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Manassas City Council Candidates 2012

By Greg L | 23 April 2012 | Manassas City | 33 Comments

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.

Republican Candidates

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.

Independents

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.

Democrats

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.

Write-In

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.



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33 Comments

  1. Ray Beverage said on 23 Apr 2012 at 8:06 am:
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    Greg, Ian took his landslide not just because of the two endorsements, but the door-to-door effort to rally delegates to the convention. He called me back in January before he officially announced to talk about what he was doing, what his stands are. I personally like his campaign slogan “The whole town, not just Old Town”.

    And a slight correction - Jerry home schools his youngest and that was a “ping” on him by several people. They raised the issue how can you speak to the schools when your kids are not even in it.

    Good analysis, and it is going to be an interesting Voting Day.

  2. City Taxpayer said on 23 Apr 2012 at 8:37 am:
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    Lovejoy, Way, Carmen, 1, 2, 3 that’s how it will go I hope.

    Bass is fading in spite of the moderate/liberal wing of the City GOP helping her out big time due to fear they will lose control and can’t spend my money as they please on $600,000 bike trails and $20,000 Manassas Ballets.

    Wolfe just has too much baggage and bad press to ignore.

    Ritchie-Folks is too much of an uber-liberal for this town and has no experience to speak of.

    Lets get this over please and get back to work.

  3. true blue said on 23 Apr 2012 at 10:56 am:
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    I agree w/ your analysis on Ms Ritchie-Folks; a recent transplant with no history in the city. Ian, also a recent transplant, has worked dilligently. People can (and do) differ on his politics, but he worked hard to get where he is. Carmen, also I believe a recent transplant, however has about as much accomplishment and backup in the city as Ms Ritchie Folks, and as observed home schools his children. Nothing wrong with that, but I believe an effective publis servant is someone using the taxpayer services. Which as you observe, leaves Mrs. Bass who has a monumental uphill climb to get people out and vote. The Republican right will go and vote for Lovejoy & Carmen, the question is will anyone else show up and vote?

  4. Ha! said on 23 Apr 2012 at 10:57 am:
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    Bass is fading? Has there been a poll conducted? You wouldn’t know it by the number of pink signs around the city. I was at the farmer’s market on Saturday and noticed a table set up outside Opera House, doing a brisk bit of campaigning for Bass. By the hysterics of some on this and other blogs, it would appear there’s a lot of fear that the effort may be successful, or just successful enough to bump off Carman.

  5. 4kidsnadog said on 23 Apr 2012 at 11:52 am:
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    For those that raise issue with Jerry homeschooling. Why shouldn’t he weigh in? His tax money goes to the schools. Besides, if NOT having kids enrolled in public school is truly an argument then Lovejoy, Way and Bass shouldn’t get people votes either….none of them currently have kids in shool.

  6. Jerry Carman said on 23 Apr 2012 at 12:44 pm:
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    This whole mind set that a citizen who chooses not to send their children to public schools should not criticize, comment on reforms or use as a platform for election consideration does not fully compute with me. Schools are at the top of any local “food chain”. They affect property values, community safety, taxes and the primary determination on whether to move into our city (or not). This stands true with individuals, families with or with-out school age children, home “schoolers” and businesses. We will not attract these entities of a more meritorious nature unless we fix our schools. I would like nothing better than to know that sending my children to our public schools was the best option. Being told on two different occasions (from teachers in my district) “Only send your children here as a last resort”, speaks volumes. We all know we have a failing education system with several factors subtracting from what most would consider a quality education system. If I am fortunate enough to be elected I will work and negotiate diligently, professionally and respectfully with our school board and superintendent to solve these problems using teacher input as the back bone.

    I have lived in the City for 10 years and realize some may consider that a recent transplant.

  7. CityTaxpayer2 said on 23 Apr 2012 at 1:25 pm:
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    Carman for Manassas City Schoolboard!

  8. J. Adams said on 23 Apr 2012 at 1:30 pm:
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    I don’t care where Mr. Carman sends his kids and, honestly, don’t understand why that should make a difference for City Council.

    On the other hand, I am concerned about Mr. Carman’s lack of any relevant experience. He has, as far as I can tell, never held a leadership position in any organization at any level. Is he a leader in his church? The Masons? Does he coach little league? Anything?

    How in the world can anyone say what kind of City Council member he will be? How can he know what kind of leader he will be, when he has never led? This is especially disturbing since he opted not to attend the candidates forum last week. If he can’t stand up in front of the public during the campaign and make hard promises, can he stand up in front of the public as a member of the City Council and make hard decisions?

    It is very easy for Mr. Carman to say the right things and tell people what they want to hear privately. As we all know, it is much harder to stand up in front of a room full of angry city employees and vote to cut their benefits. Can Mr. Carman do that? None of us knows, because he has never had to make difficult public decisions like that.

    Mr. Way, Wolfe and Lovejoy have. I may not agree with everything they have done, but I’ll take a leader with whom I agree 90% of the time to a complete blank slate any day.

    Carman looks, to me, like a walk-on freshman, showing up on the first day of practice and demanding to be made the starting quarterback. Despite never having played football before. I suppose it is possible he could be good, but it seems unlikely.

  9. Ha! said on 23 Apr 2012 at 1:48 pm:
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    J. Adams,

    It would appear that the Manassas Republican Chairman agrees with you:

    http://manassas.patch.com/articles/letter-experience-counts-in-city-council-election#photo-3959229

  10. Jerry Carman said on 23 Apr 2012 at 1:57 pm:
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    J Adams,

    I can agree with your comment about your 90% analogy. If you agree with anyone 90% of the time then there is no logical calculation that would or should sway you from your current course.

    As far as being a leader:

    I have over 20 years experience in operations and sales management (supervising over 100 employees with complete P&L responsibility).

    I am a leader in the children’s ministry at my church.

    Was and will return to coach soccer after the election.

    And most importantly a successful leader for my family.

    To me it is easier to say what someone wants to hear in a public forum (as there are no follow up questions, debate or sincere one-on-one rhetoric) than speaking with someone about their personal concerns, angers and questions and answering sincerely in person.

    In your analogy (which is fine) the starting QB is 90% fit and capable so why the need to change to someone who “seems unlikely” to have enough leadership and experience to take over.

    My analogy is our starting QB is injured and if not replaced we may lose the game.

  11. Anonymous said on 23 Apr 2012 at 2:02 pm:
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    Sure looks like the establishment is worried that their boy Wolfe is going to get knocked off by Jerry Carman. They’re practically ignoring everyone but him.

    Course stuff like this only makes their job harder: http://virginiavirtucon.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/a-skunk-in-swan-lake/ Looks like establishment boy Wolfe is up to his neck in dirty dealings with taxpayer money!

  12. Ha! said on 23 Apr 2012 at 2:44 pm:
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    Or could it be the public is being made aware that Mr. Carman is not ready for prime-time, and this has his supporters concerned? There’s no substitute for actually having done stuff. Like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, people are getting wise to the fact that he has nothing to point to that would indicate he’s ready for the tasks at hand. He couldn’t even manage to show up to a candidates forum. Why should we expect him to show up to work for Manassas, when he’s never worked for Manassas before, in ANY capacity.

  13. Doug Brown said on 23 Apr 2012 at 3:50 pm:
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    Ha! vs Jerry Carman

    Yes, yes, something is missing here but I just can’t name it.

  14. Doug Brown said on 23 Apr 2012 at 4:05 pm:
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    “andy says:

    April 22, 2012 at 9:21 am

    HA! I used to talk to that midnight rider guy on the CB….”

    Andy? :-)

  15. Badger said on 23 Apr 2012 at 4:09 pm:
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    You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results… the same goes regarding elected officials. If you don’t like what you have, try something different.

    The “worst that could happen” is the Manassas City Council could stop spending taxpayer dollars on questionable choices that most reasonable people object to.

  16. citizenofmanassas said on 23 Apr 2012 at 5:20 pm:
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    Sometimes a fresh face and ideas is a good thing for local politics. I’m not concerned with Jerry not having experence in politics. People have to start somewhere and why not with a Council position?

  17. Anonymous said on 23 Apr 2012 at 5:42 pm:
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    Yes! Jerry Carman has no experiences as an elected official. We should require that all the city council members have served in the state senate, or at least as a Delegate for at least two terms before they’re considered qualified to be a city councilman.

    Great idea. Jackson Miller for Council! The ONLY qualified candidate!

  18. Maureen said on 23 Apr 2012 at 6:43 pm:
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    I was under the impression that Jerry Carmen had Something at work that he couldn’t get out of.
    I never hear a word when incumbents won’t show up to forums.

    I do believe this will be a very interesting election.

  19. Jon Wong said on 23 Apr 2012 at 7:02 pm:
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    Steve Chapman supporters plunkering for Lovejoy and Carman= CooCoo Board!

  20. Doug Brown said on 23 Apr 2012 at 7:56 pm:
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    Jon Wong any relation to Jon Way or is that the Wong Way?

  21. CityTaxpayer2 said on 24 Apr 2012 at 5:53 am:
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    Steve Chapman’s previous experience would have made him a more qualified candidate for council, than is Carman.

  22. Pinky said on 24 Apr 2012 at 6:47 am:
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    Sheryl Bass likes to look at her self in the mirror and Mark Wolfe has his hand in my wallet. Who needs more of that in politics experience or not?

  23. G Man said on 24 Apr 2012 at 7:34 am:
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    You Bass-akwards supporters are so transparent. Bass has nothing to offer so instead of trying to build her up your game plan is to try to tear down the candidate you believe is most vulnerable on every website. Sad!

  24. Ha yourself said on 24 Apr 2012 at 8:15 am:
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    Hey All.

    Check the Harrover fake blog - he has fakes posing as conservatives trashing seton school and prolifers - shows what they are really all about - haters who are closed minded and running for their political lives!

  25. School Street Resident said on 24 Apr 2012 at 8:22 am:
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    It was clear last night to the long time residents of School and Jefferson Streets and Old Wellington Road that we were united against this “trail of trouble”. Clear to was that Andrew Harrover and Mark Wolfe and Sherry Bass and their rich white friends, many who don’t even live in the City, want to shove this $600,000 trail down our throats. Thank you Mayor Parrish, Couniclman Way and Aveni and candidates Lovejoy, Carman, and Sutherland for your support of our grassroot efforts!

  26. bigbikeseat said on 24 Apr 2012 at 12:49 pm:
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    Harrover site is down. He is claiming he got hacked. Funny how that happens everytime someone calls out his fake posts?

  27. oldtowner said on 24 Apr 2012 at 8:41 pm:
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    Do tell more….

  28. citizenofmanassas said on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:42 pm:
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    His blog did not get hacked. He shut it down because some posters were using the names of other posters.

  29. No Way said on 25 Apr 2012 at 2:43 pm:
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    Or so he says COM . . . sad to think/see he is working for Betsy and the moonhaters to elect frauds . . . funny how an IT guy can’t control his own blog????

  30. may ferris said on 27 Apr 2012 at 3:23 pm:
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    ABOUT THE CANDIDATE MARK WOLFE: After reading such disgusting things about Mark Wolfe and his dance company over the past several years, my spouse and I decided not to put our children through that mess. But that doesn’t mean I don’t support the arts or financial aid to the arts. One rotten apple doesn’t spoil the barrel (even though it seems as if Mr. Wolfe has done his best to spoil the whole thing for us all). I’ll never vote for the man.

    But if we can invest thousands of dollars into a chic Fairfax-owned Hylton Center where the profits are re-invested into GMU salaries (oh yes!), and if we’re going to pour thousands of dollars into another charitable (“humanistic”) venture to learn about tanks (the wartime museum – check out the ED’s salary!), at least we can do something to raise our kids with some artistic sensibility and insight. I don’t want to be ashamed of my county and city because their leaders are just hayseed bumpkins with political agendas. I want my children to have some pride in having grown up in a place where they learned to use their minds - and not just their crocodile public smiles.

  31. Bill Hogan said on 29 Apr 2012 at 2:49 pm:
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    Is it true what I read about Charles Sutherland over on the Patch? I hope it is just a hoax.

  32. J. Bill said on 29 Apr 2012 at 8:36 pm:
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    It must be a hoax. Pretty crappy attempt to smear a man two days before the election. I’m certain Charles will debunk all this with the facts. Go get em Charles.

  33. Greg L said on 29 Apr 2012 at 8:45 pm:
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    Someone tried to peddle some dirt to me about Charles, which had pretty obviously been obtained by one of those sleazy internet “background check” services that conflates everyone with the same or similar name in an area into one person. It was complete garbage, and the individual responsible for it is taking on some pretty substantial civil liabilities in trying to do this.

    Just goes to show how desperate some in the establishment crowd can become when their grip on power is threatened. They’ve certainly demonstrated, if it wasn’t already apparent by the way they’ve run Manassas City schools into the ground, that they’re entirely unworthy of public support.

    I’m sure there will be a story about this soon. I’m holding off until Charles has a chance to respond, should this irresponsible last-minute smear effort actually appear somewhere. So far there’s just rumors that it showed up on patch at some point, but I haven’t seen it.

    (Folks, email me info about this rather than adding fuel to this smear effort by posting links to stuff.)

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