative assistant to former supervisor Audrey C. Moore (D) in the district of Annandale.
Fairfax County Supervisory Board Chair Sharon Bulova at the opening ceremony of five Silver Line stations in 2014. (Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post) She won her first election in 1987, when Moore was a presidential candidate and asked Bulova to seek his seat in what was later redesigned as Braddock District. Moore was then named chair of the very important budget committee, a position she held for two decades. The former county director, Edward L. Long Jr., who was director of the budget during this period, said that he had seen Bulova put order in a chaotic budget process, the supervisors discussing individual elements at marathon meetings that sometimes went beyond midnight. Bulova has established a consensus in advance by meeting each supervisor individually, said Long. "She had a way of meeting people and [would be] so nice and so nice, and yet firm, how to assemble a package and put together a balanced package, "said Long. In 2008, Gerald E. Connolly (D), chairman of the board, won a seat in Congress. Bulova was introduced to the position and beat Herrity by 1,206 votes in the special election. The victory that led to its biggest political challenge: coping with the aftermath of the 2008 recession.[[[[
Fairfax: This model of suburban life is starting to crumble]The weakening of the local housing market and cuts in federal spending that left several office spaces vacant resulted in lower tax revenues. Bulova oversaw the unpopular increase in property taxes and the reduction of programs in libraries, schools and social service agencies, which has become a multi-year balancing act aimed at preserving the county's quality of life. His deliberative approach to these challenges – seeking to integrate divergent viewpoints into a series of board committee meetings and community forums – has allowed Fairfax to weather the economic storm without too much political conflict. Connolly said. The county continued to struggle with income limits as the numbers of recent immigrants, low income residents and elderly residents increased, increasing the need for costly social programs. A meal tax proposal aimed at generating revenue for schools failed in 2016. Earlier this week, the board approved a measure to slightly reduce pension benefits. Separately, the police department found itself in the spotlight in 2013, when a county officer was shot and killed by county officer John Geer, who had not been have faced in front of his home in Springfield. Ms. Bulova said she regretted the way the country had conducted the investigation into the shooting, by refusing to first disclose the details to the public at a time when concerns over the violence arose. policemen sparked protests nationwide. "We used somehow methods that had been used in previous years," Bulova said. "I think we were wrong in some of the things we did." She eventually formed an ad hoc committee of community leaders that recommended $ 35 million of ongoing police reforms. [How the graying of Fairfax, and other suburbs, stretches local tax dollars] Bulova said the county had become more receptive to other allegations of misconduct after county firefighter Nicole Mittendorff – who had been the target of online sexual harassment in the department – hanged herself in 2016. Chief of the late Richard R. Bowers Jr. retired in January, just over a week after launching an investigation by the authorities over new allegations of sexual harassment in the department. Bryan Hill, who took over the county a year ago, said Bulova was advocating for greater diversity in fire and police services. He mentioned the recent hiring of African-American fire chief John Butler, and the appointment of several women to positions of responsibility. "Sharon basically told us that I needed to coordinate the culture change and that's exactly what we're doing," said Hill. Bulova, who plans to support McKay as chairman of the board of directors in 2019, said he expects the rest of his term to be busy. Among other challenges, Fairfax is still struggling to fully fund its growing school system. The imminent arrival of an Amazon.com head office in neighboring Arlington County, generating 25,000 jobs, will likely result in an increase in traffic jams and an increased need for affordable housing. (The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeffrey P. Bezos, is the owner of the Washington Post.) "One year is long," Bulova said. "We have a lot to do in the meantime."

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