Voters will officially have five candidates to choose from for the Manassas City Council elections on May 1st and keeping up with the candidates and all the dynamics of the past few weeks has been a challenge for many. Here’s a run-down of the candidates and what they’ve been doing that will hopefully prove useful in deciding which ones deserve your support.
Ian Lovejoy was the top vote getter at the Republican Convention in January, powered by his endorsements from Del. Jackson Miller and Councilman Marc Aveni as well as his pretty extensive experience with city matters over the past few years. He’s been on the City’s Architectural Review Board, President of the Manassas City Public Schools Education Foundation, a member of the Manassas Family Services Advisory Board, and VP of his HOA board in Point of Woods. A dedicated conservative, Ian is very concerned about city spending and tax rates and has some very interesting ideas about how to improve the city and its schools without dipping into taxpayer’s pockets to do so. He’s also very personable and approachable, and welcomes emails and phone calls from city residents in a way that I think will continue if he’s elected to City Council.
I’ve known Ian for a few years and am personally very impressed with him. He’s sharp and thoughtful and his principles are absolutely on-target. He will make a great addition to the City Council.
Jon Way has been on City Council for five years and has done a respectable job in the position. My only concerns have been that he hasn’t been as much of a hawk on the budget as I had expected him to be, and has been reluctant to hold city staff accountable when they’re not doing the right thing for the city, but in every other respect his voting record is solid. His experience on the planning commission has been very useful as many of the difficult issues the Council has had to deal with have involved zoning issues, and he has been excellent on public safety issues.
During his tenure I’ve had plenty of opportunities to work with Jon and seen him numerous times speaking at Prince William Tea Party events. His heart is definitely in the right place, and he’s very accessible and open to the ideas of others when there’s an issue. Jon is a candidate that has earned re-election and someone conservatives should work with more deliberately (and constructively) to make sure he understands where we’re coming from which would go a long way towards improving his tenure on the Council.
Mark Wolfe (no website available) is running for his second term on the Council with a decidedly mixed record. Wolfe has been dogged with complaints about his votes on the abortion clinic in Manassas and concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest between the Manassas Ballet where he is Executive Director, and his position on the City Council that provides funding for the organization as well as his service on the PWC Arts Council that disburses county funds to the Manassas Ballet as well. He hasn’t demonstrated that much fiscal conservatism during this past term either. Wolfe squeaked by at the Manassas Republican Convention partly because of his strong public speaking talents, but there was definitely an undercurrent of discontent among many that Wolfe has wandered off the reservation.
I find Wolfe to be a very engaging and generous guy who simply has a difference with some conservatives about the role of the arts in city, and the role of government within the arts. Despite my personal admiration for the man, I think he’s wrong on this. There’s just too much of an appearance of impropriety here for someone to be an elected official who has a role in appropriating money to a charitable entity that they have a leadership role in. (UPDATE: and far too many scandalous accusations flying around about it.) Wolfe has consistently talked about his concerns about illegal immigration, although Virtucon’s story about the Manassas Ballet knowingly employing illegal aliens raised questions about his dedication to that principle. My take here is that the Ballet is much more of a calling for Wolfe than being on City Council and he should pick the one more meaningful to him, or the voters should save him the trouble.
Jerry Carman came out of nowhere to start an energetic campaign for City Council as a conservative beholden to no one. The array of signs all over the city promoting his candidacy shows that’s been working, and it is especially interesting to see how many members of the Manassas Republican Committee have his signs in their yard. For folks wanting to shake up the establishment a bit, Jerry seems to be a guy who will get on the Council and fight hard for fiscal discipline and not allow staff to be bullied around by miscreants like Ricardo Juarez. With young kids in the school system, he’s got a lot of skin in the game, so there’s a lot of motivation here to turn things around in one of the less successful parts of the city.
I’ve met Jerry and was highly impressed with him. Having a watchdog on City Council could be very valuable and he seems very well suited to filling a role like that, and I think he’d be an excellent addition.
Patricia Richie-Folks (no website available) is an unusual pick by the Manassas Democrats to run for office. A recent transplant from Florida with no history in the city, she’s aligned with the Virginia Organizing Project which supports illegal aliens. It’s been hard to find much about her qualifications and experience, although facebook has provided some rather disturbing insights. Apparently not many Manassas Democrats are actually happy with Richie-Folks as a candidate other than the Unitarian crowd and her campaign thus far seems to be little more than hoping someone with a “D” next to their name might by default get enough votes to squeak by.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Despite the boilerplate campaign rhetoric about business development from her, the only public record she has involves supporting illegal aliens and making government bigger and more intrusive.
Some supporters of Sheryl Bass (including some prominent spouses of the local GOP establishment) have mounted a write-in campaign for her in the wake of her failing to get the Republican nomination at the Convention in January. To Bass’ credit she is supporting the Republican nominees, is not participating in this campaign, and has thereby displayed admirable dignity and honor in the wake of what was a bitter disappointment to her.
There’s a big reason she didn’t get that nomination, however. During her term on City Council Bass consistently demonstrated a stunning lack of understanding of what was going on, her most significant accomplishment was helping to architect the failure that the city schools have become, she exhibits the same appearance of a conflict of interest with the Manassas Ballet by serving as its President, and her voting record in favor of spending and higher taxes is exactly what I expected it would be when she ran for an appointment to Council in 2007. While I think she is a wonderful person who has handled her rejection at the convention with absolutely remarkable grace, she’s shown herself to be entirely unsuited to serving as an elected official. I really have to wonder why anyone would be expending a lot of effort to get her re-elected, given how she’s performed so far.
So how is this all going to sort out? With an environment as dynamic as this it’s really hard to tell. Bass’ supporters have a tremendous hurdle to get about 700 people to write her name in, but it’s possible her presence in the field might be enough to knock Patricia Richie-Folks’ performance down and keep her out of office. In a general election Mark Wolfe is much stronger as a candidate than at a convention, even given some of the criticism he’s gotten which has weakened him some. Whether he or Jerry Carman will take the third-place spot is hard to predict, but it’s like between the two of them. Jon Way has remained pretty much clear of controversy and will likely be the top vote-getter, and I believe Ian Lovejoy will slip in there in second place.
Whoever you support (and you can vote for three candidates on May 1st), they need your help right now. Things could shake out a lot differently than I expect and efforts in the last week make a huge difference. If you care whether someone with connections to transsexual porn stars and a supporter of KK’s Temptations will have a vote on City Council, you need to get engaged. Don’t expect anyone else will do that work for you.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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