Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ken Reid Knows Traffic Dangers

Recent discussions on the Loudoun Times' website in the wake of a tragic accident on Route 15 mentioned Councilman Reid's driving record:
Fri, Sep 02 at 02:47 PM by leesburg mom:
This is an example of why Ken Reid, who has gotten many tickets for speeding and reckless driving, should be ashamed of himself. Aggressive driving is just plain wrong, and it leads to things like this story. So, Ken Reid, remember that an elected official (in your instance, a Leesburg Town Council member) should follow rules of the road, follow the law, and drive carefully.
This comment, and some that followed, draw attention to an interesting dichotomy in Councilman Reid's record as a candidate, and driver.

Councilman Reid got his start as an advocate for fixing traffic problems in Leesburg, specifically through his leadership on the Residential Traffic Committee. His biography on the Town's website explains his involvement in traffic safety issues, regionally.
A longtime civic activist in the transportation field in the Greater Washington Region, Council Member Reid is a past member of the Loudoun County Transportation Safety Commission and Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee. - Leesburg, VA
It is commendable to have an elected official stand so strongly for traffic safety rules. Or at least, others adherence to traffic safety rules.

It seems that Councilman Reid has a bit of a problem adhering to traffic laws, himself, as the records of the Loudoun County District Court make clear.

If you look back at the history of these tickets, which occur with regularity throughout Mr. Reid's service on the various transportation committees and boards he is on, a pattern of disregard for the rules of the road emerges. But beyond that disdain for the rules, there is the simple fact that doing 54 in a 35 zone, or failing to obey a highway sign (e.g. stop sign), puts people in danger.

The presence, or absence, of a number of speeding (and other) tickets would not normally be a campaign issue. However, Mr. Reid has made traffic safety a core part of his political persona while serving in Leesburg. It is prominently mentioned in his Town biography blurb on the Town website. As such, it seems reasonable to question the nature of that passion for traffic safety in his politics, when he appears to have a recurring problem with it in his own driving record.

I do not believe it was Councilman Reid's intent to ever put people in danger when he committed these violations. Nor do I believe he is going out looking to break the rules. I do believe, however, that a pattern of tickets represents a certain laxity of attention when doing something important (in this case, driving) that is worthy of consideration. And I believe that the long-term pattern shown here demonstrates that Mr. Reid hasn't learned from his mistakes. And that is a trait we do not want in our Leesburg Supervisor.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Putting Jobs in Leesburg First

Yesterday was the first Leesburg Jobs Symposium, sponsored in part by Supervisor Kelly Burk. The businesses involved came together to discuss questions and ideas by which the county can help businesses grow to the point where they need and want to hire more local employees. This is a concrete way for business and government to work together to serve the needs of the people, in this case the need for more long-term, well-paying jobs.

To his credit Coucilmember Reid was at the Symposium, having been invited there by Supervisor Burk along with all the other members of Town Council. It would have been wonderful for Councilmember Reid to provide his own input on what it will take for his own company, for example, to grow to the point where it will hire some more people from his District. That would have been an excellent contribution to the conversation.

Instead of doing that, however, Councilmember Reid spent his time during the Symposium composing a press release for his campaign. Given the opportunity to add to the conversation about solutions for his constituents, Mr. Reid chose instead to serve himself and his ambitions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ken Reid's Contradiction

Councilman Reid's latest campaign email is a wonderful study in contradiction. The newsletter's subject line is:

"'Jobs forum' July 28 designed to mask Burk's anti-business votes."

Councilman Reid then goes on in the newsletter to state "My opponent, unfortunately, is anti jobs, anti business and supports heavy-handed regulations and higher taxes.

What is funny is that Reid admits, in the very same newsletter that, "about 4 or 5 members of the panel [Supervisor Burk's Jobs Symposium, tomorrow morning] (including the host, Rehau) are backing her campaign for supervisor." In point of fact, a majority of Leesburg's downtown businesses support Supervisor Burk's re-election, including a number of business leaders who had previously supported Republicans in other elections.

Which, of course, begs the question, how can someone be "anti-business" and still get the broad support of the business community in the area she was elected to represent?

In point of fact, Kelly Burk has a strong, pro-business agenda, and has made a point of connecting businesses to jobseekers in Leesburg. The jobs symposium held tomorrow morning is part of that agenda to help local businesses expand their hiring of local residents.

That's consistently putting Leesburg first.

Inconsistency is Councilman Reid's modus operandi. After all, he was never running for office again, until he changed his mind.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leesburg Supervisor Race Phone Survey

A number of neighbors in Leesburg have been receiving an interesting phone survey, the source of which is unknown. This survey asks respondents to decide between Scott York and Steve Stockman, and other races, before asking for a preference between Ken Reid and Kelly Burk.

I became aware of this when a friend received this survey call. When the pollster asked her preference between Ken and Kelly, my friend responded "I support Kelly Burk, and I'm a Republican." I suspect there are a number of us here in Leesburg who support Kelly as our Supervisor, regardless of political affiliations, because she has consistently put Leesburg first.

There are interesting parallels between this telephone survey, and a rash of late-election push polls which seems to be the norm for elections in Loudoun County. In 2007, for example, the preponderance of (generally Republican) push polls led to the Board of Supervisors actually passing a resolution condemning them! And in the 2010 Town Elections, the final week of the campaign saw a number of curious anti-Democratic "polling" phone calls to voters.

The law states that any phone surveys like this must declare who is paying for them. If you get one of these calls, please stay on the line and ask who, or what, is paying for it. It will be interesting to know if any of the candidates who voted against such polling in 2007 are involved in this year's re-emergence of them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ken Reid Steps Down, Oh, Wait!

Ken Reid is running for the Board of Supervisors this year, challenging Supervisor Kelly Burk. Funny thing about that, it wasn't that long ago that Mr. Reid said he "had no intention of running for anything else, whatsoever." In fact, he did so as part of his Council member comments at the Town Council meeting on September 28th. Check out the video below, starting at about 4:50.

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Funny thing about that, since six months later he was aggressively running for Supervisor.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Welcome to Leesburg!

Here's a great video from the Loudoun Visitor's Bureau about our beautiful Town!

Essential Road Maintenance, Reprised

The Town of Leesburg is remarkably well-run. This is thanks in large part to prudent, long-term fiscal and operational planning on the part of Town staff and their boss, John Wells. Executing on prudent long-term planning is what helps keep Leesburg's taxes low and quality of life high.
Every year, Public Works staff conducts a review of town streets and gives each a Pavement Condition Index rating based on a 19-point physical inspection. Each surface is given a rating from one to 100, with a lower rating indicating a surface in need of corrective maintenance. Mason emphasized that streets must be placed on a regular maintenance schedule so extreme measures, and a bigger road maintenance budget, are not needed in the future. [Emphasis mine - P13] - Leesburg Today
That's why it is astonishing that two members of Town Council: Tom Dunn and Ken Reid voted against that most basic of government functions - road maintenance.
"I still believe we are over spending in this area," Dunn said, then making a motion to cap the FY11 milling and paving program at $800,000.

He was joined in support for his motion only by Reid and the two were the only to cast dissenting votes for funding the FY11 program as recommended. Mayor Kristen Umstattd was absent for the vote.

Reid said he was casting "a symbolic vote" against the program.

"I just think that we overdo it in this town. I think this is too much money to be spent," he said. "Some of these streets that I'm looking at here I just personally don't think are that critical," for milling and paving services in FY11.

Vice Mayor Kevin Wright said he believed that if the council chose to delete a chunk of funding for its milling and paving program it would only be moving increased costs to another year.

"We have a lot of stuff that we are deferring," he said. "I'm sensitive to the overall budget but we have continued to reduce this and keep it within a responsible scale." - Leesburg Today
It seems remarkable to oppose essential maintenance on roads. Even the most libertarian of reasonable voters agree that keeping the roads working is rightly an essential function of government. I understand that Councilmembers Dunn and Reid were objecting not to the fact of road maintenance spending, but the extent of it. However, I believe that the Town staff who have done an amazing job of keeping Leesburg running better than most other towns on a constantly scrutinized budget should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their areas of expertise. When Mr. Mason makes the point that regular, scheduled maintenance today is the way to avoid major catastrophic repair later, I am inclined to believe him.

And we do well to remember that Councilmembers Reid and Dunn objected to the maintenance funds after the maintenance budget had already been cut earlier in this fiscal cycle. Mr. Mason was already working with a reduced budget when he made his recommendations for the updated maintenance schedule. The adjustment to the maintenance plan was recommended in light of changed circumstances. The snowstorms of this past winter significantly degraded our roads. Mr. Mason's recommendations were made to minimize the overall, long-term costs of fixing that degradation.

Consistency in maintaining our roads is even more important in light of the fact that Leesburg is getting so little help for our continuing road needs from the state. Key road development priorities are on hold until the revenue to support them can be found. That only makes keeping the roads we have well-paved more important. After this past winter's snowstorms, spending $180,000 now is critically important. It's not like the number of cars on our roads is going to be going down, or the money available next year will be going up.

Thank you, Town Council, for making the wise decision to sustain road maintenance at the recommendation of Mr. Mason. With it, Leesburg will continue to prosper.