News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

In Hunter Mill Supervisor Race, Bad Looks Abound

We weren't the only ones who were a little surprised that Comstock employee Maggie Parker, who is running for the June 11 primary that will effectively decide who replaces retiring Hunter Mill representative Cathy Hudgins on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was allowed to plaster building-sized posters of herself, who as we may have mentioned is a Comstock employee, all over Comstock property at and near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

What makes it weirder is that Comstock has barred in-person campaigning on its property -- a little dicey given its public-private provenance -- but to be expected in today's climate of "public spaces" that are public in retail name only. Parker, a Comstock employee, told our BFFs at Reston Now that she is "challenging" her management to allow campaigning for one day, and that the giant signs are all fine because they're on "private property."

We'll take her at her word. But if you're an employee of a developer running in a race that, to the extent people are paying attention, is all about the growing backlash to rapid-scale development, plastering your name all over said rapid-scale development seems like... a bad look.

Of course, Parker isn't alone in bad looks. Fellow candidate Walter Alcorn, who won the coveted-in-1987 old-timey Washington Post "news paper" endorsement for, in part, his experience as a planning commissioner and making Tysons walkable (we paraphrase, but just barely), got a little unwanted attention of his own when he returned a couple of donations from the leaders of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a "right-wing, pro-business group."

Again, we'll take him at his word, but the "won't take money from Hunter Mill developers" tagline on his fancy mailers seems... kinda it-depends-on-what-your-definition-of-is-is specific.

So far as we know, Alcorn, Parker, and all the other candidates running for Hudgins' seat --- Laurie Dodd, Shyamali Hauth and Parker Messick -- are fine! They've issued statements opposing efforts to develop Reston's two golf courses, and have said reassuring things in forums and in Q&As. You can even watch them on YouTube! And we're not reflexively anti-development, so we're not immediately suspicious of anyone who isn't talking about returning Reston to its two-lane, nudist colony days.

But it's funny. Over the years, every time one of the commenters on this filthy "web log" would accuse Hudgins of being in developers' pockets -- which happened a lot -- we'd roll our eyes. It's a county board seat, after all, not Tammany Hall! But Alcorn has apparently raised over $71,000, and Parker's giant signs can't be cheap! Stuff like this is enough to make us lose our wide-eyed optimistic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Fair Oaks view of local politics. It's almost as if money, if not talks, at least pays for giant billboards and enough mailers to fell all of Reston's remaining trees for their printing.

But we digress. Parker also told Reston Now that Comstock is willing to sell advertising space to any candidate. We'll just wait to see how much they'll charge us to put a giant 20-by-30-foot version of this fancy poster on the Reston Station parallelogram; we're sure neither the Hunter Mill candidates nor the anchor tenant would mind, the end.


  1. A young man came to my door last weekend campaigning for Maggie Parker. I asked him if she was the one who worked for Comstock and he said no.

  2. "If you're an employee of a developer running in a race that, to the extent people are paying attention, is all about the growing backlash to rapid-scale development, plastering your name all over said rapid-scale development seems like... a bad look."

    When people show you who they are, believe them.

  3. Her financial funding report is pretty clear on who Maggie Parker is.... The Comstock "in-kind" donations to her campaign are over 77k.

  4. Also, check out the responses to the Coalition for a Planned Reston questionnaire. One of them... does not look like the others.

    1. Yup, know who you mean. Our hardhitting local new site Reston Now inadvertently said it all when it mistakenly credited a photo of her to "Maggie Comstock". Truer words never spoken.

  5. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJune 5, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    One really should take a look at where Maggie Parker’s campaign money is coming from.

    A little digging on the Virginia Public Access Project – – shows a developer-heavy list of contributors to her campaign. Among them:

    $25,000 – Miller and Long Company (concrete contractors)
    $25,000 – James G. Davis Construction Corp.
    $14,758 – CRS Sunset Hills II LC
    $5,000 – L.F. Jennings, Inc. (general contractors)

    And the piece de resistance:
    $87,287 – Multiple donations from Comstock Development Services

    No, nothing at all to see here. Move along. Maggie Comstock will definitely represent citizens’ interests, not developers.

    Move along.


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