Students of Metro Derangement Disorder, the strange phenomenon that paralyzed our normally very unanimous unanimously Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors, will recall the particularly acute form of the syndrome that afflicted Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) in the weeks leading up to the Board’s 5–4 vote approving the extension of Metrorail to Loudoun back in July.
At the last minute Higgins, who claimed to be very judicially undecided on the issue long after everyone else in the county knew he was planning to vote against it, joined with the truly indecisive Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) in issuing a lengthy set of conditions for his support, which included renegotiating the entire deal, putting off the decision for another six months, requiring new action by the Virginia legislature, Fairfax County, the transit and airport boards, and the United States Congress, and suspension of the first two of Newton’s three laws of motion. Skeptical observers concluded he might just possibly be trying to torpedo the deal.
Anyway, as part of Higgins’s other not so subtle maneuvers to kill Metro, his office apparently committed a cardinal no-no and began sending out e-mails to the constituents of Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) insinuating that she was wavering in her deep principled opposition to Metro and planning to vote for it because of the moolah she had received from greedy commercial land developers who stood to gain from the deal.
Now, a Loudoun Republican accusing a fellow Loudoun Republican of being in the pocket of greedy commercial land developers is a bit like Vito Genovese accusing Dutch Schultz of being involved in the numbers racket, but this charge became a staple of the anti-Metro forces.
Volpe ended up sticking to her deep principles of ignoring whatever her constituents want and satisfying the desires of the anti-tax and religious-right power blocs in the Loudoun Republican Committee (who among other things get to decide who’s nominated for every office since they won’t permit primaries), and voting against Metro. (The deciding vote in favor, of course, came from “Ken” “No to Metro” Reid.)
But Geary’s zealous efforts to shore up Volpe’s no vote, we hear, have now earned him an investigation from the county, since it’s not only a political no-no to politick in your neighbor’s district but a violation of
the law county policy [*musn’t* overstate the case] to use your office staff and resources for political purposes.
Of course it should be absolutely no surprise that when push came to shove Geary reached for the mud: It’s an old adage in politics that candidates govern as they campaign, and Geary’s mud-slinging campaign against Democrat Malcolm Baldwin in the election last fall set a new low for Loudoun politics. Higgins’s office aide Callie “Blessings” Chaplow, who distinguished herself during the campaign by writing letters to the editor containing fabricated accusations against Baldwin (it’s OK to fib when Jesus is on your side), is definitely a bird of the feather, and it will be interesting to see if she had a hand in this clever idea too.