News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Election Shocker: Plum Challenged by Tough-on-Crime Republican Neighborhood Watch Leader

333539_107164623b.jpgWe confess. As we approach November, all the excitement about Mojitogate has eclipsed other local election "action." But for the first time in a decade, we have a competitive -- or at least a two-candidate -- race for the General Assembly, as Ken Plum (D-Mauve) is being challenged by a Republican.

Hugh "Mac" Cannon is hustling to make up for lost time. While many others running for the state legislature announced their candidacies in June, Cannon announced his intention to run as a Republican against longtime Del. Ken Plum (D-36) on Sept. 8, after the previous Republican runner backed out of the race... He grew up in Oakton and now lives in south Reston with his wife and three young children.

As a delegate, he said, his priorities would be cracking down on crime, reducing traffic congestion, maintaining a healthy environment for business and managing the funding and implications of Rail to Dulles.
Like Plum, Cannon supports the Metro extension, but worries about the crime implications. Fortunately, Cannon has extensive experience in crime prevention, as head of his South Reston neighborhood watch:
When Cannon moved into his neighborhood in the Deepwood area, he said, drug deals were going on under the neighbors’ noses. He worked with police to alleviate the problem and now heads his neighborhood watch. "We don’t want the gangs in our neighborhoods," he said, noting that gang "tagging" was still common in the area. "If they’re tagging, they’re there."
Sweet! Anyhoo, Plum and Cannon just had a nice debate about transportation, and guess what? They're both for it!
WHEN THE CANDIDATES were asked to name a few ways to reduce congestion, other than Rail to Dulles, that they wanted to see funded once money was available, Plum said he wanted the timing of traffic signals adjusted. "We get a whole lot of bang for our buck when we improve intersections so that traffic does not get held up," he said. Also, Plum said he wanted to see a rail extension on Interstate 66 and an increase in telecommuting and flexible work schedules, as well as a mass-transit feeder system to get people to the future Metro stations without cars.

Cannon agreed with the idea of mass transit around the rail stations, but said he also wanted to see the road grid improved in those areas, because many people would drive to the stations to park. He also said the Fairfax County Parkway needed to be completed and Reston Parkway widened, and he said he wanted to make sure that businesses paying extra taxes to fund the rail would benefit most from its arrival.

When it was mentioned that some residents of the area disagreed with the funding structure for Rail to Dulles, according to which, more than half the funding is to come from increased tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, Plum pointed out that users of the toll road would benefit from reductions in congestion that would result from the presence of rail. However, he added that he intended to seek additional federal funding through "green"-oriented stimulus money and the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act. He noted that federal funding had covered about 80 percent of the construction of the downtown Metro system and said he thought the federal government should be footing more than about a quarter of the bill for the rail that would take visitors from the airport to the nation’s capital.

Cannon said he supported the rail but was concerned about people who were being taxed multiple times over to pay for it, as well as the fact that construction was split into two phases, with no guarantee that it would reach Reston Town Center.
Where there was disagreement, however, was on the long-dormant issue of Reston becoming a Res-TOWN.
When he was asked whether he would support a local vote on whether Reston wanted to become a town, Cannon said he would do so if it seemed warranted and that he would sponsor a bill seeking self-governance for the community if a majority of residents supported it. "I think it’s important that the people of Reston have a voice and have it heard and don’t have that voice given away to partisan politics," he said.

"With the urban county forming of government, stepping back to a town would be a step backwards," Plum said. But he said local governance had become "out of kilter" and needed to be reexamined. For example, he said he represented about 70,000 people, while his county supervisor represented about 100,000. "Local government ought to be closer to the people," Plum said. He said the county should look at new forms of governance that would allow people more representation and more say at the local level.
Terrific. Because what we all need is more local government coming up with great ideas like this.


  1. Broke in Charter OakOctober 9, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    What on Earth is happening to me? When I still lived back North I found myself subconsciously siding with the Democratic party almost autonomously, but since I've moved to the South (or the Quasi-South anyways) I find myself supporting Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell over his Democratic challenger Creigh Deeds AND being impressed by this newcomer, Mr. Cannon, as well. Can I really be a closet Republican?! :-)

  2. Vote Libertarian.

  3. Hmmmmm. In 2005, Plum lost 20% of the vote to a one-issue (guns) independent. Plum is an only-criminals-may-have-guns liberal. Ducks Unlimited association means that Cannon has 2nd amendment cred, and real-world environmental chops as well. That beats Plum's speech on earth-day, but vote for the developers record. I bet Plum is actually vulnerable.

    Now if only whatever is left of the Republican party would run someone against Hudgins.

  4. Broke in Charter Oak:

    Nah. You're still a Democrat. You're living in contemporary Reston, a world apart. Sometimes we vote for Republicans. It's an innate preservation instinct. Can't be helped.

  5. BiCO: Not to worry! I pretty much always vote for democrats in national elections, and lately republicans in local elections. Our local republicans tend to be moderates (and usually run on the idea of keeping some tax money in NoVA).

    And I will never, ever vote for Cathy Hudgins OR Jim Moran.

  6. Here is a link to the Channel 28 Plum/Cannon debate. It takes about 33 seconds to start up.

  7. BiCo: (I do like that abbreviation) -- relax, you're just coming over the dark side. But we're very nice, mostly civil and we serve great food.

  8. Let's not forget, we ALL voted for Tom Davis(a Republican, BiCo).

  9. Whatever one's opinion of Ken Plum, glad to see we at last have a competitive race that keeps the democratic process alive. If I wanted to live in a one-party state, I'd move to North Korea (much as I prefer Reston's Dear Leader to their Dear Leader).


    Glad to see I am not the only one who thinks that politicans manufacture crisis's to score political points!

  11. Plum along with Hudgins wants to keep Reston 'on the plantation' as a cash cow for Fairfax.


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