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Friday, March 31, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: One lives in a parallel universe at one’s peril

Editor’s Notebook: One lives in a parallel universe at one’s peril

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Blame the cold, rainy weather: My mind wandered and I was thinking over the weekend of the late Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Herrity (R), and how his doomed re-election campaign of 1987 might well serve as a cautionary tale for Democrats (yep, Democrats) in 2022.

As a mere child reporter, I covered the 1987 supervisor battle-royale between go-go-go-growth Herrity and slow-slow-and-maybe-no-growth Democrat Audrey Moore. A fading memory to me and ancient history to those either not old enough to care or not living in the local area back then.

The seminal issue, as suggested a paragraph above, was growth. Moore for years had led a usually lonely and often ridiculed effort, as a district supervisor, to slow it down across Fairfax, while Herrity and most of the rest of the supervisors (Republicans and Democrats alike) wanted to keep the pedal to the metal, development-wise.


On more than one occasion in my presence, so probably many more when I wasn’t there, Herrity told the electorate in 1987 they should be happy to enjoy the fruits of Fairfax’s massive recent growth, even if it caused some problematic side effects. After, all, he posited, better to be stuck on a clogged road on the way to a job than have empty highways yet no employment opportunities.

Yes, but … as it turned out, Herrity completely mis-read the Fairfax electorate that year. The voters WERE worried about the impact of growth, and wanted the burner turned down just a notch. As a result, Herrity and a few of his go-go-growth colleagues got the heave-ho and Moore became board chairman. (For a single term, that is, until voters dumped her. But that’s a story for another day.)

What does Jack Herrity of 1987 have to do with Democrats of 2022? He seemed, and they seem, to be trying to sweet-talk and happy-talk their way out of problems (some of their own making, some not) rather than own up to the very real and seemingly increasing concerns of voters.

Democrats soon will arrive at the election fork in the road: Either keep on keepin’ on with the tale that everything’s hunky-dory despite mounting evidence to the contrary, or acknowledge the angst of the electorate, stop blaming Orange Man and offer solutions to tackle the woes of 2022. Merely hoping that Republicans will yet again blow a gimme-putt on Election Day is not much of a strategy.

A LITTLE JITTERY ON THE REAL ESTATE FRONT: A recent “flash poll” of members of the Virginia Realtors trade organization offers a raft of contradictory commentary on the state of the market. Not a surprise, since individuals have individual opinions and are seeing things differently.

But one thing seems sure: Even if the state’s real-estate market is in no danger of an immediate collapse, there are warning signs that the gravy train for sellers is easing up.

It’s still a sellers’ market, the group believes, but an increasing percentage of those responding to these polls (25% now, up from 10% a month before) think home prices actually could drop in coming months. And that would be a big, big, big change from the past two years.

Definitely seems like buyers and, more particularly, sellers should get a move on if they’re ready to dip into the market. Because who knows what the end of the year might bring?

CLICK HERE for news coverage of the flash poll.

– Scott McCaffrey

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