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Theresa Coates Ellis says Manassas needs to fight blight, better enforce rules and codes

Theresa Coates Ellis is running on the Republican ticket for a seat on the Manassas City Council. 
 
A longtime city resident, this his her first time seeking public office. 
 
We sent a questionnaire to Coates Ellis, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. Her responses are below: 

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls on November 8, 2016, General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Ellis:
Strengthening schools. Create quality jobs and opportunities while supporting local businesses and advancing public image and communication. Keeping neighborhoods safe and clean.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Ellis: Businesses and community members connecting with the schools will build relationships to improve the challenges that we face in educating our students to be career-ready and college-ready. Strong schools will motivate businesses to invest in the City of Manassas building a foundation for families, better housing, and an inviting living experience. A business-friendly community environment will also encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. Public image and communication are important to the City of Manassas and the areas beyond the city. The City of Manassas has many assets: the airport, the train, utilities, parks and fitness, Civil War history plus a vibrant old town.
 
Public image and communication are important to the City of Manassas and the areas beyond the city. The City of Manassas has many assets: the airport, the train, utilities, parks and fitness, Civil War history plus a vibrant old town. Curating content from community member’s experiences with a new selected “Public Image Committee” will advance positive awareness.
 
User-friendly communication tools to improve the access of important community information and an outreach program is necessary.
 
Police, fire and rescue will be supported for community safety. We need to provide the necessary facilities, equipment, and manpower to continue their duties effectively.
 
Community members need to respect and be proud of their City of Manassas.
 
The City and community need to do a better job combatting litter and blight by enforcing laws, rules and codes. Community members can come together to volunteer their services and communicate with the city for action.
Fiscal responsibility will provide the community with the services they desire.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Ellis:
The Manassas City Council’s job it to serve the community and provide the services that they desire.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Ellis:
I am a mother with seven children in my blended family who attended public schools. Since 1988, I have owned a City of Manassas business and volunteered in the community. I built my company from a healthcare management business in 1988 to Tackle Management, PR and Marketing.
Because of my experiences as a mother, a community volunteer and a business owner in the City of Manassas, I can offer a new perspective to our community.

I have the education and professional skills in marketing, communication and public relations to engage citizens and bring them together to solve tough problems and move Manassas forward.

I will work with the City to form a Public Image Committee to increase positive awareness and focus on the assets in our City selecting citizens as ambassadors for the community to curate content for an online website to share information.


PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Ellis: The average citizen is very busy, but some members of the community are active in local government. Increasing communication channels with more face to face interaction and online tools will improve awareness. A scheduled City audio podcast, video podcast, or live feed and a news blog with City updates are tools that would be beneficial.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Ellis: I finished my degree at George Mason University a few years ago when I had children in college. I regret not completing my degree at an earlier time in my life.
However, it was worth it in the long run. My degree in Business Communication provided me with updated skills to market and communicate during the era of the new rules of online marketing and public relations that some business owners find challenging.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Ellis: As a mother, experienced business owner and community leader, I have the family, professional and leadership experience necessary to bring our community together for a stronger Manassas.

We have a wonderful City of Manassas with treasures such as our old town charm, top Public Safety teams (Police, Fire and Rescue), a growing Airport, Lake Manassas and more. Our challenges include our schools, traffic, and communication. It will take a united City to solve these problems. Our citizens deserve strong leadership with integrity and vision. I am a fresh perspective who works hard, listens and cares deeply about our community. I have lived and worked in the community for more than 25 years.

I am dedicated, focused and ready to serve as Manassas City Council. 

 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Way wants to survey Manassas infrastructure for growth, expand Rt. 28

Jonathan Way seeks another term on the Manassas City Council.
 
Over the years, Way has focused on development issues in the city. He’s also made the preservation of a now defunct water tower next to a city fire house a key pet project.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016, General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Way:
1. Balanced economic development. 2. Transportation improvement 3. Schools must become a magnet to attract and retain population

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Way: 1. Evaluate the city infrastructure’s ability to absorb projected growth. (water, electricity, sewer) without becoming over-extended. Tailor growth prospects, of which we have many, to infrastructure capability.
 
2. Advocate in regional bodies for Route 28 expansion and bypass from Godwin Drive to Interstate 66 to help our commuters. Support pending state-sponsored enhanced commuter bus links on I-66. Focus residential development in areas conveniently served by VRE and PRTC.
 
3. Council fully funds school needs at a per capita level 10-15% higher than neighboring jurisdictions. Operations are controlled by an independently elected School Board. We need to encourage and support them in their mission
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Way:
Council members are elected to serve the entire city so members must have a balanced perspective. Members must be fiscally prudent and socially inclusive of all citizens. Members should have the ability to evaluate ideas, understand cost control, and manage the “business” of being a city.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Way:
 Thirty-seven years with one international oil company in a wide variety of managerial and professional positions in the USA and four overseas countries. I understand economics, budgeting, prioritization, and handling conflicting pressures. 15 years serving Manassas in the Planning Commission and City Council. No other candidate even approaches this level of experience.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Way: I believe the average citizen does understand the workings of government, even if he/she doesn’t always agree with the actions. The city has an extensive outreach throughout every department to acquaint citizens with issues and seek their input in the decision process so as to provide fullest practical transparency. Council is looking at expanding real time TV coverage of meetings beyond the Council and the School Board. All meetings are “open” except personnel and business negotiation.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Way: Yes. I have learned that those who do not agree with me still have valid positions and ideas which should be considered in reaching decisions. The “my way or the highway” approach should be minimized.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Way: I bring long experience, strong commitment, enthusiasm and a proven record of accomplishments whcih benefit the city and all its citizens.
 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Youlen focused on bringing career jobs to Manassas

Manassas residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016 General Election to choose who should fill three open council seats, and a new mayor.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Youlen, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Youlen:
Revenue Generation, Infrastructure, and Debt

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
Youlen: Quality of Life- Retain public employees through top tier benefit packages with a focus on police and fire. Enforce zoning ordinances, not just in Olde Town, but throughout the entire city.
 
Local Economy- Attract businesses through local revitalization projects with a goal of attracting companies that provide career type jobs for people. Stop offering incentive packages to “fly by night” businesses that last six months and disappear just to fill vacant commercial space in Old Town. Bring in businesses that people like and want such as eateries, coffee shops, bars, live events ect.
 
*Editors note: Youlen cited the recently closed Center Street Gourmet as a business that received tax incentives to open in Downtown Manassas. The city refunded the business’ occupancy permit fees after it opened but did not provide a cash grant, said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.
 
Vacancy- The city continues to build at record paces without any regard for the capacity it has to deal with the trickle down effect in schools and on roads. We should be filling the massive amount of commercial and residential neighborhoods before building more of the same.
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Youlen:
City Councilman- Representative of the people of the city of Manassas. I don’t think this question is geared for some boring technical answer so I think a politician should be someone who connects with the people. Not his or her inner circle of politicos and media types, but can relate to people without regard to political party affiliation or what neighborhood they live in. Someone who has compassion for public service, and the dedication to make his or her community a better place.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Youlen:
I have a background in law enforcement, and in today’s political climate I think it can be a much-needed asset to the council. None of the other members or candidates can say this. I’m younger than the average candidate, and I think that makes a huge difference in getting younger voters involved and understanding the political process about our government.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
Youlen: No, the vast majority of people from my perspective have very little interest in local politics. A lot could not even name one council member. Social media is an obvious choice when it comes to connecting to the community especially with younger members of the community. I think attending community events such as HOA meetings and community days are advantageous to improving communication.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
 
Youlen: Never held public office.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Youlen: Quite frankly I’m not more of the same. I’m not part of the political club. I offer a fresh perspective on numerous things, not more of the same old business as usual approach to everything. I think people are clamoring for change on both sides, and I am their avenue for that change.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Schubert says solar power can save Manassas Park $1 million

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016, General Election to choose who should fill three open council seats, and a vote for a new mayor.
 
Richard R. Schubert Jr. bills himself as a community activist and familiar face at Governing Body meetings. He is runing as a write-in candidate to fill one of two open seats on the Governing Body.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Schubert, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Schubert:
City debt and expenses, school and services funding, lack of cultural events.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Schubert: City debt and expenses- I would like to see a Solar Power Study done and implementation of Solar Power to the Community Center to start. Their utilities in the budget last year were $200,000 and that does not include water use. Over five years we could see savings of close to $1 million from my first look at the budget and data by trying this approach if the study shows we can bank enough power to meet the needs of the facility.

Office equipment is currently a $50,000 budget line item and I would change that for the next two years to by special request and approval only. We had many upgrades recently and should be fine without upgrades the next two years in my opinion.

Refinancing current debt is the biggest saving for the stability of Manassas Park and if this is not already done by the time I take office I will push forward to see what can be done with the existing rate we currently pay. I also want to go to all business and create a common media site FB/Twitter to get special events that any local businesses can use to get announcements out to the community.

Schools and Services- The first thing I would apply cost savings dollars toward would be Schools and Services. I would like to lower our tax rate but these priorities have to come first. We have a large Latino community and need to make sure the schools are equipped to handle English Second Language to be successful and strengthen our community.

We also need to look at competing with salaries with other cities and school districts, we lose good people because of a lack of cost of living increases.

Lack of cultural events- The first thing I would like is to have a Multicultural day in the Spring with Rock, Country, Latin, Hip/Hop, and other diverse music groups. I would also want food vendors in the City there to represent our many cultures.

 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Schubert:
City Council is a job that needs skills to analyze budgets and come up with solution to make revenue and spending as balanced as possible while giving the community the highest consideration in decision making. Being an ear to hear and a voice to speak to concerns of the people must be of the highest priority.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Schubert:
I have been an outspoken leader for the people of Manassas Park, I have lived here 18 years and want a higher standard of living than we have at this time. My skills are organization, creativity, and toughness. Currently I am a Career and Technical Education Instructor at Falls Church Academy and also the Workplace Readiness Skills Collaborative Team Lead. My last job at Inova Fairfax Hospital I was the Senior Pharmacy Technician Manager for four years where I managed and trained technicians.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Schubert: The City website is improving, The Parks and Rec.(Community Center) is doing a good job of that. Governing body needs to have a Facebook site to get out news as well as what they currently do so I would use more social media if and when possible.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
 
Schubert: The mistakes I have made were opportunities that I turned down because I was not ready to take and thus missed chances to make a difference and be more successful.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Schubert: I have been on the Board of Zoning, Social Services Advisory Board, and Parks and Rec. Advisory Committee. I have also spoken at City Council meetings on many occasions to try to make a difference. I have creative ideas and listen to my friends and neighbors to know the problem and have ideas to solve those problems or concerns as they may be.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Kahlon’s platform for Manassas Park: More businesses, better schools, reduce taxes

Mehtab Singh Kahlon is running as a write-in candidate for one of two open seats on the Manassas Park Governing Body. 

The Independent is a first-time candidate.

We sent a questionnaire to Kahlon, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 

Find your polling place

PLWhat are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?
 
Kahlon: More Businesses, Better Schools, Reduce Taxes
 
PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Kahlon: Bring More Businesses Into the City. More jobs. More tax revenue. Better city image. Reduce water bills. Reduce real estate taxes. Invest more money into schools. Higher teacher salaries. More school buses. Get rid of auto decals.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Kahlon:
Serve the community and people you represent.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Kahlon:
 I been a well-respected member of the Manassas Park Community for over 16 years. I have over 10 years of experience working with government agencies including the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Department of Transportation, and Department of Treasury and has worked closely with Congress for four years.
 
After earning his MBA degree, I pursued further education in engineering and worked in the software industry for 17 years. I am also a successful small business owner, but my true pride rests in my family that I have encouraged to work hard in all that they do and to be involved in the community.
 
My wife Karamjit Kahlon has served Manassas Park as a Deputy Treasurer for over 11 years. Additionally, I have raised two children Amolak Singh Kahlon (MPHS Class of 2012-Valedictorian) and Navroop Kahlon (MPHS Class of 2014) who received the entirety of their K-12 educations through the Manassas Park City Schools System.
 
My vision for Manassas Park is to collaborate with residents in a grassroots capacity to develop solutions for our community’s most pressing issues.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Kahlon: I feel average citizen is informed about and understands the working of local government, but I am planning to increase communication and improve the quality of information shared.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Kahlon: We all make mistakes in our life learning experiences, but I can not remember one now.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Kahlon: I am a local resident for almost 16 years.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Rogers says drive from Manassas Park City Center along Route 28 must be improved

Mike Rogers during a recent candidates forum called Manassas Park one of the best places to live in the U.S. 

Originally from Philadelphia, the pastor is making his first bid in a write-in campaign for a seat on the Manassas Park Governing Body.

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016 General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Rogers, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Rogers:
Revenue Generation, Infrastructure, and Debt

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Rogers: 1) Attract large businesses to come to Manassas Park. 2) Review and identify all City Contract in order to identify which (if any) can be renegotiated and do so. 3) Reduce the number of suppliers and identify cost efficiencies that may be available and develop strategic relationships 4) Roadways must be developed, expanded, or manipulated to foment the persistent traffic along Manassas Drive from the City Center through Route 28. 5) Manassas City, Prince William County and Fairfax County must be convinced to take their proper part in re-engineering traffic 6) We attack the debt issue by increasing revenues not by increasing taxes.
 
Editor’s note: Rogers says he’ll increase revenue by working to lure large corporations to the city. 
From Rogers: 
 
To clarify, by increasing the revenue base using smart development (as an example encouraging large employers to open locations in Manassas Park and negotiating more with the City Center Developer to build-out the spaces that are in the City Center) we can attack the debt issue. I am opposed to increasing the amount of taxes that individuals already pay.

PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Rogers:
From my perspective, the City Council is an advocate for the people – own who has the chance to interact with people on a regular basis and one that has the duty of communicating their concerns. But, the City Council also has the duty of protecting the City, foreseeing issues, and being a stabilizing force. Lastly, I would say that the person on City Council has the duty of not going it alone , but of being a team player.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Rogers:
Accountant, contract manager, counselor, teacher

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Rogers: I feel that the average citizen is uninformed and does not understand the workings of local government. But, that is sad. I intend on being a change agent. I’ll offer time in my office to school students, mom’s, and businessmen. I’ll conduct regular sessions with other members of the Governing Body focused on gaining understanding and finding ways to communicate with the citizens of Manassas Park in the way that they communicate.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Rogers: I’m a pastor and a business leader. I make mistakes pretty regularly. But, I approach them by trying to be open and by asking for help to make things better.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Rogers: Hopefully, the readers will see that I have been a leader throughout my professional life. I believe that when they see my willingness to listen to them and to drive their issues, they’ll put their trust in me as a leader. The readers should vote for me because, regardless of whether or not I am elected as councilman, I am a leader in Manassas Park and have been one since I arrived.
 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Machado wants to give residents options to spend money where they live

Miriam Paula Machado is running as a write-in candidate for the Manassas Park City Governing Body.

She hopes to fill one of two open council seats on the board. 

She told attendees at a recent voter forum she is running, in part, to inspire young women to aspire to higher goals.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Machado, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Machado:
 The most pressing issues our city faces in our local economic development, education, and transportation.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Machado: Economic development. Refinance current debt so the percentage of our budget gets reduced and we have a much higher percentage to invest in our schools. Attract high-tech companies to come to the city and to hire high-tech professionals, in high number in the City of Manassas Park. Make this city more attractive so the residents spend their money in local restaurants, local attractions for all age groups. Support small businesses in our local community.
 
Education: I want to draw attention to issues raised by all members of our community, provide resources for families with children, and ensure education is highlighted as a priority. Education is the foundation for every opportunity. I want to see each child develop into their full potential, I want to see more after school activities, I want to see more incentives for our teachers, I want to see more school counselors in each [Manassas Park] school, I want to see our kids SOL (Standards Of Learning) scores go up. I do not want any kid to be left behind; parents, families, communities, and schools must work together to raise the academic standards in the city of Manassas Park.
 
Transportation: We need to work together with Manassas, Prince William County, Fairfax County to bring a group solution to the transportation nightmare that all we experience going to work every morning. We need improvements in Route 28, bring Metro services to this area of Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, bring more bus services to Manassas Park, make VRE fares more accessible.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Machado:
The City of Manassas Park operates under the Council-Manager form of government. Legislative powers are vested in the mayor and five city council members who are elected at-large for four-year terms. They establish City policy, Pass resolutions and ordinances (laws) Approve the City budget Set tax rates Approve land use plans Make appointments such as selecting the city manager, city clerk, city attorney and members of various boards and commissions.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Machado:
I hold a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems. I have worked in the area of Information Systems for the past 24years. As a contractor, I proudly provided my services to the US Army, and to the Food And Drug Administration, and as a professional woman I am excited and motivated to use my skills and experience to provide a fundamental public service to my community. I would like to voice all of your concerns and work hard to bring solutions to our community.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Machado: There are programs for senior citizens and for different age groups in our new recreation center, I would like to reach out to all our citizens, we could use more efficient technologies, like apps, so the residents who travel to work towards the Washington, D.C. downtown area and surrounding areas know what is going on in real time in the City of Manassas Park. Parents know what educational programs are offered after school, what programs directed to senior citizens exist, what fun and entertainment is happening locally, so we all spend locally, at the same time supporting our local small businesses in the different trades.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Machado: I have made mistakes, but no major mistakes, mistakes that I learned from and that served to improve to have a more balanced life.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Machado: I am a Mother of three children who studied in the Manassas Park City School System: Luis is now a working professional, Michael is an undergraduate at Yale University, MPHS Class of 2015, Valedictorian, and Mark is a senior at Manassas Park High School.
 
I want to be a role model to every woman and girl. My long record of consistency allowed me to achieve a balanced life as a mother, professional worker, wife, daughter, and sister. I would like everyone to have a sense of belonging in this community, we all have to be inclusive and know our neighbors, and we need to celebrate diversity and we need to bring all the community together.
 
I would like to voice all of your concerns and work hard to bring solutions to our community. We need to have a vision, an audacity for hope, hope for a better future for our kids, hope for good schools, and a safe community to live in, hope senior citizens may maintain a life of tranquility.
 
We need to work for a more sustainable future, yet have major ambitions, and know how to balance these goals in order to focus our efforts. I would like to pursue the hope I always have to have a better opportunity for personal development, which I am still achieving I hope to help all achieve personal development And I plan to do so as I am running to be a member of your City Council.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Reinboldt focused on reducing Stafford class sizes

Dana Reinboldt is running to reclaim her seat on the Stafford County School Board.

She lost it last November to Emily Fallon who is sentenced to serve one year in prison after she stole more than $23,000 from the Anne E. Moncure Elementary School PTO, while she was the president of the organization. 

 
The Stafford County School Board appointed Melissa Ayres to fill the seat in June on a temporary basis. Ayres chose not to seek election to the seat on a permanent basis, said Stafford County General Registrar Greg Riddlemoser.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Reinboldt. Her responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing parents and students in the Griffis-Widewater District?

Reinboldt:
1) Fiscal Management of Stafford County Public Schools, 2) Reducing Class Sizes, 3) Competitive salaries to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and staff.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Reinboldt: 1) I want policy written that holds school division staff accountable for misrepresenting budget and spending to the School Board. 2) The School Division needs to keep closer track of enrollment data in order to hire enough teachers so that overcrowding in classrooms does not occur. 3) There needs to be better management of the School Division Budget to ensure the focus is on salaries and benefits.
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Reinboldt:
Representing the Griffis-Widewater District entails participating in school board meetings, work sessions, events at schools and other public events. Researching, voting on and adopting education policies, programs, rules and regulations which govern Board procedures and the administration of the school division. Examining and approving the school division budget, awarding contracts, setting salary schedules and wages.
 
On recommendation of the Superintendent employ teaches and staff. Maintaining and improving school facilities, presenting needs of the school to the appropriating body, representing the school division and education programs to the general public. Hear and act upon communications from citizens and organizations. Act as a court of appeals for staff, and conduct student discipline hearings.l

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Reinboldt:
I bring experience to this position. I know what the problems are and I have clear ideas of what to do to fix them. I’ve brought many successful programs and policies to the schools that I am proud of, including security entrances to all the schools, before and after school child care, activity buses for high school students, bringing the IB program to Brooke Point High School, an Activities Code of Conduct for high school students, ParentVue and StudentVue, and increased parental participation on advisory committees including the Calendar Committee, the textbook advisory committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of the School Board? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Reinboldt: I do feel the average citizen is well-informed and understand the workings of local government. However, the school division has a responsibility to reach out and keep the community well informed.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Reinboldt: I’m very new to social media, and I think it was a mistake in my public life to not use it more as a means to communicate with my district. As a result I am learning the benefits of social media and the ease of communication that it brings.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Reinboldt: I have extensive experience and institutional knowledge. I have a strong record of accomplishments showing that I can get things done, and a proven record of success in enhancing education opportunities.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Manassas Park will hold voter forum tonight: Write-in candidates abound

A group of candidates running for Manassas Park City Governing Board will meet and greet voters tonight. 

The candidates’ forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Park Community Center, located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Press release: 

This forum provides a rare opportunity for citizens to ask questions and meet the candidates for Mayor and City Council. List of confirmed participants include: Frank Jones, Jeanette Rishell, Hector Cendejas, Melissa Garza, Mehtab Kahlon, Miriam Machado, Michael Rogers, Richard Schubert, Donald Shuemaker, and Bill Treuting.

There are three open seats on the Governing Body this election cycle.

Jones is seeking re-election as Mayor, while Rishell decided not to run for reelection for her seat on the Manassas City Park Governing Board to seek a first term as Mayor. Both of these candidates appear on the city’s election ballot.

Donald Shuemaker is the only other candidate for governing body that met the requirements to be listed on the ballot. All others, to include Cendejas, Garza, Kahlon, Machado, Rogers, Shubert, and Treuting will be write-in candidates. 

The two top write-in vote getters will win at least two of the three open seats.

Voters will head to the polls on November 8.

News
Trump dumped Stewart: ‘I will continue to support Trump’

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large was fired from the Donald Trump for President campaign after he staged a rally outside Republican National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Stewart had been serving as Trump’s point man in Virginia since the billionaire held a campaign rally in Manassas last December. Monday’s rally organized by Stewart came as several Republicans rescinded their support for the billionaire presidential candidate.

Stewart released this statement today: 

“In December of 2015, I was asked to be Donald Trump’s Virginia Chairman because we both share a common vision for America — strong borders, strong national security, and bringing jobs back home. I’ve spent the past year campaigning for Trump across the Commonwealth of Virginia, meeting and hearing from thousands of voters.

Members of the GOP establishment, however, withdrew their endorsements or admonished Donald Trump the moment the heat turned up. They ran. I never run.

I joined with Virginia Women for Trump on Monday to demonstrate on the doorstep of the RNC in Washington because the weak-chinned RNC establishment was diverting funds from the Trump campaign. I knew that staging a protest at the RNC was going to raise eyebrows, cause tension, and bring pressure on squirmy politicians. I knew it might result in my being removed as Chairman. I chose to go forward with it because this country is too important to stand idly by as our own party throws the election to Hillary Clinton.

We have too much at stake this year. I will continue to support Trump and do everything I can to ensure his election, and I hope you will too.”

On Monday, Stewart, who is also making a run for Virginia Governor, sent out this statement to rally support for his Washington demonstration: 

Corey Stewart and the Virginia Women for Trump will be protesting out in front of the RNC Headquarters today at 2 PM.

WHERE: Republican National Committee Headquarters
ADDRESS: 310 First Street SE, Washington, D.C.
TIME: 2:00pm

 

News
County voter mailer sparks confusion in Manassas City

voting-pwc

Manassas officials tell us some voters in who live in the city are confused after they received a letter in the mail providing them incorrect information about where to vote. 

The mailer came from the Prince William County Office of Elections, which handles elections in the county, not in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

We’ve attached a photo of that mailer, obtained from city spokeswoman Patty Prince to this post.

Prince told us the mailer sparked multiple phone calls to the city’s voter registrar’s office asking if they’re polling places had changed, and if they were to vote now at locations in Prince William County. Manassas officials told city residents that the flier did not pertain to them.

We’ve contacted the Prince William County Office of Elections, but it has yet to provide comment on this post.

Manassas officials sent out these reminders to their residents: 

A few reminders for City voters:

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election is Oct. 17, 2016 by 5 p.m.

The City of Manassas Voter Registration Office, located at 9025 Center St., Manassas, will be open for in-person absentee voting Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Sept. 23.

The Voter Registration Office will be open two Saturdays for In-person absentee voting: Oct. 29 and Nov. 5from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The last day to vote absentee in-person is Nov. 5, 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

City leaders also reminded residents that a photo ID is required on Election Day Nov. 8, and for those who are voting early or absentee. 


Fact Checking the Manassas City Council Forum: A negative turn for the City Council race

citycouncilchambers

Recently, Historic Manassas, Inc. hosted a City Council Forum.  A lot was said and a lot of ideas were raised.  The conversation was on point and civil– until the closing remarks. 

City Council candidate Rex Parr chose to use his closing statement to go decidedly negative, making inaccurate claims that in some cases play to our fears rather than hopes.  When such false claims are made, it tarnishes our city’s reputation and the hard work done by our city staff and employees.

There’s so much negativity in the politics at our state and federal levels, I’d hoped the local race would set an example of how elections should be.  Unfortunately, that hope has been seriously diminished.

Mr. Parr may be new to running for office, but he’s mastered being a politician.

Since these false claims are in the public domain now, I think it’s important they be examined, vetted and corrected.

I’ve chosen the top offenders to showcase below.

Rex Parr False Statement 1:
“[the council experiences] stalemate, tie votes, no action on vital issues before the council that affect our kids, our communities and future economic development”

The truth:
The council has a diverse range of positions, indicative of the diverse range of thoughts held by our city residents.  There are, on occasion, tie votes, as there are on any elected body, but none have stopped critical actions from being taken that impact our kids/schools/communities or economic development as Rex has claimed.  At most, the wide range of views has triggered compromise, which is far too lacking in most political bodies.

Rex Parr False Statement 2:
“[since the great recession] efforts to restore spending have been consistently blocked”

The truth:
The city budget is now above pre-recession levels. Funding has been restored.  Also, showing prudence and fiscal restraint has earned our city a AAA bond rating, which will save our citizens millions in borrowing costs in the future.

Rex Parr False Statement 3:
“our public services have been starved […] their missions have been jeopardized”

The truth:
Our public services are award winning and rank among the best in the nation.  From a police department in the top 1%, to an award winning utility department.  Our public services also received stellar reviews by you, the citizens, in the recent citizen satisfaction survey, beating state and national averages.

Rex Parr False Statement 4:

“[because of city council austerity] the reputation of our schools [has been] tarnished”

Fact:
The schools are managed by an independently elected School Board who has made it VERY clear that they are in charge of the schools. The city council has met its funding obligations to the schools, and the system currently spends 10%-15% more per pupil than our surrounding localities.  Let me say it again: the city council meets its funding obligations.  If our school’s reputation is “tarnished” as Mr. Parr states, it is less likely to do with city council austerity, and more likely due to the drop in test scores and achievement we’ve suffered– which would be the responsibility of the School Board.  He’s directing his ire at the wrong elected body.

I consider Rex to be a good guy, and hope he’ll pull back from this unfortunate course and run the rest of this race in a positive, accurate way.

This post is paid for by Manassas Councilman Ian Lovejoy.

News
The 2016 General Election starts today with absentee voting

From Delegate Rich Anderson (who is not running for re-election this year): 

With Election Day in only 47 days, and tomorrow (Friday, September 23) being the first day that you can vote Absentee In-Person, I’m providing you with information that will make your voting experience easier.  

If you need to register to vote, update your current voter registration, or can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, please visit this website

The deadline to register to vote, or to update your current voter registration for this year’s General Election, is October 17

 
If you are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8), you can vote Absentee In-Person or vote Absentee By Mail.
 
You will be able to vote Absentee In-Person in this year’s general election beginning Friday, September 23.
 
There are easy ways to vote Absentee:
  • Apply online to receive a ballot by mail by clicking here.

  • Vote Absentee In-Person by visiting the Prince William County (PWC) Office of Elections or various satellite voting locations in PWC.

  • The PWC Office of Elections is at 9250 Lee Ave., Suite 1, Manassas, VA.

  • http://www.pwcvotes.com/absentee-voting-locations

 
There are multiple reasons you can vote via Absentee ballot, which include:
  • Being away from home on business on Election Day

  • Being away from home on personal business or vacation on Election Day

  • Having an illness or disability that keeps you from the polls on Election Day

For the full list of reasons why you may be eligible to vote Absentee, a list of Absentee In-Person voting locations and hours, and much more information, please visit: 

http://elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html

News
Prince William County needs 200 Election Officers. Now.

We asked the Prince William County Office of Elections if they needed help finding election officers for the upcoming General Election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Julie Gideon, who spoke on behalf of Prince William County General Registrar, replied:

Yes, we do need help!

So we asked some questions, and she answered: 

Please describe the need for election officers in PWC for the November 8, 2016 General Election. Are the needs proportional in all areas of the county? (east, west, central)?

We need officers all over Prince William County, but the greatest need is in Gainesville, Haymarket, Bristow and Manassas north and west of Manassas City.

How does the Office of Elections recruit new election officers? Please describe the scope of work/expectations of an election officer working on Election Day. What is the pay? Please describe what, if any, training is provided.

We are reaching out to the community to recruit Election Officers as part of our voter education effort. We have attended local events such as the Prince William County Fair and Haymarket Days, and are also speaking to local groups, and organizations.

Election Officers work a very long day – but it’s worth it! Our day at the polls starts at 5:00 a.m. so that we can set everything up before the polls open at 6:00 a.m., and lasts until after the polls close at 7:00 p.m. and all of the votes are counted and the equipment put away which is usually around 9:00 p.m.

Election Officers are paid $125 for election day plus $15 per training class. New officers are required to take a process training class, and are encourage to take a hands-on workshop to learn how to operate the machines they will work with on Election Day.

How many elections officers does PWC currently have on hand? How much more are needed?

Currently, we have over 1400 elections officers for 91 precincts. We need an additional 200.

Please describe what the conditions at the polls could be like on Election Day if more elections officers are not obtained?

During the November 2012 Presidential Election, voters in many precincts experienced very long lines which meant that it took hours in some cases to vote. We have implemented many changes since then to achieve our goal of no voter waiting more than 30 minutes to cast their vote. These changes include new optical scanners with paper ballots instead of the Electronic Voting Machines, additional laptops for checking in voters, and most importantly additional Election Officers to help guide voters through the process. Without the Officers, the equipment cannot be utilized to its full potential.

What are the requirements to become an election officer?

All Election Officers must be registered voters in Virginia. If you are not yet registered to vote, please go to vote.virginia.gov. Election Officers also cannot hold elected office or be employed by an elected official.

How can residents sign up to become an election officer?

Please visit our website at pwcvotes.com and click on “Become an Election Officer” and click on “online application.” This website also includes additional information about Absentee Voting and the constitutional amendments on the ballot in November.

News
Meet, greet, and hear the candidates for Manassas City Council questioned at Sept. 28 forum

manassascandidates

Candidates running for a seat on the Manassas City Council will gather on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at City Hall for a candidates forum.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate the discussion.

More in a press release from Historic Manassas Inc. 

Historic Manassas, Inc. in conjunction with the Old Town Business Association, will be hosting a City Council Forum on Wednesday, September 28 from 5:30 – 8:00 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall (located at 9027 Center Street) in Manassas. This year, seven candidates are competing for three open council seats. There will also be two candidates running for City Treasurer while Mayor Hal Parrish is running unopposed.

Candidates will have a chance to do meet and greets from 5:30 – 6:00 PM and introductions will begin promptly at 6:00PM. A local moderator will moderate the forum with three candidates responding to each question followed by closing remarks no later than 8:00 PM.

Residents and community members are invited to submit questions to the forum on HMI’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/manassas/ before September 25th. The forum is open to the public and will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Here’s a Manassas City sample ballot to be used in the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

 

News
Manassas Democrats education plan: Keep teachers, renovate Dean Elementary, and to get the City Council and School Board to play nicely together

manassasdemocrats

Submitted by Manassas Democrats: 

Education is a key focus of the slate of Democratic candidates running for Manassas City Council.

Each of the candidates running – Rex Parr, Pam Sebesky, and Mark Wolfe – has already worked to improve education in Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS). Together they have announced four key initiatives to continue MCPS’s upward trend.

The Democrats’ first goal is universal Pre-K education. “Pre-K is the key to future workforce development,” says Sebesky, a six-year member of the MCPS School Board. “It’s essential that all students have access to quality Pre-K, no matter what their circumstances are, so they can be successful in their educational careers.”

To that end, Sebesky as a member of the MCPS School Board pushed for the adoption of the Footsteps2Brilliance® program. The Model Innovation City™ service is a turn-key, citywide literacy solution that utilizes the Footsteps2Brilliance® mobile technology platform to cost-effectively scale a Pre-school through 3rd grade literacy app to every family within the Manassas City Public Schools jurisdiction. Students study comprehension, critical thinking skills, writing, book creation, standards-based skill development, mathematics development, and vocabulary mastery. Through a toggle switch, students and families also have access to the content in Spanish.

Parr is former CEO of Didlake, Inc. and active member of EDGE Manassas, a group of local business owners and CEOs working directly with MCPS to improve local workforce readiness. He was one of four original benefactors who together purchased all mobile devices necessary for economically disadvantaged children to access Footsteps2Brilliance® in the 2015-16 school year, the pilot year.

“Now we need to leverage last year’s investment,” says Parr. “We need to increase the number of children and parents participating in the program, and keep the success going as they progress through our schools.”

That, says Parr, is where the City Council comes in. “For too long, the City Council has been detached from the School Board and schools. Lately, the local business community said this separation was no longer acceptable. The business community had to come in and give attention to the schools.

Wolfe agrees, from his position as current City Council member, having served for eight years. “That division of City Council and schools has to change. City Council has to partner with the School Board. We will do that.”

Support for the school system’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program is the second education initiative for the Democrat candidates.

As both a local businessman and Council member, Wolfe is working to bring the City Council and MCPS into alignment. His company is providing free training as part of Osbourn High School’s CTE offerings. “We are partnering with local firms in the trades, creating apprentice programs,” he says.

Osbourn High School’s CTE program has recently been revamped and revitalized,” says Sebesky. “Our students need to graduate into a living wage job,” and so she worked through the School Board and with MCPS for newly strengthened certificate programs in HVAC, construction management, CISCO networking, food service management, automotive repair, and cosmetology.

“Our need for workforce development drove the construction management certificate,” adds Sebesky. “With the rapidly growing Northern Virginia area, students will now get relevant work experience, and with certifications they will earn better wages and have better career opportunities.”

“We have also developed externships for teachers,” says Parr, “where teachers spend time in local businesses to stay current with the job skills that better prepare students for jobs after graduation.” From his experience running a locally based business, Parr notes, “For teachers, the mission is to educate kids. For businesses, it’s for schools to develop a workforce. That could be a division, but in Manassas we are going to work together to generate mutual, achievable goals, which will better our residents and our City.”

The three Democrat candidates also support capital improvement of Manassas City Public Schools.

“Jennie Dean Elementary School outlived its useful life many years ago,” says Wolfe. “That project is in the 2020 capital plan, and we will explore that in 2019.”

Sebesky agrees, and based on her experience on the School Board, adds, “Improvement – basic renovations – will cost almost as much as to build a new building.”

“We can’t kick that can down the road anymore,” says Wolfe. “A new school is in the debt service program, but we need the tax rate to fund the debt service program. We need leadership on the next City Council to get that handled, finally.”

And finally, Parr, Sebesky, and Wolfe support retention of Manassas City Public Schools’ teaching and administrative staff. We have excellent teachers,” says Parr, “and we need to keep them.”

“Our goal is to make our salary and benefits packages competitive with all of the other school districts in Northern Virginia,” says Wolfe.The quality of our schools is critical to the success of the City of Manassas,” he says. “Better educated kids means less crime. Better schools means higher home values. A better educated workforce means greater economic development.”

“We are making Manassas a community of choice. We compete for businesses and families. We [Wolfe, Parr, and Sebesky] will make Manassas the City where people choose to make their homes, and establish their businesses, says Wolfe.

 
 

News
Live in Manassas? Here are some important dates to note as election nears

cityhall1

Submitted: 

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election is Oct. 17, 2016 by 5 p.m.

·         The City of Manassas Voter Registration Office, located at 9025 Center St., Manassas, will be open for in-person absentee voting Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Sept. 23

·         The Voter Registration Office will be open two Saturdays for in-person absentee voting: Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

·         The last day to vote absentee in-person is Nov. 5, 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

·         The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

News
Wittman to meet and greet at Pitkins

pitkinswoodbine

From Sarah Pitkin, owner of Pitkins Ace Hardware: 

Please join us for a meet-n-greet with Congressman Rob Wittman.  Saturday September 24, 2016 from 12-2pm at our Woodbine Ace Hardware store: 13418 Dumfries Rd (Rt 234) Manassas, VA 20112.

The grill will be going with some hot dogs and fun treats.  The root beer will be flowing.  Come in, meet Rob and discuss what issues that are impacting our nation and Virginia are important to you!
Rep. Rob Wittman serves Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, portions of which include Prince William County. He is also mounting a campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017.

News
Stewart: Let’s put our own campaigns on the back-burner and elect Trump

Corey Stewart, who is working as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Virginia, and who is also mounting a campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017, has urged other Republicans also running for Virginia Governor next year to work together to get Trump elected president.

Here’s Stewart’s emailed statement to reporters this morning: 

Today, candidate for Governor and Chairman of the Trump campaign Corey Stewart called on Virginia’s Gubernatorial Candidates to join him in directing their full focus on electing Donald J. Trump in November. He released the following statement:

“With 56 days left, I am urging all Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to join me in a common mission of electing Donald J. Trump- while putting our own campaigns on the back-burner. This is an invitation to support Trump’s candidacy by speaking at candidate rallies, attending local Trump events, and showing support publicly. We all know what’s at stake. We have closed the gap, and we are now neck-and-neck with Hillary here in Virginia and around the country. There is no time to waste. We must put our differences aside and declare- loudly and clearly, that we are one Republican Party of Virginia, united behind Donald J. Trump and all of our candidates. I look forward to joining all of our candidates for statewide office, and the great people of our state in fighting to be victorious on November 8th.” -Corey Stewart

We’ve asked for statements from other Republican candidates seeking to become Virginia’s next governor, to include Congressman Rob Wittman, Virginia Senator Frank Wagner, and former U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.

We’ll post them here if we receive them.

Stewart is also the Prince William County Board of Supervisors At-large Chairman.

 

 

News
Manassas shops for new voting machines, considers new precinct

manassas-city-precinct

For voters in Manassas City, what’s old is new again. 

The city will use optical scanner voting machines starting with the November 2017 Election. The machines will use paper ballots, then will insert them into the ballot machine to be counted.

“If a recount is needed, the paper ballot allows us to determine the true intention of the voter,” said Manassas City General Registrar Susan Reed. 

City officials budgeted $95,000 for the new voting machines,  which will replace the old touch-screen voting machines placed into use in 2000, and older pull-lever machines. The purchase of the new machines will probably cost more than what is budgeted, said Manassas Electoral Board Secretary Patricia Fields. 

A state mandate that requires localities the switch back to paper ballots makes the machines a must-do purchase. The state does not supply funds for the purchase, she added.

Reed and members of the city’s Electoral Board had two machines on display at Monday night’s City Council meeting. The Board is testing devices from two vendors — one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. 

The vendor that is awarded the contract for the machines will also be responsible for printing custom ballots for each election. The information on the ballots will be reviewed by the Electoral Board, as well as the candidates listed before printing. 

Last year, Prince William County made the switch to optical scanning machines. The printed ballots listed the full names of candidates. However, some candidates said they would rather have their nickname on the ballot instead. 

Ultimately, the county decided not to reprint ballots. In Manassas, Reed said the information that will appear on city ballots next year would come directly from the State Office of Elections.

The new machines could be in the city as early as Jan 1. Afterward, the Electoral Board aims to hold a series of public meetings to demonstrate how the new optical scanning machines work.

The City Council on Monday night also approved reviewed the proposed creation of the city’s sixth voting precinct. The council is expected to approve the new precinct in 2017, after the 2016 Presidential Election.

Rising population in surrounding voting precincts is the driving force behind creating the new polling area. Voters in the new precinct will vote at George C. Round Elementary School, which is not currently being used as a polling place. 

Voters will be notified by the General Registrar’s office if their polling place changes. 

The average population for a voting precinct is about 4,000 residents. The Weems Precinct is the exception to the rule with about 4,300 registered voters. 

With less development planned in the Weems Precinct than other in city precincts, Fields said she isn’t concerned about the higher number of voters in Weems.

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