Leesburg Patch has a great article up about former Supervisor, and LCRC candidate for Board of Supervisors Chair, Steve Stockman. It illustrates Mr. Stockman’s status as a candidate with little connection with the reality lived by people here in Loudoun County, as well as his limitations as a candidate.
Steve Stockman’s only care seems to be a single issue, “taxes,” with little or no comprehension of the myriad things that drive that issue. For example, the incredible growth in the school population since he last served on the Board has a huge, and largely unavoidable, impact on the revenue necessary to run the LCPS, the largest single driver of the county tax rate. Mr. Stockman’s position seems to be that we can set a low tax rate and let all the necessary services simply wither to accommodate that rate. Of course, recent court cases have demonstrated that to be a fundamentally flawed assumption. In California, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to release inmates since Gov. Schwarzenegger and his allies decided to grossly underfund their prison system. In New Jersey, the State Supreme Court ordered Gov. Christie to fund underperforming schools, over the efforts of the Gov. and his allies to let school spending wither. Mr. Stockman’s “cut and wither” policy proposals do not lead to lower taxes, they lead to lawsuits. And didn’t we have enough of those under the last Board?
But perhaps nothing illustrates Mr. Stockman’s inability to comprehend the realities of living in the County he seeks to lead like this quote:
Some issues of great concern to some candidates are of little concern to Stockman, such as transportation, which he considers “not that big” of an issue because people choose where to live.
“You can make improvements around the margins, but people will decide to live and commute based on their own individual choices,” he said. “You know, commuting, it’s all voluntary.” – Leesburg Patch
Or this quote, detailing his opposition to Metro to Dulles.
While the current board of supervisors has signaled concerns about the Metro project – primarily that if the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority wants a more costly underground station, it should find the money without tolls or local tax dollars – Stockman is cool to the idea for other reasons.
“I’m not too enthusiastic,” he said. “I know we want it to [Dulles] airport and a lot of people think it’s going to be a godsend. I don’t think it is. I think that American people prefer to have private transportation. Mostly, right now, Metro’s running at a deficit. “
Now, I know Mr. Stockman owns his own company, and therefore hasn’t had to find a decent paying job and a place to live recently. And as the article points out, his kids have long since moved out, so he doesn’t have to worry about ferrying them to events, or taking schools into account along with commute, home prices, cost of living, and other factors when looking for somewhere to live. So maybe, in that context, he could be forgiven his appalling ignorance of the impact of long commutes on Loudoun families (not to mention our environment and the attendant traffic externalities that impact the quality of life for everyone in Loudoun).
But in the context of being a candidate to Chair the Board of Supervisors? In that context, the ignorance and lack of concern for one of the most important realities for all of us in Loudoun – commuting – is enough to disqualify him as a serious candidate for office.
Or, rather, it should disqualify him. Whether it does is up to the LCRC.