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Offices: Herndon Mayor & Town Council
Terms: Two Years
Salaries: Mayor, $6,000 per year. Town Council members, $4,000 per year
Duties: The mayor presides over council meetings; serves as ceremonial head of town government; authenticates any document or instrument required by the council; has all rights and duties of other council members; and has no veto power. The council provides policy guidance for the town manager; establishes town policies; passes resolutions and ordinances; approves the town budget; sets tax rates; approves land-use plans; and makes appointments.
QUESTIONS
Metro station: In anticipation of the Metro extension coming to Herndon, how would you plan to balance issues of access to the Metro station, commercial development and maintaining Herndon's “small town character”?
Going Green: During Herndon’s planning process would you favor “going green” for the Downtown Economic Development Initiatives? If so, how?
Security: Do you believe the residents and businesses in the Town of Herndon face security issues? If so, how would you help them address this concern?
Issue: What other issue is important to residents of the Town of Herndon, and what solutions would you propose to address it?

Candidates for Mayor, Herndon

(Vote for not more than one)

Lisa C. Merkel, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Vice Mayor Lisa Merkel lives in downtown Herndon with her husband and two young children. A former teacher, she holds a MS from Virginia Tech, and has represented the town on a Fairfax County task force advocating for Herndon’s traffic and infrastructure needs as Metro arrives in the Dulles Corridor.

Metro station: A vibrant, successful downtown coupled with public transportation connections to the Herndon Station will increase property values and set Herndon apart from other stations on the Silver Line. Herndon is the only station on the Silver Line with proximity to a historic downtown - we must capitalize on this unique position and ensure that the Herndon Station celebrates our sense of place - as our recently passed Metro Area plan states - letting riders know they have arrived in Herndon as soon as they step off the train.

Going green: I will continue to advocate for implementing Green initiatives as we plan for a 21st century Herndon. Given our access to the W&OD trail, Capital Bike Share should be considered as an option for connecting Herndon Station with Downtown and beyond. We must work to get people out of their cars and into public transportation whenever possible, and assert this need in our Comprehensive Plan. The time to advocate for a circulator bus component to the Fairfax Connector is now so that Town residents have frequent, reliable public transportation to Herndon Station on opening day.

Security: Public safety is my top priority. As Mayor, I will continue working to ensure that our community remains a safe place to do business and raise our families. I will work with our police chief to expand and strengthen our Community Policing Program, giving residents access and opportunity to work closely with officers to proactively address any concerns that may arise.

Issue: Like all of Northern Virginia, traffic is an issue for Herndon. It is crucial for Herndon to work with surrounding jurisdictions to reduce the amount of cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets. By reprogramming traffic signals and improving signage, I will work to make Herndon Parkway the fast and desirable bypass it should be.

Contact: www.lisamerkel.com; lisamerkel4herndon@gmail.com; 571-449-7121

Jasbinder Singh, Independent, Challenger

Biography: B. Tech. Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, India; M.S. Civil Engineering & PhD Program in Urban and Public Affairs, Carnegie-Mellon University; Owner, Policy Planning & Evaluation, Inc., Economic & Policy Analysis in Energy, Environment & Transportation since 1977; Councilmember, Town of Herndon, 2010-Present.

Metro station: For the last 18 months, I have pushed for achieving an appropriate balance between traffic, density and Herndon values. We have made considerable progress, but we still have a long way to go in achieving this balance. I would begin by critically evaluating the existing traffic analysis, financial feasibility of the proposed development, and incentives for development and discussing ways in which the Metro area should capture Herndon's small town character and be integrated into the Town.

Going green: "Going Green" can enhance the Downtown's "sense of place"; however, we should carefully weigh the cost and benefits of green initiatives. The Town could take at least two "going green" steps. First, it could reduce the real estate tax rates for buildings that meet certain sustainability characteristics. Second, it could give priority to pedestrian friendly, safe, tree or flowerbed-lined sidewalks, open walk-able spaces, interconnected roadwork, and efficient transportation to enhance retail customer experience.

Security: Our streets and neighborhoods are generally considered quite safe; however, "economic security" can lead to increased crime. Many homeowners have lost their jobs and are just holding on to their homes. Expected Federal budget cuts may lead to more hardship. To protect property values, the Town should work with area employers to give preferred access to jobs for Herndon residents. It should also undertake concerted efforts to promote job growth within the town including reducing the regulatory burden.

Issue: Many administrative processes used by the town are cumbersome and costly. For instance, sometimes, the Town holds its public hearings only after the staff has made its decisions. This process leads to a defensive posture by the staff, contentious interactions with affected citizens, lengthy delays, and unsatisfactory solutions. We must change our processes to permit genuine deliberation by the affected citizens well in advance of the actual decisions.

Contact: www.singhformayor.com; singhformayorearthlink.net; 703-582-2229

William B. "Bill" Tirrell, Independent, Challenger

Biography: BS, U.S. Naval Academy; MS, Naval Postgraduate School; Federal employee; eight Council terms (90-92, 94-02, 06-12), two Town Planning Commission terms (88-90, 02-06), Town BZA(87-88), Town Architecture Review Board (85-87); leader of/in many local (Sister Cities), state (Jaycees) and national organizations (National Chair, Spina Bifida Association)

Metro station: Metro has many variables; we cannot ignore the difficult ones. A reliable traffic study is mandatory when considering development along the Herndon Parkway near Metro, with connectors between parcels expediting traffic within the developed area, and inducements for developers to rebuild and to offer proffer improvements to make the Metro complex work. We must spare affected neighborhoods the burdens of unwanted pass-through traffic yet allow quick access to homes and businesses. Rash actions and hurried judgments are not prudent solutions. We also must hold final rezoning action until we “know” that we'll actually have a Metro station and landing.

Going green: Yes - tempered with the realities of cost (present and future). Attractive buildings with low-carbon footprint are among the desirable features. Consumers pay for everything so taking care not to “overprice” development is important.

Security: Yes - and more in some neighborhoods than others. Convincing those who would prey on our residents and businesses to leave will remain tied as my number one issue. We have an excellent police force, an excellent zoning department, and citizens who care. We are a TEAM and together we need to maintain pressure on 'bad performers'.

Issue: This election is about experience. Learning on the job is not the best preparation for making difficult choices. Local government is becoming more complex and the choices more difficult. Thus, experience is a most important attribute for those serving in these positions. Different neighborhoods have different issues - traffic seems to be a constant and growing problem, and work solicitation and real or perceived private property misuse for that purpose. I support regional solutions to traffic (e.g., alternative routes around town for through traffic, use of Herndon Parkway instead of neighborhood streets, spot fixes at intersections (several of which I've gotten done) and legitimate temporary employment agencies for those who can legally work.

Contact: www.billtirrellformayor.com; bill.tirrell@verizon.net; 571-334-7228

Candidates for Town Council, Herndon

(Vote for not more than six)

Eric H. Boll, Independent, Challenger

Biography: I was an electronics engineer for 30+ years and recently opened my own small business. I have lived in Canada, the United States, and France and worked with business people all over the world. My wife and I settled in Herndon due to the great schools and small town feel.

Metro station: The metro station development is inside the O&LI zoned area and abuts the toll road. It covers approximately 1.4% of the town’s area. The tax revenue from new businesses around the metro station will greatly benefit the remaining 98.6% of the town. Towns in large urban areas often struggle with finances and decline as infrastructure ages and additional revenue is unavailable. The development will allow Herndon to buck this trend and provide a revenue stream ensuring the high quality of services and amenities valued by residents continues to be funded. This will allow Herndon to maintain its town charm.

Going green: Public transportation is more energy efficient than private vehicles. The coming of Metro to Herndon will provide residents with convenient and energy efficient transportation. A Fairfax Connector circulator bus in town along with convenient pedestrian and cyclist access to the Herndon station will significantly lower fuel use while maintaining a high quality of life for town residents.

Security: Herndon property and violent crime rates are significantly below national averages and compare favorably with Virginia rates. Crime rates in Herndon have trended down for the past 10 years. Our large police force has a fast response time. Herndon has some issues with larceny, public drunkenness, shoplifting, etc. Community policing should be increased with more police officers patrolling on foot or bicycle in problem areas.

Issue: Traffic congestion through the town center annoys residents and is mostly due to cut through traffic. The roads into town provide visual cues to drivers to drive through the center of town. Modifications are needed at the intersections to direct cut through traffic to use Herndon Parkway. The traffic calming project on Dranesville south of Herndon Parkway is a good start. Evaluation of traffic data before and after the project completion is required to determine its effectiveness.

Contact: www.ericboll.com; BollForHerndon@gmail.com; 703-473-9123

Jeffrey L. Davidson, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Jeff bought a new townhouse in Herndon in 1986. He is President of his HOA. Jeff holds Bachelor degrees in Social Science and Computer Science. He did post-graduate work in Technology Management. Jeff works for the Government as a Division Chief. He handles management tasks and monitors major contracts daily.

Metro station: I believe that the coming of Metro to Herndon provides us with an opportunity to complete the vision for Herndon Parkway that Edward Stirewalt designed in the 1950s. I’d like to see Stirewalt’s vision of a University within Herndon’s borders completed at the Metro and connected to the Downtown theater. The University will compliment the schools that we already have and new ones moving in. With the coming reduction in federal spending, Herndon needs an additional major source of revenue and business activity.

Going green: This year Herndon earned the Green Government Certification awarded by the Virginia Municipal League. Herndon's participation in VML's "Green Government Challenge," was spearheaded by the council and executed by the town's Department of Public Works. A list of programs and initiatives that the town undertook is listed on the town web site. I will work to continue that success!

Security: I believe that the Herndon Police Department provides an excellent level of service to the town that could not be matched by the County Police alone. I support Community Policing and the bicycle patrols. There is no guarantee in life, but I believe that Herndon is a safe place. I frequently walk Downtown on the W&OD Trail from my home without concern. The coming lighting of the Trail will make it even safer.

Issue: With increasing development in the areas surrounding Herndon and within the Town itself, traffic is a major concern. Cut through traffic avoiding the Toll Road will increase as the tolls go up. Currently, traffic issues are studied neighborhood by neighborhood, but not as a town-wide system of inter-related parts that includes the surrounding counties as I propose. The Town should not only prohibit traffic where it is not wanted, but should also entice traffic to go where we do want it to be.

Contact: www.jeff4herndon.com; jeff4herndon@earthlink.net; 703-471-1153

Connie H. Hutchinson, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Currently an Administrator for a marketing firm in Fairfax, I graduated from Virginia Computer College and Herndon High School, having been born and raised in Herndon. First elected in 1992, this is my sixth term on Council, serving as Vice Mayor from 2008-2010. I focus on representing citizens’ concerns.

Metro station: Balancing access to Metro and maintaining the Town’s unique character will be a challenge and is the main reason I am running for re-election. Metro’s arrival will bring many opportunities, but increased traffic could also harm our quality of life. The push toward ‘urbanization’ could threaten the feeling of ‘community’ that Herndon has enjoyed. Therefore, planning and re-zoning in our Metro area must consider and mitigate any potential negative impacts on our roads and our neighborhoods. Redevelopment must not overpower the surrounding current uses and improvements to the road network in that area will need to take place in order to keep traffic moving along the Herndon Parkway.

Going green: Herndon is already very environmentally friendly, as evidenced by the “Going Green” award the Town received at the last VML conference. Our recycling program has been a model for many communities, and the current Downtown Master Plan encourages future LEED-certified development.

Security: Financial security has been a threat to everyone in this down economy, but the Town’s efforts to combat residential overcrowding and thereby help lower the number of foreclosures has benefitted us all. Property values are showing a slight increase and our police force works hard to maintain safe neighborhoods for families to enjoy.

Issue: As the Town ages and new development occurs, our infrastructure needs continue to increase. Improvements to roads and sidewalks, and storm-water management efforts become top priorities and must be funded. However, as revenues decrease at the State level, more and more unfunded mandates get pushed to the local level, increasing our need to do more with less. I am extremely proud of how well the recent councils I’ve been on have handled the Town’s finances. We must continue to be vigilant and increase efficiencies and find even more cost-saving measures because, it’s your money!

Contact: www.connieforcouncil.com; connie.hutchinson@herndon-va.gov; 703-435-1040

C. Melissa Jonas, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Melissa Jonas, her husband Bill, and their two children have lived in Herndon since 2002. She earned her college degrees from the College of William and Mary. Since 1999 Melissa has worked for Metrostudy. Melissa’s activities include serving as a Planning Commissioner and helping build the Trinity Presbyterian/Herndon Elementary partnership.

Metro station: The Metro extension to Herndon provides both opportunities and challenges. The Town and its citizens need to work collaboratively with commercial land owners to create an area with well-connected access to the station landing for all riders. Additionally, buses and cars need designated places to safely transport riders to and from the area while allowing safe pedestrian and bike access. The station area should encourage people to explore our town from rail to trail.

Going green: Including “Going Green” in our Downtown Economic Development Initiatives planning will allow us to be good stewards of the Town for future generations. Improvements in our core should include enhancing tree canopy along streets by planting native trees, installing energy efficient lighting, and responsibly managing stormwater. Buildings should be energy efficient, low maintenance, and utilize resource-efficient building materials and systems. Encouraging this framework will attract unique businesses and enhance our unique sense of place.

Security: I do not believe the residents and businesses in Herndon face security issues. We are fortunate to have a responsive, well-staffed, and well-trained police force. Crime in the Town has trended downward over the past several years. Neighborhood watch programs, good community policing initiatives, and programs like the Citizen’s Police Academy help keep citizens informed and engaged. Building on these programs will help enhance the sense of security felt by the members of our community.

Issue: One of the biggest issues I have heard from citizens is their concern with vacant retail spaces. Now is the time to secure our own Economic Development Advisor who will work to attract businesses. We need to make sure the process of starting a business in Herndon is easy to understand and can happen in a timely manner. Ensuring this type of process will encourage businesses and services to fill our empty and future storefronts.

Contact: www.melissajonas.com; jonas4herndon@gmail.com; 703-828-5229

David A. "Dave" Kirby, Independent, Challenger

Biography: AS, Coyne Electrical School, Boston; Broadcast Engineering, Cleveland Institute of Electronics; SSGT, USAF Vietnam Veteran; Retired Federal Government IT Officer, 30 years; Commander, American Legion, 2006-present; Board Member Committee for Dulles;

Board Member Herndon Hospitality Association; 26 year resident of Herndon; Rotary Club member; Two term Town of Herndon Councilmember.

Metro station: The location to be redeveloped for our Metrorail stop is ideally located at the southernmost point in the Herndon Parkway. The recently approved Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan will allow the land owners to redevelop their properties and create a Transit-Oriented development that will not take away from our small town charm and atmosphere. It will complement our town and will make it more attractive to people who want to visit, work and live in a pleasant and welcoming “Oasis” within Northern Virginia.

Going green: I favor those “Going Green” ideas that are proven to save energy at a reasonable cost and with a proven total operating cost savings analysis. I am not in favor or using the CFL for Downtown Economic Development initiatives due to its mercury health hazard and expense. It appears that the LED may be a better alternative.

Security: Looking at the 2010 Annual Herndon Police Report one can see that Herndon has its share of Group A Crimes. These include destruction of property, larceny and assault and Drugs and Narcotic crimes. This is obviously a concern for our residents and businesses. That said, overall Group A incidents has decreased 10.4% from 2009 21010. The town is very fortunate to have a 54 sworn officer Police Agency with an average 3 minute response time that continues to work with the community to reduce crime in our town.

Issue: The Day Laborers looking for work at the corner of Alabama and Elden Street continues to be a stigma for our Town. I look forward to meeting with our new Police Chief and the Town Attorney to review what has been done and what else can be done to abate this situation. I will not support reopening a day labor site or anything else that would further encourage, this activity.

Contact: www.Kirbyforcouncil.com; Kirbyforcouncil@aol.com; 703- 481-6198

Sheila A. Olem, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Aflac sales associate. MS, University of Memphis; BS, University of North Alabama. Council member 2010 present, Board of Zoning Appeals 2000 - 2007; Serve(d) on numerous Boards including Council for the Arts of Herndon; Friends of Runnymede Park; Herndon Rotary Club; Federal Water Quality Association. Community involvement since 1990.

Metro station: The location of the Herndon Metro stop will enable the town to keep our ‘small town character’ in our Historic Downtown area while concentrating our commercial economic development adjacent to the metro. Working with the land owners, town residents, as well as the county and Metro my goal is to have a plan that will keep our ‘character’ as well as take advantage of the most significant economic engine for Herndon over the next 30 years.

Going green: I will continue to work to make Herndon the ‘Greenest Stop on the Silver Line’. The town has a long history of supporting the environment. For over twenty years, we have been named Tree City, USA and we have had curbside recycling for almost twenty years. Last year I pushed for the town to participate in the Virginia Go Green Initiative and we earned the ‘Green Government Certification’.

Security: Thanks to the Herndon Police Department (HPD) Herndon residents and businesses, experience one of the safest communities in the area. I will continue to support the HPD personnel with the support they need to do their job and support them with equipment and information technology needed to provide our community with a safe environment.

Issue: People want to be involved. I will continue to encourage a dialogue with citizens. Residents who care about their community want to feel their input is valued. This is one of the reasons Herndon has that ‘small town character’.

Contact: www.SheilaOlem.com; FriendsofSheilaOlem@verizon.net; 703-216-5277

Charlie D. Waddell, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Occupation: Senior Application Developer; Education: Bachelor of Science, Randolph-Macon College; Experience: Herndon Town Council, 2006-2010; Community service: Herndon Community Television; Herndon Historical Society; Herndon Community Association Coalition; Volunteer, Friday Night Live; Volunteer, Herndon Festival; Herndon Neighborhood College Alumni Association; Dumbarton Square Homeowners Association; Friends of Runnymede Park; Volunteer at “//”

Metro station: Citizen input will guide and figure decisively in defining the Herndon Metro Development area. The Zoning Ordinance amendment should reflect a density that doesn’t overwhelm our infrastructure or adjacent neighborhoods. The up-front costs for transitioning the current area into a Metro-ready area will be initially borne by town citizens and businesses. The redevelopment of the Metro area should reimburse the development impact costs.

Going green: Yes, I will give strong consideration to proposed development projects that are energy and environmentally efficient or comply with any of the LEED levels of certification.

Security: I feel that our community is safer and more secure now than it has been in the past. In that respect, I previously helped pass the 287g program that removed over 300 criminals from out town. Protecting our community from various forms of cybercrime and fraud is most challenging for law enforcement officials. I support ensuring that our police are equipped with the necessary technology and training to guarantee both their and the community’s security.

Issue: From discussions with neighbors and town residents, I sense that they desire two things: a vibrant community and affordable town services and amenities. Part of the vibrant community involves a revitalized downtown. To implement this renovation and revitalization, I suggest that we start with several roundtable discussions with interested citizens, local and potential businesses. From there, a vision and a plan would be formulated. Properly constructed, this plan would form the foundation of Herndon’s market identity. Affordable town services and amenities are to be achieved through careful and responsible budgeting. Community needs will have priority. Maintaining a cap on tax rate increases is a goal.

Contact: www.charliewaddell.com; charliewaddell@cox.net; 703-435-2520

David N. Webster II, Independent, Challenger

Biography: I am a lifelong resident of Fairfax County, have lived in Herndon since 2004, and have been an attorney for twenty years. I volunteer locally by providing advice and legal representation on domestic violence matters. I am studying Spanish to enable me to better communicate with Herndon’s Hispanic residents.

Metro station: Major commercial development needs to be limited to the areas directly adjacent to the proposed Metro station. The recently amended Herndon comprehensive plan limits development to a 38 acre parcel. We need to ensure there is no “development creep.” We also need to look into using more aggressive measures to divert traffic onto the Herndon Parkway and away from downtown Herndon.

Going green: Yes. I would like to see businesses participate in the Town’s efforts to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. We need to explore alternatives to stormwater management retrofits, such as using permeable material for newly constructed sidewalks. These materials allow rainwater to filter through to the ground.

Security: We do face security issues. As such, the Town of Herndon needs to continue its participation in force multiplier programs such as the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force and the 287g program. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Issue: The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act mandates are going to require the Town of Herndon to adopt measures to reduce the flow of pollutants into our stormwater drainage systems. We can’t wait for the EPA and Virginia to tell us what to do. We need to voluntarily adopt a plan of our own using so-called “green infrastructure” that would enable us to avoid costly retrofits.

Contact: www.davewebster.us; dave@davewebster.us; 703-415-6294

Grace Han Wolf , Independent, Incumbent

Biography: 14 year resident of Herndon. Small business owner and President, Council for the Arts of Herndon. Awarded Herndon’s Distinguished Service Volunteer of the Year in 2006. Attended Leadership Fairfax in 2007. BA and MBA from Cornell University. Worked for Fortune 500 companies in finance and strategy. Married with one daughter.

Metro station: Metro area redevelopment is a must for our Town. Herndon has a modest sized transit oriented core that will include a distinctive station and access area with open space, is pedestrian centric, tree lined, has interesting shops and restaurants, and includes outdoor public art. These hallmarks will give our Metro area an open, friendly, small town, and “main street” feel that is uniquely Herndon.

Going green: I favor incentives & rewards for businesses to ‘go green’. I’d like to see LEED certified buildings in downtown Herndon. I support using sustainable building materials & techniques for streetscapes i.e., recycled building materials, use of rain barrels, rain gardens, bio-retention ponds, and other eco-friendly storm water management techniques. I’d like to incentivize increased recycling at all buildings, as well as incentivize the use of non motorized transit or mass transit to our downtown.

Security: The Town doesn’t face any significant security issues or issues out of the ordinary for a locality of our size. We benefit from having a local police force that is engaged, community oriented and highly visible. We enjoy a minimal response time, three minutes on average; and our PD responds to every call, providing the highest level of service. I’ve gone on several police ride-alongs and seen this first hand and encourage residents to do so too. If anyone has specific concerns, there are many avenues for addressing them - first by simply calling the non emergency police number and asking for an officer to stop by.

Issue: Economic Development is of great interest to Town residents and we must find ways to attract more investment and a more diverse base of economic activity to Herndon. I chaired the Economic Development Task Force Study and support creating an Economic Development position within the Town to work toward achieving greater prosperity for our Town.

Contact: www.graceforherndon.com; gracehwolf@gmail.com; 703- 662-3628