Good titles really catch the eye, don’t they? But analysis in a recent book suggests this is true.
The book is Warlord by Carlos D’Este, a Churchill biography focusing on how his education and early career as a soldier shaped him and his world view.
Mr. D’Este recounts how in Churchill’s history of the Great War The World Crisis Churchill goes on about how a massive unified stroke should have been prepared in 1917 and delivered in 1918 instead of the typical and horrible assaults and massive loss of life at places like Ypres, Paaschendale and the Somme, names written in blood on world history.
Churchill talks about the massive numbers of men and munitions needed, but said the real problem with the war leadership was that it didn’t matter if the resources were present to meet these goals because no one in the British of French war leadership was thinking that way. There was no attempt to find a new way to prosecute the war-instead there was just a blind adherence by the British war cabinets to what the generals said. What had always been done would always be done, and the last man standing won…even if it meant a horrendous loss of life.
We have a little of the same thing going in Fairfax County.
While affairs of government in Fairfax County are not in the extreme condition of Europe 1917, we have budgetary problems that are not new and that in fact predate the recent financial meltdown (remember the “L” word?). At a time
*when there are 900 trailers deployed to at Fairfax County schools;
*when teacher salaries have fallen from 1st to 6th in the nation;
*when old line high schools in need of upgrading have been ignored for years, and when
—she supports commiting $130 million to a new luxurious office complex for the school board staff…
…then new leadership is needed.
Sharon Bulova wants us to think she is the person who, having helped lead us into this mess, will lead us out. Yet Ms. Bulova does not have the record to justify that claim. It was on her watch home property tax burdens increased, and in some cases doubled. It was on her watch that the county became a huge landlord, and offers subsidized housing for people making as much as $99,000.00. Ms Bulova cites steps she has taken to encourage efficiencies in her own office, yet refuses to mention how her office costs increased 35% during her time in office.
Ms. Bulova is like the failed British war leadership. There is nothing in her record, or in her actions, to suggest that she is capable of considering and implementing new initiatives to help pull us out of the financial deficit into which she has helped push our county.
Now if Ms. Bulova had an independent record of cost cutting, of opposing waste, well…that would be one thing. That would suggest an ability for original, independent thought and leadership…
…But she doesn’t.
Her whole career is one of getting along to go along. She became Braddock Supervisor when her mentor Audrey Moore became County Chair. She now has a shot at County Chair because her pal Gerry Connolly has moved to Congress. Even now Ms. Bulova campaigns in no small part by agreeing with things Pat Herrity says, ever hopeful that in a special election turnout alone will win for her. Isn’t it amazing how suddenly, after years of rubberstamping massive school expenditures for new construction, she has become a convert to upgrading the old county high schools.
Ms. Bulova may be a devoted public official, but she has clearly shown herself to be a follower who doesn’t have the breadth of vision to lead.
Now you may pause at all this. You may think, “isn’t it unfair to say that the $130 million for the new office complex would solve all our problems?”
It would be. But if Sharon Bulova is the faithful fiscal leader she claims, if she is the strong leader she pretends to be, why didn’t she say “HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! We may need administrative space, but our kids need the money more.”
You see, the problem is not just that Sharon Bulova went along with this and other boondoggles.
The problem is that like the failed British war leadership Churchill railed against, Bulova did not stop to find or support new ways to address the myriad of problems facing the county. The problem is that she blindly followed Gerry Connolly and his budget busting plans and his unwillingness to recognize that the BOS works for us, and not in support of each other’s political ambitions.
Sharon Bulova has not offered bold leadership. She has been a follower. Pat Herrity will lead.
Sharon Bulova has blended in with the crowd; she never tries to think past the status quo and sought a different path when things were going badly. Pat Herrity will refuse to take the business as usual course simply because that’s the way it has always been done.
Sharon Bulova has time and time again showed herself to be a great wingman, but not having either the ability or willingness to test the untested and challenge orthodoxy. Pat Herrity will do so, and has the professional resume to show that he can and will lead.
At a time when the same old same old style won’t work, at a time when new ideasm newdirectionsm and toiugh choices are needed, are we willing to accept more of the same?
If Winston Churchill were here he would warn us not to…and he would be right. That is why were he here Winston would endorse Pat Herrity.
It is time for a change.
Vote Pat Herrity for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman of the Board on February 3, 2009.