Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

Supervisor Ken Reid swinging on Metro vote

For Ken Reid, it’s time to decide, base or bounty?
Ken Reid is positioned in the eyes of many a metro-watcher as the last frontier, the ultimate swing vote for all to watch, wonder and wait.  Many thought that he was firmly against metro, but the last few weeks have been revealing and a lot has come to light.  Now it appears that he is poised to be the fifth vote for metro.  I have been gobsmacked by the news since Ken is one of the smartest board members and he KNOWS the facts.  He KNOWS the harm that will come to Loudoun if we opt in and he knows the money that will come INTO Loudoun if we don’t.  
Poised as such puts Ken smack dab in the middle of the attention.
A lot of attention comes to one so positioned, some positive, some negative, but all to be considered as part of the grand-scheme.
It has been no secret among those watching closely that the promised goodies are-a-plenty from the cash-rich opt-in crowd, the bounty building exponentially as the days loom closer to the final vote.
But will Reid take the bait and ditch his long-entreanched conservative base for the here-today-gone-tomorrow developer crowd?   Reid, already vulnerable, will certainly be a one-termer if he opts against the base.   His base, many of whom have shared all metro conversations with him, along with private emails, will not be amused, and will never trust him again.   More than one have vowed to fight against him in any campaign, if he betrays them on this vote.  
Ken knows that the new, purple, omeba, tax district that Shawn Williams proposed at the last BOS work session cannot fund metro.  He knows that the district won’t even come close to providing enough money to pay for metro, particularly since no one lives there now.  I hear staff is redoing their projections to make it appear that the omeba district will take in more money than they projected last week.  A map of the omeba purple district can be found here on page 10.   Project tax revenues for that district are on the next page.  Even in 2025, at the top rate of 21 cents in new taxes, it doesn’t come close to yearly funding of metro, projected to be somewhere between $16 million and $60 million.   But staff  has been instructed to provide better figures before their work session on Friday, the 29th, at 5:00.   Last week they said that district could only fund metro if the tax rate was set at 43 cents.  Matt Letourneau immediately said that would not happen, no district could be taxed at additional tax that high.  Fairfax tax rates are here.   Their tax rate is so much lower than our’s, $1.235 per hundred of assessed value in Loudoun and only $1.075 in Fairfax!  And the max on their special districts is .022!   We can’t get enough from the special district at that rate to pay for ALL metro ongoing costs.
Ken is also aware that this is very unlikely that this special tax district will ever happen.  First, they need a change in the state law.  Only Fairfax has established special tax districts to  fund a subway, after special permission from the state.   The law says that only counties with over 500,000 residents can establish these districts.  Next, 51% of landowners in that district must sign a petition stating that agree to being in the district and to paying higher taxes.   There must also be public hearings.  Staff told the board this process would take several weeks to accomplish, at least 3.  Obviously that can’t be done prior to their vote on July 3rd.  Will they accomplish it after they vote for phase II?   It’s a long shot, and they all know it.  At that point, we’re stuck with metro.  When the board finally admits that they can only pay for metro with a general tax increase, it will be too late.  Ken’s a very smart guy, he knows all of this.
On phase II, Ken Reid has been the most informed member on the board of supervisors.  He knows the history of WMATA and MWAA, better than anyone.   One of his friends, who has done extensive research on the Silver Line, is the well known World Bank transportation Economist, Gabriel Roth.   Mr. Roth has studied subway systems around the world for decades.  He has written several papers on the Silver Line phase II, showing it fails on all levels.   Ken has tremendous respect for the work of Gabriel Roth and has believed his conclusions that this project will cost Loudoun county over a billion dollars while solving none of our transportation problems.
 In addition to all of that, Ken knows that phase II will cost the town of Leesburg $1 million a year when the gas tax revenue goes to fund metro.  Have the 4 metro supporters promised Ken that they will make up that money from general revenue  (our tax dollars)?   Where will that money come from each year?  Will it be added to the metro tax increases?  I feel sorry for the people of  the town of Leesburg who stand to lose a million a year, AND have to pay the additional metro taxes along with the rest of us,  AND pay their town taxes.   The same will be true for those who live in  Purcellville.  Ken will be unable to protect Leesburg citizens from general tax increases to pay for metro.
So why would Ken Reid suddenly flip on metro, abandon his base, and ignore the experts?   Why would a supervisor who is this brilliant and well informed, vote for metro?   Is the bounty more important than the base?  So it would appear.   I hate to see it, because I would hate to see Ken commit political suicide with an opt in vote.   We need supervisors who are as smart as Ken.  All citizens benefit from his service on our board, but if he is the swing vote for metro, he won’t have a chance to be more than a one term wonder.
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31 Responses to “Supervisor Ken Reid swinging on Metro vote”

  1. BWig

    Maybe because he, too, sees the overall benefit to Metro in Loudoun?

    Maybe in all of his experience and knowledge, Reid understands that the project is worth investing in, that the future of Loudoun depends on Metro, and that his constituents want Metro.

    Imagine, a politician actually listening to everyone, not just his own party. Impressive :)

  2. Anonymous

    Reid will be solid. I have more faith in him than I do Volpe. He wants what is right…and watches the bottom line. He did sign onto the letter of 21 issues with the project, which put us in a better position to get concessions from MWAA instead of the other way around.

    Bwig, you’re daydreaming out loud again. This monstrosity is a builder-who- doesn’t- want- to- float- a- bond- for- anything smorgasbord.

  3. Ashburn Chick

    Mr Reid does know the facts and that is why he will do whats best for Loudoun and vote YES to metro. Its what the people want and it is what we need for development in the area!

  4. Lovettsville Lady

    Ashburn Chick, I will assume that your post is meant in jest since I doubt that you really think Loudoun county needs more development, particularly in the east. Our development is what lead to the highest real estate taxes from here to Texas. Development has overwhelmed our roads, packed our schools and over burden our taxpayers. You could not be advocating for more development!

    Sometimes leaders lead and don’t always vote based on recent polls. Leaders help educate the population and don’t simply go along with what is politically expedient in the moment. Ken knows that metro is a terrible deal for Loudoun. He knows that in 4 years taxpayers will be howling about the costs of metro, the rising tolls and taxes to pay for it, and screaming about the increased traffic on rt 7 and rt 28 as commuters flee the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road. He knows that voters will be angry and their anger will be felt at the polls. Unhappy, angry, voters throw out the incumbents, always. As smart and knowledgeable as Ken is, I do not believe that he would vote for metro anyway, simply because some folks in Ashburn want it because they do not understand what the project will do to Loudoun. That’s not what smart leaders do. Ken would not put the entire county into debt to pay for a project that even the Obama Administration said was not viable. He’s far too smart to do that. He knows that he and the others have no political future if he does.

  5. Melvin Summers

    Well of coarse he is starting to change his mind. Tell me if you were an elected official who needed peoples votes to keep your job, would you risk making 80 percent of the people mad at you? That’s right 80 percent is kind of a hard number to ignore when you are a politician, and really they are supposed to vote with the will of the people they represent. Seems the others should be listening up too.

  6. On the Fence

    I was just rereading the post and see that you took down the who’s who of the votes for and against. Was that not up there earlier? Regardless, Reid seemed pretty chummy with the Opt-out group tonight at the LCRC meeting, complimenting them over and over, so I think you have the votes you need LL to kill this thing. Good work to you and the pig.

  7. Chris Lopresti

    Politicians are elected into office to represent the people. When they stop representing the people the people find new leaders. It is wise for a politician to take their voters into account when making big decisions like this. I am among the 80 percent that wants the Metro!

  8. abroderick

    It is not bad politics to change your stance to fit that of the people you represent. Loudoun has a clear opinion about this. Look at the polls. Old and new ones will show you that 80% welcome it. I welcome the Metro too.

  9. Lovettsville Lady

    Abroderick and Chris, choose one nic or the other. We do not allow the same poster to post under multiple nics. Please choose one. Or I will decide which one to delete. Thank you.

  10. Lovettsville Lady

    Ken Reid was terrific at the LCRC meeting last night. His appreciation and praise for the Tax Pig and Dave LaRock were wonderful! Thank you Ken! You are a stand up guy!

    • Loudoun Lady

      Nice try Satchmo. LL and Cathymac were never a secret and both names were established 6-7 years ago. LL/cathymac posts as such on NVTH. However, after a dozen years if blogging you created another persona and were caught. Please share your explanation with us. Why was Satchmo created and why all the secrecy?

  11. Melvin Summers

    Lovettsville Lady, Melvin is just Melvin I assure you, but I guess when you are losing the argument so bad you have to try to accuse people of having multiple identities. I am one person with only one screen name and only one goal, to see this county get the public transportation we so deserve. Sorry if you can not handle that more then one person who uses this site feels this way, but really if you checked the polls, you would see 80 percent of the people want the Metro, I am not as alone as you think and have no need to make multiple names. Thank you for the mornings entertainment though I did get a chuckle.

  12. Baconator

    The premise of a democracy is that the people elect an an official to represent their views. A landslide majority of us want this Metro. We are sick of the lack of public transportation in this county. I grew up in a much smaller community and we had way better public transportation. We should be ashamed of what we have for public transportation and it’s time it changed.

  13. Lovettsville Lady

    On the fence, thank you for your kind words. I sure hope that you are correct! Ken was very, very, nice to all of us at the LCRC meeting last night.

  14. Lovettsville Lady

    Melvin/Baconator/Chris, you have now used at least 4 different nics, or is it 5? Please stop. Please choose one nic, Or I will randomly choose which nic you may use and delete the others. Thank you!

  15. Ashburn Chick

    No Lovettsville Lady..I know that the growth and development is coming..whether we like it or not…and we NEED the rail to support that growth and development.

  16. BlackOut

    LL and CMac were a secret until you were called out on it, I was there. I am diversifying my brand, and it’s not a secret. See discussions here and over at TC for details.

  17. On the Fence

    Well I stand corrected, the LCRC head gossip mill guru has confirmed that Reid has cut a deal and will be voting for Metro. I hope its a really good deal and includes a real job because he will be a one-termer on the BOS if he bitch-slaps his base like that/. And the regular folk never liked him anyways, good riddence.

  18. BlackOut

    Bever said it was LL. You did.

    BTW, I’ll be taking credit for the V and R positive Metro vote. Logic is going to win over small mindedness. Ah the sweet smell of victory.

    Next time you see McDonnell and Wolf make sure to tell them how pissed you are at them for being liberals.

  19. Lovettsville Lady

    On the Fence, what was the deal that Reid cut? I do not believe that either Reid or Volpe will vote for metro. Especially Volpe, her reputation is solid as a fiscal conservative. Ken will do what is best for Leeburg in the coming years. I agree that’s he’s gone in one term, with the others, if he abandons his conservative base and his friends. Ken knows metro better than anyone. He is the most informed board member on metro. He knows the whole history and what a disaster Metro has been. If he votes for it, it won’t be because he thinks it’s a good project for Loudoun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvbt8mKDozA&feature=autoshare

  20. Lovettsville Lady

    Blackout, you will take credit for SV and Ken voting for metro? What deal did they cut with you? lol If they vote for metro, that’s when the REAL fun begins! Can’t wait! Politics isn’t any fun without people in office to fuss about and kick out of office1

    As is typical in Loudoun politics, at least 5 or 6 of the current board will be gone in 2015. Many of us will look forward to that change! Can’t wait to elect more fiscal conservatives just like we will in November when we kick Obama to the curb and take over the Senate! Happy Days are here again!

  21. Loudoun Lady

    I always knew BO/Satchmo was a Beiber fan (misspelled from Bever).

    I want to hear what the “deal” with Reid is?

    I am disappointed that the Gov was in town Tues night telling our BOS that we needed to Opt In. There has never been a deal that has never been structured like this, with local tax dollars. I am tired of state and federal officials trying to solidify this deal for Loudoun Taxpayers.

  22. Janie

    Anyone know why Suzanne Volpe tells some people that she’s voting for metro, and some that she’s voting against metro? Her base is faithful and true and are convinced that she’ll never vote for metro. The pro metro supervisors are telling everyone she’s a solid vote with them. So what’s up? Can she just not make up her mind? Or is she lying to one side? Which side?

  23. Janie

    If the state wants the metro deal, why aren’t they paying for it? Why didn’t Frank Wolf get the feds to pay for it? They need to put their money where their mouths are! Why should only the taxpayers of Loudoun get stuck with the bills year after year forever?

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